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Posted on: October 22, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Hosted VoIP: A Surprising Way to Reduce Overhead

When considering ways to reduce expenses, telecomm is often at the bottom of the list because businesses need Internet and Voice capabilities to connect with their customers and to conduct day-to-day business. However, there are several ways to create efficiencies and save money using solutions like Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). With Hosted VoIP, you can minimize equipment and installation spend, utilize your existing network, and save time with automated features. Here’s how:

You Have a Lower Upfront Investment

Available over Coax or Fiber Internet, VoIP has features similar to a traditional PBX but doesn’t require a large capital expense to purchase and install. Typically, there’s a modest installation charge and then a recurring monthly charge for hardware, phones (if you lease or buy), lines, and optional services, allowing you to spread out your investment and scale your service up or down as needed.

 You Can Use Your Own Phone

Some providers like WOW! Business don’t require you to lease or purchase phones from them. While you may need to use a certain brand or model to be compatible with the VoIP service, you have more control over how much you spend on equipment, how long you can extend your investment, and how fast you can install the new VoIP service.

You Can Go Over the Top (OTT)

Simply put, OTT allows you to use VoIP over your network services – you don’t need to have both VoIP and Internet from one provider. From a technical standpoint, it means your provider installs VoIP services without an on-site router to manage your traffic.

 

Providers like WOW! Business that offer a mobility client allow you to connect any mobile device anywhere Internet is available to send and receive audio and visual calls, instant message, integrate with email, and more. There’s no need for a VoIP-specific phone in every location, which is especially beneficial for remote employees or those out in the field.

You Gain Operational Efficiencies

VoIP is less expensive to install than a traditional PBX solution and is simple to manage and maintain. WOW! Business, for example, offers a web-based CommPortal that allows customers to tailor their calling features to align with their internal communication processes. They can set up an auto-attendant to answer and route calls; setup voicemail and fax to email so employees don’t miss important messages; and manage calls, forwarding, rejecting or hunting to ensure callers are connected with the right person or department.

VoIP services also offer features like music on hold, video calling, click to dial, and more. With VoIP, a phone connection is more than a conduit for voice-to-voice communication; it’s a solution that can save time and money, allowing you to focus less on how you communicate and more on what you communicate.

For more information about Hosted VoIP features, benefits, and options, visit https://www.wowforbusiness.com/hosted-voip.

Posted on: October 11, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Yes! It’s a Match Made in Heaven!

SD-WAN has been a trending topic in the technology world for quite a while now, and long enough that it’s beginning to become commonplace in network discussions and more routine when it comes deployments.

Today, most SD-WAN deployments are managed by companies that exclusively handle  SD-WAN. So any voice provider that planned to sell SD-WAN as a part of their solution to a customer would essentially be relying on these third-parties or outsourcing to manage the SD-WAN service.

That’s why Momentum recently made headlines when they added SD-WAN to the company’s solution portfolio.

Although unique, a voice and communications provider offering a managed SD-WAN solution brings a number of advantages to every deployment. Here  are a few:

1) The Benefit of the UCaaS Experience

VoIP and unified communications are a few of the primary applications that use an SD-WAN connection. So while traditional SD-WAN providers may be concerned with general deployment, connection speeds, etc., voice and communications providers are able to approach SD-WAN configurations and designs with a firmer understanding of the application requirements and end goal.

This allows voice providers to optimize and lay out an SD-WAN blueprint and delivery plan for customers that ensures each and every deployment gets maximum results for their voice, UCaaS and all other applications.

2) Access to More Advanced Technology and Integrations

Because SD-WAN providers deal exclusively with that technology, they don’t always have the access or the capability of integrating into all the latest pieces of technology. This especially happens at the individual application level where you’ll see handshake deals or head nod agreements on how particular services and applications will perform on the connection.

Voice and communication providers have the experience, understanding and partnerships to combine cutting-edge branches of technology to deliver the absolute best delivery to work with applications

For instance, Momentum has designed a way to deploy SD-WAN in a way that builds on the technology’s enhanced availability, visibility and control without having to sacrifice security and reliability. One way this is accomplished is through the option of placing a virtual session border controller in Momentum’s data centers to ensure peak performance and quality.

Additionally, Momentum’s SD-WAN deployments can leverage both wired and wireless bandwidth. This is a game-changer because the expansion of available connection options allows for deployments to truly find and use the best available bandwidth. It also means the solution isn’t limited to locations with wired connections so it can be used almost anywhere.

3) Streamlined Experience

At the end of the day, one of the biggest benefits of having managed SD-WAN from a voice provider is the customer experience. You can see this in getting a single bill for multiple services, receiving access to savings through using multiple services and having main a single point of contact for questions and troubleshooting. Also, a voice and communication provider delivering SD-WAN can actually also provide even tighter protective security because all transmissions and signals remain in a single network.

SD-WAN from voice and communication providers delivers expertise,  enhanced technology, a better experience and move financial value to customers. And if the provider is like Momentum and provides a white-glove experience, having a single provider for voice, SD-WAN and even possibly other network services can give deliver additional meaningful value that simply can’t be ignored.

Posted on: October 7, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Choosing the right Unified Communications platform

A unified communications (UC) platform should be your ticket to easier team collaboration, with all workflows for instant messaging, video conferencing, screen sharing, VoIP telephony and more running through one streamlined application. Whether it actually becomes this ideal all-in-one hub will hinge on which solution and vendor you select.

