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Mobile connection to office Va Beach

Build Better Client Relationships With Tech

February is the month of love! If you’re looking for ways to improve the relationship between your business and clients, take the seasonal opportunity to do so! Show clients and partners that you appreciate them with new technologies that improve their experience with your company.

Wondering how BCS can help? Here are some easily integratable tools that quickly show your clients how much you care:

1. Free WiFi

The need for visitors to connect is unavoidable. Granting unlimited access to everyone can introduce security issues, so many companies don’t offer up their private connection.

Unfortunately, that creates a negative experience for the visitor. That’s why you should consider establishing a convenient guest WiFi, instead. A dedicated guest network lets visitors quickly connect with a simple password and no red tape. It’s a thoughtful and appreciated convenience that all clients and guests will enjoy, and it protects your business systems.

2. Professional Conference Calling

Do you have regular in-person meetings with  customers? Whether they come to you or you go to them, someone adds minutes and sometimes hours onto their workday just getting to the meeting. One easy way to streamline communication with clients and improve your overall relationship is to integrate video conferencing. Professional video conferencing, like our StarLeaf technology, allows you and your client to get that face-to-face contact without the burden of travel, something your everyone will thank you for.

3. Eliminate Wait Times

Being able to talk with a real person when you need help is an important demand for clients and customers across all industries. If your phone system is too complicated or employees can’t connect quickly, communication falls apart. Show your clients that you understand their needs. Upgrading to a seamless and easy to use business phone system with BCS.

BCS Voice and Data is here to make you and your clients happier! Call us at (800) 365-8067 to learn how we can eliminate the barriers to building great relationships and set your business apart.

How Does a VoIP Phone System Work for My Business?

Voice Over IP Telephony, or VoIP, is the modern standard for business phone systems. It has replaced premises based private branch exchange (PBX) as a way for companies to  to operate their phone systems over broadband connections and save money on expensive landlines. While VoIP is a bit of a catch-all term, companies utilize it in two main different ways.

IP-PBX Phone Systems

The equipment for IP-PBX is located on the office premises like traditional PBX. The difference between the two is that instead of a hardwired user network. IP-PBX uses SIP trunking, an IP-based private branch exchange and a PTSN gateway to route calls. All hardware is housed on site and since it is self-hosted, is the responsibility of the office. Usage charges vary from month to month. This is a reliable VoIP option for businesses with more than 20 employees and a high call volume. It is also highly customizable.

Hosted Phone Solutions

Hosted phone solutions take the pressure off of a company to house hardware, as the key functions of this type of phone system are completed off-site. The only hardware delivered to a business are the phones themselves. The hosting provider shoulders responsibility for keeping the system up and running and managing network downtime. Cost is on a per-user basis and doesn’t vary from month to month. This is a great option for small-to-medium companies without IT departments and those that need room to grow

What Type of VoIP Is Right for My Business?

When deciding on a VoIP solutions, business leaders must consider how much control they want over their company’s phone system. If the business has a robust IT department, consistently high call volume and a need for meticulous customization, IP-PBX is the best choice. If a business is looking for a simple outsourced solution that is feature-rich with predictable costs, a hosted solution might be a good fit.

No matter your unique needs, BCS Voice and Data Solutions offers a VoIP solution for you. Whether it’s an IP-PBX system, Mitel AnyWare hosted phone solution or perhaps just a new phone system, we are excited to help. Click or call today.

Ring in the New Year with a New Business Phone System

What are your business’s communications challenges?

  • Outdated phone units that don’t offer new features? 
  • Unpredictable monthly costs? 
  • Unwieldy cabling and cluttered wiring?
  • Limited and unreliable teleconference capability?

Every company is different, and that’s why BCS tailors our services and recommendations to each company’s unique needs.

For those with outdated phone systems….

As an exclusive Mitel partner, BCS can outfit your company with new business phones that allow for seamless communication. You can go with traditional wired units, cordless phones or even a desktop Softphone. Most even pair with mobile phones, so your employees never have to miss a call.

