What we will cover:
- Everything You Need to Know about VoIP
- What is VoIP?
- The Benefits of VoIP
- How Hard Is It to Switch to VoIP?
- On-Premise or Hosted?
- How to Increase Your Call Quality
- Is VoIP the Same as SIP?
- Why Your Business Needs VoIP
GDI Cooling is a Banbury based Air conditioning and Refrigeration company, providing a service to commercial businesses and the hospitality industry. Earlier this year, BDM Voice had the pleasure of providing a new telephone system for GDI Cooling as their old system was outdated and costing them too much. We recently got in contact with GDI Cooling to find out how the new system is performing.
Read more “How GDI cooling saved money and improved the running of their business” →
I recently started working within the marketing team at BDM Voice, which is a specialist provider of phone systems, call recording and call monitoring solutions for businesses. Going into this job I knew absolutely nothing about business phone systems, but I enjoy learning and saw this as a great opportunity to get an insight into the telecoms industry.
As part of my training, the Sales Manager, Paul Brakewell showed me a demo of the NEC Phone Systems BDM Voice sells. Technology being one of my passions, I found this demo to be extremely interesting and I am very keen to share what I have learnt.
Before the demo took place, I thought business phone systems worked in the same way as my phone at home: I can receive calls on it and type in a number to call someone. But, as Paul demonstrated, businesses have many more requirements than a standard phone system, they do much more than that. This is what inspired me to write this blog post. The demo lasted about 2 and a half hours so I would have to write a whole book to cover everything Paul showed me, so in this blog I will focus on the features which impressed me most about the NEC phone system.
When I think of pagers, I think of those small black devices people used to attach to their belts in the 80s. But pagers have come a long way since then and are a big part of health and safety, especially in warehouse environments. The pager Paul showed me was a small grey device which looked a bit like a small speaker (see Figure 1). He explained to me that it is part of the ‘Dect’ phone system which is essentially a network of wireless phones workers can carry around with them. If you urgently need to get hold of someone and they aren’t answering their phone you can ring directly through to their pager which will work as a loud speaker. This could come in useful when, for example, a doctor is needed urgently to save a patient’s life. Paul used an example of how a pager might be used in a warehouse environment, this example was something that I really took away from this demo. He told me about a printer who works alone in a small room in a huge factory. He gets on with his work in his small room every day without really socializing with anyone in the factory. One day he gets his arm stuck in the printer, he does have a phone but there is no way he can reach it as his arm is stuck. With a system like the NEC Pager, his colleagues could have called directly to his pager to check up on him and even if he couldn’t get to his phone his colleagues could ask him if everything is ok on the pager and he could then reply without having to get to his phone. This example shows how this pager could save lives.
My Calls is an application which displays information about inbound and outbound calls. This feature has many interesting options such as the ability to store phone numbers for unanswered calls. The system then automatically detects if someone has called this number back or this number called again and got an answer. But the feature which stood out to me the most was the voice recording capabilities. MyCalls records all ingoing and outgoing calls and allows the user to find any conversation which happened on the system and see the meta data associated with that phone call. Everything can be seen from the date and time to the number of the caller, to even the soundwave of the phone conversation. Notes can be left on this sound waves at a particular point in time to easily be able to retrieve an important part of the conversation. This data could be used to solve disputes whether legal or personal. Companies which are at risk of having legal trouble would greatly benefit from this feature.
I’ve always been familiar with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), it is essentially what lets us call people using services like skype or facetime. However, I was never aware that the landline which is sitting on my desk uses the same protocol, more importantly, I never knew the benefits it brings to an office phone system.
The way the NEC system works is that a communications server is installed in your office (this is essentially a computer) and all your communications go through that server. This makes adding a new phone extremely easy as all you need to do is set up a number for a colleague and plug a new handset in. What’s even better is that because it’s VoIP phone system for business, it means you can walk up to any handset and log in on it and have access to your normal phone, this is great for hot desking and being able to access your phone outside the office.
This part of the demo was most surprising to me. I had no idea that phone systems could get hacked but apparently this is a very common occurrence and a very easy way for hackers to make money.
In a nutshell, how it works is, a hacker will hack into the phone system and find an empty line from which they can make a phone call. They then call up a premium number they set up which charges extortionate amounts per minute. They do this on a Friday evening once everyone has left the office and leave it running throughout the weekend. This will usually go unnoticed until the bill arrives which can cost thousands of pounds. The phone provider then expects the bill to be paid as they leave it up to you to protect yourself against fraud. NEC uses a clever piece of software called InGuard which can detect when this hacking practice is taking place on your phone lines and it will notify you by email which will allow you to take action. These attacks usually takes place in the middle of the night so you may not be able to access your email, in which case InGuard will automatically block the outgoing phone call. This will give you the peace of mind that you won’t be affected by extremely expensive phone bills which you shouldn’t have to pay.
