The Impact Of Shifting From A Traditional Retail Model

Few can have failed to notice the impact the internet has had on the traditional retail model. If you had missed it, then your local High street clearly reflects the changes.

Declining footfall, rising costs, and more consumer choice have sounded a death knell for many traditional high street shops. They are simply unable to compete with a competitor with much lower business costs, which would offer more choice and better pricing.

The advent of many new technologies and solutions provide a vista of alternate operating models.

‘Just in time’ stock ordering, outsourced supply and delivery, online purchasing and ordering have all changed the retail environment. And there is no way back – the genie won’t go back in the bottle.

Within this retail model, the business’s online presence is all important. Branding, social media, email marketing and attention-grabbing home pages have now replaced the traditional store.

The general buying public is now far less likely to be impressed with an upmarket decor (if they even see it in the first place), and more likely to be impressed with a facebook advert or informative, colourful PDF.

However, just as one door closes, so another one opens.

As the change has affected shops adversely, so it has given a boost to smaller retailers.

Setting up and maintaining a website, administering stock and deliveries, and undertaking marketing make it easy and cost-effective to launch a brand.

The only expenses required are connectivity, telecoms, and paying brand and website consultants.

You can also develop this new model even further. Not just your customer-facing presence can be remote or ‘just in time’, so also your entire business can be.

Thanks to VoIP, office workers don’t need to be in the office at all. They can work from home, answering customer calls, playing company messages and displaying your company phone number, just as if they were in the office.

Not only do you need a shop any more, you don’t need an office either! To find out more about how VoIP can help your business, just get in touch.

How To Select The Perfect VoIP Phone

VoIP DeskphoneBuying VoIP hardware for your business telecoms system can be a nerve racking experience.

In fact, it combines two confusing unknowns for most of us – computers, and VoIP. Most consumers find themselves quickly drowning in a sea of acronyms.

From SIP, DDI and PBX, it is very easy to get caught in a world where the IT literate know what’s happening, and the rest of us are lost.

If you have a VoIP system, and a VOIP provider which supplies your phone system, then supplying hardware should be a good test of the service they provide.

The benefits of using a regular, trusted supplier is that any doubts over the providence of hardware is (or should be) removed. You know the hardware is genuine, and you receive the manufacturer’s warranty.

It is the same as making any other purchase. Would you be happier buying a Rolex in a jewellers, or from an ebay shop? The problem is the same – you don’t know where the item has come from, if it will work or even if it is genuine.

The next part of the puzzle is to narrow down your requirements – what exactly do you need your phones to do?

Do you have multiple phone calls to direct and multiple users to keep track of, or do you receive fewer calls, going to one or two users? Do you need to walk about as part of your job role, or are you situated at a desk? All these things will influence your hardware choice.

One of the best features of working with a trusted VoIP Provider is that they should be able to advise in situations like this. Any Provider who you are paying for a service, or in fact any decent Provider who you are discussing a service with, should be able to offer guidance on the best hardware for you based on your requirements.

A really good Provider will even be able to supply your hardware, and preconfigure it with your user settings so it will work as a functioning part of your phone system as soon as it arrives!

As you can see, there are a number of advantages of working with a trustworthy VoIP Provider when sorting out your telecoms hardware.

Have a look at our online store to see the hardware we can supply
Get in touch if you want us to help you select your perfect hardware

The SureVoIP® SIM Card Only Plan – A SIM That Works With Any Network

SureVoIP Mobile SIMYou may have missed our Social Media posts where we have been shouting about our new SIM Card Only Plan, so here is your chance to find out more.

Our SIM Card Only Plans work with all available networks to ensure you always receive a signal. You no longer need to be tied to one of the big players. No matter where you are in the world, your SureVoIP® SIM will keep you in touch. When in the UK, it will use EE, O2 and Vodafone.

Businesses can then use their mobile as part of an overall telecoms set up. The advantages are a vastly increased capability to stay in contact with staff in an easy, cost-effective way.

Companies with a lot of staff working overseas will find this a particularly attractive option.

The other big advantage of a SureVoIP® SIM card is the ability to stay in touch no matter what the mobile coverage is like. No matter where you are, as long as you can receive a mobile signal, your SureVoIP® service will work.

