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Integrating Microsoft Products with Avaya Carehawk® Paging Systems: The Hot Product for School Boards and Administration XIMA Call Recording Getting Customer Interactions Organized with Avaya Hosted Contact Center The Hidden Cost of Going Cisco The Value of In-House Training on Your Communication Systems Network Assessments: Not Only for Installations Is your Voice Network as Secure as it Can Be? Data Networking and Wireless Access Points: Why Network Speed Matters to Users Smart IP Named Avaya’s Midmarket Partner of the Year 2018

Integrating Microsoft Products with Avaya

Avaya Contact Center Solutions are designed to work alongside several Microsoft products to provide a better, easier-to-manage point of contact solution for businesses. As a multi-channel contact center solution that integrates email, instant messaging, and VOIP, it makes sense to extend that functionality to other popular digital communication platforms. The intent of Avaya integration within Microsoft products is to preserve how the Microsoft products work instead of trying to adjust those programs for Avaya. By integrating with Microsoft products like Skype and Outlook, Avaya is able to provide a cohesive call or contact center experience for your staff to better address customer and client needs.

Integration with Skype

Avaya supports integration with Skype for Business via an API. This enables Skype contact between customers and call center staff. This is important because it allows people to reach out to your business through additional platforms. In particular, Skype works well with allowing a conversation to shift between text, voice, and video communication on a wide range of compatible devices. Skype for Business Avaya integration extends this beneficial functionality to the call center platform.

There are further use case benefits to integrating Skype with Avaya. The Skype system can be used to easily create ad hoc conferences between multiple customers and support staff if the need should ever arise. Additionally, Avaya’s IVR and call recording features make it easier to keep track of and document Skype interactions. The integration benefits extend to both platforms. Avaya also supports integration with Microsoft Lync for similar functionality to Skype for businesses still using the platform: Microsoft replaced Lync with Skype for Business in 2014 as its flagship video conferencing product.

Integration with Outlook

Avaya can also augment Microsoft Outlook with integrated calling features. With Avaya, support staff can utilize “call-to-click” functionality with contacts in the Outlook platform, making it easier for call center employee to respond to an email-based contact with a phone call. Additionally, the integration supports “call-to-video” functionality in Outlook to allow support staff to reach out to customers through a video call. The real benefit to this integration is it eliminates the time needed for call center staff to switch programs when responding to contacts; it streamlines the response process across multiple channels and multiple modes of contact.

Avaya provides the backbone of an enterprise call center solution while being able to integrate with existing infrastructure to add functionality. It also uses integration to reduce costs for businesses by enabling you to use much of your existing hardware and conferencing technology. SmartIP can help your business address its call center needs with the Anvaya Hosted IPO solution. The cloud services solution can be scaled and adapted to fit the unique needs of a business.

 

Carehawk® Paging Systems: The Hot Product for School Boards and Administration

Carehawk® Paging Systems offer a state-of-the-art solution to augment or replace communication systems in school environments, healthcare facilities, correctional facilities, industrial settings, and commercial operations. In particular, school boards find what Carehawk® Paging Systems have to offer as an affordable, practical solution to improving communication at both the individual school and district level.

About Carehawk® Paging Systems

Carehawk® Paging Systems are a flexible phone, paging, and safety alert administration system that can be adjusted to meet a given facility’s unique needs. These systems implement software solutions that change a traditional school intercom system into a mass notification system that supports pre-recorded audio files for announcements and emergency pages. Carehawk® Paging Systems can work with existing legacy intercom systems in use at schools, making the installation affordable and not intrusive. The systems use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to minimize how much cable is needed to connect the system across a building, which offers both financial and practicality perks. Additionally, the paging system can work with existing security systems for additional functionality.

Why are Carehawk® Paging Systems Great for Schools?

Carehawk® Paging Systems major selling point for schools is they work as both a building-specific and cross-district intercom and communication system. Unlike older systems which needed to be run on a by-building basis, school boards and district administrators can send emergency alerts across the entire district without needing to individually contact schools. The system can broadcast live across an entire school district to send lockdown alerts, tornado warnings, and other important information. This paging system is a much faster way of getting important information out, which can make a huge difference in getting safety information out in less time.