Business phone systems are a lot more versatile than your average landline phone. Running a business proposes so many different challenges that it would be impossible to have a phone system which is similar to the one in your home. As this article demonstrates, so many aspects of running a business can be improved by having the right phone system in place, even ones that you wouldn’t think have anything to do with phones, such as, health and safety. This is why having the best possible phone system is absolutely crucial to helping your business succeed.
Growth is the most important objective for many businesses, however when a business grows, the telephone system is often left behind. This article outlines 4 signs which might suggest that your business telephone system needs upgrading.
One of the most important factors of running a business is choosing the right telephone system. A modern telephone system with features which compliment your business can help provide outstanding customer service and streamline the running of your business, saving you time and money.
Paul Brakewell, BDM Voice Sales Manager, explains some of the mistakes businesses can make when upgrading their telephone systems.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that ISDN was considered a cutting edge technology. Now, it’s a business communication method that’s heading for extinction – ISDN lines within the UK will be switched off in 2025.
Read more “Why the time is now to tackle ISDN switch-off” →
Make sure your business doesn’t get caught out by MiFID II.
On January 3rd, 2018 a raft of new financial regulations will kick into gear. These European Union laws, commonly referred to as MiFID II, strengthen and widen the regulatory standards required within the finance sector.
Read more “MiFID II, Time is running out” →
If your company hasn’t yet got to grips with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II - the time is now. These are the new set of regulatory standards drawn up by the European Union in response to the 2008 financial crisis. They come into force on January 3rd, 2018.
While the legislation is wide ranging, there’s one simple and practical step your business can take to prepare - upgrading your phone systems. That’s because one of the major changes introduced by the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) is the need to record and store phone calls.
Here’s a practical guide to getting your business phone system ready for MiFID II:
The new compliance rules set out by MiFID II cover any business which provides services linked to ‘financial instruments’. This includes any company that provides advice or guidance that’s ‘intended to lead to a transaction’.
So that covers a wide range of different financial services - from credit institutions to investment firms. It also means that many companies who are exempt from current regulations will find themselves having to meet these new MiFID II requirements.
Companies must record any call which relates to a potential financial transaction - whether it does or not. These need to be securely archived and stored in a format which allows them to be easily accessible. They need to be stored for a minimum period of five years.
Organisations must also be able to prove that they have a communications system that allows them to monitor calls and an active policy to ensure that proper call recording, call tracking and storage processes remain effective over time.
If your current communication setup isn’t capable of handling these MiFID II requirements then you need to get one that is. With the deadline looming, it can seem a daunting task but it’s something that can be achieved with minimal cost, hassle or disruption.
By switching to a cloud-based set-up, calls can be easily managed, monitored, recorded and digitally stored.
Telephone hacking is a fraudulent attempt by a hacker to gain unlawful remote access to a phone system. Attacks are often highly organised from an automated server and once accessed, fraudulent calls are connected and over a period of time run up call charges to the cost of potentially thousands. Typically these attacks will occur during out of office hours and are usually discovered after the event when it’s too late.
Typically these attacks will occur during out of office hours and are usually discovered after the event when it’s too late. The UK is the third most targeted country for telephone hacking, costing £1.52bn each year. As a threat that most businesses do not truly understand it leaves many vulnerable and defenseless against an attack. Business affected by a fraudulent attack are left to cover the cost themselves which on average can cost up to £12,500.
Update your telephone system to include ‘In Guard’ protection against telephone fraud and your call activity will be monitored 24/7 all year round. Any suspicious activity is detected instantly and automatic alerts are put in place to both alert you by email or alert and block the call - preventing any further activity. Restrictions can easily be removed by response to the email alert if the call information is genuine.
The system can be set up based around your business specific call patterns e.g. office hours, public holidays, length of call, excessive calls rates. From these parameters a set of rules are created – and if a rule is broken, an alert is sent. Not only does this detect telephone fraud but it can also be a deterrent to internal abuse of the phone system. You can make amendments to your rule settings at any time as well as remotely via a browser.
Think your business doesn’t need protection? 84% of businesses in the UK are considered vulnerable to these attacks. Most networks and office phone systems have only the basic toll restriction features, which may not give you the protection you require.