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10 Digital Buzzwords You Should Know

#1 Cloud Computing

The “cloud” is the talk of the town, but its meaning remains cloudy. Cloud computing describes the approach of making numerous applications available over a computer network without having these services installed on a local server. Many companies have already discovered the cloud for themselves, and manage, store and share data through cloud-based assets. Through a virtual telephone system cloud-based telephoning has become possible. Here, the classic PBX – Private Branch Exchange with a local land line or mobile network connections – is coupled to the Internet and allows web-based calls with virtual cloud telephone systems and VoIP phones.

#2 Industry 4.0

Since the 1970s, information technology has moved into business. Desktop PCs, the use of office IT and the first computer-based automation revolutionized the industry. For Industry 4.0, it is not the computer that is the core technology, but the Internet. Digitization of production is gaining a new quality with worldwide and rapid networking across company or national borders. The Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communication and intelligent production facilities are heralding a new era – the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. Key figure: by the year 2020, 40 billion euros are planned as annual investments by German industry in the Industry 4.0 applications (source: BMWi).

#3 Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the vision of a global information society infrastructure that allows physical and virtual objects to be networked and collaborated through information and communication technologies. Integrating device and sensor data with Analytics, Big Data and other enterprise applications is a core concept behind the Internet of Things. This integration is the key to numerous benefits and ultimately to sustainable growth in the marketplace.

#4 Machine Learning

In computer science, machine learning refers to a process of teaching computers independently generate knowledge from experience and find solutions to new problems. Devices, web services and any related “thing” from the Internet of Things generate large amounts of data. Machine learning provides the rationale for this data and makes it possible to predict future results and uncover patterns which can lead to new insights. In the past, machine learning was limited to companies that could afford data scientists and large investments in infrastructures. Nowadays, machine learning is available via cloud – that is, to everyone – and can easily be used through the browser.

#5 Digital Workplace

Software and communication solutions that are accessible from all corners of the world – thanks to the cloud – gives the modern employee an opportunity to no longer be tied to the desktop. The digital workplace (Workplace 4.0) thus allows employees access all relevant information and resources within a central environment – regardless of time, location and device. With the advancing digitization of the industry, cloud-based business applications, such as Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) solutions, will increasingly act as intelligent information assistants, providing useful information during searches and contacts.

#6 Agile working

With the topic “Digital Workplace” many associate new methods of cooperation and work organization. Keywords like Scrum, Design Thinking and Kanban cannot be missing here. Agile methods rely on flexibility rather than on elaborate documentation techniques. In addition, agile methods and agile processes are always characterized by an iterative approach: developed prototypes are constantly revised in regular process cycles, the so-called iterations. Agile development processes thus focus on short-term results and therefore enable rapid adaptability to new framework conditions. Important for all agile methods is the self-organization of the teams.

#7 Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a computer-aided extension of the reality perception. This information can appeal to all human sensory modalities. Often, however, augmented reality is understood as only the visual presentation of information, i.e. the supplementation of images or videos with computer-generated additional information or virtual objects by means of fade-in or overlay. In contrast to virtual reality (VR), in which the user completely immerses himself in a virtual world, in the augmented reality the presentation of additional information remains in the foreground. Virtual reality and reality itself are thus combined or partially overlaid.

#8 Cyber Security

Cyber Security means protecting computer systems from hardware and software damage, as well as from damage resulting from the failure or misuse of the services. However, high data security is more than possible with the cloud-based digital workplace: through automatic fraud detection and avoidance, even large amounts of data can be safely and reliably transmitted and synchronized. To stay protected against phone fraud, it is also recommended to periodically change the password, disable remote access, and block high-priced services such as premium rate services.

#9 Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of computer science that deals with the investigation of mechanisms of intelligent human behavior. For this, simulations with some artificial artifacts are conducted, using special computer programs. With intelligent and self-learning systems, companies can not only manage the swelling mountains of data better, but also derive insights and options for action in real time. For example, you can record and analyze incoming and outgoing calls in your company. At the end of the conversation, you’ll receive automated feedback that can help you make your future conversations even more effective. Such a solution is also compatible with a virtual cloud telephone system.

#10 UCC (Unified Communications and Collaboration)

Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) combines communication tools such as telephony (VoIP), e-mail, web, audio and video conferencing, instant messaging, presence information and other collaboration tools in one user interface. UCC products can be used both privately and at the workplace. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is the cloud variant of these applications, meaning that services can be made available from the cloud to enterprises. UCaaS is considered reliable, highly available and offers flexibility and scalability for key applications.

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With social collaboration to digital transformation

Social Collaboration , i. e. the use of modern collaboration tools for new forms of intra-company, is an important precursor to digital transformation for many companies.

