Mobility and the Cloud Precipitate Call Quality Challenges

For those who began their careers in a corporate environment where land line-based desk telephones, hand-delivered interoffice memos, and Rolodexes were ubiquitous, the cloud-based wireless mobile archetype may resemble science fiction. While experts in some fields warn of digital technology leading to isolation, in the business world it has facilitated even more connectivity. Consequently, business consistently demands more efficient methods of communication and collaboration.

Given the accommodating nature of technology companies, expectations now run very high among workers throughout the corporate hierarchy. They want to communicate on technology they prefer, equipment that performs flawlessly every time, whether voice or video, cloud or no cloud… and they want it now.

Voice and Audio Technology: Quality Challenges

Anyone who is old enough to remember terms such as “transatlantic phone call” and the atrocious reception that often accompanied them may possess a bit more patience with new technologies, but those who’ve come into the workforce over the last twenty years are another story. With the cloud offering more flexibility and the trend toward mobility, the needs of the end user invariably translates into challenges for business.

The one constant has been that we still communicate verbally; we haven’t developed telepathy, or technology that facilitates telepathy (yet), and most people can express themselves more effectively speaking, so we still converse with one another. This is true whether we are communicating with colleagues across a table, or globally through the cloud across voice and UC applications.

This necessitates the ongoing development and refinement of “cloud-conscious,” high quality voice and audio endpoints.

UC World Endpoint Requirements: Performance, Performance, and Performance

Voice endpoints have become important in facing the challenges of being an employee on the road. Whether a manager connecting from an airport parking lot, or a home-based contact center rep connecting to the network via home computer, the need for a high quality audio endpoint has never been greater.

As the world moves towards IP phones, and the use of video calls has accelerated, challenges, such as call jitter, seem to increase. Challenges multiply further as we connect through different types of networks and devices.

To this end, attention to design that integrates proven as well as state-of-the-art (these days, that means cloud-based) technology, and presumes sophisticated end users is a fairly safe bet. Noise-cancelling microphones that mitigate the effect of background noise for the traveler who invariably winds up on calls in crowded airport terminals; wind noise features aid the oil field foreman or agribusiness executive who takes calls outdoors.

In situations like these, having software-centric products that allow devices to react as environments change is invaluable. Mobility provides an efficiency advantage that is unmatched. The ability to provide reliable, robust, endpoints to support mobility provides real benefits, both to mobile employee and business.

Learn more about how Momentum’s mobility suite and virtual office solutions support the flexible work environment while moving business communications forward. Visit http://www.momentumtelecom.com/solutions/voip-business-solutions/mobility-services/.

4 Reasons Why Hosted PBX Systems are Gaining Popularity

Recent trends are pointing towards a tremendous growth in the global PBX market. This is thanks in large part to a growing number of open source and hosted PBX options.

As this $40 billion market expands, one can’t help but wonder why these systems have suddenly become the latest hot item for 2015. Here’s why this strong trend might last throughout the year and beyond.

A Better Bang for the Buck

Affordability is one reason why enterprises are now seeing hosted PBX solutions in a more favorable light. An IBISWorld procurement report found that these PBX services offered a buyer power score of 4.1 out of 5, signaling a favorable environment for interested buyers.

Today’s enterprise customer is able to leverage these PBX services against credible alternatives—such as on-premise PBX, open-source PBX, and landline systems—resulting in a significant advantage in terms of pricing and features. Strong competition for hosted PBX services has also helped improve overall buying power. The vast majority of PBX players remain relatively small firms and no one company has set itself as the default PBX standard to emulate.

With plenty of healthy competition within the marketplace, it’s safe to say that the hosted PBX arena will remain favorable to buyers for quite some time.

Many Enterprises are Coming Around to Hosted PBX

As enterprises and institutions face the task of replacing their existing PBX systems, many are searching for ways to manage communication needs in a more streamlined and simplified manner. Even storied institutions like Oxford University are embracing the latest in Unified Communications (UC) as it overhauls its networking infrastructure.

C-level business executives are also increasingly drawn towards hosted PBX systems from an OPEX instead of CAPEX point of view. For many companies, the ability to treat such PBX systems as an operating expense is sure to improve bottom lines across the board.

Improvements in VoIP Support

Support for VoIP hasn’t been where it should have been these past few years, with many businesses expressing disappointment and dismay over service quality and reliability. Fortunately, VoIP support has improved by leaps and bounds as businesses move away from POTS-based infrastructure in favor of IP-based telephony.

Cloud-based PBX offers excellent improvements in VoIP quality and robustness by doing away with the on-site server in favor of a robust and resilient cloud environment. The result is a system that offers increased uptime and robust failover capability.

