One2Call Blog

Avaya IP Office R10: Top 5 new end-user features.

Oct 9, 2016 5:30:31 PM / by One2Call posted in Avaya, business, News, Telecoms, Unified Communications

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Avaya has just released it's latest major release of it's mega-selling communications platform for SMEs, Avaya IP Office. Here I pick out what I think are the 5 best new features from an end-user's perspective.

It's probably fair to say that Avaya IP Office (in all it's historical guises) is a bit of a legend in our industry, and as the 10th major release approaches it's now way past 500,000 units sold worldwide. As such, a new major release is big news not just for the industry, but also for it's many thousands of business users in the UK.

As an Avaya Partner we were invited to an in-depth briefing recently in Manchester where we were given the lowdown on a whole host of upgrades, improvements and feature enhancements that will be coming out in Release 10 (R10), but it's fair to say a lot of them were a bit 'techhie' and behind-the-scenes, so I wanted to focus in on why this latest release is important to end-users, and why you should make the effort to upgrade from your earlier version of IP Office on to R10.

Here is a video I did straight away after the briefing on my initial thoughts, and underneath I've focused in even further and picked out the Top 5 features of Avaya IP Office R10 that will be of interest to end-users.

Top 5 new end-user features in Avaya IP Office R10.

1. Workforce Optimization Select

This is number one because it has the power to revolutionise the right type of business. Any company with a heavy-traffic customer contact centre who is committed to giving the very best customer experience should take a look at Avaya's Workforce Optimisation Select. This was developed first for Avaya's larger Aura platform, and is now available to SMEs via IP Office.

It's way too deep a solution (it's really platform a a suite of features) to cover here, but the things that jumped out at me were:

  • PCI Compliant Voice AND Screen recording
    Centrally record and playback an agent call and see what they were doing on screen at the same time. A powerful way to quality check agent performance and compliance.
  • Speech analytics
    Allows you to search for certain words within recorded speech audio. An incredibly powerful tool saving time searching for specific calls, and allowing you to ensure your agents are using the right kind of language with your customers.
  • Forecasting analytics
    By monitoring and learning your call patterns, staffing patterns, peaks and troughs, this powerful software can help you plan your business more efficiently, ensuring agents are deployed where they will be needed, as well as where they are needed.

Workforce Optimization Select really is a powerful suite of programs for the modern contact centre, so if you're interested I urge you to find our more.

2. Fewer Restarts

Currently there are lots of areas within IP Office where changes to the programming requires a system restart to apply. This is annoying for end-users who risk full system downtime, and it's annoying for us service providers because we can't just make necessary changes whenever we need to!

Not only have Avaya reduced the number of instances whereby a system reset is required, they have also committed to moving towards a zero restart system, so there should be fewer and fewer restart instances with each new software upgrade.

3. Webmeeting via WebRTC

WebRTC is still a relatively new technology but has the ability to revolutionise the telecommunications world over time.

It essentially is a method which allows web browsers to connect to each other directly for voice and video calls, with no fiddly and potentially dangerous little bits of software to install. Basically, it makes initiating a web conference much smoother and more reliable, and will also over time be platform agnostic (eg/ it already works on almost any device you can have a Chrome browser on).

In R10 WebRTC can be used to conect to collaboration calls via Avaya Communicator, but for internal calls only at this stage. Eventually, though, it is expected to be rolled ot to external users too.

4. More diagnostic tools

This may seem like something more for the engineer than the end users, but anything that helps your support service provider diagnose issues more quickly also gets your system running more smoothly more quickly.

The key new tools added to R10 are:

  • More line diagnostics
    Added diagnostic tools to test voltage and return loss can help your support engineer dive deeper into line issues and get a more detailed idea of exactly where the issue lies.
  • Voice Quality Monitoring
    Based on software supplied by VOIP monitoring specialists Prognosis, these additional tools should help support engineers investigate call quality issues more thoroughly, and without necessarily having to recreate what may have been an intermittent fault. Call quality is a common pain point for end-users so any extra tools to fix these issues are welcome.