For those who live in fear of the phone system bill…

BCS offers Mitel AnyWare hosted phone solutions as the perfect alternative to traditional IP-PBX and premise based PBX systems. For one monthly fee on a per-user basis, Mitel AnyWare gives small business owners peace of mind. Even more, AnyWare grows with your business. Add users as needed and know exactly what you’ll pay.

hosted telephone solutions

For those who have no clue where those cables lead…

Hardware failure is one of the leading causes of network downtime. This is why maintaining hardware like cabling, wiring and server components is an essential part of IT operations. Entrust your hardware to our expert structured cabling technicians. They will install (if necessary), inspect and organize your company’s cabling so that a frayed wire or bad connection won’t bring business to a halt.

For those who want the whole picture…

Relying on consumer-level video conferencing apps to connect with remote employees and distant clients is fine to a point, but exceptionally professional organizations need teleconference solutions that integrate directly with their phone and Unified Communications systems. BCS sells, installs and maintains a variety of the latest enterprise level teleconference equipment and applications.

Whatever the problem is, make a 2014 resolution to update and streamline your company’s communications technology by partnering with BCS Voice and Data Solutions. We specialize in providing tech solutions like feature-rich business phones, hosted PBX service, Unified Communications suites and more to small-to-medium businesses in Hampton Roads and beyond.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/luigi diamanti

Best Cordless Business Phones for Retail

Calling all retail managers! With Christmas less than a week away, we’re sure that you are experiencing more than your fair share of stress and long hours, but we have some advice that may change the way you do business in-store (and hopefully take some stress out of the equation in 2014).

How do you handle in-store communication? Expensive cellphones? Hardwired cordless phones?  Consider transitioning to one of the business phone systems in Mitel’s IP-Digital Enhanced Cordless Communication (IP-DECT) arsenal. These cordless business phones connect over a wireless network and provide all the features of complex desktop phones with all the convenient portability of traditional cordless units.

And since no two companies’ communication needs are exactly alike, Mitel offers several different cordless phone units. All cordless business phones run on the the Mitel IP-DECT System for on-premises wireless communication.  As a certified exclusive Mitel partner, BCS Voice and Data Solutions is happy to offer this technology to SMBs in Virginia Beach, Virginia and beyond. These Mitel cordless units are two of our favorites.

Mitel MiVoice 5603 Wireless Phone

The Mitel Mivoice 5603 Wireless phone is perfect for small businesses that need a low-cost, basic cordless phone that though simple, is maximally reliable.The 5603 offers plenty of features to streamline the way your employees communicate with each other and the outside world. 

  • Customizable Graphical User Interface (GUI)
  • Phonebook with up to 500 entries
  • Speakerphone
  • Six languages
  • Vibration alert
  • High-quality voice
  • Call list with 25 most recent calls
  • Excellent battery life: 16 hours (talk) and 180 hours (standby)

Mitel MiVoice 5610 DECT Handset

For businesses that need to accommodate more users with more features, we give you the Mitel MiVoice 5610 handset with stand. This wireless handset operates much like a cellphone and offers all the features of the 5603 phone and more.

  • IP DECT Stand that supports up to 8 handsets and three simultaneous calls
  • Stand accommodates MiVoice 5312/5324/5320/5330/5340 and 5360 IP Phones
  • Handset with vibrant color display and adjustable brightness
  • Teleworker support
  • 9 Customizable polyphonic ringtones
  • Battery life: 8 hours (talk) and 240 hours (standby)
  • Multiple language support
  • MiVoice Business & MiVoice Office support
  • Has an operating range of up to 150 ft indoors and 300ft outdoors

Don’t be tethered to the desk by your business phone system. Give your employees the mobility and technology they need to get the job done. Call or contact BCS today to learn more about our cordless business phones and other business phone systems.

Unified Communications. Bringing People Together During the Holidays and Everyday.

All small to medium businesses can benefit from adding Unified Communications and Collaboration to their IT arsenal. The backbone of progress is efficient communication and UC allows companies to seamlessly integrate the various channels necessary to daily operations; email, messaging, virtualized environments, video and web conferencing, etc.

Many IT leaders are reluctant to embrace any one Unified Communications solution because they fear that such a change could leave their company “boxed in” to a certain server model or require an entirely new IT infrastructure to support it. We’re happy to report that these concerns are in large part unfounded, at least when companies choose to deploy a UC solution like Mitel MiCollab.

