How Is Your Company Facing The Future?

What a recent survey reveals about SME’s, technology, and what business owners want the future to look like.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know that the way we do business is changing; cloud-based solutions are revolutionising our networks and opening doors for SME’s on a worldwide market, barriers to communication and collaboration are breaking down and making way for mobile businesses like we’ve never seen before.

Recently Smart Company released their annual The SME Of The Future Report 2017 that outlined some of the biggest challenges that are being faced by Australian businesses today. One of the main themes of this year’s survey is how companies are working to keep up with technological change. Below we have compiled some of the biggest telco challenges are facing today and how companies are going about solving them.

The Biggest Issues Facing SME’s in 2017

There’s a lot of informative and useful data to be taken from the Smart Company survey, and we’ve had a look at the results and summarised the key points relating to telco below. We do highly recommend that you take a look at their e-book yourself because it’s absolutely valuable information that you won’t get all in one place anywhere else.

Flexibility

The results of this survey have revealed that creating and nurturing a flexible working environment for their employees is an issue that 70% of respondents believe will have a positive outcome for their business. There’s also an example from one Fortune 500 company that demonstrates how flexible working environments have decreased sick leave and increased employee’s positive feelings about their job.

So what is flexibility? Most people agree that it’s no longer just reserved for working mothers and part-time employees but rather means that all employees have options when it comes to flexible working hours and working remotely, no matter what their role is at a company.

Cloud-based business

The Smart Company survey has revealed that only about one in five Australian SME’s actually use a paid cloud service that includes everything from accounting systems to document processing and phone systems. This is a bit of a surprise considering how much potential they have to revolutionise business communications.  Having said that, businesses do still utilise the cloud, with 50% having some or all of their business management in the cloud. 10% of respondents were unsure about whether or not they used the cloud, and the remaining 40% who don’t use it all believe that on-premise software is easier to use, have concerns about security, and are limited by government regulations of cloud use in their industry.

Here at Infiniti, we see more of our clients switching to cloud-based phone systems every week, mainly because they are so affordable and flexible, as well as the fact that they so easily respond to the growth of your business without any significant cost.

Technological Disruptions

We’ve all seen the way in which employees at grocery stores have been replaced by self-service machine, but concerns for Australian SME’s goes beyond anything we see in our everyday lives so fars. The Federal Government has forecast that almost 50% of Australian jobs are at risk of being replaced by some type of automation.

Conclusion

How does your business compare to other SME’s?

If you aren’t sure how to answer this question, the e-book that Smart Company have developed based on the survey is, without a doubt, something that you should take the time to look at yourself. Not only will you be able to use it to contextualise your business, your ideas, and your goals for the future, but it will also provide you with some well-researched ideas for moving forward with your business in 2017.

 

NBN and Phone System Cyclone Damage Update For Customers 06 April 2017

Dear Customers,

We know that many customers are affected by the storms and everyone is getting together to repair things as soon as possible.

Here is a quick update from the telecommunications networks across the country:

Network field teams have been working with Emergency Services to access priority Network sites – exchange buildings and network sites – to refuel emergency generators and recharge back-up batteries. This has enabled carriers to restore PSTN, Mobile and ADSL services in a number of areas across North Queensland, South-East Queensland and Northern NSW. The progressive return of commercial power will continue to assist with service restoration.

Current impact

There are current impacts to the following services.

  • Flood waters are expected to peak at nine metres in Rockhampton later this week. There are a number of preparation works that are underway at the Rockhampton exchange and surrounding mobiles infrastructure sites. Additional generators and fuel are being placed at each site, and sandbagging is occurring to protect network assets.
  • Areas currently with the largest PTSN impact are: (Central Qld) Cannon, Cannonvale, Mackay, Dalrymple Heights and Slade Point. (SE Qld) Beenleigh, Tingalpa, Jimboomba, Bethania and Eudlo. (Nth NSW) Uki, Ocean Shores, Murwillumbah.
  • Areas currently with the largest ADSL impact are: (Central Qld) Marian, Cannonvale, Moranbah and Queensbeach. (SE Qld) Mount Glorious and Jimboomba. (Nth NSW) Uki.
  • Some of the impacted mobile sites are: (Central Qld) Brandon, Farleigh, Joes Hill, Shute Harbour and Slade Point. (SE Qld) Deception Bay South, Willawong, Burbank West, Marsden and Slacks Creek. (Nth NSW) Alstonville..

Restoration activities

Network field techs have been able to reach several areas that have not been accessible because of flooding or debris on the roads. We expect there will be a lot of water damage to Telstra infrastructure that feeds customers’ services (across all network providers) – cables will be severed and washed away and pits and cabinets are likely to be submerged in water.

While network technicians will be working as quickly as possible to restore these services, it may take some time. A number of road closures remain in place and there is still a lot of debris and other hazards on the roads. The safety of staff people is the number one priority for the networks, and as soon as it is safe to reach these areas their teams will do so.

In addition to the existing field workforce that are based in the areas impacted by the Cyclone, carriers & networkds have mobilised a number of technicians from other parts of Northern Queensland to assist with the recovery and restoration efforts. In the coming days they will look to bring more field resources from other States.

We will keep you updated on the progress of this event, and as always we are here to help anyway we can. So please reach out if you have any questions, concerns or simply need advice on back-up or redirections options available to your business..

VoIP Phone System – The Ultimate Buyers Guide

Every day we are asked what the best VoIP phone systems are for for small business. And If you want to find out more about buying the best VoIP-friendly version of a PBX phone system you’re not alone. This buyer’s guide will give you everything you need to make an informed choice when it comes your time to buy.

It’s a good decision to make, not only because businesses have been taking advantage of VoIP for over 5 years now, but also because the NBN means that a VoIP phone system will be the only way forward for your business telco in the future. In the past, a business VoIP phone service was reserved for large  companies that could afford dedicated, high quality internet connections, but the NBN means that businesses of all shapes and sizes will now have access to the quality internet required to successfully run VoIP services.

If you’ve been hearing about VoIP and you’re thinking about getting your business on board, this article will help you understand exactly what it is, how it works, and arm you with everything you need to make the best choice when purchasing a VoIP phone system for your business.

Below we will go through exactly what VoIP is, the pro’s and con’s of using it for businesses and discuss who should be using VoIP Phone Systems.

What Is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and is used to describe any phone call made using an internet connection, as opposed to traditional phone services. VoIP is becoming a larger part of our lives each day, and if you’ve ever made calls using Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp, then you’ve already used a VoIP service.

VoIP is the process of turning our analogue voice signals into digital data which can traverse the internet. Because using VoIP is faster and easier than traditional services, VoIP line rental and phone call rates are much more affordable.

How does VoIP work?

VoIP converts your voice into digital data, and that digital data has to be re-coded into voice signals at the other end of the call, and it does this using codecs which is short for encoder-decoder. Codecs compress the voice data so that it can be transmitted faster, and the call quality is better as a result.

The reason codecs are required is because VoIP uses digital signals, unlike traditional PSTN phone conversations that use analogue data. When the digital VoIP signal reaches the destination (the person you called), it will be decoded back to its analogue form, so the person on the line can hear and understand it. The same happens if someone who has a VoIp service calls you.

If you’re both using VoIP the entire journey of your phone call will take place over the internet. But if one or the other of you is using a traditional analogue service, call travels as far as it can using VoIP, and then switch back to the public phone network when it has to.The same happens if you have a traditional phone, and someone using a VoIP service calls you, only the journey is reversed.

