Why I love the Avaya IP Office : Part 2

WhyILoveIPOffice2

 

by

Avrohom Gottheil

 

I was recently at a technology expo and had the pleasure of having a very animated conversation with the Google Cloud Infrastructure team.  One of the things we discussed was a practical application of the Google Cloud Infrastructure as it pertains to Telecommunications.  Now, you would ask me, but what on Earth does Telecom have to do with Google Cloud?  One is phone equipment installed in your office, the other, I imagine, is a server farm in a bunker somewhere under a mountain?

Now, imagine this…

You are a New York City hedge fund broker, and you’re looking to purchase a new phone system.  What are some of the fears and pain points you are concerned with at the moment?

Having dealt with hedge fund brokers and knowing how demanding their schedule is, I imagine the fears and pain points to be as follows:

  • Fear of being without phone service.
  • Fear of being without phone service for even a second!

This kind of sums it up.  Without phones, their business grinds to a screeching halt, or even worse, plummets into the abyss of major losses.  So, how can a telephone system calm the broker’s fears, and what does Google have to do with it?

Let’s dig a little deeper into the fears listed above and explore what the broker really wants.  On a high level, he wants his phone to work ALL the time.  What does that mean?  In order to understand this, we need to understand what can go wrong.  Here are a few scenarios:

  • The phone system crashes – ouch!
  • The phone lines go down – double ouch!!
  • The phone breaks.
  • Power goes out – for a whole week!
  • Internet goes out.
  • Hurricane.
  • Tornado.
  • Earthquake.
  • Atom bomb.

You get the picture.  Regardless of any and all of the situations listed above, this broker still requires his (or her) phone service to be completely operational!  Now, you will ask me, seriously!  How can a person’s phone work without phone lines?  Or when it’s broken?  Or when there is no power for a week?  Or during an earthquake – or an atom bomb explosion?!?

The answer is, Yes!  It is possible, and the hedge fund broker requires this level of service!  But how?!?

Now you’re starting to understand why I was so excited when I spoke with Google.  Let’s roll over the scenario again.  A hedge fund broker in New York City decides to purchase a new phone system for his business.  The primary requirement is that the business should continue to function despite any and all external happenings.  So, how does a phone system facilitate business continuity during a disaster?

There is where the versatile IP Office from Avaya enters the picture.  In my last article I mentioned how someone was able to program it to make coffee for him!  So, if you haven’t read that article and if you like coffee, you may want to check it out.  Or even if you don’t like coffee, you still may want to check that out!  You can find that article by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/25gJVdf.

For starters, let’s take a few simple scenarios (before we get to the atom bomb explosion):

  • Scenario 1: There is a raging hurricane outside and the roads are not passable.  People just can’t get to the office.  So far, all utilities are intact.  We have power, phone service, and internet access.  We just can’t physically get to the office.  With the Power User license for IP Office, you can enable Remote Worker functionality on an extension.  You can then take home a phone, plug it into your broadband internet connection, and have it connect to the office via its integrated VPN client.  Congratulations!  You now have an office phone, at home!  With this, you can calmly handle all your responsibilities as a hedge fund broker, from the comfort of your home.  Let the storm rage on!
  • Scenario 2: The hurricane just took a turn for the worse.  The wind is howling!  The rain is coming down hard!  Trees are being uprooted and tossed around like children’s toys.  Then, finally, the unthinkable happens.  The office loses power!  Fortunately, this customer has a very experienced phone vendor who supplied sufficient battery power to get the phone system through the day, until, hopefully, the power gets restored.  The broker is able to continue making phone calls from the comfort of his home, with peace of mind.
  • Scenario 3: It’s a quiet, sunny day.  Everyone is in the office, and life is great.  Some kid is flying a drone outside the office.  You think it may be a bit too close for comfort, but you have other things to do than to concern yourself with what’s going on outside.  All of a sudden, BOOM!!  That is not a good sign.  The drone crashes into the wall and rips down the phone wires!  Fortunately, your phone vendor set you up with backup SIP lines, which route calls over the internet.  Calls are still coming in and out, and business is still progressing as if nothing happened.

 

So far, so good.  Let’s take this a little further now.  Let’s revisit the hurricane scenario.  The winds have increased in intensity.  The rain is coming down even more forcefully.  Suddenly, the internet at the office goes out.  With no internet at the office, how are you going to connect your remote phone and continue making calls?  Even if you, somehow, made it in to the office (not advisable under these conditions), you wouldn’t be able to do anything since all the lights are off (power outage – remember?) and the phone system is running on limited battery power.  Besides, the phone lines are out – remember the kid with the drone?  Since the internet is out, the SIP lines won’t work either!  Business must continue… at all costs!  What is a broker to do?

