Friday, May 18, 2018

SIP Trunks are a new VoIP phone line technology which can give you great sound quality and new features not available with analog lines or even PRI service.   

Codec Types

What's a Codec?

A codec, which stands for coder-decoder, converts an audio signal (your voice) into compressed digital form for transmission (VoIP) and then back into an uncompressed audio signal for replay. It's the essence of VoIP. Codecs vary in the sound quality, the bandwidth required, the computational requirements, etc. Each service, program, phone, gateway, etc., typically supports several different codecs, and when talking to each other, negotiate which codec they will use.
Little Known Fact - You can assign a different codec to individual phones. Your staff can use medium quality/low bandwidth G.729 codec while the boss and legal department uses the superior quality/heavy bandwidth G.722 codec.

Common VoIP Codec Protocols

G.729  G.729 is a codec that has low bandwidth requirements but provides good audio quality. This is the most commonly used codec in VoIP calling and has a MOS rating of 4.0
G.711 G.711 is a codec that was introduced by ITU in 1972 for use in digital telephony. With only a 1:2 compression and a 64K bitrate for each direction (128K plus some overhead), it is best used where there is a lot of bandwidth available. G.711 has a MOS rating of 4.2
G.722 G.722 is a high bit rate (48/56/64Kbps) ITU standard codec which, because it is of even better quality of the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN), it can be used for a variety of higher quality speech applications. This standard also requires an adequate amount of bandwidth and usually rates a 5.0 on the MOS scale.

Summary

There are many codecs out there, some like the G.711 are royalty free, others require licensing (which is often included in the gateways). Some that we haven't mentioned here drive the wholesale movement of voice traffic among the carriers and are used for specialty applications. And to make it a bit more confusing, they all contain variations within their own specification.

How to Decide? 

The codecs that provide the best quality consume the most data bandwidth, thus there is a trade-off that you need to consider.  The easiest way is to ascertain, on a phone by phone basis, whether you want the voice conversation to be:
  • Slightly less then the quality of an excellent cell phone call (G.729)
  • Equal to the quality of an analog land-line today (G.711)
  • Better than the public switched telephone network for voice critical applications (G.722)

Managed PoE Network Switches and VLAN. VoIP Essential!

Network Switches for VoIP, VLAN Tagging



When implementing a VoIP system in a single or multi office environment, utilize managed PoE network switches with VLAN for VoIP network integration. These managed PoE network Switches are used for creating VLAN tagging with a VoIP phone system.With VLANs, you can separate network traffic (such as VoIP and standard network traffic) and users for specific reasons such as applying different security or policies to different VLANs or groups of users. For VoIP, there are specific benefits in separating data and voice traffic on the network. One benefit is that QoS can be applied to the voice traffic via VLAN tagging (also see our QoS blog). VLAN tags are used to provide high priority to voice packets. Using a VLAN for VoIP also prevents VoIP devices from competing with other traffic on the network, helping to avoid delays in delivering voice packets and providing maximum quality on VoIP calls. A VoIP VLAN also makes it easier to troubleshoot VoIP issues since the VoIP traffic is isolated.
We recommend that our customers consult their own IT staff or vendor about the best way to implement VoIP technologies and how these technologies will impact the existing network infrastructure. Contact Office Telesystems for more information at (972) 484-4900 in Dallas and (817) 529-1700 in Tarrant County.



Monday, September 26, 2016

QoS and VoIP, Why Is It So Important?

QoS and VoIP: Why it is Important




Internet service has many functions in today's world. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), in many cases, uses the same bandwidth you may be using for visiting websites, downloading files, email and more. When these functions happen simultaneously, it can slow down your internet speed, and you could even drop VoIP calls.

Quality of Service (QoS) is technology's answer to that issue. On data networks, QoS is a feature that allows certain types of traffic to take priority over others.  With this, QoS is vital in today's VoIP-driven office environment.Translated to voice networks, this means some types of phone or video call over your internet service can be set to take priority over others.
The type of behaviors that are given priority can vary greatly, depending on the organization setting the rules. At Office Telesystems, all multi office VoIP solutions require QoS enabled networks to ensure the quality of our VoIP phone systems.

Data networks weren't originally built to handle voice traffic, due to the nature of packet transportation that takes place. QoS allows an organization to decide what items take highest priority.
For VoIP calling, you should have voice calls set as top priority to ensure calls are not dropped to increased internet traffic in your office. Without QoS, offices can suffer from poor voice and video conferencing.


Which Factors Affect Call Quality?