VoIP Phone System Definition

VoIP Phone Systems can be known by many other names. If you’ve ever heard the terms, ‘IP-enabled’, ‘IP Phone System’, ‘Internet Phone system’, ‘Hybrid IP PBX System’, or ‘VoIP Telephone System’, then you’ve heard of some of those many names. They’re all talking about the same thing.

VoIP Phone Systems utilise VoIP services (which uses your internet connection, as mentioned above) to make phone calls, rather than using the traditional public telephone network.

They are different from traditional phone systems because they are designed especially for VoIP, and hence they send and receive digital data.

Why are VoIP Phone Systems so Popular?

There are three main reasons that VoIP Phone Systems are becoming so popular. The first is because internet phone calls and VoIP line retail is a lot more affordable to traditional phone services. We’re talking at least halving your phone bill. The second reason is because VoIP opens the door for Cloud Hosted Phone systems, which eliminate the need for a hefty PBX box in your office. The final reason is more a necessity; the NBN means that soon, no Australian business will be able to run ANY phone system without using a VoIP service.

How Does The NBN Fit Into The VoIP Phone System Picture

As the NBN rolls out across Australia, the traditional copper public telephone network is being removed. That means that traditional phone services will be disabled, everywhere except some rural and remote areas. Your telephone lines are literally on the line, because when the network is removed, you won’t be able to make phone calls the way you have been doing for many years.

Over 95% of Australian businesses will be affected, and it does mean some drastic changes for everyone. From now on, as part of the NBN plan, all businesses will have to install a VoIP service to run their phone systems. This means that, once you have the NBN installed in your office, you won’t just be using it for the internet, but also for your phone calls. Your service provider will help you with the process, and we promise – it’s not as difficult as it may sound!

You’ll simply connect your phone system to your data service from now on, instead of an outlet in the wall.

Don’t forget that the NBN is not a choice! You don’t get to avoid making this switch – if you do, your phone system will no longer work.

A Comprehensive VoIP Phone System Review

Now that you’ve got an understanding about what VoIP is, and how it works, let’s take a look at VoIP Phone Systems Themselves.

As we mentioned earlier, they can go by many names, so while you’re shopping around, look out for the following terms:

  • Internet Phone Systems
  • Hybrid IP PBX Systems
  • VoIP PBX System
  • IP-enabled Phone Systems
  • IP PBX Systems
  • Internet PBX Systems
  • NBN Phone Systems

VoIP Business VoIP Phone System vs. Traditional On-Premise PBX

Traditional On-Premise PBX Systems

Let’s start by looking at On-Premise PBX systems. These phone systems involve having a large box inside your office, which you are responsible for keeping clean and safe, maintaining, and updating features when you want changes made to your the system works.

An On-Premise PBX system that has been using the public telephone network would not work with VoIP as it is, because it is using analogue data. If it has IP functionality (which means it CAN work with digital signals), this function would have to be enabled in order to work with VoIP, which would involve a visit from a technician and the purchase of some new hardware.

Some On-Premise systems can never be made to work with VoIP, and there shouldn’t be a single provider in Australia that would ever try to sell you one.

Traditional On-Premise PBX systems are losing their battle with IP-enabled VoIP systems for the above reason, and also because VoIP services mean you can also get rid of the chunky box in the office and make ways for a Cloud Hosted Phone System.

VoIP Business Phone Systems

On-Premise VoIP Phone Systems

We’ll start off by letting you know that you can still purchase an On-premise PBX System that is VoIP friendly, if you want to. Everything about these systems are the same as a traditional PBX, except for the fact that they are IP-enabled from the get go.

Some businesses still prefer the on-premise option, however, most are switching to a Hosted IP Phone System because they really do take VoIP services to the next level.

Cloud Hosted VoIP Phone Systems

These really are the bees-knees in phone systems. First and foremost, there is no PBX box in your office, because everything is hosted by your provider, and for lack of a better term, ‘lives’ safely and secure in the internet. The only hardware you have in your office are IP-enabled handsets, which takes the weight of maintenance and safety off your mind. That also makes installation easy, and many of our clients actually choose to do it themselves, saving even more money on technician visits (which are a must with an On-premise System)

Cloud Hosted VoIP Phone Systems are loaded with all of the features you would have found in a traditional on-premise system, if not more. And the best thing about these features is they can be updated, upgraded, and altered without the need for a technician – you just call your provider and they do it instantly. If you find the right provider, you’ll get a lot of free features, so make sure you don’t settle for one where you have to pay for each feature every month.

Scalability is another winner with Hosted services. If you want to add a new staff member to your office, or if you have to connect someone who’s working from home or in a remote location, all you have to do is get a handset and connect it to a quality internet connection, and they’re connected to your Phone System.

Another great reason to go with a Hosted VoIP System is that having a redundancy plan in place is a lot more practical and affordable when your system lives in the cloud. As we mentioned, changing features like call diversions and call forwarding are as simple as a call to your provider.

What do I need for a VoIP Phone system to work?

A Quality Internet Connection

The most important thing you will need to run your VoIP Phone system is a good quality internet connection. The NBN will obviously provide this, but even if you haven’t had it installed yet, you can still use VoIP. Some of our clients have ADSL data services that are reliable enough to manage their VoIP phone systems, and many of our clients opt for business grade fiber internet to run their communication systems.

The reason you need excellent internet quality is because your phone calls can be affected by any disruption or many people trying to use your businesses company internet at the same time. Think about the times when you’ve downloaded a large file, or watched a webinar, and the loading speed of your internet connection has slowed down. Sometimes a little annoying, but bearable when you’re looking at a screen.

With a VoIP phone call, even a millisecond can cause an interruption or lag in your conversation, which is more than just a little annoying for your and your caller.

This is why any good telco will suggest having a separate internet connection to just run your phone system. So when someone in the office is downloading a big file you phone system won’t stutter to a halt.

A VoIP Phone Service

If you’re running a VoIP Phone System in your office, the type of VoIP Phone Service you will have will most likely be SIP. Just like VoIP, your SIP phone service will use the internet to make and receive calls, and you will connect it using a router that’s attached to your data service.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the term used for business grade VoIP. While VoIP only engages voice data (phone calls), SIP will send and receive any form of multimedia, which is particularly important for businesses who use video conferencing.

Unless you have a relatively small phone system, your provider will most likely recommend a SIP phone service for your VoIP Phone System because it’s faster, more reliable, plus phone calls and line rental are still more affordable than traditional services. You can also do a lot more with VoIP phone numbers than with traditional services, such as Virtual Interstate Numbers, where you can have a local phone number in any state, no matter where your business is located..

Remember that you will have to use SIP when you switch to the NBN, but you can start using it now if you have a reliable internet service.

An IP-Enabled VoIP Phone

If you purchase a VoIp Phone system, you will also have to purchase IP-enabled phones. If you’ve got a Cloud Hosted Phone System, these will be the only hardware you have in your office.

What is a VoIP phone?

In order to use a VoIP or SIP service, you have to have an IP-enabled VoIP phone. As we mentioned earlier, traditional phones send and receive analogue data, but a VoIP phone will send and receive digital data, which is needed in order to make calls.

VoIP phones plug into your data service through your router, but apart from that you won’t notice anything different about the way they work, except that you call quality might be better with a VoIP phone service.

The Best VoIP Phone Systems for Small Business

The best VoIP Phone System for your business depends on the needs and preferences of yourself and your staff.