What’s at stake when shopping for UC – and why you should explore cloud

When you choose a UC platform, you’re not just purchasing a product – you’re buying into a larger ecosystem, much like you do when you opt for iOS or Android. In addition to placing a bet on the solution’s underlying communications technology – i.e., its ability to handle calls, messages, and meetings – you are also trusting its vendor to support it and other vendors to allow it access to their APIs. That raises the stakes for making an informed decision, as the wrong choice can leave you with a UC solution that is as unreliable for end-users as it is difficult for you to integrate into your larger IT environment.

Making these sorts of high-stakes choices between seemingly similar – but actually quite different – collaboration tools is the enterprise equivalent of the format wars that once dominated consumer tech. For example, imagine being a movie buff circa 2006 and going all-in on the ill-fated HD-DVD instead of Blu-ray. The latter quickly drove the former out of the competition despite their comparable specs, leaving early adopters with an expensive player that studios had abandoned and which couldn’t even play Blu-ray discs – in other words, a major sunk cost.

When it comes to business communication tools, there’s a much wider range of competing solutions, from on-prem UC based on SIP trunking and an existing phone system to cloud-based implementations from vendors including Telesystem. Cloud-based UC, which is low-cost and continuously updated, is generally the most reliable platform for sustaining growth and ensuring real-time communications, not to mention eliminating the risk of ever being saddled with expensive, low-utility assets down the road.

That said, it’s important to scrutinize the features of any unified communications platform as well as the specific value the vendor can add to it. Let’s look at what you should prioritize during the selection process.

Deployment model: Cloud, hybrid or on-premises

All UC solutions are designed to perform the same basic task, namely to create a one-stop-shop for:

  • Voice calls.
  • HD video conferences.
  • Instant messages.
  • Virtual meetings.

At the same time, they differ in the specific infrastructure they harness to reach this goal. An on-prem unified communications platform is built on equipment the customer owns, operates and maintains. In contrast, cloud UC – or Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) – leverages the power of the provider’s data centers and hosted IT resources, and hybrid blends the two.

There are pros and cons to each approach. On-prem and hybrid afford a higher degree of control, at the cost of budgetary and operational flexibility. Cloud offers the latter two in spades but requires finding a trustworthy vendor. For now, cloud UC seems to be winning the race, with a Synergy Research report finding its adoption among enterprises increasing a staggering 57% year-over-year in 2018.

A UCaaS platform like UC-One from Telesystem can completely replace your existing PBX without requiring you to handle its maintenance or perform the complex operations for moving, adding or changing the system’s users. Cloud-based unified communications are highly scalable, flexible and cost-effective, as they are billed as periodic operating expenditures, not as steep upfront capital expenditures.

Features for calling, messaging and meetings

Any UC solution worth its weight will do much more than simply be a PBX-in-the-sky, though. It will support all of the key functions integral to modern teamwork and put them into context in one place, eliminating the need to waste so much time on app switching just to keep up with the many possible ways in which a team can interact.

Indeed, today’s workplaces are home to a plethora of collaboration tools, including persistent chat apps, VoIP and video services for real-time communications, online meeting spaces and old standbys such as email, PSTN calls and text messages. The latter remains particularly popular despite the rise of newer alternatives; a survey by Technalysis Research found that they accounted for 75% of all co-worker communication.

Unified communications platforms like UC-One effortlessly balance old and new modes of communication:

Calling

Need to make a quick phone call? Corporate directory lookup allows colleagues to be found within seconds. You can also set up a single number for all of your devices, use Wi-Fi calling for cheaper rates and make VoIP or conventional calls from your business number. HD video is available as well to enrich voice conversations.

Unified messaging

Business messaging has come a long way from the early days of IRC and SMS. Chatting within a UC suite is strengthened by features such as presence (to see who’s online at the moment), private and group chat, full chat history and easy access to all shared content such as emails and other files.

Meetings

Online meetings should be simple to join and participate in, but too often they throw a lot of roadblocks in front of their would-be participants. Dial-ins, PINs and complex user interfaces complicate the experience. Meeting functionality in a platform like UC-One is much more streamlined, with a simple invitation system that gets out of everyone’s way and allows participants to get right down to business via integrated video, messaging and screen sharing. You can even drag and drop a colleague’s icon into the meeting room or, if needed, dial-in.

Support for mobile workers

Since the 2000s, there has been a steady increase in the number of people telecommuting, in large part due to the evolution of mobile devices and wireless networks. More than 4 million individuals work from home at least half the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Half of the U.S. workforce holds a position that is compatible with telework arrangements and 80 to 90 percent of workers would like to telecommute at least some of the time.

Accordingly, mobile device support is a must-have in a UC solution. Specific features to look for include:

  • Android and iOS client apps for phones and tablets.
  • The ability to move calls from desktops to mobile devices.
  • Multiple call handling and merging.
  • Business phone number support across devices.
  • Wi-Fi calling with seamless handover between networks.

Integrations with other business communications apps

To return briefly to our earlier point about HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray, ecosystems matter. Cloud UC solutions without deep integrations and reliable vendor support are no better than fancy media formats that have no films or shows that anyone wants to watch.

