7 Ways Business VoIP Empowers More Productive Employees

Voice-over IP, also known as VoIP, is a very common system used for business phones. VoIP technology can turn an average network of phones and computers into a robust tool for productivity. Some of the ways business VoIP empowers productive employees will help any company get more out of the resources they already have in place.

 

1. Enhancing Mobility

With VoIP phone systems, it is possible to have calls routed to mobile devices when a worker is not at their desk. This makes employees more productive by allowing them to get around to meetings and client visits without worrying about missing out on important phone calls.

2. Improving Collaboration

Through the use of a VoIP phone system, you can hold remote conferences with other employees very easily. This means that it is much less of a challenge for small teams that are working together on projects to update one another about individual progress, which improves the productivity of each group member.

3. Making Troubleshooting Less Complex

There are few bigger hindrances to productivity than a network or phone system going down. With VoIP, companies don’t need to worry about traditional cabling or all of the potential problems that could come with it. VoIP uses one single network, so that when changes or fixes do need to be made it does not require users to alter hardware or work with live wires.

4. Allowing Document Sharing

Many software platforms that work with VoIP tools allow users to instantly share documents and files with their colleagues. If an employee needs to send over an important report or some numbers regarding a project, they can do so easily thanks to an integrated VoIP network.

5. Better Training

More training usually leads to more productive employees. VoIP can assist with training through its 3-way calling and whisper features. With the whisper feature, you can be on a call with an outside number and someone else on the network can place a call to your number. They will be able to talk to you, but the outside caller will not hear the third party. This feature is great for live training on sales calls, for example.

6. Improving Notes And Recall

Employees who want to be able to go back to a call repeatedly to take thorough notes or glean additional information can do this through the VoIP call recording feature. With call recording, employees can re-listen to seminars or important conference calls with clients to make sure that they are approaching their work the right way.

7. Easier Interpretation Of Voicemails

Everyone knows how helpful voicemails can be for providing information or alerts when someone can’t get to the phone. With the right VoIP systems in place, your employees can access features that transcribe voicemails into text and send the text to an email address. This enhances productivity by allowing employees to instantly learn the information their voicemail messages contain, instead of having to play the message over and over again to write down important details.

 

For more information about ways business VoIP empowers productive employees, get in touch with an expert provider of integrated communication systems so you can see how these tools may be able to benefit your particular organization.

 

At Pentegra Systems, we work closely with our clients to provide them the right audio, video, low voltage and collaboration technologies that support their business goals. Serving customers throughout Chicagoland, Pentegra aspires to be the first company you call for your system integration needs. Ready to learn more, connect with us here. We are happy to help!

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Ways Video Surveillance Can SAVE You Money

Anything of real importance needs to be protected. Something of value cannot simply go unmonitored because anything bad can and most likely will happen, eventually. You wear a helmet to protect your head. Your money is protected by being put in a bank. Automotive insurance protects both you and your vehicle in case something goes wrong on the road. As little or as significant as these measures are, these measures need to be taken, but all these measures come with a price of their own. When it comes to security, sure it will cost you, but like making any other decisions in life, there are positives and then there are negatives. You make a substantial investment on a quality security system, a pretty large chunk of change, but just imagine how much money that system will save you down the stretch and in how many different ways. Here are the basic methods in which video surveillance can really become extremely valuable for your company very quickly and SAVE you money.

Obviously, the first method is loss prevention. A security system that utilizes cameras can monitor potential robberies, vandalism, etc. A fully functional video surveillance system can drastically lower the possibility of such crimes happening on your premises. If criminals are aware of the system in place, they are less likely to perpetrate the crimes. You may have a facility housing an extensive amount of extremely expensive equipment and items that you plan to use on six or seven-figure jobs. Can you possibly afford to have any of those items damaged or stolen, I don’t think so. How much would it cost to replace those items? What damages could be done to your facility alone during a break-in? Suddenly, the idea of purchasing an extensive security camera system isn’t that bad of an idea.