5. New top-of-the-range handset

Well, we say handset, Avaya say "Video Collaboration Station", and for once I think that's not just marketing bull!

Here's what makes this more than just a handset with a screen:

  • The HD 1080p camera is detachable, allowing for greater 'show and tell' in web meetings
  • HDMI output allows for meetings to be 'cast' to a large TV screen when several people are present.
  • Several connection options - built- in WiFI, dual Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI input allows almost any device to be connected.
  • Cordless handset and USB and bluetooth peripheral support means you can be truly free to roam if need be!

So, that's my Top 5 anyway. There's lots more than that on offer, this is just a snapshot!

Please take a look at the video above and leave me any comments you have and I'll answer them when I can.

If you're interested in moving your business to IP Office or upgrading your existing installation to R10, please get in touch.
 

Post written by:

Alex Hodgson

Business Development Manager

0114 230 0081

alex@one2call.net

Specialism:

Marketing. Web, Social Media, Avaya & Mitel pre-sales.

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When will my fibre Leased Line be connected?

Jul 27, 2015 3:38:05 PM / by One2Call posted in Blog, broadband, BT, business, ethernet, Openreach, fibre, leased line

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Some can take weeks, some can take months - why is it so difficult to give a connection date for fibre leased lines?

We've been connecting quite a few fibre leased lines recently thanks to the government grants currently available, and the two things we get asked the most are:

  • How much will it cost altogether?
  • When will it be connected by?

Unfortunately we can never give concrete answers to either of these questions due to the extensive survey and installation process associated with what is, in essence, your own private optical fibre connection dug through the ground directly to your building.

Anything can come up in the surveying process, from collapsed ducts blocking the cable to a landlord unwilling to grant site access. The huge list of potential issues is exactly why the survey process can take so long, and why we can't guarantee there won't be additional charges over and above the quoted amount.

To go through the whole process here you'd be reading all day, but thankfully BT Openreach (not always our favourite people) have produced this video which explains well all the stages of the Leased Line (or Ethernet as they call it) survey and installation process:

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In the press: £40m broadband grants ‘running out’

Jun 11, 2015 12:03:50 PM / by Nick Bass posted in Barnsley, broadband, business, doncaster, News, Rotherham, Sheffield

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We've made the papers!

Our Business Development Manager Alex was used as a source in an article in The Star, the news source of choice for South Yorkshire, relating to the Government Connection Voucher scheme.

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Get up to £3k to upgrade your business broadband if Sheffield council get their way.

Feb 13, 2015 4:35:49 PM / by Nick Bass posted in Blog, broadband, business, SME

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Sheffield City Council has announced it's intention to join the Government's Super Connected Voucher Scheme and hopefully provide much needed boosts in speed for SMEs in Attercliffe, the city centre and beyond.

When Sheffield City Council emailed us this week to announce their intention to join the Government's Connection Voucher Scheme from April this year our main thought was "at last"!

We've been registered with the scheme for a while but it's been frustrating having to tell businesses local to us that the funding already available in Leeds, Bradford, Nottingham and Manchester that it isn't available here. Since the final closure of the Digital Region supply in August 2014 many South Yorkshire businesses have had to contend with the dilemma of either rolling back to speeds from the mid-noughties, or put their hands deep into their own pockets for an expensive Leased Line.

Leased Lines (speeds from 10Mbps to 1GBMbps up and down) are generally expensive (from £300 per month plus install costs) because it is a personal, direct line to your business carrying only your traffic, so isn't as simple to switch on as traditional ADSL or Fibre. What this scheme does is pay for a large bulk of the expensive install costs, thereby making the ongoing service more cost effective.

Join our Leased Line Club.

I know some businesses will think £300+ per month is still expensive if you're currently on a £20 per month connection, and it is, but one little known aspect of the scheme is that it supports group applications, and so our Leased Line Club product, which enables businesses to share the speed, and cost, of a Leased Line connection but still be billed separately should be fully supported.

We look forward to more updates as the application progresses, and we wish Sheffield City Council the best of luck in their application.

