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Smart IP keeps up with ubiquitous industry changes Hosted Solutions Explained – Basic Guide The Best Uses for Unified Communications Who’s Servicing your Phone System: Why Credentials Matter The Top Reasons Why You Should Upgrade your Phone System Smart IP Inc. No Longer Selling ShoreTel

Smart IP keeps up with ubiquitous industry changes

The landscape of business communications is, yet again, experiencing rapid, significant changes. From sales models to voice networks, the industry continues to overhaul the old systems in favour of newer, technologically-advanced platforms and applications that benefit both the companies and their clients. One company in particular continues to exemplify how best to embrace these changes: that company is Smart IP Inc., headquartered in Brampton, Ontario. The changing landscape The first of many current major changes in the industry is the sales model. Fifteen years ago, the standard process in “telecommunications” sales entailed selling central processing units from a customer’s website or office: an on-premise solution. Today’s model, however, is characterized by the customer’s ability to expand their capacity by buying more licenses for the product instead of the outright purchase of ever more hardware. At the same time, managed services and cloud services are coming to the forefront of the business. Managed service refers to a service in which the customer pays a monthly fee and the service provider affords the services, on site or via third party, similar to a cell phone contract but without the up-front purchase requirement. Managed services are easy for businesses to implement and can be used immediately after implementation. These services can be more preferable to some clients because it allows them to consume the products and services over a period of time, since there is no up-front minimum purchase required, and offers products that can adapt and update themselves: all included in a one price per month billing schedule. Cloud services, on the other hand, are services in which the customer owns nothing: it is essentially a pay as you go service. For a monthly fee, all services reside in the cloud (2nd or 3rd party data sites) and an outside party takes care of the data management. In cloud services, network and bandwidth are the primary concern since there are no in-house upgrades as in managed services. For the business, this equals a low start-up cost, but higher (yet manageable) service cost. Support requirements are also facing change. In the past, a customer could choose not to accept the standard support fees and instead manage the technology themselves. Now, however, manufacturer support is attached to licensing and is required for support eligibility, warranty and live replacements. Though this model has existed in the data world for years, voice networks is the newest industry to adopt the model for all but the smallest of systems. The final significant change in the business communications realm is the increasing importance of networks. Today the majority of businesses cannot survive without solid network services, even if they are only small; in fact, the affordability of technology allows small businesses to compete with big players, and the accessibility of technology allows both large and small businesses to offer effectively identical services and ease of communication. From a technological standpoint, small businesses can operate in the same ways as large businesses, with a significant bonus: that they continue to adopt the industry changes as they emerge, just like large companies, where as in earlier days, they would have to wait until affordability came to them. In the face of constant changes, customers will benefit from accepting these new services and embracing the direction of the industry’s future. These changes are more beneficial both financially and logistically for clients, as companies like Smart IP can attest to. However amidst the changing environment of voice networks, there will be less room for procrastination: those who do not adopt the new systems will most certainly suffer, while those that do will have a much greater opportunity to prosper. Smart IP: The face of change Smart IP best exemplifies adaptation to these industry changes. Smart IP is one of Canada’s leading independent full-service voice and data services integrators, providing an alternative to traditional telco companies. Their expertise lies in IP communications and related applications for business customers, and they operate across Canada.  Smart IP embraces and adapts to industry changes, but what sets the company apart from the rest? Primarily, the company is successful because they strive to be not just a service provider, but a trusted advisor. The company does not merely exist to sell the product, but rather maximize the benefits of the product for their clients. One way they achieve this is by maintaining an evolutionary training regime for their technical staff that is derived directly from the manufacturer’s technical expansion. The longest tenured technician within the company will reach his 30th employment anniversary in 2018: he has “forgotten more than some will ever know” as a result of the ever-changing technological landscape, and he is only one example of employee longevity. The company’s technicians know voice communications both old and new, are highly certified, and have “experienced everything”, yet despite their extensive experience, they are never done learning and welcome the constant training. This sets the company’s technicians apart from the rest. Secondly, the company’s strategy mirrors the successful manufacturer product strategy. Avaya, using one example, has the whole suite of products that run end to end, meaning they do it all: they have done a very good job to have an evolution of product families, where its certain components can be retained across product families, resulting in significant customer savings. Smart IP utilizes a similar approach, as they follow a self-declared ‘one throat to choke model’ for installation project management: they strive to ensure their clients need only call one number for all of their needs or issues whether it be training, change, clarification, or other communication. Additionally, Smart IP is soon expanding further into the cloud business; the industry will see the launch of IP into cloud services with the key difference being that it will be a part of their products suite, which will be most beneficial for a customer who wants access to products but is not sure of their end goal. In looking to their future goals, Smart IP remarks that “Our future in the next two to five years is that, we expect to get a lot deeper into the data elements and more the IT, [like] virtualization clients. Even though today we do 60% to 70% of our installs through a virtualized environment, a lot of customers are separating into a multi-vendor shop: [a one throat to choke model].” In summation, when choosing a voice networks service provider, price, timing, and access to productivity enhancements all factor into the decision making process. However the bottom line is that it’s not merely a matter of making a decision, and it’s not just the final bill that the clients are paying: what makes the difference is the people that deliver the service.