Another useful way to utilize your video surveillance system is for monitoring purposes. Sometimes instances and errors can happen in the workplace environment. To ensure the quality of your products and services, a video surveillance system can come in handy to record errors made during operations and be gone back to for reviewing purposes. Are your employees using the correct components on the assembly line? Is your outgoing product being packaged safely and securely? Take a minute and think of how much money these errors can cost you. How much would it cost to replace those components? How much money and resources would it take to ship the damaged products back to your facility and fix them or replace them altogether? The dollar amount adds up pretty quickly.

Video surveillance can not only record company procedures, but it can record employee conduct and behavior. For example, a restaurant can monitor whether employees are keeping up with sanitary regulations, such as washing their hands, with surveillance. A good video surveillance system can keep track of your employees at all times. What are they doing? Where are they going? Where have they been? An access control system uses access cards to gain entry into secure areas of your facility. A certain card can unlock a certain door. A video surveillance system can work with your current access control system by recording who actually is entering that door or gaining access to that specific area, all captured on video keeping an extra eye on your facility at all times. Not only can surveillance record criminals intruding your building, but it can also record potential criminals already inside of your building, such as your own employees. For example, you own a computer company and all of the high value components such as processors and memory are in a separate, more secure section of the warehouse where only select individuals can gain access to. One day, a few items went missing. The value of having surveillance in that area has just skyrocketed.

What if one of your employees had an accident? What if your employee slipped and fell off a ladder trying to get an item off the top shelf? Your company is liable for any accident that may happen. Video surveillance captures the entire accident for evidence purposes. More importantly, video surveillance can prevent false claims. An employee can claim they slipped on a newly washed warehouse floor and then say there were no signs to let he or she know the floor was wet. Video surveillance can prove whether or not the appropriate signage was displayed to let personnel know the floor was wet and use caution or if that employee actually did fall or not at all. Any employee could potentially try and pull a “fast one” on you and video surveillance provides the evidence that gives you an advantage to potentially avoid any legal fees or litigation that may come along with this sort of situation.

There are a slew of ways to utilize a video surveillance system in your facility. It won’t only save you money, but it can also save you time. For example, it’s 2:00 am and your phone rings waking you up at home notifying you that the alarm has gone off at your facility. Using your home computer, tablet or other device you can remote in and view all of your cameras at your own home and see what is going on. Sure, the alarm could still have been triggered by something serious, but in many cases it does in fact turn out to be a false alarm. If that is the case the surveillance system really came in handy. Do you have any security staff on payroll? Having a video surveillance system in place could eliminate the need of keeping actual security guards in house saving you even more money instantly and in a number of ways; a surveillance system could be more beneficial and catch happenings that an average security guard may just miss completely.

If you were to crunch some numbers real quick, the choice would be simple. If your business needs an extra set of eyes for whatever the reason may be, a quality video surveillance system should be in your future. There is far too much value in being able to see what is going on in and around your facility for you not to have one. The future is unpredictable and as the saying goes “anything can happen.” You need to be prepared for when anything does indeed happen.

To learn more about Video Surveillance visit

http://pentegrasystems.com/what-we-do/security/digital-video-surveillance

for more information.

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Misconception of Business Class VoIP

When making any sort of important decision, you need all the facts. Whether it is for your personal life or professional life, your home or your business, a thorough analysis needs to be conducted on the road to your ultimate solution. A common issue for both homes and businesses, for example, is what phone system to choose. In the communication industry, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is quite the popular and appealing choice. However there can be quite the misunderstanding when customers assume getting a VoIP Phone System for their business is the same as the one they’d get in their own homes. This is specifically why having all the facts is crucial.  When the average, non-tech savvy consumer hears VoIP, they tend to think of residential phone systems that make calls over the internet and carry the reputation of terrible call quality given the internet cannot be controlled and bandwidth is always an issue. Many businesses are hesitant to go the VoIP route because of this reason. Why would a company choose a phone system if they know terrible call quality is even a remote possibility? More importantly, why would a company choose a phone system that relies solely on the internet? However, they are simply making an assumption without having all the facts.

