5 Benefits of VoIP for Remote Working | Tackling Coronavirus Isolation

Remote teams of workers and employees are becoming more and more common and with the evolving situation relating to the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) for many businesses the decision is now out of their hands and, in fact, VoIP is something that they wish they’d introduced into their workforce earlier!

VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol has changed the communication dynamic entirely. It has become a fast and efficient way for all communication needs. VoIP is taking over the business of telecommunication providers step-by-step. VoIP is an efficient and cheap alternative of communication for both personal and business use

So, how can it benefit remote working?

1. Working on the Go

VoIP allows workers to work on the go, which is especially attractive for those in positions such as sales as they travel much of the time. With VoIP, they have access to communication tools just as they would at home or the office. VoIP systems can integrate with smartphones so that individuals can stay connected to incoming phone calls, new tasks, and more.

2. Central Hub for Information

One of the biggest hurdles in a remote workforce is defining central hubs for information. Organizing documents and data on a VoIP platform offers employees the ability to do this. With accessibility and one source of truth, there’s not a constant back and forth via email, where documents are edited individually. With a central hub, you won’t miss any edits or comments and you’ll experience more seamless workflows.

3. Improved Productivity

VoIP platforms are designed to help workers get more done faster. VoIP allows instant communication, so your staff can get feedback and make decisions sooner. There’s also the time factor. If an employee has the ability to work from home a few days a week, they cut out the commute. They have more time to focus on projects without distractions.

4. Better Reliability

With VoIP, you’ll have much better communication quality and reliability. Because it works on the cloud, it’s not in danger of being out of commission because of hardware failures. Plus, most VoIP providers have strong uptime percentages and can reroute calls in the event of an outage.

5. Enhanced Security

VoIP is a secure way to communicate and share data. The data remains private and secure in a SOC 2-audited cloud. The system is always updated to the latest version, hindering the ability for cyber-attacks. Because your employees will be using VoIP over a VPN, you can ensure that everything stays within your protected environment rather than worrying about whether an internet source is a secured network.

Get in touch with Ocean Telecom to find out how easy it is to introduce VoIP into your workforce!

T. 01691 661166

E. [email protected]

 

 

 

A Guide To Making Your PC Easier To Use | Windows 10 Ease of Access

Did you know you can customise settings on your PC just for you? Many people can benefit from Windows 10’s Ease of Access settings, from changing the contrast to your screen to having a page read to you or just simply make the font a little bigger, there are many features that can make your day-to-day computer use easier!  Many people think the Ease of Access settings are for people with disabilities or people with low vision etc, however, it’s not, it’s for everyone to make your PC easier to use.

So, how to access Ease of Access

  1. Click Start in the bottom left-hand corner of your Windows 10 screen
  2. Select Settings, which is the clog icon above the start button.
  3. You will find Ease of Access in the Windows Settings options

 

1. Make text bigger

Whether you’ve got a laptop with a tiny screen or a desktop with a giant monitor, the font may be too small for you to read comfortably, or even to bigger than you require (lucky you!). Windows 10 makes altering your font size, quick and easy, simply use the slider to drag up and down the text size percentages, jumping by 25% at a time.  Once you’re happy with the size displayed as “sample text” above the slider, click apply. Remember, this can be changed back at any point.

Display settings page to change size of text.

 

2. Make everything bigger

If you want to change the size of apps as well as text, you can use the drop-down options. It will always give you a recommended % display, but go with what works for you!

Windows Display settings page under Ease of Access settings showing Make everything bigger option with the dropdown menu expanded.

 

3. Make everything brighter or is this case less bright!

As standard, your computers built-in display is likely to be set at 100% brightness, as this offers a clearer visual. However, this may not always be beneficial for every user. Prolonged or extended periods working at your computer can cause issues such as eye strain and headache, it’s stated that the brightness of the screen shouldn’t be lighter or darker than your surroundings. Altering your screen brightness is super easier and aligning it with your workplace brightness can make a big difference.

For more information on how to make Windows 10 work for you, give us a call on 01691 661166

 

Bad Guys Are Unwanted Customers For Apple!

