NEC Recognized with Lowest Cost IP Telephony Solution

An independent research firm recently found that NEC has the lowest total cost of ownership among top vendors in the marketplace. The report details the costs of IP telephony and Unified Communications (UC), based on research conducted on more than 200 companies. NEC provides the lowest first-year costs, and Microsoft the highest, when factoring capital, implementation, and operational costs.

DT330_12_large The executive summary states: IP telephony continues to be an area of growth for the majority of companies. Though 96% of companies have IP telephony implemented to some extent (including pilots), only 28% have completed their implementations to all endpoints.

The report also highlights the importance of fully understanding the factors that make up the true cost of IP Telephony investments. One example shows that some vendors may offer “free” licenses, but actual first-year costs could be three times higher than the lowest TCO leader. With costs that vary widely, it’s imperative that organizations make sound decisions based on actual data.

In addition to the lowest capital and total first-year TCO, the report notes that NEC has the lowest annual maintenance costs. Although NEC is not the lowest TCO leader in all categories, we believe this independent report will be a valuable tool to help you make the right decision in today’s economic environment.

Terminals_largeThe research was conducted by Nemertes Research. Founded in 2002, Nemertes Research is a certified women-owned business. They are a research-advisory and strategic-consulting firm that specializes in analyzing and quantifying the business value of emerging technologies.

The full report can be accessed here.

SoundTel is a fully authorized NEC dealer that can help you choose, buy and install the latest IP telephony or UC system. For over 25 years, we have assisted companies like yours in their every communications need. Our professional staff will make any job a worry-free experience for you and your employees, saving the headache and stress of trying to do it yourselves. We are a local, family-owned business invested in our community. To learn more about the latest NEC systems and get a free CheckIn to assure your system is doing all it can for your business email SoundTel or call today at 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493 for a full preview.

NEC UNIVERGE DT770G Terminal is Now Available from SoundTel

NEC-hospitality-39SoundTel is your source for the new NEC DT770G terminal. The DT770G terminal offers the convenience of a regular handset with the ability to integrate a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet. Users can dock their existing tablet or smartphone directly into the cradle. This allows users to take full advantage of all the features and functionality of a mobile device, while still having the convenience of a desktop telephone.

NEC’s DT770G Terminal enables organizations to provide employees with a high-end desktop telephone that incorporates the Unified Communications (see the SoundTel blog What is Unified Communications?) features and functionality currently available through a smartphone or tablet. It eliminates the expense of a high-end touch-screen telephone and enables more utilization and value from the smartphones and tablets that workers are currently using.

NEC-hospitality-22NEC’s DT770G terminal is easy to use and SoundTel will make sure you are thoroughly trained on the device. Simply slide the smartphone or tablet of your choice onto the DT770G Terminal, push the pairing button and you are ready to go.

Once the device is docked, users can:

  • Receive or answer calls through either a direct or cellular number using either the handset or speakerphone
  • Place calls through your network, thus reducing the cellular minutes used
  • Access existing UC
  • Gain more usage and value from the mobile device currently being used and budgeted
  • Customize applications to fit specific vertical industry needs
  • Charge the device via a USB connection
  • Avoid obsolescence – when the smartphone or tablet is upgraded to a newer model, so is the desktop terminal

Now is a great time to update your current phones to a NEC UNIVERGE DT770G. Contact Soundtel now for a free CheckIn to assure your system is doing all we can for your business. Click the button on the SoundTel homepage, call 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493, or email SoundTel for a free, comprehensive communications analysis.

What is Unified Communications?

Unified Communications (UC) is the ultimate communications tool. Integrating all forms of communications, networks, systems and applications in your business – on any device, in any location, UC improves productivity and efficiency by enabling you to communicate more effectively than ever before.

nec-conference-611A new name for a group of established technologies, Unified Communications have been around in different combinations for quite some time. To take advantage of UC today, you don’t have to replace all your current hardware: in most cases you can leverage your existing communications infrastructure and enable some truly amazing ways to communicate.

