Evolution of Business Infographic – How New Technology is Helping Small and Home Businesses

September 12, 2013 · Filed Under VoIP Guides, VoIP Providers, Vonage · Comment 

Most managers tend to have a traditional view of business expecting employees to sit in large open plan offices in close proximity to colleagues and with a mass of cables concealed by desks and carpeting. The internet turned the traditional notion on its head. Employees can literally now work from anywhere in the world and it’s never been easier for customers and clients to get in contact. Email has meant that outsourcing work has become increasingly viable.

People working from home can now have a dedicated telephone line which runs over the internet and enables them to keep their work life separate from their personal life. VoIP telephony from companies like Vonage VoIP allow small companies or those working from home offices to cut their telephone bills drastically. Users also have the benefit of knowing what their monthly phone bill and can take advantage of a range of features.

Smart phones mean SOHO (Small Office Home Office) workers can literally be reached anywhere and Wi-Fi means that work can continue anywhere in the house or office when disturbed. Video conferencing is now increasingly reliable and is proving to be the must have tool for many offices who deal with clients or customers around the world.

The new UK office is likely to be a single room in the house with wireless equipment such as laptop, printer and internet enabled phone line.

Evolution of the UK Business Infographic

Vonage Infographic

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Five Things To Consider Before You Switch Your Office To VoIP

September 10, 2012 · Filed Under VoIP Guides · Comment 

(1) Make an assessment of your staff’s communication requirements, this means determining the number of employees that are tied to the desk and would benefit from mobile fixed line access. Your employees would have more freedom to do their job if they had the ability to work from home or roam.

(2) Examine your yearly telephone bill: You should evaluate the annual cost of your telecommunications service, in particular the number of international and mobile calls that have been made. Switching to a VoIP solution can shave as much as 50% of standard tariffs. Auditing your annual cost can be done both quickly and easily, potentially saving you a substantial amount of money.

(3) Skip the jargon, there is no reason to be afraid of the technical language. VoIP is basically a telephone service that works using your internet connection. It is both reliable and fast and operates seamlessly for your customers and staff.

(4) Plan for the future, the best thing about VoIP telephony is it is scalable and can grow alongside your business, including expanding both in numbers and destinations. Not all solutions however are the same and you should seek out a plan that provides extra functionality for no additional costs.

(5) Ask your provider questions if you have doubts. A good vendor should offer to introduce you to an existing customer who can share their own experiences with you.

>> Click here to order online with Vonage VoIP

Cisco 7936 IP Conference Station by Andres Rueda, on Flickr

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How To Ensure Your Telephone Runs During An Emergency

February 5, 2012 · Filed Under VoIP Guides · Comment 

An ever larger number of UK citizens are cutting the copper, i.e. losing their traditional landline and relying instead on mobile phones and internet based telephony services such as Vonage VoIP.

What most people don’t know is these telephone systems can stop working when they are needed most, in the case of emergencies which cause power blackouts.

In contrast to traditional fixed line telephone services VoIP services and your mobile phone are extremely dependant on electricity. VoIP services such as Vonage are totally dependent on having the internet up and running. If you have already made the switch to VoIP and mobile, then here are a few tips to ensure your home phone is working, even when there is an emergency.

Know what system you are using
The first thing to do is find out what type of phone system you are using, and its functional capability during a blackout.

Keep spare batteries on hand.

Having a spare set of batteries will automatically extend the life of your phone system. You could also purchase an uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

Keep Your Traditional Fixed Line

One easy way to ensure you have a phone service even during a power outage is to retain your traditional copper based fixed line service. If you have already made the switch to a VoIP alternative such as Vonage, then you should check with your previous provider, whether it is possible to return to your original service. You may find it may not be so easy, since some companies remove the copper once you stop using their service.

Keep a corded phone.
Many cordless phones depend on electricity to run, and stop working as soon as the power cuts, even if the line you have remains active during a power cut. So when choosing a phone, make sure there is battery back up, and that the phone itself does not require to be plugged in to an electrical socket.

>> Click here to order online with Vonage VoIP

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Did Video Kill The Radio Star? Not Quite It Didn’t

July 1, 2011 · Filed Under VoIP Guides, VoIP News, Vonage · Comment 

Recently there has been intense debate over whether the revenue that incumbent telecoms operators generate from their bread and butter voice services is in terminal decline as innovative VoIP services such as Vonage VoIP have emerged competing head on with the incumbents. Many have been saying for years that the golden days of the telco are over.

