New Phone System? Don’t Wait — Lease!

Brian Spence, vice president of Business Development  LEAFBy Bryan Spence

Businesses that need telephone systems will often put off the decision for months or even years, waiting for “when the time is right.” For some, this means when business picks up; for others, it means when there is more cash in the bank. The reality is that very few small and medium-sized businesses properly anticipate when their telephone systems will become outdated, so they don’t budget for it.

Regardless of the reason, the acquisition is often delayed, forcing the business to get by with the existing phone system — possibly suffering through dropped calls, high maintenance costs, and lack of current technologies such as Mobility, Unified Communications, Unified Messaging, and even Contact Center solutions.

This type of procrastination can become a serious problem because outdated phone systems often lead to poor customer service, reduced operating efficiency and a lack of productivity, all of which ultimately result in reduced profitability.

IPedge EC Server

Putting a new business telephone system into place as soon as it is needed — instead of when capital is available — can transform a business. Not only does improved operating efficiency lead to more profits, it also leads to better customer service and happier customers. Happy customers tend to spread the word about a company with which they like doing business, bringing in even more customers.

Even with this in mind, most businesses will not commit to acquiring a new telephone system unless they have the means to pay for it. Small and medium-sized businesses often operate on relatively thin margins and simply do not have an excess of working capital just lying around.

That is why leasing a new telephone system makes so much sense. Surprisingly to many business owners, leasing a new phone system is exceptionally cost effective and in many cases will actually be less than the cost of paying to upgrade an existing system.  In some cases, the lease is actually a lower monthly cost than maintenance fees on an antiquated system.

iPhone_Call_Manager_Contact

Leasing a phone system instead of purchasing it outright helps a business do many things. First, there is no erosion of capital since a lease does not require an outlay of cash, or even a down payment. Cash reserves — and even existing lines of credit — remain intact. Leasing programs are flexible and enable the phone system vendor to structure monthly payments so that they are consistent and fit within the buyer’s budget. Leasing programs can also include a technology refresh provision that eliminates concerns about a new phone system becoming outdated or obsolete in a relatively short period of time.

Despite these compelling benefits, some business buyers continue to resist leasing because they do not understand the concept or have misconceptions about it. They may not be familiar with leasing terms or the structure of a telephone system lease. In some cases, a business simply insists on owning equipment rather than “renting” it.

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These kinds of objections become moot when the business buyer fully understands the power of leasing. In reality, leasing is a powerful financial tool than can enable a business to acquire needed equipment as soon as it’s needed and begin immediately gaining the benefits of better communication.  The best way to understand the power and benefits of leasing is to talk to a telephone system dealer — or even directly to the leasing company — and then to take full advantage of this powerful tool.

Bryan Spence is vice president of Business Development and has been with LEAF since its formation in 2011.  He is responsible for the development of strategic alliances with major manufacturers and equipment vendors along with their captives. Prior to joining LEAF, Mr. Spence held various sales and sales management positions with CitiCapital Technology Finance and Fidelity Leasing Corporation.  He can be reached at BSpence@LEAFnow.com

 

VIPedge Does It Again

High praise from Cloud Computing Magazine for Toshiba’s VIPedge cloud-based telephone solution

PrintWhen you call the online wholesale bookstore BookPal (www.book-pal.com), you’ll get direct access and premium service from knowledgeable staff. Personal service is BookPal’s promise to customers. What you won’t know is that not only is their store on the Internet, so is their phone system.

Rather than buy, install and maintain a phone system on site, BookPal chose Toshiba’s VIPedge® cloud-based business telephone solution. The central intelligence of the phone system is in the cloud. Instead of a big capital expense, BookPal can budget communication services as a modest monthly operating expense. The company will never outgrow the phone system; it will never be obsolete, and BookPal doesn’t have to pay for any more capacity than it needs right now.

With minimal investment — just Toshiba desktop phones and a local network that supports voice-quality service — BookPal gained the latest in VoIP technology. For example, staff can handle business calls on their smartphones without revealing their mobile numbers. They can converge phone and PC with on-screen call answering, screen pops from customer records, click-to-call and more. They can work from anywhere just as though they’re in the office.