UC consists of several important building blocks:

  • Presence
  • Telephony
  • Instant Messaging
  • Conferencing and Collaboration
  • Mobility
  • Unified Messaging

Together, these pieces make a flexible, integrated communication system across your entire business, in every mode of communication on every platform.

Presence

Presence is a fundamental change in the way we communicate. Just as the name suggests, it’s about other people reliably knowing your presence, or your current whereabouts and how to contact you, at any time. It has been around for quite some time but presence information was initially about the phone (or to simply forward calls), not the person. The core concept of Unified Communications is your presence state providing rich information to others about your physical location and types of communication available to make it easier to contact you.

• Are you currently interacting with your PC, or are you away from your desk?

• Are you in a meeting and what time does the meeting end?

• Are you on a phone – desk phone, mobile phone, wireless phone?

• Are you in a conference – voice, video, application sharing?

Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging provides a new way to effectively hold multiple, simultaneous conversations and it provides a level of immediacy that email does not without being as obtrusive as a phone call. With an enterprise grade Instant Messaging system, all of your communications are secured and encrypted. Every message can be logged for auditing and compliancy purposes. And if you choose to federate with external parties, messages between organizations can also be encrypted end-to-end to ensure your privacy is never compromised.

NEC-hospitality-108Instant messaging can be critical in your Contact Centers where many consumers are now opting for web chat to talk to your business. This can drastically increase the number of calls your operators can handle at the same time, and provide a familiar and reliable communications method. With clients on your desktop, messaging available from your desk phone, web access, and apps for your smart phones and tablets, access to instant messaging from anywhere is now a reality.

Conferencing and Collaboration

Dedicated video phones (usually SIP based) can now be used to provide desk-to-desk video conferencing. They can also be a low cost high quality video and audio option. Soft-phone technology provides everything you would expect from a high quality business phone, but also incorporates a dedicated conferencing and collaboration solution, allowing users to perform point-to-point video conferencing with application sharing and instant messaging.

Room-to-room solutions allow for high quality video for important board meetings. These solutions are the highest quality audio and video and can be used to hold meetings with multiple parties across the globe.

Mobility

With current Unified Communications solutions, you can now communicate with almost the same functionality you have at your desk from an internet café, in a hotel room or through your mobile device.

With IP telephony, moving desks is simple. You can log your phone in anywhere and your entire telephony profile moves with you. If you take your laptop, then using a VPN solution, your complete communications solution is always available.

Unified Messaging

Often Unified Messaging is used to describe voice mail that is delivered to an inbox such as Outlook, but there is so much more to Unified Messaging. Most offices have faxes scattered around, but with Unified Messaging you can have users fax directly from their PC’s – even receive faxes straight into their inbox. Receiving your voice mail as an attachment in your inbox is one thing, but with Unified Messaging you will not only be able to play that message in your email client, you can get it to play on your desk phone, or even get it to call you on another phone number and play the message.

Unified Messaging takes your current presence status and ensures your callers are up to date. Rather than recording a new message, the system knows where you are and speaks it: ‘I am sorry, Dale is not in the office, and will not be returning until 8:30am’. With Unified Messaging you can play different messages based on the callers’ identity, or even control the call flow. A key customer is calling and you are in a meeting, forward to your mobile. A colleague calls while you are in a meeting, take a message.

Telephony

NEC is the leader in telephony – this is our core strength. They have been connecting people with traditional and IP phone systems since 1899 and pride themselves on giving customers migration paths forward. Their Unified Communications offerings are no exception. Customers with traditional PBX’s up to ten years old can take advantage of Unified Communications, either directly on their existing hardware or with minor upgrades to PBX capacity.

NEC-hospitality-39What is Unified Communications? Just as the name suggests, it is unifying all of your business’ methods of communication into one integrated, cross-platform unit that functions together seamlessly. The benefits to your team in time and efficiency savings could be immense. NEC is the leader in Unified Communications and SoundTel is a certified NEC dealer able to answer any of your questions and design, install and service the perfect system for your business.

Now is a great time to update your current phones to a modern total communication system. Find out how you can move to Unified Communications: call 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493, or email SoundTel for a free, comprehensive communications analysis and discover what Unified Communications can do for you.