The best UC platforms build context and support efficient workflows by integrating with everyday tools such as Microsoft Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Box and more. Plus, they can pull information and events from calendars and emails. The end result is one view within the UC app that provides a wealth of information about your calls, messages, files and co-worker statuses.

Should you invest in a UC platform?

Upgrading to a unified communications system is a big step, and one worth taking for many businesses. As PBXes age and become costlier to operate and maintain, transitioning to cloud UC, in particular, is often the rational move.

UC technology brings together the core functionality of your phone system with advanced features for messaging and meeting. It also goes beyond a traditional PBX by incorporating better support for mobile devices, which can easily use an existing workplace number to create a more professional impression, especially for small businesses.

Organizations of all sizes and across all verticals can potentially benefit from a UC implementation. Multi-location enterprises are perhaps best positioned since a UC platform provides a common way for geographically dispersed and frequently on-the-go employees to consistently stay in touch.

As an experienced national provider of services including hosted VoIP, network security and dedicated internet access, Telesystem offers a top-notch unified communications experience via the UC-One platform. It’s easy to get started by requesting a quote from our team. You can also contact us directly for additional information on UC-One or any of our other enterprise collaboration tools.

 

Posted on: October 3, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

You have a choice when it comes to choosing a broadband provider, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. It’s just the way it is – one city, one neighborhood, one provider, right? Wrong.

Meet the Overbuilders

You may have heard the term “overbuilder” in conversations about the communication industry. You may also be asking yourself, “Who or what are they?” These are the companies that are building the next generation of fiber and cable over existing phone and cable infrastructures. They’re nimble and passionate about service and innovation, and they’re constructing a network that’s built for data first.

While other networks are trying to squeeze the last bit of performance from old existing infrastructure — often 30 to 50 years old — overbuilders focus on constructing new, purpose-built, and robust hybrid networks that deliver a true next-level service.

How We Got Here

For years, telephone and cable companies benefited from a near monopoly over services. The original idea was to grant singular access rights to entire cities and regions as a way to help those companies recover the cost of implementing a new kind of service. And it worked. Their investments paid off, but unfortunately for consumers, they’ve paid off many, many times over. When singular access rights were revoked in the late 90’s, the large providers dominated.

Where We Go from Here

Competition spurs innovation, reduces costs, and improves service. It’s also the catalyst behind the rise of the overbuilders. With their ability to provide a custom setup for their partners, overbuilders have put pressure on incumbent cable and phone companies.

With new direct competition those providers have attempted to improve. Unfortunately, most of the infrastructure that their networks are built on was never intended to handle the level of internet traffic modern businesses require. And while the level of innovation to max-out the capabilities of legacy infrastructure has been impressive, it’s just no longer necessary.

A Bright Future

Thanks to overbuilders, you can enjoy a fast, fiber-rich, hybrid network that can be tailored to fit almost any specific customer or need. Offering more choices, more options, and more personalized packages than ever before, overbuilders’ passion for innovation and customer service is changing the communication partner landscape.

While it’s true that most overbuilders can deliver greater access and higher speeds, WOW! Business goes even further. Its sales engineers ensure that recommended products and services are optimized to meet every network need. Then they back it up with local IT and account people ready to respond with speed and efficiency.

You do have a choice. And after looking at all the options and benefits of overbuilders like WOW! Business, it might just be the easiest choice you ever have to make. Learn more.

Posted on: October 2, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

This morning we announced that we closed a $21MM series B minority investment round. This is a significant moment for us as a company, and for the SD-WAN market as a whole. This sizable injection of capital will unlock new resources to help us serve customers and partners even better, and further validates that Bigleaf is solving a huge market need as the world moves to SaaS and cloud.

Improving on a Customer-Proven Solution

The new investment allows us to expand and extend what we’re doing today to serve our existing customers and partners with amazing service and support. We have an industry-leading 95% gross annual retention rate and a base of absolutely thrilled customers. Within that 5% of customers who leave, it’s almost always because they’ve gone bankrupt or are downsizing, not because they don’t like Bigleaf. We are completely dedicated to maintaining customer satisfaction as we scale. We know this won’t be easy, so we’re going to use some of these funds to add more support team members, product management, software QA engineers, and other support staff to make sure that we keep the experience top-notch over time.

Enabling and Expanding our Channels

One of our top priorities with this new funding is investing in our partner channels. For our telecom agent partners, we’ll be enabling them with more educational and support resources to help them sell Bigleaf to tens of thousands more customers. Our success in the telecom channel was built through our relationships with hundreds of forward-looking partners who could see the growing need for a more stable and reliable connection to cloud technologies. For our MSP partners, we’re creating a fully fleshed-out MSP channel program to augment and accelerate the success we’ve had with our early partners. The new funding gives us the ability to extend our reach to more partners in both channels and equip them with the training and resources they need for success.

Finding the Perfect Partner

If someone had asked me 9 months ago about raising another round, we would have told them we weren’t interested right now. We were growing at an incredible rate and were staying focused on operating the business: we’ve now tripled our recurring revenue and company size since our last funding round in January 2018. Then, out of the blue, we started to field an influx of inbound interest from investors.

We realized something was notable about our success in the SD-WAN market. Something exciting. We had built something that was solving a truly un-met need.