Hosted Solutions Explained – Basic Guide

Hosted Solutions Explained – Basic Guide

If you are a business owner, you will have seen the many changes over the years in terms of marketing, manufacturing, and nearly every other process. In the past couple of years, it has been ‘hosting’ that has taken the market by storm. For this reason, we have created a brief guide for you today explaining what the process involves and how the change is implemented.

What is Hosting?

Essentially, hosting can cover a number of topics and it depends on how deep you wish to go into the many services. For example, the term ‘hosting’ could describe your website being looked after by a different company. After choosing a hosting company, they will be in control of keeping your site online in the long-term.

Furthermore, some companies have all their files held on a completely different server on the other side of the city and this has some great benefits including protection from natural disasters. Finally, you can also have all of your communications hosted by a different company and this is called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). In short, this means that everything from phone systems all the way to a wireless office can be supported by a third-party.

Benefits

In truth, there are numerous benefits that come with hosting but most companies go for these solutions because they are reliable and because they receive good customer support. Whether the company is hosting the website or all of your communications and files too, they are completely dedicated to the cause and protect your servers at all costs. Even when issues do arise, they are often fixed within a quick time because you will have professionals with years of experience and all sorts of qualifications in your corner.

After this, you will also benefit from improved design, control of your data and content, as well as improved communication through the whole business. As long as you choose the right company who meets your needs, you can have a long relationship where your servers remain in the best possible position without having to worry.

How to Prepare

If you are switching to a VoIP solution, there are some steps you can take to be prepared and avoid a big upheaval on the day itself. For example, you will want to document the so-called ‘call flow’ and this is something most companies will help with. Ultimately, this describes when calls are forwarded, what happens when someone dials your number, will it go to one phone or more, is there an answer phone, etc.

After this, you should look to notify all employees that there will be a change. Even though you are improving the phone service, change is often met with resistance so be sure to explain exactly what is happening and why they should be excited. Even before it arrives, you can sit them down and explain how it will work and how their jobs will be made easier than ever before.

Implementation

Ultimately, the installation process can be disruptive if not planned for properly, but the provider should make the whole process less stressful. With a good provider, you will know what is going to happen long before it does. You could even hire a freelance IT partner for the week so they can ensure that it all goes smoothly. As long as you make the right decision on the provider, the process will not disrupt your business too much and you should be able to continue with your day quite normally. With all employees notified, they should also be ready to help whenever necessary!

The Best Uses for Unified Communications

Unified Communications refers to much more than just the telephone system that your office uses.

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Within UC falls many options, and more that has to do with office communications, encompassing a large range of devices spread over a multitude of connection formats. Because of this widespread functionality, unified communications can act as an all in one upgrade when your office is looking to improve its connectivity and devices. You may even be using many of the devices and software which unified communications seeks to integrate, which is why it’s unfair to call it a system upgrade. Instead, it enhances the existing processes in place, ‘unifying’ them as the name suggests. In fact, unified communications may hardly cost any more than your existing services, simply because it doesn’t look to introduce any new applications generally, other than a hub that is typically viewable over a range of devices.

