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What is non-fixed VoIP and what is fixed VoIP? Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows you to make phone calls over the internet. Many different companies offer VoIP, but the type of VoIP offered differs across companies. Generally speaking, there are two different types of VoIP: fixed and non-fixed voip. Here are some of the important differences you should know: Identification necessary for sign up The biggest difference between fixed voip and non-fixed VoIP is that fixed VoIP requires that you tie a certain address to the number, similar to a regular phone provider. Non-fixed VoIP is a type of VoIP that is commonly used by providers, such as Sype and Google Voice. Kenney Trinh, the editor of a gadget review publication, says, “Non-Fixed VoIP allows calling worldwide numbers with a lot of anonymity. You don't need to enter your address, all you have to do is sign up like signing up to any online service without a lot of personal information. Your address isn't tied to your account.” Phone number assignment Another difference is the number that you are assigned and the number that you call from. Chelsea Brown, the CEO of Digital Mom Talk, clarified that, “A fixed VoIP phone number doesn't change whenever you make a phone call. It stays the same and is ideal for companies that need to keep the same phone number. When your number isn't fixed, you can change it as you please. This is ideal when individuals need burner phone numbers.” The price paid For fixed VoIP, it is generally provided by a specific VoIP provider, and you have to pay these companies a yearly or monthly fee. Non-fixed VoIP, however, are commonly issued by providers that offer them for free. This gives you the ability to talk to virtually anyone in the world, free of charge. The bottom line Generally speaking, fixed VoIP phone numbers are more well respected because they are less likely to be used by scammers. However, this doesn't mean that reputable companies do not use non-fixed VoIP. If your company needs to have a number that originates from a different location than where you are located or if you need to switch your number often, non-fixed VoIP is a good choice. It is also a good choice for those who have less money to spend on the numbers and are not too worried about having a completely legitimate phone number. Fixed VoIP however, is more for companies that are looking for a permanent phone number that they can use to contact customers. They are legitimate and are a great subsitute for a normal land line.
How can a VoIP technology suite help with remote work? Everyday more and more people are infected with COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, causing a panic all over the world. One of the best ways to combat this spread is by staying away from large groups of people. Consequently, many offices are allowing their employees to work remotely at home. As the need for remote work increases, more companies are searching for ways they can keep work going and move their companies forward. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will help employees work from home more efficiently and with as much normalcy as possible. “VoIP will be an increasing part of the solution as time goes on because it allows teams to collaborate and meet more easily.” VoIP will help your employees get work done and stay connected with their co-workers and clients," says Dr. Rishi Desai, MD, MPH, the Chief Medical Officer at Osmosis. How does VoIP help? 1. Facilitate meeting and collaboration between team members and customers As long as employees have the internet, they will be able to more easily collaborate with their team members through messaging and other means that are offered in a typical VoIP technology package. “The main reason VoIP facilitates remote work is that it allows employees to conduct their day-to-day business activities as if they were physically in the office, without disrupting their workflow,” explains Jovan Milenkoviv, co-founder of Kommando Tech. This will be crucial for businesses to keep their work on schedule and keep everyone on the same page. Norhanie Pangulima, an employee outreach consultant at Centriq, says, “Of course, the major issue to overcome when people are working out of the office is to stay in touch. Traditional phone systems are just not equipped to do this effectively, which can then make remote working hard. Especially now, with the spread of the Coronavirus, working remotely is the only way to go and making use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies is the key to successful interaction.” 2. Easily share documents, etc. with anyone in the company While working remotely, employees will still need to send files and documents to each other in order to keep things moving and stay on the same page. Jeremy Harrison, co-founder of the business site Hustle Life, says, “By using VoIP, you'll be able to send and receive data, files, photos, videos, etc. to one another, as long as you have an internet connection.” The importance of this feature goes beyond the ease of sharing files between employees. Because it is through a secure medium, your company's privacy is protected and is protected from hackers and other outside threats. 