SMBs and mid-size enterprises were struggling to address connectivity issues with traditional networking technologies or other SD-WAN solutions. What was available to them on the market wasn’t built for SaaS and public cloud, and couldn’t adapt to the pace of change in today’s business world. People saw that we built a product designed for this future — actually, for today for many businesses — and had proven it by solving these problems for more than a thousand extremely happy customers already.

We knew Bigleaf was on a promising trajectory and could be even more successful with more resources. We also saw a specific opportunity with MSP partners that we hadn’t tapped into at scale, and we saw the opportunity to bring our bigger vision for the next generation of Bigleaf to life. So we agreed to start talking to a few investors. As we considered who we might want to partner with, it was important for us to be able to maintain our Bigleaf way of doing business and who would provide the right kind of support as we scale and navigate challenges. We ended up selecting Updata Partners to lead the round, and we have participation from the Oregon Venture Fund, SeaChange Fund, and several of our other existing investors.

Updata reminds me in many ways of Bigleaf’s culture. They take a strong but humble approach to business (no big egos), they care about capital efficiency like I do, and they bring great expertise and connections. We’re excited about partnering with them on this next era of Bigleaf.

Building for the Future

Beyond taking what we’re already doing to more people, another top priority with this funding is building the Bigleaf of the future. We’re going to be investing significant resources to grow our development and product teams so we can create a new generation of network technology. These resources will also allow us to respond more quickly to the feature requests our community has been feeding us, including faster speeds, more features, and better visibility.

Enterprises both large and small are moving to SaaS and public cloud, and that journey always involves some network risk. We will continue building Bigleaf to serve our customers and partners by giving them peace of mind when they make that move.

Joel Mulkey, Founder and CEO

Joel Mulkey - CEO & Founder - Bigleaf Networks

Posted on: September 25, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

If you’re on the lookout for a business VoIP phone service to streamline communications, you might want to consider Nextiva. In this post, we go into some of our genuine Nextiva reviews, top features, and pricing.

Here’s a quick overview:

What is Nextiva?

Nextiva is a VoIP service provider that offers business VoIP and call center and contact center solutions. Founded in 2006 on the principle of Amazing Service, Nextiva’s VoIP system powers 100,000+ brands in the United States.

Related: Customer Service is #1 for Nextiva. Check out the top 30 customer service tips we swear by!

2019 Nextiva Reviews and Customer Feedback

Top reviews from GetVoIP

 

Also, here’s why Shelby American, Inc vouches for Nextiva. Hint: Exceptional customer experience and technical support.

1) “Nextiva’s one of the best VoIP providers we’ve seen!”

Nextiva Reviews: Customer Review 1

2) “Nextiva makes our life easier.”

Nextiva Reviews: Customer Review 2

3) “We love the Nextiva system, and I personally love my softphone!”

Nextiva Reviews: GetVoIP Review 3

4) “Great experience till date.”

Nextiva Reviews: GetVoIP Review 4

5) “I would highly recommend this service.”

Nextiva Reviews: GetVoIP Review 5

Top reviews from Capterra

Concordia Care Inc. loves that we’re HIPAA compliant and is a fan of the Nextiva App. See why >>

6) “Amazing service and platform.”

Nextiva Reviews: Customer Review 3

Pros:

– Increased support staff productivity and better customer relations
– Fast setup and quick onboarding
– Amazing tech support from Nextiva’s service team
– Cost-effective, but feature-rich

Cons: None

Overall: Highly recommends Nextiva for their overall ease of use and customer support.

7) “Nextiva’s support team made a tough transition easy.”

Nextiva Reviews: Customer Review 4

Pros:

– Offers a complete solution based on a business owner’s needs
– Full-stack solution that’s highly flexible
– Easy to use and cost-effective

Cons: Limited integrations

Overall: Happy with Nextiva’s platform, costs, functionality, and timing.

8) “Full service and software solution.”

Nextiva Reviews: Capterra Review 3

Pros:

– The Nextiva sales team took the time to understand our business and help us work out what we needed
– Has the services we need at a price we can afford
– Easy to upgrade in the future if required

Cons:

– Staff training was time-consuming especially because we weren’t fully prepared for it

Overall: Even after implementation, Nextiva continues to be responsive and helpful.

9) “A great software partnership!”

Nextiva Reviews: Capterra Review 4

Pros:

– Great solutions for business communications and office enterprise tools
– Customer support is amazing
– NextOS is advanced and powerful

Cons:

– None

Overall: Once you partner with Nextiva, you get the impression you’re being brought into something much bigger. It’s really exciting and fun too.

10) “Nextiva delivered for our business.”

Nextiva Reviews: Capterra Review 5

Pros:

– All phone calls have been crystal clear — no call drops
– Easy to use
– Onboarding was smooth and easy

Cons:

– Small delay to port numbers

Overall: Would recommend

Top reviews from Trustpilot

Have you tried NextOS 3.0 yet? Well, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix did, and this is what they think.

11) “It’s everything we need for business communications!”

Nextiva Reviews: Customer Review 5

12) “A solid choice for a simple and safe VoIP system.

Nextiva Reviews: Customer Review 6

13) “A great communication tool!”

Nextiva Reviews: TrustPilot Review 3

14) “Thanks to Nextiva, we’re learning more about our customer relations.”

Nextiva Reviews: Trustpilot Review 4

15) Nextiva’s Live Chat is nicely designed, stable, and easy to use.”