A Long-Term Eye Towards UC

UC is the linchpin for the future of media-rich, data-driven communications. For many companies, the ultimate goal involves creating a robust ecosystem that brings together all the essential and desirable UC elements in an advanced and economical yet streamlined way.

Hosted PBX represents the first step in that process, allowing companies to smoothly transition to cloud-based alternatives without making unreasonable compromises.

Momentum Telecom offers you the practicality of a VoIP solution in a personalized package designed to meet your business needs through:

  • Scalability
  • Customizations during on-site implementations
  • Easy transitions with dedicated Sales Engineers and 24/7 Support

Discover how we will not only future proof your telephony, but enhance the way you do business.

Cloud Advantages for Business: Contact Centers, BYOD & Mobility

Many companies are transitioning to cloud technology to enable business efficiency and improve communications. From improving customer service to enabling mobility, the cloud advantage for businesses is clear.

 

Customer Service – Hosted in the Cloud

The cloud has proven valuable in advancing customer service, an aspect that becomes particularly evident when looking at cloud usage within call centers. According to market research firm Frost & Sullivan, the hosted call center market is expected to grow by an average of 12.1 percent annually, to over $3 billion by 2017. Meanwhile, investment in standard call center technology is expected to decrease to $1.892 billion in 2017.

BYOD – Enabled by the Cloud

One of the most popular advantages of cloud technology is its ability to accommodate bring-your-own-device initiatives in the workplace. Pew Research recently conducted a study which determined that 56 percent of all U.S. adults are smartphone users. Businesses are acknowledging this trend. The enterprise mobility market is expected to be worth around $181 billion in 2017, based on a recent MarketsandMarkets study.

Mobility – Assisted by the Cloud

Mobility is one of the main reasons that BYOD is ideal for businesses. For example, Cloud technology allows contact center employees to work from home, or almost any other location, when needed. Additionally, the cloud allows employees’ smartphones to link to their office phone numbers so that employers and customers can reach representatives easily. Also, employees can access any data they might need via the cloud. This ease of mobility prevents inconveniences and downtime that might occur for reasons such as employee health, weather, or other disasters. The mobility gained from using cloud technology means solid business continuity.

Cloud technology is beneficial for businesses both large and small. Businesses that watch cloud technologies that are trending upwards in personal use can capitalize and integrate those tools into business for a clear advantage.

Contact Momentum to learn how our customizable hosted call center solution can benefit your business.

5 Ways to Boost UC Security & Preserve Business Continuity

As companies come to the communications crossroads and determine how and when to make the transition to cloud-based services, two concerns remain: business continuity and security.

Business continuity speaks to a company’s ability to provide uninterrupted delivery of services and products during and after an external disruption. In addition, business continuity is closely aligned to the security of sensitive data in the event of a cyber attack or other threats.

It is impossible to completely avoid the unexpected. Extreme weather events and natural disasters are just a couple examples that can shut down a system’s response capacity. The real test is the Unified Communications (UC) system’s ability to bounce back quickly and effectively. The success of a business often depends upon its resilience. However, the right telecommunications infrastructure can withstand a blow and still meet the needs of its customers with little or no interruption of service.

When taking the calculated risk to transition a cloud-based UC system, it is important to consider the overall security level of the new deployment. The idea of sensitive user data in the hands of cyber criminals is a nightmare for any business. Breaches in data storage reveal a treasure trove of highly sensitive information. Unauthorized users can wreak havoc on the hacked organization, as well as on the individuals whose information is exploited.

Risk-Benefit Analysis

Companies sink significant investments into new technology ventures and consider the ROI while weighing the pros and cons. Risks to security destabilize and damage an organization’s reputation. Companies exposed to corporate espionage risk competitors seizing trade secrets and can even face issues with regulations compliance. The reputations of major corporations that have been the target of cyber attacks take a real blow.

Counteract Risks With Knowledge

Companies must ensure that UC vendors have sterling reputations, along with checks and balances in place to prevent unauthorized data retrieval. Business owners and IT directors should seek out service providers with established records of secure delivery.

When a company’s brand is on the line, however, that is no longer enough. Investigating the specifics of threat prevention systems and tools can help IT execs make the best choices to provide the greatest protection.

Built-in Redundancies Add Layers of Protection

Malfunctions and breaches occur less frequently when geographically redundant networks are built into the infrastructure. Even if one layer is permeated, fail-safe security alternatives can prevent potential disasters.

Security Tests Are Imperative

Ongoing security testing should be performed on the UC system. Remaining vigilant regarding possible weaknesses is incumbent upon business owners to keep risks low. Tests can be run periodically in-house or scheduled by third-party professionals to remain up to date on the security threat landscape.

