Category Archives: VoIP
Debunking 4 Myths about Cloud Business VoIP Phone Systems

Some myths in life are perfectly fine to be left as-is. For example, even the most practical of parents don’t want to be responsible for shattering their young child’s belief that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole with a tribe of friendly reindeer and elves. And what parent hasn’t silently said a “thank you” to the great soul who invented the Tooth Fairy. Seriously: is there a better bargain in the world than spending a few bucks to have a child look forward to losing a tooth vs. dread it?

voip business phone systemsHowever, there are some persistent myths that aren’t fun or functional — and like many disruptive technology-led solutions, cloud business VoIP phone systems are caught up in the misinformation net.

Fortunately, debunking these myths doesn’t take a lot of heavy lifting. It simply takes clear, basic facts. To that end, here are 4 things that you need and deserve to know about cloud business VoIP phone systems that you typically won’t hear from conventional landline phone system vendors, consultants, and other folks who have a vested interest in keeping you from the truth:

Myth #1: Cloud business VoIP phone system calling quality is inferior to a conventional landline phone system

The Truth: Cloud business VoIP phone system calling quality is actually superior to a conventional landline phone system. This is because cloud systems use certified VoIP phones that are designed to convert standard analog audio into crystal clear digital packets. The result is consistently outstanding call quality, regardless of what other users are doing on the network (e.g. sending emails, watching videos, surfing the web, and so on). Conversely, conventional landline phone systems essentially use degraded copper wire technology that was invented in the 19th century, and has not fundamentally changed in the last two centuries.

Myth #2: Cloud business VoIP phone systems aren’t suitable for startups and small businesses.

The Truth: Cloud business VoIP phone systems are ideal for startups and small businesses, because they are extremely affordable vs. conventional on-premises systems — both to setup, and to maintain. What’s more, businesses can start with less than 5 users, and scale up as required to over 5,000 users. That’s why both small startups and large enterprises are switching to cloud business VoIP phone systems. It simply makes bottom-line sense.

Myth #3: Cloud business VoIP phone systems aren’t as reliable as conventional landline systems.

The Truth: Conventional phone companies “go to the well” on this myth often in order to avoid losing customers. As you might expect, the truth is a very different story! Cloud business VoIP phone systems are actually more reliable than conventional systems, because they leverage multiple automatic backup and failover systems (learn more about these here). That’s why during brownouts and blackouts, when businesses with conventional landline phone systems cannot even get a dial tone, businesses with a cloud solution are making and receiving calls without any issue.

Myth #4: Cloud business VoIP phone systems lack solution control.

The Truth: Cloud business VoIP phone systems empower businesses with unprecedented control over all aspects of the solution via a simple-to-use web interface, which can be accessed from any computer, laptop, tablet or device — anytime, anywhere. Instead of having to “call the phone company” and wait days or weeks for a technician to make a change, businesses can easily adjust call flow rules, forward calls, add extensions, and so on.

The Bottom Line 

When it comes to making smart and successful decisions, businesses need to empower themselves with FACTS and steer clear of MYTHS. Keeping the above in mind will help you understand why a cloud business VoIP phone system makes sense — especially when it comes to your bottom line.

To learn more, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. Your consultation with us is free, and we’ll gladly provide you with a live, guided demo of our solutions and services.

4 Signs that Your Business Should Upgrade to a VoIP Phone System

voip phone systemIn life, there are signs that alert us to potential trouble — and if we’re attentive and wise, we heed these warnings and avoid bigger problems in the future.

For example, our car may be sluggish and sputtering, and pleading with us for a tune up or some preventative maintenance. And our bodies often tell us through various aches and pains that we need to dial things down and take a break — or else a break may be thrust upon us.

Now, what does this have to do with telecommunications? It’s this: businesses also receive warning signs that their conventional landline phone system is no longer supporting their success and growth — on the contrary, it’s bogging them down and pulling them back. And while these signs aren’t as blatant as a car dashboard warning light, they’re pretty easy to spot if you know what to look for.

And so, here are 4 signs to help you clearly see that it’s time (or make that past time) for your business to upgrade from a conventional landline phone system to an advanced VoIP phone system:

  1. Your telecommunications costs are much higher than they should be.

Here’s something that most people don’t know: phone companies don’t make a great deal of profit from residential customers; in fact, sometimes they even lose money. But business customers are another matter entirely! They’re nothing short of cash cows, which is why bills range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars per month — and that’s on top of a wide range of other fees, such as for maintenance, technical support, and so on.

