incovo Insight: Review of the Polycom VVX Models of VoIP Phones

VoIP Phone Reviews: VVX 300, VVX 400, VVX500 & VVX600

VoIP Phones

The take up of Hosted Telephone Systems has been pretty significant for incovo over the last 12 months and following our certification from technology partner Gamma, we have been able to design and implement a number of cloud telecoms solutions. One of the leading handset solutions out their for these IP PBX systems is the Polycom VoIP phones handsets and has proven to be a popular choice, especially given that incovo is running a free handsets promotion for new customers. However, the quality of the handsets themselves has been one of the main drivers for the positive feedback we’ve received for these handsets and given our experience with them, we’d have to agree that Polycom’s range is feature rich and very user-friendly.

With this in mind, we have produced this review of their handsets to help illustrate why incovo thinks you should consider these when looking at a hosted phone system for your small or mid-sized business. We have looked at the following handsets: Polycom VVX300, VVX400, VVX500 & VVX600.

 

vvx polycom voip phones

 

First impressions of Polycom VVX VoIP Phones

Polycom are probably best known for their bridge conference phones but they have also spent a lot of effort transferring this quality to their VoIP phones with their best-in-class speakerphone and HD voice clarity. All of the models were backlit with colour screens with the exception of the entry level VVX 300 which has a greyscale screen. Since the last series of Polycom phones, they have upgraded the number of lines available for all to make/receive calls and save the remainder for speed dials from 2 or 3 to the minimum of 6 for the VVX300, 12 lines for the VVX400&500 and 16 for the VVX600.

The two higher end models (VVX 500 & 600) have touch screens and also have the ability to take personalised screensavers and backgrounds via the USB port or through the web configuration utility.

Network

The VVX300 and 400 models come with 100mb ports as standard which allows for shared ethernet connection with your computer. VVX310 and 410 to have dual gigabit ports so your phone will not be a bottleneck when passing large files over your network. The VVX500 and 600 come with standard, dual gigabit ports. Finally, the VVX600 model will allow for a Blue Tooth headset pairing.

VoIP Phones: cool features

Asides from the standard features such as call forwarding, call transferring, three-way conferencing, do not disturb, directories, and voicemail – the VVX500 and 600, you can attach a zip drive and record calls. The display will show you how many hours of recording you have available on the drive. All models allow you to integrate the phone with your computer’s mouse and keyboard, allowing for a mouse over and click to dial from your favorites or directory. Additionally, these models will integrate with your Outlook Exchange calendars, providing you a view of your calendar from your phone, and dialing from the calendar for conference calls.

incovo review

Overall, all the Polycom VoIP phones were all very usable and look nice and feature-rich with the two entry-level phones proving to be very popular with customers in the small and medium-sized market space. The VVX 500 & 600 are higher-end models and as such are typically more for executive level or those with additional feature requirements such as the USB port, allowing for recording of calls right from the phone as well as personalized screen savers and background pictures.

The VVX300 and VVX400 phones are easy to use and intuitive for the user who may be new to VoIP. Both the VVX300 and 400 models have hard buttons next to the line appearance/BLF that change colour when in use. These present a similar user experience to other VoIP phones. We found it easier to transfer / dial utilising the hard buttons versus the touch screens of the higher end models, likely due to our previous familiarity with physical buttons. The menu scroll/select button is slightly cumbersome, and the touch screens of the higher-end models are superior in the scrolling/selecting functionality. The VVX300 and VVX400 phones are likely to be the choice for  general office deployment.

About incovo

incovo is a business communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost-effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever-changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Voice Over Wi-Fi (VoWLAN) vs. SIP-Dect: Workplace Communications

VoWLAN

Voice Over Wi-Fi: is it a cost effective strategy for adding mobility to your workplace community?

Recently we were approached by one of our clients about the options available for enhancing their workplace communications by adding mobility through the use of their existing WiFi infrastructure with a Voice over a Wireless Local Access Network (VoWLAN). Whilst this is possible and a potential way to leverage existing equipment and network, it does require some considerations regarding security, reliability and coverage. The obvious alternative to this method is to deploy a DECT service which guarantees voice communications from given that it operates on an isolated frequency, dedicating all of its resources to voice communication.

How a VoWLAN works

A VoWLAN uses Wi-Fi which is a packet-based technology intended for data communications and as such is pretty unreliable for voice communications as there is no prioritisation for voice over data communications. Similarly, WiFi has no established Quality of Service (QoS) standards. As a result it is unable to prioritise competing data which commonly results in issues such as audio gaps, distortion and dropped calls.

