Wavelink Blog

Top 5 Reasons to be Thankful for VoIP

Untitled Infographic

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year- even more than the time off work to spend with family and friends, the delicious food, amazing post-meal nap, and of course, all the football one could ever want to watch. Thanksgiving provides the opportunity to slow down from the busyness of everyday life, reflect on the past year, and think about the things in your life that you are thankful for.

At Digium, we are thankful that we get to offer and support products and services that make life easier for businesses and their employees all over the world. We are privileged to deliver communications that help save lives in hospitals, protect and serve communities in public safety organizations, and provide education in schools at all grade levels. These organizations and countless others are reaping the benefits that VoIP and Unified Communications (UC) delivers through Switchvox. To celebrate Thanksgiving and to share how companies like these have changed the way they communicate, here are the top 5 reasons to be thankful for VoIP:

  1. Cost Savings

The number one benefit of VoIP and the one companies are most thankful for is the cost savings. We’ve done entire blog posts and webinars on the cost savings of VoIP, but there are a few major savings to highlight. Modern VoIP-enabled systems like Switchvox allow businesses to take advantage of SIP trunking, which eliminates the cost associated with expensive PRIs or analog lines and reduces their monthly phone bill up to 70%. VoIP systems also allow companies to save money on travel expenses due to powerful mobility and collaboration tools that connect employees regardless of where they happen to work. In addition, Switchvox includes all the communications features that companies need in one system and removes the need to pay 3rd party companies for features like call recording, conferencing and more.

  1. Mobility

We live in a mobile world today and VoIP connects companies to their remote employees in ways that were never possible 5 years ago. Today, your mobile employees can take advantage of the same communications features as your in-office employees – allowing them to be just as productive and maintain a sense of team with all your employees. The mobile applications available today provide this connectivity while still giving the employee the ability to separate their work and personal life. For managers, mobile employees can be monitored and held to the same standards as in-office employees since analytics can be seen for both in-office and mobile employees.

  1. Cloud

 The fastest-growing segment of the communications industry today is Cloud-based or hosted phone systems. Companies are moving their phone system to the Cloud and taking advantage of the simpler management, advanced features, tax and cost savings of OpEx, and easy multi-site connectivity that hosted systems like Switchvox Cloud offer. Now businesses can spend their limited IT resources on technology activities that generate revenue instead of wasting budget on phone system management.

  1. Collaboration

 As teleworking matures into a practical option for employees of most companies, and business become more geographically dispersed, it becomes increasingly difficult to get teams together to move projects forward. The collaboration tools available with VoIP systems solve this growing problem. Features like conferencing, instant messaging, and video are bringing teams together regardless of location and making it easy to share and review information.

  1. Ease of Administration

 Phone systems before VoIP were often a nightmare for IT departments. The administrative tools were cumbersome, illogical, and difficult to use. Even the most basic functions took too long and caused frustration. Once IT finally got the system to do what it wanted, the usage rate of features were low by their users because they were too difficult to use. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Switchvox provides an extremely simple administration portal that most anyone with basic computer knowledge can manage. User features are simple, and your company can actually take advantage of the benefits they bring in real world situations.

As you can see, there are so many reasons to be thankful for VoIP and what it provides businesses- and this is just the tip of the iceberg. To see how VoIP can help your company save money, become more efficient and connected, sign up for a personal demo of Switchvox.


From our family to yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Eversheds – International law firm with a Meru Fortinet Wireless Solution

Eversheds’, an international law firm, point of view with a Meru Fortinet Wireless Solution.

4 Ways UC Phone Systems Impact Your Monthly Communications Bill

Woman paying the billsCompanies are always looking for ways to be more profitable. Generally speaking, the formula for higher profitability is simple: sell more, while spending less. Companies operating smartly have team members that help drive profits by constantly evaluating their expenses to see how they can do more with less. Unfortunately, some extreme cutbacks (workforce cuts) can bring hardships like higher workloads for employees. Other cost-conscience decisions that come when evaluating new systems and applications can result in being forced to substitute more advanced systems for cheaper, feature-deficient options that do just enough to keep the business moving forward. However, it doesn’t always have to be this way. Moving to a Unified Communications (UC) system flips this common idea upside down and allows businesses to simultaneously lower their monthly communications bills AND reap additional benefits. Here are four ways that UC impacts your monthly phone bill.

Single Connection

In the past, companies were forced to pay for an Internet or data connection, as well as a connection that supported their voice communications. UC allows businesses to consolidate these physical connections to the outside world with the use of SIP trunking. SIP trunking uses a company’s existing data connection to deliver voice. Now, companies can eliminate costly PRI, T1, and analog connections, and drastically reduce expenses, overnight.

