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3 steps for Implementing VoIP in Your Small Business

The right IP phone system can help improve customer service and employee collaboration.

Voice over IP (VoIP) is a technology that seems tailor-made for small businesses, especially now that IP networks are as common as landline telephones, and broadband Internet access is within anyone’s budget. And the benefits of VoIP for small businesses are many, including reduced phone expenses, improved customer service, and enhanced employee productivity.

Small business VoIP solutions include hardware and software dedicated to handling voice traffic and offer a variety of calling features previously out of reach for smaller companies using a traditional PSTN (public switched telephone network) phone system. VoIP systems are designed to be flexible and scalable. So whichever system you choose now will grow along with your business, allowing you to easily add users, upgrade features, and expand into more sophisticated modules as you need them.

If you already have an IP network and a high-speed Internet connection, you can implement a VoIP phone system—and you can do it in three steps.

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Public vs. Private IP-Based Voice Systems

Skype and Google Voice may seem like attractive, inexpensive options, but business-class IP phone systems offer secure service and investment protection.

I recently wrote about private IP PBX phone systems and the benefits they offer to small businesses, including cost savings compared to traditional PBX systems, easier deployment, and expandability. For small businesses on a tight budget, a free IP phone service, such as Skype or Google Voice, may seem like a more attractive option than having to shell out cash for a business-class IP phone system.

Similar to a private IP PBX, Skype and Google Voice are easy to deploy and offer a variety of voice and data features. In addition, there’s no cost involved up front; they’re free to download. However, both services use the public Internet to make and receive calls, and therefore pose risks in call quality and network security.

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Designing easy-to-use video solutions for the enterprise

Video is becoming the preferred method of communication for enterprises on a global scale. But what is the formula for making video as easy to use as making a phone call?

In the video below, Cordell Ratzlaff, director of Engineering for Cisco’s Voice Technology Group and head of the User Design Engineering team, discusses the important design concepts his team used to develop some of Cisco’s newest voice and video endpoints and encourage the use of video.

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30 Millionth Cisco IP Phone!!

When Cisco led the voice industry into the world of Voice over Internet Protocol (Voice over IP, VoIP) in 1998, we knew the power and scope of these devices.  We believed that VoIP technology would have a major impact on worldwide business communications.

Now 12 years later, we’ve come a long way since Cisco’s first Unified IP phones, the SP30 and SP12.  Cisco recently shipped its 30 millionth IP phone to one of the world’s largest financial institutions: HSBC.

HSBC fundamentally understands that basic dial tone is table stakes. IP phones have evolved beyond voice to connect people with video technology, and act as interfaces to networked applications, services and content. They are part of a new collaboration experience that is rich, integrated, mobile, and often virtualized.

New means of access beyond phones have evolved, and now users switch seamlessly between their desk and mobile phone, connect through tablet devices, and join video and TelePresence conferences through a broad range of interoperating solutions.

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Unified Communications = Freedom to Roam

Never miss an important call, no matter where you are!

I love my smartphone. It wasn’t too long ago that I was lugging around separate devices for my contacts, calendar, music, photos, and Internet access. Now I can surf the Web and access everything I need on a single device. And it makes phone calls!

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