News and Views

What’s going on in the world of VoIP business phone systems

Business Continuity Planning – Ufone Can Help

Continuity planning for your business is about being prepared for all types of disruptions, for example, an earthquake a Pandemic, or even losing a key supplier. Plan to quickly adapt and get back on your feet, it’s vital to your business’s survival.

If you’re a customer of Ufone we can help you maintain vital communications during a time of crisis.

Develop Your Continuity Plan

Your plan will need to be multifaceted and include the risks for your particular business, for example:

  • Coping with cashflow issues.
  • Insurance.
  • Flexibility where your staff can work from.
  • Access to critical data and services.
  • Robustness of supply chain.
  • Key staff contact details, and systems for enabling others to take over key tasks.

These things need thought and planning well in advance of when a crisis actually occurs.  If you are a customer of Ufone then we have already set you up to be able to cope will communications in times of crisis.

Business Communications Will Be Critical

Whether it’s remote working capabilities or diversion of phone services to any location, a well-planned VoIP system is critical. Maintaining customer contact and showing you are still available and responsive is a key component in business survival. It’s even possible your business could thrive if you are prepared and operational whilst others are struggling.

Ufone’s flagship product 3CX is a VoIP system that is ideal for companies looking for flexibility.  For example, using the desktop client enables you to easily work from anywhere you have an internet connection.  If you’re on the move then the mobile client lets you be on call and in the queue wherever you are.  Your receptionist could be at home and transfer your calls directly to you anywhere, even overseas.

If you’re a customer of Ufone we can train you to utilise our services in a crisis, a key to business continuity planning.
If you’re not a customer call us now, it’s not too late!

3CX Acquires WP-Live Chat

3CX Acquires WP-Live Chat.  A game-changer for the PBX and contact center market.

LONDON, UK, 15 OCTOBER 2019 – 3CX Acquires WP-Live Chat. This is a successful plugin for real-time website visitor chat. It is the most popular chat plugin for WordPress with over 1 million downloads and over 1,000 downloads per day. 3CX’s purchase of WP-Live Chat’s technology is proof of the company’s focus on multi-channel contact center solutions. Following the release of 3CX’s own Live Chat plugin which is integrated into 3CX V16.

WP-Live Chat was developed in 2014 by Code Cabin, a South African software development company that builds online business solutions. Impressed by the rate of growth and compelling customer base, 3CX saw an opportunity to obtain best-in-class technology and at the same time gain massive market share.

Nick Galea, CTO and Founder of 3CX, says: “With this acquisition we’re getting a foothold in the huge WP and contact center market as well as committing to the development of the technology. We see the future of live chat and this acquisition gives us immediate market share.”

3CX intends to further develop WP-Live Chat Support which will be available free of charge with all its features as a standalone product. Unlike 3CX Live Chat & Talk, WP-Live Chat will not include the ability to audio and video call with website visitors – to do this users need to install 3CX’s own plugin.

About 3CX (www.3cx.com)

3CX is a 100% channel company and is the developer of an open standards software IP PBX. Which innovates communications and replaces proprietary PBXs. 3CX cuts telco costs and boosts company productivity and mobility.

With integrated WebRTC web conferencing; apps for Mac, Windows, Android, iOS and the web; and a full suite of collaboration features, 3CX offers companies a complete communications package out of the box.

250,000 customers worldwide use 3CX. These include Boeing, McDonalds, Hugo Boss, Ramada Plaza Antwerp, Harley Davidson, Wilson Sporting Goods and Pepsi. Maintaining its global presence, 3CX has offices in the U.S., U.K., Germany, South Africa, Russia and Australia. Visit 3CX on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Your VoIP Phone Service – Ten Questions to Help Decide

Your business probably relies on voice communication for its very existence. A VoIP phone service is an efficient, convenient and accountable way to manage in and outbound calls. Therefore it is an essential part of a well-managed business.

Your VoIP Phone Service is a Critical Service

The delivery of a VoIP phone service can be glossed over by IT staff who may not understand voice services. Businesses expect phones to work and may not appreciate how difficult it is to provide a reliable and high-quality phone service. This combination of IT staff lack of experience and general ignorance can be dangerous.