Lower Rates

SIP trunking also delivers significantly less expensive rates than traditional telecom providers. When it comes to the high cost of traditional phone service, it’s often said: “40 percent of your phone bill is actually your phone bill.” That’s because of the regulatory fees and taxes that are bolted on to the final bill. On top of the rate reduction, SIP trunking is not restricted by the same government regulations and those savings are passed straight to the consumer. Many studies show that moving to SIP trunking alone can reduce your phone bill up to 50 percent.


Eliminate Third-party Feature Add-Ons

Many companies that currently deploy an older, legacy system are solving their communications needs with third-party add-ons and services. For example, a company may need audio conferencing, call recording or fax; so they end up paying additional monthly fees for these features that can add up to hundreds of dollars a month. A solid UC system, like Switchvox, eliminates the need for paying extra for these services. A good UC solution will typically include conferencing, call recording, faxing, and much more. Switchvox is unique in that it offers these features for every user at no additional cost.

Delivering Mobility

One large expense for many companies today is enabling mobility for their employees. If an employee needs to be mobile and stay connected to their customers and other employees, it’s commonplace for a company to either give them a business mobile phone or pay their phone bill. This expense goes away with UC. Switchvox even offers the Switchvox Softphone for iOS and Android that gives a mobile user complete connectivity on their own personal device. Users enjoy full call control, presence management, and visibility into other users; and the calls are made through the company system over WiFi, so it costs the user nothing! In addition, the calls made through the Switchvox Softphone show the users work caller ID information, allowing them to separate their business and personal life.


As you can see, quality UC systems like Switchvox allow companies to drastically reduce their monthly communications cost while actually INCREASING the number of benefits for their users. A recent Webtorials study found that “Enterprises can reduce their traditional telecom bills by up to 75 percent through SIP trunking, trunking centralization, and the deployment of VoIP.” Add those savings up over a 12-month period and you can easily justify the upfront costs needed to deploy a UC system.


To see how your company can benefit from the cost savings that UC delivers, check out our ROI calculator and get a personalized report on what UC will save your company.

Desk Phones vs Softphones: Today’s Mobile Business Environment Needs Both

Desk Phone vs. Soft PhoneWho thinks the desk phone is dead? It depends on whom you ask. Analysts, journalists, and businesses will lean one way or the other, depending on two factors: what they are selling, and which one they prefer using themselves. The fact that one can argue either side fairly compellingly says something in itself: there is a need for both.

Mobility’s Role in Softphone Use

According to Mashable, 3 out of 5 workers say they do not need to be in the office to be productive. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), softphones, and mobile sharing apps make it possible to take your work with you anywhere. You have to wonder if these employees were used to working away from the office (preceding softphones) and suffering from the lack of communications prior to the advances in mobility? Or, has the number of remote workers significantly increased due to the availability and adoption of mobile communications options? Honestly, it’s probably a mix of both. One thing is certain… research shows the mobile workforce continues to grow, even if it’s not completely taking over the traditional norm of the 9-to-5 desk workers. And this move away from the desktop is influencing softphone use. Sure, you can use a softphone at your desk with a headset (and many do), but the rise in mobility continues to play an important role in the increased usage of softphones.

The Desk Phone Is Still Alive

Even with all the hype surrounding mobility and softphones, there is still a need for the desk phone. A global survey by Forrester indicates that 7 out of 10 workers still spend 4 to 5 days a week at an assigned desk with 88% of phone calls still made from a desk. The same survey indicates that more than half of work-related calls are actually made using a desk phone. In a recent Pew Research Center survey of currently employed adults with Internet access, 35% say that desk phones are “very important” to their jobs, while only 24% say the same of mobile phones. Also, Enterprise Connect Co-Chair Eric Krapf claims millennials actually prefer the desk phone, which he says serves as a symbol of job security for the generation.

Which Will It Be?

The desk phone vs. softphone debate was brought up in a Digium Live interview with Rob Arnold. Arnold is the Principal Analyst for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), one of the biggest business units of Frost Sullivan. “We look at how people are working, and what tools they are working with,” Arnold explains. When asked about desk phones, he says:

“People are not throwing away their existing investments. In fact, our research shows a single-digit increase in the volume of IP desk phones shipped over the last couple of years, and we expect to see that happen with a small incremental increase year-after-year. In 2014, just about 20 million IP phones shipped globally. That has really been driven by the increase in SIP phones and IP media phones. What that is telling us is that the number of devices per user is actually growing. So users do have mobile phones, but they’re not ditching their desk phones. This is also because these newer phones, and the back-end systems behind those phones, are delivering more value to the desktop in terms of functionality.”