Historically, tech giant Apple has been very strict on how their products are used on-screen and even film royalty are no exception! Star Wars director, Rian Johnson says Apple has strong opinions when it comes to who can and can’t use their products in films & tv, and in an interview about his latest film Knives Out in a Vanity Fair he stated: “Apple, they let you use iPhones in movies, but – and this is very pivotal – if you’re ever watching a mystery movie, bad guys cannot have iPhones on camera.” An article from Wired as long ago as 2002 pointed out that all the good guys in the long-running thriller 24 use Macs, while all the villains were seen using Windows PCs.

It makes sense that companies such as Apple don’t want to have their products promoted in the hands of movie enemies, in the same way, that soda companies don’t want audiences to see cans of their famous brands tossed into trash bins on the big screen. As the world’s strongest brand in 2019 according to Business Insider, Apple obviously invest a lot of time and money in ensuring their brand only used and view in a positive light!

Product placement in movies is a lucrative marketing tool dated back as far as 1927 in America, however interestingly, for UK TV it was only in February 2011 when paid-for references for products and services will be permitted in programmes. Over the last decade, Apple had more product placements in-studio movies than any other brand, but the company always wants its products to ‘be the hero’.

Apple devices have featured in Sex and the City, The Family Guy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Fast Five, and countless other television shows and movies. According to brand tracking company Concave, an Apple product appears in one form or another in most TV shows taking place in the modern world. They found there were 13 minutes of airtime for Apple in the second season of Nicole Kidman-fronted Big Little Lies, also starring Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep. In 2012, Apple’s Phil Schiller said the company ‘would love to see our products used by the stars,’ but the philosophy would always be to show ‘the product as hero.’

The power of product placement is undeniable, whether it is positive or negative really is reliant on the strict policy of an individual brand and Apple really is a shining example of how to do it effectively.

ISDN 2025 Switch Off, Get Clued Up!

With BT’s ISDN switch off rapidly approaching, we’ve taken a look at the realities of what BT Openreach are doing, along with a run-down of what you can expect throughout 2020. ISDN is set to be switched off by BT in 2025, with no new orders being taken from 2020 as part of a 5 year phase out.

What is ISDN?
Simply put, an ISDN line is the main carrier and most popular way of making phone calls across the world. The Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) allows you to make phone calls, video calls and other services using digital transmission using a traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Launched in 1986, it allowed BT to move old fashioned landlines to digital, and allowed businesses to simultaneously support an analogue phone line alongside digital data services.Back then, the speed at which data could be transmitted meant that ISDN allowed for better connections, and even video communication, in a way not possible before

Why is ISDN being switched off?
In the 80s, 90s and early 00s, ISDN was the gold standard of fast digital connections, allowing data transfer and internet access at 128mbps; the fastest possible at the time. However, these days systems that use ISDN are a little outdated. Broadband internet connections like DSL, WAN and cable modems have taken connection speeds to a far higher level, and ISDN systems can no longer compete. Although the lines have been completely overhauled since the 80s, they are still basically the same technology, and more or less on a par with traditional phone lines which have been around since the 19th century! BT’s decision to invest heavily in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has also supported its decision to phase out ISDN, as it no longer makes strategic or financial sense for them to update their outdated systems. Moving away from ISDN also allows them to concentrate on more up-to-date technology, and create a service built for the future.

We offer a stress-free approach to VOIP transitioning.  Get more information about why to upgrade to VOIP here!

New Partnership: Bigblu – Satellite Internet For Rural Areas

As you know we live in a rural area with a lot of local business & residential customers, farming communities &  little villages, all of whom struggle to get decent broadband due to the lack of  Openreach infrastructure.

Our new partnership with Bigblu means we can now offer customers in these areas up to 36mbps average speed with the simple dish and modem router!

About Bigblu

Bigblu believes in broadband for everyone. Not almost everyone. So if the network won’t reach to you, they will. Life is bigger, brighter and better with a fast, stable broadband connection. And it’s their mission to take you there, with lightning-fast connectivity delivered through the sky. Satellite internet has changed. Thanks to new technologies bigblu can deliver faster speeds, better value and more data than ever before. Making satellite the ideal solution for areas where fibre broadband either isn’t available or where it is slow and unreliable.

WHY CHOOSE BIGBLU?

Peace of mind
PEACE OF MIND

14 days risk-free guarantee.

Nationwide coverage
NATIONWIDE COVERAGE

Our technology means we can connect where others can’t.