Some analysts beg to differ, and make the case that voice still is and will continue to be a prosperous enterprise for operators for a little while longer.

Lack of Net-Neutrality

Earlier in the year The Dutch Parliament signalled its intent to become the first European country to officially legislate net neutrality. This would force internet service providers and operators to treat all types of traffic equally for all services including VoIP applications such as Vonage VoIP.

That was a huge deal for consumers, and was monumental for all Mobile VoIP and IP messaging applications in Holland.

However for net neutrality to become ubiquitous, it will take more than a single country, and all other countries must also adopt a set of similar laws and practice, which is inevitable, but is likely to take a while yet.

Until universal net neutrality becomes a reality, telecom operators legally have the right to block applications on their networks, or charge their subscribers extra for using third party VoIP, such as Vonage VoIP, to offset their revenue loss. Indeed some already levy these additional charges. With others likely to follow suit.

Operators Sell Bundled Services
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Most telcos actually sell their subscription plans as bundles of different services. Which means under a plan you get a defined number of text messages and a defined number of voice minutes, and that type of pricing is highly unlikely to change any time soon. As telcos face ever greater competition on multiple fronts, building an effective sales strategy is a powerful way to protect and enhance their revenues.

Feature Phones Not Dead Yet

It is no great revelation that smartphone sales have grown exponentially, with some estimating that in 2010, they grew by 40%. It is expected that in the year 2014, there will be 1.4 billion smartphone unit sales, and with the current adoption rate Nielsen reckons that smartphones will overtake feature phone sales in the US by the end of this year.

Clearly this trend represents an enormous opportunity for companies such as Vonage VoIP to target customers with mobile applications that are disruptive of existing business models. The market will be large enough for companies such as Vonage VoIP and Skype to take huge chunk out of Voice revenue of incumbent telcos.

However the absolute picture is much more important than the relative one. On a global level, feature phones dwarf smartphones by a factor of 4 to 1. It will be a while before that ratio becomes one which represents an existential threat to incumbents on a global level, though it must be said the ratio varies on a regional and economical developmental level, so the telcos at risk are the ones with the wealthiest customers, and who tend to be the biggest.

For now though, operators have room to breathe, the requirement for conventional voice services will continue unabated for some time yet. But they must start preparing for the new world order that in inevitable in the future, they must learn to embrace the future and not fear it, to not let equity markets and share holders seeking immediate returns drive their planning for a sustainable future, one in which they survive the internet protocol transition.

>> Click here to order online with Vonage VoIP

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Security Tips For Vonage Business Users

February 4, 2011 · Filed Under VoIP Guides, VoIP News, Vonage · Comment 

One way businesses and individuals can save money and trim costs is switching from traditional landlines to a less expensive Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service like Voange VoIP.

And whilst services like Vonage are extremely cost effective, they do present a unique set of security issues. Hacking has increased steadily, and the threat now included listening in on and recording phone conversations.

Now that might sound a little alarming, but the first thing that one needs to be aware off is there is very little money to be made from engaging in such behaviour, which keeps criminals at bay, and secondly there are a number of preventive measures one can take to ensure they stay safe.

Change the Default Password

Most users leave their default password intact, and if you are a business then the easiest measure to take is to reset the default password immediately.

Don’t Piggyback

Some business use the same router for both their VoIP and internet services, a practice known as piggy backing. This practice leaves businesses vulnerable to being hacked.

Unencrypted VoIP routers are criminals way of gaining access to networks that should otherwise be protected. VoIP should always have its own data line.

Beware of VoIP Phishing

Hackers do engage is phishing scams, sending emails with phone numbers to call that request the victim to enter their account information using the keyboard, which records the call and account information.

VoIP hacking is a real threat – so businesses need to plan accordingly.

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Using Vonage To Make Cheap Overseas Calls

January 25, 2011 · Filed Under VoIP Guides, VoIP News, VoIP Providers, Vonage · Comment 

If you want to make an international call using the internet, then you need a broadband telephone service like Vonage. Vonage VoIP makes use of your existing handset and broadband connection to make calls over the internet as opposed to the traditional telephone line. All that you need to do is make use of a Vonage adapter that the company provides which connects your phone to your modem or router, and you are ready to make low cost international calls.

Your traditional telecom provider will charge you for every minute you are on the phone. Vonage works differently, it allows you to sign up for a specific call plan of your choice, and there are several to choose from that include plans for just a few countries to plans that provide calls to up to 45 different countries globally. The plans enable users to pay a set affordable monthly fee whilst making unlimited free calls to landlines and some mobile in the countries included in your plan choice.