Facebook, YouTube or WhatsApp – social networks have changed the way we communicate and interact with each other immensely. Also within businesses: With Skype for BusinessChatter or Team-One tools and platforms have established themselves there that accelerate innovation processes and sustainably and improve corporate communications. Just how much social networks have gained significance as a strategic element of digital transformation is illustrated in the German Social Collaboration Study.

Social Collaboration: Driving force for more efficiency and an innovation-friendly corporate culture

According to the current study, social networking has been shown to increase labor efficiency and enable employees to meet today’s challenges in a targeted manner. In addition, modern collaboration tools support new forms of cooperation and change the basic behaviors and attitudes of employees, above all by strengthening innovation orientation and the feeling of belonging together within the workforce – this is the central statement of the joint study by Technische Universität Darmstadt and the management consultancy Campana & Schott.

According to the study, the efficiency effects of social collaboration are in a complex interaction with corporate cultural factors. For example, an Enterprise Social Network ( ESN) increases work efficiency the more intensively the workforce deploys the network in everyday work. In numbers: According to the study organizers, ESN users work up to 42 percent more efficiently than non-users, depending on the application scenario.

The existing corporate culture also influences the success of social collaboration projects. The previous year’s survey would have clearly demonstrated this connection.

And yet another result from which direct conclusions could be drawn for practical implementation in the company: Wherever collaboration tools from the Cloud are available and used intensively, the efficiency gain is up to 13 percent greater than with conventional tool provisioning.

However, a large part of the potential demonstrated in the study remains largely untapped: On a scale between zero and three, the average social collaboration maturity level in companies was currently 1.14. Zero stands for exclusively conventional technologies and analogue forms of cooperation, while the three indicate the consistent use of advanced collaboration solutions.

The most important results of the Social Collaboration Study 2017 as infographics:

http://www.collaboration-studie.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Infografik-Social-Collaboration_intern_800px-2017.jpg

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Workplace 4.0

After mechanization, mass production and automation, the economy is on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution. Driven by the internet, real and virtual worlds are converging into an Internet of Things. Yet what should not be lost sight of is the workplace of the future!

Industry 4.0 stands for the fourth industrial revolution, in which production is interlinked with state-of-the-art information and communication technology. The driving force behind this development is the rapidly increasing digitalization of the economy and society. It has a lasting effect on the way we will produce and work in the future. Those who are not prepared in this respect will not be able to compete, according to the Federal Association of German Industry ( BDI).

Digitalization has long since ceased to be a future scenario. Bit by bit it changes our everyday life, our leisure time and above all business life. Every company, whether large corporation or SME, must change – in almost every area of the business. We believe that, in all these considerations, the digital workplace must also be taken into account. After all, the Internet of Things ( IoT) and the digitalization of many processes and procedures are also changing the working world. Or to put it more clearly: Industry 4.0 even makes the digital workplace indispensable!

The digital workplace of Industry 4.0

Software and communication solutions that are accessible from all corners of the world thanks to the cloud make it possible that the ”modern employee” is no longer tied to their desk. Ever-more intelligent applications that we work with and that include more and more functions make it possible for us to do more from home or on the road than just checking e-mails. For instance, the sales employee can check how much of the ”XY” product is still available and when the customer to whom he is currently traveling last ordered what quantity of it.

The digital workplace thus allows employees to access all relevant information and resources within a central environment – regardless of time, location and device. As the digitalization of industry progresses, cloud-based business applications, such as those of market-leading cloud communications solutions provider BroadSoft, will increasingly act as intelligent information tools that provide useful information for research and contact calls.

A digital workplace solution is also very attractive for the employer because it promises:

  • increased employee productivity
  • promotion of new working models
  • increased flexibility and agility
  • improved access to existing knowledge
  • promotion of joint decision-making
  • increase in employee satisfaction
  • and much more

What will the workplace of the future look like?

The advanced workstation enables the barrier-free and easy use of the various applications. In today’s and tomorrow’s job market, there are more and more potential employees who are very skilled in dealing with the digital world and who are not afraid of it. At the same time, this new generation of employees expects more meaning and independence in their work. ”Companies must now think very clearly about how to stay ahead in this rapidly changing environment. Existing employees must be retained, new employees must be attracted and at the same time the way of working must be changed in such a way that the ultimate goal of a digital enterprise becomes attainable”, warned Hanns Köhler-Krüner, Research VP with the US-American market research enterprise Gartner, already two years ago in Computerwoche, a weekly periodical for CIOs and IT managers.