Whilst VoWLAN can offer a good solution within a certain perimeter, it does not lend itself greatly to extending out in to peripheral areas such as hallways, staircases or corridors without the use of signal repeaters or network extenders. VoWLAN is restricted as it doesn’t offer seamless roaming between access points which could mean that when is a call is in progress and the user is moving between access points, the handover is broken up as the encryption must be reformed

DECT as an alternative to VoWLAN

DECT technology is a much more viable and reliable technology solution for workplace mobility and has been a trusted and proven voice communication means for well over 20 years, as opposed to WiFi which is a relatively new technology, comparatively. Another consideration to take on-board is the limitation on the number of simultaneous calls per access points. Typically, a VoWLAN set up will be limited to three or four handsets (less if there is data being carried too) as opposed to a DECT set-up which can handle up to 8 handsets with concurrent calls.

Additionally, security is a serious consideration when contemplating this scenario as the typical security protocols for voice communications involve: authentication, authorisation, accounting and encryption as standard, which is not the case with a VoWLAN set-up. So in matters pertaining to confidentiality such as trade secrets, medical data or customer data, it will be vitally important that the relevant security protocols are enacted if deploying a VoWLAN. That’s not to say that a VoWLAN security strategy can’t be enacted but it will require a significant input your IT department or ICT contractor to implement it and ensure it conforms to the corresponding IT policies and is properly maintained.

Additional Considerations and Costs

Whilst it is true that there is an opportunity to reduce costs by implementing a VoWLAN such as the routing of calls over the data network internally or over the Internet externally, mobile telephony costs can be eliminated or decreased significantly. But even still, there are often costs that the upgrading of an existing WLAN system to a full Voice over Wireless Local Access Network that some fail to account for. For example, to upgrade an infrastructure to facilitate this will typically require the number of existing access points to be increased. Similarly, there may be a requirement to add bandwidth to the internet connection to handle any additional capacity added to the internet service provision.

Cost Benefit Analysis

With our client, we had to explain the shortcomings of this solution such as call quality being compromised, mobility being potentially limited and potential security concerns. Most of these can be addressed but at an additional and often unaccounted for cost and depending on business requirements, can negate the assumed benefits of a VoWLAN. In order to understand whether a VoWLAN or DECT set-up is best for your business we would advocate doing a cost analysis that factors the pros and cons for each into their decision.

Free Cost Benefit Analysis on VoWLAN or DECT

Thinking of implementing a VoWLAN or DECT set-up? Speak to the communications engineers at incovo to get the right solution for your business. Fill in the contact form below and we one of our experts will get in touch with you or alternatively call 0845 450 4500 to discuss your requirements today.

VoWLAN/DECT Consultation Enquiry

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About incovo

incovo is a business communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost-effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever-changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Recording Voice Calls and the Law: A Brief Overview

Call Centre law

Recording Voice Calls and the Law: A Brief Overview

 

A recent installation of our call recording and logging software, Xima’s Chronicall yielded a conversation regarding the legality of call recording with clients. Whilst we are no legal practice with an authority on such matters, we are able to outline a short overview for the client that we have since decided to share here too.

The governance regarding the topic of recording law that legislates privacy and customers’ rights is not limited to a few short pieces of legislation but rather is a set of substantial acts. There are 5 main pieces of legislation to be aware of that fall under the jurisdiction of recording calls and they are:

1. Data Protection Act 1998

2. Human Rights Act 1998

3. Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

4. Telecommunications Regulations 1999

5. Telecommunications Regulations 2000

Without drilling down into the finer details of each, we have summarised the main points to be aware of in regards to general best practice for recording phone calls and helping staff to pick out information most relevant to their job, such as:

  • The recording and monitoring of calls is legally permitted if it is for the intended purpose of providing evidence of a transaction, to ensure the compliance with a set of regulations, or to secure the effective operation of the telecom system.
  • Recording calls to ensure that national security standards are being upheld in instances where it is applicable to your line of work. Similarly, if your organisation offers way of detecting or preventing criminal offences.
  • Any recordings your business makes must be relevant to your business and a copy of the call must be retained.
  • In instances where you are collecting customer data, it is compulsory that your business is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • Any recordings that take place must be declared to the caller at the beginning of the call.

‘This call may be recorded for quality monitoring purposes’

Since the boom of contact centres in the early 1990s, there has been a steady rise of customer facing representatives that have a big impact of your company’s brand. With call monitoring and recording, companies are now able to monitor this frontline of communication for their brands and is usually the primary reason for doing so, quality performance monitoring.