Minimize your risk. Click here to learn how Momentum Telecom rises to the challenge of secured UC.

Unified Communications: Scalable Enterprise Collaboration at Its Best

Influencing technologies are taking root in every aspect of the business world—one after the other—and at a speed never before seen. The prevailing cloud atmosphere, increasing workforce mobility, the reality of bring your own device (BYOD), and the Internet of things (IoT) are trends that are compelling businesses to embrace unified communications (UC).

UC converges voice, video, and data around a unified network, which allows users to easily make a call, send a message, locate colleagues in real-time, or participate in audio or video conferencing. Businesses of every size, industry, and location will benefit from using a UC strategy that’s tailored to their goals and needs.

Real-time Visibility

Presence is the next big UC technology. It provides real-time information about a person’s availability for communication purposes. Presence-enabled applications can be configured to make intelligent decisions about how to contact employees, partners, suppliers, and customers.

Presence solutions can be customized from organization to organization. People use various communication devices such as office telephones, desktops, laptops, tablets, cell phones, and home phones. Presence simplifies the process of connecting people. It identifies which devices, applications, platforms, or networks are available for people who need to be contacted. It also provides a calendar for when and where people can receive messages.

Flexible, Cost-efficient Connection

IDC predicts that this year alone will see 1.3 billion employees going mobile; that’s 37.2 percent of the total global workforce. By the end of 2016, mobile workers will outnumber their fixed counterparts, IDC predicts.

By enabling flexible work arrangements, UC has a profound impact on businesses and their mobile employees. The technology helps create happier, more efficient employees who can work and collaborate from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. This unified, flexible approach enables employees to easily share information without dishing out more money every time a new technology makes the current deployment obsolete.

Scalability

Business communications is a rapidly evolving essential, and communication technologies must grow and adapt with the company to suit current and future needs.

IT is constantly developing new solutions that alter employee expectations about how they want to and are able to collaborate. Businesses need to keep pace with these expectations by ensuring that their communication platforms have the capability to add users, devices, channels, functions, and services whenever the need arises. UC allows for this type of scalability.

Secure Communications

An effective UC system brings together disparate technologies such as VoIP (voice-over Internet protocol), video, email, and chat into a unified platform in a secure environment.

A security rule-of-thumb is not to neglect the basics: encryption, firewall, strong passwords, VPNs (virtual private networks), monitoring of call logs, and turning off unused services. With UC, these are built-in security tools.

Tools to Foster Collaboration

Compatibility with mobile devices, ease of use, and the ability to work from anywhere empowers employees to work more productively and enables customers to be more engaged. At the same time, businesses want these collaboration activities to be be extended to their suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders on the supply chain. UC allows for this to happen.

Advanced telephony features help businesses save money and time. For instance, short-number dialing eliminates the use of area codes—which is an especially cost-effective feature for businesses with multiple locations. Too, an employee’s mobile, desk, or PC phone can be contacted simultaneously to ensure the faster delivery of messages. These UC technologies enable easy collaboration.

Are you ready to increase your productivity and enable greater mobility? If so, learn more about Momentum Telecom’s Unified Communications solutions today and let’s discuss how UC can ramp up your business’s communication functions.

Top 7 Benefits of Moving Contact Centers to the Cloud

Contact centers are a long-time staple for many businesses, but the costs and complexity of managing these centers’ legacy systems are draining businesses’ time and resources. Now, the cloud is offering renewed hope.

Businesses are moving contact centers to the cloud to gain flexibility, productivity, and security. Aside from being cost-efficient, cloud contact center models empower users to be in control of their systems and provide new opportunities for better user experiences.

Specifically, SMBs and enterprises can enjoy the following direct benefits of moving their contact centers to the cloud:

1. Start and run the center quickly.

Cloud-enabled contact centers are faster and simpler to deploy than on-site ones. Unlike on-premise systems that can take months to set up, cloud contact center solutions can be deployed in as quickly as 48 hours, depending on the number and complexity of the applications.

2. Easily integrate existing and new tools.

The cloud is a maturing technology that allows easy integration. In the midst of competition, global cloud providers are partnering to standardize their products and to pave the way for easier integration of old and new systems. They are even going a step further by finding ways to integrate third-party tools and solutions to ensure interoperability among different platforms.

3. Updates are done automatically and regularly.

The implementation of cloud contact center solutions eliminates the hassles of manual updates and maintenance. Cloud providers incorporate automatic function updates and new feature upgrades without putting additional strain to enterprise IT. Cloud contact centers are given immediate access to these features and functions as soon as they are rolled out.