What a comprehensive digital workplace needs to do is summarized by Salesforce, an enterprise cloud computing solution provider, in five points:

  1. IT integration: Business-relevant applications and collaboration functions are merged. Data from all software systems used (e. g. ERP, CRM, BI etc.) are brought together in a central platform, i. e. a portal. Through his browser, the user has access to all applications intended for him.
  2. Mobile access to business applications: Mobility management gives employees seamless access to business applications from anywhere, anytime. This increases productivity and collaboration with colleagues, partners and customers. These applications also support virtual teams in a coherent and efficient collaboration. They provide them with the right information when they need it. Knowledge management software and collaboration platforms are crucial for this. They are used to store project documents centrally. Team members can access, read, modify, and collaborate in real time at any time.
  3. Suitable access devices: Employees must have the best access to their digital workplace anywhere, whether via smartphone, tablet or PC.
  4. Powerful communication infrastructure: Connectivity, both in the office and on the road, is crucial for the functionality of the digital workplace. The functionality of communications technology as well as business and collaboration applications are crucial. Enterprise networks must be able to handle simultaneous voice, video and data transmissions both in and out of the enterprise.
  5. Data security: The convergence of cloud computing, social media and mobile computing has put the issue of data security on the global agenda. However, modern technologies meanwhile allow secure storage of company data in the cloud and secure mobile access to it.

What are you waiting for?

The workplace of the future is not a revolution, but a fusion of many individual wishes and objectives in a company that already exists or will exist in the future. Whoever wants to prepare for the Workplace 4.0 should therefore definitely focus on the (careful) planning of the digital workstation. Because the changes that are coming not only harbor challenges, but also immense opportunities. A blog article on agile-unternehmen.de gets to the heart of the chances of the digital working world – in terms of automation, innovation and a better work-life balance as well as more fun at work.

Conclusion: The digital workplace cannot wait any longer! For further orientation you will find our ”Digital Workstation Toolbox”. You will also learn about the benefits of our cloud-based digital workstation solutions.

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Why IT managers choose video conferencing

Video conferencing is increasingly becoming a widespread and efficient form of business communication. Companies like to use it to efficiently establish communication geographically dispersed teams between sales, marketing, product management, engineers and management between the company’s head office and its subsidiaries. But also in external communication, video conferences (or conferencing) are the method of choice when it comes to face-to-face communication between customers, business partners, suppliers or investors.

Half of all IT managers already rely on video conferencing today

In a recent study of 2,700 IT decision-makers, the market research institute Ovum has found that 49% of all respondents currently operate a video conferencing solution and another 26% plan to deploy it in the next 12 months or 12% in the next 24 months.

The 3 most important reasons for using video conferencing

The main reasons for using video conferencing are all based on a common goal: Increased efficiency.

Cost savings

Cost savings are the most important reason for using video conferencing. Above all, it is about travel expenses: If you add up the corresponding amounts, i.e. transport costs (car, taxi, train or plane), hotel costs, daily allowances and expenses, you quickly come up with an enormous yearly cost block.

Increase in productivity

Consider how much preparation time you need to invest for an appointment, e. g. the time ”from door to door”, which actually has nothing to do with the meeting itself. This means that a one-hour customer appointment with travel, parking lot search, etc. quickly turns into a 2-3-hour block of time. With a video conference, it’s just ”one click away”. You clarify all important points with your contact directly from your desk and use the time you save with it to better serve the customer instead.

Promoting cooperation

”I desperately need some information from Mr. Maier. He’s in Building 3 on the second floor. And it’s raining outside. So, I won’t run there now, but send him a short mail ”Does this behavior sound familiar? This means that there is no collaboration or teamwork. And optimal solutions are certainly not created this way. You should sit down together at a table and weigh all the arguments against one another. This is possible with virtual collaboration and video conferencing.

Aligning IT investments with corporate strategy

For the IT decision-maker, the following aspects are of particular importance: How can I optimally align our IT investments with the corporate strategy? How can IT save costs and make operations more effective, but at the same time provide optimal support for operational processes and contribute to profitability?

Not gut feeling, but hard facts: Increased efficiency through video conferencing

IT decision-makers rightly do not rely on their gut instinct, but want to and must be able to substantiate their decisions. In recent years, several studies have looked at the impact of virtual collaboration and video conferencing in companies and come to a unanimous conclusion: Inside Communication (2012) has found that collaboration in the project has improved by 37%. McKinsey (2012) adds that it has improved the enterprise-wide collaboration with partners by 20%, increasing the speed of information retrieval.

The telephone call is yesterday, the video conference is what counts today

Numerous IT decision-makers have already discovered a wide variety of ways to introduce video conferencing in their company’s departments and thus make it available to a large number of employees. There are a number of successful use cases:

Use case: Video conferences in sales

Account managers no longer support important customers with a telephone call, but instead rely on regular support via video conferencing in order to personalize the customer experience and thus build up greater trust.

Use case: Video conferences in consulting

When it comes to bringing the customer advisor or project manager together with a specialist in a decisive step, video conferencing is the method of choice.

Use case: Video conferences in customer service

Many support hotlines, help desks and call centers have begun to serve their customers via video conferencing to ensure a positive customer experience. Customer satisfaction surveys clearly show that the customer feels much better looked after when they see the face of the person that solves their problem. This promotes proximity to the customer and creates not only trust but also customer loyalty.

