One2Call Blog

4 key reasons why Openreach split from BT is good for British businesses.

Nov 29, 2016 5:15:01 PM / by One2Call posted in Blog, broadband, BT, Openreach, Telecoms

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Ofcom has today ordered BT to legally separate itself from its Openreach division, which is the company in charge of the UK’s broadband and telephony infrastructure, and whose performance effectively governs the speed and reliability of most of the UK’s broadband connections. Here are our 4 key reasons why we think this is good for British businesses, and small businesses in particular.

1.Faster broadband.

The Government has rightly identified our broadband infrastructure as an essential part of the UK economy, both now and in the future, which is why it pledged £1bn towards faster broadband in the Autumn statement.

This is also a key driver of Ofcoms actions – it clearly sees Openreach’s current structure as a barrier to the roll out of faster wired connections across the UK. BTs rivals agree; Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk have continually criticised Openreach’s levels of investment in the infrastructure on which they all depend, even going as far as launching a campaign to pressurise Openreach into more upgrades.

We’ve also seen evidence of this in South Yorkshire, where the Sheffield City Region has essentially had to pay BT itself to fibre-enable a whole host of green cabinets throughout the region.

2. Clearer Mission Focus.

The innuendo has always been that whilever BT Group retains control over Openreach’s finance and assets it can still effectively ‘manage’ Openreach by proxy, whilst also falsely inflating its own market position to investors.

Whether this is true or not, a more separate company with a more direct relationship with both the regulator and, by extension, customers, must surely give a greater clarity of focus to Openreach as an organisation. By association you would assume there would have to be some changes within the management of Openreach and its services too, so let’s hope fresh blood will equate to fresh ideas!

If it’s to drag our ancient telecoms infrastructure into the future, it will certainly need it!

3. More bang for the buck.

Some of BT’s competitors have said in the past they would be willing to invest even more in Openreach to improve infrastructure once they are assured of its independence. This is because Internet Service Providers know there is a gap in UK broadband market that is currently vastly under-served – namely businesses and individuals who need faster speeds than the UK’s average of 22.8Mbps but can’t afford the £300-£1000 per month a private fibre line costs.

The Government, too, will be looking for greater accountability and detail from the new arrangement than it currently gets via BT – if you invest £1bn in anything you need to know what you’re getting for your money!
Hopefully this will mean more of the money that goes into Openreach comes out the other end as fast broadband!

4. Less market confusion.

Believe it or not, despite it being 32 years since the deregulation of UK telecommunications industry began, we still come across people who think you need to go to BT for any changes to your telecoms provision.

What maintains such misconceptions is that the BT logo has been present on the streets of Britain for many years, attached to the Openreach logo. This is the element which perhaps skews the market the most when it comes to Openreach’s relationship with BT.

Whilst it’s true that the BT part of the logo has got smaller and smaller over the years, Openreach’s 2,500 engineers are still effectively moving advertising hoardings for a brand that is not meant to benefit from its association with Openreach.

Clarifying this relationship, maybe even via a rebrand, should help educate consumer and create more competition in the marketplace, ultimately bringing down prices (well, that’s the hope)!


What do you think?

I've posted this same article on LinkedIn so you can let me know your thoughts. Will it affect your business?

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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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World's most advanced crime lab uses Cisco phone system...sort of.

Feb 2, 2015 4:32:21 PM / by One2Call posted in Blog, Cisco, pbx, Phone, Telecoms, TV

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Some of the technology used in TV crime drama CSI is not just cutting edge, it's science fiction, but the Cisco video phone technology seen in the latest episode is affordable to businesses of any size.

It's a terrible affliction to have your TV viewing pleasure interrupted because you've spotted a phone handset and you want to pause the TV to see what type it is, but such is the life of a phone system nerd.

Our latest spot was at the end of the latest episode of Channel 5's long-running techno-fetishist crime drama CSI in which silver-haired former Cheers hunk Ted Danson, AKA CSI Russell, was seen wrapping up that episode's storyline via a speakerphone conversation on a Cisco 9900 series handset (see picture).

The amount of technology the fictional CSI team use in solving even the most minor case suggests that they are extremely well funded, but we're bringing these high-tech solutions even to the smallest businesses with our recently added Cisco Small Business in a Box solution.

So if you want lift your businesses into the Hollywood A-league, at least in terms of phone systems, get in touch!

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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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Cisco, Avaya, NEC and Mitel lead worldwide business telecoms market.

Dec 16, 2014 11:48:16 AM / by One2Call posted in Avaya, Cisco, News, Panasonic, Telecoms, Unified Communications, Mitel, NEC

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Infonetics Research have revealed that Cisco, Avaya, NEC and Mitel led the world in business voice revenue in Quarter 3 of 2014, sharing two thirds of the global market between them.

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One2Call adds Cisco and Avaya to complete 'Top 5 ' line up.

Dec 15, 2014 12:56:40 PM / by One2Call posted in Avaya, Cisco, News, Panasonic, pbx, Telecoms, UC, Unified Communications, Mitel, NEC, networks

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>> More about Avaya
>> More about Cisco

One2Call is proud to announce that has added the world's 2 biggest players in business telecommunications, Cisco and Avaya, to it's phone systems and business communications portfolio.

