When a small North Carolina company with a handful of employees was awarded the Johnston County Schools contract for a new 4,500 phone system, shock waves reverberated throughout the industry. How does a small company with a few technicians go up against a Fortune 500 technology company over a complex, demanding government contract and win?
Nicky Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Carolina Digital, has a simple explanation, “Quality, Price and Service.” But a full analysis of these factors uncovers a story that is more interesting than Smith’s shorthand suggests and reveals a revolutionary new dynamic that is at work in the telecommunication industry specifically and has wide reaching repercussions for businesses across a multitude of industries.
The current state of the market for business phone systems is in flux. Mobile phone use dominates the headlines because of its explosive growth. But landline phones or fixed phones are also undergoing sea of changes as Internet Service has made the standard landline phone in many ways obsolete. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones, the replacement for a traditional landline phone, have been adopted more quickly by residential users than by businesses. VoIP phones, in simpler terms, are phones that do not utilize the standard phone company lines but rather use the internet to transmit a digital audio signal. These phones are also referred to as IP phones.
Residential phone use today is split evenly between VoIP and traditional phone landlines, according to the latest Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report, (Industry Analysis Report, 3). Meanwhile, for businesses,VoIP use is only 18 percent and a whopping 82 percent of business lines are still traditional. This might seem surprising but it makes sense considering early VoIP systems depended on an internet connection for service, which was anything but reliable in the early days. Also, prior to the ubiquitous high-speed connections, the bandwidth of most business internet connections wasn’t broad enough to allow multiple phones and computers to be online at the same time.
Another factor for consideration related to business operations is the complexity and functionality needed in the phone system of an organization with a multitude of phones and departments. Initially, VoIP phones were not able to compete with all of the options available in an elaborate company phone system. But that pendulum has widely swung. The available features in a VoIP phone system now eclipses a legacy or standard phone system by a wide margin. Many companies have large capital investments in these systems as well and have been reluctant to make a switch to what has been perceived as an inferior service. However, the current VoIP phone is comparable to a complicated phone system. In fact, according to a study by Software Advice, business decision makers that are looking to switch from their standard landline phone system to a VoIP set-up, and they are doing so largely due to the more extensive phone features offered with VoIP phones. Features such as call queues, auto attendants, follow-me, find me and complex call routing rules, that can all be easily modified.
As the numbers show, VoIP phone adoption is the biggest change going on in the business phone industry. In fact, the rate of growth of VoIP phones is actually five times that of the rate of growth of mobile phones, although the number of mobile phones is much higher. The decline of traditional phone lines is currently 10 percent per year according to the FCC. As VoIP phone systems have become more and more robust, dependable and feature rich, the switchover from traditional phone system in the business community has become inevitable. It’s no longer a matter of whether a company will switch to a VoIP phone system or not, but when.
This presents a tremendous opportunity for the telecommunications industry as thousands and thousands of businesses have held off making a change and have clung onto existing legacy phone systems, thereby creating a pent-up tsunami of need, set to burst across the nation in the form of demand for new VoIP phones. There are numerous mega-telecommunications companies that are vying for this business, such as AT&T, CenturyLink, Verizon, Windstream, Time Warner Cable and Earthlink. Unlike the traditional phone services that have been dominated by large monopolistic companies ever since the invention of the phone, the VoIP phone market contains smaller companies that are competing for market share in the new and growing VoIP industry.
However, it’s not just businesses that are converting to VoIP. In addition to the business community, there is a plethora of organizations that stand to benefit greatly from the new functionality, freedom and cost savings, that VoIP offers; from the small nonprofit to a large municipality, and just about any organization in-between that has a need for dedicated phones — even a county school system, such as Johnston County Schools in North Carolina.
Johnston County sits in the eastern half of central North Carolina, southeast of Wake County, home of the state capital, Raleigh. Johnston County is mostly rural, encompassing numerous small towns and communities with a total county population of approximately 177,000. The county seat is Smithfield, with a population of 12,965.
The Johnston County School system is made up of 44 schools and a handful of administration buildings. Despite lacking the glamour and limelight garnering power of its neighboring county, Johnston County has one thing that no other county has, Dan Hicks, the Johnston County Schools Director of Technology Services. Hicks is a forward thinking administrator who has been pushing to keep his school system equipped with the best technology available.
Hicks became convinced that a VoIP phone installation was direly needed. For years, the school system had been dealing with 50 different phone systems in the multitude of buildings spread out across the county. These legacy Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems could not communicate with one another and required a lot of upkeep. Even for minor changes a technician had to go onsite and manually make the programming change such as modifying an extension or moving an employee.
With a new VoIP phone system, a member of Hick’s team would be able to login from his laptop no matter where he was and make these changes in a few minutes. Time savings like these multiplied across the county would add up to a tremendous savings in time and resources. There were numerous other features about the new VoIP system that excited Hicks. For example, there is a 911 feature that would immediately notify medical and security personnel at the school when there was a situation that might require outside assistance. The system would automatically notify certain school system employees when 911 had been called from anywhere within the county-wide system.
The hard cost savings alone was going to be remarkable. The school system was going to eliminate the cost of the hundreds of phone lines and completely divest itself of the phone systems, some of which the system was leasing at the time. Over time, the VoIP phone system was going to amount to considerable savings for the county.
Another factor that made VoIP system a particularly effective choice for the Johnston County School system is the high-speed broadband internet connectivity that every North Carolina public school has. This network, which was created and now managed by Microelectronics Center of North Carolina (MCNC), is 1,600 miles of fiber optic cable that connects every public school, all the universities in the UNC system, and many other institutions of higher learning to one another and the internet. The practical application of the Research and Education Network (NCREN) is that the Johnston County system has super fast and super reliable internet, as does every public school in North Carolina.