While improving productivity and customer service, VIPedge is also saving BookPal $3,000 a year in maintenance alone. Phone system moves/adds/changes and updates can be made from anywhere over the Internet, without the cost of a service call. Users still control their own phones, such as programming their function buttons, entering and updating speed dial numbers, and setting or cancelling call forwarding and Do-Not-Disturb.

When a phone solution can do this much to help customers do what they do better — while saving money — industry watchers take notice. Only a few months after we released VIPedge, it received an INTERNET TELEPHONY 2012 Product of the Year Award and a Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award from TMC and the editors of INTERNET TELEPHONY and CUSTOMER magazines. Then Cloud Computing magazine named it a 2013 Cloud Computing Excellence Award winner.

VIPedgeNow VIPedge has done it again, garnering a 2014 Cloud Computing Excellence Award. “Toshiba is honored for its achievement in bringing innovation and excellence to the market while leveraging the latest technology trends,” said Rich Tehrani, TMC’s CEO.
Available from Authorized Toshiba Dealers nationwide, VIPedge starts at about a dollar per day per user. Find out how easy it is to get award-winning, cloud-based communications for your business.

A list of the 2014 Cloud Computing Excellence Award winners will be published in Cloud Computing magazine.

 For more Toshiba information, please visit our website at: http://www.telecom.toshiba.com/

Eight Great Reasons to Adopt SIP Trunking

By David Case, Authorized Toshiba Dealer, smplsolutions

Telephone Centeral OfficeA trunk is your business phone system’s connection to the outside world.  Most organizations use two very different types of trunk connections:

  • A traditional telephone company access line, such as a copper T1 line, to connect voice calls to the public switched telephone network (PSTN)
  • A broadband access connection (which may be the same type of physical media) for data and Internet access

Many organizations integrate voice and data over the second type of connection and use IP wide area networks (WANs) to link their own locations — but they still use traditional PSTN trunks to connect outside the company, such as to business partners, suppliers and customers.
SIP trunking service runs as an overlay on your broadband access connection.  It enables your data and Internet access trunk to also carry voice calls to the PSTN.  Voice is added to the mix as just another IP application, getting priority treatment to ensure business-grade call quality.

SIP Trunks over Internet

In addition to the potential savings from eliminating those separate, underutilized phone company trunks, SIP offers some other compelling cost and performance benefits.

  1. Dramatically lower long-distance and toll-free charges

Thanks to SIP trunking among carriers (said to be in the carrier “cloud”), calls to local or toll-free numbers can be automatically routed to other locations, such as a central call center or headquarters, over the IP network instead of the public telephone network.

  1. More efficient use of available bandwidth

With traditional ISDN trunks, channels are configured for either voice or data, and neither one can help out the other.  Spare capacity sits unused.  While SIP borrows the term “trunk” from the traditional telephony world, a SIP trunk is a virtual channel, set up and taken down as needed.  As a result, bandwidth on the broadband access connection is available for data/Internet whenever it isn’t needed for voice.

  1. Extra call capacity available on demand

With traditional phone trunks, businesses have had to contract with the carrier to acquire more lines than they need day-to-day just to be sure extra capacity is available to meet seasonal or periodic high call volume, such as the surge in calls a school might experience on a rare snow day.

A VoIP service provider/carrier has the ability to offer access to additional phone lines (SIP channels) as needed.  With line/channel bursting, the provider allows the business to burst above the number of lines being paid for on a monthly basis to meet those occasional surges in call volume.  There’s no need to over-provision lines just to accommodate unexpected and temporary peaks.

  1. Control over the company name displayed with outgoing calls.

With legacy phone systems, the phone company dictates the company name and only allows one business name per account.  VoIP SIP trunks enable you to control the name(s) on your channels (phone lines) that will be broadcast with outbound calls.  You can even display the names of different business units from one office trunk group, such as “ABC Corp Sales,” “ABC Corp Service,” etc.

  1. Control over the outbound caller ID phone number

With SIP, you now control the outbound caller ID phone number as well.  You can specify and display a different caller ID for each voice channel and/or extension.  Let your customers know who is calling when they see the call come in while making it easier for them to call you back at the number you would like them to use.

  1. Support for multiple company names with one phone system

The VoIP system allows for multiple companies to be built within the same VoIP account.  Each company or “tenant” on the phone system can broadcast its own company name, caller ID, auto-attendant greetings, etc.  All separate, yet all in one.

