Communications

Better business communications wether in or out of the office

‘Hosted Telephony’ from 1CONNECT is transforming business communications.  It enables organisations to put in place a single telephony platform that meets the needs of all employees, regardless of their location and the device they choose to use.

What is Hosted Telephony?

Hosted telephony or as it’s sometimes called Cloud telephony or VoIP (voice over IP), is a means of delivering your business communications through the internet as opposed to an on premise system and is managed in a private data centre by your provider. Here are just some of the key benefits a Hosted Telephony solution from 1Connect can bring to your business.

Hosted Telephony Advantages?

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Hunt Groups

Grouping staff extensions into hunt groups enables professional cover for calls
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CRM Integration

Integration with CRM Tools like Salesforce, Skype, Office 365 and many more
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Call Recording

Record all calls in line with MiFID2 regulations and PCI compliancy standards
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Disaster Recovery

Operate business from anywhere with access to your phone system on the go
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Number Porting

Your business phone number is important, bring it with you for free
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Customer Support

24/7/365 UK-based customer support with an average with an average wait time of 2 seconds
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Real Time Support

Access to real time reporting and contact centre analytical data
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Auto Receptionist

Efficiently direct your incoming calls to the desired extension or department

Ready to go digital? Did you know the UK PSTN network is turned off in 2025!

The telephone lines strung across the streets, the web of copper cables buried beneath your feet, some of which have been down there since the 19th century all need to change. All UK customers will be moving from the old analogue public switched telephone network (PSTN) to a fully digital hosted telephony network by the year 2025.

When you say 'all' customers, does that include me?

Yes, we mean everyone. Business and home. And it’s not just your phone services you need to think about. It’s everything else that currently uses the old phone network, all your non-voice services connected to PSTN or ISDN lines. Things like alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems, CCTV, and faxes.

PSTN has been the backbone of the UK’s phone network for decades. But we’ve all seen the dramatic changes in technology over the past few years, especially recently. It’s all around us: smartphones, apps, the cloud, Zoom, Internet of Things, and so on.

It’s now time to leap forward from PSTN to embrace the boundless possibilities of digital.

Is IP going to be better than PSTN?

1000% Yes. As an essentially 20th century technology, the PSTN network is increasingly out of kilter with the demands of modern communications. As people switch to mobile and internet communications, everyone demands much more than the traditional technologies were designed to deliver. Which is why we’re switching to IP.

2025 is still some way off, why do I need to get ready now?

You need to start planning your move today because there could be a lot to do. Remember, it’s not just about calls. You need to review everything you’re connecting to your phone lines, like door entry systems and alarms. Many businesses have already embraced an all-digital model, moving their communications to the cloud, making calls over the internet and embracing video conferencing.

You’ll link your business applications and systems with video chat, calls and collaboration, so you’re closer to customers and colleagues alike. And with everything in the cloud, you’ll be able to access systems from anywhere, working from wherever you want. 

Here are our 5 essential steps to prepare your business for the PSTN switch off (and how we can help)

Now more than ever, businesses of all sizes need robust, high-quality internet connectivity, whether it’s fixed or mobile. By their very nature, cloud-based applications demand resilient, high-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity. Digital voice and collaboration services are no different. They rely on the same high-quality internet connection to deliver crystal clear voice calls, jitter-free video conferencing, and real-time collaboration tools.

You need connectivity that’s up to the job – not just for today’s needs, but for future demands too.

Upgrading to digital voice and collaboration services presents a great opportunity to review your internet connectivity. Is it robust and resilient? Do you have enough capacity to comfortably handle today’s applications and all the new technology that’s coming down the line (the Internet of Things, for example)? What about latency? Will other applications interrupt your voice services?

Here at 1Connect we’ve got connectivity and networking covered, with a comprehensive range of access technologies, speeds, and resilience options to choose from. We can recommend the best options for you based on your situation and what you’re wanting to achieve.

Businesses often use phone lines for more than just phone calls.

