New joiner, Ruben Kretek tells us what he learnt in his first training session on the NEC system with sales manager Paul Brakewell
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.
Paging System – Health & safety
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.
MyCalls – Legal Protection
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.
VoIP System – Versatility
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.
InGuard – Protection
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.