Additionally, the classroom telephone technology offers its own set of perks. The phones feature authorization options for both “by phone” and “by user” to work with individualized security. The system can support a virtually unlimited number of classroom phones and uses minimal cabling to connect everything. The system also supports off-hook transfer and duress features for added safety for crisis situations. Carehawk® Paging Systems support legacy paging/intercom systems by converting IP audio to analog audio, so schools can use the system to extend existing paging system functionality instead of undertaking an expensive replacement process.

The VCALL™ system takes things a step further by eliminating the need to use a classroom or administrative telephone to use the system. CareHawk® Virtual Call Point software can run on classroom computers as an unobtrusive toolbar. Staff can quickly and easily access the system with a traditional keyboard and mouse interface. When running on laptops, the system offers portability to go with the user instead of being tied to a cabled terminal.

Working with a Vendor

SmartIP can help your school district customize and implement the Carehawk® Paging System to meet your unique needs. SmartIP’s cloud services hosted solutions are an Avaya Hosted IPO solution.

 

XIMA Call Recording

The XIMA Call Recording solution, Chronicall, provides an impressive collection of tools to help a business manage phone records. The system stores and organizes records of every call for monitoring and reference use. It is an ideal solution for call management, particularly for call centers, customer support, keeping legal records, and for general record keeping purposes. The system is built for tracking and evaluating both individual and group performance.

The system is generally used for high-level management, but it has other uses. If you forgot what someone said on an important call or lose your notes this system will help you out. Your organization may opt to use the system to simplify staff call evaluation or to get an easy reference method for following up on customer complaints about a call.

XIMA Chronicall

The XIMA Chronicall system includes two parts in the standard license: Standard Reports and Cradle to Grave. Standard Reports is an administrative system that lets your organization acquire specific information about every call. The Standard Reports system features real-time monitoring, agent dashboards, and alerts on top of generating reports. The real-time reporting system builds on the Standard Reports system and allows administrators to see what employees are doing through widgets, dashboards, and other statistical displays. Administrators can filter through missed calls, abandoned calls, and call durations within the system. The system can generate alerts for things like a change in average call durations or a change in call frequency.

The Cradle to the Grave system is the archival side of the package: it records and stores copies of each phone call from pick-up to hang-up. The system creates a complete audio archive of every bit of information from each phone call. Whether your organization is looking to keep call records for reference, evaluate employee call performance, or keep a legal record, this system has you covered. It creates a recording library of all phone calls and compresses the calls so they fit into a reasonable amount of storage. The system uses the SPX file format. Compression also simplifies and expedites the backup process. The system has built-in encryption features if your organization is concerned about security–which is extremely important in cases like a medical service keeping patient records safe. This system offers call filtering to help an administrator find specific calls. Users can distribute call recordings via email and download if needed. The system also keeps track of notes for calls and offers playback speed adjustment.

The Contact Center solution provides additional functionality for high-volume call management. This solution is an ideal option for call center management. It utilizes a uniquely designed call flow pattern, Intelligent Highest Skill First system which helps pair callers with the most qualified agent to answer their question. The Queue Callback system adds the ability for callers to be put on a callback list.

SmartIP offers online hosted solutions through cloud services to help improve how your organization operates. XIMA Call Recording is one of many solutions we provide.

 

Getting Customer Interactions Organized with Avaya Hosted Contact Center

Avaya Hosted Contact Center features a robust set of tools to help small-to-midsize businesses enhance customer interactions. A hosted contact center system leverages cloud services to manage call and contact routing throughout high-volume telephony transactions. However, it’s more than just routing calls to the right agent, it also features real-time contact management system.