Door entry systems, alarms, lift emergency lines, payment terminals, cash machines and so on can all be using your old PSTN phone lines. We call these ‘special services’. Upgrading to digital will have an impact on how these special services work, so it’s vital that you track down everything that’s running off your PSTN and ISDN lines.

Broadly speaking, you then have three options:

  • Switch the devices to an IP mode (if available)
  • Speak to your special service provider about upgrading them to an IP equivalent
  • Use an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) device, which converts the special services analogue signal to digital (IP), enabling your special service to carry on working with the new digital service.

1Connect have an increasing range of services that can help you minimise the impact of upgrading to a digital voice and collaboration service.

To get the most out of a digital phone service, you don’t just need to make sure your people know how to use it, you have to make sure they want to use it. The better informed and engaged they are, the higher your chances of squeezing every last benefit from it. If you can energise your people so they’re excited about getting their hands on the new kit, they’re more likely to help you realise those benefits.

1Connect are here to help you bring your employees up to speed. All of our services come with comprehensive user guides and support materials. 

When you’re upgrading to digital voice, don’t just rush into replacing your existing handsets with an equivalent IP model. This is a great opportunity to step back and really understand how your employees are currently using your hardware.

Maybe you don’t need to do a like-for-like replacement of all your kit? For example, as more people adopt flexible working patterns, whether that’s hot-desking in the office or working from home, giving everyone a desk phone might not be the right option for your business. Perhaps using an IP headset and softphone client is a smarter move. There’s no right or wrong answer here. It could be that a hybrid approach of headsets and handsets fits the bill for your business.

We here at 1Connect have an extensive range of IP devices and apps for you to choose from as part of your upgrade. Depending on what you’re using at the moment, you may be able to reuse some equipment with your new digital service. Ask us for advice if you’re not sure.

Upgrading to a digital phone service is about more than just doing what you do now, but digitally. Your new service will present you with new ways of working and opportunities to change the way you communicate.

Cloud-based systems generally boast far more features than you may be used to. For a start, they can easily integrate mobile devices and apps. They’ll give you detailed reporting at your fingertips, helping you gather insights about customer and employee behaviour. But above all, they’ll enable you to work differently. It’s an opportunity to re-evaluate your business, maybe introducing flexible and remote working so you can work from any device, at any location and at any time.

It’s also worth thinking about the phone lines you currently use and whether you really need to replicate every line on the new system. Decide what you’re going to do with your existing phone numbers: if your customers already know them, then it may be worth keeping them by porting them to the new service.

Webex Calling
Your business phone system in the cloud

Webex® Calling is built for an agile workforce, enabling calling anywhere and anytime. Cloud calling enables global reach without costly on-premises infrastructure. Providing scalability and efficiency, Webex Calling enables large deployments with trusted reliability. Webex Calling also offers advanced integration capabilities that utilize existing on-premises PBXs making it easier for both on-premises and cloud users to connect and experience high-quality performance.

By being in the cloud, features are delivered faster without the requirement for maintenance windows or complex upgrade processes. Webex Calling offers encrypted secure calling delivered on best-in-class cloud infrastructure. With global regulatory expertise and compliance across all markets served, the Webex cloud platform implements audited and professional security practices

Benfits to your business

Integrated collaboration

A complete seamless collaboration experience combining marketleading calling, messaging, meetings, and contact center services through one easy-to-use and secure app

Exceptional performance

Enterprise performance with trusted quality and reliability from a cloud provider you can trust

Security built in, not bolted on

Highly secure platform with industry-leading performance, integration, flexibility, scalability, and availability

Automated intelligence

Integrated with intelligent devices and seamless call hand-off between devices for any workspace and every workflow

Centralised management

Exceptional control of your cloud environment through a single-paneof-glass administrative experience

Receive more information from official Cisco accredited partners and discover how Cisco Webex can transform your business.

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What is a 'Softphone'?

A softphone is a piece of software that allows users to make telephone calls over the internet via a computer, smartphone or tablet device. It has all the features of a desk phone and mores as it expands the range of services you can access on a desk phone. Most importantly, a softphone allows you to take your work phone with you wherever you go and have data connectivity available.