It is commonplace for customers to be greeted with the automated notification that has helped raise awareness of this topic prior to commencing conversation with a business’ representatives, as per Ofcom’s guidelines. It is these guidelines that state that businesses must take every reasonable effort to inform all parties that the call is being recorded and offers companies the protection against legal problems resulting from call recording – for example when a transaction error or dispute.

There is also perhaps the misconception that this is only applicable to larger organisations but this is a perilous fallacy but smaller businesses must also comply with the guidelines. The best way to comply with this is to have a pre-recorded message or spoken warning by the operator to advise of the call recording, in other circumstances it would be permissible to include these warnings in written form of publicity materials or in a telephone directory.

So in conclusion, we would recommend putting these practices in order to ensure that your business is able to record calls lawfully. For full compliance we would advocate contacting Ofcom or your company’s solicitor for advice as to what is required given your business’ particular circumstances for recording voice calls.

FAQ with incovo Head of Technology, Ray Prunty regarding UK Call Recording Legal Compliance

Q. For what reasons can I record my customer’s calls?

RP: The Lawful Business Practice [LBP] Regulations specify conditions upon which calls may be recorded. These are to:
1. Provide evidence of a business transaction.
2. Ensure that a business complies with regulatory procedures.
3. See that quality standards or targets are being met in the interests of national security.
4. Prevent or detect crime to investigate the unauthorised use of a telecom system.
5. Secure the effective operation of the telecom system.

Q. Do I need consent from my callers to record calls?

RP: No, provided the recording is to meet one of the aforementioned conditions and you are not intending to make the recording available to a third party. If you are recording for any other purpose, such as marketing or market research, you will need consent from the third party. If you are intending to make the recordings available to a third party, then you must make every reasonable effort to inform all parties to a telephone conversation that it may or will be recorded.

Q.  How do I advise callers that they may be recorded?

RP: The particular means by which you choose to do this are not specified. Acceptable options, depending on circumstances, might include warning tones, pre-recorded messages, spoken warnings by the operator or written warnings included in publicity material, telephone directories, contracts, terms of business, etc. It may not always be possible to warn first-time callers with whom you have had no previous contact but what is important is that you have a systematic procedure in place which provides the necessary information wherever this is a realistic possibility.
In these cases recording voice calls is authorised on the basis that there is reasonable grounds to believe the caller has consented.

Q. Do I need to notify my employees that calls are recorded?

RP: Yes. Businesses can monitor, but not record, phone calls to see whether they are relevant to the business (ie open an employee’s voicemail or mailbox systems while they are away to see if there are any business communications stored there).

If you want to know more about the requirements to ensure compliance with recording voice calls then contact incovo today:

recording voice calls

 

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Protecting your investment: Planning to get the most out of unified communications solution

Unified Communications Solutions

Get more from your Unified Communications Solution

We’ve seen it so many times before: businesses want to adapt their communications protocols to enable growth and deliver enhanced service delivery channels to meet customer growing expectations and they turn to unified communications as the solution. Sold as this silver bullet that will open up a new range of channels and features that will enhance your communications ability, giving greater options and availability – all of which it does.

However, without the correct planning and quintessentially, stakeholder buy-in, inevitably it never reaches the intended full potential of it’s considerable ability. This is highlighted summarised by a recent study by Softchoices that indicated that of employees and IT managers polled, sum 71% use fewer communications tools than are available to them. Underutilisation is often underpinned by lack of understanding, lack of buy-in or lack of training.

What also adds to this paradigm is the rate of development of technologies and solutions that go even further to bring new benefits and efficiency to the communications procedure but without sufficient planning, it is easy to get lost in excitement and lose sight of the business objective.

Taking action with the end in mind

  • Focus on outcomes, not technology – While communications technology is an essential enabler of performance, we would always be quick to remind customers that performance as a business needs to drive all investment in infrastructure. As a solutions integrator, we always begin this process by providing guidance at your current position by assessing your current environment; providing relevant options as how to help migrate to new platforms and integrate new applications. We believe we can deliver top performance to you as a service provider by  understanding how to augment and enhance your business processes through unified communications.
  • Delivering a service orientation, not a product orientation – Having established the key business priorities that ensure the correct technology selected and delivery method is suitable, the next step is about the service delivery from the provider. In order to obtain a full return on your investment in the technology solution, as your technology partner, incovo are committed to integrating, maintaining and perpetually upgrading your platforms and applications.

How incovo helps customer’s optimise their unified communications solution

incovo differentiate themselves from product providers and systems integrators by becoming a technology partner with our clients and this is done by the delivery of a strategic assessment of the organisation’s current competences and capabilities. The assessment is designed to measure your ogranisation against a set of operational and strategic competencies that determine the appropriate solutions.