VoIP phone systems dramatically lower business telecommunication costs — and not just for the first year. The savings continue into the future, since there are no maintenance costs, no update or upgrade costs, no long distance costs, and adding numbers or extensions does NOT require physically adding new underground lines — which makes doing so extremely affordable.

Add up the numbers, and most businesses can expect to see a year-over-year savings of at least 40% compared to a conventional landline phone system. And it’s certainly not uncommon to realize savings of well over 50%.

  1. Your remote workers are out of the loop.

While remote working isn’t new, in the last few years it has skyrocketed. As noted by Global Workplace Analytics, 50% of the US labor force now works remotely at least 20 percent of the time. And with the rise of tablets and other mobile technology devices, these numbers will only increase in the years ahead.

The good news is businesses that enable remote working substantially reduce overhead costs — which is especially valuable and vital for startups and small businesses who don’t just want to maximize working capital, but need to in order to survive.

The bad news is that conventional phone systems typically keep remote workers on the outside looking in, which makes collaboration difficult, drains productivity and reduces customer satisfaction. That’s where VoIP enters the picture and changes the game!

With a VoIP phone system, all employees, contractors and other authorized system users are connected on a unified, centralized cloud-based platform, which they can access anytime from and any device: computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Instead of working on disconnected islands, remote workers — whether they spend 100% of their time out of the office, or occasionally work in the field or from a home office (or their favorite Starbucks!) — are always in the loop, and can effectively collaborate, communicate and contribute.

  1. You’re losing business to larger competitors.

These days, SMBs can’t afford to be perceived in the marketplace as having less capacity and credibility than their enterprise-level competitors — or else some customers will take their business elsewhere. Unfortunately, this is what happens when SMBs are saddled with an old fashioned conventional phone system, which offers little more than features that haven’t been innovative since the 1980s: call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, and so on.

Of course, this begs the question: why don’t these SMBs simply add advanced calling features? The answer is even simpler: because phone companies charge an arm and a leg (and often a few other valuable body parts as well!). Remember what we said about business customers being cash cows? This is a perfect example.

A VoIP phone system permanently eliminates this excessive cost barrier, by providing SMBs with a full range of advanced enterprise-grade calling features at no extra cost, such as: voicemail-to-email, voicemail-to-text, video calling, auto attendant, one-number service, direct-inward-dial, and the list goes on.

The end result is that a VoIP phone systems significantly helps SMBs compete with the “big boys” in their marketplace — which is critical for short-term success, and long-term survival.

  1.  Your business is located in an area where brownouts are common.

As noted by a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the nation’s aging and over-burdened utility infrastructure triggers thousands of brownouts each year. These are relatively brief — but certainly noticeable — power outages that can last for a few seconds to a few minutes.

The problem for business is that going off the grid — even for 10 seconds — can mean the difference between impressing a customer, or losing them to the competition. It can also mean critical internal communications get delayed and costly misunderstandings occur.

With a VoIP phone system, fearing brownouts are a thing of the past. That’s because the system is supported on an on-premise network of backup power systems, which immediately and automatically spring into action in the event of power loss. Even if computers and laptops can’t be turned on, users can simply access the VoIP system from their smartphone. Incoming calls from customers, partners, suppliers, vendors or anyone else continue as usual with no disruption or reputation-damaging “we’re sorry, the number you have called is not in service” recordings.

If your business is experiencing any — or possibly all — of the above, then it’s clearly time to upgrade to a VoIP phone system! To learn more, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation with us is free.

5 Questions to Ask Prospective VoIP Solutions Providers Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

As we have looked at previously, there are three categorically different types of VoIP business phone system companies in the marketplace: do-it-yourself mass market vendors, carrier service providers, and established VoIP Solutions Providers.

voip business phone systemClearly, you want to partner with a VoIP Solutions Provider, and steer as clear as possible from the other types of companies — because your happiness, success, ROI and shortest path to value all depend on it.

To help you make this critical choice — and filter out companies that are unworthy of your time from those that deserve your consideration — here are 5 questions to ask prospective VoIP Solutions Providers before you sign on the dotted line:

  1. Do you specialize in business VoIP phone systems?

It’s vital that any vendor on your shortlist specializes in business VoIP phone systems. It cannot be something that they “dabble in” as they focus on other product and service lines. They must be legitimate experts in the field who understand the technology inside and out, and have several years of verified experience.

  1. Are you independent and “brand agnostic”?

A qualified and experienced VoIP Solutions Provider will recommend certain technologies and brands for items such as managed routers, back-up power supplies, certified IP phones, and so on. However, these recommendations will be based on evidence and experience — not on any self-interest, ulterior motive or hidden agenda. You need to know that any advice you receive is based on what’s best for your unique business, and you’re not being pushed and prodded into buying something that you may not want or need.