Effectively, your mobile will roam between the major Providers, always finding a way for you to communicate. As long as there is a mobile signal available, your SureVoIP® SIM will work.

Users will be able to transfer an existing number. You don’t need to lose your mobile number, just port (transfer) it over, and keep using it as you always have. No need for people to forget you, or to get in touch with everyone to update them with a new number.

There has been a lot of interest gathering round the subject of MVNOs (or Mobile Virtual Network Operators).

The benefit of the new MVNOs is that the market opens up considerably, giving consumers more choice.

Light MVNOs control some provisions and services, and provide their own technical support. They can control marketing and aspects of support, but don’t have their own infrastructure, limiting their technical abilities.

Full MVNOs operate along different lines. They only need to access the mobile network, and handle the rest of the service provision themselves. They can control more technical aspects of the service, offering differentiating factors such as data usage and customer control.

SureVoIP® is a Full MVNO. We control billing, can port in (or transfer) existing numbers, and perform provisioning for new users. In essence, this means we have full control over all aspects of billing, contract terms and packages, and plans.

We offer full control over how your SIM works, right down to whether it delivers data or not. If you need to control a multiple end user set up using company mobiles, or deploy end users anywhere who use a company mobile, you will have full control at the highest level. You will be able to control the features that end users can access. Want your end users to have calls but no internet access? Need to record calls for compliance purposes, or control end user caller ID? No problem, we can offer you that level of control.

If you have users operating in various countries round the world, you have the reassurance of a communications solution which works with you, and for you. Your SureVoIP® SIM Card Only Plan allows access across the globe, finding the best carrier for your call.

As a Full MVNO, SureVoIP® is able to enhance this product. The feature list is set to expand as we bring our own unique innovative expertise to develop the MVNO sector.

There is a lot more to come with this product. Register your interest here – and take advantage of our great early sign up rates, bundles and packages.

VoIP Phones – What To Consider And What Are Your Options

As more and more people are moving to consider VoIP, we decided to discuss another aspect of your telecoms. The phone itself.

Some people are used to technology and like to explore hardware, pressing all the buttons and playing with the functions. Others are completely lost, staring at the flashing LED lights like a rabbit staring into headlights.

Don’t worry – there is a VoIP phone to suit all levels of IT literacy, budget and requirements.

A key point to consider is this – what will you actually need your phone to do? There is a big difference between the needs of a receptionist, and an average user, for instance. The Receptionist will be handling a large volume of calls, will possibly need her hands free, and will almost definitely need a additional phone module to increase her phone display and functionality.

Obviously, there is no need for all your users to have this range of equipment. Not all will benefit from a headset, or automatic call answering/ ending module. But some may benefit from some features built in to desk phones.

Let’s take this as an opportunity to clarify some points. A VoIP phone is also known as a SIP phone. SIP is the protocol which underpins VoIP phone hardware, and means that all devices from various manufacturers will work together.

Things like Call Recording, Call Forwarding and Conference Calling are all part of a Hosted VoIP system, so are not performed by your handset. Functions like this are set up by your VoIP Provider, either as part of your package or as an additional cost.

Things like Call Transferring, Busy Light Field (coloured LED on phone indicating whether a colleague is available or on a call) or your personal Phonebook/ Directory are all functions of the handset itself. Your VoIP provider should be able to offer advice or assistance with things like this, but the actual phone itself is where any changes will have to be made.

The next thing to bear in mind is configuration. Configuring your phones for end users is an important and often over-looked point. In a multiple user system, typical for any business, call routing and other functions will need to be configured to match the overall business requirements. It is important to bear in mind that, if your VoIP Provider can not provide this function, then you will need to enter these settings yourself.

Another over-looked point are updates. As you are probably aware, pretty much all software and devices these days require updating when manufacturers roll out security updates and issue fixes. Bear in mind that, if your Provider isn’t going to perform this for you, then you will have to do this yourself.

So – we’ve touched on the phone basics, and some things to bear in mind. The next point to consider is which device will suit your needs best.

There are a range of phones and phone types available. If you spend your time having to move from place to place, for instance checking stock or working at different desks, then a DECT phone could suit you best. Just like a ‘walk about’ home phone, a VoIP DECT phone consists of a handset which links wirelessly to a base station. There are no cables to connect you, so you are free to walk, move, stretch, or do anything else you have to.

