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Gain a Competitive Edge with VoIP Service

Enhance your business communications and productivity with enterprise features and cost-efficiency of VoIP

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Gain a Competitive Edge with VoIP Service

  1. 1. GAIN A COMPETITIVE EDGE WITH VOIP SERVICE
  2. 2. Business VoIP Providers Guide to Choosing a VoIP Provider Improvements in sound quality, powerful phone features, and substantial cost advantages over traditional phone systems, has made VoIP the communications system of choice for many businesses. Once you have decided to make the switch however, several more decisions present themselves. The purpose of this guide is to clarify your options and give you the information you need to choose the right VoIP provider for your business. First of all, what exactly is VoIP? The acronym stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Simply put, Internet protocol (IP) is a particular address that relates to where a computer is located in relationship to the World Wide Web (which is not the same thing as a Web site address). Therefore, Voice over Internet Protocol literally means that someone is using his or her voice to connect digitally with others through a computer or Internet connection. Because the connection is digital, voice messages can be easily transferred to another phone or converted into text and stored. According to many specialists, this is the future of telephone systems. Each year, more and more business VoIP providers come online offering various VoIP "extras." Therefore, it can be difficult for businesses to decide which VoIP service is right for them. A large enterprise will require different VoIP solutions than a small office firm. Individual businesses need to take some time to think about which IP telephony features they truly need before deciding on the right VoIP vendor. Here are a few things that businesses should consider when comparing VoIP vendors: Hosted or Premised Picking a VoIP service for your business requires an important decision, should you go with a hosted VoIP service or purchase a premise-based system? A hosted VoIP system is owned and hosted by someone else. The telephones themselves are the only equipment you will need to buy. Service is provided by the hosting company, as are any upgrades.
  3. 3. A hosted PBX or virtual PBX VoIP system comes with all the features of a standard premise based phone system including voice mail, call attendant, call forwarding and faxing. Hosted IP PBX systems are idea for virtual offices that need an easy customizable virtual phone solution. They are also a suitable choice for many small businesses or those in the start-up phase with little personnel or capital. You usually obtain the hosted solution bundled with the system and the service. The ongoing service for a hosted solution can include unlimited domestic long distance and local calls. Where hosted VoIP is concerned, it is wise not to base your choice on price alone, as you could end up with lower business phone quality. VoIP hosting systems are not just for start-ups or small businesses. Large corporations and commercial enterprises are also selecting hosted VoIP systems for their business phone needs. If your business does not depend on the ability to quickly manage and configure their telephony system, a hosted VoIP solution might be a better alternative, as it is less complex and you don’t have the expense of managing the equipment. Hosted services can be deployed on a line-by-line basis, which means that they are easily expandable. They allow for flexibility during the transition from premise-based equipment to a hosted service because they can co-exist with previously existing premise equipment. This means that an enterprise doesn't need to transition all of its equipment at the same time, which would usually be the case with a premise-based PBX. One drawback of a hosted VoIP system is that you will be paying the entire time you use the service. Your flexibility in designing your system is greatly reduced as well. A premise-based system requires a PBX, in addition to the phone equipment such as routers that are common to both premised and hosted VoIP. You will need to purchase and install the PBX system for your business. You may or may not need an integrated access device or media gateway. You can have your own staff manage and repair the system, or you can outsource these tasks to service provider.
  4. 4. For companies whose business model requires flexibility and control of their phone systems, and longer-term savings, a premise-based VoIP business phone system might be best. Because you are purchasing the system, you do not have the same ongoing costs you would have with hosted VoIP service. Disadvantages of premise-based systems include costly up-front capital expenditures on hardware and software, although there are leasing options available. There are ongoing maintenance fees, software and hardware upgrades, and operational expenses. With a premise-based system, you might be paying for a comprehensive solution even if you do not use all of the features. Each company needs to individually assess their needs and budget and research both VoIP solutions to understand features, control, and cost. If it not clear which solution to use, then evaluate both type of vendors, and have them work with you on determining if you should use their company and the particular phone solution they offer. Vendor Selection Criteria Reliability: One of the drawbacks of the early VoIP systems is their reputation for having unreliable sound quality and connectivity. Although sound quality has increased tremendously in recent years, many businesses may want to test out a VoIP vendor before deciding if a particular vendor is right for their needs. Telephone System Features: VoIP vendors offer a wide variety of very appealing virtual PBX features plus voice mail, faxing, and toll free lines that are packaged as part of a monthly subscription. Many VoIP vendors provide a service that will convert voice mail messages to emails or text messages. Some VoIP and PBX software programs also allow customers to create "ghost" phone numbers or multiple phone lines for one account. Business owners need to determine which features are right for them before selecting the VoIP vendor.