LOCAL INSTALLERS
LOCAL INSTALLERS

Reliable network of engineers to help you get up and running.

PRICE MATCH GUARANTEE
PRICE MATCH GUARANTEE

Find our packages lower elsewhere and we’ll match – guaranteed.

GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES
GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES

BDUK is offering subsidies if you can’t get fibre.

UNRIVALLED EXPERIENCE
UNRIVALLED EXPERIENCE

Over 10 years of experience connecting customers around the world to superfast broadband.

 

Are you bored of settling for slow connection but still want personalised, local service? Bigblu through Ocean Telecom is the ultimate approach to achieving efficient and easy network! Get in touch!

 

Windows 7 End of Life: Have You Transitioned?

Did you know as of the 14th January 2020, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7? This means it will no longer be subject to updates, therefore anyone using these products will now be under increased risk of cyber-attacks and security threats. Fortunately, and expectedly, transitioning to Windows 10 is the perfect answer, and the migration is a simple process.

Migration to Windows 10 can offer your business many benefits;

 

  • 1. Security: Windows 10 is the most secure operating system ever produced offering 5 key features
      1. Device Protection
          • Virtualisation Based Security
          • UEFI Secure Boot
          • Windows Trusted Boot
          • Windows Update
          • Trusted Platform Module

         

      2. Threat Resistance
          • Device Guard
          • Microsoft Edge
          • Windows Defender
          • Windows Firewall
          • SmartScreen

         

      3. Identity Protection
          • Credential Guard
          • Windows Hello Companion Devices
          • Windows Hello

         

      4. Information Protection
          • Device Encryption
          • Windows Information Protection
          • BitLocker Admin & Monitoring
          • BitLocker
          • BitLocker to Go

         

      5. Breach Detection Investigation & Response
          • Security Management2
          • Conditional Access
          • Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection

         

    1. Speed: Windows operating system, Fast Startup offers hardware with an SSD that boots in seconds and can handle the most demanding of workloads. Windows 10 also handles memory management better than earlier versions, allowing for faster operations and efficient multitasking.

 

    1. Usability: Better-tuned for multi-tasking, the improved virtual desktops and superbly-implemented Task View make juggling multiple open windows much easier. Windows 10 also offers half-monitor and quarter-monitor sizes when you drag Desktop windows, and open windows can automatically fill open space. Apps and notifications are put at the user’s fingertips through the Action Centre, very much like you are used to seeing on a smartphone. Along with this, its File Explorer makes it easier to find and manage files, you can customise it and your common tools are easily located through the ribbon arranged top menu.

 

    1. Management & Updates: The importance of safeguarding valuable data plays a big part in the Windows 10 experience. It offers automatic updating that reduces IT workloads and keeps your organisation equipped with the latest systems, stress-free! Tools like Active Directory, Windows System Center Configuration Manager and InTune also make it easier to manage and monitor users and PCs on Windows 10.

 

We can help you, get in touch and we can review your systems in a bid to get them updated and keep your equipment and data secure!

2020: The Year of VoIP

2020 sees BT no longer offering businesses the ability to acquire ISDN or PSTN (the traditional telephone copper cable network), with the aim of a total switch off of these services in 2025. So, what’s replacing it?  When it comes to adapting business technology following the BT 2025 switch off, the big push is towards VoIP!

Voice Over Internal Protocol (VoIP), is a cloud-based phone system that functions by making phone calls through the internet, rather than a regular landline or mobile network. It works by taking your analogue voice signals, converting them into digital signals, then sending them as data over your broadband line. Although the technology behind VoIP is obviously clever stuff, as an end-user there really is very little to get to grips with when it comes to operating it. Ever used the Facebook, Facetime, Facetime Audio or Skype call functions? It’s the exact same concept, applied to the traditional method of dialling a number and connecting through to the person at the other end.

 

7 Key Features

 

  1. Number portability

Retain or add further UK numbers any time

  1. Resilience

In an emergency or disaster

  1. Scalability

Introduce new users and services to suit your growing business

  1. Unrivalled features

High definition voice quality and industry-leading functionality

  1. Easy

Easy to use web portal to control and manage your system

  1. Mobility

Allocate single virtual numbers to remote workers to appear as if they are sitting in the office

  1. Integration

Integrate PCs, phones and CRM for professional customer contact management

 

Why chose VoIP?