Next on our list are Conference Phones. For those with meeting rooms, or who spend a lot of time on organised conference calls with colleagues, a dedicated Conference phone will be your best option. These phones are fantastic for picking up voices at a distance, making conversations clear and meaning you don’t need to make do with an ordinary phone on the hands free setting.

A Deskphone for VoIP will operate as the same as a traditional deskphone. A key pad, handset and connecting cable will be familiar to all, as will the ability to transfer, adjust the volume, and pick up calls for another extension.

The next option is a ‘soft phone’. This is an app which runs on your smartphone, tablet or desktop PC. This effectively means that the program has become a virtual device, operating in the same way as a standard phone attached to your larger phone system.

You can pick up and transfer calls. Customers calling you get the same experience as they do phoning you on a traditional phone system. Your company Music on Hold, for instance, will play as normal. The customer will experience a phone call to your company, with no indication that you are not in an office.

So – as you can see, there are a number of ways to connect to your phone system. You can have a traditional desk phone, a walkabout DECT phone, or a softphone app on your mobile, desktop or tablet!

The choice is yours.

To find out more about your options, just get in touch.

See more info on the deskphone options you have

See more on the DECT phone options

See more on the softphone options

The Importance Of Correct Equipment

As the internet becomes increasingly important in all aspects of our lives, so we find ourselves having to think ahead regarding hardware provision. It seems as if no sooner have you caught up than the game has moved on! There is no point now in providing for your requirements today – you need to be thinking further ahead.

This is particularly relevant when running a business. Your connectivity hardware is no longer safe to be left in the hands of free, proprietary equipment. The routers sent out as part of a home-based set up are not appropriate to a business environment. In fact, they could be potentially damaging.

There could be security issues, which aren’t being addressed. The hardware firmware could be lagging behind, leaving it unable to work with other equipment or settings. It might be impossible to alter any of these things. After all, the company aren’t making any money from supplying the equipment. Think of it this way – if you had given someone something for free and they came back to complain, would you be inclined to help?

At SureVoIP®, we are understandably focussed on VoIP. The issues experienced regarding a VoIP system range from Router settings blocking traffic altogether, to voice quality being detrimentally affected by hardware configuration which can’t be over-written.

Another problem we frequently encounter is handsets being exposed to the general internet, allowing hackers to exploit this equipment for fraudulent use. This is directly due to the Router being inadequately secure. Consumer-grade equipment is not designed to combat these threats.

This is one of the main differences between business-grade and consumer-grade equipment.

Internal settings can be set by the equipment supplier (eg a broadband provider). It is often the case that these settings are harmful in a business environment, particularly when using a VoIP system.

This is why we supply Draytek Routers from our online store, and advise all customers taking connectivity products from us to invest in a good quality, business-grade router. Drayetk are our first choice, as they are well made and designed with business use in mind.

As a supplier of true business-grade connectivity, we feel that Draytek support our offering well, and work with us to achieve a common goal. It can sometimes feel as is consumer-grade equipment is actively working against you!

In an environment where success or failure now relies on your internet connection, it isn’t an exageration to say that good quality internet Router is a valuable asset which you won’t regret buying, and a bad quality one is something you will regret on a daily basis!

For more info on internet, connectivity hardware, or any related questions, just get in touch. We’ll be happy to help.

Free voicemail to email for all UK Businesses affected by Flooding

To try and help, even a little, for those businesses hit hard by the flooding in the UK at present, SureVoIP would like to offer a free geographic telephone number with voicemail to email.

What:

If you are part of or own a UK based business which is affected by the present flooding, then SureVoIP would like to offer you free voicemail to email.

Why:

If your business offices are flooded, your traditional telecoms will be down and you will be unable to take calls. Even if you forward calls to mobiles you will have to dial your voicemail and listen to them. This is slow, unmanageable and adds additional stress.

How:

  • SureVoIP will give you a phone number for free
  • You can record your own message
  • The message left by your customer will be emailed as an attachment to a mailbox of your choice (group mailbox works best)
  • Any member of your team can then listen to it and respond
  • All the callers details are contained in the email so you can quickly find their number and call back
  • The phone number can take at least 10 calls at once

Please contact us to use this service.