 

Do you remember my meeting with Google?  This is the scenario I presented to them, and this is why I was so excited when speaking with them.  This is also why I love the Avaya IP Office.  You see, installing equipment into buildings is so 20th century!  We are now well into the 2nd decade of the 21st century (I know, it’s hard to believe!).   In this day and age, there is no value in installing boxes.  Today’s focus is all about solutions.  There is a technology called VMWare which enables you to install a server virtually.  This means, you can create a new server on top of an existing server.  It runs in its own memory space and has no idea that it does not “own” the hardware its installed on.  The Avaya IP Office Server Edition support this virtualization technology.  Now, things are starting to make sense!  In order to support the resilliency that this broker needs to ensure his business is well protected, you can install an Avaya IP Office Server Edition virtually on a server in Google’s cloud based infrastructure, on a server farm in a bunker under a mountain, somewhere in Idaho!

 

Let’s head back to the hurricane.  Internet at the office just went down.  Fortunately, you deployed a resilient Avaya IP Office Server Edition virtually in Google’s cloud!  With dynamic DNS technology your VPN URL will repoint itself to your Google data center.  Your Avaya IP Phone has a built in timer that will cause it to re-register onto the backup server after a 3 minute timeout.  When the phone is not able to see your network after 3 minutes, it will reboot itself.  Upon rebooting itself it will register to Google’s VPN thanks to the dynamic VPN URL.  The phone will then automatically register onto your virtual phone system in Google’s cloud.  Your extension and voicemail will come back to life!

 

This sounds great!  However, how will you drag phone lines into Google’s cloud?  The answer is, you don’t have to.  With SIP technology your phone lines reside in the cloud.  Even the kid with the wobbly drone can’t rip out your phone service.  Your phone service has now kicked into overdrive!

 

You are so excited that your phone system is working, despite nature’s best effort to thwart your business, that you fail to notice a scuffle break out between your dog and cat.  Your dog is chasing the cat around the house, when the doorbell rings.  You get up to answer the door.  It’s your brand new piano, being delivered… in a hurricane!  After all, New York is the city that never sleeps.  It keeps on going, no matter what.  Just like your business.  As they are bringing the piano into your office (hey, a guy needs his music!), several things happen, all of them simultaneously.  The dog chases the cat onto your desk, the cat knocks your Avaya VPN phone off your desk, the piano mover trips on your phone, and drops your piano… right on your phone!   A loud CRUNCH is heard, and time stops for a moment… until your cellphone rings.  It’s the million dollar client from London whose call you were waiting for all day.  Thankfully, you have enabled mobile twinning for IP Office.  This feature pairs or twins your mobile phone to your desk phone, enabling you to receive all your business calls directly onto your mobile phone.  Your business is able to continue, even without an office phone!

 

A little bit about myself.  I am a telecommunications consultant and I am passionate about telephony.  I am focused on one thing, and one thing only.  Helping YOU get the most value out of your communications flow.  Not equipment, not infrastructure, but flow.  As a business owner, what matters the most to you is how your business is flowing.  I help customers like you optimize their communications environment so that communication is truly flowing.  To find out more about the services I offer, feel free to visit my website at http://www.simiplex.com.

 

Avrohom

 

 

Why I love the Avaya IP Office : Part 1

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In my honest opinion, there are few telecommunications solutions that can compare to the innovate and versatile IP Office by Avaya.  IP Office can do anything.  Seriously!  From simple tasks, such as making phone calls (you kind of need that in a phone system!), to ultra complex tasks, such as third party application hooks via VBScript and SQL Database dips.  With IP Office, the sky is the limit!  I once saw a video where someone programmed the IP Office to make coffee!  For real!  Granted, that’s a bit extreme (unless you’re really serious about coffee); however, the point is that it CAN be done.  So, if your phone system can make coffee, it can CERTAINLY do other, less intensive and more business focused, tasks.

Let’s talk about end user administration.  What are the most common headaches a phone system administrator deals with on a daily basis?  While I’m sure that the aggravating tasks are numerous, the most common ones I’ve run into are as follows:

  • HELP! I forgot my voicemail password!
  • HELP! My calls are going straight to voicemail and I don’t know why!
  • Can you please forward my calls?
  • Can you please help me figure out how to turn OFF call forwarding?
  • How do I program a speed dial?
  • Can you PLEASE program a button on my phone to do ‘X’?

Let’s examine how the Avaya IP Office will make YOUR life, as a system administrator, much more pleasant.  There is this really neat feature called Self Administration.  You enable it in the end user’s profile, and can select which features you want to enable.  Features range from timid to dangerous, and can be set based on the end user’s technological competence level.  So, let’s roll through each individual support related task and see how Self Administration solves this problem:

END USER:  HELP! I forgot my voicemail password!

YOU:  No problem, just log onto your self administration portal, click Voicemail, and enter your NEW password in the Voicemail Code section.  Don’t forget to click save!