NEC SV8100 Telephone and Voice Mail System Updates

NEC has recently developed some great updates for your Univerge telephone system platform, including enhancements to all voice mail platforms and desktop suites. Here is just a few of the updates we are most excited about.

System Wide Highlights:

Virtual Extension Enhancement
Caller ID is now available for Virtual Extensions, allowing you to selectively screen calls, avoiding surveys and telemarketers. This enhancement also makes caller-ID appear on LCD for station-to-station calls, external calls and a virtual extension.

USB Backup
Administrators can now back-up programmed data to a USB drive via Webpro. System data can also be uploaded from a USB drive.

Do Not Disturb Enhancement (DND)
DND enables users to activate the Do Not Disturb feature on a phone, ringing or not. Callers will simply hear the user’s customized message and be transferred to voicemail.

Softkey Disable
Management can easily disable the softkey function per station (ie. Breakroom, lobby)
Voice Mail Highlights:

Terminals_largeUM8000 Voice Mail
Mobile Web Mailbox Manager (MWMM)
The MWMM web application is designed to run on a smartphone browser, allowing subscribers to listen to messages and configure their mailbox settings, including the Presence Greetings. Great for mobile employees.

Google Chrome Support
In addition to Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome is now supported for both the Web Administration Console and the Web Mailbox Manager.

Presence Greetings Support
The available subscriber greetings have been expanded to support over 10 Presence
Greetings, allowing the subscriber to provide callers feedback on their status.
Subscribers may use any of the following user interfaces to configure the greeting that callers hear:
• Telephone User Interface (TUI)
• Web Mailbox Manager (WMM)
• Mobile Web Mailbox Manager (MWMM)

Inmail Voice Mail Enhancement
The Answer Table determines how the Automated Attendant answers outside calls on each line, according to the time of the day and day of the week that the call is ringing. The answer table has been increased from 8 to 16.
The Dial Action Table defines the dialing options for the Call Routing Mailbox chosen by the active Answer Table, which in turn provides those dialing options to Automated Attendant callers. The Dial Action Table has been increased from 16 to 32.

Queued Message Notification enables configuration of each voice mailbox to receive new-message notifications at a pre-set time. DT730_24_lg This is useful for companies that commonly receive messages after regular business hours, or a service desk collecting after hour messages that can be delivered at a pre-set time.

You already know how valuable your NEC SV8100 Univerge system is to your business. To ensure your phone system always gets the most up-to-date software, SoundTel provides Software Assurance Packages and Service Protection Plans. SoundTel can affordably provide or upgrade both types of plans for your business today. To learn more about the latest updates for your NEC SV8100 and get a free CheckIn to assure your system is doing all it can for your business email SoundTel or call today at 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493 for a full preview.

Obsolescence and Scalability Issues for Cloud Based Phone Systems

Should Your Next Phone System Be Cloud Based?

In the third blog of this series, Call Quality and reliability issues for Cloud based systems, we discussed the importance of call quality when switching to a cloud based system. This included making sure your network is capable of handling the demands of an internet VoIP system to avoid dropped or degraded calls. We also covered what your provider should offer in terms of quality assurance, with a list of five factors that could affect your communications system. Reliability issues were covered, including the importance of a service level agreement (SLA) that provides “Five 9s Reliability”: 99.999% performance with multiple geographically dispersed redundant data centers to eliminate single points of failure.

Obsolescence

One of the major advantages of a cloud based system is that a significant part of it is software. This allows for regular performance upgrades at much lower cost than upgrading physical equipment. Be sure you are aware of your carrier’s policy on software upgrades, though. Many companies provide free upgrades as they improve their software over time and add new features to attract new customers, but some may charge an annual fee or even a per-upgrade fee. Make sure you know your potential providers policy in advance.

Equipment is also an obsolescence consideration, but another advantage of a cloud service is that it allows employees to use their own devices, such as smart phones and tablets, which they tend to regularly upgrade on their own. A downside is that you own, rather than lease, office hardware so when your desk telephones or computers become obsolete, you are responsible for purchasing new equipment. As we covered in our second blog, Is your network ready for Voice over Internet Protocol? making sure your current phones, computers and network are capable of handling a new VoIP System will mitigate much of this issue.