There are three major factors affecting call quality over a VoIP system.
  • Latency - This refers to the slight delay in packet delivery. Callers generally report round-trip voice delays of 250 milliseconds or more.
  • Jitter - Because of unpredictable changes in a network, there can be a variation in the delay of packet receipt, which can lead to dropout.
  • Packet Loss - Also known as Data Loss, packet loss can be caused by high congestion. The result is degradation in audio quality.

How to Improve Your QoS

There are some things your business can do to improve your call quality, starting with checking with your ISP (internet service provider) to make sure you have the best plan possible.
A high-quality Internet connection is essential to the quality of your VoIP calls. You may find it necessary to change to a new provider if your current one doesn't offer a plan that can handle the daily transfer load.
  • Check Your Router - First, make sure you have a QoS-enabled router and, if not, get a new one right away. If you have an existing router that supports QoS and it's not enabled, you should enable it immediately.
  • Improve Your Contention Ratio - The contention ratio refers to the number of users configured to use each unit of data capacity. You want this ratio to be as low as possible—a 5:1 ratio means only five users are sharing one unit of data capacity, while a 50:1 ratio creates a much greater strain.
  • Limit Use During Important Calls - In larger organizations, this obviously isn't a possibility, but for smaller businesses and startups, it can be a great solution. When an important VoIP call or video conference is scheduled, ask everyone to refrain from high-bandwidth activities like streaming video or uploading large files.
Quality of Service is an important issue to businesses that rely on their networks for a VoIP system, whether hosted (cloud) VoIP or a multi office premise based VoIP system. As VoIP continues to replace traditional telephony in businesses, a top-quality, QoS-enabled VoIP design is more important than ever. By ensuring you have a QoS enabled router, a business can ensure its VoIP system is optimized to handle its daily voice traffic.

If you are looking for a cloud VoIP system (hosted) or premise based VoIP system for your one office or more, see our VoIP Phone Systems page at www.officetelesystems.comhttp://officetelesystems.com/Home.html and request a quote. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Office Telesystems Product Offerings

Office Telesystems Products and How We Chose Them


Office Telesystems has carefully chosen the best designed telephone systems and products on the market today, including new cloud/hosted VoIP, on premise VoIP and digital phone systems, used phone systems, voice and data cable and infrastructure, and many more products designed to enhance communications in your office.  Our product lines are under constant evaluation to maintain the standards you deserve and expect from a comprehensive telecom solution.
     


Our product lines have been chosen to provide a combination of leading edge technology, proven reliability and eliminate equipment obsolescence issues.  Well known product names such as NECSamsung, Avaya, Mitel, and NetFortris/Fonality cloud VoIP are all products focused on providing solutions that offer rapid ROI, low total cost of ownership and long term investment advantages. John Cornwell, CEO of Office Telesystems, had this to say about our product line: "After 34 years in the industry, I've worked with just about every telecom equipment manufacturer. I've seen a few come and go as well. Our product lines provide our customers a reliable solution poised to keep up with new technology, provide long term investment benefits and low total cost of ownership. Today's phone system is a tool for enhancing productivity and profitability, an investment in your business."

Though we carry several products that fit Mr. Cornwell's statement, he also knows that customer service is what wins the day with today's customer. "Providing a great product and great support after the sale is what today's business executive and IT department is looking for". Providing both is top priority at Office Telesystems!

Thank you for your time! Office Telesystems serves the Dallas Fort Worth area, and nationwide for enterprise business and hotel/motel. Visit us at www.officetelesystems.com or call (972) 484 4900 for more information.




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Telephone Systems Service and Customer Experience