Sharing services saves money, promotes the appearance of several different companies all in one phone system, and opens the opportunity for employees in the office or business incubator to support multiple companies and know what business name to say when the call comes in.

  1. Shared phone lines for multiple offices and/or companies

Legacy systems use discrete phone lines, whereas VoIP uses virtual phone lines.  With the VoIP line pooling feature, multiple offices and/or companies can share phone lines on the same account.

For example, with legacy phone systems, three separate offices might need five phone lines each.  With VoIP, they might only need a pool of 10 phone lines to share among them.  Why pay for three legacy accounts, each with five lines, when you can pay for one VoIP account with 10 lines and still meet everybody’s calling needs?  If one location experiences a surge in calls, they could potentially have access to up to 10 lines plus any bursting lines available to them, so customer calls can get through.

  1. Easy set-up

If you need to connect a Toshiba IPedge® system to the public voice network, it is much easier to do so with native SIP trunking than to program a gateway to translate between PRI/analog and SIP.  When the technician selects “Toshiba SIP Trunk” in the management system, the correct settings and parameters are automatically entered.  There are no interface cards or gateways to configure.

Businesses and multi-location enterprises have a lot to gain from SIP.  As an Authorized Toshiba Dealer, I’m glad to say Toshiba makes SIP easy, with a pre-tested, pre-certified, single-vendor solution for SIP trunking throughout the continental United States.  To find out more about what SIP can do for you:, visit http://www.telecom.toshiba.com/Products/sip_trunking.cfm

 

David CaseDavid Case is president of smplsolutions, an Authorized Toshiba Dealer based in Lake Forest, CA.  He can be reached at: dcase@smplsolutions.com.

 

 

 

Ten Reasons to Consider a Cloud-based Phone Solution

DavidCase
By David Case, Authorized Toshiba Dealer, smplsolutions

Would you rewire the electrical system in your house? Install a new engine in your car? Cut down a dying old oak tree and bulldoze up the roots? Probably not, unless you happened to like doing jobs that require specialized equipment and expertise. It doesn’t make sense for the typical homeowner to provide those services when there are specialists with the equipment and know-how to get it done at a better value.
By the same token, why buy, install and maintain your own on-site business phone system, unless you particularly want to. With a cloud-based phone solution, you can get advanced IP business communications as a pay-as-you-go service over secure Internet connections.
Here are 10 great reasons for putting your business communications “in the cloud.”

  1. Save big on capital expenditures.
    With cloud-based VoIP, the brains of the telephone system are in a service provider’s data center. All you need on site are the end-user devices and the networking to connect to the provider. You can get up and running with a cloud solution for a fraction of the start-up cost of an on-premises system. Save that capital cash for other, more beneficial uses instead of tying it up in phone system hardware.
  2. Budget and save money on fixed monthly expenses.
    Simply pay an easy-to-budget monthly service fee based on the number of seats and the calling plan. Calling plans typically include unlimited free local and long-distance minutes, or free minutes up to a certain threshold with calls beyond that (and international calls) charged on a per-minute basis.
  3. Eliminate budget surprises.
    There are no added costs for annual software maintenance contracts, software upgrades and other system support requirements. No more cost, headache and downtime of paying someone to service the phone system server and update system software. And there are no unexpected expenses for replacing or repairing aging or obsolescent equipment. The cloud service provider takes care of all of that.
  4. Reduce the overall cost of business communications.
    In addition to minimizing (or eliminating) costs for system acquisition and administration, you also do away with the cost of office space and energy to house, protect and power the phone system. And you further reduce network costs by running voice and data on the same IP infrastructure and the same trunk connection to the service provider.
  5. Get enterprise-class functionality at a business-friendly price.
    Choose a solution that delivers such capabilities as advanced call processing, voice mail with unified messaging, unified communications, and the ability to use a PC or laptop as a multi-purpose communications hub. Since the cloud makes high-end capabilities affordable, any business can present an enterprise persona to the public and compete on a par with much larger organizations.
  6. Keep users in control.
    Even though the phone system server is in a secure data center somewhere else, users can still have full control to personalize their own phones, call handling, messages and more, just as they would if the PBX server were in the office. The actual physical location of the server is transparent to them.
  7. Improve phone system performance.
    Cloud-based VoIP services are managed by specialists in data centers that have power protection, redundancy and disaster recovery resources far beyond what most businesses could provide. You don’t have to worry about powering, maintaining or updating the phone system server. The service provider handles all that, and you always benefit from the latest firmware, software and features.
  8. Never miss a call.
    How often have you experienced a power outage, or service outage, and stressed over your customers calling you and getting either a busy signal or a ring no answer? You’re hoping the customer doesn’t think you went out of business. No worries. If your office is off-line, a cloud VoIP solution can automatically re-direct your calls to another phone, such as your cell phone, per your instructions.
  9. Unify locations into one phone system.
    Businesses with multiple locations can set up all their locations on a single system to support features such as internal dialing, hunt groups and off-hook call announce among locations. Employees can collaborate and communicate more easily. Customers see the multiple locations as one organization. With Toshiba’s VIPedge® cloud solution, you can create a unified network where some locations are served by an on-premises IPedge® server and other locations/users are on the cloud service.
  10.  Become a more agile business.
    With a traditional phone system, you could wait weeks to get a new trunk connection to the service provider. With a cloud solution, you can quickly add users and service channels or add another location and include it as part of the same phone system — even networked with on-premises phone systems.Pay only for what you need today and expand on demand as your business grows. Employees can be fully accessible and productive from remote offices or on the road. With this adaptability, the business can respond rapidly to new opportunities and changing market conditions.