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FIRST LOOK: New NEC Univerge SV9100 business communications platform (phone system)

Oct 15, 2014 5:12:04 PM / by One2Call posted in Blog, business communications, BYOD, Phone, SV8100, SV9100, Telecoms, Unified Communications, univerge, NEC

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One2Call was kindly invited by NEC to their preview roadshow in the Long Room at Nottingham's historic Trent Bridge Cricket Ground to get a first look at their new Univerge SV9100 business communications platform, the successor to the SV8100. Here's a quick run down on some of the things we found out.

Handsets - New vs Old

Firstly, a game of spot the difference (pic below). The phone on the right is from the NEC SV8100, the phone on the left is from the new SV9100 range (and has a 12 button hot key expansion module attached). Can you spot the difference?

Well, the answer is, there aren't that many! But that's no bad thing. There was nothing inherently wrong with the old SV8100 handsets, and this also means legacy handsets are fully compatible with the new system, keeping upgrade costs low.

    In case you didn't spot them, the main changes are:
  • Backlit keypad buttons
  • White on black keypad buttons
  • Segmented toggle in the bottom left, making selection easier
  • Some slight differences in materials you can't quite see from the picture
  • Call alert light in the middle (top) rather than over to the right.

There were some other changes I don't have notes for! We'll update these when we add a page to our website on the NEC SV9100.

Handsets - Revolution vs Evolution

The presentations talked a lot about 'evolution nor revolution', but there were 2 new handsets which caught the eye, both of which act as regular system handsets, but also run Android OS to allow for a greater use of apps by the business (like productivity apps, email apps etc...).

NEC UT880

 

Pictured (below right) this is the new top of the range phone which is essentially a phone receiver bolted to a 7" Android tablet with built in camera and hands-free capability. Ideal for companies or executives looking to embrace video conferencing, as a CCTV linked door entry phone, or for customer-facing employees who just want a really impressive handset! They can presumably even play Angry Birds on it if they so wish.

NEC DECT G966

DECT (or wireless) phones are useful in all kinds of environments where mobility is essential; from hospitals and schools to hotels and warehouses. However, the look of traditional DECT phones are uninspring to say the least, usually resembling the manufacturers cheapest cordless phone from 5 years previous.

Which makes it all the more refreshing to see this new smartphone-inspired DECT handset from NEC. This is not a smartphone as there's no SIM slot (thereby ensuring calls are kept of costly mobile networks) but it does, like the UT880, run Android OS to allow web browsing and app use also. Disappointingly it didn't seem to have a camera, so using barcode scanners in a warehouse environment is ruled out, but nonetheless we can see this being a popular option where DECT is necessary, especially as we were advised that costs will not be too dissimilar to existing DECT models.

 

The PBX - Specs

The SV9100 has been beefed up in a number of areas over the SV8100, the takeaway message of which from NEC was that it is "5 times more powerful" than it's predecessor. Obviously on a short introduction like this it's difficult to really test what affect this has, but can't really be a bad thing.

It's also good to see the SV9100 is handling 400 SIP trunks, and from multiple carriers (against the single carrier SV8100), thereby offering a greater deal of flexibility during setup, more resillience, and a greater range of potential customers.

>> More about the SV9100, including brochure download



Requet a quote:

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Another satisfied telecoms customer...Mount St. Mary's College, Barlborough, Derbyshire.

Sep 25, 2014 4:22:17 PM / by One2Call posted in Barlborough, Blog, college, education, Spinkhill, Telecoms, Testimonial

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Mount St Mary’s College is one of the most well-respected schools and colleges in the South Yorkshire/North Derbyshire region.

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Unattended receptions don't have to be unfriendly

Jun 17, 2014 10:52:14 AM / by One2Call posted in Blog, BYOD, Phone, reception, Sheffield, solicitors, Telecoms, UC, Unified Communications, unmanned, Mitel

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

Being asked to wait in an unattended room for an appointment can seem unfriendly and impersonal, but not if you do it right.

Quality Solicitors SSB in Sheffield provide a great example of how an unattended reception can still be a friendly environment.

 

Step 1: A bright a welcoming space, with a nice comfy chair!

Nice bright colours which compliment their logo, and a big welcoming chair, along with a bit of reading material - perfect!

Step 2: Make it clear what you're expected to do.

Just sticking a handset on a table isn't welcoming, and is probably a bit intimidating for the shy. This nice big sign makes it clear what you're expected to do, and puts you at ease.

Step 3: Answer the phone quickly!

When I was there the phone had virtually no time to ring, and I got a nice friendly welcome.

This is where having the right phone system and having it set up properly comes in.  The reception phone can't be set to too many rings before it seeks someone else, otherwise it could take ages if just a few people are away from their desks. You also need to ensure caller id is set up to let everyone know that it's the reception phone ringing so they can prepare a nice sunny welcome for this new potential customer.

I thought Quality Solicitors did this really well, and I felt immediately at ease, even though I hadn't yet spoken to anyone face to face!

 


If you've had any other good experienced with nicely precented unattended receptions, tweet us at @One2CallUK to let us know.

Blog by Alex Hodgson
Marketing Manager
One2Call

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