CVA Webinar: Work From Home – How It Has Changed in 2020

Yesterday, our CMO, Andy Abramson, was featured on a Cloud Voice Alliance webinar along with CVA Managing Director, Jeff Dworkin, on how the workplace as we know it has changed forever. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses have transitioned to a work from home model, and company CEO’s and Owners are now seeing the benefits of remote work. So what does this mean for businesses moving forward post pandemic?

Find out below in this CVA Webinar Replay. 

Webinar Rewind: Product Versatility For An Uncertain Workplace Future, Presented by SNOM

On our latest weekly webinar, the SkySwitch team invited SNOM Regional Account Manager, Korey Kather, and SNOM Sales Engineer, Simon Bradbrook, to inform SkySwitch Resellers all about the versatility of latest SNOM products and how they work seamlessly within society’s uncertain workplace future. While many employees have made the transition to working from home, resellers should now be thinking about more than just WFH-compatible communication tools. With the expectation of phased openings, the arrival of new safe workplace protocols and more, this all means your customers need more up to date communication tools that allows them to adapt to the new changes in the workplace.

 

Moderated by SkySwitch CMO, Andy Abramson, the webinar was a lively discussion about how Snom is working to help businesses communicate effectively in any environment — whether it’s a work from home environment, restaurant, retail space or any other type of workplace.

 

If you missed it, you can watch the full webinar recording below, download the slide deck and get briefed on the highlights of the webinar below.

What’s In a Name — From VTech to Snom

Snom has a reputation for being an originator and innovator of mass-produced SIP phones, and VTech has a reputation for being a leader in manufacturing business and consumer phones. So when VTech acquired Snom in 2016, Snom was able to combine the strengths of both brands to offer you and your customers with high-quality telephony and communication tools.

Key Benefits of Selling Snom

Snom has a wide range of innovative, diverse and scalable SIP-based products, including business desk phones, DECT mobility solutions, key line, wired and wireless conference phones, broadcast and more — which all come with a 3-year warranty. And with the North American based team, including engineering, R&D, Product, Sales, Marketing, Technical Support and Distribution, resellers now have coverage and assistance in close range.

 

Additionally, Snom is working on re-launching a ramped-up Partner Program that shifts focus on empowering resellers to drive new business opportunities, increase top-line revenue and increased margins. With the new Partner Program that will be coming soon, resellers can expect to see more resources that makes quoting and sales presentations easier.

 

Work From Home Solutions for Your Customers: Mobility, Flexibility and Versatility

Mobility is a big factor to take into consideration when working from home, and the KLE line excels in this category. In the webinar, Korey Kather explains how the KLE desk phone has a rechargeable battery that allows you to unplug the phone and take it with you and use it almost anywhere, so you can move from your home office desk to your living room without any hassle. 

 

Another feature of Snom products that makes it easier to work from home, or just about anywhere, is that their product interoperability of DECT solutions. This means that end-users can mix-and-match models to work together. This unique feature makes the line easy to build on and adapt to changing work environments.

Vertical Industry Deployment Examples

Snom’s KLE line, which excels in mobility, flexibility and versatility, is not just great at supporting work from home — it also works exceptionally well in many small-business environments. Snom has seen the KLE system frequently deployed in restaurants, retail, education, warehouse, distribution and manufacturing settings, with comments from their partners about how easy the KLE system is to deploy.

 

The KLE functions like an old-fashioned key line system, where you have Line 1, Line 2, Line 3 and so on, where calls can be placed on-hold on one device, and picked up on another, and supports up to 10 users. So, in a small business setting, and even in warehouses or distribution centers, the KLE can support just about everybody and also gives workers the ability to walk freely in their workspace with reliable handset range. To learn more about the KLE line and other exciting Snom products, make sure to listen to the full webinar recording above.

Congratulations to the Webinar Winners!