3. Video capabilities can all but mimic an in-person meeting Keep your employees informed and connected by offering the video conferencing capabilites that VoIP technology offers. With this feature, your employees can continue having their collaboration meetings, one-on-ones, and all hands meetings. Many different video conferencing options offer different features. Make sure you know your must-have video capabilities to give your employees the best experience possible. Craig Walker, CEO of Dialpad, weighed in on the worries that some have about the capability of the internet handling the rise in video meetings with the influx of remote work. He explains, "When we first started UberConference, it was with a rising remote workforce in mind built in the cloud, with a modern, mobile framework and using Google Cloud Platform as our backend. We always knew we had to be ready to quickly scale for increased videoconferencing traffic. Obviously, we could not predict anything like coronavirus, but as a cloud-first product, our infrastructure is ready to take on entirely mobile/remote workforces for however long is needed." 4. Record customers phone calls so the decision makers can all be in on the action Harrison says, “With VoIP technology, you can readily get in touch with your customers wherever they may be. Since communication is real-time, you'll be able to sort out customer issues instantly. This boosts customer experience which ultimately works in your favor.” When employees are working from home, sometimes it can be harder for managers to be completely dialed in on the action. With VoIP technology, every customer call that employees take can be recorded, so if there is any misunderstanding on the phone call, the manager can take care of it and be completely informed on what the situation is. Erol Toker, CEO of Truly.co agrees, “Listening to the buzz of conversations in the background is often the quickest way leaders of customer-facing teams get a pulse of team activity. A quiet floor means we're not talking to customers. This goes away when working remotely. Become more customer-centric by actually listening to the customer and incorporating the voice of the customer in organizations is often like a bad game of telephone. By the time the customer input makes it to the person making a decision, the information has changed and value is lost. With a VOIP solution that records phone calls in a compliant manner, the voice of the customer in original form is available for decision makers to listen to and use to make decisions wherever they're working from.” 5. Store everything in a cloud to protect security All the customer reports, documents, etc. can be easily stored using VoIP technology. Leonard Ang, a writer for enKo Products says, “This technology also enables managers of an organization to handle their networks and needed software with the help of a cloud. This cloud eliminates the need for flash drives which when lost, could be a security threat if it has sensitive data. This technology helps employers convey their instructions to their employees no matter where they are.” What now? Fortunately, it is not too late to get your company set up with a VoIP technology suite to help your employees transition to a largely remote work situation. Read reviews from real consumers and company summaries to find out what VoIP company works best for your business.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19, communities are doing all that they can to slow the spread and keep the hospitals from overflowing with the sick. Part of this effort is being carried out by businesses across the nation by implementing remote work when possible. Many companies and employees have little to no experience with remote work; however, with a set plan and the right tools in place to facilitate it, companies can continue to move forward in the face of unprecedented circumstances. Here's how you can make the most of working from home: 1. Be deliberate with your communication with your team Be extra aware of the messages that you are sending to teammates. A written message sent to your team or coworker is different from an in-person conversation, so be extra careful with your wording and think about how the message might come across to someone reading it. Kirsten Tanner, managing director for In Marketing We Trust says, “Quality communication matters greatly when dealing with a remote team setup. You realize how much can be lost when you are not sitting next to the people you work with. The subtlety of tone or the lack of context on both sender/receiver can really make matters worse. When the topic is of importance or likely to be misinterpreted, call your teammates, don’t send them a Slack message. This is especially important for fellow millennials. I know it feels uncomfortable at first but your voice, your tone, and emotions beat, hands down, any well-crafted message.” 