Gauging the functionality of unified communications goes well beyond just looking at the numbers, because standard ROI metrics are not quite applicable to a non-hardware based service. Perhaps the best way in which to understand the benefits of unified communications is to view real office examples.

 

  1. Employee Productivity

 

Your employees are most involved with communications, either when speaking to you, or speaking to customers, or even communicating amongst themselves. For this purpose, the platform of unified messaging may be the perfect choice for complete integration. It will allow your employees to communicate in one central messaging hub, eliminating the need for various mediums and devices (if the user desires). This hub is accessible though mobile device and desktop, meaning that not a single fax, email, text, or video call will be missed by them again.

 

Unified messaging helps your employees work effectively from any device and any location, greatly speeding up the rate at which your office operates without adding any new tasking or stress. This will increase productivity, and you’ll see your employees working more effectively and working faster, but with no increased load. Quite often, there is an increase in available time for them, and you, to be more productive, as typical communication time back and forth (turnaround time) decreases.

 

  1. Team Productivity

 

Employees aren’t just a collection of workers; they’re part of a bigger team, and should be able to function as an effective team. But while one or two employees can easily meet for a discussion, it’s usually difficult to get the entire team to meet in person all at once. But by using unified communications technologies, you can easily eliminate this problem, by using something as simple as video conferencing services.

 

Obviously, nothing will beat an in person meeting. However, video conferencing can act as a suitable replacement, and will allow for easier planning of any necessary meetings. You can quickly sub in employees when they’re needed for meetings, or shoot off quick communications to find out information. Seeing everyone on video will also be a powerful substitute for in person meetings, and will reduce the need for bringing in employees into a physical location.

 

Unified communications will speed up your overall office operations, making impromptu meetings a cinch to engage.

 

  1. Business Benefits

 

What’s good for your employees is good for your business, and so far, it’s looking like unified communications can do quite a bit for your business. Because unified communications is proven to increase productivity and enhance employee operations, it’s justifiable for management to implement it business-wide, as it will have a positive impact on the business’s ease of operation and return on investment.

 

The more flexible the business is, the easier the job of management, as more tasks can be fulfilled by employees, with less stress, with customer needs ultimately being better fulfilled. Unified communications resolves issues that any business management will have, through a natural and streamlined process.

 

  1. IT Simplification

 

Ultimately, the IT department will have to deal with the repercussions from implementing unified communications, even if they don’t do the initial set up. Luckily, the singular environment in which unified communications operates makes doing so extremely simple, reducing the need for IT to continuously monitor network usage and employee processes.

 

Unified Communications is the all in one solution that your business has been yearning for, and that your employees will thank you for implementing and streamlining. When planned and implemented properly, by trained and qualified technicians, not only will you see business productivity increasing, but your employee performance will also improve, with greater workflow outcomes.

So make the decision that’s best for your employees, your team, and your business, and get set up with unified communications today!

Who’s Servicing your Phone System: Why Credentials Matter

Picking the right company to handle your telecommunications can be difficult and grueling, mainly because it’s so difficult to know what really matters in terms of experience and credentials. Many businesses end up spending thousands of wasted dollars dealing with companies that simply don’t know what they’re doing, and don’t have their best interests at heart.

So you’ve decided to go with an IP Telephony service. Let’s take a look at what that entails, and why Avaya is the best choice in IP office communications. IP is a means of connecting all your employees in a secure and reliable way, across all your branches and work environments. Gone are the days of miscommunication and lost call signals, because IP operates through Internet Protocol. This means that it transmits voice communications over the network, using open internet protocols with implemented standards. Not only can this reduce, and in some cases eliminate the high cost of public switched telephone network (PSTN) depending your particular configuration, but it also delivers a level of service and dependability that rivals and even exceeds that of traditional telephone networks.