Use case: Video conferences in Human Resources

HR uses video conferencing for interviews. Staff training courses via video conferencing, for example, are also popular and can be used to reach employees from different locations with one appointment.

The range of industries that successfully use video conferencing to expand their offerings and reach more customers is huge:

Use case: Video conferences in education

Universities and further education institutions have developed their own offers in the field of online telelearning in order to be able to offer lectures, lectures and seminars on a decentralized basis. Imagine the opportunities this entails: They are no longer limited to the lecture hall, which threatens to burst at the seams, but broadcast the event via video conference. The event takes place in Mainz, but participants can log in from all over the world.

Use case: Video conferences in health care

In the health care sector, there have been excellent experiences with online consultation sessions, in which the patient is connected to a doctor via video conferencing and can make an initial diagnosis. At a later stage, a specialist can also be consulted by another hospital.

The only challenge: Bad Hair Day

As you can see, there is a very large number of efficient application possibilities for companies. However, video conferencing also brings with it a new challenge. ”Today I don’t have an external appointment, so it’s just yesterday’s shirt again”, or we all know the so-called ”bad hair day” when your hair just won’t do what you want it to. You should think about this laissez-faire behavior in the future: Your customer sees (almost) everything.

One more thing…

By the way: If you are looking for a video conferencing solution for your business that meets all the functional requirements for successful virtual collaboration, then take a look at our Skype for Business offering : The perfect tool for audio and video conferencing, desktop sharing, online meetings, chats or any of the many other possibilities of virtual collaboration – directly and easily from the desktop, even if your conversation partners are spread all over the world! And the best part is: We host the tool for you in the German Cloud. That means you don&t have to worry about anything more than the user configuration. Well, except for bad hair days, but we’ve already talked about that. Of course, we would also happy to provide advice on that too.

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Fax connection with VoIP: How to make it right

Our customers are affected to a varying extent by the deactivation of ISDN, depending on whether their existing telephone system is only running on ISDN or whether the new IP standard (VoIP) is already supported. When migrating from ISDN to VoIP or cloud-based telephony, the question arises sooner or later: What do I do with my analog fax machine and how can I best integrate it into my new VoIP telephony?

Within the scope of our VoIP consulting, three scenarios occur particularly frequently:

Analog fax to IP telephone system

The customer already uses an IP-capable telephone system at their site, to which they have connected their analog fax machine. They can continue to use this telephone system without any problems, as it is already IP-capable. All they need to replace their ISDN connection is a SIP trunk, i.e. an IP-based telephone system connection (e.g. SIP Business). There’s no change in their fax machine: They connect their fax machine to their IP telephone system and can continue to use it as usual.

Analog fax to cloud telephone system

The customer switches from an ISDN telephone system to a cloud telephone system, but does not want to do without their analog fax machine. After successfully migrating from ISDN to the cloud telephone system, the following must be observed: In order to continue to use their fax machine, need an ATA ( analog telephone adapter) that connects the fax machine to the cloud telephone system.With this option, they can also use fax-to-mail and receive incoming fax messages conveniently sent by e-mail. Outgoing fax messages are sent as before via the fax machine.

Fax solution for cloud phone system

The customer switches to a cloud telephone system, but also has a fax solution at their site that they want to continue using. There are two different cases:

  1. If this fax solution is already IP-enabled, nothing will change for them when they switch to cloud-based telephony. They can connect their IP-enabled fax solution directly to the cloud telephone system and use the usual functionality.
  2. If their fax solution is analog, they need an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) to connect the fax solution to the cloud telephone system. With the ATA, they can also use the complete range of functions of the fax solution.

Conclusion: What should you pay particular attention to?

If you want to use an analog fax machine even after switching to VoIP, you need an ATA.

It is particularly important that all the components you use (ATA, SIP trunk and cloud PBX) support the T. 38 protocol. T. 38 is a protocol that allows fax messages to be sent over data networks. T. 38 is used to convert fax signal tones because fax data cannot be sent over data networks in the same way as voice signals.

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International locations: Reduce telephony costs and increase data protection

Companies with locations in different countries often have the problem that for international locations they are dependent on a telephone system of a provider from the respective country with corresponding national telephone numbers. This can entail significant risks for your company in terms of compliance, data protection and telephony costs.

We will show you how to best manage this situation, increasing data protection, ensuring compliance, improving compatibility and saving costs.

Each site has had its own telephony solution so far

An exemplary situation could be as follows: In Germany, the company’s head office has provider A for its telephony services, its branch office in Switzerland is with provider B and its colleagues in Austria with provider C.

Problems with compliance, compatibility, data protection

As a consequence, this means that different telephone systems in the same company are working side by side. We are well aware of the unavoidable side effects: System breakdowns, compatibility and interface issues, data protection and encryption uncertainties. In addition, each site must configure and maintain its own telephone system.