A business VoIP phone system is actually a premise-based phone system that is Ethernet-based and uses the data pipes of the business. Basically, the VoIP system combines with the business class phone service that the company uses. This system utilizes the data network to make calls within the building only, but uses the standard phone line to communicate anywhere outside the building. Call quality is not an issue since it doesn’t function like a residential VoIP phone. There are several advantages for businesses to use a VoIP telephone system. For instance, changes and modifications to the system can be made much easier and at a quicker rate.  Let’s say an employee needs to move their desk somewhere else in the building. Historically this would require quite the amount of effort to make the move. With a business class VoIP phone system, all of the phones are already programmed. The employee simply just needs to plug it into the network jack at their new desk. This eliminates the unnecessary time and resources it would take to get that employee up and running at their new desk if the company didn’t use a VoIP phone system. A phone system in the office that uses the company’s data line enables the phone system to interact with company computers; accessing contacts, transferring voicemails, managing voicemails and completely integrating with the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, just to name a handful of possibilities. This interaction is called Computer Telephone Integration, also known as CTI. Another attractive aspect to business class VoIP systems is that the company would not need to install a second set of cabling since the existing data cables are already in place. Easier connectivity, countless features and crystal clear sound quality make business class VoIP quite the appealing option to businesses.

As you can clearly see, VoIP in the business world is significantly different than a VoIP system in the home. A residential VoIP phone system does have its own advantages and features that are appealing to the consumer, and all of those features are also available with a business class VoIP system without the quality of the call being an issue like it occasionally is with a residential VoIP. The potential and upside of using a VoIP phone system in the business world, such as the systems ShoreTel offers, is quite large considering all of the integration possibilities of the system. Much like any decision maker, if you want to truly make the right choice and the choice that makes the most sense for both your needs and your wants, you should make sure you have all the correct information first and foremost.

 

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Commercial Vs. Residential VoIP

For most people, life in the workplace and life at home are commonly two completely different entities. Professional lives are called professional for a reason, same goes with personal lives. They are meant to be separate. The way you interact with colleagues in the office is always much different than how you interact with friends and family outside the work environment. Life is just simpler when both worlds are split. You don’t dress the same way at work as you do at home. You don’t use your computer the same way at work as you do at home. The world of business is treated with a different level of importance as opposed to the personal lives of the people working in it. Let’s take the age-old telephone as a prime example. The phone system inside your office needs to be drastically different than the phone system inside your home. Since we are living in the year 2015, let’s specifically target the voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone systems.

Using a VoIP telephone is basically making a call over the internet because honestly, what doesn’t use the internet at this point in time? Whether in the office or at work, technology keeps shrinking the world. Much like any technology out there, any given consumer is concerned with what they are going to get for their money. Features are what the customer looks for first. Residential VoIP systems are pretty straightforward in every sense of the word. This system will have just one phone number and two phone lines. In most cases that is the maximum. You will generally get one or two voice mailboxes to listen to your messages. Typically you also will get one forwarding number, no extensions and a rather cheap “minutes per month” plan. In some cases the minutes per month are unmetered. Businesses are much more complex than the way your average home functions. It’s common knowledge that businesses use far more minutes of talk time than your average household. Business VoIP providers offer a slew of other options that a typical residential customer surely wouldn’t need or even want. Business VoIP systems have extensions so every inbound call is sent to an extension of the main office number. Direct phone numbers can be purchased for additional cost in addition to extension numbers. Business VoIP providers offer such features as call centers, auto-dialers, telepresence and conference bridges as well as various software packages to enhance your system and integrate with other technologies. Many providers also offer additional features beyond that, for a premium cost, for features like call groups and automatic callback.

The number of features the system has can go a long way in determining its overall capabilities. A typical VoIP phone line can manage several simultaneous calls at once. This number of calls is determined by the bandwidth available at any given time. A business VoIP system can usually be able to handle 100 calls at the same time with ease. Residential VoIP systems can manage three calls, two of which are concurrent with the third being put on hold. The residential VoIP system is obviously cheaper to correspond with consumers’ wants and needs. Plus, the residential system needs to be affordable for the consumer, thus justifying the lack of features. Although designed for strictly household purposes, the residential VoIP system is sometimes offered to businesses as well. Since residential VoIP commonly has a flat rate pricing strategy and business VoIP pricing models can get quite intimidating and confusing, small businesses might opt for the cheaper route if at all possible. If a small business can function using the restrictions that come with a residential VoIP, they are able to purchase and use it for the same rather inexpensive rates.