“deals lost and goodwill eroded with long term business consequences”

A badly installed and configured VoIP system can lead to, not just inconvenience with bad quality calls, but deals lost and goodwill eroded with long-term business consequences.

VoIP Technology

Today’s telephony is completely different to what it used to be. Making a phone call on a VoIP phone service seems very similar but what happens in the background to deliver this service could not be more different. Your old telephone service had its own “copper” network connected to large phone exchanges strategically placed around the country. Today’s VoIP telephony is a data application delivered over a fibre-optic network, sharing the data connection with your Internet service, and other services such as “Netflix”. Large phone exchanges housed in buildings have been replaced with high-end computer servers housed in racks the size of large refrigerators.

However, the critical difference between old phone services and today’s phone services is that VoIP systems are susceptible to bad quality if installed and managed incorrectly.  This happens all too often which gives VoIP a bad name. Have you heard someone say that VoIP is unstable or provides bad quality voice calls? The real reasons behind these problems is either a bad installation or the wrong Voice Service Provider (VSP).

Avoidance is Better

Choosing the right VoIP Phone Service will save you time and money, avoid headaches and downtime. But it’s only when there is a problem that the true value of a good VoIP phone service becomes apparent, and by then it’s too late when you are tied into a term contract.

“do some homework and ask some important questions”

Every supplier of a VoIP phone Service will tell you that their service and support is the best, so how do you sort the “wheat from the chaff”? To select the right Voice Service for your business, you will have to do some homework and ask some important questions says Managing Director Nigel Rayneau of Auckland-based VSP UFONE.

1. Who is powering the VoIP phone service?

You need to establish exactly who provides your service because if your IT consultant is proposing a VoIP system then they will invariably be selling a service provided by a VSP. You need to know who that is because that’s who is ultimately responsible for the quality and stability of the service. It’s best to research the VSP and find out what their customer is saying, and how long they have been in business.

2. Does your VSP operate and manage their own VoIP Infrastructure?

Establish whether the VSP owns and manages the core VoIP infrastructure, or do they actually buy from someone else?  This is also important because they might not have the ultimate control meaning support will be 2nd hand. The actual VSP might be providing an inferior, or cheap service so it’s critical you understand exactly who provides the service.

3. What support channels do they provide?

No matter how good they say they are, or reliable they claim, the only thing you know for certain is that at some point you are going to need technical support. It may be as simple as configuring a phone for a new staff member, or more serious like a roadworks digger sliced through your local fibre feed.

You need to know that expert support staff is available when you need them, and equipped to troubleshoot a wide range of problems.  Does your VSP provide support via a phone call? Or is it all done by tickets and emails? Because the latter is insufficient for any serious business.

Also where is their support located? An overseas support department might save that provider money but won’t provide the immediate knowledge required for good support.

4. What experience does the installer/integrator have?

Most problematic VoIP systems are caused by a bad installation, and this is the result of incompetence or inexperience.  You don’t want to be the first install with a company that has no track record or experience to speak of. Also, do they have sufficient Public Liability Insurance and do they follow ‘Best Practice’?  Fly-by-night operators are common so know who you are dealing with.  Research your installer/integrator and get a number of references from obviously independent customers, with a variety of different VoIP systems.

5. What protection is provided against fraudulent calling?

Telephony has been subject for a long time to “Fraudulent Calling Attacks” and in the new IP world of telephony, this has only increased.  Your chosen VSP should be guaranteeing protection against “Calling Fraud”, as the cost can be significant.

6. What large corporate or Government customers do they serve?

A good indication of the capability of a VSP is the quality of their customers. The stringent requirements of corporates and Government departments mean that their service providers have been strictly evaluated.

7. What is their system uptime?

In the “old days” telephone services rated their reliability by how many nines they could achieve, and the ultimate was 5 nines or 99.999% uptime. This equates to 5 minutes per year or 26 seconds per month, where the service was down, and needless to say, is very reliable. VoIP systems by their nature cannot get close to this performance because they rely on so many more moving parts that are impossible to control.  System uptime over a 6-12 month period will give you a good indication of how reliable the VoIP service is.