High call costs due to international calls within the company

In addition, there are considerable call costs: Calls between your company locations count as international calls and are charged at the corresponding rates. The weekly update call between team members quickly becomes a cost trap.

Worldwide telephony with one and the same provider

The scenario, which we have described here as an example for the DACH region, can be transferred at will, depending on where your company’s locations are distributed. One can imagine, however, what the data protection regulations at a location, e. g. in South Africa, are like or what the costs of a telephone call between Bangkok and Munich are.

Strong customer need: Connecting international locations

Many customers have told us about their problem that they are looking for an efficient solution to this situation: They want to integrate international locations into their VoIP telephony architecture, but have not yet found a provider that makes this possible.

With our new product SIP Business International we are closing this gap. With SIP Business International you can connect company locations in more than 50 countries with the respective national number ranges of technically identical VoIP infrastructures.

Reliable solutions for international locations sought

Companies that operate globally need reliable solutions. Such solutions only work reliably if the entire communication infrastructure is homogeneously designed and no ”hand knitted” special solutions with new vulnerable interfaces are required.

SIP Business International at a glance:

  • Your complete telephony solution is with the same provider: no more system crashes or compatibility problems
  • Free internal calls between your company locations
  • With the Euro-Flatrate, you can make calls up to 62% cheaper with external calls.
  • Increase of data protection: German data protection guidelines apply
  • All services are hosted in Germany
  • Your internal calls are protected by high-security encryption (TLS & SRTP)
  • Microsoft certified: Ideal for Skype for Business
  • Porting previous foreign numbers without problems
  • Minimize administration: Central configuration of your telephone system
  • Only one single phone bill

Cost advantages through free internal calls

The biggest advantage: In the future, international locations will be able to use SIP Business International to make free phone calls to each other. To maximize the savings potential, simply book a Euro-Flatrate from 10€ per month: This covers your European external calls.

Milestone for German SMEs

toplink CEO Jens Weller: ”We meet our customers’ needs by internationalizing the VoIP- and cloud-based telephone network, enabling free calls or fax communication between and for international locations. In contrast to many of our competitors, even large ones, we are now in a position to offer this integration on the basis of German guidelines in many countries, including emergency calls, number porting and all the usual technical functionalities (fax integration, call forwarding, etc.)”.

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7 reasons why a cloud PBX is worthwhile for your business

”There are three incisive events in the life of every office worker: Firstly, a change of manager, secondly, the death of the pot plant and thirdly, a new telephone system: ”We sincerely wish your pot plant all the best”, but we can confirm the third point: Many companies in Germany’s medium-sized businesses are currently facing a major challenge. Deutsche Telekom will switch off all analog and ISDN connections for companies and firms by 2018 and convert its entire network to IP-based connections (VoIP). The hour has come for a new telephone system. And there are good reasons to think about a cloud phone system

Preparing telephone systems to move into the cloud at an early stage

We cannot point this out enough, because we are experiencing it again and again: Many companies are massively underestimating the consequences of this change and are pushing a debate over a new telephone system onto the backburner. ”It’s more than 2 years to 2018, why should I care about it today?” is a common reaction. But there is a misconception here: It is by no means the case that Deutsche Telekom will terminate the connections as of January 1, 2018. Rather, it is a process that has long since begun and should be completed by 2018 at the latest . The contracts of many customers have already been terminated. This means that it can also hit your company much earlier. Keep in mind that your telephone system is an important component of your company’s infrastructure, on which no less than a large part of your internal and external communications depend on this technology. Would you like to take an entrepreneurial risk?

Preparation is enormously important

In this context, many customers underestimate how much preparation and research is required to find a new or future-oriented telephony solution. We would therefore advise all customers to obtain information and advice in good time.

Cloud telephone system or on-premise?

The most effective way to replace your telephone system is to switch to a cloud telephone system. Technically speaking, this is referred to as a ”virtual private branch exchange” (vPBX). With over 160 functions, this virtual telephone system in the cloud offers a maximum of application possibilities, high flexibility and enormous savings potential, as you can do without large initial investments. So, if you want to make comfortable phone calls and don’t need functions such as virtual collaboration (with video telephony or screen sharing), then a cloud telephone system is exactly the right choice.

7 reasons for a telephone system in the cloud

In order to help you make the best possible decision for a new telephone system, we have put together 7 important reasons why a cloud telephone system is worthwhile for your company.

1. Cloud telephone system enables high flexibility and scalability

Your company is changing and you are looking for a telephone system that you can expand flexibly? With the cloud telephone system, you can react quickly to your current business needs: With one click you can add or cancel new extensions monthly via a comfortable user interface in the browser. This means that you only pay for the services you really need. Your communication adapts to your situation – and not the other way around!