Softphones enable remote workers to have access to the same features available on their desk phones – bridging the gap between desk phones and mobile phones. According to a survey by Software Advice, the advantages of using a softphone include ease of working remotely and ease of software integrations. The same survey also found that the main advantages of a desk phone included reliability and audio quality. Here are some more key findings:

  1. Among organizations with VoIP service, desk phones are still the most widely adopted phone type, used by 64% of the sample.
  2. A majority of respondents (54%) say they’re equally comfortable using softphones and traditional hardware phones to communicate.
  3. Desk phones remain popular even among employees who spend half of their week (or more) working remotely.
  4. Approximately 74% of respondents who spend at least half their week working remotely use a softphone on a daily basis.

While mobility is increasingly considered a business-critical function in a modern unified communications (UC) solution, it’s worth noting that oftentimes the mobility feature is one of the hidden “gotchas” that drive up costs. Many providers charge an extra fee to include mobility, and charge that fee on a per-user and annual basis, adding thousands of dollars to your communications costs. For a better ROI, look for vendors that include the mobility feature for every user at no additional cost.

As the above results (and other research) shows, all IP devices play a role within today’s business environment. If your business chooses a premises-based UC phone system, having a mobility feature and softphone option for employees allows your team the flexibility to work when, how, and where they want, without losing the functionality that’s inherent with the office phone system.

When deciding whether or not the ability for employees to work remotely is worthwhile, consider some of the many benefits it offers. Not only does the flexibility to work remotely increase productivity, it can also decrease overall costs. Additionally, having a workforce that is enabled to work off-site is often part of any disaster recovery plan to keep your business functioning in the event of a natural disaster or any type of event that could disrupt business at your primary site.

The mixed use of desk phones and softphones is the popular resolution due to the variety within the workplace and the need for both mobility and reliability. Wherever your allegiance lies, carefully plan your communications strategy based on the real needs of your employees, which may very well be a combination of both desk phones and softphones.

A Switchvox Buyers Process | Dauphin Electric

This week on Digium Live, Brian visits with Dauphin Electric’s Kurt Mark and Randy Bornman. This Digium reseller is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA.

• Dauphin Datacom and Dauphin Electric
• Dauphin DataCom’s partnership with Digium
• The buyers process
• Features that companies are looking for in a phone system
• Recommended evaluation process
• Why Switchvox stands out
• Cost savings for customers
• Deployment challenges
• Network considerations

Read about Digium Live! episodes on the Digium Blog: http://blogs.digium.com

Digium®, Inc., provides Asterisk custom communications and Switchvox Unified Communications (UC) business phone systems that deliver enterprise-class features at a price businesses can afford. More information is available at: www.digium.com and www.asterisk.org.

Why dedicated workplace mobile devices are vital to information security

The use of mobile devices in the workplace is the new normal for employees of most businesses. Personal smartphones or company-issued devices can provide easy communications with staff no matter where they are. Yet the use of such devices in the workplace has raised a number of organisational risks. To protect companies from these risks, organisations should consider using dedicated workplace mobile devices.

Read More

Marketing with Unified Communications

In this week’s episode of UC Tech Chat, Julie and Brian will explore the benefits of Marketing with Unified Communications.

They’ll discuss:
· Efficiency of UC with marketing
· How UC helps generate leads and inbound traffic
· Outbound marketing benefits of UC
· The power of UC analytics

UC Tech Chat is a biweekly web series featuring unbranded topical information helpful to small to medium-size businesses and technology enthusiasts. The show is hosted by Digium’s Product Marketing Manager, Brian Ferguson, Inside Sales Manager, Jason Mefford and Marketing Communications (MARCOM) Director, Julie Webb. It takes a light humorous look at trends in business communications and offers unique insight from the hosts, all seasoned UC experts.

Read about UC Tech Chat episodes on the Digium Blog: http://blogs.digium.com

Digium®, Inc., provides Asterisk custom communications and Switchvox Unified Communications (UC) business phone systems that deliver enterprise-class features at a price businesses can afford. More information is available at: www.digium.com and www.asterisk.org.

Shopping for Phone System Vendors: Part 2- Compare Options

In Part 1 of this blog series: Shopping for Phone System Vendors, we discussed the importance of understanding your business needs before contacting vendors, and the steps to take to ensure you know what type of system you really want. Once you have these business needs written down, the next step is contacting phone system vendors. As you are communicating with them about the various system options for your company, it’s recommended you incorporate the following into your due-diligence process:

1. Complete a side-by-side feature comparison between vendor solutions. This is especially important once you narrow down your system preferences to the top two or three vendors. The ‘little’ details or differences between solutions could end up making a big (and costly) difference. Ask for clarification on which features are included in initial pricing and which features are considered “add-ons.” For example, there are business-critical features for which some vendors make you pay more, like mobility. Additional licensing and support fees can also drive up costs, and are not always obvious in an initial quote for a new system. Request a complete print out of features and the add-on costs associated with each.