Earlier we mentioned that you can still purchase and install On-Premise VoIP Phone Systems if you wish. It may be because you prefer to manage and update features yourself or you feel comfortable about being able to store it is a safe and secure position in your office.

Having said that, most businesses are opting for Hosted VoIP Phone Systems, for the many reasons we mentioned above. They’re easier to manage, safer, simple to upgrade and update, and they will save you money.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve taken an in-depth look at VoIP, how it works, and what role VoIP Phone Systems have to play in our future as businesses, you should be armed with enough knowledge to start thinking seriously about how your business will implement it.

Sometimes this kind of technical information can be a bit overwhelming, and if you feel this way you’re definitely not alone. Our support team here at Infiniti are always willing to answer your questions and offer some guidance, even if you aren’t one of our existing customers. Give us a call if you feel like you need more information about VoIP Phone Systems and your business.

On the other hand, if you’ve had experience with VoIP Phone Systems in your business, what advice would you offer those heading into the world of VoIP for the first time?

7 Facts You Must Know About NBN Ready Phone Systems

We see and hear a lot of confusion about the NBN, and in particular when it comes to people asking us about purchasing an NBN Ready Phone System. The truth is that, while the NBN is changing the way we communicate and opening up new opportunities for small businesses across Australia, it’s also not the simplest of technologies to understand. This is because it’s entirely new and different to what we’ve been used to for so long, and also because finding out the details of how the NBN works isn’t something NBN Co. makes easy.

If you’re looking to purchase a new NBN Ready Phone System, we’re here to help. We’ll give you the run-down on how the NBN works with a phone system, the different kinds of phone system available, and what to look out for when you buy.

How does the NBN work?

There are several different types of NBN connection, but rather than go into them here, we’ll just tell you  that no matter what type you have installed in your office, you will now use a VoIP or SIP service to run your phone system. In the past, you would have had a phone service and a data/internet service in your office. Now, your NBN data service is actually used to carry your phone service as well as your internet.

Digital vs. Analogue

The most important thing to know is that the NBN uses digital data to send and receive multimedia messages, while your traditional phone would have used analogue data (in most cases). Analogue devices are not compatible with the NBN, which means that when buying an NBN Ready Phone System, this is your #1 priority. If you already have an analogue phone system, there’s no need  to buy a new one just yet. You can use an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) to convert data from analogue to digital, and vice versa.

What is an NBN Ready Phone System?

When you hear people talking about an NBN Ready Phone System, they’re most likely talking about a Hosted Phone System, however, you still have a choice between these and Traditional PABX Phone Systems.

Hosted Phone Systems

You may hear Hosted Phone systems referred to in a number of ways, including Virtual Phone Systems, VoIP or SIP Phone Systems, Cloud Phone Systems, or Cloud Based Systems.

A Hosted Solution means all of your Phone System data, programming, and features are stored ‘in the cloud’, and there is no large PABX box located in your office. These are the ultimate NBN Ready Phone Systems because they rely on quality internet to function at their best, and the NBN provides just that.

In the past, Hosted Phone Systems were reserved for large companies that could afford to run a dedicated, high speed internet connection to their office. The NBN rollout means that high speed data services are now affordable for small businesses, and they too can now access the speed required to run a Hosted Phone solution.

PABX (Traditional Phone System)

Traditional Phone Systems consist of a physical box that lives in your office, and has been the way phone systems have worked for a long time before Hosted Solutions arrived on the scene. PABX systems have traditionally used PSTN, ISDN and (more recently) SIP trunks to make and receive calls.

As we mentioned earlier, PABX systems are still a viable option if you’re looking for an NBN Ready Phone System; just because they aren’t Hosted in the cloud, doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of the high speed data and VoIP services offered by the NBN. The most important thing is that your PABX is IP compatible, which means it can send and receive digital data.

If it isn’t IP enabled, in most cases it can be made to work with the NBN, but it will depend on the type and age of your phone system, so you’d have to talk to a supplier to find out about your own circumstances.

Differences between Hosted & Traditional Phone Systems

What’s the best NBN Ready Phone System?

Most people who are purchasing an NBN Ready Phone System are going for a Hosted Solution, and there are a number of reasons for this. First and foremost, unlike Traditional phone systems, many businesses find Hosted systems just plain easier to install, manage, upgrade, and maintain. Another influence is the fact that Hosted Solutions are the perfect NBN Ready Phone System, but you don’t actually have to have the NBN to start using them; all you need is a reliable internet connection (your provider should confirm this for you before you buy).

At the end of the day it’s a matter of preference and opinion, but if we listen to popular opinion, then a Hosted Phone System is the preferred way to go.

What Will a Hosted NBN Phone System Mean For Me?

Affordability

If you shop around, you’ll notice that different providers have different gimmicks and offers, but sometimes there are hidden costs involved once you get to the fine print. If you find the right provider, there won’t be. For example, our Hosted NBN Ready Phone System has a whole load of the most popular features included, plus we offer FREE Programming changes to your settings and features for the life of your system. Avoid any providers who make you pay every time you want your call routing changed or your voicemail diverted – it will get expensive.

No Expensive Phone System Hardware Required to Maintain & Manage

The bulky PABX box in your office is a thing of the past, which means that regular maintenance, cleaning, and needing a tech expert to update your features is also a thing of the past.

With a Hosted Phone System, everything can be managed by your host with a simple phone call and, in many cases, you can even update your features and change programming from your own computer with a web interface. The key points here are that damage, theft, and cleaning is no longer on your list of things to do, and making changes is no longer something that takes a lot of effort.

Low capital investment and ongoing savings

The cost of purchasing and installing a Hosted solution is relatively similar to a Traditional PABX, however, the ongoing costs are significantly lower – especially if you choose your provider wisely.

Once you start using the NBN to make calls, SIP phone line rental and call rates are dramatically lower than traditional lines. We mean, up to three times lower. In addition, if you choose a provider that doesn’t charge you for features you don’t use, or to update your programming, you’ll save even more compared to needing a technician to change the settings in your PABX.

No Obsolescence

Because everything lives in the cloud, all upgrades and updates take place there too. That means there’s no way that a Hosted Phone System can become obsolete. Our Hosted System actually comes with FREE software upgrades for life, so not only do you save on obsolescence, you also save money, too.

Connecting is Simple

The only part of your phone system that will physically live in your office is your handsets, so connecting is really as simple as plugging them in (once your provider has programmed them with your tailored features and settings).

Switching to the NBN will be Easy

If you don’t yet have the NBN, you still need to prepare for it because it will be a reality for your business sooner or later. The great thing about NBN Ready Phone Systems is that you can start using them even before you get the NBN, as long as you have a good existing internet connection.

We’ve got clients who don’t have the NBN yet and use ADSL services to run their Phone System on SIP, and they have never had a problem. However, if someone requests it and we know their internet connection is not reliable enough, we will be honest and tell them that SIP simply won’t work for them. Make sure your chosen provider does these tests and gives you honest feedback before you use SIP with an ADSL service.

Expand Effortlessly Anywhere

Adding a remote worker, new office, or work from home employee to your phone system is about as easy at it can get. All you have to do is ask your host to program a compatible handset, and all they have to do is connect it to their data service. It means that as your business grows, you won’t have to spend a fortune for your phone system to grow with it.

Give the Appearance of Size

Because Hosted Phone Systems are so affordable, you can include a number of features that have previously been reserved for larger businesses. For example, you may only have a small staff of five, but can have a welcome selection menu that gives your caller a choice between several different departments.

You Can Keep Your Existing Phone Numbers

For most businesses their phone number is an important part of their brand and familiarity with clients. The great news os that keeping your existing phone number is easy with Hosted services.