Unified Communications Competency Assessment

With this assessment and our best practice experience we are then able to determine where your organisation fits into our development and integration model. The model is designed to pinpoint your current ‘as-is’ status with utilising current technology and then plots staged operational upgrades with reasonable and considered time-frames to reach the ‘optimal’ stage of deployment. Our experience has allowed us to develop this model to help manage expectation and facilitate stakeholder buy-in enabling the optimised adoption for the organisation. This is often achieved with a stakeholder workshop, from across all the key areas of the business (typically IT and senior business department heads) that are familiar with strategic objectives for the business.

Those who invest the time, reap the benefits

It seems obvious to say but those organisations that invest the time and effort into this process invariably are able to focus and prioritise the best path for unified communications development. Those that do have been known to benefit from decreased costs from the reduction of office space, cutting travelling time and costs and savings from telephony operational expenditure. Furthermore, they also experience better collaboration and improved efficiency amongst employees and greater flexibility resulting in improved employee satisfaction.

This approach ensures a single vision across the business that will assist in optimising existing initiatives, as well as serving as an educational process to explain the various technologies and their purposes, strategically, to business users. So if you are at the starting point of your organisation’s strategic planning process or in a checkpoint review point of an ongoing planned project, it may be well worth your while speaking to incovo about how to get the most out of your unified communications project.

Ready to put a UC system to work for you? It’s time to explore incovo’s UC solutions, powered by Avaya

Unified Communications Solutions 2

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Business Phone System Features: incovo’s Guide on What to Look For

Phone System Features

Top 10 Phone System Features for Business

Is your phone system letting your down or constantly causing you issues? Perhaps your system simply doesn’t have the functionality you require or you’ve experienced a change in business circumstances. In the event that you are uncertain as to know where or what to look for, we have put together this generic guide which applies universal requirements across a diverse range of industries. With this short guide we will aim to help illustrate which features are relevant to you and which aren’t and ultimately, help you choose a potential new phone system and ensure that you get the most out of it.

Important Phone System Features for Business

 

out of hours1. Out of Hours Greetings

Why have we chosen this as our number one feature? Well, day and night greetings ensures that your business never misses a call and do a great job of presenting your business in a professional light, especially when you consider the alternatives like: unanswered calls – leading to frustration and hanging up.

A practical example of this is: if your receptionist hasn’t picked up after 5 rings the system will pick up the call for you and greet them with your own customised message. “Thank you for calling YOUR BUSINESS, your call is important and we will be with you in just a moment…”

So simple, yet so easy to neglect.

voicemail2. Voicemail (and Voicemail to email)

Again, another really simple and easy one but when you consider the alternatives: Handwritten messages – which can often lead to miscommunication and distortion of information.

Just like your mobile phone voicemail, phone system voicemail allows callers to tell you exactly what they want, while maintaining their privacy. Voicemail saves unnecessary return calls and allows you to prioritise call backs.

transfer3.  Transferring calls in and out of the office

In spite of the fundamentally basic nature of this option, transferring calls can be a major contributor for choosing to switch or upgrade a system. The ability to do so with minimal fuss and the least amount of opportunity for mistakes is a key factor in driving business efficiency. Different brands achieve this in different ways and you need to understand how the system you’re looking at actually works (not just looks). It may not be the right option for you.

dialler4.  Speed dialling and CTI

The are a large percentage of workers out there that, through the nature of their job call the same 5 or so numbers on a daily occurrence that being able to utilise speed dialling and CTI functions can be a fantastic benefit to them.

Further testimony to this is when you use a database, ACT, Goldmine, Microsoft Outlook, or just a list of your customers or associates, phone systems can make calling people as easy as clicking a mouse button.

twinning5.  Mobile Twinning

If you are anything like me, I am pretty bad for remembering to divert my calls to my mobile when I am out of the office. However, with the ability to mobile phone twinning, you are able to pair your desk phone to your mobile phone at the same time – with both ringing at the same time and both answerable to the same call. You can even have the call though to the employee for free if you use a GSM gateway. The best thing about this function is that this is becoming more of a standard feature so feel free to ask about it with your current/potential future supplier.

If you would like to read the other 5 remaining features to look for when upgrading your phone system then please download this free guide on business phone system features.

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Phone System Features

 

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Unified Communications and collaboration: Are you ready to step up? incovo’s guide

Unified Communications

What to consider for upgrading unified communications and collaboration?