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How to increase the speed and resilience of your broadband.

Jan 20, 2015 12:00:01 PM / by Nick Bass posted in Blog, broadband, business

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According to a recent report 90% of UK SMEs want faster and more resilient broadband during 2015. In this three part blog we look at ways to help your business meet this goal. In Part 1 we look at how shopping around can help improve speeds.

Ask a local independent to shop around for you.

Yeah, I know. We would say that, right?

What we really mean is don't let the huge amount of advertising from mainstream providers influence your decision. They've invested loads in their fibre networks and want to get their money back from this, so their sales teams are hugely focused on selling a restricted range of products which may not necessarily suit your needs. Note the huge focus on download speeds when for businesses who are increasingly using VoIP and cloud services, upload speed is just as important.

An independent like us will find out more about how you intend to use your connections, your needs for resilience etc... and advise you accordingly. It may be that a mainstream product is best for you, but at least you can be satisfied that it is!

Consider non-mainstream options

It's amazing how badly served by mainstream connections some areas can be, even in urban areas (Sheffield city centre and Attercliffe are some local examples). The 2 main types of broadband are ADSL (copper cables all the way) and Fibre ('Fibre to the Cabinet - fibre optics take the signal to the green box, then copper to the premises). So if these don't serve your needs, what are the alternatives?

Annex-M

A version of ADSL where the upload speed can be increased by sacrificing some download. Up to 2Mb upload can be achieved. A good option if you want you want to utilise VoIP in a non-Fibre area.

SDSL

A version of ADSL which guarantees the quoted synchronous (same up and down) speed up to 2MB up/down. Useful for if you need to maintain upload speeds at a busy time of day.

Shared Leased Line

Leased Lines are your own dedicated superfast fibre connection, but starting from around £300 per month can be overkill for many small businesses. However, if you share a building with other small businesses, economies of scale soon kick in. Have a look at One2Call's unique Leased Line Club or contact us for more details.

Air Fibre

There are an increasing number of providers offering air fibre services, which beam fast and reliable signals to a local area via high powered masts. They tend to fill in the gaps where other providers fear to tread, such as rural towns. One2Call's WiFibre option is one such product serving large areas in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

4G

We'd still recommend a wired connection for businesses simply because of reliability and consistency of connection, but 4G is a great option to have as a backup or for mobile workers. Most modern smartphones can be used as a WiFi hotspot (make sure to password protect), or 4G WiFI Routers are available, like the one we used at both Sheffex events to connect phones and laptops.

Satellite Broadband

IF you are really in the middle of nowhere, this might be the only way to get decent speeds. It can be deployed quickly and easily, so if your local exchange is not going to be upgraded any time soon (check here to check - 'exploring options' = 'not anytime soon'!) it could be a good option while you wait for Fibre.

 

In Part 2 of this blog, to be published next week, we'll look at how improving your local network can improve your speeds. In the meantime ask us any question about your businesses' broadband connection via our social media accounts (see top right), or give us a call on any of the local rate numbers below.

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How O2 saved money and increased productivity with flexible working.

Jan 12, 2015 11:33:14 AM / by One2Call posted in Blog, business, BYOD, Telecoms, Unified Communications, flexible working

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In 2012 O2 conducted on of the UK's largest-ever flexible working experiments and discovered a win-win situation for the company and it's employees.

In 2012 O2 asked all of the 2,500 workers at it's Slough headquarters to work away from the office for a day. It was a bold experiment, and here's what they found:

  • Almost all staff said they were at least as productive as usual
  • More than a third said they had been more productive
  • In one day employees saved 2,000 hours of commuting time
  • Water usage was cut in half
  • Electricity consumption was cut by 12% saving 12.2 tonnes of carbon emissions (equal to 42,000 miles in a diesel car)
  • O2 have also since calculated that each worker saves 127 hours every year by eradicating needless journeys

As a result of the trial O2 have created a permanent culture of smarter working with all employees encouraged to work out of the office for at least one day a week, with big effects on productivity.