 

END USER: HELP! My calls are going straight to voicemail and I don’t know why!

YOU: No problem, just log onto your self administration portal, click Do Not Disturb, and set it to NO.  Don’t forget to click save!

 

END USER:  Can you please forward my calls?

YOU:  No problem, just log onto your self administration portal, click Forwarding, and enter the forwarding destination.  Then set Forwarding to YES.  Don’t forget to click save!

 

END USER:  Can you please help me figure out how to turn OFF call forwarding?

YOU:  No problem, just log onto your self administration portal, click Forwarding, and set it to NO.  Don’t forget to click save!

 

END USER:  How do I program a speed dial?

YOU:  No problem, just log onto your self administration portal, click on Personal Directory, and knock yourself out.  Don’t forget to click save!

 

END USER:  Can you PLEASE program a button on my phone to do ‘X’?

YOU:  No problem, just log onto your self administration portal, click on Button Programming, and knock yourself out.  Don’t forget to click save!

 

Now, wasn’t that easy?  In fact, you can even post these instructions to your IT home page, so that your standard response to EVERYONE is “Just check the IT home page!”  Life is great!

NOTE: if the user forgets their portal password…. well let’s just say, you still need to earn your paycheck!

 

Ok, this sounds good for simple tasks.  How about something a bit more involved?  For example:

END USER:  I moved to a new desk.  Can you PLEASE move my extension to my new desk?

IP Office by Avaya makes this task easy and stress free.  If the end user has an IP phone, just ask the user to move his/her phone to the new desk.  Problem solved!  You can sit back, put your feet up, and relax!  Life is good!    If the end user has a digital phone, it’s not a big problem.  Open your web browser, log on to the Web Administration portal, click on Call Management, then Extensions.  With just a few clicks you are able to painlessly remap the extension to a different port.  THEN you can put your feet up and relax!  Never, in the history of mankind, was it as good of a time to be a telecom administrator, as it is today!  Let’s just hope your boss doesn’t find this article!

In conclusion, life is hectic enough as it is.  Why not choose a product that will calm your environment for you, so that you can get back to focusing on what’s really important:  running your busines and supporting your customers.

A little bit about myself.  I am a telecommunications consultant and I am passionate about telephony.  I am focused on one thing, and one thing only.  Helping YOU get the most value out of your communications flow.  Not equipment, not infrastructure, but flow.  As a business owner, what matters the most to you is how your business is flowing.  I help customers like you optimize their communications environment so that communication is truly flowing.  To find out more about the services I offer, feel free to visit my website at http://www.simiplex.com.

 

Avrohom

Cloud Based Telephony: The Future Is Now!

 

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There are some crucial questions of the Cloud:

  • Does this improve my business
  • Does this save me money?
  • Do I save time?
  • Why choose cloud over premise based PBX?

 

The big Titans like Google & Microsoft are already pushing the cloud.

 

As bandwidth prices keep dropping, now, more than ever, Cloud Based Telecommunications will be a more viable option for Small Businesses!

 

Let’s address each one of these questions:

 

Question 1:  Does this improve my business?

 

This, I believe, is the most crucial question, as improving your business is your biggest need when running a business.

 

Now, let me paint this picture in your mind…

 

Phones are ringing off the hook!

 

… You’re a patient waiting at a Doctors office.

 

Phone calls keep coming in, one after another… but NO ONE is answering them!

 

In your head you’re probably thinking to yourself..

“PICK UP THE PHONE!”

 

Frustration is starting to mount.  You see busy staff preoccupied with their work, not able to answer the phone.  Now the caller is getting frustrated because their needs aren’t being met, and you’re getting annoyed as the onsite patient!

 

So.. What happens next?

 

Most people would start thinking to themselves,  “Is this the service I want & am paying for?”  I know that if this is my first impression,  I would not want to go back there, especially with the possibility of receiving that kind of treatment every time I went in, or tried making a call.

 

Think about it…

 

That’s just a problem that the patients face.  Now, what about the Doctor’s Offices & Clinics themselves?   We can’t forget about you!  What if you wanted to dynamically change your office hours?  What if you wanted to send calls to an answering service?  Sometimes, these changes can take over 24 hours to implement, but not with VoIP.  You can have instantaneous changes in comparison to 24 hours.

 

What is VoIP?

 

It means Voice over Internet Protocol.  Voice over Internet Protocol is a category of hardware and software.  It enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls by sending voice packets using IP, rather than by traditional circuit transmissions of the PTSN, which means Public Switched Telephone Networks or you can call it… POTS… (Plain Old Telephone Service).

 

The internet is everywhere!  With bandwidth rates plummeting it’s time to adapt!

 

… Not to die.

 

Doctor’s need Mobility too!

 

Land line doesn’t exactly scream Mobility at you.  VoIP however, gives you this flexibility!