Go to any telecoms solutions provider and undoubtedly they will be talking about Unified Communications and collaboration as a must-have dynamic and progressive communications breakthrough (which it is!); and whilst it is great and in some instances, crucial for some businesses. It is also broad and all encompassing and as such, time and effort should be taken to analyse your business’ requirements prior to engagement to ensure uptake and adoption. Unified Communications (UC) is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products and solutions that provides a consistent unified user-interface and user-experience across a variety of communications devices.

As individual consumers, we are used to accessing a variety of communications modes at any time via our smartphones and now the business community is seeking the same functionality and availability from the business equivalents. Depending on the business function, there are requirements for services such as: instant messaging(chat), presence information, voice (including IP telephony), mobility features (including extension mobility and single number reach), audio, web & video conferencing, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), desktop sharing, data sharing (including web connected electronic interactive whiteboards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax).

Why upgrade?

Staff cuts, attrition, and skills gaps in an IT department can have a profound impact on an enterprise’s ability to maintain quality service for voice, data, and video.

When an enterprise is struggling to maintain multiple technology platforms, manage multiple vendors, and deploy disparate communications services, the move to Unified IP communications can make sense. incovo provides fully managed, cloud-based solutions that free mid-sized IT staff from the day-to-day headaches of managing communications infrastructure and services.

With embarking on such a UC project, no doubt as person responsible for planning and overseeing this implementation, you will undoubtedly will be thinking about the practicalities of such an undertaking for example, assessing LAN and WAN capacity, switches and routers, and all kinds of speeds and feeds. However, have you contemplated some of the more measured and far less technical steps beforehand? If not, we have put together a few practical considerations that we have encountered with clients as a solutions provider.

Head of Technology at incovo, Ray Prunty, who acts as the principle lead for all UC systems solutions for clients had the following advice to dispense – “Before worrying about the technical details, organisations should understand why they’re getting into UC in the first place – and how different employees will use the technology. The benefits of taking this approach is to allow the company to better understand what employees do and make sure they have the tools that make the most sense for their specific jobs.”

This is an industry concern as highlighted in the Gartner’s technology analysis and forecast “Optimize UC Adoption With These Best Practices.”  In the report, Gartner warns that:

“Through 2017, 30 percent of UC projects will fail to meet their objectives because the UC solution deployed does not adequately meet user needs in terms of functionality or user experience quality.”

That’s why at incovo, at the consultation and planning stage with our clients, we always discuss the following steps:

Step 1: Define your UC strategy

Firstly, we speak with the customer about what their business objectives are in regards to unified communications and collaboration – i.e. enhanced multi-channel response options or increased operational capacity when working remotely. Also, importantly, identifying the individual requirements of different users is going to determine what deployment will be best suited with regards to technology.

Knowledge workers have different requirements from those in a manufacturing plant. Similarly, employee needs depend on whether they’re at headquarters, a remote branch, or working at home.

For example, some remote workers may not need that much mobile technology. On the other hand, an engineer who works at a desk while also doing projects with others in different parts of the country will need the full range of UC technology.

The idea is to define profiles for each type of user, describing what they do and what their UC requirements are. Of course, it’s still important to recognise that the company as a whole has some shared communication needs.

Step 2: Create a realistic UC business case

Having established the requirements of all the users and their profiles, we are now best placed to create an accurate business case that will demonstrate that UC will improve business performance. Traditionally, to quantify estimated return on investment (ROI) for the Sales team, some consultants would simply calculate an average saving of say, 15 minutes per day that UC would save each of them and multiply this by the number of members.

However, this is an oversimplified approach and does not take into consideration user profiles and the extent of use of UC functionality per user. From this point we are able to determine the amount of time savings, productivity gains, and efficiencies you’ll gain on each user profile.

Step 3: Do a UC audit – don’t discount existing infrastructure

A common misconception is that all existing equipment and infrastructure becomes obsolete when upgrading to UC, for example Microsoft technology, Polycom speaker phones or headsets (headsets have been proven to increase the rate of UC adoption) – all of these are more than suitable for migration to a UC platform.

If it’s a solid product that’s doing its job and has useful life left, we look at integration with those products to deliver a holistic UC and collaboration environment. Once we understand what products can be re-purposed or need replacing, then we’ll get to a network assessment.

So whilst it’s important to find out if you’ve got enough bandwidth, server capacity, and the like; plus, your communications consultant will be able to advise on these matters during the initial feasibility stage of their consultation. But before all of that, it makes far more sense – and will result in a better outcome – to first take the three steps above.

