BT ISDN SWITCHOFF 2025

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BT have announced their plans to migrate all customers to an IP network by 2025, switching off the company’s ISDN network. As the leading business communications provider, this change will affect millions of businesses across the UK.

Even though SIP technology has been available for 15 years; many organisations still prefer to use ISDN lines. As of August 2013; there were around 3.2 million active ISDN lines in the UK however, by 2025 all organisations will have to move to a SIP service.

Although 8 years may seem as a long period of time, we believe that the migration process will begin soon, that is why you should start learning more about SIP technology and its advantages.

What is SIP trunking?

SIP trunking is the latest form of technology that delivers telephone lines using an external data connection as the bearer for the purpose of making and receiving calls. This virtual IP based service uses network data connectivity instead of dedicated fixed line technology methods.

What are the benefits?

1. Number Portability

Using SIP trunks allows you to keep your phone number no matter where you are, because your phone number is attached to an IP address not a physical telephone line. It permits out-of-area geographic number ranges to be used – displaying your organisation as local, despite being physically located elsewhere.

2. Saves You Money

With traditional ISDN your voice and data connection are on different lines. You will be able to save money by having both on one line. SIP trunking can reduce your costs by 50% on line rentals and 25% on calls.

3. Greater Flexibility

SIP trunking gives you complete control of your lines – you can add additional trunks when demand is high, reduce them when demand is low and split calls to make handling more effective. Being able to make these instant changes will help you to remain in total control of your communications.

4. Disaster Recovery

Incidents that cause an interruption to service such as hostile weather, power failures and natural disasters, can have a detrimental impact on your business reputation. This can lead to an abrupt decline in customer retention and loyalty. SIP trunking can ensure you maintain business as usual and will be able to continue working through every eventuality.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM INCLARITY 19 SEP 2017

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IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM INCLARITY

Emergency maintenance work was conducted on the Inclarity platform on Monday 18th September between 7.00pm and 12.00am BST (GMT+1). The purpose of this work is to further improve and refine our security processes.

As a result of this maintenance work, immediately afterwards we will require your customers to reboot their Inclarity Polycom handsets to ensure continuation of service. It follows that if any user should find that their Inclarity phone is not showing as correctly registered during or after this period then you should reboot it as soon as possible.

To reboot a Polycom handset you can:

– From the screen select Menu -> Settings -> Basic -> Restart Phone
– From the back of the handset remove the power cable for 10 seconds and then re-attach it

In the case of a Power Over Ethernet (POE) phone removing the network cable will also remove the power – in which case please ensure that you re-attach the cable to the correct LAN port on the back. If you maintain a large, managed POE switch device, then the power to all devices could instead be cycled from this device.

The Polycom reboot sequence will normally take several minutes to complete. Note of course that a successful reboot is also dependent on your local broadband connection being in good working order. In the unlikely event that your reboot produces unexpected results then please contact Inclarity Customer Services at customerservices@inclarity.co.uk or 0800 987 80 80 in the usual manner.

What is VoIP

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What Is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Sometimes it’s referred to as Voice over Networks or (VoN), Voice over Broadband (VoB) and sometimes Internet Telephony. VoIP allows you to make free, or very low cost, telephone calls over the Internet. You can call any telephone in the world and any telephone can call you – regardless of what equipment or network the person you are calling uses.

Also, because VoIP uses, digital, internet technologies (sip) many new features and services that were previously impossible, or very expensive using traditional telephone technology, become available. With Pen Telecom this means we can give you many features such as voicemail, voicemails sent to you email, music on hold, call diverts etc.

But you don’t need to know anything about the technologies used if you don’t want to, after all, you probably don’t know that ordinary telephony uses TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) but your telephone still works.

How Does it work?

Your voice is converted into digital information which can be sent like any other data over the internet. People are often confused by this but the way to think about it is that your internet connection uses the same wires as your normal landline telephone and can be uses to transmit all kinds of things such as faxes, telephone calls, emails, instant messages, web pages and Google searches – what makes the difference is simply what is plugged into the wires.

 

How Can I Make a VoIP Call?

Normally you just pick up your phone and dial the number! The most primitive form of VoIP uses your PC as a telephone and we provide you with a software telephone – a softphone – to do this. This displays a model of a telephone on your screen and you simply type the number to be dialled in or click on the phone’s directory to dial the number.

You can either use your PCs speakers and microphone of use a simple headset to talk.

For business use though, most people use purpose built VoIP telephones or telephone adapters with ordinary telephones plugged in. Apart from the obvious benefits of convenience to use and quality of call this method means that your telephones work even when your PC is switched off.

 

What Kind Of Equipment Do I Need?

A broadband (high speed Internet) connection is required for most of our services.