Mitel MiCollab is a single UC platform that addresses IT department’s concerns about complexity and inflexibility.

From Mitel:

  • One server for all functionality
  • One interface for user deployment
  • One management view
  • One point of control
  • Multiple deployment options including virtualized environments
  • Powerful APIs to bring other applications like email and CRM into the user’s communication realm.

In addition to the user-friendly interface, MiCollab offers the most sought-after UC features.

With MiCollab, the way you choose to deploy initially is not the end all be all for your company’s business communications future. Like we mentioned, the suite is compatible with public cloud hosting services, but it can also run on a dedicated site specific server, a private cloud or even a hybrid cloud model, depending on a business’s unique needs. And what’s more, it is incredibly easy to move the MiCollab suite to different platforms as your company grows. You may be running your business on a public cloud now, but if in two years you choose to upgrade to a private cloud model, MiCollab will upgrade with you. No need to invest in a new Unified Communications suite.

As an exclusive Mitel partner, BCS offers Unified Communications solutions like MiCollab as well as the latest business phone systems and the very best IT support and outsourcing in Hampton Roads and the Midatlantic region. Call or contact us today to learn more.

 

Business Phone Systems? Don’t Trust Just Anyone.

When it comes to business communications and modern phone systems, there are plenty of options to consider–so many that it can get overwhelming (See: Looking for a New Business Phone System: 10 Terms to Know). As a business owner, you are making an important investment in your future and the future of your employees. How do you choose the right phone system, and perhaps more critically, how do you choose the right communications provider? To answer the first question, check out “Mitel Business Phone Systems: Which One is Right for You?“. To answer the second question read on.

Top 5 Qualities to Look for in a Business Phone System Provider

1. Confident and knowledgeable about the products they sell. Many business communications companies leave it entirely to the consumer to research, compare and learn the ins-and-outs of a new business phone system. These companies act like little more than a middle man for phone system manufacturers and place little stock in the products. Choose a provider that loves what they do and is passionate about what they’re selling.

2. Offers reliable ground support. What’s the use of spending a great deal of money on a new phone system if installation and user training is disjointed and sub-par thanks to a provider headquartered across the country or even overseas? System installation, training, maintenance and repair should be a breeze for the client. Choose a provider that is geographically close and makes IT support top priority.

3. Provides knowledge and expertise in the broad spectrum of business communication issues. These days, a company’s communication strategy is anything but simple. The phone system is tied to the Internet service is tied to the cloud is tied to the private network is tied to the cabling.….you get the picture. Choose a provider that understands and is able to address the complex mechanics of the latest advancements in information technology.

4. Understands local challenges and circumstances facing your business.  Much like using a communications company with on-point ground support, we recommend joining with a local or regional company to manage your communication needs. Choose a provider that knows what you’re up against and can integrate that knowledge into its technology recommendations.

5. Is as invested in your company’s success as you are. Pretty self-explanatory. Choose a provider that does more than drop a phone system in your lap and collect their money. Choose a provider that wants to see your company grow, evolve and come out on top.

At BCS Voice and Data Solutions, our mission is “to provide our clients consulting, hardware, and services that maximize the value and effectiveness of their business technology,” and to do so with the previous five qualities constantly in mind. If you are in Hampton Roads, Virginia or the Mid-Atlantic region and are in the market for a new business phone system, unified communications solution, or IT support and outsourcing, contact us today.

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

The Three “H”s of VoIP Productivity

You may turn back the clocks this weekend, but that doesn’t mean you should turn back the clock on your approach to business communications. Technology in this industry is always changing, and falling behind could mean the difference between efficient productivity and lagging progress. VoIP and virtualized IP environments, for instance, have been adopted in recent years by the higher education, hospitality and healthcare fields. All three industries utilize IP communications to simplify once cumbersome processes.

Higher Education

Colleges and universities are full of bright minds, great ideas and data…a great deal of data. Rather than risk the loss of vital scholarship and student records, schools are widely transitioning to virtualized environments.