 

Are you planning to be out of the office for a few hours?  No Problem!   You can pair your Mobile Device with VoIP and always be reachable if needed, allowing you to take that Important Call or Message!

 

Now, imagine you had an urgent phone call coming at anytime.  You don’t know when it is coming, but it’s coming.  However, you also have your son’s championship soccer game to attend!  This is a huge issue for a lot of people!  The Fear of Missing Out.  Whether it’s your child’s life and accomplishment, or taking that once in a lifetime trip!  With VoIP you can still be ‘in the office’ while relaxing on the beach or catching those can’t miss moments!  That is the beauty of pairing your mobile device with VoIP.  You’re reachable on a workline, away from work!  You cannot beat this type of mobility!  Ask yourself this question and ponder it for a moment, seriously, wouldn’t you love to be able to go wherever, whenever, and still be in touch with the office if need be?  It adds another dimension to work/life balance!  Something that is becoming trickier and harder to maintain.  If you ever get overwhelmed with work, you can still step out of the office and not go completely MIA!

 

 

Question 2:  Does this save me money?

 

VoIP can reduce the expenses of your Business in several ways. Let’s tackle the major

contributors:

 

  1. Thankfully, No more phone line installations!
  2. VoIP is Hippa Compliant with SIP Technology.
  3. VoIP has every common Business Phone feature.

 

 

Let’s get a closer look at why you don’t need any more phone line installations!

 

For starters, Simiplex Cloud PBX provides equipment that hooks directly into your existing

broadband network.  With service rates that are extremely competitive in comparison with typical business phone plans.  Think again for a moment, land lines are a thing of the past. We’ve got to stay relevant or else we’ll get crushed!  Cloud Based Telecommunications is that relevant solution.  Before long there will be a major shift to the Cloud.  Every Business will be using Cloud Communications in some way, shape or form!  You might as well be ahead of the times, rather than lagging behind.

 

 

VoIP is Hippa Compliant with SIP Technology.  Traditional phone systems have had some areas of weakness and still do.  If you have given access to anyone, through an IP or modem connection to your phone system, you are vulnerable. Most companies do not know this.  VoIP Cloud communications is safe and reliable.

 

VoIP has every common Business Phone feature.

Not everyone knows that VoIP has EVERY common feature a Business phone would have.  Such as:

  • Voicemail
  • Caller
  • ID
  • Conferencing
  • Call
  • Forwarding
  • Unlimited
  • Long Distance Calling … you should be excited for this!
  • Call Recording (Company Wide & OnDemand)
  • Plus so much more!

 

 

Question 3:  Do I save time?

 

At the end of the day all that matters is this:  What does it mean to you?

VoIP has every feature a regular business phone service has, and with more mobility as well as cheaper rates, due to bandwidth’s plummeting pricing.  In addition to all this, you get an improved Quality of Service!  The Phone system then becomes a Service your IT department handles!  This will effectively reduce costs and downtime of systems!  With this being said you don’t have to wait for phone company trucks to show up after hours of waiting in need!

 

Now, let me ask you a question.  Is the Simiplex Cloud PBX System a good fit for your Business?  Let’s roll over the benefits of the Cloud PBX System 1 last time.

 

You can dynamically change your Scheduled office hours, with ease!

 

Cloud based Telephony is a breeze when changing your office hours.  Use it for:

  • Holidays
  • Special
  • Events
  • Last minute updates

 

As I said before, these simple changes could take up to 24 hours.  Being a Small Business, time is an extremely valuable asset, one of which we cannot take for granted!

Also, you can send calls to an automated queue to minimize caller frustration, while

optimizing your employee’s work hours.  No more frustrated patients ringing the phone off the hook!  Automated queues inform the caller what’s going on.  For example : “There is a temporary wait until an agent is available.  Your call is very important to us.  Please hold, and your call will be answered by the next available agent.”, as well as providing music while the caller waits on hold!  Automated Queues really calm down the workplace,  allowing employees to focus on important tasks at hand, without any distractions, while at the same time giving peace of mind to onsite patients!

 

Once again, there is a need for mobility as a doctor.  Don’t be tied to the office!  This is quite self explanatory, you have a life!  One you want to enjoy, with family, friends, and doing the things you love!  Possibly travelling.  So why be stuck at the office?  Let the office come to you!  Pairing your mobile device to VoIP gives you this new found freedom!  You are still available on a work line, but you’re still able to do the things you love, when they matter most!

 

 

Question 4:  Why choose cloud over premise based PBX?

 

The diagram below highlights the major benefits of going with a cloud based system versus a premise based PBX.

BenefitsOfHostedPBX

 

In conclusion, there are many benefits to migrating to the cloud, and whether we like it or not, cloud communications IS the future of telephony.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to visit my website at http://www.simiplex.com.

Avrohom