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Cloud Phone System Unplugged - Look Ma, No Wires

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Jul 16, 2018 4:33:45 PM

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Sometimes the biggest challenge to installing a new Granite Cloud Phone System is getting the right kind of wires to the places we need them. Last week we were faced with just such a challenge. Our customer had moved into a large building that formerly was a chemical manufacturer. While the space suited their new operation well, the previous tenant had done very little data wiring and what was there looked much like the wiring in the picture. 

To make matters worse, the only wired internet access available at their location (without spending a fortune) was DSL service and, due to being at its extreme range, this was very slow. Our speed tests showed less than 2.5MB download and less than 1 MB up. We couldn't add more load to an already sketchy service. 

We had to get creative...

One nice quality of Cloud Phone Service is that it uses relatively little data. A gigabit will support approx 36 hours of voice conversation. For our customer we needed reliable internet service with low latency and loss, but not necessarily a lot of data. This we supplied with Granite's Verizon CradlePoint Internet service. Wireless internet to the rescue.

To deliver our new internet service to the IP phones, we added a Ubiquity router and two Ubiquity wireless access points spread evenly across the facility. Then, deploying Yealinks USB WiFi adapters, we connected sixteen Yealink T42S phones to Granite Cloud Phone Service. Wireless LAN to the rescue.

To be honest, I was a little concerned that between the wireless internet and the wireless LAN there might be voice quality challenges. Once we got everything linked up and programmed, we were psyched to find that the sound quality was superb. The system work flawlessly. 

If we had to run data cables for 16 phones and install a PoE switch to support the phones, the cost would have been over $3K. If we had to bring in fiber internet, the cost would have been over $500 per month. Instead, for the cost of a router and two WAPS, plus Verizon wireless internet (less than $100 per month) we were able to deploy Granite Cloud Phone Service. 

Now our new customer has the best Cloud Phone System available today. By the end of the day staff was using the Mobile app and receiving their voice messages in their e-mail inboxes. We even set up the owner with a phone for his Florida home. 

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Gregg Haughton has been helping companies in Southern New England improve productivity, enhance customer service and lower costs by deploying communications technology since 1986. 

Gregg@granitecomm.com - 203-234-4901

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Topics: Cloud Phone System, Hosted Phone System, VoIP Phone Service

What are the advantages of a Cloud Phone System?

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Feb 15, 2018 4:29:58 PM

Top 10 Benefits of a Cloud-Based Phone System

 

1. Fully-Integrated Communications System

Integrating a company’s communications with other business applications for business processes and workflows helps increase efficiency. Business tools that operate in the cloud are easy to deploy, enabling employees to stay connected whether they are in the office or on the go. In this way, the cloud provides a consistent business presence and helps to increase productivity with seamless access to CRM tools, email, instant messaging, voice and videoconferencing.

2. Control Over Modes of Communication

Cloud solutions give employees anytime, anywhere access via a smartphone, desk phone or softphone to all their calling features.

3. High End Business Features

A cloud-based phone system provides small businesses access to the types of network applications that one would typically find at larger corporations. These include features such as a Virtual Assistant, Call Center, Call Recording, and Advanced Reporting. HD Voice IP Phones have superior sound quality.

4. Mobility and Ease of Use

Today’s workplace is increasingly mobile, and small businesses especially need to be able to operate from multiple locations. With a cloud-based system, employees have access to features that allow them to be connected from anywhere so that they can be reached while on the go, giving customer-facing and revenue-producing employees greater control over their productivity.

5. Time Management and Efficiency

Web-based customer portals enable staff to manage their system more efficiently. Full access to a customer’s system and account allows them to spend fewer resources on project management and focus more on work that adds to the bottom line. Cloud solutions can easily integrate with other cloud-based applications, providing mobile employees access to all the features and functionality they need to work just as efficiently as if they were in the office.

6. Flexibility to Scale Up (and Down)

With a cloud-based phone system, businesses can add as many extensions as they need to accommodate heightened call volume, or, if necessary, simply call in to deactivate these extra extensions. Unlike traditional systems, businesses only pay for the services they need for as long as they need them.