  5. 5. Phone Service Price: The price for VoIP service varies a great deal depending on the number of phones a business uses, the features desired, and the vendor itself. Therefore, businesses should determine their cost preferences before staring the process of reviewing a telephone IP vendor. Keep in mind that most international and long-distance phone calls are free when using VoIP, which is not the case with an analog phone service. Hardware and Equipment: The hardware required for VoIP services also varies based on the vendor. For example, some VoIP systems can be used directly through a computer. Other VoIP services are available through an IP, or VoIP equipped phone. Reputation: Many people have heard the names of Skype and Vonage, but there are also dozens of other VoIP companies that specialize in serving business VoIP needs. Our team at InsideUp has carefully selected VoIP providers that we believe are the best in the business by providing superior customer service and features that your business needs the most at a relatively low cost when you consider the value your business will receive from their services. We have a comparison of 3VoIP vendors in this guide. Please keep in mind that will get matched by InsideUp to up to 5 VoIP vendors based on your specific needs and you business profile. True, other companies have compiled similar lists or provide a matching service. Some of these attempt to include as many providers as possible. But we believe that only adds to the confusion. We are dedicated to matching individual businesses with the best vendors available. So naturally, our list is much shorter. We have done the sifting and sorting work for you, leaving you with a much simpler choice, so you can get on with business.
  6. 6. Feature Comparison Vocalocity 8x8 Fonality 3-way Conference Activation Fee Auto-Attendant Cancellation Fee Call Forwarding Call Hold Call Logs Call Park/Call Pick-Up Call Transfer Caller ID/Call Waiting Caller-ID Conference Bridge Directory Assistance Listing Do Not Disturb Interface for Salesforce Local Number Porting (LNP) Local Time Zone Management Microsoft Outlook Integration Music/Messaging On Hold Ring Groups Ring Tones
  7. 7. Stutter Tone Notification Trial Period Unlimited Calling Voicemail Voicemail Greeting Options Voicemail to Email Feature Descriptions 3-Way Conference Standard feature that few businesses could do without. Connect quickly and easily. Auto Attendant An automated voice will handle calls after business hours or when your receptionist is out. You can customize the greeting, and even record responses to frequently asked questions. Call Forwarding When it’s important to answer your calls personally, have them forwarded to your mobile phone or elsewhere. You can customize this feature to forward calls after a designated amount of rings, for example, or to let callers know their call has been forwarded. Call Hold Don’t miss any important calls while you’re helping other customers. Call Logs Quickly access detailed data related to received, missed, and dialed calls. Lets you categorize, filter, and analyze call information. Call Park/Call Pick-Up Check the status of parked calls, or have them automatically picked up again after 3 minutes. Call Transfer Easily transfer to on site extensions, mobile phones, or remote locations. Caller ID/Call Waiting Caller ID A quick glance will tell you exactly who is calling and who is waiting. Conference Bridge Handle large or small meetings with integrated voice and internet conferencing.
  8. 8. Directory Assistance Listing Quickly access 411 information. Do Not Disturb Just like putting your phone on silent. You won’t hear a ring, but your caller can leave a message. Interface for Salesforce Make calls directly from the Salesforce application. Local Number Porting Keep your same number when you switch providers, so your long-time customers will know where to reach you. Local Time Zone Management Whose turn is it to set all the clocks back—or is it forward? Your phone will always display the correct time, and the local time of every call received. Microsoft Outlook Integration Place calls directly from your outlook address book and see incoming calls from your Outlook contacts. Music/Messaging On Hold Your customers’ wait time will seem shorter while listening to music or helpful tips about your products and services. Ring Groups Your entire sales team will receive the same calls simultaneously, so no prospect goes unattended to. Ring Tones Distinguish between internal and external calls with single or double ring tones. Stutter Tone Notification Lets callers know if you are not accepting calls, and notifies you when you have messages. Voicemail Similar to traditional voice mail, only better. VoIP systems can forward voice mail, return calls directly from voicemail, and send your voicemails to you through follow me search. Voicemail Greeting Options Use a standard greeting, or record a friendly voice greeting for your customers. Voicemail to Email Receive voicemail notifications via email, listen to your voicemails on your computer through any standard email account, or forward voicemails to someone else by email.
  9. 9. Vocalocity 8x8 Fonality Support Online support ticket system as well as a direct line. "Create Support Tab" feature. Offers tools, multimedia, manuals and a direct line to help troubleshoot. Search function, video tutorials, 24/7 emergency support. Offers more extensive support plans at an extra cost. Key Features Web Portal Interface: Administrators and users configure and manage their own services through an easy-to-use Web interface. Delivers service over the public Internet. All users have access to the same PBX features regardless of their location. . PBXtra web-based administrator tool: Easily add and connect branch offices. Employees can take a desk phone home, use a laptop soft phone, or forward calls to a mobile phone. Outlook Integration: Seamlessly integrate with Outlook and initiate calls with Click to Dial. Virtual Office Interface for Salesforce: Easy integration with Salesforce CRM allows you to make calls directly from Salesforce application. Boomerang Mobile Integration: Send a call that has been forwarded to your cell phone right back to your desk or any other extension by pressing a few keys on your mobile phone. Custom Tag: Easily identify origin of incoming calls by adding a unique tag to each. Outlook Integration: Seamlessly integrate with Outlook and initiate calls with Click to Dial. Find Me: Allow callers to find you wherever you are; on your cell phone, at home, or at a branch office. Make FindMe work for you with convenient features such as a scheduler, simultaneous ringing, and privileged lists. Company Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia Sunnyvale, California Culver City, California Sales Number 1-877-862-2562 1-866-879-8647 1-866-879-8647 Web Site Click Here Click Here Click Here Rebates/Special Offers N/A $50.00 Mail in Rebate on purchase of Business Phone System from Office Depot only. Valid from 10/01/09 through 12/31/09 First Month Free on Fully Hosted Business Phone System. No Contract. Sale Ends November 30th.

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