Hosted IP telephony solutions

Hosted telephony

Why choose a hosted solution?

A hosted IP telephony solution essentially offers the same features and benefits of a normal IP Telephony solution, with the exception that most of the infrastructure and consequently, complexity, is held within a core network and secure data centre, thereby removing the need to host PBX equipment locally.

Hosted solutions utilise existing WAN infrastructure where possible, and new where required, in order to deliver all telephony requirements, providing considerable cost savings with the removal of any potential ISDN rentals and maintenance. Given that relatively little infrastructure is required to be purchased, maintained or constantly upgraded, the cost of entry into IP telephony is minimised both in terms of resources and hardware with existing Cat 5/6 cabling infrastructure being used or extended, as the LAN telephony transportation method given all handsets can be IP enabled.

Summary of benefits

Complete solution - our hosted telephony solutions offer all the call management features you would expect from a standard PBX, and a lot more. We offer services such as call recording, auto-attendant, desktop assistant, hunt groups, disaster recovery options, twinning and end-user profiling, with further applications being developed as the service continues to evolve, including mobile client applications, fixed mobile convergence, Outlook integration and CRM integration for MS Dynamics, Salesforce etc.

Lower cost of ownership - a hosted solution is cloud-based and accessed via a web-based portal so there is less equipment to buy and no ongoing PBX maintenance costs for you to worry about. It enables full integration between your fixed and mobile infrastructure, and the cost of calls to certain numbers are included. Overall a hosted telephony solution is far cheaper than a PBX, both initially and long term.

Easy administration - all admin is done by you through a simple web-based control panel. You can manage your system from anywhere in the world, applying changes to individual sites as they are needed.

Future-proof - since there is far less equipment to buy at the outset, there is very little risk of your investment becoming redundant in the future as technology changes.

Flexible - a hosted solution adapts to your individual circumstances. If one site needs to make 50 simultaneous calls and another needs to make only 5, this is perfectly achievable without the need for different software, upgrades, multiple line items or any of the other issues association with traditional systems.

Simple charging - our hosted solution subscriptions are fully bundled, removing the need for multiple line items, additional VoIP CPE, ongoing maintenance, software upgrades and support costs. We simply provide one price and one subscription which includes all SIP trunks regardless of how many you require (the only limitation being the site's bandwidth which we will help you manage).

Reliable - we offer highly reliable and scalable solutions with externally located platforms based in a fully resilient format in two geographical separated provider owned data-centres, and on a fully owned and operated carrier grade network. This ensures you have service no matter what happens.

Supported - we provide full support including training, number porting, provisioning and assistance giving you complete peace of mind.

Disaster proof - there are none of the worries of having equipment sitting in your offices, such as theft, security and damage from disasters. Our solutions have fire protection, biometric security, 24/7 monitoring, and redundant Internet connections to help you cope in the event of bad weather, power blackout, fire, water damage, and Internet connection problems.

Choice of handsets - NT provides a choice of handset manufacturers, each with a number of handsets models to choose from to meet your exact business needs.

Powerful features

Below, we walk through some of the features of our hosted telephony solutions in more detail:

With any on-site PBX equipment removed, the need for ISDN and its associated line rental is also removed. Access and calls are now provided over your IP network. With your solution, a number of CODECs may also be available, and each handset's CODEC can be configured and changed in real time, effectively enabling the site administrator to manage the bandwidth of a site and to cope with any limited connectivity issues.

Access is also provided to the end-user via a similar web based interface, empowering the user to control their own call settings together with a wide variety of call options including voicemail, voicemail to email, do not disturb button, group pickup button, pin protected voicemails with master override, access to internal directories, phone manager (enable own call routing), direct dial, call forwarding, message waiting indicator, last number redial, extension dialling, call transfer, call hold, remote working and twinning (simultaneously calling several of the users devices for incoming calls).

Again, this can be controlled through any web based device, or through a centralised voice portal that provides personal call setting controls whilst on the move.