7. Business Continuity

A cloud-based communications system is likely to be unaffected by outside factors such as severe weather or other issues that may keep employees from getting to the office. With a cloud-based system, businesses can maintain a consistent presence — and access the tools needed — to keep things running smoothly.

8. Improved Customer Service

With the Virtual Receptionist or Auto Attendant feature, businesses can easily direct calls to various departments and even create greetings unique to a given department. Call Center functionality provides even workload distribution and metrics for monitoring your customers experience.

9. Open Standards IP Phones

Businesses can choose from a wide range of telephone terminals to match the requirements of the user or location. These phones will work on many provider backbones so you can migrate to other service providers without having to buy new equipment. Open standard telephones cost much less that proprietary phone system hardware.

10. Cost Savings

Moving telecommunications off of expensive PBX platforms and to the cloud can be less expensive relative to monthly service rates versus that of a traditional system, helping to reduce costs and, ultimately, increase profitability. Maintenance and repair costs are eliminated.

Granite Communications is New England's premier Cloud Phone Service Provider. If you would like to schedule a consultation to see if cloud phone service would benefit your business, please contact us.

Topics: Cloud Phone System, Hosted Phone System, small business phone system, Business Telephone Systems, How to choose a business phone system

Cloud Phone Systems and Public Address Systems

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Jun 16, 2017 11:38:42 AM

Recently, I have been called in to "fix" broken public address systems after one on my beloved competitors has installed a cloud phone system. The customer was told that Cloud phones and paging do not work together.

Most premise phone systems have a page port that connects to the audio input on the page adapter (or amplifier). Since by definition a cloud system does not have equipment on site, how can you connect a cloud phone system to a legacy paging system?

There are two easy and inexpensive tricks which work well.

1) If you are interfacing with an amplifier - Install an inexpensive VoIP speakerphone near the amplifier. Set up the phone in a page group that includes the phone. Open the phone and cut the speaker wires of the internal speaker. Connect the wires to the audio input of the page adapter or amplifier. That will give you the analog audio input that the amplifier requires. 

2) If you are interfacing with a page system where the interface requires a loop start trunk or analog extension: Algo Communications  makes a very tricky IP gateway. If you put the Algo box on a cloud SIP station, the Algo has several output options including analog trunk (FXO) analog station(FXS) or page port. The device will also support multi cast paging with Polycom, Yealink and many other IP phones. As an added benefit, you can schedule time based tones. It's the Swiss Army knife of page gateways. 

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There are many legacy telephone devices that may need to interface with your cloud phone system. In our experience, with a bit of creativity and one of the gateway products available, you can make most of them work quite well. 

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Gregg Haughton has been selling business phone systems that enable companies to improve productivity, enhance customer service, and lower costs since 1986.  

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Topics: Hosted Phone System

Business Telephone System vs. Hosted Applications

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Apr 26, 2011 4:24:00 PM

Frequently, we are in a competition not with another business telephone system company, but with companies selling hosted solutions. For years, pundits have been touting a new era in telephony - the end of the installed business telephone system.

Remember Centrex in the 80's -

Don't get me wrong, there are applications where a hosted solution is a viable solution. However, the two biggest attractions of a hosted business telephone system, low cost and easy of configuration changes, is most often elusive.

Let's look at an expample. We recently replaced a hosted solution which had been installed at a real estate company's four offices. The office had between 30 and 50 phones. They were paying an average of $2200 per site per month for phones and traffic for the agents. That translates to $105,600 per year. Over three years the cost is $316,800.

Our installed IP solution was a one time cost of $98,000 and monthly cost of $600 per site for PRI services and a toll calling plan. Add a support plan that allows unlimited program changes, software upgrades, and a parts and labor hardware warranty for $780 per month and the cost over three years is $212,480.

That's over $100K less. Over 5 years the savings is $239K or enought to buy the system over 2.4 times.

The lesson is that although the idea might seem attractive - no up front costs, no maintenance costs, easy changes - make sure you compare the costs over the time you expect to use the system. It might be surprising...

 

 

Topics: Hosted Phone System, VoIP Phone System, Business Phone System

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