Smart IP’s Unified Communications platform utilizes IP telephony to unify voice, video, data, and mobile into the toolbox of your office workplace. It does so specifically through Avaya IP Office. The leading small and mid-size business telephony solution has become Canada’s top leading voice and data services combination for many small to medium sized businesses, easily unifying office communications for thousands of businesses. This system allows you to quickly get in touch with both employees and customers, providing solutions for them when they need it most, and never losing another lead to your answering machine or service. But while this system can work wonders for your business, it does require occasional servicing and/or configuration based on your developing and changing needs, and the choice that you make here can be nearly as crucial as the IP system itself.

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A multitude of companies on the market will advertise IP telephony system servicing, even for products that they don’t supply and aren’t credentialed for. But because they don’t supply these systems, and lack the experience working for them, you aren’t guaranteed that they’ll service it properly, or that they’ll be able to resolve any of your concerns. In fact, they may end up leaving your system in worse condition than when they started, wasting your valuable time and money. That’s why you should go with Smart IP for any of your IP system servicing needs. We’ve been in the business for 37 years, embracing new platforms as they come, and working to create value for our customers. By providing excellent service and advanced technologies, we’ve brought plenty of businesses into the modern age of telecommunications with all the tools they’ll need to remain competitive and integrated. We provide 24/7 support and national customer service, carefully listening to the needs of our customers and crafting solutions to their communication needs. That’s why so many leading businesses, companies, and even government agencies rely on Smart IP for installation, deployment, and maintenance.

Why are we so qualified?

Our team of professionals is well versed in telecommunications, VoIP, Data, IP networking, wireless telecommunications technologies, and even MPLS. This is because we invest in the education and training of our employees, providing the means for them to develop their professional abilities to best serve our customers. That’s why we stand behind our staffs’ expertise, and take pride in knowing that our Service and Support personnel will provide you with the maintenance that suits the exact needs of your business. Our team is fully certified on many platforms including these award winning Avaya products:

  • IP Office
  • Scopia
  • Contact Centre Select
  • Contact Centre Aura
  • Communication Manager
  • Session Manager
  • System Manager
  • Avaya Fabric Connect

This way we ensure that the products and systems we sell will continue to work into the far future, and that you’re never left with an IP telecommunications system that doesn’t perform to its full potential.

Read here to learn more about Avaya IP Office, and for further questions, feel free to get in touch with our friendly staff at Smart IP.

The Top Reasons Why You Should Upgrade your Phone System

For many businesses, traditional phone lines are still the primary means of communication, taking priority over fax machines, skype, and even computers. Speaking over a telephone can be the next best thing to meeting in person, other than a video call such as Scopia which we’ll get into in a later article. No one can ever deny that a simple phone call is easy and immediate. It’s often the primary method through which your clients keep in touch with you, and it makes you more immediately accessible than email or fax ever could for detailed discussions. That’s why your telephone system should be kept up to date and updated when necessary. After all, you change your computers once every few years. Why are you still using a telephone system that was considered average back in the 90’s?

The reason for upgrading your phone system is the same one as for upgrading your phone, your computer, and even your car. At a certain point, new technology emerges that allows for much greater functionality than what you currently have, and usually for the same or even a lower price. Five years ago, cell phones could barely hold 4 GB of storage, and did little more than call and text. Today they do more than come computers, and can have up to 2 TB of storage! And all that for almost the same price; why not upgrade?

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Similarly, traditional desk phones are just too basic to be of much use nowadays if your customers need you to immediately engage in a video call, conferencing or switch over to Bluetooth on the run. Features such as call transfer, intercom, voicemail, and conferencing come standard with even the cheapest phone systems, and more advanced systems are already pushing forward to the bigger and better features mentioned above.

Today, VoIP and Hybrid Systems are what define high end telephone systems, along with cloud-hosted communication services. Integration with computer software, email integration, HD voice and video options, wireless handsets, and mobile phone connectivity are considered the latest technology when it comes to business telephone systems, and more and more businesses are embracing this enhanced functionality.