8. Do they have a disaster recovery plan?

In the event of a disaster that wipes out a data center, ask them what happens to your service? A carrier-grade VoIP service should be redundant over at least two physically separate data centers. In the ‘unlikely event that a data centre is disabled by a disaster, it should not put the VoIP service out because the other nodes will take over the load.

What will happen if your data connection is lost. The VoIP service will rely on this data service and if it fails for any reason does your VSP provide alternate routing to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu of options, or at the very least diversion to a cell phone.

9. Do they provide a Web-hosted “Voip Phone Service” service?

By far the most popular option for a VoIP solution is Cloud Hosted. This is because it off-loads the responsibility to keep the system configured, operational, and secure. It also reduces the need for capital expenditure because no server equipment needs to be installed on-site. A good Cloud Hosted solution should be housed in local “Telco Grade” data centres, rather than at an overseas location or worse at an insecure or inferior data centre. It should also be fully functional, for example, an internal extension to extension call should connect via the extension number, not a ‘dummy’ phone number.

10. Are mobile phone apps available for IOS & Android?

Many businesses are on the go or have remote workers, so having mobile VoIP solutions is crucial to the success of their day-to-day business. This is also critical if you are traveling overseas a lot. Ask your provider if their service allows you to take calls on cell phones and other mobile devices with a mature and well-tested application.

Contact us at UFONE for more answers to your questions.

Copper Phone Lines Are Being Phased Out

Copper phone lines are being phased out and will soon be completely turned off, so what’s replacing them.

If you use analogue phone lines still then you are paying over-inflated pricing for outdated technology. Not only that you are also missing out on all the features and efficiencies that VoIP can offer.

UFONE NZ is a VoIP Telecom company on a mission to help you before those old-fashioned lines get turned off. We specialise in providing Voice and Internet Services to mid-sized, multi-site companies with mobile workforces.

With all copper phone lines scheduled to be turned off sometime next year, UFONE explains why VoIP is the perfect product for replacing copper lines.

Unified Communications

VoIP also has major benefits for streamlining connectivity and communications for businesses and organisations. For example, a business that has several different branches, using a VOIP system can have all calls answered in one place by one person and then transfer it anywhere. “This is ideal for businesses who require flexibility throughout branches where workers may constantly be in and out of the office,” says UFONE CEO Nigel Rayneau.

Cost Savings

VoIP will save you on average 50% on the equivalent old analogue or digital ISDN phone service.  Although calling costs are significantly less an un-seen advantage is free calling within your company branches even located all over NZ or even the world.  Furthermore when traveling all you need is a WiFi connection at your hotel or a Starbucks. With that and a mobile phone, you can call back to the office free, or call anywhere else at the same low cost as at your office.

Advanced Functionality

If you are looking to make a conference call to 5 or even 50 other people then a VoIP system can do this easily and inexpensively. Likewise many “corporate functions” are now available to small businesses.  For example, voice messages can be emailed to you, voice prompts and queues are a standard feature as well as auto callbacks if the voice queue takes too long. Integrated text messaging is also easy so is video calling if you have the right hardware.

Reliability

VoIP offers you a service that you can rely on. UFONE has invested extensively in a purpose-built VoIP telephony infrastructure. This system architecture has been designed for service providers with “carrier-grade” reliability and security through utilising geo-redundant, clustered topology.  “Our distributed database guarantees that any data-centre node can instantaneously take over the work of any other node that might go offline,” adds Nigel.

Growth

As your business grows, your VoIP system will grow with it. With a VoIP system, it is quick and easy to add or remove team members and extensions. “VoIP has a robust and feature-rich solution for a company’s growing needs,” advises Nigel.

Support

With Ufone, you will get 24/7 technician support. Ufone’s team of Specialist VoIP Engineers are skilled leaders in their field and can sort out any IT-related issue you may have, they know the system inside and out.