2. Connecting all locations to a cloud telephone system

In addition to your company headquarters, do you have several regional locations, employees in home offices and field staff who all need their own connection? With a cloud telephone system, you can easily connect all your locations and employees to the same telephone system. And, of course, all locations can be reached by area code on request. In this way, you can avoid system interruptions in your technical infrastructure and benefit from free internal telephone calls: Your employees make calls to each other free of charge.

3. Cloud telephone system enables massive cost reductions

A cloud telephone system does not only eliminate investment costs for a new system, but also operating costs such as electricity, repairs, maintenance and for trained personnel. Your provider hosts the virtual telephone system for you in the cloud and is also responsible for maintenance and updates, in short: it ensures that you always have a hassle-free, state-of-the-art cloud phone system at your disposal. And you don’t pay more than your monthly fees.

4. Cloud telephone system provides maximum security

In order to encrypt a telephone call, the SIP trunk – the IP telephone connection responsible for setting up and dismantling the call – is secured by complex encryption protocols such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) or SRTP (Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol). These protocols use an AES 256bit key. Experts assume that even a high-performance computer would currently take several hundred thousand years to crack this key. To date, this AES key is not known to be a practically feasible attack. AES is therefore the preferred encryption standard for governments, banks and high-security systems worldwide.

In addition, you should make sure that a provider’s cloud telephone system is operated in highly secure data centers in Germany and is subject to German data protection regulations. Detailed information can also be found in our article about in security in VoIP telephony.

5. Cloud telephone system makes it possible: Plug & Call

The installation of the cloud telephone system is quick and easy, because the technical requirements on the customer side are manageable. Above all, you need a high-speed internet connection. Connect your business with an IP-based telephone connection (SIP trunk) to the cloud telephone system via your Internet connection and off you go. Via a user interface in the browser, you can centrally configure individual users, assign telephone numbers and rights, set up call groups and much more. Your employees log in with their access data on an IP-capable telephone and can immediately make phone calls.

6. Cloud telephone system offers convenient usability for all users

The user can use an ordinary (IP-capable) desk phone to make calls, which means that they hardly have to get used to it. Thus, the change of the telephone system may be hardly noticeable under certain circumstances. Alternatively, they can also use a modern headset to make calls. Many colleagues prefer this option because it frees both hands for writing or typing. All telephony functions such as the telephone book or the call list can be operated via a comfortable soft client.

7. Cloud phone system: Strong performance and many features by default

You are probably used to a wide range of functions from your old telephone system. Most cloud telephone systems are in no way inferior to the classic on-premise systems; on the contrary, they surprise with an unexpectedly large set of features: Telephone conferencing, integration of fax, call hold, brokering, pick up calls, redial, call waiting music, call lists, executive/secretary function, flexible number display, multi-functional address book or call screening – these are only the best-known of the more than 160 functions that most cloud telephone systems have to offer.

If you are wondering how to make the transition to a cloud telephone system as smooth as possible, we have put together some important notes on migration to the cloud here.

Have we sparked your interest in a cloud phone system? Then contact us, we will be happy to advise you without obligation.

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The 7 main advantages of VoIP

It has already started: By 2018, one of the biggest changes in the history of telecommunications will be completed. Deutsche Telekom will switch off all analog and ISDN connections for companies and convert its entire network to IP-based connections (VoIP).

Time and again, we see that many companies underestimate the scope of this change and put it off. ”It’s more than 2 years to 2018, why should I care about it today?” is a common reaction. But this is a misconception: It is by no means the case that Deutsche Telekom will terminate the connections on January 1,2018. Rather, it is a process that has long since begun and should be completed by 2018 at the latest . The contracts of many customers have already been terminated. This means that it can also hit your company much earlier.

Preparing for VoIP Migration

In this context, many customers underestimate how much preparation and research is required to find a new telephone provider or future-oriented telephony solution.

A comparison: How long do you research until you buy a new car? You don’t do that by the by within two days, because you know that you will be driving the car for a few years and you have to be able to rely on it. That’s why you can look at different models, read reports, get recommendations and listen to what friends and colleagues have experienced, and take a test drive or two. You weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different models, price and performance against each other. You will find out what has happened since your last car purchase and what new technical possibilities and features you are interested in. And only then, after several weeks, even months, do you make a well-considered decision for a certain model.

Don’t take VoIP migration lightly

We recommend that you deal with the decision for a new telephony solution at least as seriously. After all, the entire communication of your company is at stake. Internal communication with colleagues as well as external communication with customers and suppliers. No company can afford to lose this channel.

VoIP offers great opportunity for new possibilities

Switching to VoIP also offers the opportunity to redefine telephony in your company. We show you 7 advantages of VoIP telephony. Afterwards you will be convinced by yourself that a change is already worthwhile today.