Occasionally you will need to make an international telephone call to a country that is not included in the plan you have chose. Those calls will attract a charge, however since the cost of using the internet to place a telephone call is so cheap Vonage is able to pass on huge savings to customers, and its international call rates are extremely competitive. Vonage customers can also upgrade their call plan or switch to one which has fewer countries whenever they feel like by simply logging on to their account.

So consumers no longer need to purchase international calling cards and pre load them with cash simply to place an overseas call. There is also no longer any need for people to remember to dial a code before the telephone number in order to take advantage of a tiny discount. Using the Internet to make international phone calls and calling someone abroad is no different to calling them locally. You can relax and talk for as long as you like!

These days having an internet phone means that users can simply pick up the handset and dial the number as they normally do. There is no reason to be tied to your computer, and in fact your computer need not even be on. So long as you have access to broadband, an internet telephone service can be used to make cheap international calls.

>> Click here to order online with Vonage VoIP

Please Note - All Prices Quoted Are Correct at Time of Posting

Vonage Makes A Compelling Choice As Second Phone Line

December 14, 2010 · Filed Under VoIP Guides, VoIP News, VoIP Providers, Vonage · Comment 

For those of you who are not entirely sure about VoIP, a second telephone line from a provider such as Vonage functions in just the same way as any other phone. You simply pick up the phone and dial and when someone calls you, your Vonage based phone will ring and you pick up the phone and answer the call.

People who don’t understand the concept of how Vonage works have no need to fear. The only thing that needs to be understood is that the technology used by Vonage is different from that of traditional phone lines. Usually a phone is physically connected to the provider’s exchange, and the calls are delivered over the providers copper or cable wires. Vonage however works through a broadband internet connection.

The traditional phone line has a socket into which your handset is plugged into. When you get a Vonage VoIP phone, you simply unplug your phone from that socket and plug it into a Vonage adapter, which is connected to your modem or router.

Vonage phone’s are portable, in fact they can be best described as being somewhat of a hybrid between a traditional fixed line telephone and a mobile phone. With Vonage your phone line and number are embedded into the equipment which means you can install it and make and receive calls from wherever you are.

Vonage offers a both inexpensive and flexible second phone line option using your existing broadband infrastructure. Packages start from just £18.98 to set-up with no requirement to pay a monthly rental fee that is usually part of a traditional telephone service providers package. Vonage also does not charge for calls by the minute, offering a low cost call plans and some packages which provide unlimited calls.

Vonage also does not charge for separate call features such as call waiting and call divert. Vonage packages come with 20 call features included as part of the package.
If you haven’t already, you should definitely consider Vonage as a strong contender for a second phone line, or indeed bin your existing line and use it as your primary service.

>> Click here to order online with Vonage VoIP

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Making Cheap International Phone Calls Using Vonage

December 1, 2010 · Filed Under VoIP Guides, VoIP Providers, Vonage · Comment 

Vonage is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service, which enables users to make either very cheap or even free international phone calls from the UK using the internet. Vonage does away with the need for more expensive international phone cards or dialling codes, and users of the service no longer need to count the minutes when they are on an international call or worry about huge phone bills.

Aside from the main benefit of low cost international calling service, Vonage VoIP comes with a few additional benefits including a UK phone number, 20 inclusive call features such as call waiting, and do not disturb, fixed monthly bills, and free international calls to countries listed on the chosen plan.

If you want to take advantage of the service, it’s fairly easy, and all that is required is a broadband internet connection and a regular phone handset. Vonage will send you a free phone adapter once you have signed up to the service which allows you to connect the phone to your broadband router.

Vonage has a number of different international call plans, for example the V-Plan US allows customers to make free international calls to mobiles and landlines in the US and Canada, whilst the V-Plan 2 gives customers the option of making unlimited free calls to 15 countries.

Once you have signed up to a particular plan with Vonage you can sign up for a UK phone number and even choose a number which is local to your friends and family, even if you live elsewhere in the country, allowing them to save money when they call you.

Vonage is a portable service, which means the so long as you have a phone handset, your adaptor and access to an internet connection, you came make cheap or unlimited free international calls wherever you are, even when you are abroad, and as if you are in the UK. This means whenever people call your UK number, no matter which country you happen to be in, it your phone will still ring.

>> Click here to order online with Vonage VoIP

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Getting Started Using VoIP

March 30, 2010 · Filed Under VoIP Guides · Comment 

To make PC to PC or PC to phone calls, the first thing you need to do is choose a VoIP provider. There are a number of providers in the UK including BT VoIP, Demon and Vonage VoIP. Choosing which provider to subscribe too will largely depend on the packages they offer, the cost of making phone calls to land lines and mobile phones, and how many of your contacts use a specific provider.