Streamlining the Customer Experience

In particular, the Avaya Contact Center Select system can help your business provide a context-sensitive, collaborative customer experience via voice and multimedia interactions. The tools in the system help anticipate customer needs and accelerate their process towards a resolution. This gives your support staff an edge through customer insight to give a better experience. The customer management system provides your support staff with a complete view of the customer’s interaction experience which helps with better customer engagement. It also helps customers have a continuous experience over multiple points of contact with complicated problems.

The Technology

The Avaya Contact Center uses the Avaya IP Office telephone system technology. The system is both scalable and flexible, allowing it to be tailor-fit to your business’s unique needs. The IP Office system can support as few as one and as many as one hundred agents to address your business market needs. It uses SIP and CTI interfaces to communicate with the IP Office platform. Furthering its versatility, the system supports a wide range of phones and devices giving your business the freedom of choice.

Additionally, the system offers reference-ready call recording, intuitive skills-based routing, and multichannel conversation capabilities. Call recording creates a record of interactions your agents can reference when helping customers while the skill-based routing systems helps match customers with the best agents for the job. The multichannel conversation capabilities mean customers can have a shared experience through email, SMS, fax, webchat, and telephone calls.

What does Avaya Hosted Contact Center Include?

  • Tools for integrated multichannel customer contact: Offer your customers a shared experience over multiple points of contact from multiple content methods.
  • Smart agent routing: Leverage the technology to send your customers to the best-suited agent to handle their problem.
  • Telemarketing and Outbound Campaigns: Maximize your employee time by having your agents make outbound marketing calls during slow support times.
  • Record Keeping: Record calls for training purposes. Use real examples to show workers how to best handle solutions and identify places where agents are struggling.
  • Comprehensive Real-Time Historical Reporting: Analyze customer interactions on the fly to make adjustments as needed. Use historical reporting to identify improvement areas.
  • Integration with Salesforce and SAP: The Avaya CRM integration system can work communicate with your existing Salesforce and SAP integrations. Sharing communication between platforms creates a more personalized, better informed customer experience.

SmartIP offers the Avaya Hosted Contact Center solution for businesses looking to improve customer interactions. It is a cloud services-based platform.

 

The Hidden Cost of Going Cisco

There’s no escaping the need for full-service voice and data communication services for businesses functioning in the fast-based, technology permeated environment of the digital age. Because of how important technology has become for companies across all industries, it’s important to ensure you are working with a quality provider for your products, systems and services.

Unfortunately for many Cisco customers, they are getting more than they bargained for – and not in a good way. Burdensome license fees and product End of Life (EOL) policies are presenting issues that detract from the support and convenience technology is intended to provide.

Cisco’s smart licensing pitfalls

A couple years ago, Cisco started shifting its licensing strategies and rolling out a new smart licensing system. The new entitlement system changed licences to be subscription-based, rather than perpetual, leading to more administrative costs and challenges for network management. Subscribers have to connect their devices to the Internet, often, for entitlement validation or risk a problematic loss of functionality, which decreases end-user control over the infrastructure.

Not only does this disproportionately put functionality under Cisco’s control, but this style of licensing also can restrict your ability to use third-party maintenance or buy refurbished hardware, and your hardware purchases will no longer maintain residual value. Additionally, Cisco has the power to simply turn off functionality when devices reach the Last-Day-of-Support (LDOS) stage of their lifecycle. This creates a binding situation for companies and network administrators using Cisco products. Compliance with smart licensing is essential without suffering potential business downtime or having to write and follow new processes and procedures for manual workarounds. Adding to this is the mass confusion that customers, and VAR’s alike, and at times CISCO representatives themselves are having explaining and dealing with this licencing model.

Opting for a different network hardware vendor

Avaya and NEC continue to be industry-leading brands when it comes to unified communication solutions. NEC is the ideal platform for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to grow their presence and impact within their industry. Likewise, Avaya systems and hardware provide across-the-board solutions that empower, rather than restrict, employees, companies, and network administrators.

From a consumer perspective, Avaya is rated higher than Cisco in several areas, including features, support, integrations and plans. Their products are scalable to your business’ budget and operational goals, giving you more control over your information technology.