While some of these features may be compatible with your old telephone systems, most of them will require an upgrade to a new system. Although you may already be convinced of this, you may also be thinking that these are just high-tech terms which won’t add any real substance to your office environment. Well, much like those who rejected adopting the use of internet in the early 90’s, this belief is simply incorrect, as these technologies have come to define not just cutting-edge and innovative businesses, but many SMB firms.

Here’s why you need to think about upgrading now.

  1. Current system: The main reason that anyone ever upgrades anything is because the current system or technology just doesn’t work the way it should, or it just ceases to function altogether (system down!). This could be because it was faulty or mis-programmed right from the start, or because it’s slowly deteriorated over time. Maybe you failed to fix an issue early on, and are now stuck with the eventual pile up. Regardless, your current system is not serving its use to you or your company. That makes it dead weight, and time for an immediate upgrade.
  2. Outdated Equipment: Maybe your telephone system does work, but it’s absolutely outdated! The same way that it’s time for your dad to ditch his 1988 rusty minivan, it’s time for you to ditch the POTS and adopt a new system with some state of the art features. And maybe pick up your dad a 2017 ECO-SUV while you’re at it.
  3. Company Growth: It often happens that a company outgrows its phone system, rather than it becoming outdated. Perhaps it even has some cutting edge features, but just not the ones that a company of your size needs. So upsize your phone system before it starts downsizing your company.
  4. Unequipped for Business: At one point, your company stopped operating out of your basement and moved into a real office. But your basic consumer phone system came right with you, and is now the pillar of your office environment. It’s time to get a real business phone system, and something like Avaya IP Office could be the right choice for you.

So you decided that your phone system needs new functionality. But do you actually know what this functionality is? How do you decide what features are important to you, and which ones aren’t? Sure, maybe the salesman at “Jim’s Telco” is telling you that your business phone line should be able to play the Canadian anthem as its ringtone, but will this really benefit your business, and is he certified on the product to advise accordingly?

Speak to your employees (and to yourself), get expert consultation with a certified professional sales person (which we have), and ask these important questions.

  • What features are available?
  • What do you think you want your phone system to do?
  • Which features will improve your businesses efficiency?
  • Can any new technology help achieve your goals or do you need a certain platform?
  • With IP telephone systems being at the top of chain, do they fulfill these needs?
  • Do you think that integrating your computers, phones, and tablets with your telephone system will increase your productivity? (The answer to this question is often a resounding, “Yes”.)
  • Which feature do you care about most?

Figuring out the answers to these questions is the most important way in which you can prepare for getting a new phone system. When you go to buy a car, you usually ask yourself what matters in a vehicle before walking in to buy it. A telephone system is no different, once you’ve done a little research.

Don’t go through this important process alone. Call Smart IP to talk an expert, and get your new communication system up and running in no time!

Smart IP Inc. No Longer Selling ShoreTel

[fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]Shoretel DirectorAs of January 20, 2017, Smart IP will no longer be selling or servicing ShoreTel products or systems. Instead, we have chosen to dedicate ourselves to our other core premier products and solutions which have proven themselves in our customer’s environments, for many years, and which meet the ever evolving, growing, and demanding needs of the many varied business environments our customers, big and small, operate in.

We invite you to explore our products and services, and the many solutions we have available for you. Our professional staff are always available to inform, educate and help you in any way to meet your service, solution and equipment needs.

Our premier products with Avaya, NEC, Aruba, Phybridge, Carehawk as just some of the capable solutions available to meet and exceed your requirements. Whether it is simple hardware based phone systems, IP based phone systems and solutions, Cloud systems, call center solutions, networking, peripheral gear such as Headsets and UPS units, cable work, system service, ongoing maintenance requirements, multi-site support and quoting, major infrastructure solutions and consulting, Smart IP has you covered. From major Educational institutions and School Boards, to cross Canadian Retail chains, law offices, and small shops, in whatever environment, we can inform you and help you get on the right path to productivity, and within your budget.

Contact Smart IP now or call 289-807-1558 and find out how we can help you be smarter with Smart IP.

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