Nextiva Reviews: Trustpilot Review 5

Top reviews from Fit Small Business

16) “Making the switch to Nextiva was easy.”

Nextiva Reviews: Customer Review 7

17) “We reduced response times and hold times.”

Nextiva Reviews: Customer Review 8

18) “Nextiva’s reporting helps us manage our staffing better.”

Nextiva Reviews: FitSmallBusiness Review 3

19) “Nextiva’s reporting is incredible!”

Nextiva Reviews: FitSmallBusiness Review 4

20) “Nextiva Chat makes it so much easier to talk to our customers.”

Nextiva Reviews: FitSmallBusiness Review 5

Nextiva’s products and services:

Nextiva’s unique VoIP phone system is for everyone and also specifically, small businesses. For example, Nextiva’s Business Communication Suite has three-tiered pricing.

Basic (starts at $20 per month/user), Pro (starts at $25 per month/user) and Enterprise (starts at $35 per month/user.)

Our feature-rich business VoIP phone service and other cloud solutions are also ideal for:

Related: The Ultimate Business VoIP Phone System Buyer’s Guide

But wait, there’s more

While our products work well alone, they work even better together. How? Introducing NextOS. It’s the technology that powers our all-in-one communications platform. There’s no better place to get a pulse of your customer experience.

Want to see what NextOS can do for you? See our bundle plans and pricing here.

Nextiva’s Business Phone System: Plans and Pricing

When it comes to choosing your business phone system, there are several questions you may have:

And so, to make things easier for you, our three-tiered pricing breaks down exactly what features you’ll get on what plan.

Basic – As low as $20 per month/user

  • Unlimited calling and SMS messages/Internet faxing
  • Voicemail with email delivery + text delivery
  • Free local phone number + toll-free number
  • Call forwarding
  • Auto attendant
  • Numer porting
  • Advanced call management

Pro – As low as $25 per month/user

  • All of the above
  • Professionally Recorded Greeting (1)
  • Nextiva mobile app
  • Instant messaging & presence
  • Team messaging & presence
  • Conference bridge and unlimited conference calls
  • Customer Surveys (NEW with Pro)

Enterprise – As low as $30 per month/user

  • All of the above
  • Call recording
  • Website Live Chat (NEW with Enterprise)

See How Nextiva May Work for You

Choosing a whole new business phone service is no joke. But maybe it’s time to break up with your landline, especially considering how much you’ll save in terms of setup time and upfront costs.

Make sure you and your team truly understand how VoIP phones work and how it stacks up against landlines before you make a move.

Related: Meet our customers and see how Nextiva helps them get ahead in 2019.

Nextiva is perfect for those businesses that need a complete UCaaS solution. When you sign up, you’ll also get custom configurations and on-demand support. Beyond this, we also offer PBX SIP trunking as well as Nextiva Drive for cloud storage.

Don’t just take our word for it! See more Nextiva reviews from ConanWest Coast Trial Lawyers, and Bauformat say about us.

Like what you see here? There’s more! Let’s get you started.

 

Posted on: By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Technology moves fast, and as an IT professional you’re expected to navigate new technology and drive your company’s digital transformation. Your dear co-workers might ask questions like: “Why aren’t we using this app that came out four days ago? How quickly could we move all our data and applications to the cloud?” Working in IT means the expectations of your customers and co-workers are constantly rising. More so than ever, IT teams are under pressure to respond quickly to new technology and capabilities.

In addition to being the Magellan of technology at your company, you’re expected to manage inventory, implement cybersecurity, oversee data storage, build rocket ships, and so much more. Managing all these moving parts is daunting. Luckily, many of the challenges you and other departments in your company might face, can be simplified or automated with a CPaaS solution.

CPaaS allows you to customize your internal and external communications by integrating with your current business systems seamlessly. Easily deploy automation across your entire enterprise that improves communication and productivity for multiple departments.

Music to your ears, right? Here are a few ways that CPaaS can help you work more but do less:

Easily Deploy and Integrate

There’s no need to undo any work you’ve already done. Instead of overhauling all of your company’s communications processes you can leverage and enhance your existing systems, such as CRM, contact center, support ticket management systems, email platforms, and more. Your leadership team will appreciate that you can utilize existing investments, your co-workers will be amped that they don’t have to learn a new software, your customers will be delighted with your enhanced communications, and you will be able to take a deep breath with all the time you’ve saved. Maybe grab a coffee? An afternoon snack, perhaps? Up to you. We support it.

CPaaS is flexible, scalable, and you can use what you need when you need it. Use CPaaS for on-the-fly solutions like adding additional network capacity or as a back-up option if your contact center goes down.

Send Internal Alerts

You want to make sure your customers and coworkers are always in the know. Whether you’re setting up new employees with new equipment, managing customer service responses, or responding to external issues, CPaaS has your six. Save time and instantly notify your team of what’s new. From maintenance notifications, outages, password change reminders – you name it, CPaaS allows you to quickly send messages through voice, SMS, or other channels.

Streamline Trouble Tickets

Sometimes your help desk could use some help. Between computers crashing, software not working, someone not realizing their computer is unplugged, and a million other things out of your control, people are always submitting trouble tickets. You need an easy way to interact with your team members to let them know that their request is received as well as its status as it moves through the resolution process. CPaaS applications can automate many of these responses, allowing you to focus on solving the issue rather than communicating the troubleshooting process. Integrate with your favorite trouble ticket management system to make your help desk run a little smoother with automated status updates.