Telephone Systems Service and Customer Experience


The success of your business may hinge on offering a high quality customer service experience. Your telephone systems service company can have a direct impact on your ability to service your customers. The latest technology in phone systems, such as cloud/hostedVoIPpremise based VoIP systems and even today's digital systems offer an impressive collection of features that will offer the best customer service operations available. Without diligent staff training, though, even the most robust collection of phone systems features will not do you any good.  Office Telesystems offers a thorough training experience after your systems installation to allow you to maximize the benefits available in your investment.
Training staff to operate the telephone systems featuresincluding customer service integration, are important training topics. While basic etiquette is a requirement for anyone operating phones, there are advanced training topics that can take customer service agents from good to excellent. Their performance will directly reflect the customer satisfaction your business needs to offer in order to stay competitive.
Because auto-attendants can do so much of the call answering for administrative staff, they are at risk of losing the best phone manners in their greeting. Customers can begin to feel quantity of calls is more important than quality. Training administrative staff for short but properly worded greetings with a friendly customer service voice will help retain a warm customer oriented phone experience.  
Basic phone etiquette topics might seem remedial for some staff members, but it is amazing how many basic manners are ignored in a busy office environment.  Some rules that should be reviewed during your telephone systems service training should at least lightly assess those topics. Some of these rules would be to refrain from eating or chewing gum while on the phone.  Another important topic is how to hang up the phone properly. When operators, administrators, or customer service agents set the phone into its cradle firmly, many customers feel as if they were rudely hung up on.
An effective exercise for telephone systems service customer experience training is to practice active listening skills. Staff that can respond effectively in a variety of customer service situations will create winning situations for your business. Make sure they know the proper procedure for always asking permission before they place someone on hold and show appreciation for customers that have had to hold during a phone call. You may also have specific questions that you want every customer service agent to ask callers or information they need to relay. Including those items in training and practicing, those items will assure that your staff is going to help your business reputation grow for great customer and client experiences.
Office Telesystems understands that you have the very latest and best in telephone system technology in your office, but if it is not properly utilized and your staff is not properly trained, your investment will provide a fraction of its worth.  Contact one of our expert sales representatives today to learn more about our products and services.  972 484 4900.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting the Most from Your Call Center, Inbound Service Center

Many customers who operate call centers or inbound service centers are interested in ways to connect their phone system, whether VoIP or digital, with their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, such as Salesforce, Act, Goldmine, Sugar and more. In this blog we will discuss the various ways to integrate phone systems with CRM, and what benefits you can realize from CRM Integration.

Request a Quote Here


Initiate outbound calls from a CRM application, WebPage, Outlook



Click-to-Call, Highlight Dial and more

Systems such as the NetFortris/Fonality Call Center Edition software includes a feature called Click-to-Call which allows you to hyperlink the phone numbers in your web based CRM applications contacts so that when you click the phone number, it originates an outbound call from your extension telephone. Other CRM integration tools such as Samsung's Xchange and Avaya One-X can provide similar integration.

Programs like Outlook that use a standard TAPI interface will be able to initiate calls from your contacts using CRM Integration software from Fonality, Samsung, Ayava, NEC and Mitel products we carry.


TAPI

To initiate a call on a VoIP phone from an instruction page on a Windows-based software PC or laptop, a TAPI interface, available on many digital and VoIP systems can be used. This is useful if a CRM application running on a desktop or laptop would like to place a call through the VoIP system to the associated employee's desk phone.
A TAPI driver is included in most CRM integration software for this functionality.  It was developed in order to give the Microsoft dialer built into numerous tools (Including Microsoft Outlook) access to place calls through your phone system. 
  1. Support will be restricted to only manufacturer tested Windows versions and service packs.
  2. Support hours will be coordinated in advance by appointment only.  

Screen Pop/Web Launcher

Systems such as the Netfortris/Fonality cloud VoIP may include an optional software program named HUD Agent that is used to identify inbound calls by Caller-ID information in your CRM, among many other things. One of the features of HUD is a setting called “Web Launcher” that will allow you to open up a custom configured URL automatically in a web browser window when a call comes in. You can pass the Caller-ID number to your web application in a variable to allow you to look up your customer information by Caller-ID information. Also available, along with caller-ID number information, is the caller-ID name and the extension number of the extension receiving the call.
You can configure the URL to match the URL needed to integrate with your web-based CRM application. We know of customers using this to pull up customer/opportunity records in SugarCRM and Salesforce.com CRM systems using this feature.

Software CRM integration from Samsung, Avaya, NEC, Mitel and Fonality allow for incoming calls to "Screen Pop" contact information directly onto your PC or laptop screen in your existing CRM.  VoIP deskphones and IP Softphones can provide this capability, whether from a hosted or on premise VoIP offering.  Ask one of our expert sales reps for more information.


Open a URL when placing an Outbound call

Similarly to the functionality described above, many CRM Integration tools will allow you to open up a custom configured URL automatically in a web browser window when a call is originated from within your CRM software. You can pass the Caller-ID number of the number being dialed to your web application in a variable to allow you to look up your customer information by Caller-ID information. Also available, along with caller-ID number information, is the caller-ID name and the extension number of the extension placing the call.


Using Custom Applications, Microsoft Lync

Samsung's new Xchange integration can provide a gateway for your new VoIP system to integrate with an existing Microsoft Lync setup in your office.  Seamlessly use Lync as your desktop software that integrates with your Samsung Officeserv 7200/7400 system in single or multi office environments.