As you can clearly see this is an “apples-to-oranges” comparison opposed to an “apples-to-apples.” VoIP, whether commercial or residential, are aiming to replace standard telephone and PBX phone systems whether that be in the home or the office. Residential users are attracted by the lower prices and businesses love getting the most out of services like video conferencing that present much more than just the typical voice offering. The telephone used to be one of the most straightforward and timeless inventions on the market, but as you can clearly see the telephone you would use in the workplace is bound to be extremely different and incredibly more complex from the one you use in the comfort of your own home in this day in age.

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Benefits of Premise-Based Phone Systems vs. Hosted Phone Systems

In a world dominated by emailing, tweeting and text messaging, one device has continued to remain an intricate component of communication in business, the telephone. As easy as it may be to send a quick email instead of dialing the phone, there is no more effective method of communicating with another human being other than face-to-face than that of the phone. As far as technology has come, a telephone system is still a necessity in the workplace. When evaluating what VoIP phone system to implement in your workplace, it boils down to hosted vs. premise-based phone systems.  A premise-based phone system is one that is completely controlled and maintained within the business itself while a hosted phone system is one that is hosted in the cloud. In a time where most technology is migrating to the cloud, a phone system in house is still the more appealing option.             

Features

The most obvious starting point when choosing which system suits your business better is what features each has to offer. When researching various hosted phone systems, it’s obvious that they do not offer all of the features as the ones that are offered in premise-based. In most cases this is true as queues (automatic call lineup and routing) and IVRs (interactive voice response) are missing or at the very least, cost extra.  These additional features are more often than not already included with premise-based phone systems at no additional charge. If your business needs its critical business communication features, a premise-based system could ultimately be the way to go.

Control

It’s only natural preferring to have control over your assets. By choosing a premise-based phone system over one that resides in the cloud, the user will have more control and more flexibility. As it is when owning any type of asset, the owner has complete control over its use and operation. The premise-based phone system resides within your facility and is controlled and managed in-house as well making it much simpler to make necessary changes. Having to make any modification such as changing VoIP providers becomes much easier when you own your own PBX and it can be done much quicker as well.

Location

The provider’s location of a hosted phone system is more than likely hundreds or thousands of miles away. This large distance might cause certain latency for your phone system as well as the constant need for a powerful internet connection. Just one of the advantages of a premise-based phone system is the signaling over your own Local Area Network opposed to over the internet. All signaling occurs mere feet away. It’s common knowledge that the speed of the internet is never a constant. Having such a necessary tool as your telephone depending on the speed of your internet connection is an incredibly risky move.

Cost

One of, if not the largest factor that goes into a purchasing decision is the cost. Premise-based systems have up-front costs such as installation. In addition to purchasing the IP PBX, the customer will need to buy all handsets, gateways, routers as well as purchase the proper training for all employees. These costs can initially appear as quite a burden to small to medium sized businesses. However, as mentioned above premise-based phone systems more often than not include all of the premium features businesses need at no additional cost. Hosted phone systems require the user to purchase those extra features. In addition to paying for features, cloud providers also charge extra for service and maintenance costs and upgrades. Premise-based phone systems often include service and maintenance contracts when first purchasing the equipment. Depending on future issues with the system, the maintenance fees that come with a cloud-based system can pile up substantially over time in addition to your yearly or monthly service costs. The total cost of a premise-based phone system could appear large at first, but becomes quite appealing given the amount of years you plan on using it compared to the constant costs of a hosted phone system over that same time period.

As many services transition to the cloud, some services might actually be better off on the physical surface. However, any decision regarding the purchasing of an asset such as a phone system will always boil down to customer need. Phone system providers work with the customer to ensure that they are getting the proper system to fit each of their needs to improve everyday function of their business. Tell us about what type of phone system your company has and why in the comment section below!

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Four Winds Casino Resort

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Located 75 miles east of Chicago in New Buffalo, Michigan, Four Winds Casino Resort was the first land-based casino in Southeast Michigan. The entertainment complex is composed of a 130,000 square foot casino, a 165-room suite hotel, six restaurants, entertainment bars and retail shops. Four Winds ...

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