Commenting on the trial in a recent TechRadar article their Business Director Ben Dowd said of flexible working;

"Despite the on-going economic recovery, UK productivity remains well below every one of our G7 peers, so we need to take advantage of the technology we already have to help us become more a productive, competitive workforce. The future of our economy depends on organisations of all sizes ensuring they have a digital way of operating that's fit for the future; smarter, flexible working is a great place to start."

One2Call is also backing flexible working to help boost the British economy and the quality of life for British workers. If you're company needs help and advice on the technology to help this to happen, contact us and speak to one of our experts.

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The single tick box which could speed up your broadband.

Aug 4, 2014 4:23:29 PM / by Nick Bass posted in Blog, broadband, business, Dropbox, User Guide, LAN Sync

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Dropbox is great, but it's even better when it is set up correctly.

It happened again this week.

A few months ago we had a call from a company desperate for someone to "fix their internet".

They were suffering huge slowdowns very regularly and couldn't understand why. Their ISP said there was nothing wrong with their line, and they couldn't see anything internally that could be causing it.

We asked one of our engineers to take a quick look and after investigating connections, server logs and such, he noticed the Dropbox icon on the desktop.

"Do you use Dropbox much", he asked.

"Yes, all the time", they said. "We have a shared Dropbox folder that we all use", they said.

And there we had the culprit - Dropbox.

Or, more specifically, people in the same office using Dropbox and not taking utilising LAN syncing.

What on God's green earth is LAN syncing?

Put simply, it means that each time you update a document in a shared Dropbox folder, instead of each computer which shares that folder connecting to Dropbox's server to download the new version, those that are on the same Local Area Network (like the ones most offices use) look for the locally stored version instead.

This takes huge demands off of the internet connection and speeds the whole process up.

In effect, without LAN Syncing a 50MB file becomes it's original size multiplied by the number of people sharing the Dropbox folder, so the more you use it the worse the situation gets!

Enable LAN Syncing with a single tick box

To save your office from these issues couldn't be simpler (click to enlarge screenshots):

1. Right-click on the Dropbox icon on our toolbar and then click on the cog in the top right corner

  1. 2. Go to Bandwidth and ensure 'Enable LAN Sync' is ticked

And that should be that!

We hope this helps if you've had these problems.

We should also say that this is actually a really good feature of Dropbox for businesses that we don't think is available with Google or Microsoft's own alternatives (at the time of writing).


 

If your business is trying to find ways to utilise cloud services more please give us a call - we'd be happy to talk to you about the options which will suit you best.

 

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Don't fall for this sales pitch about phone line upgrades.

Jun 27, 2014 12:00:39 PM / by One2Call posted in Blog, BT, bt openreach, business, call centre, consumer, doncaster, sales, scam

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A blog by <a title="Alex Hodgson Google+" href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/115155314534220768050/posts? rel=author" target="_blank">Alex Hodgson</a>.

"I'm calling from ****** on behalf of BT about the the changes to the phone lines in your area"

I've just got off the phone to a customer asking us why we hadn't told them about the changes that were coming up to their phone lines in their area.

We hadn't told them because there weren't any. In fact there are very rarely upgrades to BTs landlines since they've been operating pretty reliably for the past 80 years or so!

This was a clear sales pitch which succeeded in getting an appointment with our client by catching her off guard and appearing to speak with authority "on behalf of BT". We don't know whether this company was acting officially for BT or not, but we suspect not given that BT are cold calling businesses quite heavily with their own phone team at the moment anyway!

We're not saying ignore all calls like this - BT Openreach do have a published plan of exchange upgrades relating to their fibre broadband roll out, for instance - just be wary of companies claiming to be calling "on behalf of BT".

Take as many notes as you can on the call, and then either call BT Openreach directly to ask them if there are any planned works, or call a local telecoms company you do trust and speak to them, which is exactly what our client did!

In case you've had similar callers, this case happened on 27/06/2014 and was in the Doncaster area. I can't name the company in question as our client wasn't certain of the name, and I wouldn't want to accuse the wrong people!

 

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