Over the last decade or so, digitally based communications has become the dominant communications medium. It started with Voice over IP (“VoIP”) replacing the terrestrial fixed-line PSTN networks, and latterly with instant messaging over the Internet the default means of inter-personal communications. VoIP is now a mature technology, routinely deployed in business to gain benefits in costs and functionality.Continue reading
Voice over IP (“VoIP”) has become an attractive option for individuals and organisations to leverage cost savings from their networks. By transferring from the PSTN landline environment to an environment based on your network and an Internet connection, you can make toll-free local, national and even international calls. However, moving to an Internet-based service has a sting in the tail, that of increased security risks.Continue reading
VoIP has become a fixture in the business world. Since its inception, it has become commonplace in both business and domestic environments and VoIP service suppliers have multiplied in number and reach. VoIP calls are now used to connect individuals and groups locally, regionally and internationally. The benefits of VoIP are well-known, the major being that it lowers operational costs by transferring communications from analogue lines supplied by a PSTN to digital calls over the Internet, thereby bypassing the toll charges levied by the PSTN operators.
Ealy complaints around VoIP calls were usually about quality end connectivity. Calls could drop unexpectedly because of networking problems. Calls could be difficult to set up and of poor quality. Over time these issues have been addressed and resolved, and HD Quality voice and video is being rolled out to new and existing installations.
One of the major developments in communications riding on the back of improvements in networking and the spread of global networks has been communications using the Voice over IP (“VoIP”) protocol. Simply put, VoIP is a way of using existing digital data networks to carry voice traffic.
It can be implemented by adding hardware and software to an existing network, or by outsourcing VoIP to an external VoIP Service Provider.Continue reading
As the move to online and remote computing grows, the need for actual and potential customers with high-quality support services grows in tandem with it. Call Centres are often the answer.
What is a Call Centre?
A call centre is a centralized office or facility used for receiving and transmitting a large volume of telephone calls from customers or clients of a business or organization. Call centres are typically staffed with customer service representatives (CSRs) who are trained to handle customer inquiries, complaints, and requests.
Modern call centres use advanced technology such as VoIP, interactive voice response (IVR) systems, automatic call distribution (ACD), and customer relationship management (CRM) software to efficiently manage and route calls, track customer interactions, and provide a seamless customer experience.Continue reading
What is SIP?
Session Initiation Protocol (“SIP”) is a communication protocol used to initiate, modify and terminate interactive user sessions. It supports multimedia communications, including voice, video, and messaging. It is widely used in VoIP implementations. It is not necessary for all VoIP implementations but is required to support some advanced features such as device mobility.
To be a little technical, SIP is an application-layer protocol that defines how the devices involved in a conversation exchange information with each other to set up and control a session.
Overall, SIP is a powerful and flexible protocol that enables a wide range of communication services and applications, including voice and video conferencing, instant messaging, and multimedia collaboration tools.Continue reading
Back in the day, most businesses had an in-house PBX system connected to the public switched telephone network (“PSTN”), operated by a manual or automatic switching system. Then came the Internet and digital communications. The in-house PBX was connected to the PSTN and the Internet using a SIP Trunk.
Strictly speaking, SIP Trunks were not necessary since a PBX could connect using standard landlines. However, a SIP Trunk could provide additional functionality such as call forwarding. Then came VoIP, connecting a digital phone system running on an internal corporate network to the Internet, again often over a SIP Trunk.
Over the last few years, businesses have been steadily embracing remote access to their systems, either supporting working from home or remote access to eCommerce systems. This is often in addition to implementing VoIP systems to accrue their costs and operational benefits.
Other remote access systems used increasingly over the last few years have been collaborative communications systems, both free-standing and supporting integrated voice and videoconferencing, like Messenger, Zoom, and NetMeeting.
The “as a Service” concept has become common as Cloud usage expands. We now see SaaS, “Software as a Service” and PaaS, “Platform as a Service” for example. There are other implementations of the concept, generically known as XaaS In terms of customer service, CCaaS, “Contact Centre as a Service” has begun to gain some traction.
What is XAAS?
In its simplest terms, XaaS is where an IT service is delivered to the end-user remotely using Cloud Technologies. VoIP, including VoIP Phones, is an example where the configuration of the handset, user profiles and perhaps phonebooks and contact lists are delivered from a central repository in the Cloud held on a hosted server.Continue reading
Many businesses have recognised the need for improved customer relations recently. Many customers have moved to an online basis, often as e-commerce rather than a physical business. As a result, their customer management arrangements (“CRM”) need to be upgraded.
Often CRM is a part of a wider unified communications system, where all internal and external communications, voice, video and data are linked on a common set of standards, platforms, and information sources. A VoIP implementation is a key part of that.
Simply put, a contact centre is a portmanteau term for a central point from which all customer interactions are managed. It is usually a combination of call centres, offline support centres, and other channels of customer interaction. They may operate using a common Customer Response Management system (“CRM”).Continue reading
Digital Convergence, and the creation of a Unified Communications (“UC”) platform have been embraced by many organisations. A UC is the movement of all digital communications traffic, data, VoIP for business and video, over a single physical network through a variety of software platforms.
Obviously, maintaining optimum response times for all classes of traffic is necessary, especially for VoIP for business and video. It is a vital balancing act that IT performs, usually through the creation and management of Quality of Service protocols.