Archive for the ‘VOIP System Quotes’ Category

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Evaluating Prospective VoIP Vendors

In VOIP System Quotes on December 10, 2010 by businessbuyguide Tagged:

If you’re considering buying a new VoIP system, you have two ways of evaluating the quality of the service provided by vendors.

A.    Canvass and compare different vendors before you commit to one.
B.    Choose a vendor then evaluate them after you’ve worked with them.

The better option is A, wherein you compare vendors and their services before you fork over the dough. This will help you avoid any potential problems, because once you’ve committed to a particular vendor, it will already be too late to do anything if their service does not measure up to your expectations.

The best people to ask about potential phone system vendors when you’re canvassing are their customers. After all, who better to tell you about a service than those who have already used it? You can get a hold of these folks by asking prospective vendors to give you a reference list with the names and contact numbers of their customers. Ask for the information of the clients that have been with them for a longer time.

Here are seven key questions to ask the customers of potential VoIP system vendors. Ask them to rate their vendor on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best) instead of just answering yes or no.

1.    How well does your vendor keep their promises?
2.    How would you rate their efficiency in solving problems?
3.    How would you rate their response time when you contact them for service?
4.    How fair are your vendor’s prices?
5.    How would you rate your experience when you had to talk to a supervisor or upper level staff who was qualified to resolve complex service issues?
6.    How would you rate your technician’s attitude and ability?
7.    How well does your vendor understand your needs? How would you rate their communication?

You will find that most of the customers you talk to will be honest with their answers. The information you gather will prove to be very useful in evaluating potential VoIP system vendors and help you select the right one.

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Tips for Selecting a Web Conferencing Package

In Business Buy Guide,Phone Conferencing Systems,VOIP System Quotes,Web Conferencing Systems on October 11, 2010 by businessbuyguide Tagged: ,

Web conferencing has made it easier and more convenient to do business with people in other cities or countries. Aside from allowing users to hold live meetings online, web conferencing comes with many other useful features such as file sharing and instant messaging.

When it was first introduced, web conferencing was only utilized by large-scale companies due to its high price tag. Today, however, prices have gone down, and even small businesses and individuals can avail of web conferencing services.

All businesses can benefit

Service providers offer various web conferencing plans. A pay as you go package is ideal for people who do not conduct web conferences very often. Prices range from $0.08 – $0.40 per minute per participant for video, plus $0.08 – $0.25 per minute for audio.

Other plans include a fixed number of allowed participants and a time limit. This type of web conferencing package can cost $50 – $200 per month. Some service providers charge an additional setup fee, while others do not.

For businesses or individuals that hold online conferences all the time, an unlimited web conferencing package would be the best match. Prices for this type of plan can go from $150 to $3,000 per month.

Aside from the basics, web conferencing packages can also come with extra features such as interactive support, reservation confirmation, and private lines. An operator assisted web conference can cost $1,000 – $5,000, depending on the participation of the operator. Recording and archiving, which is a great tool for saving information for future reference, can be availed of for $50 – $250 per meeting.

When choosing a web conferencing plan, some of the things that you must take into consideration are:

  • The expected number of participants. Will it be the same for every meeting or will it change?
  • The type of content to be presented. Will you be using documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides, or web-based applications?
  • The number of meetings to be held each week, month, or quarter. Will usage vary depending on the time of the year?
  • The amount of technical support you will need. Keep in mind that different service providers offer different levels of customer service.
  • And of course, your monthly budget.

 

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State of the Industry: VOIP

In Business Buy Guide,VOIP System Quotes on September 24, 2010 by businessbuyguide Tagged:

Despite the fact that it’s still a young technology, it is quickly capturing a significant chunk of the telecom market.  Considering that the Telecom market, as of 2007, climbed to nearly $1.3 trillion – the potential for the VoIP industry to capture significant revenue is huge.

According to a 2008 review of the VoIP industry by The Digest, subscription revenues within the industry total $1.44 billion within the U.S., while Jupiter Research indicated hardware revenues in the VoIP market were an impressive $5.5 billion in 2007.   All industry experts are estimating tremendous growth within the VoIP industry, however there are many variables within the industry to take into consideration, such as the advance of China’s electronic technology capabilities and market penetration, as well as the effects of different actions taken by telephone, cable, and purely VoIP companies in order to capture a larger share of the Telecom market.  One thing that’s for certain is that, right now, nothing is for certain.  However there are trends that indicate where there is most potential for growth, and where certain niche markets may thrive.