Smart IP’s portfolio includes both Avaya and NEC systems, along with those from other industry-leading partners. Smart IP not only provides communications deployments to companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies throughout Canada, but their services also include support and maintenance to ensure your technology works for you.

The Value of In-House Training on Your Communication Systems

When it comes to running a business, organizations in every industry have access to a plethora of communication technologies and systems to perform a variety of job-related processes and functions.

However, you can implement any number of business solutions that support the communication necessary for performing daily tasks, but if your employees aren’t properly trained on using your communication systems, it significantly decreases their value. That’s why providing in-house training for your staff on how to use the equipment they communicate with can be a worthwhile investment.

Under-utilizing resources

Technology is constantly changing, and depending on your business or industry, you may be frequently implementing new applications, processes or systems in the workplace. While business tools such as telecommunication systems, cloud communication solutions, and fully converged voice and data networks have the potential to add convenience and efficiency to your employees’ work days, that will not be the case if they don’t receive proper training.

With new communication systems, programs, and software, certain functions are often obvious and easy to figure out. However, to make the most of the technology, employees need to become deeply familiar with it. You could leave the accumulation of knowledge up to trial and error, but in the process, you lose efficiency and productivity while simultaneously not capitalizing on the immense capabilities and value of your communication resources. Meanwhile, trying to learn how to use a new communication tool can be frustrating and distract your employees from the more crucial aspects of their professional roles. That’s where training comes in.

Investing in your business’ future

With a dedicated training session – offered in-house or at a training facility – you can expedite the learning process and help your employees make the most of your communication systems sooner.

During a training session, your employees will learn why a certain software, program, or piece of equipment benefits them and can make their job easier. This increases buy-in from your employees, motivating them to become more comfortable using the systems to their fullest capacity.

Additionally, the experts leading the training can answer questions, demonstrate the less obvious features of the technology, and explain how to troubleshoot various issues. The enthusiasm and knowledge from communication specialists can eliminate the frustration employees may feel having to acclimate to a certain system.

 

Smart IP has more to offer than delivering communications systems, applications, and services to businesses throughout Canada. They also can help train your employees on how to use these tools properly so they become optimized for your company. Smart IP holds sessions at their training facilities in Brampton or will come to your business to train employees right within their own work environment and on the communication systems they use every day.

Network Assessments: Not Only for Installations

For many companies, IT networks have become not only more integral to operating their business on a day-to-day basis, but also more complex and complicated.

With important information and critical operations depending on your network running smoothly and flawlessly, your company cannot risk waiting for an issue to cripple your system before addressing it. You can take preemptive action to analyze your network and ensure it is fulfilling its requirements by conducting a network assessment.

What is a network assessment?

After you set up a network, you should test it to make sure the various components are working in tandem properly and reliably, the way you would with any complex system. However, it’s also important to periodically conduct network assessments post-installation to ensure your organization is making the most of its network or if you are considering changes or adding new technology.

Whether you can already pinpoint a problem but are unsure how to fix it or simply know a problem exists but not its identity, a network assessment gives you a comprehensive view about the current state of your company’s network.

A network assessment reviews your existing IT infrastructure, security, processes, management and performance and analyzes various devices – including servers, routers, computers, laptops and smart devices – along with the exchange server, looking for network vulnerabilities or failures. The analysis can help diagnose and verify network performance, security, and capacity/storage issues, along with the appearance of atypical data or any component being out of compliance. You also will have insight into underused or overused resources, bandwidth bottlenecks, and the potential benefits and challenges of adding new technology into your current network configuration.

How Can You Benefit From a Network Assessment?

A network assessment can help you grow more familiar with your growing IT infrastructure and systems and proactively identify and verify which components may be causing problems. The analysis also is a useful tool to help you determine which issues are network-related and which are user-related and identify opportunities for improvement, allowing you to make more informed and strategic business decisions.