4. A mature cloud provider offers higher levels of security.

Prominent cloud providers have invested in backup infrastructure to ensure the highest level of security and uptime for customers. These providers track and maintain security levels that are better than what most companies provide for their own on-premise systems.

5. Enjoy service in a bundle.

In the cloud, most contact center solutions come as a packaged service. Customers need to communicate with only a single vendor for all the services they need. Phone services, inbound and outbound telephony, agent desktops, supervisor monitoring, and other contact center features all can be rolled into one package and provided by a single vendor for easier management and coordination.

6. Obtain a more flexible contract.

Shorter contract lengths allow contact center customers briefer tie-in periods. Contact centers want a customer service option that provides innovative solutions, offers good support, and ensures reliability. Through the cloud, companies have more flexibility in switching to contact center vendors that can best meet these requirements.

7. Manage costs through a subscription model.

Cloud contact centers require modest initial investments, since customers do not have to purchase costly hardware and software infrastructure. Customers pay only for the features and functions they use on a monthly basis. Seasonal or growing businesses can better handle demand fluctuations, such as when they add agent seats or more lines when spikes happen.

Moving contact centers to the cloud allows businesses’ IT departments to focus on productive and innovative business activities rather than on routine system maintenance.

With Momentum Telecom’s cloud contact center solutions, businesses are a step closer to a stronger business and IT relationship. Visit Momentum Telecom today to learn more about contact center solutions.

7 tips for MSPs Growing Partnerships

For Managed Service Providers, determining which vendors will make the best partners isn’t a quick process. The factors an MSP should consider before entering into a long-term relationship with a vendor are numerous. While the factors for consideration can include available sales support and training, the vendors ability to draw in leads, scalability of services, marketing support, and more, here are the seven most crucial aspects:

1. Which Business Model Works Best

There are three different business models in backup and recovery: backup and storage focused, trailing complementary, and leading complementary. Based on their individual storage and backup requirements, MSPs should examine each option and determine which one best meets its needs.

2. Generate a Vendor Partner Shortlist

Identifying the pros and cons of each vendor along with product capabilities and business models. How does the vendor interact with providers versus direct customers. With respect to customer acquisition and retention, is the partner’s position supportive of MSPs or competitive?

3. Perform a Thorough Review

This includes questions such as whether vendors provide service delivery modules, and whether the vendors services are designed for MSPs. Another element to consider is whether or not the vendor provides secure services that follow strict data security compliance regulations.

4. Get a Good Grasp on the Vendor’s Support Practices

MSPs provide support in different ways. Questions in this area include whether or not the vendor will provide support such as marketing, a dedicated channel portal for the provider, and direct selling support. If the vendor also sells direct, it’s important to know the specific guidelines.

5. Figure Out the Flexibility of Margin and Pricing

Like with many other services, support service pricing will vary greatly from vendor to vendor. MSPs need to find out how flexible the vendor’s pricing structure is, and determine if they can set their own to make things easier. Recovery-performance-based, usage-based and capacity-based pricing models will each work differently depending on business models.

6. Pick a Revenue Recognition Model

There are three main revenue recognition models to consider: software license resale, wholesale, and own-your-own-vault models. MSPs should look at each model closely to understand which one will best serve their revenue goal.

7. Make Sure The Vendor Services are Scalable

Ideal vendor partners will be able to scale their services and solutions to meet demands as their business expands.

Momentum Telecom has the industry’s leading channel partner program; one built with your long-term success in mind. Learn more today.

4 Reasons Contact Centers are Moving to the Cloud

As we communicate personally through methods like social media, the web, email, text, and more, we expect to communicate similarly with businesses. The flexibility of a cloud-based contact center means companies can deliver responsive service through multiple communication channels, almost as quickly as they emerge. Responsiveness can make the difference between a customer experience that builds loyalty (future sales), and a mediocre one that sends customers running.

Infographic-4REASONS-Contact-Centers-Moving-To-The-Cloud

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Cutting Hospital Communication Costs with the Power of VoIP

Innovation comes naturally to the healthcare industry. Whether it’s the latest medical procedures or significant research in rare ailments, hospitals and clinics are always on the lookout for innovative technologies that make physicians’ and doctors’ jobs much easier.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is just one of the many new ways that healthcare facilities communicate with patients as well as fellow medical employees. To understand the healthcare industry’s attraction to VoIP, it’s a good idea to understand the fiscal and logistical role it plays within the typical hospital.

Of Landlines and Bottom Lines

Landlines weren’t just the preferred way of communication – in many cases, it was the only way. Unfortunately, many hospitals found out the hard way that communicating over long-distance lines also involved hefty charges. Even local lines could carry costs that prove prohibitive over the long run.