2. Pick a time to start and stop work Don’t assume that working from home is automatically going to give you a better work-life balance. Working from home can oftern blur the line between your work-life and home-life, making it harder to be 100 percent at work or 100 percent at home. To mitigate this, make sure you set a set boundaries by setting a definitive start and stop time to your work day. It can be easy to sleep in and get out of your normal routine when there is a bit more flexibility to you start and stop time so pick a specific time in the morning to start, preferably early and soon after you wake up, similar to how it would be scheduled if you were actually going into the office. Also pick a specific end time to your day so you can have the necessary balance between your work life and your personal life. 3. Schedule your day, allowing for timed breaks A day at the office provides scheduled changes in your day, such as meetings and other events. Schedule out your day in such a way that you are going to have more of these natural changes in your day, so you don’t get in a rut doing the same thing over and over again. Scheduling out your day will also help make you remember when you have scheduled virtual meetings or phone calls and will keep you on top of completing what you need to get done each day. 4. Choose a dedicated workspace Do not work on your couch or your bed! At least not for the whole day. The best way to keep yourself focused is to have a set place that is your work station. This helps your brain recognize that you are beginning to work, and it helps get you into that mindset. Stay healthy and happy while working from home Implementing these tips into your day-to-day routine while you are working remotely will help you get more done and stay on top of things with your coworkers. Furthermore, it is also important to make sure you are staying healthy and happy during your time working from home, whether that be for a short time or on a more permanent basis. Throughout the day, get some fresh air, stretch, drink plenty of water, and call a friend every once in a while.
An important feature of VoIP platforms are the capabilities it offers for video conferencing. The right video application can change the way your company collaborates, interviews, and facilitates training and meetings. Having capable video conferencing also makes remote work possible for your employees. However, aside from a large bandwidth and superb video quality, what should you be looking for when searching out a VoIP company for your business? What is VoIP? Recording capabilities Trainings are essential to continue your company’s progression. Training new employees or rolling out new initiatives can take days, weeks, or months before everyone on your team understands the procedures. Trainings are often time consuming for all parties involved. The benefit of having recording features for VoIP video is that even if an employee is unable to attend a meeting or forgets a certain aspect of a training given in the meeting, they can go back and rewatch the recording of what was discussed. Reuben Yonatan, CEO of GetVoIP, says “not everyone can take good notes, so being able to provide a recording of the call helps make sure that no one misses any important details.” This is crucial for saving the time of all parties involved. Screen sharing Screen sharing eliminates the need for the facilitator of the training or meeting to verbally explain what they are doing on their computer. With screen sharing, they can project what they are seeing and doing on their computer on to everyone else’s computer. You can project the specific application training, documents, videos, or anything else that shows up on the computer of the employee sharing their screen, keeping the whole team on the same page. Yonatan says, “Being able to show someone what you’re talking about, rather than trying to describe it to them, saves a ton of time during meetings. You can efficiently run through documents or examples and get back to the meeting.” Built-in notetaking Built-in notetaking provides a space that can take the role of a white board during a meeting to facilitate more discussion and collaboration. Everyone in the meeting will be able to see everything that is written in this space. It helps to keep your team’s ideas organized and ensure that everyone remembers the highlights of the meeting. Capabilities for the maximum amount of people in the meeting Each video service provided is different, and within the same VoIP company you can choose between plans with different thresholds for the amount of people able to join a video meeting. Ensure you know what that threshold is so it can meet the video call capabilities that your company requires. Noise reduction Everyone has been in a meeting or conference call where there is loud, distracting background noise that makes it nearly impossible to hear or focus on what is being shared. This can slow down a meeting or make it entirely impossible to continue. To combat this issue, a noise reduction feature can be a game changer. Yonatan explains, “if you can find a suite that offers noise reduction, take it. This reduces background noise picked up by your mics — things like typing, coughing, or traffic. It also keeps meetings running smoothly without everyone having to mute and unmute constantly.” Easy access for joining callers Make sure that the video conferencing capabilities make it easy for users outside of your company to join the video conference. Brian Peterson, VP of engineering at Dialpad shares, “A major problem with most conference calls is getting people to join without any issues. Half the challenge is just getting your participants on the call. For example, a lot of providers put long, hard to remember PINs as a requirement to call in, or it requires you to download software or sign up to join. The last thing you want to do when you invite a potential client is have them jump through hoops to talk to you.” What's next? Now that you know some of the major components to consider when deciding on the video conferencing capabilities that you want, it's time to look at specific VoIP providers to determine which would suit your companies needs best. Read unbiased reviews of the top rated VoIP providers as well as summary of the good and the bad of each.