1300 & 1800 Numbers

These numbers are a great way to give your business a national presence, give the appearance of size, and build familiarity. With a Hosted Phone System, they’re also affordable and easy to set up.

Who Should Be Looking At NBN Phone Systems?

One person businesses

It may sound a bit much at first but, because of the flexibility of both price and size of Hosted Solutions, having one for a one-person show isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds. In actual fact, it could very well boost your business by giving your caller the illusion of size, and when you do add staff, it won’t cost you a fortune to expand your system.

Small to Medium Sized Businesses

Small businesses of all sorts can benefit from a Hosted Phone System, including Cafes, Design Agencies, and Retail stores. If a phone is left unanswered, a caller is more likely to call again if they feel they’ve received a personalised experience when no-one answered. That might include providing them with an automated message giving opening hours, or customising your messages based on the time of day. All of this and more is not only possible, but also affordable and easy, with a Hosted Solution.

Businesses in rapidly-changing industries

If you’re in an industry that’s fast-paced and ever-changing, having a phone system that can be easily updated and upgraded to suit your needs is crucial to staying connected to your clients and prospects. Because a Hosted Phone System is so simple and affordable to upgrade, update, and manage, it’s the perfect solution for rapidly changing industries.

Businesses with multi-site locations

Location is playing a less and less crucial role in business as each day goes by, but no matter where you are, you need to stay connected to your colleagues and your clients. As mentioned earlier, adding staff in multiple locations is easy and affordable, and you don’t have to buy a whole new phone system every time you open a new office.

Businesses with temporary sites

Because handsets that are programmed into your Hosted System can be used with an quality internet connection, anywhere in Australia, temporary sites means that temporary communication is no longer a hefty investment.

How Much Does an NBN Ready Phone System Cost?

Compared to Traditional PABX Phone Systems, Hosted Solutions have a similar initial cost, however, installation of PABX systems can get more expensive because of the need for technicians to spend more time installing them in your office. With a Hosted NBN Ready Solution, you can install the system yourself, as long as the required outlets are all in place.

When it comes to cost, whether you go with a Traditional PABX or Hosted Phone System, you will save a fortune on ongoing costs if you utilise VoIP and SIP technology. If you don’t have the NBN yet, you can still use VoIP and SIP, but a quality internet connection is an absolute must.

SIP line rental and call rates really are low, and we’ve had clients who have saved up to two-thirds on their monthly phone bill. Make sure you shop around, because some providers keep costs high with the hope that people’s ignorance will get them by. At Infiniti, we tailor our solutions, so if you like the sound of line rental as low as $8, and phone calls as low as 8¢, check out or range of call options here.

There are two options, pay as you go and unlimited plans.

The Top 7 Features Of An NBN Ready Phone System

Having provided over 9,000 customers with our Hosted NBN Ready Phone System, here are the Top 7 features that we know most businesses are looking for:

Call Flow Hunt Groups

Route calls to specific departments, office locations, or individual people.

Voicemail To Email

If you don’t want to get your voicemail on your handset, you can have you voicemail messages sent to you your email account as a .wav file attachment.

Call Transfer To Anyone

Transfer your phone call’s internally among your team who are on the network or out to external phone & mobile numbers numbers.

Day/Night Greetings

Customise your automated messages based on the time of day or week so your callers get the right message at the right time.

Full Auto Attendant

Welcome your callers will an automated message and offer a selection for them to choose based on their enquiry type.

Call Recording

For the purposes of improving your customer service, legal, or training purposes, you can record calls made to and from your phone system network.

Communicator Softphone (Remote Worker)

Use an app on your computer or smartphone to receive calls on your Hosted Phone System, no matter where you are located. This allows your to just connect your headsets/headphones to your laptop and working remotely for the day and want to be connected as if you are in the office. Or this can also be a very popular solution for companies with remote workers who don’t need a handset on their desk, but want their staff to be able to take advantage of all the above features and more.

Conclusion

You should now have a better knowledge about what an NBN Ready Phone System is, and why it’s important to understand your options when purchasing a new one.

Still, it’s impossible to cover everything, and we know that you may have a few questions lingering in the back of your mind. If you want to talk to one of our NBN Ready Phone System experts, they’re always ready to offer advice and support when you need it. Give our team a call on 1300 889 792.

If you already have an NBN Ready Phone System, we’d love to hear how your experience has been, what you’ve learned, and any tips or advice you could give our readers in the comments below.

4 Truths Small Business Don’t Know About The NBN

Are you one of the over 2 million businesses in Australia? If so, you could be one of the many businesses that gets cut off from their phone and internet services because you aren’t told this crucial information about the NBN.

This article will give you everything you need to know to make sure your business isn’t cut off when the NBN rolls out in your area.

A recent survey of business owners led by a leading ISP revealed that a shocking 67% of respondents thought that moving to the NBN was optional, and 62% thought that their existing phone system would remain active even after switching to the NBN. Those a worrisome statistics, considering that both of these responses are wrong. This lack of understanding is the reason so many Australian businesses are being cut off from their services and left without any phone or internet connections – even as we speak!

We’re here to explain exactly what NBN Co. isn’t telling business owners about the NBN rollout and how it will affect your business. More importantly, we’ll tell you what you can do to make sure you’re ready to make the switch.

What Small Business Don’t Know About The NBN

We’ve all seen the ads that tell us how great the NBN will be, and how easy it will be to switch. Well, the truth is that migrating your existing services to the NBN isn’t “as easy as 1, 2, 3” after all.

1. Existing Copper Phone Lines Are Being Cut Off

For a long time, Australian businesses have relied on the existing telecommunications infrastructure to run their phone and internet services. That existing infrastructure is comprised of copper cabling, but this copper cabling is exactly why the NBN is being implemented, in the first place. The existing infrastructure has had it’s day, and the NBN is here to replace it. The process for doing this is as follows:

Step one: Install the NBN fibre cables in an area

Step two: Provide homes and businesses in that area with a notice that they need to switch to the NBN

Step three: Remove the existing copper wire, or reutilise it to work with the NBN

The most important information here is the fact that you’ll receive notice to switch to the NBN. This isn’t a friendly letter to tell you how lucky you are to have access to the NBN – it’s a warning that if you don’t switch by the date they provide, your existing services will be cut off.  Once that day arrives, your existing phone lines will no longer work, and your existing internet services will no longer work.

Another big issue in the NBN Co. communication department is that some people have actually been told they can and should get the NBN, only to contact a provider to find that they actually can’t. Other business owners who have been left in the lurch after their services were cut off actually only received a few weeks notice to switch, which was not enough time to a technician to come and install the NBN.

The best thing you can do, is to make sure you DO NOT ignore any letters or correspondence from your phone and internet provider, or from NBN. Co. You could miss the chance to switch your services in time!

2.Switching to the NBN is not an option

The fact that 67% of business owners responding to the aforementioned survey thought they had a choice about switching to the NBN shows just how misinformed people are. As far as we’re concerned, NBN Co’s advertising priority should have been to make sure Australians know exactly where they stand when it comes to migrating their existing services – not how fast, reliable, and easy the NBN will be. These are all great points about the NBN, of course, but what’s crucial is the fact that so many businesses have assumed that they can keep their existing services and move to the NBN if and when they want to. It’s a shame, and we’ve heard so many stories about business who have been misinformed and, as a result, they’ve gone weeks without the ability to make and receive phone calls, or even check their emails in the office. Can you imagine the lost revenue?