Caller ID is displayed with options to change what is displayed on an individual user basis. Hunt groups can also be named so the hunt group member knows how to answer the call by what is displayed on their telephone screen, thereby enabling a single user to be in several hunt groups with the ability to answer each incoming call approprately by what is displayed on the phone screen, the inbound CLI (calling line identity) also being displayed.

A number of CLI (calling line identification) options are available allowing you to choose what the recipient of a call sees when you place a call to them. As default, each end user has the ability to set their own direct number to display. This can be changed by the administrator too so that all, or selected users will present out a single site number, making it easier for the end-user to call back and have their call answered as appropriate (useful for example in a call centre or customer service centre environment where it is not desirable for incoming calls to go directly to any particular phone). With the correct permissions as set by the administrator, the end user can then override any call policies and present out any number they want, including the user's mobile number even though they are calling from their landline, thereby providing that single number environment. An option for the user to withhold their number is available at the press of a button.

All users have access to twinning, or simultaneous inbound calling. This enables the user to specify a number of devices (up to 5) that will simultaneously ring when their direct dial number is called. This could include a mobile phone, so if the user is away from their desk, the user can pick the call up from their mobile. Full CLI pass through is provided meaning the user will see the number of the caller ringing their desk phone, and if in their mobile directory, will be tagged with the name of the person calling.

Remote office is a way of using the end-users home phone, or any phone, including mobile, as their office phone. It is based on the end-user web interface click-to-dial directory which includes a dialler facility to call any number. On clicking the number you want to dial, the user's selected remote office phone will ring. On answering the phone, it will then call the required person, but presenting the users office number so it looks like the end-user is in the office even though they are using their home phone or mobile. All incoming calls will be routed to their home phone. All associated phone bills will be associated to the business rather than the end-user's selected remote office phone. Alternatively the user could plug their office handset into any internet facing network anywhere in the world and they would still make and receive calls using their UK direct dial number.

Hot desking is available at all sites. Providing that the phone has been enabled as a hot desk phone, all users can log in to any phone at any of your sites by simply entering their extension and passcode, the user can then receive and make calls presenting their own number.

Full call directories are available either from the click to dial facility on the web interface, or from the handset itself. This includes company, third party and personal numbers.

Any calls that are placed on hold or queued, will be held on the platform rather than taking valuable site bandwidth.

All site internal calls will be routed internally rather than tromboning out to the platform and back again. Connected site-to-site calls are zero-rated providing free calls across the entire connected estate. Any calls that are required to break out onto the PSTN network will be covered by aggressive IP rates rather than standard PSTN call rates, saving you money.

Our hosted solutions have a number of disaster recovery solutions, from platform level to the end-user. At a platform level, we offer a cloud based solution with externally located platforms based in a fully resilient format in two geographical separated provider owned data-centres, and on a fully owned and operated carrier grade network. Each of these data-centres are monitored, managed and supported by a large internal network operations centre team 24/7/365. All of the infrastructure technology is based on a 'N+1' solution, meaning everything is replicated to ensure seamless system failover.

The platforms themselves are fully managed and therefore maintained and constantly upgraded at no additional charge to you - you will therefore always have the latest technology, features and functions available without having to pay ongoing maintenance charges or upgrade fees.

From a site perspective, a number of features and functions can be utilised in terms of disaster recovery:

Number Unreachable – if the platform cannot forward a call to its destination due to a site power outage, access issue etc. then it will automatically forward to a predefined destination. This could be a user's mobile, another site, a voicemail box, an auto-attendant with additional call routing options etc.

Twinning – all users have access to twinning, or simultaneous inbound calling. This enables the user to specify a number of devices that will simultaneously ring when their direct number is called. This could include a mobile phone, so if there is a power outage on site for example, the user's mobile will still ring and can be answered therefore not missing the call.

Hunt Group Forwarding – if a hunt group is not answered within a user predefined time, then a call forward number can be added - this could be to another hunt group or site, or to voicemail which includes voicemail to email.

Voice Portal – all users parameters can be changed from the voice portal which can be accessed from any device. A user could therefore activate or deactivate their call forwarding remotely for example, or change an auto-attendant message.