Depending on the type of assessment completed, common outcomes from the analysis can also include uncovering unsupported operating systems; user passwords close to expiration; operating systems in extended support; or a lack of anti-spyware. The good news is an assessment can also provide recommendations for fixing network- and user-related issues with applicable solutions.

Assessing Your Network

You should be tracking your network’s performance for several reasons, not least of which are efficiency and security. Identifying the ways in which your network is underperforming or vulnerable allows you to spend energy making strategic decisions for comprehensive improvement.

Network assessments, however, can be complex and time-consuming. Working alongside a managed IT services provider to review and analyze your company’s network gives you access to professional knowledge and insight about complex IT systems and what you should even be looking for. Providers such as Smart IP ensure the process is more efficient and cost-effective by managing the assessment, preparing a report, and guiding you toward accurate solutions and tools to help you make the most of your IT infrastructure and end-user systems.  

Is your Voice Network as Secure as it Can Be?

As technology becomes integrated into day-to-day business operations, it is easy to start taking its dependability and security for granted. Even though Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks are an important communication tool for professional services firms, government agencies, and financial institutions across numerous industries, they also pose an ever-present cybersecurity risk.

Voice networks are used to continually pass valuable data, which makes them a target for cybercriminals hunting for health records, confidential account data, or credit card information. In the world of cybersecurity, complacency leads to increased vulnerability for businesses of all sizes, opening the door to a range of threats.

What are the risks associated with voice networks?

Businesses can use IP telephony as a way to extend consistent communications services to all employees, whether they are working on-site or remotely, through a variety of devices and operating systems. Because VoIP networks transmit audio over a network using standards-based IP, however, they present risks similar to other forms of web-based communication. Some of the potential risks include:

  • Call logs being stolen and/or illegally disseminated
  • Calls being recorded without the user’s knowledge
  • VoIP accounts being hacked
  • Viruses and other forms of malware infiltrating the system
  • Denial of service attacks

Fortunately, these risks can be mitigated with the help of the right infrastructure and highly skilled technicians and engineers to install and manage it.

Avaya’s security standard

As an industry leader, Avaya stays up-to-date with emerging cybersecurity risks and has designed its suite of security-enabled voice networking products to proactively confront those risks using the latest technology and best practices. Avaya’s communications solutions are not only scalable to fit the size of your operation, but they also are reliable and highly secure to answer the growing cybersecurity threats facing organizations.

Avaya offers two methods of delivering end-to-end security for voice networks:

  • Defense in Depth. A multilayers security approach that secures your organization’s voice and data infrastructure – even with employees working remotely – using a VPN-less solution with encryption. This solution also includes an intrusion-detection system, SIP firewalling capabilities embedded with Avaya Session Border Controller, and an intrusion-prevention system.
  • Defense in Breadth. This solution combines the Defense in Depth solution with the Avaya Fabric Connect and Fabric Attach solutions to provide a multilayered security approach that is especially useful for companies whose employees use their personal devices for work-related projects and communication.

In general, Avaya’s mobile and cloud-enabled communication solutions employ cutting-edge technology to deal with the wide range of cybersecurity threats constantly emerging in the Internet-enabled business world. With the correct infrastructure in place, organizations can feel confident their voice network is secure and proceed with business as usual.

Getting started

Smart IP, an independent full-service voice and data communications specialist, has deployed Avaya systems throughout Canada for nearly four decades and is well-versed in the provider’s voice network systems and other communications solutions. With a reputation for excellent customer service, Smart IP’s technicians are available to help with implementing and maintaining your organization’s Avaya systems in a timely and efficient manner.

Data Networking and Wireless Access Points: Why Network Speed Matters to Users

Organizations in most industries rely on the Internet daily to carry out a range of tasks, from making purchases and communicating to developing projects and managing events. Additionally, for companies that serve the public, individuals visiting or using their facility also will expect adequate Internet access.

Because of the professional and social importance of broadband Internet connections and WiFi access, your business can’t afford to be lacking in these areas. To stay up to date and competitive, you have to offer the data networking infrastructure and capacity to handle your users’ demands.

Why Does Speed Matter to Users?