The fact is, the NBN is NOT a choice.

You WILL have to switch to the NBN, and there’s no way to avoid it. But even worse is that people haven’t been informed about the other scary fact – that you’ve only got a certain amount of time to make the switch.

In the next section, we’ll explain why.

3. There are alternatives to the NBN for your Data Service

The NBN is what the telco industry calls a “best effort service”. This means that your ISP will provide you with a certain download speed, but they aren’t able to guarantee that’s what you’ll always get. That’s because of something called ‘contention ratio’, and that depends on how much traffic there is sharing the same bandwidth. A 50:1 contention ratio means up to 50 customers may be using the same bandwidth at any one time. If you see a 1:1 contention ratio (which you will in a minute!), it means that only your business is using that bandwidth – it’s yours, and yours alone.

For example, if you purchase a Tier 5 NBN package with 100 mbps download bandwidth, and the traffic is relatively low, you’ll be getting pretty close to that speed on your connection. If, however, traffic becomes congested, your speeds will slow down. For many this doesn’t pose a major problem, but some businesses can’t afford slowing speeds.

That’s where alternative data services come in very handy. You may have been led to believe that ADSL or the NBN are your only two options. That’s no surprise, because traditionally only ADSL has been advertised, and now it’s been overtaken by the NBN.

Depending on the size of your business, the way you want to use your internet, and whether or not you need guaranteed speeds, you may be looking for a data service that offers unparallelled superior performance. Alternatives will often provide SLA guaranteed bandwidth (which the NBN cannot offer), or symmetrical upload and download speeds (which the NBN also cannot offer). Business with high bandwidth needs due to Video Conferencing, Web Hosting, or Cloud hosted Phone Systems will especially benefit from these data services.

What Other Data Options are Available?

Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM)

Perfect for Virtual Private Networks, Web Hosting, and Cloud Based PBX systems, EFM provides superior performance guarantees in SLA’s, symmetrical upload and download speeds, and a 1:1 contention ratio.  

Symmetrical HIgh-Speed Digital Subscriber Lines (SHDSL)

SHDSL provides a symmetrical bandwidth connection with speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 80Mbps. It delivers superior performance for services such as VPN’s, Cloud Hosted Services, Web Hosting, Video Conferencing, and more.

Fibre Ethernet

Fibre ethernet is Australia’s top tier data performance service available in Australia.

It stands alone from any other network infrastructure, and exists solely for the use of your business, and your business only. It’s the perfect, high security solution  for companies that wish to connect multiple office sites using a VPN, with a 1:1 contention ratio and high speed symmetrical bandwidth, both guaranteed in SLA’s.

4. The NBN Will Affect Every Communication Device In The Office

With all this talk about switching your phone and internet services, it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of other devices in your office that you’ll also have to consider when you make the switch.

Have you got one or more EFTPOS terminals at your business?

Do you have a security system that uses phone lines?

Are you a medical practice that uses a HICAPS terminal?

Do you send and receive faxes?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, you’ve got a few things to consider before you make the switch to the NBN. Every single one of these devices will now need to send and receive information using your NBN data service, rather than the old phone outlet in your wall.

But NBN Co. doesn’t tell business owners that it’s not as easy as unplugging each device, and plugging them back into your modem. Traditionally, your devices would most likely have been using analogue data, while the NBN will only support digital data. This is where some forward thinking can really come in handy. Even if you aren’t getting the NBN any time soon, contact the provider of any of your existing devices to find out whether or not you will need an upgrade, or if you’ll be able to use an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA). An ATA will convert analogue data into digital data, but they can only be used for some devices, and some types of NBN connection.

What’s Next?

Hopefully we’ve cleared up a few of the misconceptions so many people have about the NBN and how it will affect businesses. While none of us can change how the NBN is being rolled out, how long we have to switch, or how well (or not well!) NBN Co. informs the general public, you can take steps to ensure that your business is educated and prepared for the switch.

The best thing you can do now is continue to educate yourself to make sure that your phone and internet services don’t disappear because your existing services are cut off. Explore your options, understand which devices need to be considered, and stay in touch with your ISP and NBN, Co, making sure you never ignore any correspondence.

For a more thorough look at how the NBN will affect your business, download our FREE Small Business Guide to the NBN.

Stay informed, stay up-to-date, and whatever you do – don’t wait until it’s too late!

7 Best Value VoIP Headsets of 2017

Not all VoIP headsets are created equal, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the best value VoIP headsets of 2017 based on quality, flexibility, UC compatibility and – of course – price.

Most Australian businesses are making the move to Unified Communications (UC), and if you’re one of them, you’ll need a VoIP headset that will come along for the ride. Whether you’re an entry level user, in a call centre, or are on the lookout for the ultimate headset with all the bells and whistles, you’ll find this list a great starting point.

But first of all, we just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here, so let’s look at what exactly a VoIP headset is, and get you thinking about what kind of VoIP headset you actually need.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and is sometimes also referred to as Voice over IP and IP telephony. It is a process by which media communications can take place using Internet Protocol (IP) Networks. In layman’s terms, it’s a way for us to communicate using the internet.

In the past, we’ve used the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to make phone calls, but with VoIP, we’re using our internet connections.

VoIP uses codecs (coding and decoding of data) by first code your voice into digital data that can traverse the internet, and then re-coding it back into analogue data at the other end. While VoIP can only transmit voice data, SIP (Session INitiation Protocol) can transmit all forms of data, including video and other multimedia. SIP is what we call the “VoIP Superhighway”, and it’s perfect for business phone systems.

What is a VoIP Headset?

First of all, the term ‘VoIP Headset’ is a bit of a misnomer. Whether or not your headset will work with VoIP actually depends on what you’re plugging it into, not the headset itself. For example, if you’re using a desk phone to make VoIP phone calls, you will have to have a headset that connects to your desk phone. If you’re using that same desk phone to make PSTN calls, the same headset should work.

What you may have been looking for on your hunt for a VoIP headset is a UC headset. That’s one that will work with your UC solution or Skype for Business (formerly known as Lync). In this case, your VoIP headset needs to be a UC headset, so make sure you keep your eye out for that term before you make a purchase.

In any case, whether you call it a VoIP headset or a UC headset, you’re looking for the same thing, and you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for the best headset to suit your business needs.

What kind of VoIP headset do I need?

As we mentioned, the first thing to look out for is a headset that works on your UC platform. When it comes to the other factors for you to consider, that is really a matter of who will use the headset, how they will use the headset, the features the user will need, and your budget.

Our 7 best VoIP headsets of 2017 aren’t just taking into account price and snazziness. We know that some businesses might need two top-of-the-line headsets for their reception staff, but 8 good quality, entry level headsets for their call centre staff. That’s why we will cover all bases in this list.

No matter who and what you need your VoIP headset for, here’s some of the more important factors you need to consider before you explore our list, courtesy of the headset experts at Simply Headsets:

  1. Do I need the headset to be compatible with my computer only, my desk phone only, my mobile, or all three?
  2. What wearing style will be most comfortable for the user? Some headsets come with both over-the-ear and over-the-head wearing styles, however, many brands come with only one, and offer the second as an additional extra.
  3. What features do I need in a headset?
  4. Do I need a wireless headset? If the user needs to be able to move around the office while on a call, then this is important.
  5. Would I like to be able to answer a call when I’m away from my desk? Some headsets require that you lift the desk phone handset or click on your computer screen in order to answer. Others will offer a remote answering feature.
  6. How important is sound quality? Obviously, the sound technology in a headset can influence its price, however, even your entry level headsets have decent sound these days.
  7. What is my budget?