Is the cloud right for your business communications?

For many businesses — especially those that expect to grow or have dynamic demands, such as high seasonable variability — cloud-based VoIP is a very attractive and cost-effective alternative to an on-site PBX. Unless your organization is in the business of maintaining IT infrastructure, why not get advanced communications from a specialist?
For information on Toshiba’s VIPedge cloud-based business telephone solution, visit: http://www.telecom.toshiba.com/Products/VIPedge-Cloud-Based-Telephone-Solution/.

DavidCaseDavid Case is president of smplsolutions, an Authorized Toshiba Dealer based in Lake Forest, CA. He can be reached at: dcase@smplsolutions.com.

 

 

 

 

The 4th of July Telephony BBQ cookout

Four main ingredients you need to make it a success.

4th of July1Independence Day, also known as the 4th of July, is a U.S. federal holiday in which we commemorate and recognize the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. On that date in 1776, the new United Sates officially declared independence from the United Kingdom. Throughout the U.S., you’ll find an array of events such as parades, fairs, firework shows, and family reunions, all during which people come together to celebrate the day. Of the many activities, one particular gathering stands out as the most popular and frequented: the great BBQ cookout.

Selecting the right combination of main course foods and how they’ll be prepared — plus side dishes, special desserts and refreshments — all need careful pre-consideration to fit all types of tastes of those attending. As I created my own BBQ list, I found a striking similarity between that of prepping and planning for a successful BBQ and the key steps in preparing and planning for a successful telephone solution.

the-power-of-choice

The Main Course(s) — This is the core food ingredient upon which everything else is centered. Just like people, each business is unique. Variety and options are key to making everyone happy. Some business appetites can be best satisfied with a hybrid or converged business telephone solution, such as Toshiba’s Strata® CIX™ for those who want a little taste of each course, like a mix of IP, digital and analog endpoints. While another business’s needs can be fulfilled with a pure-IP solution, such as Toshiba’s IPedge®, others may crave the flavor of the latest cloud-based solution, such as Toshiba’s VIPedge®. But what really sets apart the run-of-the-mill BBQ and a great plate-licking feast is what secret sauce is used for each course. Certain businesses would do fine with a premises-based system, and others would be better suited with a cloud-based solution.

Side Dishes — These are the foods such as BBQ beans, corn-on-the-cob, macaroni and potato salads — foods that complement theiphone-umobility BBQ masterpiece. Staple sides such as auto attendant, unified messaging, soft VoIP clients, and mobility (the ability to use your smart phone as an extension of the system) can really liven your plate.

Desserts — You’ll surely be a hit with a few special desserts such as America’s favorite apple pie, peach cobbler or ice cream sundaes. Collaboration using a meet-me conference bridge with the right mix of audio, Web and video, contact center, call recording, CRM integration, screen-pops, click-to-dial and presence are a few delicacies that will satisfy any phone system sweet tooth.