If you are considering upgrading to an improved Unified Communications and Collaboration set up for your business then call us today and we can assess your needs. incovo will provide a consultation as well as an assessment that will test to ensure your network is properly configured for Quality of service, bandwidth, and topology for VoIp and Video traffic and includes installation of devices on your network that will help you simulate VoIP and video traffic.

unified communications Scotland

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

WebRTC: The Next Disruptor

WebRTC

 

WebRTC enables browser-to-browser applications for voice, video and more, without plugins

WebRTC or Web Real-Time Communications is the next big thing in web innovations and whilst it may have been around for a while now (the Beta version first emerged in 2011) its only over the last year or so that it is becoming more common place.

Since the introduction of HTML5, which is the platform upon which the content of the internet is structured and presented, was introduced in 2005, there has been a continuing series of developments and innovations that have enabled greater capabilities and functionality for web-users – and WebRTC is the latest in a long line of improvements to the internet and online communications.

Delving deeper into what WebRTC is and how it works, WebRTC is an open API (application program interface) that enables browser-tobrowser applications without plugins, for voice calling, video chat and peer-to-peer (P2P) communication. In its current form, WebRTC is provider of text, audio and visual applications and given time we will see these applications developed further to push the boundaries of web communication even further.

The use of Web-based communications, you may say, was something which already existed and is nothing new, and you would be right; however, the innovation comes in the form of the lack of requirements to install plug-ins lack Flash or the use of dowloading of an application.  Previously, downloading applications could have created security problems or the use of applications meant that they might work on Windows, but not on Macintosh, iOS, or Android. The same goes for plug-ins. Flash works great on my Windows PC and my iMac, but it’s not supported on my iPhone or iPad.

Other benefits of WebRTC include file sharing without the requirement fro a software client and will work on desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. This will act as a disruption in the multimillion pound industry of video conferencing but in these early stages the benefits and qualities offered by video conferencing vendors will be focused on more high end and professional services. Users can also choose to enable the Open Communication Manager (OCM) soft phone module so that they can place and receive calls directly in-browser without being tied to a desk or desktop soft phone.

The potential of this technology is substantial and this is verified by the major players involved in the development of the WebRTC standards and browser code implication which includes companies including: Cisco, Mozilla, Google, Opera Microsoft, Apple, Ericsson and a raft of other communications specialists. Similarly, incovo technology partner, Avaya announced at the end of 2014 that they were directly collaborating with Google to bring WebRTC to call centres with the intention to simplify and modernise its contact center systems.

Already, most major collaboartion platforms are using WebRTC to support interactive, instant business-to-consumer communications with voice, video and data sharing from websites and mobile applications. WebRTC is on the cusp of changing the way people interact with one another on the web. It offers the most potential in contact centres, but it is also a game-changer for UC and collaboration.

Avaya Communicator for Web (Broswer Based)

Those using Avaya IP Office and specifically Avaya communicator can work on Browser and doesn’t require the need to install any software on PC just open browser login using SSO and click to dial Voice / Video / IM / Presence using Web RTC which is Native in IP Office.

Avaya Communicator for Web, is initially available for IP Office and provides a streamlined, easy to use experience with a style familiar to those using mobile, cloud and browser-based applications. Part of the Avaya Communicator client portfolio, Avaya Communicator for Web is a browser extension designed to embed Avaya collaboration and communication from IP Office (instant messaging, presence, voice and video calling, phone control) into Google Apps and Salesforce.com. It enables users to engage with others without having to leave the web application they’re working in.

Keep checking back to incovo’s blog to find out more about WebRTC updates as we get them or alternatively, contact incovo today.

Avaya Communicator Trial

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Cut waiting times for your customers with Webtext from Avaya Aura

Avaya Aura

Using Avaya Aura can help give your customers the option to interact directly with an agent using SMS text messaging

There are very few things in this life that irritate us more than having to needlessly waiting for the simplest snippets of information, only to be told that “We apologise but we are currently receiving exceptionally heavy call volumes presently and you are currently 347th in our queue!” (pardon my exaggeration), but regrettably it is a common issue for many. And yet it needn’t be, not with the next generation of unified communications that are servicing the multichannel demands of the modern consumer (text, calls, emails, social media, fax, webchat and more).

Webtext with Avaya Aura to the Rescue

The answer comes in a new technology from Webtext, the 2014 Avaya Innovation Award winner. Webtext Call Directed to Text™ (CDTT) allows Avaya customers who use Avaya Aura® Contact Center, Call Center Elite Multichannel and other Avaya customer service platforms to offer their customers the option to interact directly with an agent using SMS text messaging.

So often, all a customer needs is a simple answer to one of a number of simple questions: “What time do you close?” “What is my reservation number?” “Where is the nearest authorised repair center?” These are exactly the kind of questions that are best answered in text.