Guest Post by Rob Stix Defined by strange vanacular and acronyms, VoIP can feel like an overwhelming prospect for business leaders. It is difficult to understand exactly what services VoIP offers and how they help your business instead of hinder it. As a VoIP expert, let me share some answers to your questions about VoIP safety: How can VOIP help prevent phone scams? What other security threats are posed to VoIP? What's a solution that can help counteract these threats and solidify VoIP as an efficient and secure form of communication? Is it worth it to switch to a VOIP system? How can VoIP help prevent phone scams? VoIP's best feature is that it can easily block calls that look fraudulent compared to traditional lines. If you've had the misfortune to receive a call from a scammer, a quality VoIP system allows end-users to block specific numbers via a portal that they have access to. In other words, if you receive a call from a scammer and suspect foul play, all you have to do is hang up and block the number. There's no need to ever worry about having to receive another phone call from that number again or to worry about calling your provider to report the situation. Since technology is continuously evolving, VoIP is constantly catching up, making its security not entirely incorruptible, inspiring scammers to take advantage. However, you'll only be victimized if you make indisputable mistakes, such as sharing your personal information while on the line with an unknown number or by never updating your password. These are common mistakes everyone should be aware of when using a technological device in today's day and age. What other security threats are posed to VoIP? Phone scams are not the only threat that is posed to VoIP; one to watch out for is the denial of service attacks. DOS is essentially scammers who target your network and flood it with dummy data, staggering the system and slowing it down. By doing so, this attack will open the door for malicious code. Counteracting such an attack can be done by monitoring for insecure endpoints, identifying risk-prone devices, and employing extremely effective firewall protection.VoIP Phishing, otherwise known as Vishing, is also rather prevalent at the moment. This threat is caused by individuals with malicious intent to redirect your calls to another line, then connect to online scammers looking to suck funds from the caller. What's a solution that can help counteract these threats and solidify VoIP as an efficient and secure form of communication? As I've mentioned before, VoIP has yet to be perfected and will take some time to do so due to technology continuously evolving. With that being said, VoIP systems depend on packet-switched telephony to maintain open communications. The very transmission type itself can be at risk of developing interruptions between two active lines. This occurs because call data is streamed in packets over the network, which means unwanted snoopers can intercept it and gain the upper hand. What we've developed to get around this is with full encryption, active network monitoring and a host of other security-focused features. This security system automatically blocks any IP addresses that are questionable automatically via an algorithm. We also monitor closely calls coming from high-risk geographical areas. Is it worth it to switch to a VoIP system? If you're wondering if it's worth it to switch to a VoIP system, even with all of these threats, it absolutely is. In today's world, these types of threats are common for anyone with or without VoIP. Overall, VoIP is a fast, efficient, high-quality, and incredibly secure communications solution. It's a sophisticated technology that the world is progressively adapting, leading us all to more efficient forms of communication. However, if you are still worried about the threats, combine your VoIP system with a cloud-based VoIP services that utilize an internet connection. By doing so, that second line will serve as a backup and your business will be better protected from interruptions. Rob Stix is the CEO of DirectNet, a company with over 50 years of experience providing communications solutions.