Once you have decided which service you will subscribe too, you will need to download the providers software, which in most cases is free to install.

Before you can get started you need to make sure you have a headset, or you have a microphone and speakers. The other option available is buying a USB phone that plugs into your computer’s USB socket that offers a very familiar user experience.

Once you have installed the software and got chosen the hardware, you are then ready to call other people who are using the same software free of charge over the internet, as well as call regular land lines and mobile phones for a small fee determined by your VoIP provider.

If you are using VoIP on your mobile phone, then all you need to do is download the software to your phone, and you need not worry about buying any additional hardware.

Types of Handsets

There are a number of options for choosing a handset to use to speak using VoIP:

  • Headset – this plugs into your computer and comes with a microphone and speakers.
  • VoIP handset –works just like a phone but instead plugs into your computers USB socket.
  • IP Phone – plugs straight into your router so no need to turn the computer on
  • Dual phone – capable of making normal calls and VoIP calls

Additional Features:

Many of the better VoIP services allow you to take advantage of a number of the following features:

  • Caller ID
  • Voicemail
  • Local phone number option
  • Conference calls
  • Call forwarding
  • Instant transfer to voicemail
  • Instant messaging

Please Note - All Prices Quoted Are Correct at Time of Posting

What is VoIP?

March 30, 2010 · Filed Under VoIP Guides · Comment 

VoIP is the acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. Most simply put, VoIP is the technology that enables its users to make cheap phone calls over an internet connection. The technology has been in existence for over thirty years, but it has been the last half decade where its usage has gradually become mainstream, as broadband internet connections become ubiquitous.

VoIP basically works by recording your voice, compressing it into data samples and transmitting it as digital information over the internet.

Who uses VoIP?

VoIP is a cheap way of making international phone calls. So anyone who regularly makes overseas phone calls can save a lot of money using VoIP. The technology also enables transmission of videos so VoIP users can also make video calls, something that has proven extremely popular with users of services such as Skype.

VoIP is not used merely by casual users, but businesses can save a ton of money on phone bills. Internet telephony is not just cheap or even free a lot of the times, but some providers, for the payment of a flat monthly fee offer a number of different features that are extremely convenient and save a lot of money.

Added features include the allocation of a land-line number that people can use to call and connect directly to you. This means that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, people can still phone the same number to reach you. Some providers also let you make unlimited phone calls to certain countries or a number of countries as part of their subscription fee.

How is VoIP Used?

Computer to Computer

Many users use VoIP to make calls from one computer to another. But in actual fact a computer is not necessary, and all that is required is an internet connection.

If you exclude the cost of the internet connection, computer to computer phone calls are in fact free and this is the main way people use VoIP when they are at home. To be able to do this though both users need to use the same service, and all that is required is the purchase of a headset or phone (plus a webcam if you wish to make video calls). Once you have plugged the headset into your computer you are ready to go.

Computer to Phone

VoIP does not exclusively need to be confined to computer to computer calls. It can also be used to call normal land-line or mobile numbers. However using VoIP to do this is certainly not free and in some cases can be quite expensive, and these calls are where VoIP providers make money.

Despite the cost, using VoIP to make calls to landlines and mobiles can often still be a lot cheaper than using a regular phone, and is certainly cheaper when you use it to place an international call.

The beauty is the person you are calling does not have to be connected to the internet, instead your provider routes the call through to the land-line number.

SIP

SIP which stands for Session Initiation Protocol uses exactly the same technology as PC to PC communication. It is far more usual to use a special SIP phone, which plugs straight into your broadband connection to make the calls, and this removes the need to turn your computer on.

SIP is extremely popular with corporations that have offices strewn across the globe. It allows them to simply install the SIP phone, and make unlimited phone calls to one another.

Mobile Phones

The latest trend has been the explosion of growth in consumers buying smartphones, a lot of which come with VoIP capability. This means the owner of the smartphone simply needs to download the software of the provider to their mobile phone, and use it just as if they were on their computer.

You should check your mobile phone service provider, because some are reluctant to allow their subscribers use this feature on their phones because it may stop their users from making more expensive phone calls using their network. Many mobile phone service providers restrict the ability of their subscribers to use VoIP from their 3G network, confining it to Wi-Fi connections only.

Please Note - All Prices Quoted Are Correct at Time of Posting

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