  1. What is your service commitment and capacity?

The importance of this question cannot be underestimated. If you have a question, concern, issue, or simply want to learn more about a certain aspect or feature of your business VoIP phone system, you need to know that your VoIP Solutions Provider is committed to addressing your needs, and that they have the in-house capacity to provide responsive support. Instead of leaning backwards after the sale, your VoIP Solutions Provider should learn forwards to ensure that you are getting optimal value from your investment, and reaping ALL of the rewards — not just some of them!

  1. Can we see testimonials and talk to your customers?

An experienced and credible VoIP Solutions Provider will be delighted to provide you with testimonials, and connect you with customers so that you can have a private conversation (or email dialogue if you prefer) to discuss their experience. Any VoIP Solutions Provider that hesitates to provide you with “social proof” that they keep their promises should be crossed off your list.

  1. Will you help our team use the system?

Some employees love new technology and are the first to embrace it. Others can be somewhat less enthusiastic, while some can be outright resistant; not because they are anti-technology, but because change — even the positive and progressive variety — can trigger uncertainty and anxiety. It’s vital that your VoIP Solutions Provider is ready, willing and able to provide your team with the training and support they need. This includes working with employees who are not excited about or adept with technology, and who therefore need to be introduced to the VoIP phone system from a more fun and functional perspective vs. a technological one. It may also include training “super users” on your team, who serve as on-site support resources, and who facilitate routing questions and issues to your VoIP Solutions Provider.

DigitalPhone.io: 5 for 5

voip business phone systemsAt DigitalPhone.io, we proudly answer the bell on all 5 of these questions. Specifically:

  • We are recognized experts in the field with nearly 20 years of experience, which is far more than most companies in the marketplace.
  • We are 100% brand agnostic, and only provide advice and recommendations that are best for our customers — not for us or for hardware manufacturers.
  • Our commitment to service before, during and after implementation is unmatched. We don’t succeed unless and until our customers do.
  • We love sharing testimonials and recommendations from our roster of satisfied customers. Upon request, we’re also happy to connect prospective customers with existing ones, so they can have a confidential and private discussion about anything they deem necessary.
  • We know that a VoIP business phone system is only an investment if employees USE it to its full potential. We provide full training, and we have the seasoned ability to take fear, confusion and anxiety out of the experience, and replace it with clarity and confidence!

To learn more, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today for a free, no obligation consultation. Our experience is your advantage!

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DigitalPhone.io Implements Multi-Location VoIP Phone System for Leading Dermatology Practice

August 29, 2017 – DigitalPhone.io, a pioneering hosted telecommunications firm that serves businesses and educational organizations nationwide, announced that it has wrapped-up a successful VoIP phone system implementation for Blue Ridge Dermatology Associates, a leading North Carolina dermatology practice.

“We wanted to continue our focus on customer service in the digital age, and felt that VoIP was the technology of the future,” commented Kristy Kearns, Practice Administrator at Blue Ridge Dermatology Associates. “We looked at several vendors and options, and determined that DigitalPhone.io was the best choice. They also came highly recommended by an IT company in Raleigh, and we would highly recommend them as well. They have a great system, and are very responsive when it comes to finding solutions for unique, specific problems.”

Ms. Kearns and her team worked closely with DigitalPhone.io’s staff to implement and configure a VoIP phone system infrastructure that currently supports 42 extensions across two locations in Raleigh and Cary, respectively. The system went live in early August. “The day after our implementation, you could hardly tell that we were operating on a new system because everything was so smooth and seamless,” added Ms. Kearns. “The only changes we’ve made have been improvements on services that we didn’t have with our previous phone system. We were surprised and pleased at how flexible the system was to changes that we didn’t even know were possible. DigitalPhone.io’s support staff have been very helpful in coming up with fresh ideas to our old challenges and issues.”

“Kristy and her team were and remain outstanding to work with,” commented Brant Yandell, Partner Manager at DigitalPhone.io. “We are pleased to be part of their telecommunications solution, and access a state-of- the-art VoIP phone system that enables them to continue delivering the exceptional levels of customer service that their patients have come to expect.” For additional information regarding DigitalPhone.io, visit https://digitalphone.io or email inquiry@DigitalPhone.io.

About DigitalPhone.io
DigitalPhone.io (formerly Carolina Digital) is a pioneer of hosted phone services, and provides products that improve the capabilities of business and education telephony, while reducing their overall cost. The company’s offerings stand out for their excellent value, including very competitive pricing, the industry’s deepest feature set, ease of deployment, and many user-friendly packages – from a full turnkey set-up including dial tone and and VoIP phones, to automated call answering and routing solutions that work with existing land lines, cell phones or VoIP phones. Learn more at https://digitalphone.io.