To make phone calls you then either use a softphone on your PC or laptop (see above) or a purpose built VoIP telephone or telephone adapter.

 

If I Use A VoIP Service Who Can I Call?

You can call anyone, anywhere on any type of telephone or network. The receiver of the call needs to have no special equipment and won’t know what kind of call he is receiving.

Does It Sound As Good As An Ordinary Telephone Call?

Normally the call will sound identical to an ordinary telephone call – you won’t be able to tell the difference.

 

 

Can I take my telephone or phone adapter with me when I travel?

You can use your VoIP telephone service wherever you travel as long as you have access to a high speed Internet connection. In that case it would work exactly the same as from your home or business.

 

 

 

How to get a local number without premises in that city.

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A client who has premises in London wanted to have a presence in Glasgow without actually having an office there. With VoIP technology we have set him up with a Glasgow phone number and calls are received on his main London number and it indicates these are calls received from the Glasgow number. This can be installed for most cities in the world. For more information call 0208 150 9300 or visit our website www.pen-telecom.co.uk

What General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) means for your business

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On 25th May 2018, there will be new General Data Protection regulations (GDPR) all businesses will have to conform to. This guide will show you the changes.
Recording phone calls will be necessary for fulfilling a legal requirement in the financial services sector, which are required by the FCA leading up to all transactions.
For more information take a look at this link
https://ico.org.uk/…/16…/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf

Telecom mistakes to avoid when starting a business in 2017

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Telecoms mistakes to avoid when starting a business in 2017

Over 600,000 business were started in the UK in 2016, and that number is expected to be exceeded in 2017.

There are many challenges for every one of these business start-ups, but some new businesses make it harder for themselves by making basic mistakes with their telecoms.

In some cases it is because unsuspecting new business owners can be easy prey for the less scrupulous telecom suppliers in the industry. In others, it is about failing to take the time to work out what your startup actually needs from your telecommunications.

 

5 COMMON PHONE AND BROADBAND MISTAKES START-UPS MAKE

 

 1.Only having a mobile phone number

They say that you tell a lot about a business from spending 10 seconds in their reception. Similarly you can tell a lot about a business by their phone number.

Do they just use a mobile number on their business card? Research shows 30% of people do not trust it and therefore will not contact them. This is even higher if the business is offering professional services such as accountancy, financial advice or consultancy.

So what are the other options. Some companies use 0800 numbers to get round this issue which add to your costs as then you are paying for the incoming calls. Others try to offset this by using 0843 or 0844 numbers but that just creates the impression that you want to profit every time someone calls you.

Anything other than 0800, or numbers beginning 01/02/03, for post sales service is illegal. If you still wish to use them then you must also publish the cost of call them in close proximity to where the number is publicised in all places – websites, business cards and vans.

 

  2.Using your home phone number for business

Some businesses are tempted to use their home phone number but this has the disadvantage you don’t know if your aunt is calling or is it that important new customer.

It also means you can’t turn your business off if you want in the evening or at weekends. There is limited functionality as well for handling a second call and personalising voicemails. Also if you move house you may move to another telephone exchange and not be able to take the phone number you have been marketing for years.

For this reason many small businesses wonder if they should use a telephone answering or virtual PA service for when they are not available.

The key question is what do you want them to do. If it is to just take a message you need to ask yourself what value is that adding. If they can handle certain queries then that can enhance your offering.

  1. Signing up to very long contracts

There is also great pressure for all new businesses to manage their costs at the outset whilst revenues are low. Offers of free installation if you sign 3 or 5 year contracts can on the surface appear very tempting , but there are downsides.

Firstly your business may expand and / or you may move the business and you could find yourself facing penalties for cancelling the contract. Secondly you are locking yourself into prices for a long term in an environment where prices usually go down. The cost of calling mobiles has fallen by 50% in the past 4 years.

At the same time many business owners forget to read the small print in the contracts and forget to check the basics such as length, notice periods and penalty clauses. They then get caught when they want to make changes.

 

  1. Serviced offices

Many start-ups consider using serviced offices when starting out which can make sense as it avoids long term commitment that usually comes renting your own space.

But if considering this route ensure you check if they will expect you to use their telecoms services. This can create two issues.

Firstly, the costs can be very expensive compared to organising yourself, and secondly, they may not release the number to you should you move out at some point in the future.

If you have invested in promoting that phone number it could damage your business if you have to get a new number.

 

  1. Failing to buy business grade telecoms

Some start-ups also try and save money by buying residential services instead of business grade telecoms solutions, most notably mobile phones and broadband.

Whilst they may be cheaper service levels are also lower and you should factor in “what is the cost to my business of not being contactable”. It may well be more than the few pounds a month you are saving.