Advantages of a softphone vs a desk phone

There are a number of fantastic features a softphone solution offers giving significant advantage over the traditional desk phone setup.

Presence

Softphone systems show when your team is online and offline, as well as when they are busy or in a meeting. Instead of sending a message and waiting for someone to respond – when they’re getting a coffee, away at lunch or in a meeting, you can quickly identify when someone is available or not. In addition, you can see when they’re in a meeting or on a call and reach out through instant message to see if they can respond to a quick request. Presence empowers you to make good communication decisions when reaching out to your team, thus boosting productivity.

Instant messaging

There are many ways to send a text message, but centralising communication into one stream that is managed through your softphone means it’s easy to find, search and collaborate. If you’ve ever browsed through tons of texts, emails and other services to find out the date someone sent you a file or a delivery number — you know they sent it yesterday, but can’t remember how they sent it to you, you’ll love having all your work messages and communication in one place.

Video calls

Most of us are familiar with video calls through various services on our mobile phones or laptops. But the ability to connect with a colleague through a video call on a work phone is great way to communicate. Video calls provide the flexibility you need to connect with your team and communicate through the right medium at a moment’s notice. You can also see when your team is available through presence, send an Instant Message to confirm it’s a good time and then open a video call, all on the same service. This helps to streamline your team communications effectively.

Portability

Softphones allow you to take your communication with you wherever you go. You can run calls from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. You’re not tethered to your desk, waiting for an important call. You can head to the gym, get lunch or attend an important meeting or step out just when you need to address that important call. You can also keep tabs on communication wherever you are and respond to colleagues quickly through text or a video call – wherever your travels take you.

Voicemail

Voicemails are a great improvement on softphones, allowing you to get an audio file pushed directly to your email, or as a push notification on your mobile phone. You can get transcription of the contents of the audio file. So if you’re in a meeting, you can quickly skim through the message, identify if it’s urgent and worth stepping out of the meeting, or if you would like to follow up later.

Changes

Does the idea of a few clicks in a web interface to add a new phone line seem like magic? Configurations through a cloud server system can happen anywhere with the right login credentials. You can add or remove lines, update information from wherever you are – no technical team required.

Softphone advantages for your team

Another important advantage of softphones is that they empower your team with all the expected tools of a modern workplace. Technology is advancing rapidly. And our expectations as consumers is that we should be able to access everything at our fingertips from the convenience of our smartphones. Your employees of all ages are most likely expecting more from their workplace and want a solution that allows them flexibility in the way the communicate with each other and with clients.

Some of the key features that teams love in a softphone are:

Empower your team to work efficiently with a softphone that allows them to get an instant access to all their office communication tools and collaborate easily. Modern smartphones and laptops are tools we carry with us wherever we go and softphones allow you to bring your work phone along with you, wherever your travels take you. In short, providing softphone systems allow your team to work the way they expect to.

This Is What We Do

This Is What They Say

Introducing Placetel, a part of Cisco.

Placetel + Webex is the innovative all-in-one solution for all teams and all requirements. It unites a cloud phone system with absolutely secure team messaging and online meetings in streaming quality in one single tool.

Take your business communications up to the next level with Placetel + Webex and enjoy more flexible collaboration with customers and colleagues than ever before. From any device and any location. It only takes a few clicks to switch over from computer to smartphone and office to home.

Use the more than 150 functions in the cloud phone system, for example to create individual routing plans for optimum availability in mobile or home working scenarios. Send messages and files in real time and stay connected to your team with the instant messenger. Hold online meetings in never-before-experienced Webex quality, with a practical file and desktop sharing function that allows you to collaborate as you would in the office from any location.

1Connect are the UK’s 1st ‘Placetel Master Agent’, this means you can sign up securely via our site today HERE with the added support of 1Connect and their team to support you.

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Placetel are part of Cisco. With the technology and world market leader at their side they are changing how organisations and teams will work in the future today.