What is VoIP… really?

Last week, we touched on some of the technological advances that have allowed VoIP telephony to surpass the PSTN in both quality and reliability.

Yet, even though VoIP has been around for two decades, there are still some misconceptions about what it really is. A lot of people think of VoIP as a technology that allows placing phone calls over the internet. Although this is true, such a narrow definition encompasses only a fraction of the functionality of VoIP.

The unfortunate consequence of this misperception is that VoIP is often associated with low quality and best-effort services that offer low cost or free voice calls over the internet. Those familiar with these services have experienced the frequent disconnects, jitter and stuttering on the line characteristic of this type of service. As a result, VoIP has erroneously been associated with an unreliable user experience.

The truth is, VoIP is much more (and better) than just voice over the internet.

Voice over internet protocol, as its name suggests, is a technology that allows for the digitization and packetization of analog voice signals in a format that can be transmitted over an IP network. There are four types of IP networks on which VoIP operates. One is the internet, which is its least functional use case. The more significant ones for private and enterprise users are customer premises networks, SIP trunks, and mobile networks.

Customer premises networks

Enterprises and organizations worldwide have private IP networks in their buildings and branch offices to connect their employees with internal network services. Many universities and public sector organizations maintain geographically extensive private IP networks for interconnecting and providing network services to their locations. All these networks, which are also called LANs (local area networks) and WANs (wide area networks), depending on their geographic reach, comprise infrastructure over which VoIP can operate. Although most of these networks do connect to the public internet, their infrastructure is managed privately and thus they function in a very controlled environment.

Because VoIP shares the same infrastructure as data networks, it can be implemented wherever the organization’s private IP network is available. An IP PBX can be installed at the core of the network and IP phones can be physically located anywhere on the network topography. This makes VoIP telephony more scalable and flexible than a legacy TDN PBX used for analog telephony.

SIP trunks

The other domain in which VoIP operates is on the telecom service provider side (telcos or network operators). This is very different from the best-effort voice services described earlier. A toll-grade VoIP telephony provider provides packetized voice services over a controlled network, not over the public internet. This is in the form of what are called Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks. SIP trunks deliver VoIP in conjunction with Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms that ensure the voice packets arrive at their destination in a timely and orderly manner, thus maintaining the voice quality that users have come to expect. The counterpart of this network in traditional telephony is the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or an ISDN PRI voice circuit.

Mobile networks

Mobile telephony networks are a special case of networks that provide both voice and data from end to end. In other words, these networks don’t have a natural demarcation point that separates the customer premises from the operator’s network; the network instead extends to the handset itself.

Mobile operators, too, offer a privately controlled and managed network environment on which VoIP services can be successfully deployed. In the case of mobile, voice is most often carried using the GSM standard, which uses Time Division Multiplexing to digitize voice (similar to an ISDN voice channel), or the CDMA standard, which uses Code Division Multiplexing to digitize voice. However, some mobile telephony operators do instead use VoIP to transmit voice to their subscribers.

Another way that VoIP can be used to transmit voice over a mobile network is via OTT (over the top) applications (think Skype, WhatsApp, etc.) that send voice as data packets. However, because this type of data travels part of the way over the internet, the quality is not as reliable.

CONCLUSION

Much more than merely allowing users to place phone calls over the internet, VoIP is a technology that provides a high-quality, flexible and easily scalable internal telephony infrastructure within the domain of private IP networks, as well as reliable and low-cost routing of voice calls worldwide.

VoIP Solutions Provider Carolina Digital “Saves Spring Break” at Arapahoe Charter School

school_logo_transLike many IT specialists in the education field, Arapahoe Charter School‘s (ACS) network administrator Mark Prescott planned to spend the recent Spring Break taking care of some routine maintenance tasks, and enjoying a well-deserved breather after a busy semester. However, when his school’s on-site private branch exchange (PBX) suddenly went down, he was forced into action and made a quick-thinking decision that turned a potential nightmare into a triumphant success story: he called VoIP solutions provider Carolina Digital.

To Mark’s amazement, that same afternoon Carolina Digital’s CEO Nicky Smith arrived with a team of experts who rapidly integrated the necessary SIP trunks, which linked the school’s communication server with its Internet telephone service provider (ITSP).