Our 7 Best VoIP Headsets of 2017

1. Jabra UC VOICE 150 MS USB Corded Headset

RRP $49.00

Image of the Jabra UC VOICE 150 MS USB Corded Headset

It’s not fancy, it’s not expensive, and it’s not loaded with additional extras, but it still makes our list because it’s optimised for Microsoft Skype, it meets Jabra’s high sound standards, and it has a great all-round quality.

This one’s for the entry level user, and is a plug and play headset with a call control unit that you’ll be able to use straight out of the box. For this price you’ll find it’s comfortable, has a clear sound, and offers reasonable noise reduction technology – that makes it one of our best value VoIP headsets of 2017.

2. Jabra Evolve 80 UC MS Stereo Headset (USB & Mobile Phone)

RRP $580.00

Image of Jabra Evolve 80 UC MS Stereo Headset

If we were measuring headsets based purely on style and function, this one would come out on top. As it is, we’re looking at the best value VoIP headsets, and this one is a little too high up on the price scale for us to justify putting it any higher on this list.

Having said that, you won’t get a better noise cancelling headset than this one, which means the Evolve 80 is perfect for noisy work environments and your commute home. The sassy style also makes it ideal for personal use. Trust us when we say, if you’re looking for the crème de la crème of VoIP headsets, you’ve found it.

3. Plantronics Blackwire C520-M USB Corded Headset

RRP $143.00

Image of Plantronics Blackwire C520-M USB Corded Headset

This is a brilliantly intuitive headset that will juggle your PC calls and multimedia using Plantronics’ Smart Sensor technology, with audio alerts that will manage your connection status, mute, and volume. It’s corded – which is a no-go zone for some people – but the fact that you can answer a call simply by putting it on makes that fact a lot easier to handle.

For a mid price tag, we think the audio is amazing, and provides great value. The Dynamic EQ feature also optimises the clearness of your voice, and adjusts automatically when you’re listening to music or multimedia.

The Blackwire C520-M is designed specifically for use with Microsoft Skype or Communicator software, so make sure you’ve got it before purchasing!

4. Sennheiser SC 60 USB ML Corded Headset

RRP $89.00

Image of Sennheiser SC 60 USB ML Corded Headset

We promised to deliver the best value VoIP headsets of 2017, and that means including affordable headsets. The Sennheiser SC 60 USB ML fits that bill.

Optimised for Unified Communications, this headset will acquire top priority over other devices that are connected to your computer’s speakers and microphone. One of our favourite things about this headset is that Sennheiser means it when they say, “plug and play”; it’s easy to set up and simple to use.

The voice clarity is fantastic, with Sennheiser’s renowned noise cancelling technology and wideband sound, available in both mono and duo wearing styles. Both styles are comfortable to wear, and the flexible boom arm is handy for keeping the microphone in the best position.

The only downside is the fact that it is corded, but if you don’t have the need to move around the office while you’re on a call, it shouldn’t be a problem for you.

5. Sennheiser DW Pro 1 Wireless Headset

RRP $399.00

Image of Sennheiser DW Pro 1 Wireless Headset

The DW Pro is one of the highest quality headsets on the market, and we know that you won’t be disappointed when you try it out. The only reason it isn’t at #1 is because of it’s price, but make no mistake, there’s no a single sacrifice when it comes to quality. Compatible with UC platforms, you’d have a hard time finding a more intelligent, feature-rich, or faster charging headset on the market.

As we always expect from Sennheiser, the sound quality and noise cancellation are impeccable, which makes this an ideal headset for the noisy office; the HD clarity is second to none.  The DW Pro 1 will also automatically conference with other Sennheisers, which is ideal when you’ve got multiple users using the same phone. And if keeping your ears safe from harmful noises is important to you, the DW Pro 1 features ActiveGuard technology, intercepting and eliminating damaging sound before it reaches your ears. It charges in only 20 minutes – which is impressive – a 12 hour talk time, and a range of up to 180 metres – which is beyond impressive.

6. Plantronics Voyager 5200 UC Wireless Bluetooth Headset

RRP $305.00 

Image of Plantronics Voyager 5200 UC Bluetooth Headset

The Voyager 5200 was put on the market as an upgrade to the very popular Plantronic Legend, and it’s already a bestseller. Plantronics has included their most advanced noise cancelling technology and WindSmart technology in the Voyager 5200, and that’s because it’s mobile compatible and designed to go wherever you go.

It’s in second place on our list because it’s got voice recognition answering (just say ‘answer’ or ‘ignore’ when you get a call), it’s perfect for use with your mobile, it’s charging case provides up to 14 additional hours of talk time, and it sounds like a dream for both you and your caller. Plantronics have also designed the button placement to make it easier for you to adjust controls. On top of that, it’s on-the-ear, ergonomic design is comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

While it’s definitely on the pricier end of the headset scale, we think every penny will be worth it if you’re looking for a VoIP headset that will make your life easier.

7. Jabra Stealth UC MS Wireless Bluetooth Headset

RRP $166

Image of Jabra Stealth UC MS Bluetooth Headset

When it comes to affordability, this wireless headset is (in our opinion) the best value VoIP headset available. It’s optimised for use with Microsoft Skype (MS) and, for such a good value VoIP headset, it’s sound quality won’t disappoint. Jabra have included their Advance Noise Blackout technology to deliver a crisp and noise-free call, while  the dual microphones and HD Voice guarantees a clear listening experience for both you and your caller.

We also like the fact that the Stealth is slimline and lightweight, which means you can wear it discreetly and still be comfortable when it’s not in use. Another great feature is that you can activate Google Now and Siri by pressing a convenient button on the headset, which means you can leave your phone in your pocket.

Overall, it’s got everything you need in a VoIP headset – it’s comfortable, stylish, optimised for Microsoft Skype, and it boasts an excellent call quality. The fact that it’s wireless and doesn’t have too hefty a price-tag means it’s our pick for the best value VoIP headset for 2017.

Summary

We started this post by pointing out that not all headsets are the same, and we’ve tried our hardest to compile a list of the best value VoIP headsets which everyone will find useful. Whether you’re a seasoned wearer and know exactly what a good quality headset can deliver, or just starting out and need a decent starter headset, we’re hoping you’ve found something in this list to get you thinking about exactly what you need in a VoIP headset.

If you’re still unsure, head over to Simply Headsets to see their extensive range of VoIP and UC Headsets – you’ll be spoiled for choice. Plus, you can give their Melbourne based team a call to get some personalised advice about which headset will best suit your needs.

How Does VoIP Work? – The Ultimate Guide To VoIP & More

As a telecoms company, we get asked “how does VoIP work?” a lot. VoIP is fast becoming the most popular form of telecommunication on the planet, and while you may know a little about it – or even none at all – understanding how VoIP works and what it means for your business is something you can no longer avoid.

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a method used to turn our analogue voice signals into digital data, so we can make phone and video calls, among other things, using our internet connections. In doing this, we’re able to take advantage of much lower priced (and sometimes free) phone rates and line rental.

Simpsons gid with Marge asking How Does VoIP work?

The most important reason to get your head around VoIP, though is the fact that the NBN rollout is going to mean your business will be looking for a new way to run and manage your phone system.

What is VoIP?