Detailed Call Records

For some CRM integrations, the logged historical records of each call are needed in order to compile a history of calls between customers and agents. Although this is an advanced, customized integration that will be very specific to your CRM application, we do sometimes get requests for this. You can collect the call data records (CDR) from your call accounting system in Comma Separated Values (CSV) format and insert them into a database of your choice, or store them in the software with a specified PC or laptop design with adequate storage to handle your call reporting achives.  Products such as Metropolis Office Watch, Office Watch XT and Profit Watch are considered the very best in the industry for management of historical call data.


Custom Call Routing and Special Configuration

Many call centers operate multiple queues, and want to be able to intelligently route calls to different Queues using number dialed (DID) or by more specific information entered by the customer. The Fonality PBXtra Call Center Edition already includes a Call Sequence item named “Go to Submenu by Number Dialed” that you can use to route calls based on what phone number was dialed by the caller. However, sometimes more intelligent routing is desired for applications like the following:
  • Prompt caller for contract number, and be routed to a priority queue if they have an active contract in your database.
  • Look at the caller-id of the inbound caller, and look up what state in the US they are calling from, and route them to the closest local office.
  • Prompt the user to enter their zip code to be routed to your nearest retail store.
  • Integration with your logistics system to allow customers to know when shipments are due to arrive.
  • Allow lookup of billing information (last payment received, remaining balance, next payment due date, etc.)
All of the above (and more) are available by custom integration by your authorized Fonality dealer, Office Telesystems and Fonality’s Professional Services group. Voice recognition and text to speech voice synthesis features are available with these custom integrations. Each project is proposed based on custom requirements and is offered using fixed rate pricing based on engineering time required to perform the integration. 

Office Telesystems offers all products and services listed in this article.  Contact us today to find out how we can help your call center or service based contact center become a better customer service tool.  Request a Quote today!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mobile Extension, Mobex, Mobile Twinning. Pick Your Flavor!



Mobile Extension, Mobex, Mobile Twinning.  Pick Your Flavor!

Request a Phone System Quote Today

For many business owners, organization leaders, and employees alike, the telephone system in their office is packed with features that are rarely utilized.   Many features in today’s business telephone systems have been designed to increase productivity, productivity, customer service and seamlessly connect people anytime at anyplace.  A properly designed phone system will give you far reaching benefits you may not realize.


One feature that is valuable to those who are regularly on the go during or after working hours is Mobile Extension, also called Mobex or Mobile Twinning.  Not every business telephone system is created with these powerful features, but Office Telesystems has hand-picked systems to offer with features like this in mind.  The ability to be mobile and communicate with your customers and co-workers alike can dramatically improve the efficiency and productivity of an office.  Hybrid VoIP Systems such as the Samsung OfficeServ 7000 series, Avaya’s IP Office, Mitel 5000, NEC SL1100 and Fonality Hosted and On Premise solutions all come with the ability to link your cell phone to your office extension.  Many can allow you to call back in on your cell phone and use your extensions direct number caller ID to call out right from your cell phone! Using this method presents the caller identification as if the call was being made at the desk. Not only does this preserve your personal contact information, but also appears more professional.
There are many benefits to Mobile Extension, Mobex, Mobile Twinning, whatever title your system feature has.  With this feature your extensions direct number becomes your one-number access. Therefore, anyone who tries to reach you only needs one phone number to call and you can keep your cell phone number private. 
How often have you been on an hour long drive back to the office hoping that important call doesn’t get missed?  With Mobile Extension, Mobex or Mobile Twinning, you can be reached.  If an incoming call is not answered at the mobile extension, it can be programmed to into your system voicemail.  If a Mobile Extension, Mobex or Mobile Twinning call is answered, users can access their desk terminal to transfer the call, place on hold, or even engage in a conference call.  Check to see if your system is set up with this option.  PRI or SIP trunk services are usually required for proper operation of this feature.
Other desktop phone features that can be accessed by Mobile Extension, Mobex and Mobile Twinning   users include Do Not Disturb, Station and System Speed Dial, Internal Group Paging, Meet Me Answer, Voice Over, Account Code, Park Hold, and Park Hold Answer.
Having the ability to conduct business, professionally and while on the go, can be critical to your business success.  Those who travel regularly, take personal time off, or possibly have an unforeseen circumstance come up can all benefit from this useful mobility feature.  With the flexibility of Mobile Extension, Mobex and Mobile Twinning, the benefits are endless.   Ask one of our sales experts about how this feature can benefit your business today.