Wideband Audio Adoption: Obstacles to Clear Calls

Harping on the low quality transmissions offered by traditional phone lines is something of a cliché. You won’t find anyone who argues a traditional landline replicates voice quality clearly and cleanly. Instead, we’ve all become accustomed to the distortion, clipping and general fuzziness involved in making and receiving calls from traditional landline phones. And those offer a superb voice quality in comparison to most cell phones. Unfortunately many of us have simply accepted low audio quality as a “cost of doing business” when using telephone services.

And transmissions on traditional land line phones sound positively crisp compared to calls made between cell phones. Since the proliferation of mobile devices, the audio reproduction problems of traditional landlines seem miniscule. In fact, many people have come to believe traditional landlines offer the highest audio quality possible.

This isn’t true.

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From SIP Handsets to Totally Mobile?

I talked to a friend recently who was full of excitement over the news from his employer that the sales team (of which he belongs) was going to receive new smartphones. His excitement was easy to understand: the entire 50 person sales team was getting brand new iPhones that were going to replace their SIP handsets and older PBX desk phones. Considering the cost of smartphones and voice quality concerns, you understand my curiosity about what would drive the company to do such a thing. Given all the changes in the mobile market and where the future of telephony seems to be headed, I tried to follow the company logic.

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Guide to Calculating TCO of Your Phone System

Understanding Total Cost of Ownership of a PBX System

Cost is a major factor that drives virtually every decision a business owner makes. Not only is it important to look at the up-front costs of something, the total cost of ownership comes into play, too. For some companies, it might be worthwhile to lay out more capital in the short-term, if it parlays into long-term savings. For others, they might not use a product or service long enough to justify the initial set up costs. This is true of a hosted phone system, just like it is for anything else.

Price Wars Among Business VoIP Service Providers

If you’re like most businesses, price has always played an important role when deciding what telephony provider to work with.

Now, price isn’t, and never has been, the only point of consideration to take into account when selecting your telephony provider. You need to make sure your provider offers a reliable high quality business phone service, and you need to feel sure that provider offers a varied enough suite of telephony products to meet both your business’ current needs, and whatever needs it will develop as it continues to evolve. But, as long as these base-line points are hit, you will probably choose your telephony service provider based on price.

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No more SPIT!

This article is not a roaring plea from baseball fans. No, this article is about SPam over Internet Telephony or as it is often shortened—SPIT. Those annoying, unsolicited messages that clutter your email inbox have an ugly cousin that seeks to bombard your digital phone messaging system with pre-recorded messages and cause much more damage. The problem with SPIT is that if it isn’t controlled it can quickly eat up your valuable bandwidth and clog up your system, which can prevent legitimate callers from reaching you. There are software programs on the market to tackle SPIT. Many of these function similar to the tools used to control and prevent email spam.

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VoIP Bandwidth: Quality vs. Quantity

Digital leased lines are no longer the favorites of bandwidth-hungry businesses. As many alternative sources of affordable Internet bandwidth became available, dedicated point-to-point leased lines begun to fall out of favor with many small businesses. Their relatively high cost, by today’s standards, per megabit of bandwidth make them unattractive in comparison to the generous shared bandwidth offers from various telecommunications and cable carriers. That said, it seems like rumors of their rapid demise are being greatly exaggerated. T-1 lines, for example, seem to be entering their 7th life as market for them is getting sudden support by those who had to deal with at least one DSL or Cable outage.

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The Future of Unified Communications As a Service

Recent studies claimed that the market for cloud-based voice over IP services is expected to grow to $30 billion USD by the year 2013. These numbers might sound really encouraging, but what is the real future for Unified Communications As a Service (UCaaS)?

Here, in the U.S., UCaaS hosted PBX services are experiencing tremendous growth. Small businesses, especially in the current economic climate, are always looking for more efficient, less expensive ways to handle their telecommunications needs, and hosted telephony has served them admirably well thus far. Hosted PBX services give them access to a whole host of really sophisticated features, without relying on a large initial investment for equipment or set up.

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How Can You Best Implement PBX Automation?

PBX Phone System AutoAttendant Offers Many Options

Introducing automation to your organization’s phone system will either be one of the wisest decisions you’ve ever made, or a potential debacle, depending on how well you implement the following best practices.

Get Everyone Involved

Even though it’s tempting to program auto attendant, routing tree and the flow of your callcenter without soliciting input from the rest of your organization, doing so can potentially alienate your employees and prevent you from reaping the benefits of their unique perspectives and insights. No one understands your customer’s desires and the inner workings of your current phone system better than your ground-level employees, and without their input you will never create the best possible organizational system for your organization’s new telephony experience.

Gather information and opinions from your organization’s decision makers, from your sales & marketing staff, and from those employees who actually man your phone lines day-in and day-out. It’s also wise to consult your telephony solutions supplier too, as those professionals understand the nuts-and-bolts of what has worked, and what hasn’t, for many of their past clients.

How you automate your phone systems needs to reflect the big picture of your organization, it’s branding and its core message, but it’s also a practical technological system your employees will utilize every day- so make sure they have a say regarding how it works.

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Hosted PBX Unwrapped: The Challenges of Automatic Voice Recognition

As computer use becomes ubiquitous, it is increasingly desirable to communicate with them in the same way that we communicate with one another: using human speech. Voice or Speech Recognition technology aims to do just this. Personally, I fell in love with the concept of voice recognition ever since I first saw “Star Trek, The New Generation” series. Unfortunately, my first attempt at making a productive use of speech recognition in Microsoft Windows 3.1 was rather disappointing.

Today our ability to use voice recognition is limited to issuing system commands to speed up familiar functions. So what prevents us from talking to our personal computers and phone systems (those are quickly converging into one) ? What you may not realize is that speech recognition is a rather complicated and resource intensive task. 

Humans easily and efficiently relay information via speech despite many complications, including background noise, slips related to spontaneous speech (stammers, filled pauses, false starts, etc.) and the inherent variability of human speech.

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Cloud-based VoIP vs. Dedicated Hosted PBX Service

Cloud Computing and Virtualization has received a lot of attention lately, largely due to a huge marketing push initiated by a number of big corporations hoping that peddling shared computing infrastructure solutions is the “next big thing.” If these advertising messages are to be believed, Cloud Computing and Virtualization provide increased reliability, reduced expenses and an unprecedented level of convenience for most I.T. applications.

Call me a technological heretic but I believe that virtualized cloud infrastructure guarantees neither of those things while taking away a lot of control over how your resources are allocated.

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