From Mitel: “A virtualized, IP communications environment enables educational institutions to run multiple operating systems via one physical machine—all of which can run on multiple servers. This way, if a blackout suddenly sweeps campus, the school’s IT administrator can access the central, physical machine via a remote server to ensure that all documents, projects and important files that were opened can be kept safe and restored.”

Hospitality

Last year we wrote about the success certain hotels have had with the implementation of VoIP technology. As the rise of mobile phones devalued hotel phone systems, hospitality managers transitioned to VoIP systems which allow users to make calls at a lower rate than the mobile provider’s. Read the full post here.

Healthcare

Efficiency and accuracy are important, especially when it comes to caring for people’s bodies and health.  This year, Cibola General Hospital in Cibola County, New Mexico,upgraded their Internet, data storage and phone services to a VoIP based system. Cibola General is one of many small hospitals that have grown to recognize the value of cutting edge communications technology. According to Rick Smith, the IT director at the hospital, “We’ve dramatically improved performance with built-in redundancy, which means there are two points to get to the same data backup system…If we put in a whiz-bang system but the nurses and doctors can’t use it, then it’s of no value.” (Cibola Beacon).

We agree with Mr. Smith that IT is nothing if it’s not user-friendly. That’s why BCS is proud to offer extremely intuitive Mitel IP Business Phone systems, innovative VMware virtualization solutions and more. Call or contact us today to learn more about how VoIP can add value to your enterprise.

Image: freedigitalphotos.net/stockimages

Looking for a New Business Phone System? 10 Terms to Know.

When on the hunt for a new business phone system, navigating the waters of technical jargon can be exhausting, limiting and just plain frustrating. Whether you are thinking of investing in a cloud-based solution, a premise-based solution or even one of our used business phone systems to pair with your existing infrastructure, we’ve compiled ten key industry terms to help guide your search.

business phone system

  1. Auto attendant- a virtual receptionist that can run a phone system even in the event of network downtime. Directs callers toward their desired extensions and often has the capability, if the desired party is out of office, to direct said caller to the extension’s mobile device (see “mobile twinning”).
  2. Cloud-based business phone system-  Also known as a hosted phone system or hosted PBX (private branch exchange), a cloud-based business phone system stores all communications data wirelessly in the cloud. Requires subscription to a cloud-based VoIP PBX service like Mitel AnyWare and generally has fixed monthly charges on a per-user basis. Usually managed via a graphical user interface. (See: 5 Ways Hosted Telephone Solutions Can Help You Do Your Own Thing)
  3. Hosted PBX- See Cloud-based business phone system.”
  4. IP address- Internet protocol address. A series of numbers assigned to each device on a network. Can be either dynamic or static (fixed).
  5. Mobile twinning- A phone system’s capability to direct a call from a user’s desktop phone or softphone to his or her mobile device.
  6. On-premise PBX- Traditional Private Branch Exchange analog technology with hardware and connectivity maintained on site.
  7. On-premise IP PBX- Uses on-site SIP trunking to make calls and otherwise communicate over the Internet (VoIP). Communications costs vary month-to-month based on usage.
  8. SIP Trunking- Stands for “Session Initiation Protocol.” Acquired through an IP service provider, SIP trunking allows companies with IP-PBX phone systems to place calls outside of the office environment over the Internet.
  9. Softphone- Generally a Unified Communications client, a Softphone allows the user to place and receive phone calls from the desktop of their PC, just as they would from a desktop phone unit.  (See our recent product profile on Mitel’s MiCollab Client Softphone)
  10. Unified communications- Refers to the strategic integration of phone, instant messaging, video conferencing and other communication channels over the Internet through the private network.

Call or contact BCS to talk to an expert who can answer your questions about bettering your business’ communication potential. We’ll offer you advice, perspective and, most importantly, solutions.

 

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Mitel Product Spotlight: MiCollab Client Softphone

Through our partnership with telecommunications leader Mitel, BCS is proud to offer the finest and most innovative business communications products available on the market. And since we see more remote employees add their talents to the workforce everyday, we wanted to draw attention to Mitel’s MiCollab Client Softphone: the perfect solution for “road warriors” who want to stay seamlessly connected to the corporate network wherever they are.

A ‘softphone’ offers the remote worker all of the features and utility of an advanced business phone right from their PC’s desktop.