 

Spend Less

  • Reduced maintenance costs (compared to a traditional on-premises phone system)
  • There’s only one network to manage (you’ll get your voice and data over the same internet connection, so you don’t need your old phone network)
  • Easy to add more ‘phone lines’ (because the ‘lines’ are virtual, you don’t need an engineer out to install new cabling)
  • Reduce travel costs by using web conferencing (instead of holding face-to-face meetings)

Do More

  • Mobile device integration (you can divert your office phone to your mobile)
  • Call management features like call forwarding, routing and transfer, voicemail, and three-way calling
  • Audio conferencing
  • Video conferencing
  • Call monitoring and call recording
  • CRM integration (integrate your phone system with your CRM database)
  • An online management portal makes managing the system easy and convenient
  • Virtual geographic numbers so your business can give the impression of being local even if it isn’t

Be Flexible

  • Employees can hold virtual meetings at the drop of a hat
  • Remote working is easier with VoIP systems
  • Employees can share data and communicate over Instant Messenger
  • If you move you can take your VoIP phone number with you wherever you go (unlike with a traditional landline number, which is tied to your telephone exchange area)

 

How will it work for my business?

Small Medium Large
Up to 10 employees 11 to 29 employees 30+ employees
Set up a new business fast with a main number Fast set-up for new employees and departments Add new agents and sites and scale as you grow
Full control of telephony, even for non-technical employees Permission-based access for supervisors and users Integration with CRM and other business systems
Work from home, the office or anywhere Adapt your telephony to your business Advanced call routing and reporting
Appear bigger integrating with your CRM No capital expenditure Minimal capital outlay
Quick set-up of your ‘plug-and-play’ handset Supports your business to grow fast and remain agile Supports your business to grow fast and remain agile
Easy-to-use portal for user admin Manage your phone system remotely Produce reports for individual usage

 

Here at Ocean Telecom we can make switching the VoIP quick, easy and risk-free for your business. Get in touch with us and see how we can keep your business operating efficiency as technology advances!

What is hosted IP?

A quick-fire guide to hosted IP

 What exactly is hosted IP?

Hosted IP, also known as VoiP (Voice over internet Protocol) or cloud telephony is the latest in telecoms technology, removing the need for traditional land line phones. Call are made and received using an internet connection, so there is no need for any hardware investment or storage on site. The ‘brains’ of the system (servers and applications) are based in a data centre instead.

Why am I hearing so much about hosted IP recently?

In 2018 BT announced that by 2025 it would be shutting down its traditional telephone network. The intention is to switch all users to internet-based phone systems which will be operated via their fibre network.

That means all businesses with traditional landline telephony will need to make the switch.

What are the benefits of switching to hosted IP?

  • Simplified installation – no expensive, bulky hardware. All you need are the handsets and a broadband connection
  • Features – Incredible features like voicemail to email transcription, voice recognition and integration with a CRM system
  • Flexibility and scalability – Need another handset? No problem. Plug it in and perform a few clicks on your remote management system
  • Cost savings – a simple flat monthly rate covers unlimited calls. Plus, no expensive hardware or set up costs
  • Mobility – enable calls to ring both desk phone and mobile. Handsets can be picked up and moved location, retaining the same number
  • Productivity – fewer missed calls, data integration and improved features increase productivity

How much does hosted IP cost?

Hosted IP costs from £12 per month.

How can I find out more?

Read more about hosted IP here or call us today on 01691 661166.

 

Case Study: Vyrnwy Caravans

oswestry-telecoms-vyrnwy-caravan

Key facts

  • Telecoms infrastructure for brand new office building
  • Overhaul of existing phone system and equipment
  • Hosted IP telephony installed
  • Point-to-point wireless broadband link between sites

 

Vyrnwy Caravans

Vyrnwy Caravans is a family-owned caravan park, established for over 50 years. It nestles on the banks of the River Vyrnwy in Llansantffraid, Powys, and offers all the services you would expect from a high-quality caravan park. Set in 45 acres, the park provides an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The challenge

Vyrnwy Caravans had opened an additional office building on the caravan park and needed the capability to use their existing broadband and telephones but had no way to get the physical connection from the main office to the new site. The requirement was for Ocean Telecom to provide a stable communications solution for both sites, which were located approximately 10 metres apart.