Refreshing Beverages — Ice cold drinks, fruit juices, soft drinks or beer really hit the spot when relaxing, winding down, sitting back and enjoying the day. The same is true with your business phone system. Enjoy peace of mind in your business investment with an extended hardware and software warranty, making sure your system is running at its optimum at all times. Built-in Web-based system administration makes it easy to perform any moves or changes anywhere you have an Internet connection.

The recipe for hosting a smash block-party BBQ is the same for your business telephone system. Success will result in improved relationships and communications with your clientele wherever they are. Combining the winning key ingredients, pre-planning, preparation and implementation for your business telephone solution can bring another desired outcome — more guests at the party. Ramping up resources during seasonal business spurts, easily migrating to a larger platforms or even scaling back are great options to whip up in a moment’s notice when customer demands are critical.

We are very aware that selecting a business telephone solution is a major investment for any company. Selecting and partnering with the right manufacturer from the start can make all the difference for your business. Implementing the optimal solution is just the beginning. Let Toshiba’s telecommunication experts create the ingredients for your business’s best technology BBQ cookout yet.

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To get started, contact an Authorized Toshiba Dealer near you.

“Best of the Best”

ComSol-tmc2014Toshiba’s IPedge Application Server Earns a 2014 TMC Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award

 

 
When we launched Toshiba’s IPedge® business phone system in 2011, we knew it would be a hit. One compact server comes packed with advanced IP features, right out of the box. Voice mail and unified messaging, mobility, multimedia conferencing and Web collaboration, unified communications and more — all in a mere 1U (less than 2 inches) of rack space.

IPedge immediately started attracting attention, including a 2011 INTERNET TELEPHONY Excellence Award and a 2011 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award.

IPedge EC application server. Supports up to 200 users per server

IPedge EC application server. Supports up to 200 users per server

Of course, we didn’t want our loyal Strata® CIX™ customers to be left behind. So in 2013, we delivered the IPedge Application Server, which brings the advances of IPedge to Strata CIX systems without forcing a wholesale move to IP.

Yes, you heard that right. We made backward compatibility a forward strategy. We took an all-new, pure IP technology and connected it back to our legacy systems and users.

It seemed like the right thing to do, and it was. And the global, integrated media company TMC took notice, honoring the IPedge Application Server with a 2014 Communications Solution Product of the Year Award. According to the TMC announcement last week, this is one of TMC’s most coveted awards, honoring “exceptional products and services that facilitate voice, data and video communications.”

“True leaders within their industries, these honorees represent the best-of-the-best products and solutions available on the market today,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMC.

With IPedge Application Server, Strata CIX users can:

• Organize, view and manage voice mail, email and fax messages in a unified email inbox.
• Use Apple® and Android™ smartphones and other devices as office phone system extensions.
• Have incoming calls ring on both a desktop phone and smartphone (concealing the cell number).
• Manage calls, see the status of colleagues, text chat with them and more from a PC or laptop.
• Collaborate in audio conferences (set up via Outlook® Calendar, if desired) where users can share their desktops and video.

IPedge EM Application Server. Supports up to 1,000 users per server

IPedge EM Application Server. Supports up to 1,000 users per server

All three IPedge models can be application servers for Strata CIX systems, and all Strata CIX models can use an IPedge for an application server. You can even upgrade legacy Strata CTX digital business telephone systems to Strata CIX and then add an IPedge Application Server to gain these advanced IP capabilities. And when the time is right, an IPedge Application Server can evolve to a full IPedge system with call processing via a simple license upgrade.

Since it interworks with our digital/IP (Strata CIX), pure IP (IPedge) and cloud (VIPedge®) solutions, the IPedge Application Server streamlines the communications infrastructure, sets the stage for easy evolution, and enables creation of hybrid networks that combine diverse phone systems into one unified, companywide network.

Find out more at http://www.telecom.toshiba.com/Products/IPedge-Application-Server.cfm

Ten Reasons to Switch to VoIP

Even if you love your legacy business phone system, here’s what you’re missing.

Your Web site, social media and e-commerce presence are important contact channels, but many customers are still more likely to call to get information or discuss issues over the phone rather than interact through a Web site.  That means an efficient, reliable and flexible phone system is as important as ever — and it’s why more businesses are turning to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

If you have been on the fence about a new IP business communications system, here are 10 reasons to make the switch.