The MiCollab Client Softphone, in conjunction with MiCollab Client (formerly Mitel Unified Communicator Advance (UCA)) pairs with both Mitel’s MiVoice Business and MiVoice Office via a secure network, making it a fantastic choice for offices that are already equipped with those IT platforms. It “lets users record calls on their computer, add customized ring tones, and configure HID-compliant USB devices through an intuitive user interface.” And not only that, but the MiCollab Client Softphone goes above and beyond the competition with instant messaging capability and real-time knowledge of when colleagues are available for collaboration on the corporate network.

Some key benefits of the MiCollab Client Softphone:

  • Keeps remote employees connected 24/7, no matter how far they are from the office.
  • Serves as the perfect companion to preexisting Mitel Unified Communications platforms.
  • Supports Mobile Twinning for the remote worker on the go.
  • Offers features that are not readily available on basic business phones like instant messaging, presence information and visual voicemail thanks to the MiCollab Client.
  • Fits the needs of companies who have ten employees as well as it fits the needs of companies with thousands of employees. It can grow with the business.

Not sure if a softphone is the best solution for your company, but still interested in upgrading your phone system? If all of your employees work in-office, take a look at Mitel’s extensive assortment of traditional IP button phones and feature-rich IP application phones (We will highlight some of those in the near future.) You are sure to find one that suits your needs, and if you have questions, call or contact the IT experts at BCS Voice and Data Solutions. We are excited to help your business streamline communication.

Mitel 5360 IP Application Phone

Mitel Business Phone Systems: Which One is Right For You?

As a certified Mitel Exclusive Business Partner, BCS Voice and Data Solutions offers Mitel’s wide range of first-class business phone systems. From the basic desktop IP phone for small businesses on a budget to the cutting edge Windows screen-based soft phones for big companies with lots of mobile workers, BCS can provide you with the Mitel phone system that fits your company’s needs, and then some.

Mitel designs and produces four kinds of IP-based business phone systems including 1) Traditional IP Button Phones, 2) IP Application Phones, 3) Industry Specific IP Phones, and 4) Business IP Soft Phones.

Not sure of the right option for you and your business? Read on for a quick overview of the highlights of each system and an example of a business phone system in each category:

Traditional IP Button Phones

For the small to medium sized business that wants an IP-enabled phone with all the telephony features needed to facilitate fast and reliable communication, the traditional IP button phone is a good choice. Priced reasonably, these desktop phones are beautifully designed with ergonomics in mind.

Pictured below, the Mitel 5324 IP phone is a great example of an advanced traditional IP button phone:

Mitel 5324 Traditional IP Button Phone

 IP Application Phones

For the busy medium to large business with many remote workers and a need for fast-paced creative communication, the large touch screen IP application phones are a great fit. Not only do the IP application phones have all of the telephony features of the button phones, they provide instant on-screen access to web applications and development tools.

Mitel’s 5360 IP phone boasts a full color, backlit touch screen and 48 programmable keys.

Mitel 5360 IP Application Phone

Industry Specific IP Phones

Mitel specializes in providing the hospitality and financial industries with IP phones that suit their unique communication needs.

The Mitel 5505 Guest Phone, for use in hotel rooms and similar venues, allows guests to cordlessly communicate with the front desk and beyond without hassle. It has large-dial buttons, a hands-free speaker phone, a built in alarm clock, and many other innovative features. It also greatly reduces costs for both the hotel and its guests. Read more about the benefits of VoIP in the hotel and hospitality industry here.

Business IP Soft Phones

Mitel softphones aren’t physical phones, per se. They are actually web applications that allow mobile workers to access all the features of a top-of-line physical IP phone right from their Windows-enabled PC’s desktop. Softphones provide the ultimate benefit of IP telephony and Unified Communications by offering businesses seamless flexibility.

The Mitel Unified Communicator Advanced Softphone gives remote workers the full functionality of an IP phone as well as secure instant messaging, visual voicemail, and personalized USB configuration.

Mitel Unified Communicator Advanced Softphone

So whether you are in the market for a basic IP telephone system for your small company or remote IP Unified Communications software for your remote team, Mitel and BCS can help you find the perfect VoIP solution. Call or contact BCS today for more information.