At one time, safety features such as anti-lock brakes, air bags, traction and vehicle stability control were reserved for those who purchased the most expensive cars on the market. Now entry-level cars are equipped similarly to high-end vehicles, thanks to innovative automakers who understood the changing needs and desires of the average consumer. A similar revolution is taking place within the telecommunications industry. In the recent past, Fortune 500 companies were the only telecom customers that could afford feature-rich PBX phone systems. In fact, many telecommunications service providers paid little attention to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). 1) Now Available: A Market Smart System Customer Quick Clips Why I Selected Voice over IP Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has helped drive down the cost of monthly service and offers an attractive alternative communication solution with all of the bells and whistles of more expensive traditional options. However, the cost and complexity associated with installing on-premise VoIP PBX systems may still be beyond the reach of many small businesses. Intricate implementations and on-site maintenance issues often remain a barrier for SMBs that would otherwise adopt this technology. Consequently, players that offer on-premise VoIP PBX equipment and service have continued to focus their energies on larger companies with greater resources and more money to spend. A 2006 industry report from Frost & Sullivan notes that micro-enterprises constitute 89 percent of the total number of business establishments in North America, but are for the most part under-served by the majority of today’s telecom solution providers. The demand for IP telephony and site-to-site or interoffice VoIP services is clearly on the minds of small- to medium-size businesses. A 2006 survey by Forrester Research found these companies were up to three times more interested than larger enterprises in such services. However, Vonage Business is addressing the needs of the SMB market with hosted PBX solutions that offer feature-rich, flexible options at a considerably lower cost than previously available choices. Hosted business VoIP PBX systems offer SMBs a means to operate more efficiently and gain the same features and functionality that large companies consider critical to their success. 2) A Tailor Made Solution for SMB’s With a hosted VoIP PBX, micro enterprises can project the appearance of being larger and more effective without having to bring in IT professionals to address their network needs. Hosted service providers such as Vonage Business, for instance, make it easy for these small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to take advantage of a VoIP network by offering customized service packages that are priced on a per-month basis, thereby enabling better management of operational expenditures. With a hosted PBX offering, there are no expensive upfront equipment costs. However, an SMB gains all of the advantages of a carrier-grade communications system that is fully redundant and includes back-up and fail over capabilities. By only having to invest in IP phones, there is no concern of having to update or replace obsolete hardware. SMBs that implement a business VoIP system are highly satisfied with the results and are also likely to recommend it to peers. A 2006 study conducted by Savatar, a North America-based telecom consulting firm, noted that once they have deployed VoIP, 69 percent of respondents indicated they would highly recommend the technology. Throughout the study, respondents demonstrated why VoIP is advantageous to their business. They cited lower total cost of ownership (TCO), lower monthly recurring costs (MRC), and better system management as primary concerns driving their VoIP purchasing. 3) The Perfect Pairing for Road Warriors There’s no denying that reliable phone systems are critical for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that need to stay in touch with their suppliers, customers and partners regardless of geography. Continuous service in today’s 24/7 environment plays an important role in businesses of any size. The cost of missing a phone call, voice mail or e-mail while on the road can be particularly high for the business owner who is trying to win new business or maintain existing customers. Staying connected while on the road is a chief concern for SMB owners and their sales teams. Checking voice mail from the road can often be time-consuming and consequently, many remote workers give out their personal cell phone number as a more expedient means of staying connected. With a hosted PBX, road warriors can increase their productivity through a myriad of options including a “Follow Me” feature that enables call forwarding from a desktop phone to a mobile phone or home phone. This feature can be set up two ways – when a call comes in, it can be directed to ring on a mobile phone for 15 seconds, then on a home phone for 15 seconds, and on to an alternate number or voice mail. Alternatively, a simultaneous ring can be set up for incoming calls to ring on a desk phone and mobile phone at the same time ensuring that regardless of location, they’re sure to receive the call. Another important feature for the road warrior is the ability to receive voicemail through e-mail as a .wav file or call into a mailbox remotely and check messages. In essence, the mobile phone or PDA becomes an office extension and there is no longer a need to have a desk phone to be part of the PBX. 4) No-Hassle Plug & Play Service When small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) deploy PBX solutions that are maintained on-site, a service technician must initially install the system and then move or re-install phones every time there is a staff change. To say that this investment of time, resources and working capital is a strain on a business owner’s patience and wallet is an understatement. In contrast, hosted PBX solutions have been estimated to save business owners thousands of dollars each year. The ability to quickly set up a hosted VoIP PBX system through an easy plug-and-play approach means a SMB can have a solution that is up and running in minutes, not hours or days. This time and money saving technique also has long-term benefits. With a hosted PBX solution, even the most non-technical employees can set up or make changes to an extension simply by going online and clicking on an “update” icon. Making such updates doesn’t require a specially trained IT professional as is often the case with an on-site system. If the employee can navigate the Internet, then he or she can easily make any changes or modifications to the features and functionality of the business’s hosted PBX system. There’s no more waiting for a technician to show up and move phones or having to “do without” an extension for any period of time. 5) Multiple Locations? No Problem! Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) aren’t necessarily defined as the “mom and pop” operation down the street – in fact, they often have multiple locations around the country. A hosted business VoIP PBX allows micro enterprises to unite their dispersed locations and employees under a single communication system with a “Work from Anywhere” approach. This approach leads to increased efficiencies through the elimination of long distance charges between offices, multiple phone systems and the associated headaches that go hand-in-hand with managing these different systems. A unified solution also provides a professional image and makes it easier for customers to reach the desired party they are initially calling. 6) Highly Reliable and Disaster-Proof SMBs that continue to use traditional PBX systems are actually putting their operations at risk for downtime as well as high upfront and maintenance costs. The reality is that many business owners who are using antiquated phone systems don’t realize their equipment is dying until it is too late. In the worst case, this could cost a business thousands of dollars and have a dramatic impact on their profitability. During a natural or other unforeseeable disaster, a small business could also lose its traditional phone system in an instant. Conversely, with a hosted PBX system, phones will never “die” and Call Continuity features can ensure business stays on track at all times. Since information comes into a central, hosted system, voicemail is stored and never lost and extensions can be re-activated by simply plugging the IP phone into a new broadband connection. The customer never receives a busy signal or an out of service message. Put into perspective, this feature alone could not only save a business from losing profitability – it could literally keep the business from having to close its doors for good. Teleworking is becoming an increasingly common for businesses looking to cut costs. With employees working from home, small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) can cut costs on overhead, and reduce the amount of time and productivity lost to commuting. One of the most important elements of teleworking is the communication system implemented to allow employees this flexibility. Vonage Business’ IP telephone system makes teleworking much simpler and more affordable for small businesses. How Affordable is Teleworking with a VoIP Phone System? If you’re looking for a superior means of communication without breaking the bank, then an IP telephone system (IP stands for Internet Protocol) is the way to go. Affordable, portable and easy to use, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology is transforming the way businesses correspond with colleagues and customers alike. For a low monthly rate, you’ll enjoy all the features of a traditional phone system and long distance calling. Calls are placed over the Internet, and all of the features are delivered to your companies phones, no matter where they are plugged in. This makes VoIP technology less expensive to use – and helps your small business save a significant amount of money on phone service. Unlike standard phone lines, an IP telephone system from Vonage doesn’t require any heavy equipment on your end. We host all necessary equipment off site, so you can enjoy a hassle-free phone system. Teleworking only requires a high speed Internet connection, and your employees can all be connected to the same company phone system, no matter where they are. This means making and receiving calls from their company number, being accessible from the phone menu via extension dialing, and transferring calls to other employees. With IP telephone systems, you can work from anywhere, anywhere around the world. As long as there is a broadband connection – and there pretty much is on every corner – you can plug your phone into your computer and it’s as if you’ve brought your office along with you! If you were born before the invention of cell phones, then it’s likely you remember the high price tag of long-distance calling and the unpredictability of a traditional phone bill. These days, land lines are becoming increasingly sparse, and cell phones have certainly made long-distance calling much more cost-efficient. Unfortunately, conducting business calls over a cellphone while you’re at the office can restrict calling functionality. Thankfully, VoIP is changing the way we view business communication. What is VoIP? VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a process whereby analog audio signals are converted into digital data that is sent out via the Internet. At Vonage Business, our business IP phone system utilizes your connection to the Internet and allows you to make phone calls from a desk phone, just as you normally would. The difference is you don’t have to pay high long distance calling fees. What’s more, our VoIP software is continually updated and improved to ensure you get the best service and connection possible. Why You’ll Love It We get excited about our business IP phone systems. Why? Because our innovative technology has the capacity to revise all small business phone systems around the globe as we know them. It’s that groundbreaking. Vonage Business is constantly improving our service offering, and using improvements in technology to further unify your communications. Vonage’s new Desktop feature allows you to instantly see information about a caller collected from the Internet when your phone starts ringing. How Does It Benefit My Business? The standard phone system served its purpose years ago, but with the introduction VoIP, it’s likely that land lines will eventually be weeded out. Some of the advantages of a VoIP phone include the following: A business IP phone system is much more cost-effective than traditional phone systems. An IP phone can be plugged in and a call can be placed anyplace where there is a broadband connection, allowing you to work from anywhere. Unlike most traditional phone companies, our systems contain features that are included in your low monthly rate. A VoIP phone allows you to check your voicemail messages over the Internet or attach them in an email. Are you ready to find out more about how Vonage Business can bring the power of VoIP to your business? Fill out the form above, or call one of our knowledgeable and friendly salespeople at 1-877-862-2562 today. If you’d like more information on joining the VoIP revolution, you can also take a look at our Buyer’s Guide.