Think back to when your customer’s service journey started: Imagine if instead of the usual ordeal you were able to offer, “We are experiencing exceptionally heavy call volumes. If you’d like to interact immediately with an agent using SMS text messaging, say or press ‘one.’”

What if almost instantly after opting-in, a text message was automatically delivered to your customer’s device? What if you could respond and be served immediately? Then your urgent question is answered quickly and you’ve got the information you needed. Your customer’s valuable time should be respected, and they should feel that their business is truly important.

Of course, for some issues, an actual conversation is required. Sometimes something that starts off seemingly simple requires more support. In that case, the voice option always remains. A texting session can be escalated to the voice channel as simply as sending back a short phrase such as, “Speak to an Agent.”

Your customer might ask, “If no one is available to take my call, how can I be served faster using text?” The answer is that a voice call is a one-to-one experience. While a call center agent can only speak effectively to one person at a time, text is different – on average, text-enabled agents can handle as many as eight times the number of text interactions as voice calls in the same period. This means benefits to you and your customer, greater efficiency and lower costs for the business. Wins all around.

Find out more about Avaya Aura and Webtext

Avaya Aura

incovo Head of Technology, Ray Prunty has the following advice on Avaya Aura Contact Centre Solutions:

“Avaya has great call center software and allows advanced programming for routing calls. I feel that it is a very good solution for medium offices and large offices, and also feel that Avaya does call centres better than anyone. For supporting customer call centres and everyday telecommunications needs, Avaya Aura encompasses great functionality as well as level of simplicity. For example, some uses are very simple like providing dial tone at the desktop while other uses are much more complex like providing Best Service Routing for call center support to make sure the calls are answered as quickly as possible. But with Avaya accredited partners, incovo, at hand to help you with design and configuration if need be.

“In terms of value, Avaya Aura has enabled us to deliver the following ROI for our clients:

  • We were able to reduce customer hold time by 50% after implementing Avaya’s Best Service Routing and Business Advocate. This has helped with call center performance and customer satisfaction.
  • Avaya’s One-X products allow employees to work from remote locations and still have the ability to answer business calls without call forwarding. This helps with employee efficiency and disaster recovery.
  • By implementing an Avaya IR solution to handle requests for order status and price and availability checks, the number of calls routed to customer service agents decreased by 30%.”

Avaya Aura

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

SME Contact Centre Solutions: Which one is right for us?

Contact Centre2

Contact Centre Solutions: Choosing a solution based upon your requirements

As an Avaya accredited solutions partner, we at incovo are often asked about Contact Centre Solutions for midsized business in Scotland and today we are going to breakdown the difference between Avaya’s two main mid-market Contact Centre solutions: Avaya IP Office Contact Centre (IPOCC) and Avaya Contact Centre Select (ACCS).

With nearly 6000 UK contact centres, responsible for employing 734,000 contact centre agents, the UK Contact Centre industry was an growth industry in recent years (2011-2013). These numbers suggest that companies spanning different industries are realising the importance of providing top notch customer support and expanding their contact centers to better meet their customer’s needs.

In the digital age, more people are leaning to alternative ways of interacting with customers outside of calls. For example, web chat rates have picked up considerably over the last few years, and they are predicted to grow by a further 24% by 2018. Further to this, in 2014, 16.4% of inbound call centre interaction was carried out via email, suggesting that other ways of communicating are taking favour. To that end, solutions specialists and technology partners have responded in kind with more robust, multichannel solutions for the SME market in the form of IPOCC and ACCS.

Here are the fundamental details of each system:

FeatureIP Office Contact CentreAvaya Contact Centre Select
Primary FunctionSupporting the businessKey to the business
Number of Users5 to 30 (IP500 V2) or 250 agents (Server Edition)10 to 250 agents
Suitability based on agents/business ratioTypically for companies where 10% to 20% of employees are contact centre agentsTypically for companies where 30%+ of employees are contact centre agents
System Management responsibilitiesSome IT communications knowledge is required, but the end customer will most likely rely on consultants or a trusted local partnerWill be typically managed by CIOs and tech savvy experts most likely familiar with contact centre solutions and database integration
System FunctionalitySimplicityFeature richness
Channel Response OptionsVoice centric with multichannel:
voice, email, web chat
Blended multichannel:
voice, email, web chat, text, fax
Languages SupportedEnglish onlyG-14 languages
Outgoing Calling FunctionsPreview, progressive outbound callingPreview, progressive outbound calling
Workforce OptionsLocal or remote agentsLocal or remote agents
Call Routing OptionsSkills-based routingSkills-based routing
Supervisory Roles AvailableSupervisorsSupervisors
ReportingReporting (real-time and historical)Reporting (real-time and historical)
Routing ConfigurationsDatabase directed routingDatabase directed routing
Call Monitoring FunctionsCall recordingCall recording

Further reading

 

IP Office Contact CentreAvaya Contact Centre Select

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a nutshell, for a SME who is thinking in the direction of deploying in-house Contact Center to further their business prospects, Avaya’s offer is an excellent proposition. The Avaya IPOCC is designed to drive SMEs towards building a strong foundation of customer satisfaction and loyalty and a lifetime value by offering high-quality individual attention to each customer.