At the end of this product deep-dive, we moved into a great Q+A session from the audience and selected at random two lucky winners! Congratulations to Micahel Slonin of Peace Telecom on your new Snom C620 Conference phone, and to Mark Colik of Converged Technologies, LLC on your new Snom M100 KLE System with 2 phones! We hope you enjoy your new Snom gear and SkySwitch Swag. 



If you enjoyed this webinar, make sure to join us again in two weeks on June 2nd for a webinar with NTS Direct – one of SkySwitch’s newest distributors, to learn more about Grandstream and other products that your customers can benefit from. 

Webinar Rewind: Everything You Need to Know About SkySwitch’s Appointment Reminders on vBroadcast

On our most recent webinar of the week, the SkySwitch team walked our resellers through everything they need to know about our latest and greatest vBroadcast feature: Appointment Reminders. We launched Appointment Reminders a few months ago in February, so we figured it was the perfect time to do a deep dive and answer any questions about this new feature!

 

Led by SkySwitch CMO, Andy Abramson and SkySwitch VP of Support, Corey Stoker, we started with a high-level overview of SkySwitch’s vBroadcast service, what types of businesses can benefit from the Appointment Reminders feature, how resellers can set themselves apart from the competition with Appointment Reminders, important telemarketing and dialer restrictions resellers need to be aware of and more — which can all be viewed in the recording and slide deck below.

What is vBroadcast?

Before we dive into the latest and greatest with Appointment Reminders, it’s important to understand what vBroadcast is and what it’s capable of doing. The vBroadcast application was launched in September 2017 and is designed to be used in conjunction with the SkySwitch WebContact Call Center Suite. It was first introduced for automated call campaigns that would allow the user to place outbound calls and play a pre-recorded message, or transfer the call to a Call Center agent. 

 

Since its inception, there have been lots of updates and new features added on, including SMS campaigns and now, Appointment Reminders.

 

How Does the Appointment Reminders Feature Work?

The Appointment Reminders feature has four core abilities: Appointment and Report Management, Reminder Configuration, SMS Reminders, and Voice Reminders. 

RECORD APPOINTMENTS v2

This feature is incredibly valuable to service-based businesses or any business that needs to notify or send reminders to their customers. 

 

During the webinar, we invited SkySwitch Reseller, Clark DeLeon of TeamUp Telecom, to talk about how the Appointment Reminders feature was able to help one of his customers and how he was able to pair the Appointment Reminders feature with SkySwitch’s SMS Responder to create a unique solution for his customer. Make sure to check out our Webinar Rewind to hear more about it.

How Do You Set Up And Use Appointment Reminders?

After we detailed what Appointment Reminders can do, we went into a live demo, led by Corey, to show resellers how to set up and use this new feature. The setup is fairly simple and quick, taking only minutes, and there is currently no setup or activation fees for resellers who want to use Appointment Reminders. Be sure to watch the replay to see Corey’s setup explanation, and if you have any questions about pricing, make sure to contact your SkySwitch Sales rep.

 

Webinar Bonus: Our “Creative Challenge” & Prizes!

Clark DeLeon’s unique use of Appointment Reminders inspired our team to think of innovative ways this feature can be used. We’d like to invite all SkySwitch Resellers to participate in our “Creative Challenge”. Simply share a unique use-case of how you or a customer have deployed Appointment Reminders, and you’ll be entered in for a chance to win 20,000 SkySwitch Rewards points! For more details on the contest and to submit your deployed use-case, visit this page.

 

In addition to this Creative Challenge, we chose at random five lucky webinar attendees who received SkySwitch Swag packs.

Congratulations to Ben Rush of Colorado Central Telecom, Brian McClain of United Business Technologies, David Boyd of InBound, Rich Cizmas of Voice Plus Communications, and Aaron Deiter of DS Tech! We hope you enjoyed your time with us on the webinar, and your new SWAG packs!