  1. Freedom from the traditional desk phone

Legacy phone systems use traditional desk phones, which are great if all your work takes place at a desk.  But you don’t have to be anchored to your old desk phone.  With VoIP, you can be several orders of magnitude more efficient by using software on your PC to make and receive calls, as well as use a free app to make and receive business phone system calls on your smartphone.

Steve Turner, IT manager for Marshall County, uses Toshiba’s IPMobility to make and receive calls on his smartphone just as if he was at his desk phone.

  1. No worries about missing that important call

With VoIP, you can direct incoming calls to ring at multiple locations — cell phone, home phone, vacation home phone, etc.  You set your preferences for how phone calls find you and follow you based on time of day, incoming caller ID or your availability status.

Mobility

  1. A direct connection for every user

VoIP users with a direct inward dial (DID) phone number can have calls go directly to them without having to go through a receptionist or automated attendant. Your customers, vendors, suppliers and colleagues can more quickly and directly connect with any employee who has a DID.

Paddock2

  1. Voice mail messages and faxes delivered to your email

On a VoIP solution with unified messaging, voice mail messages are recorded as a .wav file and then emailed to you and/or delivered to your desk phone or smartphone.  There’s no need to call into the office to see if you have voice mail messages.  You can listen to your voice mail message from email within seconds of the message being left for you.

Similarly, incoming faxes can be received as.pdf files and emailed to you or to a designated general email.  You can get your faxes anywhere you can get your email.  No longer risk that big order being left on the fax machine for days, or worse, getting thrown out by mistake.

North Florida Financial

  1. Your PC as a power phone user’s productivity center

With unified communications, you can use your PC to click-to-dial, create on-screen “buttons” for other extensions, see the availability of colleagues and instant message (chat) with them, review call history, and add “favorites” buttons for shortcuts to files and applications.  Save time, be more productive and make your life easier by using your PC as a hub for getting things done throughout the day.

Front Desk

  1. Using your smartphone as a business phone system extension

Have you ever needed to call a customer or vendor back from your cell phone and cringed at the idea that they will see your caller ID and capture your cell phone number?  With VoIP and a free app, you can call from your cell phone and project the office phone caller ID.  They won’t even know you aren’t calling from your office.  You can conference, transfer, screen calls and more, right from your smartphone.

Kensington Investment Counsel Web

  1. Any phone as an on-demand business extension

You can log into any phone on the VoIP system, and it becomes your phone with your office number, settings and preferences.  Go to any other phone on the system and log in, and the system will log you out of the previous phone and put your extension on this new phone.

You don’t need a phone for every employee.  You can use this “hot desking” feature to set up sales desks with phones that salespeople can share.  They just log into the phone and it becomes their extension.  Managers and mobile employees can have a phone at headquarters, one at home, one at a vacation home and one at a remote company office — each treated as one extension they can log into at any time to make it their business line.

Cut the Cord

  1. Automatic screen pops from your CRM system

Inbound calls will open the contact in the customer relationship management (CRM) system based on caller ID.  You know who is calling as you answer the phone, before the caller even speaks — and you have their current account and contact information immediately on your screen.  Save time, be more productive and provide exceptional customer service.

Office

  1. A simpler business communications infrastructure

Most old phone systems use traditional T1 and PRI phone lines for voice, separate from your Internet connection.  VoIP is delivered over the same broadband connection you use for Internet access.  Do away with the hassle and expense of maintaining separate voice and data circuits.  Consolidate your business communications and use the savings to get more Internet bandwidth, if you want.

  1. The ability to grow the phone system as you need it

The old phone system uses physical cards and modules to add phones, phone lines or voice mail — often in blocks of 8 or 16 phones at a time.  All too often, companies outgrow their old hardware or must buy additional outdated hardware in order to add phones or lines.

But not with VoIP.  Being software-based, a full IP business phones system doesn’t use hardware in this manner.  Whenever you want to add more users or lines, just license what you need.  There’s no need to buy more than you need today just so you can grow into it in the future.

Book Pal Success Story

To see how VoIP has helped other companies meet their communications goals, visit  http://www.telecom.toshiba.com/Telephone_Systems_Resources/Success_Stories/.