The end result was that instead of being off-the-grid for what could have been weeks — which would have been unacceptable to staff and parents alike — ACS’s telecommunication system was back online and, what’s more, much improved and primed for the school’s next phase of its infrastructure development plan. popular pills online comprar cialis spain

“We had already planned on switching our telecommunications from a landline system to a VoIP system, and the work that Carolina Digital did actually ended up moving us significantly forward towards that goal,” commented Mark Prescott. “Nicky and his team achieved in one day what I expected would take two weeks. They were extremely responsive, professional, and truly understood that telecommunications in a school setting isn’t just about the technology and hardware, but it’s also about security, safety and meeting standards. The experience was better than I could have possibly imagined. Carolina Digital literally saved Spring Break for us!”

“We pride ourselves on being responsive and always putting our customers first, without compromise,” commented Nicky Smith, whose company is a leading provider of USAC Category 1 eligible hosted telecommunications for K-12 schools in the Southeast United States. “Mark is an innovator, and on the leading edge of educational technology. He championed VoIP in his school because he knows how it empowers staff, supports parents, and helps drive overall student engagement and success. It was a pleasure to be there for him and his team at ACS when they needed us the most.”

For additional information regarding Carolina Digital, visit https://carolinadigital.net or email inquiry@carolinadigital.net.

About Carolina Digital
Carolina Digital is a pioneer of hosted phone services, and provides products that improve the capabilities of business and education telephony, while reducing their overall cost. The company’s offerings stand out for their excellent value, including very competitive pricing, the industry’s deepest feature set, ease of deployment, and many user-friendly packages – from a full turnkey set-up including dial tone and VoIP phones, to automated call answering and routing solutions that work with existing land lines, cell phones or VoIP phones.

 

VoIP hosted phone services save your business on monthly expenses

Carolina Digital PhoneSince Alexander Graham Bell invented it into existence, reliable phone service has played a vital role in keeping businesses up and running. That telephone on the desk makes it possible to take orders, obtain supplies and keep in touch with customers. Let’s face it: If your phone system should ever fail, you might as well lock up and go home. There’s only one problem. Unless you’ve upgraded to hosted Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, you’re spending far more than you should on your telephone service.

How Your Telephone System Affects Your Bottom Line:  Some fail to realize the expense of using so-called plain old telephone services. Traditional POTS systems rely on analog technology to transmit data through electronic frequencies. While this methodology is cheap and simple to transmit over short distances, voice quality fades in a hurry when vast expanses come into play. To overcome this inherent defect, old-fashioned telephone services rely on a public switched telephone network, or PSTN, to transfer calls incrementally between locations through a grid of cables, satellites, switchboards and telephone lines. Each such transfer adds to the cost, sending long-distance rates that much higher with each additional mile. For this reason, POTS systems normally charge by the call. With hosted services, on the other hand, it’s a different story.

The Benefits of VoIP for Business: Instead of paying by the call, the business that switches to hosted PBX and VoIP services will incur just a moderate monthly fee with unlimited calls allowed and no extra charge for long distance. That’s because these services utilize a broadband Internet connection to transmit data digitally from the point of origin to the telephone exchange that’s closest to the final destination.

In addition to saving money, hosted VoIP and hosted PBX services are:

  • Reliable. Regardless of external influences, round-the-clock monitored maintenance will keep your system up and running.
  • Scalable. Your hosted service can expand or contract to match the changing needs of your business.
  • Versatile. No antiquated POTS system can provide the advanced features you’ll get from an Internet-based service.
  • Mobile. Users of hosted PBX and hosted VoIP can make and receive calls through a laptop or forward incoming communications to a mobile phone.
  • User-friendly. The Web-based interface is intuitive and simple to use

If you’re still running with your business on outdated analog telephone services, it’s time to ask yourself why. For service on which you can always rely at a price that will make you smile, hosted PBX and VoIP are the only way to go. Once you’ve enjoyed the benefits of VoIP for business, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to switch. When considering Hosted VoIP for your business telephone system call the experts at Carolina Digital Phone at (336) 691-2000.

 

Nicky Smith

About the Author: Nicky Smith – For the past 30+ years, computers, advanced technology and solving problems with this new technology have been his business. In 1978, he graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC with the first graduating class in the 16 North Carolina Universities with an Information Systems degree from the College of Business. For the last 15 years Nicky has served as the visionary leader and CEO of CAROLINANET.COM, a web hosting and server colocation data center and since 2004 the CEO of Carolina Digital Phone offering hosted telephone services and SIP Trunking. Read more at his LinkedIN page http://www.linkedin.com/in/nickysmith

Follow Nicky Smith on Twitter @PBXintheCloud, Google Plus at https://plus.google.com/+Carolinadigitalphone/ and on Facebook