1. Telephony becomes communication

Voice over IP means telephony over the internet. Simply put, voice is broken down into data packets and transmitted over the internet. All you need in the future is a correspondingly strong internet connection. The special thing about this is: This internet connection allows not only voice, i.e. audio data, but any kind of data to be transmitted. This means that you can use the same internet connection to make phone calls, hold video conferences, chat, exchange files or simply share files: Virtual collaboration. This turns telephony into communication.

2. Virtual collaboration

Switching to VoIP means not only an upgrade of the telephone system, but also a strategic investment. Through the integration of voice and data, it is now possible to connect telephone and screen. Use video conferencing and online meetings for face-to-face meetings with partners and customers. This way you create a positive customer experience.

3. Accessible anywhere with VoIP

Telephone calls can be as mobile as e-mails. No matter where you are: Log in with your personal access data on an IP telephone or via a softclient and you can now be reached via your usual fixed network number. And with an appropriate app you can even be reached on your mobile phone via your fixed network number. So you won’t miss another call.

4. Excellent VoIP voice quality

With VoIP you use the latest voice standard of telephony, which enables excellent voice quality: HD Voice. Thanks to this new transmission technology, the voices of the conversation participants can be heard more clearly and with greater presence. Thus, HD Voice increases the general speech intelligibility.

5. Save costs with VoIP

Did you know that with VoIP you can make calls up to 62% cheaper than ISDN? Reduce your costs with a lot of cheap call rates and flat rates for calls to national and international destinations as well as mobile phones. And internal telephony is completely free of charge. So, if your company with multiple locations is at the same VoIP provider, your employees can call each other for free.

6. No classical telephone system required anymore

Virtual VoIP telephone systems are no longer in the basement or server room, but in the cloud. This means that they are hosted by a provider in the highly secure data center and are therefore completely web-based. This saves you investment, maintenance and electricity costs.

7. VoIP means Plug & Call

Connect your phone to the Internet and off you go. A web browser-based user interface allows you to easily manage and extend your VoIP telephone system – even across multiple locations. There you can easily configure the individual users, assign the phone numbers, set up call groups and much more.

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5 Reasons for cloud-based video conferencing

Managing directors and IT decision-makers in German medium-sized businesses have one thing in common: They need the right information to make sound decisions – both for the IT department they run and for the entire company. How well are IT investments aligned with the company’s strategy? How can IT save costs and make operations more effective, but at the same time provide optimal support for operational processes and contribute to profitability? How do I convert the IT department from a cost center to a profit center?

IT decision-makers typically face challenges like these:

  • Achieving maximum returns on capital employed (ROI)
  • Significant cost reduction
  • Transformation of the IT department from cost center to profit center
  • Keeping pace with fast technological changes
  • Achieve broad acceptance and use of the tools within the company
  • Ensuring high usability and availability for employees
  • Maintaining high service levels for employees
  • Achieve greater integration of business applications and data with tools

In this article, we present the advantages of cloud-based solutions (Software as a Service) over on-premise solutions. Virtual collaboration is becoming an increasingly important topic in many German SMEs and is being used successfully. We would like to illustrate this with the example of cloud-based video conferencing.

49% of IT decision-makers have already decided to use video conferencing in their companies today, and a further 25% of IT decision-makers plan to use video conferencing in the next 24 months. In this article you can read in detail the reasons behind the general decision for each video conference and which goals they pursue with it.

We will introduce you to the 5 main benefits of cloud-based video conferencing:

1. Software scalability

Compared to traditional on-premise solutions, cloud-based video conferencing systems have flexibly scalable capacities. There is (almost) no technical limit and/or a technically limited maximum number of video conferences. You can flexibly book or unsubscribe monthly additions for your employees. In this way, the system adapts to your company’s requirements and not the other way round.

2. Technical requirements and entry barriers

Entry barriers to cloud-based video conferencing are much lower, as there is no need to make initial investments to acquire an infrastructure, but rather a service provider. In addition, there are very few technical requirements for cloud-based video conferencing that must be met: The most important thing is a high-speed Internet connection and a video camera on the PC.

3. State-of-the-art technology

The service provider develops and carries out regular product updates for cloud-based video conferencing without incurring any costs (OPEX). This means that the technology is always up to date and offers optimal support for operational processes.

4. Total cost of ownership of cloud-based video conferencing

Managers and IT decision makers know: Costs are incurred not only for the investment, but also considerable operating costs (OPEX) during the time of use in the company, for example for maintenance, repairs, consumables during use, training for employees, disposal and many other possible costs.

In the case of cloud-based video conferencing, the total cost of ownership is very low compared to on-premise solutions and is absolutely calculable due to the transparent cost structure. The investment costs (capex) are almost eliminated as no purchase or technical infrastructure is necessary. In addition, operating costs are significantly reduced because there is no longer any physical equipment that needs to be maintained.