The Cloud Made Clear: Toshiba Infographics

Quick tutorials about cloud communications for your business

Most business owners realize it doesn’t make sense to do everything in-house.  It is not realistic — or even necessary — to maintain all the services and infrastructure needed to run your business.  For example, for most SMBs, it usually makes more sense to have the building owner handle HVAC and landscaping, a security company to watch the property, and an agency to handle PR and marketing.  It just doesn’t make sense to maintain staff and facilities for those support functions when quality services are readily available from specialists.

The same is true of your company’s business communications.  There’s no need to buy, install and maintain an on-site phone system — unless you want to.  With cloud-based voice over IP (VoIP) service from a trusted service provider, you can get advanced IP business communications as a pay-as-you-go service from a specialist.

Is this option right for you?  How does it work?  Does it make business sense for your situation?

How about when you want to add cloud service to your existing Toshiba on-premises business telephone system?

Getting straightforward answers to those questions has not been as easy as it should be.  If you’ve been considering the cloud, you’ve probably seen everything from blue-sky promises to foggy technicalities — but not a clear explanation to help you understand the technology and make a business decision with confidence.

We want to help business owners and facility managers cut through the cumulus and get the facts — made clear, fast and easy for busy professionals. We’ve created easy-to-understand infographics about cloud telephony, how it works, the key factors that determine whether on-premises or cloud is right for you, and how to determine the ROI for your choice.  A new infographic shares the benefits of a hybrid cloud solution that lets you mix-and-match your on-premises systems with cloud solutions.

Since Toshiba offers both cloud and on-site award-winning options — the VIPedge® cloud-based business solution and IPedge® business communications system — these tutorials offer an unbiased perspective.  We have no need to sway you one way or the other, only to help you arrive at the right choice for your business:  cloud, on-premises or both networked together.

Get the fast facts now.  Explore the new infographic.  And if Toshiba’s VIPedge or IPedge looks like a good choice for your business, find out more from an Authorized Toshiba Dealer.  We’re here to make it easy.

Hybrid cloud infographic

Hybrid Cloud-Prem Solutions: A Winning Combination

It’s a transitional time in the business telephony market. In years past, businesses have largely installed telephony equipment on-site to handle voice and unified communications (UC) needs, including traditional premises-based IP-PBX, contact center, messaging and other on-site UC solutions. Now, there is a viable alternative — one which is growing in popularity. More and more, businesses are considering subscription-based hosted/cloud services for telephony and UC to replace aging telecom equipment as the best solution for a new start-up company that doesn’t want the expense of purchasing and installing equipment or the ongoing administration and maintenance that follows.

But, there’s more. Hosted solutions are appealing, not only for budgetary reasons (reduced capital expenses, installation and energy savings, predictable per-user monthly fees and fewer IT personnel required) but also for built-in redundancy and disaster recovery mechanisms and the ability to sign up for innovative technologies as soon as they become available. Multi-site and growing organizations, in particular, appreciate the scalability of an on-demand, pay-per-user model and how quickly new locations can be up and running.

Actual sales figures and market analyst findings confirm that hosted/cloud UC services are indeed making rapid advances. Providers of these services continue to report increases in cloud-based orders and rising renewal rates for their subscription services. And, analyst projections all point to strong growth in the hosted/cloud UC market. Consider these recent reports:

•   Frost & Sullivan forecasts that revenue associated with the North American Hosted IP Telephony and UCC Services Market will climb to $5.95 billion by 2019, up from $1.09 billion in 2012.

•   Infonetics research reveals that sales of hosted PBX and UC services grew 13% in 2013 over 2012, with seats up 35%.

•   Synergy Research Group reports that Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) subscribers nearly tripled to reach 1.6 million between first quarter 2010 and first quarter 2013.

In hopes of capturing some of this healthy market, it makes sense that traditional business telephony vendors are adding hosted UC services to their portfolios of premises-based solutions. Whether a business decides to subscribe to a hosted service or prefers to purchase and install phone system equipment, a vendor that offers both hosted and on-premises options is in an excellent position to meet any requirement.

Better yet, these traditional business telephony vendors are in the perfect position to offer a hybrid solution that makes use of both hosted services and on-site solutions. The ‘hybrid cloud-prem’ solution is likely to be the best of both worlds for businesses that are not yet ready to move all of their communications to the cloud. A business with an existing phone system already located on-site may find that subscribing to a call recording service or a hosted contact center capability, for example, is more desirable than installing additional hardware and/or software for these applications on-site. Or, perhaps a company wants to continue running a critical business application locally on-site while utilizing a hosted service for telephony call control. Or, consider a larger enterprise that has significant investments in on-site equipment. Here, staggered roll-outs of hosted/cloud services are typical with deployments of hosted/cloud services for remote sites while continuing to use a premises-based telephony system at main locations. These, and other scenarios, make the hybrid cloud-prem solution a perfect fit.