There have been so many books, seminars, and information sessions on how to communicate more effectively. But how does this take place in your work place, in your home, and in your life? Communication boils down to these 12 key aspects: Maintain eye contact Have a sit down chat Be honest Train Listen Understand context Network Use the sandwich technique Be direct Know your audience Ask questions Don't assume 1. Maintain eye contact Eye contact shows you are actively listening and engaging. With eye contact, you are taken more seriously and you can tell that the person you are discussing things with is also actively listening. Eye contact is vital for communication because it shows you are not distracted. Do not be on your phone, because you cannot focus on two things at once and maintain eye contact. "Good body language enhance the voice and supports the content. Your facial expressions, hand gestures, and overall body must be aligned with your words or message you are delivering. For example: Will it be adequate to say 'Be happy' to the person standing next to me, with a sad face? No! Moreover, make eye contact with people. It shows you are trustworthy. If you are talking one-to-one, make eye contact for 9–10 seconds and then break away. Repeat this pattern during the whole conversation. If you are addressing a larger group of people, follow 'Z' formation. It means, make eye contact with people sitting in the back at left and right corners, then with a person sitting in the front left corner, and finally to someone at the front right. Just like we write, 'Z.' It is one way of covering larger groups that do not practice this method all the time." — Martin Luenendonk, Cofounder and CEO of Cleverism 2. Have a sit down chat The best time to do this is when you start a new role. A sit down chat is a good opportunity to establish expectations, boundaries, and rules. This helps to make sure that everyone is on the same page and communicating effectively together. By establishing ground rules right away, it is easier to communicate in the future. "One great strategy for good communications is always expectation management. Sometimes what we want to say is not recieved the way we want it to be received. So I learned that it's always good to ask again how they understood it, if they match your expectations, and maybe agree on a result. Communication is two-way, so both parties should make sure that their message is well received." — Karla Singson, PREP 3. Be honest Honesty is the best policy when it comes to communication. By being completely honest and open, you set yourself up for success and you set a good reputation for yourself. "In all aspects of my life I believe it important to handle communication openly and honestly. Especially challenges. People always ask me how I have such a high capacity and it is because I do not let things fester as I once did. I also promote using my 'Three-P Method" of Pausing to Pivot to a Positive to help with challenges. Even when you cannot pivot to a positive, there is always a lesson to learn." — Kerry Wekelo, Actualize Consulting 4. Train yourself Whether or not your company trains for effective communication, you should always train yourself. There are fantastic TED talks to watch and apply as well as exercises like putting your phone away and eliminating distractions. "The best place to start learning how to communicate effectively is outside a corporation. Spend a few years working at unprofitable or even philanthropic pursuits and learn the art of communication as part of giving rather than having an agenda of taking for oneself. Working for churches, nonprofit organizations, and school boards offers few taking opportunities, and so they make great training grounds for the art of giving your time, attention, and effort to other people. Inherently, the goal is service and to get and give help. Without the constraints of a personal agenda, one becomes a better communicator." — Julie DiBene, Tough Things First "Ideas for how to train for better communication and how to communicate better overall. Plan more challenging communications and consider the different personality styles involved. Do the communicating – make that call or send that email As you are talking or writing be more aware of how you are communicating and how they are likely to be receiving the interaction. Review your results. Was it a 'successful' communication? If so, do more of that for that person. If not, reflect on what didn’t go well. Ask for feedback if appropriate and adapt accordingly. Don’t get upset by failure. Take it as useful feedback of what not to do next time!" — Dee Clayton, Simply Amazing Training 5. Listen “The real key to effective communication has very little to do with what you say, but rather, with what is happening when the other person is speaking. Great listening. Really great listening is about truly going into the world that the other person is describing and occupying. That means being attuned, fully present in that moment, and absolutely not crafting your response, or wordsmithing the thing you mean to say, or responding to the alert that you just received a text message. By listening keenly, without an agenda, we pick up the critical cues that lead us forward in the conversation. That way, no matter what item launched the conversation — even if it was an agenda of yours — you can fulfill it in a way that is germane and digestible to the person with whom you are speaking”. — Amie Devero, Managing Director of Amie Devero Coaching and Consulting 6. Understand context “Effective communication is about understand with whom you’re communicating, first and foremost. There’s nothing more important in communication than context. This can be true if you’re speaking publicly to a large audience, or having a one-on-one conversation with someone who’s having a rough time at work, or maybe a personal issue outside of the walls of the office that is affecting their work within the walls. Understanding how this person is doing is vital to crafting the message in a way that leads to your desired action. Sometimes tough love is what’s needed to help someone get a message, other times it may be a more gentle touch. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach to communication can be a recipe for disaster. This is especially true in work settings where you’re dealing with a wide variety of personalities and approaches to work.” — Kris Hughes, Senior Content Marketing Manager 7. Network "Use events such as mixers, receptions and 'minglers' as an opportunity to practice your communication skills. For example, you've got a new idea you want to pitch at work, so go to a networking event with the goal of talking to people and telling them about that idea. Use the time to practice being concise and to see if you are clearly communicating the value. Networking is also simply good for practicing the art of listening, which is an important piece of communicating well." — Beth Bridges, The Networking Motivator 8. Use the sandwhich technique "Include the following in your techniques: respect, patience, measure, and positivity. One of my favorite ways to explain what I need from my employees is called the 'sandwich technique.' If your message is 'you need to create a longer, more detailed report for the next meeting,' you should first introduce what was right about the report that the employee produced. For example, it had a great design, and the key information was there. Thank the employee, but then let them know that it will be best to have everything the report had, with the addition of XYZ elements. Being specific helps a lot! Part two of this is never to use the 'because I said so' technique. The technique works neither with kids at home nor at work. We are intelligent beings, and being told what to do without an explanation can be easily forgotten. It's not about disobeying the authority or ignoring your competencies. It's rather about not being able to memorize the effect without the cause. Always give a rationale behind your requests or comments. If you approach the communication respecting the person and taking into account their point of view, you'll be able to communicate much more effectively." — Tony Arevalo, Carinsurance 9. Be direct "Be direct, but not too pushy. Try to state things as clearly as you can, but do not forget that the foundation of all good communication is respect and kindness. Don't forget to listen with empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand another person's feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. Emotional acceptance, closely related to empathy, means that once we understand another person, we can also accept what he or she feels or thinks, whether we agree or not." — Andrew Taylor, Net Lawman 10. Know your audience "The most important aspect of effective communications is knowing your audience. In order to drive action you must be able to understand what motivates them and use language that resonates with them. The best way to learn about your audience is to ask them about their likes, dislikes, and their experiences. You can do this by having informal conversations, or by having them complete an electronic survey. You can use free tools such as Survey Monkey or Google Forms to make it easy to store the data." — Nahamani Yisrael, Cofounder and CEO of nahamani.org 11. Ask questions "Often, what we DON’T say is more important than what we do. How we communicate the content of the message can powerfully impact whether the intended message is heard, understood, and applied. Asking detailed, open-ended questions in response to communication shows interest, engages the messenger, and ensures that we fully understand the intent, scope, and content. After all, how can a person take action correctly on a message they did not fully understand? Eliminate distractions before giving the message. If the message recipient is busy, ensure you have their full attention before beginning. If message is lengthy, write down questions as they arise to answer at the end of the message. Don’t get sidetracked and miss important information by answering a question immediately. Always offer opportunity for questions at the end. “Is there anything I can explain better?” or “How can leadership help implement this?” (if complex actions are required) — John D. Hanson, Author/Consultant/Keynote/Trainer 12. Don’t assume "Never skip an individual’s point of view to assume they would understand it wasn’t a valid point. Don’t ignore and delay getting back to people about anything that you are supposed to talk on. Let them know you are working, show them the progress from time to time, and help them visualize how plans are materializing. Discuss everything in detail and let them know you would try your best to fulfill every stakeholder’s suggestions and grievances." Gargi Rajan, Head of Human Resources at Mettl