We hope it can help.

Thanks, Gavin.

SureVoIP Broadband now available

SureVoIP’s new VoIP optimised Internet connectivity takes all your telephone call traffic straight into the SureVoIP core network (now celebrating its 1st anniversary) without having to go over the public internet. This gives you the best possible business grade phone call.

This, along with SureVoIP’s presence in the two main UK public Internet exchanges, LINX and LONAP, enables it to be in full control of your traffic and thus provide a higher level of service – providing one of the best networks for business VoIP in the UK.

We are extremely happy to offer, after 8 months testing, four tiers of VoIP optimised business broadband:

  1. SureVoIP Business Premier
  2. SureVoIP Business Standard
  3. SureVoIP Business Basic
  4. SureVoIP Fibre (FTTC)

These products have a bigger download speed vs upload speed.

We can also offer:

  1. Leased Lines / Ethernet
  2. EFM (Ethernet for the First Mile)
  3. Custom point to point solutions for larger businesses

These products offer the same download and upload speed.

 

SuperConnected Cities

SureVoIP is also a member of the SuperConnected Cities BDUK Connection Vouchers Scheme, which is available in the following cities and gives you access to a £3000 voucher:

Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow

Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Derry/Londonderry, Leeds-Bradford, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth, Salford, York

Please contact us for more information.

Oil & Gas ICT Leaders 2015, 2nd Annual Conference

SureVoIP are delighted to exhibiting at Scot-Tech’s 2nd Annual Oil & Gas ICT Leader, this being held 18th & 19th March 2015, Aberdeen AECC.

ICT is crucial to the ongoing transformation of the Oil and Gas industry; having long transcended the role of backroom support, IT leaders now have wide-ranging responsibilities and are increasingly central to the performance of their organisation. With oil prices reaching record lows and margins becoming squeezed, the need to utilise ICT resources as a driver of innovation and improvement has never been clearer.

The ICT Leaders conference will bring together IT Managers from across the industry to discuss how ICT can be used to help deliver cost reduction, efficiency savings and competitive advantage. The event will consider some of the transformative technologies which are revolutionising operational processes, from big data analytics to unified communications. The programme will also explore the role of IT within the wider organisational context, looking at business transformation, investment models and technology strategies.

The conference will offer a unique platform for knowledge exchange and discussion, providing an opportunity for delegates to share their views and discuss common challenges with their peers in an open forum. While each organisation has their own goals and priorities, many of the IT challenges will be the same. This event aims to harness the vast collective expertise from across the country and explore how we can create a more prosperous, secure and competitive UK oil region.

Speakers Include:

  • Anders From – Subsea 7
  • Dr Cedric Levy-Bencheton – ENISA
  • Steve Harrison – Scottish Enterprise
  • Prof. John McCall – Smart Data Technologies Centre
  • Dr Vidar Hepsoe – Statoil
  • Eilidh Clarkson – Baker Hughes
  • Martin Ogden – Expro
  • Tim Harwood – HS & T Consultants
  • Mark Stephen – BBC Scotland
  • Angus Murray – TAQA
  • John Mullin – Subsea 7
  • Matt Grist – Swire Oilfield Services
  • Richard Higgs – brightsolid
  • Chris Davis – Open Group IT4IT Forum

 

Registration

This conference is free to attend Oil & Gas Sector employees, to register visit: http://www.oilgasict.com. Please note that spaces are now limited so do sign up ASAP.

Case Study – Suretec Systems (SureVoIP) and Axians (was Imtech)

“INNOVATIVE MPLS NETWORK OPENS NEW MARKETS & OPPORTUNITIES FOR SURETEC SYSTEMS”

“Due to the new VoIP optimised Internet connectivity, SureVoIP’s customers’ telephone calls and broadband traffic goes straight into the heart of the network without having to go over public Internet. Along with Suretec’s presence in the two main UK public Internet exchanges, LINX and LONAP and more recently IXManchester, it is in full control and provides a higher level of service than in previous years, resulting in one of the best networks for business VoIP and broadband in the UK.”

Full Case Study on Axians websiteFull PDF version