The solution

Ocean Telecom has been working with Vyrnwy Caravan for over 15 years, supplying mobile phones, landlines, broadband and email hosting. As Shropshire’s leading provider of specialist communications solutions, Ocean Telecom recommended installing a hosted IP telephony solution with point-to-point (PtP) link to cover the distance between the two sites, using the existing HQ internet connection.

The product

Point-to-Point

The Ubiquiti nano beam is a wireless network solution that can provide point to point wireless network and internet connections between multiple sites. The equipment Ocean Telecom used can provide point to point connections from up to 25 km away without any drop-in bandwidth. The installation is simple and straight forward and is a very cost-effective solution.

point-to-point_wifi_ocean_telecom_wireless_connection

Benefits of Point-to-Point:

  • Intuitive network and device management
  • Ease of deployment
  • Price/performance value
  • Reliable office Wi-Fi

With a robust broadband solution in place, the hosted IP telephony was installed.

Hosted IP

A cloud-based telephony system which is fast replacing traditional landlines, hosted IP provides excellent reliability and flexibility – offering more features while reducing costs. Hosted IP (or VOIP) delivers a managed system direct to any location via a high-speed IP connection. The feature-rich system works to offer any size business the flexibility and scalability for future growth.

Benefits of Hosted IP:

  • Free local and national calls
  • Free standard calls to UK mobiles*
  • Better business continuity
  • Economies of scale by using a single internet connection
  • Work from any location with a single phone number

 

According to Claire Edwards of Vyrnwy Caravans: “We rely on our broadband and telecoms to provide an efficient service for our guests. Ocean’s approach in proactively supporting our telecoms over the years meant we could trust them to come up with the best solution for us. Their can-do attitude and ability to consistently meet our needs and suggest better ways for us to work helps us to meet our business objectives. The addition of hosted IP telephony will make it easy for us to grow by adding additional handsets in the future. We appreciate the single point of contact for our telephone and broadband and we know support is just a call away if we need it.”

Ocean’s approach

  • Unified communications package
  • Dedicated account manager
  • Telephone and on-site support
  • Permanent, cost effective solution
  • Delivery and set-up on site
  • Proactive support

Record numbers of hosted phone systems sold this year

Ocean Telecom MD Jeremy Rose

Ocean Telecom, one of Shropshire’s biggest business to business telecoms specialists reported record numbers of sales of cloud phone systems.

The company, based on Mile Oak Industrial Estate in Oswestry, says that hosted ‘cloud phones’ are the fastest growing telecoms system in the UK. Cloud phones rely on the internet to carry calls from user to user and have seen huge popularity in the UK recently thanks to cost savings and additional functionality not offered by standard landline phone systems.

“We have seen huge growth in this sector in the last 18 months and we don’t expect it to stop any time soon,” says managing director Jeremy Rose.

“We anticipated the switch from analogue to cloud phones some years ago and began preparing for it then; employing specialist technicians and increasing the knowledge of our team on cloud hosting and VoIP technology.

“What’s so popular about our system is that other than handsets, there is no additional equipment required and users can manage their own account on a web portal.”

Seven out of 10 of Ocean Telecom’s biggest customers have now made the move to VoIP technology, that equates to over 30% of their total customer base now making all their business calls through the cloud. Jeremy expects those numbers to double in the next 18 months as businesses learn more about the benefits of making the change.

“Cloud phone systems are the latest in communications technology. What our customers like about it is the ease of scalability. Extra handsets can be added any time, and all have a fixed cost meaning calls to local, national and mobiles are free. Features such as call recording and auto attendant are also included.

The flexibility of the system is also very attractive. Because the whole system is hosted in the cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. So remote workers can work from home as if they are based in the office and in the event of a disaster calls can still be taken from anywhere with an internet connection.”

One business to benefit from a cloud phone system is Traditional Products, based in Oswestry.

Proprietor Jean Watson said: “We heard about Ocean Telecom from a recommendation by another business, so we were happy to engage their services to improve our telecoms.

“As a growing business, it’s essential that we have a telecoms system that supports our growth over time and is scalable. The hosted IP system gives us that flexibility and saving money every month on our calls and broadband is a bonus too.”