5. Personnel planning

Cloud-based video conferencing eliminates the need for installation, system maintenance and service personnel. The staff is therefore available to IT for other projects.

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Focus on security: Why VoIP telephony is much securer than ISDN

If you want to secure your VoIP telephony as much as possible and protect it against eavesdropping attacks, encrypted SIP trunks are the solution of your choice! However, you can only achieve 100% security if all callers are on the same network. toplink shows you how it works!

How to achieve maximum security for your VoIP telephony

One thing is certain: ISDN will be gradually switched off until 2018 and replaced by VoIP telephony. Although Deutsche Telekom’s decision was made as early as 2014, the extent of this change is now beginning to penetrate companies’ consciousness and is reflected in increased demand on the market: Many companies recognize an urgent need for action and plan an orderly switch to VoIP.

On the one hand, the new technology offers numerous advantages: A wide range of functions, high flexibility, simple configuration and high savings potential in telephone costs. On the other hand, hacker attacks, theft of credit card data, tapped cell phones or phishing incidents are regularly reported in the media. The scandals surrounding Wikileaks or the NSA affair, to name only the most prominent cases, have raised public awareness of this issue.

This raises the justified question of security: ”If telephony is going to work over the internet, will my telephony be as vulnerable to hacker attacks as the rest of my data on the internet?”; ”Can our company internal and trade secrets be spied on via VoIP telephony?”

Companies attach great importance to security for their telephony

Numerous studies have shown: Security and data protection have top priority for companies when it comes to internet-based services. We have already reported on this topic in other blog posts, you can read about it herePrevent fee abuse successfully and read here about Cloud Usage 2015.

The crucial question is therefore: How secure is VoIP telephony? And what can companies do to maximize the security of their business telephony?

Encryption with ISDN: Not available

One thing must not be forgotten in the legitimate discussions about security in VoIP telephony: The tried and tested ISDN connection had no encryption at all. Basically, it would have been very easy to listen to the conversations of any person or company. All you had to do: Open one of the gray distribution boxes (e. g. cable junction box) on the side of the road with a standard square key, tap on the corresponding copper wire and listen to the conversation. However, it was only possible to listen to a call as long as you had physical access. A permanent wiretapping would have been quite cumbersome if you didn’t want to attract the attention of your neighbors too much.

To exaggerate a bit: It was technically not too much of a challenge to penetrate an external ISDN network, but it was very costly.

Encryption for VoIP: It depends on both sides

As we all know, everything has two sides to it: Because a VoIP connection is always internet-based, a professional hacker can easily access the data via the internet. However, whether or not he can read this data depends on its encryption.

Increase security through encryption

The following basically applies: A telephone call always runs between two telephone connections, the connection of the caller and the connection of the recipient. However, a telephone provider only has an influence on the security of a part of the telephone connection, namely the section between ”their” telephone connection and the voice switch. He has no influence on what happens to the data behind the switch after the call has left the operator’s network.

Security through encrypted SIP trunks

The encryption in VoIP telephony is based on the following principle: In order to encrypt a telephone call, the SIP trunk – the IP telephone connection responsible for setting up and dismantling the call – is secured by complex encryption protocols such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) or SRTP (Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol).

These protocols use an AES 256bit key. Experts assume that even a high-performance computer would currently take several hundred thousand years to crack this key. To date, this AES key is not known to be a practically feasible attack. AES is therefore the preferred encryption standard for governments, banks and high-security systems worldwide. This means: Within a network using this key, the connection data is securely encrypted. However, if the call leaves this network, security can no longer be guaranteed.

100% security only for internal network calls

There are three application scenarios.

  1. If you are calling from an encrypted to an unencrypted SIP trunk, then at least half of the connection is not secure and can be tapped.
  2. If all call participants each have an encrypted SIP trunk that is operated by different providers, the following applies: The calls are encrypted and secured from the end device to the switch. However, the route between the switches of the respective providers is unencrypted and thus theoretically vulnerable.
  3. 100% security is only available for calls within the network, where all callers are using an encrypted SIP trunk of the same provider. In this case, the call never leaves your own network and is not exposed to security risks or vulnerabilities.

What does this mean for your company?

If you want to guarantee a maximum level of security for your company’s internal and company secrets – i.e. all information that under no circumstances may be passed on to external persons at all – then you may only make calls within the network with your respective call recipients.

Securing internal communication between locations

If your company is distributed across multiple locations, make sure that all locations are connected via an encrypted SIP trunk of the same provider!

toplink is a pioneer in the encryption of SIP trunks

toplink was one of the first providers in Germany to recognize the crucial importance of encrypted SIP trunks. On request, our SIP trunks are equipped with TLS & SRTP on AES 256-bit encryption. toplink offers SIP-Trunks not only for national but also for international locations. This means you can make secure and encrypted international phone calls. Interested? Then contact us, we will be happy to advise you!

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