Instead of dealing with the hassle and expense of communicating over long-distance landlines, medical institutions can harness the power of the cloud to receive calls and even conduct video conferencing with colleagues and patients.

On a minute-by-minute basis, using VoIP phone service is much cheaper than relying on an established landline connection. The cloud and VoIP also come together to create a strong network that offers excellent clarity and seamless video conferencing capabilities.

It’s More Than Just Cost Reduction

Reducing costs is only part of the economic equation. VoIP also offers a wealth of other benefits, making it easier for hospitals to perform important administrative tasks and provide effective patient care:

  • VoIP phone service is ideal for patient billing and registration. Multiple calls from patients can be simultaneously collected and prioritized as the situation demands, Not only does this effectively reducing wait times, but it also allows hospitals to track calls for quality assurance purposes.
  • VoIP phone service can also be used to help medical institutions collect current and outstanding payments. With such a system in place, hospitals can help patients pay for their care via phone, as well as push appointment and billing reminders to home and mobile devices.
  • Hospitals and clinics can easily integrate VoIP phone systems into existing computer networks without suffering any long-term downtime during the installation process. The ease of integration comes from the fact that most hospitals already have the underlying infrastructure required for VoIP phone service.

Hospitals and clinics are always on the lookout for cost-effective measures that add value to the bottom line. VoIP has proven itself as a cost-effective way for enterprises to communicate with peers and customers. It’s no surprise to see VoIP gain ground in the healthcare arena.

Momentum Telecom is a trusted service provider to hundreds of healthcare providers across the U.S. Contact us today to tap into our reservoir of knowledge and experience in this industry and find out how we can improve your systems.

Five Tips to Make a Trouble-Free VoIP Purchase

Diving right into VoIP (voice-over Internet protocol) can be an exhilarating experience from a technological and logistical standpoint. However, it’s easy to run into pitfalls that might make the purchasing process fraught with uncertainty. With the right mindset and plenty of forethought, though, the VoIP purchasing process’s pain points can be eliminated.

Here are five ways to make that happen.

1. Know what features will be used.

VoIP solutions come with a plethora of advanced features when compared to traditional PBX systems. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the bells and whistles and lose sight of what’s actually needed. It’s important for businesses to know what will be used and how it will be used. It’s also crucial to know if these features are to be integrated into the system or if they’re intended as standalone solutions.

2. Know the platform.

Having the appropriate platform for VoIP service is essential to its long-term performance and the company’s bottom line. If the platform can’t adequately support the service, then its value as a trustworthy base for VoIP applications will likely be in jeopardy.

The majority of troublesome experiences with VoIP can be traced to platforms without the proper level of management and support. Gaining in-depth knowledge about the systems utilized by the provider can help avoid compatibility conflicts and other critical issues.

3. Ensure appropriate network structure.

In spite of the growing popularity of VoIP among businesses, the vast majority still have network structures that never were intended for use with VoIP. Businesses are rethinking this approach, and some are even considering a complete revamp of their network structure to conform to current standards.

However, it may be more appropriate for IT teams to install a dedicated voice-only circuit. This decision hinges on factors like these:

  • The type of network equipment that’s currently in use,
  • The type of network-switching gear that’s in place,
  • The number of people working in offsite locations,
  • The use of wired or wireless connections, and
  • The type of cabling and network jacks available for VoIP phones.

4. Analyze the quality and type of support offered.

Far too many companies learn about the quality of their support when their services encounter issues for the first time. No company wants to discover that the provider’s support is inadequate during a crisis.

The best defense against this involves a proactive approach towards support. Companies should get answers to the following before signing on:

  • Is the support team in the U.S. or is it offshore? The location of the support team matters, especially when it comes to responsiveness.
  • Is the support team permanent or contract? A permanent support team is more likely to have in-depth knowledge and experience than a contract team.
  • How big (or small) is the support team? The ideal support team should be big enough to handle support issues quickly and professionally, but small enough to provide a personalized touch.

5. Ensure sufficient bandwidth.

Businesses need to take their bandwidth needs into account, especially when large documents, high-quality video, and remote connections to other machines are factors. Insufficient bandwidth could put a crimp in performance and reliability. It’s important for businesses to assess their bandwidth needs before settling on a VoIP solution.

Interested in a VoIP solution that will positively impact your business from the moment it goes live? Check out the latest in Momentum’s fully hosted and integrated solutions. Our on-site implementation process and scalable feature set ensures your solution fits your exact needs, no matter how they might change. Your Business. Your Rules.

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