2. Make a list of the pros and cons of multiple phone system options before narrowing down specific vendor options. Today, there are tangible, budget-friendly options that include traditional on-premises phone systems, cloud-based systems, and even open source systems, like Asterisk. Each option can provide advantages and risks. Digium provides all three alternatives, so our VoIP specialists are able to help businesses evaluate the following types of systems:

  • Custom, open source solutions (Asterisk), which can provide great flexibility, especially if you have access to dedicated in-house IT resources.
  • Out-of-the-box, on-premises solutions, like Switchvox ,which offer business-critical UC features at an affordable price. This is particularly appealing to those businesses that still want or need the flexibility of a custom solution, but may have limited in-house IT resources, or prefer to use those IT resources for other projects.
  • Hosted PBX systems, which put your UC phone system in the cloud – this is an ideal fit for smaller companies that aren’t ready to invest in the infrastructure of a typical on-premises system, or do not have in-house IT resources to manage the system, but still need the features and flexibility that you typically get with on-prem. Be sure to look for equally robust hosted options, such as Switchvox Cloud.
  • A hybrid solution, which allows a larger corporate office to house an on-premises system while implementing Cloud solutions to their smaller office locations.

3. Ask about post-sales support, which can eat into your budget long after the system is installed. When comparing support options, consider the strength of the vendor’s channel program, which can determine whether or not there is an approved reseller available to help with on-site installation and on-going support. Also, ask about access to online training and support – which could help not only reduce the long-term cost of your phone system, but also help ensure you and your employees use the system to its fullest capabilities by understanding and using all or most of the UC features.

Additional Tips:

Ask vendors for specific references. If you are shopping for a phone system for your school, ask for the number of a school system IT manager who currently uses the solution you are evaluating.



A great way to browse over vendors and products in the market is to attend conferences where several of them will be gathered. This allows you to bring your list of business requirements and speak directly with a sales associate, while experiencing the system hands-on.

What are the advantages of IP phones?

This week on UC Tech Chat, Julie and Brian discuss technical advantages and premium features that allow IP Phones to help your business.

Standard features of an IP phone
Premium features of IP phones
An IP phones most popular features
Industries that benefit from using IP Phones

Read about UC Tech Chat episodes on the Digium Blog: http://blogs.digium.com

Shopping for Phone System Vendors: Part 1- Assess Your Business Needs


Here’s a very common scenario: An IT buyer is looking into buying a new phone system, so he contacts a vendor, tells them what system they currently have, and asks for recommendations. The vendor then attempts to upsell the buyer, and the buyer feels pressured to purchase more than his business really needs because he didn’t take the time to figure out what the exact requirements were in the first place. He ends up purchasing a system that doesn’t align with his business’s needs, and spends more than he wanted to.

Phone systems are one of the most important technology investments your company will make. The right system can fuel and support company growth by offering scalability and flexibility; but investing in the wrong system can bog down your productivity and impede growth. As the first step in the buying process, research your business’s needs and capabilities before reaching out to vendors. Doing so will save time, money, resources, and headaches.

(To see if it’s time to upgrade your phone system, check out this article.)

To understand your business needs before comparing phone vendors, make a list with the following information:

  1. What is the budget allocated for this project?  While there is nothing wrong with blue-sky thinking, having financial parameters early on will help narrow down your search. Do you have the CapEx for an on-premises solution, or would you prefer the OpEx route? Do you have a preferred billing method?
  2. What IT resources are available within your company?  Can you manage an on-premises IP PBX or would an off-site, managed Cloud solution suite you better? Do you need a Value Added Reseller (VAR) to help with the selection, deployment, and ongoing maintenance of your system?
  3. Voice applications – Do you have a call center/automatic call distributor (ACD)? How many remote workers do you have? How many total employees do you have?
  4. What features or capabilities are important to your users and management? If you can list some problems you are currently having with your system or the flow of business, a vendor should be able to match them with features that will serve as solutions.
  5. Network readiness- What are your growth plans? What kind of internet connection do you have? How many ports do you need per user? There are certain aspects of your current network that need to be considered to ensure that you are capable of delivering high-quality voice, video, and UC features to your office. Take our VoIP Network Readiness Test to assess your network.

Once you fully understand your business needs, you will be better prepared to choose the right business phone system for you, your employees, and your customers.

Part 2 of this blog series will go over the next steps in the phone system buying process, including: researching vendors, comparing features, and understanding the various types of business phone systems.

Register now for our upcoming webinar to ensure that your next

business communications vendor is the right choice for your organization.

Avoiding Vendor Gotchas When Shopping for your Next Phone System