Proactively Monitor and Measure

While most CPaaS platforms do not offer analytics, IntelePeer is different. Not to toot our own horn…but…*toot toot*. Gain real-time and historical visibility across your network to pinpoint issues and make better decisions. View call volume and usage to better manage resources. Not only will our analytics help you react to changes and new trends, it will allow you to humble-brag the improvements you’ve made to your everyday business processes.

If you’ve made it this far, it means you’re probably picking up what we’re putting down. Learn more about how Atmosphere® CPaaS was built with IT teams in mind here.  We’re constantly making improvements to our products based on the feedback of our customers so be sure to visit our blog and check in!

Posted on: September 23, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Imagine the day when every car on the road will be able to handle all aspects of driving without assistance. It won’t be long. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving autonomous technologies that are helping enterprises, industries, and the human race innovate our way out of much of the work we do today.

AI is about to make everything self-driving.

Soon, all networks will be agile, self-healing, and self-optimizing, serving up the right bandwidth at the right time for perfect cloud application performance. Security strategies are already leveraging AI to automate the response to cyber threats. The result: a sense of true freedom for IT teams to focus on the next big innovation.

With a clear vision of autonomous networking, Masergy is making significant strides in being among the first companies to start delivering the self-driving networks of the future. This week, we made a giant leap forward, announcing enhancements that are pushing the boundaries of automation. Released today, Masergy AIOps is the network service industry’s first AI-based network automation solution that will transform IT management and application performance as we know it.

But to understand how Masergy is delivering the future today, it helps to first examine the next steps necessary in arriving at autonomous networking.

AIOps: The Guidepost to Autonomy

The path to complete autonomy starts with a wide sweeping digital vision. First, the network must provide complete visibility into performance characteristics, application traffic, user traffic, and the design of various components. The next step in creating autonomy is to apply AI-based technologies, where behavior analytics and machine learning algorithms can more fully automate network management and application optimization. Gartner refers to this concept as “AIOps,” defining AI for IT operations as the application of machine learning and data science to IT operations problems.

Analysts believe the long-term impact of AIOps will be transformative for IT teams. According to Gartner, “organizations that automate more than 70% of their network change activities will reduce the number of outages by at least 50% and deliver services to their business constituents 50% faster.” With payouts like that, it’s no surprise that analyst Andrew Lerner advises IT executives to prioritize network automation investments in 2019.

AIOps solutions are new in the marketplace. But before we get into the details of Masergy’s offering, we should explore how AIOps platforms work.

Applying AI to Build a Self-Driving Network

AIOps platforms have the power to act as virtual assistants, and more specifically, digital network gurus. However, these gurus work 24/7, never sleep, and can ingest and analyze big data at nearly the speed of light. Aggregating real-time network activity, historical traffic, configuration settings, and usage, AIOps platforms generate contextual intelligence and help eliminate human errors that are still the root cause of most service degradations and outages today.

Through behavioral analysis and machine learning, AIOps can identify patterns, processes, and trends, making predictions about bandwidth needs and offering recommendations to solve age-old IT problems. With feedback and maturity, these solutions are used to design rule sets, policies, and playbooks that govern in unmanaged environments that are truly autonomous. Mature platforms can make all the difference. Advanced solutions with a library of specialization in AI practices and network optimization rulesets quickly move beyond the first steps of data aggregation and analysis with the ability to act on recommendations autonomously. This is where Masergy is headed.

It’s also important to note that not all IT infrastructures are designed for AI innovation. The underlying network must have a software-defined architectural model that supports real-time flexibility, big data collection, and secure analytics at speed and at scale. Networks that were architected for a previous era will likely never have AI-based enhancements. Meanwhile, Masergy’s software-defined network and cloud platform was built from the ground up for this type of innovation, and we’re aggressively forging the path toward autonomous networking.

Introducing Masergy AIOps

As I mentioned, Masergy AIOps is the network service industry’s first AI-based, digital assistant for network, application, and security optimization. Masergy AIOps is an intelligent assistant that actively serves customers as a network engineer, supporting administration and optimization. With our 20-year history in global software-defined networking, Masergy has incorporated decades of network management experience in designing the most sophisticated AI network application.

This initial launch marks the beginning of autonomous wide area networking for Masergy. We expect to deliver enterprise customers fully autonomous networking in the next few years, and Masergy AIOps is the first product release moving us firmly in the direction of this vision.

With autonomy in reach, we should be clear about what Masergy’s AIOps solution can and cannot do today. The solution applies machine learning and behavior analytics to the network, but it is not yet self-driving. Our next phases of development will focus on automated decision making and response. Right now, it’s a virtual analyst and advisor. Here’s what it can do today.

Capabilities and Benefits Today

With this initial release, Masergy customers receive intelligent alerts and recommendations for network changes that can increase performance and cloud application optimization–regardless of whether those apps are operating on private infrastructure or utilized across the public internet. Acting as a virtual assistant, Masergy AIOps analyzes how the network, application performance, and security are impacted by different events including various configurations and utilizations. The system then makes recommendations to enhance application performance, predict bandwidth needs and optimize network throughput based on anomaly detection and predictive analytics.