 

Good telecom choices for start-ups in 2017

So what are some good options for new businesses in 2017? At the lowest end for micro businesses a simple inbound geographic number, that will re-direct to an available mobile phone or landline number, can be set up for around £7 a month.

For a little extra you can have a voicemail on it, and a whisper facility to tell you that it is a business call. That can help you use the same mobile for both business and leisure.

For those businesses worried about presenting a mobile number when dialing out then it is possible to have a landline on your mobile as an app. Above that, businesses wanting a little more sophistication or larger start ups are faced with the choice of VOIP or traditional solutions.

There is no right answer as there are pros and cons of each solution. Generally, as a guide the more sites and greater the likelihood of growth in numbers of users then the flexibility and scalability of VOIP are advantageous.

If you are looking for more sophisticated features and are communications intensive then a PBX may be a better solution.

Final thoughts

Overall the key for any business owner is to be wary. Before you sign anything, ask yourself will my telecoms support the business in the way I expect it to develop and will I be making it easy for customers to get in touch.

Westminster Connect

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Westminster City Council has secured £2.8m European Regional Development Fund to deliver the Connect Westminster Project. The project provides up to £2,000 towards the capital costs of upgrading your broadband connection to ultrafast levels.

To find out if you are in an eligible area, enter your full postcode into the link below. Pen Telecom Ltd is one of the registered suppliers, for more information contact us on 0208 150 9300

https://businesswestminster.com/business-enterprise/

MiFID II Financial Regulations

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The EU’s revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (together MiFID II) will go-live on 3 January 2018.
MiFID II seeks to make financial markets in Europe more resilient, transparent and investor-friendly and is part of a number of measures enacted in response to the financial crisis.

It will affect all businesses dealing in financial services and markets. There will be many changes and one of them is all telephone calls will have to be recorded.

Pen Telecom Ltd offers this service, so don’t delay and call us on 0208 150 9300 or email info@pen-telecom.co.uk

 

Future proof your start-up business

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Why a start-up business should consider VoIP telecoms

 

Business communication is critical, whether it is with customers or suppliers, and a start-up business needs to know that its communication systems will work effectively and for the lowest cost possible. If you are starting up a business, the good news is that VoIP technology can offer you the type of telecoms system to meet your needs, with a cost base to suit the financing you have available to you.

 

What is VOIP?

If you are unsure what VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol is, then the easiest definition is that it is a way of using the Internet, rather than traditional landline systems, to make phone calls. There are apps – Skype being one of the better known – that enable users to make calls through their computers, but for a majority of small businesses the system of choice is one that integrates IP phones with the Internet, using Ethernet cables.

If you are running a start-up business, then anything that saves you money is a bonus. The cost savings of HOSTED VoIP are considerable, owing in no small part to the fact that they are Internet based. This means that hardware costs are minimized. Apart from routers, Ethernet cables and the phones themselves, you will generally not have to make any other investment to get started with a VoIP system. Some service providers even offer the phones for minimal cost.

 

Benefits of VOIP to Startups

 

When it comes to growing your start-up business, VoIP systems have many benefits in that regard. As calls between in-company phones are conducted on a network rather than on a public phone line, extending a VoIP system to newly-opened offices or even to telecommuters, if you choose that model of staffing, is more cost-effective than a traditional telecom system running on public phone lines. In addition, VoIP technology has started to evolve to include mobile apps, allowing staff to make and receive calls on their smartphones, using existing phone numbers assigned to the company.

 

For start-ups, flexibility can be critical, and VoIP systems enable that, introducing a new extension is straightforward and in some cases consists only of connecting a VoIP-enabled phone to the network, reconfiguring some software settings in the cloud and on the device itself, and you are up and running. A service provider will typically be able to do those adjustments for minimal cost or even free of charge. Flexibility for a start-up also extends to getting things operational quickly, and VoIP systems can deliver on that front. Installation times for a hosted VoIP can be around three days. In the case of an IP-PBX system, with additional video, audio, and instant messaging capabilities, a straightforward install for a start-up could be achieved in around five working days.

VoIP adoption depends, of course, on having a good Internet connection, and for some start-up businesses, this can be a challenge, owing to the unavailability of good broadband. Nonetheless, as broadband becomes more available, even in more remote locations, VoIP is one technology that is going to continue to thrive. Analysts are even predicting that in the course of the next decade, VoIP will surpass traditional phone services to become the dominant telecoms system.

Start-up businesses appreciate anything that gives them a potential advantage over the competition, allows easy communication with customers, and helps cut down on costs. It should come as no surprise that VoIP systems are proving popular with the start-up sector.

 

For more information call us on 0208 150 9300 or email info@pen-telecom.co.uk