When it comes to business phone systems, there are several decisions that an organization must make.
Perhaps the most basic, though important, is whether to pursue an on-premise or cloud-based solution. While there are advantages to both, many firms are increasingly reaching the conclusion that a cloud-based option is superior. Here are four reasons why cloud business phone systems are becoming more popular.
1. Lower Upfront Cost
One of the biggest advantages offered by a cloud business phone system is a low upfront cost. An on-site solution, on the other hand, requires significant costs on the front end, as the company needs to purchase and install a server on the premises. This makes cloud business phone systems particularly appealing to smaller businesses, as upfront costs are typically more of a burden. Of course, larger firms can also take advantage of these initial cost savings. Read At NetworkWorld Here
2. Greater Scalability
Another key reason for cloud business phone systems is greater scalability. As a business grows and expands it will require more phone lines, more features, more data storage capabilities and so on. With a cloud phone system, the business can increase its usage at any time. If the business contracts or experiences a less busy period, it can reduce usage and save money. With an on-premise solution, the firm must initially purchase a larger-than-needed appliance in order to prepare for growth. Until that time, the firm will essentially have overpaid for its Unified Communications needs, resulting in inefficiencies. When the business’s growth requires an upgrade, it will need to purchase a whole new solution, repeating this process.
3. Better Disaster Recovery
Disasters can and will strike businesses of all sizes, no matter their geographic locations. Organizations need telecommunications solutions they can depend upon in these circumstances. Cloud phone systems are undoubtedly superior in this regard. With the system based off-site, damage that affects the business will not necessarily incapacitate the service provider. The office may be shut down, but business operations can quite possibly continue. If the solution is based on-premise, any damage sustained by the office will also affect its communication system, thereby exacerbating the damage caused by the catastrophe.
4. Location Independence
Another advantage of hosted business phone systems is location independence. A hosted system enables businesses to redirect calls to any landline, international or mobile number. If a business or its owners relocate, they can continue to use their old phone numbers. This is critical for many firms since changing an established number can cause confusion among existing clients. Remote work is rapidly increasing in popularity, as it has the potential to improve employee morale and productivity while saving money. However, to be a viable solution, companies typically need to ensure that remote workers have access to robust telecommunications tools. Hosted phone systems are the most effective way of achieving this goal. Read More at this Link
In the past, businesses had to rely on complicated phone systems. However, thanks to advancing technology, it is now possible to have superior phone service with a hosted PBX telephone system. Unlike traditional phone systems, our telephone system is entirely digital. This means that instead of installing land lines, all that is required for service is an active Internet connection to create an IP digital phone through VoIP technology.
Even if you have telephone service that seems to work, there are advantages to digital telephone systems to consider. Since our service relies on an existing Internet connection, there is no need for cumbersome and costly installation procedures. All you need for a complete revitalization of your phone system are working phones.
Additionally, our hosted PBX offers the best service. With our IP digital phone system, you have unlimited inbound and outbound call capabilities. Moreover, with VoIP technology, it is easy for employees to conduct business from any location. This means that employees have the same access to quality phone service from their office, client locations, home and more. As long as there is an active Internet connection, every employee can stay connected at all times.
To make the transition easier, Carolina Digital Phone also offers a worry-free web portal to streamline management and administration of the system. On top of that, our call center application is available to provide additional support that will increase customer responsiveness for the ultimate phone service in the modern business era. Call (336) 691-2000 today to speak to a telecommunications specialist. You could save up to 60% over your current telephone service provider with our hosted PBX service.
How quickly we forget how competitive the long distance market was just 15 years ago. It was AT&T, Sprint, MCI and who knows who would come along next. Today the competitive market for business to look at hosted VoIP for telephone service is warming up and business owners can save over 60% over their current land-line based telephone company. Please enjoy this video and have a great laugh! Want make the switch? Call Carolina Digital Phone at (336) 691-2000 in Greensboro, NC.
Does your business still have a traditional telephone service? If so, you’re living in the dark ages! Standard telephone services don’t have anything on hosted VoIP services, providing that you choose the right service to meet your needs.
First of all, a standard telephone service is just a standard telephone service; it can’t offer you all of the great features of a hosted VoIP service. A hosted service can provide auto telephone attendants to answer calls when it’s not convenient (or cost effective!) for a live answerer to do so. These services can also provide voice mail, caller identification and tracking, call routing, directories to help callers reach the right person, call forwarding, call recording, and so much more. Obviously, it’s important for you to know what features your business requires; when you know that information ahead of time, you can easily find a hosted VoIP service that offers all of the features you need to help your business run as smoothly and as efficiently as possible.
With so many excellent features, you would think that a hosted VoIP service would be a lot more expensive than a standard telephone service, but, surprisingly, that’s actually not the case at all. As mentioned above, hosted VoIP services allow for much of the work to be done by automated systems, rather than by actual people, meaning you don’t have to pay an actual person to provide your necessary services. In fact, most hosted services simply charge a low monthly rate per user. Contracts vary from provider to provider but do not have to be very long-term in nature. And, surprisingly, you also don’t need a lot of equipment, if any, on-site; in fact, with some plans, you don’t need any equipment in your office at all, further minimizing costs. A good provider will talk to you about your individual needs and will match you with a service that is specifically tailored to those needs, making finding the perfect plan (and the perfect price!) a breeze.
Another good thing about hosted VoIP services is that they can handle a very large call volume. The goal of any company is to grow and expand, and if you’re reaching that goal, you may find that your old, standard telephone service doesn’t work for you anymore. A good VoIP service, however, will! Plus, you don’t have to hire a local VoIP service; no, these services can offer you assistance from anywhere and at anytime, making them convenient and capable of meeting your needs even as those needs change. With so many great reasons to make the switch to a hosted VoIP service, what are you waiting for?