The Digest research indicates the following current trends:

*  50% of the world’s telecom traffic is over IP.
*  Global telecom traffic over IP is expected to increase to 75% within the next few years.
*  In 2007, there were just fewer than 80 million VoIP subscribers globally.
*  The highest number of current subscribers is in the Asia Pacific.
*  VoIP subscribers will increase, globally, to 135 million customers by 2011.

The Digest also ranked the top VoIP providers (based on subscriber numbers and overall revenue), and found that there were six powerful leaders within the VoIP industry, all competing for a larger piece of the estimated 1.5 billion-subscriber pie.

* Charter Communications (Cable Company)
* Cablevision (Cable Company)
* Time Warner Cable, Inc (Cable Company)
* Comcast (Cable Company)
* Skype (Pure VoIP)
* Vonage (Pure VoIP)

According to the report, the cable companies have already captured 75% of the market, with their subscriptions increasing.  Pure VoIP subscriptions are on the decline.

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More History on VOIP

In Business Buy Guide,VOIP System Quotes on September 22, 2010 by businessbuyguide Tagged:

Voice over IP, or VoIP, was first created in 1973 as a “Network Voice Protocol,” for ARPANET, essentially the earliest form of the Internet, in use by government and educational institutions at the time.  NVP was an experimental protocol. The technology didn’t expand much in the commercial sense until 1995 when the first IP telephone software, called Vocaltec, hit the market.  The software, when run on a computer with a soundcard and an Internet connection, could use the computer speakers (or headset) and a microphone to:

* Accept voice input
* Transmit the audio, over the internet, to another computer
* Play the audio on the other computer

In effect, enthusiasts eventually termed the back-and-forth transmission of voice audio over the Internet as “Internet Phone.”

Major drawbacks of this early technology were that, in the 1990s, broadband speeds were unheard of.  Everyone was connected to the Internet through a dial-up modem.  This meant that typically, when two people wanted to talk, they would both run the software, which would dial “into” the other person’s computer, establish a connection, and then initiate the voice conversation, all through dial-up Internet connectivity.  The system suffered from technical issues related to sound card compatibility and very poor sound quality.  Never the less, a groundbreaking achievement was made with the first Internet Phone, and all future VoIP technologies were based on the same concept. [1]

Significant VoIP History

* 1996 – Vocaltec successfully marketed its VoIP-Internet Phone product.
* 1998 – Within two years, PC to Phone switching technology advanced so that many new companies, such as Level 3, began offering a “soft switch,” which acted as a gateway between telephone networks (and IP networks), replacing traditional hardware switch technologies.  At this point, about 1% of all voice traffic was VoIP.
* 2000 – Large networking hardware companies like Cisco and Lucent provided the ability to route and switch VoIP traffic.  By the new millennium, 3% of U.S. voice traffic was over VoIP.
* 2001 – The expansion of broadband Ethernet greatly enhanced VoIP capability and quality.  Phone companies even started using switching hardware to route calls over the Internet.
* 2005 – By this year, issues related to poor sound quality were finally resolved as VoIP Internet traffic is provided priority over data traffic to ensure signal quality and fewer dropped calls.  By this year, Video over IP (otherwise known as video “streaming”) becomes popular, as well, and uses much of the same VoIP technologies.
* 2008 – The latest VoIP technologies are still in their relative infancy, but the technology and software continues to advance as the Internet continues to grow.  According to WhichVoIP.com, revenues from VoIP equipment sales alone were about $3 billion, and sales of $8.5 billion were forecast for 2008.  Almost every major Internet Service Provider in the world is offering a VoIP phone-to-phone package to their customers, as a replacement for the more expensive, traditional phone service.

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Want to Save Money on Calls? Use VOIP

In Business Buy Guide,VOIP System Quotes on September 20, 2010 by businessbuyguide Tagged:

It goes without saying that everyone wants to save money, whether at home or at work. An extra dollar or two is always welcome, and there are several ways to practice frugality, such as purchasing discounted cereals or printing on recycled paper at the office. For both households and businesses, one of the things that the most money is spent on is telecommunications.

We all know that traditional telephone services are expensive. Part of the reason behind the cost is the demand for the service. As the number of customers increase, the more circuitry is needed. Sometimes, demand surpasses available service, so more is added and the expenses are passed on to the customer. Depending on its size, a business can use anywhere from a couple to a hundred lines, which is practically an invitation for system crashes and bottlenecks. Cell phones have solved this problem for many families and companies, but they don’t always work in all areas. Weak signals and dropped calls, anyone?