VoIP Definition

‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ is also known as Voice over IP, VoIP and IP telephony. It is a methodology that includes a group of similar technologies – all used to deliver voice and media – such as fax, SMS, and voice and video calls, over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

Where these communications have traditionally taken place using the public switched telephone network (PSTN), VoIP specifically refers to communications services that take place over the public Internet.

How does VoIP Work?

VoIP: Codecs

When you use VoIP to make phone calls over the internet, your voice has to be encoded into digital data, and that digital data has to be re-coded into voice signals at the other end of the call. This process of encoding-decoding is achieved by codecs, which is short for – you guessed it – encoder-decoder. Codecs ensure that the data is compressed, which means that it’s transmitted faster and, as a result,  the quality of the call is better.

Codecs are required because, unlike traditional PSTN phone conversations that use analogue data, VoIP uses digital signals. Codecs are used to encode the analogue voice data into digital signals that can traverse the internet. When the digital signal reaches the destination, it will be decoded back to its analogue form, so the person on the line can hear and understand it.

While the idea of digital voice data and codecs may seem complicated, just think of the process as you would an email. Like an email, the data (your voice) has a destination (the number you dial). Your voice is turned into a code (encoded)so that it can move through the internet. At the other end, the code is converted back into the sound of your voice (decoded), so the person you are calling can understand what you said.

If both you and the person you called are using VoIP, then the entire journey of your phone call will take place over the internet. If they’re using the traditional network, the call travels as far as it can using VoIP, and then switches to the public phone network to get to its destination. The same happens if you have a traditional phone, and someone using a VoIP service calls you, only the journey is reversed.

VoIP Algorithms

How are VoIP calls are made?

Unlike traditional phone services, there is not only one way to make a phone call using VoIP. Where you used to connect your phone to a wall outlet, the three most common ways to connect using a VoIP service are:

An Analogue Telephone Device (ATA)

An ATA is an adapter that allows you to use your analogue telephone with a VoIP service. It connects between your phone and your internet service, and will encode the outgoing analogue data from your phone into digital data that can journey across the internet. Likewise, it will take incoming digital data and decode it into an analogue sound that you can hear and understand.

When it comes to switching from traditional services to VoIP, the ATA is a little lifesaver, and can potentially save your business thousands of dollars in new hardware. You can learn more about ATA’s in our Small Business Guide To The NBN.

IP Phones

IP (Internet Protocol) phones look just like a normal phone, however, they are built especially for VoIP. Instead of connecting to your wall socket using an RJ-11 phone cable,

RJ11 Plug & Cable used in VoIP

IP Phones will connect to your router using an RJ-45 ethernet connector.

RJ45 Plug & Cable Using in VoIP

You don’t need an ATA is you have IP handsets, because digital is their native language.

A great entry level IP-enabled handset is the Avaya 1408 Phone Handset, in fact, “For 90% of customers they would be hard pressed to require anything more.”

image of Avaya 1408 Phone Handset

Avaya 1408 Phone Handset

And for business looking for a more advanced IP Phone setup the Avaya 9670G Phone Handset is part of Avaya’s flagship range.

Image of avaya 9670

Softphones

A softphone is software that loads a VoIP service onto your computer, often with an interface that looks just like a traditional phone. An example of a consumer softphone is Skype,

While business grade softphone services are not always free, the software is often very low cost, and you do make a lot of savings on your calls. You’ll need the VoIP software, a microphone and speakers (or a UC headset), a sound card, and a good internet connection (like any form of VoIP).

How VoIP Works for Your Business

In Australia, the public switch telephone network (old copper wiring)  is being phased out and replaced by the NBN – which means VoIP is soon going to be the main telecommunications protocol nation-wide.

While it is an excellent reason to switch your services to VoIP, more and more Australian businesses are doing so because of the low price and greater flexibility it offers.

Advantages of VoIP

Now that you’ve got an understanding of what VoIP is, let’s take a look at the five biggest reasons Australian businesses are turning to VoIP services to replace their old services:

1. It’s loaded with features

Most VoIP providers include features with their VoIP service for which traditional ISP’s would usually charge an additional fee. So, where you might have been paying your old provider monthly for Caller ID, Call Forward, Call Waiting, and Call Transfer, these features will usually be included in your VoIP service at no extra cost. The range of features are quite extensive, and it pays to shop around with different providers. Some charge more than other for extra features, while some have a whole host of them for free.

2. VoIP will be best friends with your phone system

VoIP is ideal for business phone systems for a number of reasons, and it will work with a traditional, hybrid, IP or Hosted system. In some cases, new licenses and ATA’s will be required, so look around for an honest provider that will help you switch your phone system to VoIP with the minimum expense.

3. VoIP will save you a lot of money

Because VoIP uses the internet as a pathway for your communication, rather than the cables previously used on the PSTN network, line rental is the first place you are going to see savings. Some providers offer VoIP lines for as little as $5. The same goes for your phone calls. Even international phone calls are up o a third less expensive than with PSTN lines and, with some providers, local and national calls will be free. Mobile rates are lower, and we’ve personally seen some of our client’s make a 70% saving in their monthly phone bill after switching to VoIP.

4. VoIP is a lot more flexible

One of the drawbacks of traditional PSTN communication was that, if you wanted to add another user in your office, you’d have to pay for another line, and have someone come to your office to install an outlet. VoIP is a lot easier to scale up or down, and most of the changes you’d be likely to make can be made remotely by your provider. The same goes for managing your features and, in a lot of cases, you can actually make the changes you want yourself using a web interface (if you’re using a softphone).

5. VoIP is the best NBN friendly option you have

Pretty soon, all PSTN lines will be either removed or made redundant, so whether you like it or not, VoIP will be the only answer.

Plus there are also many more reason for small & medium size businesses to switch to using VoIP that you can learn more about here.

Disadvantages of VoIP

While VoIP has a lot of benefits it does, like everything, have a few drawbacks, and they all relate to it being reliable under certain circumstances.

1. VoIP is dependent on a quality internet connection

As a result, QoS issues can affect the quality of your VoIP phone calls. It’s also important to make sure your bandwidth is capable of carrying your VoIP service, in addition to your general office internet use, otherwise a heavy download could cause a dropout in your phone calls. This is why our carrier partner SpringCom recommends having a dedicated internet connection just for your voice data.

2. VoIP runs the risk of viruses and hackers

It’s rare, but VoIP hacking is definitely a thing. Good news is that there are some easy steps your business can take to protect yourself.

3. VoIP will make emergency calls a bit of a challenge

Because VoIP uses an IP address as a phone number, and a geographic location can’t be drawn from an IP address. With PSTN lines, if you couldn’t tell the emergency operator your address, they could still trace your location. With VoIP, there’s no way to find the precise location of the caller if they can’t tell the operator their address. View the information about VoIP and emergency calling from ACMA.

VoIP, the NBN, and your Phone System

The NBN means that every home and business will have to find a new way to make phone calls – and that means VoIP. Residential customers, for the most part, will be able to simply connect their existing phone into an NBN outlet and start making VoIP calls. There are a lot of VoIP myths out there but this option is not viable for businesses, because it is limited to two phones.

The solution for you will be to start using VoIP – and it’s not as scary as it sounds…

Instead of plugging your phone into an outlet in your wall, you will now plug them into your modem to connect them to the NBN.

As we mentioned earlier, an ATA may be required for older phones and phone systems and, in some cases, you’ll be required to buy a license. The ATA will simply connect between your phone and your modem. It’s also likely that your business will benefit from SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), which is business grade, superior VoIP. Find out more about How SIP Works with a Phone System.