Adequate access is no longer a “nice-to-have” feature. It’s essential. If your users are constantly getting booted from the network mid-project or when they’re trying to complete important tasks, that not only wastes time but also diminishes productivity and employee morale. It’s the same as asking someone to transfer a heavy load of supplies with a faulty forklift.

As a manager, you want to provide your employees, clients, and other users the tools they require to efficiently do their job or have the optimal experience at your facility. If having a few devices connected to the Internet is maxing out capacity, then users are deprived of that ability, which is detrimental to their performance and your operational success.

What Contributes to Network Speed?

Depending on the needs of your company, your data networking infrastructure should include broadband access to accommodate multi-media presentations and live broadcasting, along with high-speed WiFi access points throughout the facility.

Broadband speed is measured by how long it takes to download or upload information from the web to a device, whereas bandwidth dictates how much information can be sent over a data network in any given moment. With Ethernet broadband, upload and download speeds are symmetrical.

If bandwidth is shared, capacity is more unpredictable as it can be affected by the level of demand from any and all the users on the network. With a dedicated bandwidth, you know what volume is available for a set number of users (such as your employees) and their devices.

To satisfy your users’ wireless needs, your network should include an adequate amount of access points. Each access point will usually support an approximate number of devices.

Other factors that can affect your network’s operation are signal strength, which refers to a broadcasted connection’s quality when it engages a device, and latency, which refers to a delay in information travelling across a network because of high traffic levels and occasionally infrastructure. While adequate bandwidth and access points can help in these areas, you can also consider additional routers, a Wi-Fi booster to increase signal strength, or a distributed antenna system (DAS) that amplifies carriers’ signals.

Taking Care of Your Users

Your organization’s operation, reputation, and overall success rely on providing exemplary equipment and tools for your employees and clients to help them perform their professional responsibilities to the best of their ability. This includes sufficient Internet access. If you need assistance ensuring your facility’s network speed is up to snuff, the communication specialists at Smart IP can help you implement the right infrastructure and manage this complex and sometimes fickle business solution to satisfactorily serve your users.

Smart IP Named Avaya’s Midmarket Partner of the Year 2018

Smart IP, Canada’s industry leading communications specialist, has been elevated to an Avaya Diamond Level Partner, the highest and most prestigious partnership achievable with Avaya.

Formerly at Sapphire status, Smart IP has continued growing its partnership with Avaya in terms of both products and services since 1979 while delivering cutting-edge communication solutions to a wide range of companies and government agencies throughout Canada.

Avaya, headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., is a reputable multinational technology company that specializes in business communications, including contact centers, unified communications, and services.

Avaya’s Partner program, Avaya Edge, is selective about its partners, rigorously scrutinizing candidates and choosing only those that display ingenuity and innovation and also contribute valuable expertise to augment Avaya’s industry leading communication solutions. In collaboration, Avaya and its most trusted Diamond Level partners, such as Smart IP, provide customers with top-notch, mission-critical products and services to serve them on premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid.

According to Avaya’s website, the fast-moving digital world of the modern era centers on communications enablement, and the company is perfectly poised to provide businesses with everything they need to succeed in that area.

The Avaya Diamond Partner accreditation recognizes a partner’s sales and operational achievements, along with their dedication to customer satisfaction as they deploy multi-faceted technology solutions. This endorsement is a validation of Smart IP’s professionalism, ingenuity, expertise, and service excellence and supports the company’s competitive position as a leader within the industry.

As an Avaya Diamond partner, Smart IP collaborates with Avaya to provide end-to-end solutions for single or multi-site operations. Smart IP’s portfolio includes numerous Avaya software and services for unified communications, including Contact Center, Avaya IP Office, Avaya Mobile Applications, among others.

From start to finish, Smart IP assists clients with selecting and implementing innovative IP and digital communications systems, productivity-boosting applications, and other comprehensive services to help them achieve their business objectives. Even after installation, Smart IP’s experts continue to provide professional consultation and critical support to keep their clients up and running.