Furthermore, Avaya recently announced the new OnAvaya™ cloud-based contact center solution, built exclusively on Google Cloud Platform This new solution provides a low-cost solution that allows customer service agents to work from anywhere, right in the browser. This new solution also does not use VPN, but instead utilizes HTTPS to establish a secure connection between the app and Avaya Secure Border Controller Element, software that verifies access to the database and routes relevant traffic to and from the app. Interactions inside the app are handled by WebRTC, an emerging Web standard that we’re strong supporters of.

The new OnAvaya has just been released in the USA and is due for release in Europe later this year/early next year and promises to add greater flexibility to the range of Contact Centre solutions already available.

To find out more about Contact Centre Solutions for SMEs in Scotland, please visit our website for further information

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About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

A Quick Guide to Unified Communications

Unified Communications

Unified Communications – A Brief Overview

In light of recent conversations with a few of our customers, some have asked us “What exactly is UC (Unified Communications)?” and more often when I have explained it to them, the response has been along the lines of “Ah right, I’ve heard of all those things before but I didn’t realise that altogether that results in what is known as Unified Communications.” Of course I am paraphrasing there but my point is that they are aware of the individual components (in most cases) but were unaware that all those elements bundled together equates to a solution known as Unified Communications.

It is of course, a major buzz phrase in the industry over the last two years and when you think about it, the phrase is perfectly apt for its definition – so really its just an awareness raising exercise from the industry. The definition of Unified Communications is the integration of real-time, enterprise, communication services across one platform via multiple devices. What that ostensibly means is that all your communications devices (phone, laptop, tablet, conferencing set-up or other technology) are synchronized under the one network allowing for an intelligent, organised and efficient means of collaborating within a business context.

Unified communications is an evolving set of technologies that automates and unifies human and device communications in a common context and experience. It optimizes business processes and enhances human communications by reducing latency, managing flows, and eliminating device and media dependencies. Exploring that definition further can be a good way of seeing what that means in practice and what is yielding the best results that is making the industry push this as the great service that all businesses should be evolving to for their core communications strategy going forward.

Unified Communications features

deskphone - unified communications1. Phone Calls – Nowadays, most people do not have just one phone and given the increasing transient nature of business people are reachable in spite of their geographic location. Depending on the role – a phone can take the form of a desktop, a mobile, PC Softphone or Smartphone App (like Avaya One-X mobile or Skype for Business). Each have their own merits and will suit different business scenarios .

 

video unified communications2. Video – One of the best points of Unified Communications is that you are able to make video calls to your contacts on virtually all of your devices/equipment (provided they have a camera)

 

 

 

Presence Unified Comms3. Presence – Is the software  interface that offers real-time presence information on your colleagues, providing information on their availability and what their preferred means of communication is at that given time.

 

 

 

Unified Comms Messenger4. Chat – Chat or as its more commonly known, Instant Messenger, is typically a component of a UC solution that offers another option for communication for example when calls aren’t available/practical.

 

 

 

collaboration unified coms5. Collaboration – Probably one of the best points of a UC solution is the ability to collaborate in way that enables the utilisation of technology to best effect. Practically this means screen sharing, real-time document sharing and alterations and other brilliant and innovative features. In addition, through the development of Avaya – its all modular so it can be added to in segments and it will continue to grow through the use of apps as the technology and solutions evolve.

 

voicemail unified comms6. Messaging – Probably the most convenient feature of UC is the ability to get all of your messages, whether it be  emails, calls, voice mails, texts, fax, chats all in one place, on any device, anywhere in the world.

 

 

Today’s challenging economic conditions mean that the drive to improve employee productivity while reducing costs has become the executive challenge to the IT solutions providers and they have responded with Unified Communications.

For businesses this inevitably means finding new ways to do more with less, so there is an increased focus on those transformational technologies that can help deliver both process and personal productivity improvements.

For more information on this or to see practical examples in action then please feel free to contact incovo, specialised Avaya partners and Unified Communications solutions providers for businesses in Scotland.

incovo ICT solutions UK

 

 

 

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.