Key Features of Masergy AIOps

  • Intelligent analysis and recommendations to optimize multi-cloud environments
  • Sophisticated pattern recognition algorithms leveraging big data
  • Predictive anomaly detection with actionable insights
  • AI tools embedded in the customer portal–Masergy’s Intelligent Service Control
  • Expandable use cases for proactive network, application, and security optimization

Masergy AIOps Makes the Following Recommendations for Customers

  • Which path an application should take, based upon performance
  • When and where to add bandwidth, including cloud vendors
  • Network changes and configuration settings to optimize application performance, based on business needs and service priorities

Customer Benefits

  • Reduce noise from bandwidth usage alarms, based on static thresholds
  • Gain continuous 24/7 analysis across the network, application performance, and security
  • Get best-practice recommendations and actionable insights for performance optimization
  • Increase service quality and reduce business continuity risks with predictive algorithms
  • Quickly identify the probable cause of network service incidents
  • Decrease the number of support calls and lower IT costs

Exclusively Unique: AI Inside Your Network Management Portal

We did some competitive research and found that no other network service providers advertise AI-based network intelligence solutions as of today. Thus, Masergy is likely the first to deliver this capability to the network services market. While other AIOps solutions exist, our research found that they are largely point solutions with their own management portals. This means customers get AI analytics and recommendations in a separate portal that must be integrated into their network and IT environment.

We believe Masergy stands exclusively unique in this aspect: Today, no other network services provider offers a holistic approach that deeply embeds AI into a global software-defined network, making AI intelligence available directly within the existing management portal. In the digital age, this IT simplicity is fundamental. With Masergy AIOps, every Masergy customer now has a significant increase in the value of their network.

Autonomous networking is just around the corner, and as a 20-year pioneer in software-defined networking, Masergy can help you transform with certainty.

Watch the Masergy AIOps video, read the full product announcement and contact us for a free consultation, including a demonstration of Masergy AIOps and our SD-WAN management portal.

Posted on: September 19, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Redundancy and availability are two critical aspects of any network design. They provide metrics to evaluate the robustness of your network during a non-ideal scenario providing business continuity and minimizing end-user impact.

Redundancy refers to the duplication of network elements or functions such as servers, power supply, cabling, fans, etc. that continue operations during a system failure or voluntary maintenance. Availability pertains to unplanned downtime defined by time metrics indicating the tolerance level on how long a network can be offline or unavailable.

BullsEye Telecom adheres to industry standards and provides a best-case scenario of 2N redundancy with two geographically redundant data centers offering systems and services accessible at any time and four nines availability establishing a strict provision of only 52 minutes, 36 seconds downtime per year.

Customers are known to opt for a VoIP service provider who advertises such data regarding their infrastructure, but how many of them challenge the provider’s stance? It is not only important for any provider to embrace the standards as a fundamental requirement of network design, but also perform periodic audits to test the validity of their solution.

BullsEye Telecom is proud to have implemented the practice of testing our VoIP network 5 years ago. Ever since we perform the VoIP disaster recovery (DR) test annually to ensure compliance with advertised metrics and publish detailed reports on the outcome of our testing.

The VoIP DR test is usually scheduled early Q2 during a pre-published maintenance window on a Sunday morning between 2.00 AM to 7.30 AM. Customers are notified of the event in advance to prepare for the testing. During the maintenance, a controlled primary data center failure is simulated to gracefully transition all telephony services to the secondary node.

A detailed test plan is executed before simulation, post-secondary failover and post-primary failback with extensive data and log collection. The test plan includes every scenario of all VoIP solutions offered by BullsEye and validates the network interaction for each case. The collected data is reviewed in detail and shortcomings, if any, are identified and addressed before the next annual DR.

All findings with data captures are collected and published within the organization with accurate timelines. Customers seeking information about how their services were handled during the transition can request for a copy of the DR report which is shared transparently. While most of the service providers boast about their network redundancy and availability BullsEye Telecom demonstrates it!

For information on how BullsEye can help your organization in the event of a disaster, send a message or give us a call at 877-638-2855

Posted on: September 18, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

The global business VoIP (UCaaS) market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11 percent between 2018 and 2025, so chances are your organization has either already adopted the technology or made plans to do so in the near future.

As you start the process, you’ll be amazed at all of the features and functionality this technology offers. We’ve been in many a meeting in which we’ve seen customers get excited about how business VoIP solutions such as MiCloud Connect and Mitel Teamwork could transform their work.

That’s part of the fun. The technology is so new, though, it’s spawned its own language. You hear these words all the time, but we thought it would be helpful to have the definitions in front of you as you evaluate business VoIP solutions. So, we’ve created this handy list of 10 hosted VoIP-related terms for you to keep nearby.

Our definitions will help you understand not only what they mean, but why they’re important to a reliable and powerful business VoIP system. Before you know it, you’ll be impressing—and maybe even intimidating—business VoIP sales reps with your expert knowledge.

Private Branch Exchange

A private branch exchange – more commonly known as a PBX – is a system that connects all of the phones in a building. Basically, it allows users to make both internal and external calls on shared phone lines. Think of a PBX as your old-school switch operator, but automated. The major benefit of a PBX is that it allows organizations to have a ratio of internal to external lines.

Let’s say you run a brewery with 75 employees. Not all of them need to be talking on the public network at one time. In all likelihood, only about 10 of them will. With a PBX, you pay only for 10 lines rather than 75. Internal calls go through the PBX and are free – yes, free – so you can start adding other capabilities, like paging.