The key to being ready for VoIP – and the NBN in general – is to look for a provider who you can trust. Many businesses are getting sketchy information about VoIP, SIP, and Phone Systems, and end up spending a fortune on new phone systems, handsets, and hardware that they don’t actually need.

Conclusion

This article has addressed the question, ‘How does VoIP work’, and looked at how it will work for your business, including some of its advantages and disadvantages.

As mentioned, switching your business service to VoIP won’t be a choice once the NBN has been rolled out in your area. The good news is that – if you prepare properly and get the right advice before you make the switch – your new VoIP service will improve the way your business communicates.

Unfortunately, if you don’t prepare, things can get tricky. Assuming that the switch is as simple as NBN. Co. advertises it will be (“As easy as 1…2…3…”) can be a big mistake. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, including your phone system, internet, EFTPOS terminals, and security systems. If you forget to plan ahead for these and many businesses have done – you could be stuck without them for days, weeks, and even months.

The advice we give to our phone system clients, and anyone else who asks us about the NBN, is to get an NBN-ready audit for your business. Have an Infiniti technician visit your office and assess everything from your handsets to your phone and internet outlets. They’ll give you the advice you need to make the switch to the NBN efficiently, saving to time and money in the long run. Get in touch with our team today on 1300 889 792 to arrange an NBN audit for your business today.

NBN & Internet Complaints on the Rise in 2016

If you are having issues with your internet connection or NBN service, you’re not alone! The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) released a publication in November 2016 that outlined the state of affairs for the period between July 2015 and June 2016, and it was not good news for the NBN.   

Overview of 2015-2016 in telco complaints

Australians made a total of 112, 518 complaints during that period, and while those about the internet and the NBN skyrocketed, new complaints about mobile and landline phone services saw a drop. It’s not all good news, however. In total, complaints about landline, mobile, and internet decreased during the year by a total of 9.6%. That sounds great, until you learn that, between July and September 2016, new complaints were 25.7% higher than they were at the same time in 2015.

NBN a major reason for complaints

The fact that complaints rose as the NBN really started to kick off in 2016 doesn’t, unfortunately, appear to be a coincidence.

Ombudsman Judi Jones says, “We saw nearly a 100 per cent increase in the number of NBN related complaints this year, but the rate of growth is lower than the growth of active services”. She went on to state that the most regularly reported issues were delays in connections to the network, faults ( including unusable services), and service dropouts.

The statistics to confirm these reports include the 147.8% jump in complaints about faults on NBN services, while complaints about NBN connections rose by a total of 63.2%.

A breakdown of telco complaints

We’ll take a snapshot look at some of the key statistics here, but if you want to read the whole report, go to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman website and follow the links.

The 112, 518 new complaints made to the TIO in the 2015-2016 financial year can be broken down into four service types: Mobile complaints made up 36.6%, Internet 34.6%, and Landline 28.8%.

The top five reasons for complaints remained the same as the previous year and were, in order, billing and payments, customer service, faults, complaint handling, and contracts.

Who complained the most? It would seem that the TIO received more complaints from Victorians than any other state, with 5.9 for every 1000 people. The other states were as follows:

  • South Australia – 5.34 per 1000 people
  • Australian Capital Territory – 5.22 per 1000 people
  • New South Wales – 5.21 per 1000 people
  • Queensland – 4.80 per 1000 people
  • Tasmania – 4.42 per 1000 people
  • Western Australia – 4.16 per 1000 people
  • Northern Territory – 3.83 per 1000 people

The average across Australia was 5.24 new complaints per 1000 people, and most of those new complaints came from consumers in major cities.

What to do if you have an issue with your provider

The first point of call is to call your provider directly and talk to someone about the issue you are having. If you don’t think your complaint has been resolved, or are unhappy with how it has been dealt with, you can ask to speak to a conflict resolution manager. If you’re still unhappy, that’s when you should get in touch with the TIO.

They provide free and independent dispute services for small businesses and residential consumers, and can be contact via a form on their website, or by calling 1800 062 058.

 

6 Easy Steps To Step Up Skype for Business Call Forwarding

In this article, I am going to take you through the 6 easy steps you need to go through to setup Skype for Business call forwarding to landlines or mobiles.

We often have the experience where a customer has an existing Skype for business number that they’d like to port to our services. We’ll explain below why (in most cases) this simply isn’t possible – but we’ll also give you a way around it by forwarding all of your Skype for business calls to your chosen mobile or landline number.

Is my Skype For Business Number portable?

Skype numbers are, typically, not portable. That’s because the local numbers that are supplied are owned by Skype and not the user, who is technically renting access to the number. Under ACMA (The Australian Communications and Media Authority) and TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman), Skype clients do not own any numbers that they have been issued by the company. Therefore, under LNP rules, Skype cannot legally put through port requests for any of the numbers that they supply.

What if I had a number ported into Skype originally?

If you had an existing local number ported into Skype, then you should be able to have it ported back out again to another provider.

But I want to keep my Skype for business number for use on a landline or mobile!

Many clients are frustrated by the news that they can’t simply move their existing phone number from Skype to our services, like they would be able to from any other telco provided number. But, like most things these days, there are some actions you can take to get around this problem. The answer is Call forwarding, and there’s only a few steps you need to take to make it happen.

How to set up a permanent forward from your Skype for business number to your landline or mobile

If you want to keep your Skype Number and use it on your landline or mobile phone, the only realistic option is to permanently forward your Skype Number using an unlimited landline phone plan.

First, you will need to make changes to your Skype subscription as follows:

Step 1: Change your Skype account to the ‘Australia unlimited mins landlines plan AU$5.00/month’.

Skype for Business Call Forwarding plans

If you pay annually, you will save an additional 15%

Skype for business call forwarding annual plans

Next, follow these steps to forward all Skype calls to your chosen destination:

Step 2: Sign in to your skype account

Step 3: Go to the Manage Features section, and select Call Forwarding

Step 4: Select the button to enable call forwarding, so that it appears green. Once you’ve enabled the feature, select how many seconds you would like your calls to ring before they are forwarded (If you want ALL calls to be forwarded at all times, select a minimum number of seconds).

Step 5: Next, select the destination of your forwarded calls. In this case, you will most likely be allocating a landline or mobile number. Make sure you select the correct country or region when entering the phone number.

You can forward your Skype calls to up to three mobile or landline phone numbers worldwide by selecting Add Number and entering the details as above.

Step 6: Confirm the changes you have made.

Once you have followed these steps, every call received will be forwarded to your chosen phone number, even if you aren’t actually signed into your Skype account.

To turn off Skype for Business Call Forwarding, simply sign in to your account, go to Call Forwarding in the Manage Features section, and select the green button to disable the feature.

The nbn™ Network: What You Need To Know

Are you wondering if you have to move to the NBN?

For most people, the answer is YES! That is, if you want to keep your landline phone and internet services.

Sounds drastic, but it’s true, because to make way for the new network, parts of the existing network are being switched off. Watch the video below to find out more.

Prepare your business properly

Are your landline phone and internet services NBN-ready? Will your existing phone and internet technology, including your phone system, continue to work after the disconnection of the copper network?

There are a lot of questions, that’s for sure. At Infiniti, we like providing people with honest information that will get them where they need to be. You can call us today on 1300 889 792 to find out how your business can be prepared for the NBN.

We also offer a comprehensive, fully subsidised NBN-ready audit. our technicians will come to your office and assess everything from your phone system to your EFTPOS terminal, and help arm you with what you need to make a smooth and cost effective NBN transition. Call our specialised team directly on 1300 513 140 now.