The internet has made communicating with others easier by providing email and IM at first, then later on phone service, for free.  Yes, free. Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for short, allows you to make long distance calls at no cost. All you need to make fast and clear calls over the internet are some minor equipment upgrades and software, which is also usually without charge. And despite being free, the quality of VoIP calls is just as good, if not even better.

VoIP service providers offer some of the same features as traditional phone companies, and extras can be purchased for a small price; but in the end, VoIP puts you ahead of the game.

Several companies have realized the advantages of VoIP and are already using this technology to outsource their telecommunications needs to other countries. If you’re thinking of joining the bandwagon, you just need to invest in a broadband internet connection and a VoIP phone or a computer. Everything is easy to set up and use, so even non-techies can make VoIP calls and talk to someone on the other side of the world – for free.

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Using VOIP in a Business

In VOIP System Quotes on September 13, 2010 by businessbuyguide Tagged:

Businesses, even those that are doing well, want to lower their expenses as much as possible. Of course, cutting down on costs should not mean having to sacrifice customer service quality or reputation; hence, the budget for telecommunications is usually left as is. And even with today’s technology, there are still several people who prefer to communicate via telephone. Therefore, it is important for companies to offer this option for such customers in order to not lose any valuable business.

These days, several companies are struggling to stay afloat. Not just small businesses, but large ones as well. Many of them find it hard to cover costs of long distance services, equipment, and maintenance.

The need to continue providing quality products and services at a reasonable price while still turning a profit is essential to any business. Anyone that claims otherwise is most likely lying. Many companies have turned to outsourcing to foreign countries for their telecommunication requirements. In this case, the independent contractor will be the one to handle incoming and outgoing calls, as well as the costs of equipment and maintenance.

Still, some companies prefer to do this themselves, or at least keep it more local. For these businesses, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) may be a practical and inexpensive solution that can replace traditional telephones.

A company should consider initial equipment and training costs when planning to make the switch from PSTN (public switched telephone network) to VoIP. Equipment can include the actual telephone units, as well as any new upgrades to existing connections. VoIP only works with a high speed internet connection, so if there is a need for an upgrade, its cost has to be taken into account.

Obviously, more new equipment means lesser savings for the first year. Training will likely be minimal, as VoIP systems are simple in general. Employees can view training materials on the computer, eliminating the need for a large conference room or overtime pay.

VoIP is not foolproof, though. There has to be a backup method of communication available should there be a power outage. Location is also important. If high speed broadband internet is not available in a certain area, then VoIP will not work there.

We provide help in filtering for all the factors that you need to find a great VOIP provider.

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How VOIP Works

In VOIP System Quotes on September 10, 2010 by businessbuyguide Tagged:

What is VoIP?  VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, a system that allows users to make and receive telephone calls over a broadband internet connection. Your voice, which is an audio signal, is converted into digital information then sent over the internet to the other party. You don’t have to go through a telephone company and its networks – so yes, you get to skip the charges, too. Imagine that, making phone calls for free!

Major telephone companies are also working to set up their own VoIP networks to jump on the bandwagon, or perhaps to get old customers back and recover some of the money that they have lost due to the popularity of VoIP.

Aside from cost, a major difference between PSTN (public switched telephone network) and VoIP is the way these systems work.

PSTN employs circuits. During a call, a circuit is open and cannot be used until the call is over. VoIP utilizes packet switching, making it more efficient and thus cheaper. With old circuit networks, more and more circuitry had to be added constantly to accommodate an ever growing customer base. On the other hand, packet switching enables data to be “packeted” then sent across the network via whichever pathways are open at that time. A packet is directed by the caller’s IP address, and it only takes seconds for it to reach the recipient.

There are three types of internet telephones that can be used to make VoIP calls: the ATA (analog telephone adapter), the IP phone, and the personal computer. The concept and ease of use for all three are basically the same.

An ATA is probably what comes to mind for most people when they think of a computer phone. This simple device makes a standard telephone VoIP ready by connecting it to the internet. The adapter turns analog signals into digital information then sends it across the internet connection.

An IP phone is similar to a traditional telephone with an ATA, except it has a built-in Ethernet connection which eliminates the need for an adapter.

Lastly, one can use a computer to make VoIP calls to another computer. It is possible to not incur any long distance fees using this method, hence making it a popular option.