Then let’s say you open a second brewery. PBX still has you covered with a private connection between each location’s system. Thanks to the PBX, employees at both breweries can internally dial each other. Sounds pretty good, right?

Hosted PBX

Now that you have a better understanding of what a PBX does, let’s move on to a hosted PBX. At the brewing company, you own the privately managed call controller or server on which the PBX operates. A hosted PBX resides in the cloud. It’s a virtual PBX system delivered through your internet connection.

What’s great about a hosted PBX is that you don’t need to house or maintain any hardware or equipment. Everything is stored in the cloud, and the PBX provider handles maintenance. You get all of the benefits of a PBX system without any of the worry or headache. Your business also becomes adaptive, easily evolving and scaling as needs change.

Typically, a hosted system’s subscription cost includes updates and new functionality, though you should always be sure to ask prospective providers about this. A hosted PBX allows your business to take advantage of advances in technology right away.

IP Desk Phone

Now let’s dig into some of the devices your employees may use on a daily basis with a business VoIP system. An IP desk phone looks a lot like a traditional desktop phone, but it uses VoIP technology (the internet) to make calls. There’s a huge range of options available when it comes to IP phone selection. You want superior voice quality, obviously, but you also need to decide what other features you need.

For example, how important is support for Bluetooth or USB handsets? Given the array of options, we typically recommend you review all options with your vendor to accurately determine which type of desk phone best meets your employees’ needs.

Softphone

A softphone is a piece of software that allows you to make calls over the internet through any device that has a supported speaker and microphone. What exactly does this mean for your business? For one thing, your employees can make phone calls without using a physical telephone. Translation: You’ll have less equipment to purchase.

Softphones require a headset and microphone and will typically include business phone system features such as call transfers, call waiting and call routing.

Because VoIP calls are usually less expensive than traditional landline calls, the cost savings of softphones go beyond physical equipment. In addition, if you choose a robust business VoIP system, your team gets access to additional features such as video conferencing, call center integration, instant chat and SMS messaging.

Virtual Phone Numbers For Business

Numbers that aren’t anchored to a specific phone are called virtual phone numbers. They’re used to forward calls to other phone numbers. Virtual numbers can be used on any communications device, including smartphones and desktops.

From a business perspective, virtual phone numbers deliver cost savings. Since they can be used across several phones, you have fewer phones to purchase. These virtual numbers can also be set to any area code, reducing long distance expenses and creating a local presence in the country where the call originated. Toll-free virtual numbers enable customers to call your business free of charge.

Another benefit is the option to create a unique virtual phone number for each department or business unit. Calls can be routed by set rules or via an IVR to improve the overall flow and organization of your communications.

Single Sign-On

While you probably know what this one means, you may not have a clear understanding of why it’s important. Single sign-on (SSO) is an authentication process that gives users access to a host of proprietary business applications and systems with one set of credentials. That means your employees don’t have to juggle multiple usernames and passwords. (We can hear the cheering now.)

IT departments also benefit from SSO. The drastic reduction in requests to locate or reset login credentials allows your technology staff to focus on more value-added tasks. As a whole your organization becomes more secure since there are fewer credentials that can be compromised.

Single Pane Of Glass

As the name implies, this is all about visibility. “Single pane of glass” relates to a management tool that unifies data and interfaces across several sources and presents them in a single view. You get a better perspective on what information is valuable, and that information is more readily available for your employees to act on.

When uniting disparate data sources into a single pane of glass view, users usually work with a dashboard that has a graphic interface so users can interact with the data and even generate custom reports.

But remember, we also mentioned interfaces in this definition. With communications systems, businesses often use multiple tools. A single pane of glass gives employees access to all of their communications and collaboration tools in one view. For example, MiCloud Connect Contact Center integrates chat, multiple customer interactions, call profile information and more.

Persistent Workspace

Persistent workspaces are ongoing virtual rooms where teams can collaborate via messaging, tasks, file sharing and more. If a user leaves the room, the conversation continues on. When they return, they will be alerted of missed chats and as well as messages, tasks and files specific to them.

A persistent workspace, such as the ones available in Mitel Teamwork, gives employees and team members access to all of the information they need in a single solution. Users save time, and productivity increases.

Automatic Call Distributor

If you operate an inbound call center, you need virtual queuing. Call centers use an automatic call distributor (ACD) – a device that answers and distributes incoming calls to specific groups within the center. With a virtual queue, callers have the option to hang up and have the system call them back when their turn comes up. While they wait, they can go about their day, without the hassle of sitting on hold. This can make your customer’s day.

Workforce Management

When we talk about workforce management (WFM) in relation to UCaaS, we’re referring to software solutions that improve the overall customer experience. This starts in the contact center. A WFM solution puts the most appropriate person in the right place at the right time.

For a better understanding of how this works, check out MiCloud Connect CX, a cloud-based contact center tool that’s easy to set up and is intuitive to use. Plan and manage your contact center with ease and end the all-too-often nightmare that is scheduling.

Now that you’ve read our list, consider yourself well-armed to search for the right UCaaS solution provider. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what you need versus what you want, and what you may need in the future. You can make a well-informed decision – one that will deliver all of the efficiency, productivity and reliability you expect.

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