Web-interface – both administrative and end-user moves, adds and changes for all features and functions are accessed by a centrally driven, internet facing portal. This can therefore be accessed by any internet facing device e.g. Ipad, smartphone or laptop, all through a simple login.

Time of day routing is available on hunt groups and auto-attendants, enabling you to choose settings for when the office is open or closed, or even for your busier/quieter times.

Voicemail is provided as standard as part of our subscriptions - this includes the ability to pick up a voicemail from the physical handset, either by voicemail to email whereby a .wav is sent to the users email address, or a voicemail can be picked up via the voice portal which can be accessed from any device, meaning you can handle all your fixed line voicemail requirements from your mobile.

The voicemail to email service can also be used in conjunction with the likes of hunt groups, auto-attendants and call queuing with the voicemail on call overflow or busy for example, being delivered to a centralised email address that can then be distributed appropriately based on local Outlook settings - these files can then be filed and stored for future reference.

When in a call, a conference button will appear on the phone. On pressing the conference button, it will then place the in-call recipient on hold whilst the caller rings another number. On pressing the conference button again, it merges all calls into a conference. This process can be done up to 14 times, creating 15 way calling facility. An 'Instant Conference' group can also be created whereby a number is associated to a conference group along with up to 15 phone numbers within that group. If anyone calls that number, it will simultaneously call all the users in that group, thereby creating an instant conference.

Call recording is provided on an individual user basis and can also be implemented by group. Options include an 'on-demand' facility whereby the user can press *1 at any time during the conversation which will result in the whole conversation from the beginning being recorded and stored no matter when they pressed *1 Call recordings can then be reviewed and downloaded by the administrator. Downloads are in MP3 format with date, time, CLI from/to stamps on for easy storage and search for retrieval.

Our solutions offer a complete statistics package that provides call logs on company, site or user level. This can then be drilled down to internal or external, inbound or outbound, and defined by date and time. Graphical representation is also provided giving details on missed, answered or engaged calls on a monthly, weekly and hourly basis. It also provides details of where your callers are calling from together with who within your organisation is making the most calls, or receiving the most calls.

Our hosted solutions offer a number of hunt groups - for example, you may set up five hunt group ring orders as per below. You will also have call forwarding options, voicemail box and time of day scheduling.

Circular

Sends incoming calls to users according to their position in a list. After a call has been send to the last user on the list, the next call is send to the user at the top of the list. Circular will continue the order even when a different call comes in.

Regular

Sends incoming calls to the next available user in the hunt group. Regular hunt group will re start from the top when a new call is made.

Simultaneous

Sends incoming calls to all users in the group at the same time. Once the call has been answered, the remaining calls to other users are released

Uniform

Sends the current incoming call to the user who has been idle the longest. After a user has answered a call they move to the bottom of the queue

Weighted

Assign calls to users according to percentages you assign on the Hunt Group.

Full transfer and retrieve options are available including blind transfer, transfer recall after user set number of rings, consultative transfer, diversion inhibitors on transfers to prevent transferred calls being onward diverted by the intended extension.

Full unlimited music on hold options on a per site basis are available with no charges being made for storage or change instances.

Administrative Access

Access to administrative tasks such as moves, adds or changes that are required at any site in the hosted IP telephony solution, can be controlled in real time either centrally or locally via a web based interface, with changes being made from any web based device such as a smart phone or iPad. This offers improved efficiency, leading to increased productivity through lack of downtime and speed of change, and savings made on expensive and numerous IT resources required for site visits and manual infrastructure intervention.

As an administrator, the following are just some of the functions available to aid in the day to day management of your telephony platform:

  • Moves, adds and changes
  • Site management
  • Schedules
  • Call barring
  • Number management
  • Call policies
  • Music on hold
  • Auto attendant
  • Hunt groups
  • Conference management
  • Device management
  • Directory management
  • Recorded call management
  • Statistics

We help large and small companies throughout the UK use communications to grow sales and lower their operating expenses. If that's what you want for your business, contact NT's team today for a free consultation: 01623 687750.