Toshiba America’s Telecommunication Systems Division is onboard with the benefits of a hybrid offer and is among the vendors now offering the choice of premises-based business phone systems (Toshiba’s IPedge® and Strata® CIX™) or a hosted/cloud telephony UC service (Toshiba’s VIPedge®). Moreover, Toshiba recently announced full networking support among locations with premises-based systems and those utilizing the hosted/cloud service. Customers with multiple offices can now flexibly mix the two solution types and take advantage of telephone feature transparency, including 3- or 4-digit dialing, across all locations regardless of the deployment. For example, existing customers with Toshiba’s IPedge and Strata CIX deployments can now subscribe to VIPedge at a new office location, minimizing the upfront capital expense and quickly integrating that office into the existing network without interoperability issues. Additional hybrid networking capabilities and cloud-based applications are on the near-term roadmap.

It’s an exciting time in the business telephony and UC market as we witness the shift toward subscription-based hosted/cloud services for telephony and UC. In this transitional period, subscribing to hosted/cloud services for some applications and using on-site solutions for others is a win-win for businesses and for the vendors that serve them.

Sandra Gustavsen

Sandra M. Gustavsen
Analyst, G Business Systems, LLC
(609) 304-1838
sgustavsen@gsystemscorp.com
www.gbusinessvoip.com
www.twitter.com/smgustavsen

HYBRID PHONE SYSTEM NETWORKING IS HERE

UNIFY YOUR PREMISES- AND CLOUD-BASED BUSINESS TELEPHONE SYSTEMS INTO ONE INTEGRATED, COMPANYWIDE NETWORK

Multiple Platforms. One Unified Business Phone System

Multiple Platforms. One Unified Business Phone System

Successful organizations inevitably evolve in phases. Organic growth drives expansion into new facilities and markets. Mergers and acquisitions bring a mix of operational support technologies. Most organizations of any size run on a diversity of processes and platforms.

That’s true not only of computer systems but also for phone systems. Perhaps your business installed a converged digital/IP PBX at its original location, then pure IP phone systems at newer locations, and more recently, embraced cloud telephony to support satellite locations and remote workers.

It’s not uncommon for one organization to use either or both of Toshiba’s premises-based phone systems — Strata® CIX™ and IPedge® — and then expand reach and capacity with our VIPedge® cloud-based telephone solution. It’s easy to do, because all three platforms share the same telephones, call processing, calling features, applications, and look and feel for users.

Now they also network together very nicely.

All three platforms can be blended into one unified, companywide phone system that delivers a host of cost-saving, productivity and efficiency benefits.

Open up new options. Support new users and locations with minimal upfront capital expense by adding VIPedge to extend your existing IPedge and Strata CIX systems.

Mix and match the right phone system for each location. Use on-premises Strata CIX where you need to support digital phones, on-premises IPedge where users need advanced IP features, and VIPedge where you need the on-demand growth and flexibility of a cloud solution.

Create a seamless user and caller experience. All three systems use the same Toshiba IP core to enable features to work seamlessly and transparently across the network.

Support mobile users with cellular and Wi-Fi options. Business calls can follow you to mobile devices, ring simultaneously at your desk and cell phones, and travel to and from your mobile phone through the Toshiba system as just another system extension.

If your organization has centralized unified messaging and/or unified communications, these features work across the hybrid network as well. This interworking (techies call it “federation”) will soon also work for sites that deployed these applications locally for each node.

Enable free companywide long-distance calls. With Toshiba’s SIP Trunking I-VoIP Service and hybrid networking, your users can make free local and long-distance calls among all company locations in the U.S., no matter which system they’re on or where it resides.

Streamline and simplify with a single-vendor solution. Count on one source for phone system applications, equipment and services across premises and cloud. With Toshiba, you won’t have the interoperability issues that are common when using a mix of equipment from different vendors and service providers.

Find out more at http://www.telecom.toshiba.com/Products/Telephone-System-Networking/hybrid-cloud.cfm.