Scalability

Another big advantage of a cloud based system is the ease of scalability. When you first move to a cloud system, you only purchase what you need for your business, and as mentioned before, you are always using the latest updated technology at that point. As you grow, you can simply add the peripheral devices you need. But remember, most service providers do charge a fee for installation or set up of new devices when you do expand. They may also charge for the opposite: if you need to downsize. As we continue to emphasize, always be sure you are conscious of what charges you will be responsible for if anything changes in the size and scope of your business or network, and not just on the growth side.

Before you make an investment in a cloud based communications system, be sure your network is ready to handle the speed and quality required for voice communications. And before you commit to a service provider, be sure you understand their SLA and all other costs you will incur for growing or downsizing your system. Always consult with a reliable, trustworthy expert in the communications field. SoundTel will be pleased to answer any questions you may have and can help you decide if moving to the cloud is the right decision for your business. Call 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493 for a free communications analysis.

Our next (and final in this series) blog on cloud based systems will cover Flexibility and Remote Access.

Should your next phone system be Cloud Based?

Cloud Based Communication vs. On-Premise Solutions

When choosing a communications solution that is best for your business, do you go with a tried and true traditional on-your-business-site system, or should you consider the latest communications technology and move to the cloud? As with all business decision, you need to weigh the costs and benefits of all options. Consider the following when comparing traditional on site vs. cloud based solutions for your business:

  1. TCO – total cost of ownership
  2. Network Assessments and Service Level Agreements
  3. Call quality and reliability
  4. Obsolescence and scalability
  5. Flexibility and remote access

SoundTel will post a series of blogs on the subject of cloud based communications systems comparing these five considerations, and more, in the following weeks. Be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on social media so you don’t miss any.

Like all technology these days, communications is moving to the cloud. Just as you can choose enterprise software as a service (SaaS), telecommunications providers are now offering PPI solicitors that are web based. The advantages are obvious: scalability, flexibility, ability to use a wide variety of devices from anywhere 24/7. But there are other considerations: cost, both initial and over time, reliability and security.

In the past, on-premise solutions were often chosen because of low TCO and high levels of security since the communications system was onsite. Cloud based communications solutions offer low upfront cost, greater flexibility and low maintenance costs. Of course every business is different, and TCO depends greatly on the size and number of locations of a business. A business with a few very large sites may end up with lower TCO staying with on premise solutions, while a business with many small sites would benefit using cloud base solutions. Such a solution may be seen in distributed antenna system installation companies – call Us!.

If you have a large, spread out employee base with  a wide variety of needs and mobile devices, the cloud based solutions can save you a significant amount of money by allowing BYOD: Bring Your Own Device (how, why). Using the cloud, you are not bound to any specific brand or even certain standards, since there are apps available to connect virtually any communication device imaginable, now or in the future. It also allows for one number access no matter where or what device an employee is currently using.

But if you are a small single location office, this type of flexibility and scalability is unnecessary. A business should not let the excitement of moving with the newest technology trend to outweigh a thorough review of the costs and benefits. Always consult with a reliable, trustworthy expert in the communications field. SoundTel will be pleased to answer any questions you may have and can help you decide if moving to the cloud is the right decision for your business. Call 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493 for a free communications analysis.

Unified Communications and Healthcare

Like many industries, healthcare is increasingly embracing technology to reduce costs and improve services. Today, the healthcare industry is clearly focused on moving towards a paperless and wireless system. This progression naturally leads to the impletmentation of Unified Communication (UC) solutions. Unified communications offers many productivity-enhancing applications to all industries including healthcare. Some of the most common UC applications include integrated mobile communications with single number presence, converging voice and data over a single network and allowing users to receive all messages (voice, fax, email) in one box. These tools are affordable and available for even small single location healthcare offices.

Follow the link below to learn more about Unified Communications and Healthcare –

Unified Communications and Healthcare