If you enjoyed this webinar, make sure to tune into next week’s webinar on Tuesday, May 19th, “Product Versatility for an Uncertain Workplace Future”, presented by SNOM. 

 

As usual, it will take place at 11 AM ET. We’re looking forward to seeing you there and spending some time together virtually! 

Webinar Replay: Yealink’s T5 SIP Phones Deep Dive: Learn More About These UC Phone Solutions, Presented By Jenne

Having the ability to successfully counsel your customers while working in a remote environment is crucial in these unprecedented times — which means it’s even more important to be knowledgable about the lastest telephony hardware and software developments. That way, you’re equipped to best advise your customers on which devices fit their unique needs.

This week’s webinar was packed full of the most up-to-date information as we took a deep dive into Yealink’s UC Solutions that help support working from home. SkySwitch CMO, Andy Abramson, spoke with Jenne’s Yealink Business Development Manager, Craig Rocco, Yealink Business Development Specialist, Anthony Johnson and Yealink Product Specialist, Joseph Freistuhler, and together they educated resellers on the ins and outs of the new Yealink T5 Series SIP Phones and other UC Solutions.

Replay the webinar below, download the presentation and read on for the important highlights of this week’s session. 

Jenne and Yealink

With an extensive inventory, Jenne is a platinum distributor and resource for Yealink products. They have a dedicated support team that specializes in Yealink product knowledge. The Jenne team handles everything from promotions and demo requests to sales and tech support. Most importantly, Yealink products can be bought from Jenne via the SkySwitch Store.

Yealink USB Headsets, Personal Conference Phones & T5 Series Business Phones

USB Headsets

Many Yealink products are easily adaptable for remote work and also have flexibility in traditional workplace locations. Their newest USB Headsets, the UH36-Mono and UH36-Dual, have soft ear cushions for breathable wear, lightweight design and are ideal for remote work, in-office or call centers. They feature excellent audio performance with a noise-canceling microphone. When integrated with Yealink IP Phones (V85 and above) they offer enhanced functions like audio optimization, redial capabilities, call hold, volume synchronization and multiple call control. 

Personal Conference Phones

The Yealink Personal Conference Speaker Phones, the CP700 and CP900, are perfect for working from home, private offices, huddle rooms, or on-the-go business. With middle and high-end options, these USB speakers have a portable design and both are certified for Microsoft Teams. Both speakers are user-friendly and have easy Bluetooth and USB connectivity options. They also offer acoustic echo cancellation, noise suppression and digital signal processing.

T5 Series Business Phones 

The T5 series is the latest generation solution from Yealink, with upgraded enhancements these phones can help boost your bottom line, maximize ROI and provide more flexibility, at a low cost. The Yealink T5 key features include an Acoustic Shield for background noise suppression, a large ergonomic adjustable display, corded-cordless options and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities. This series offers 3 options: the Flagship Smart Video Phone, Smart Business Phone and Prime Business Phone. With the T5W Series, there’s no need for any extra accessories, which frees up the USB slot and has a more reliable WiFI Dongle.

To learn more about these Yealink products and how to sell them to your customers, make sure to listen to the full webinar recap linked above.

And The Winners Are…

After Craig’s great presentation and Q+A session from the Yealink team, our team randomly drew names for prizes! We gave all attendees the chance to win one of two new UH36 Yealink Headsets, one UH36-Mono and one UH36-Dual. This week, we had two lucky winners: Congratulations to Kyle Wayman and Rich McGahan!

Thank you for tuning in! Our team had a great time meeting up with you virtually, as usual! Make sure to register for our webinar next week: 

Everything You Need to Know About Appointment Reminders on vBroadcast

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 11 AM ET

Product Review: Yealink SIP-T53W

Yealink is a desk phone, speakerphone and headset manufacturer that is trusted for making great sounding voice products that are reliable, big on value and easy to deploy. Today, we evaluate the mid-range Yealink SIP-T53W and evaluate it for its viability in today’s office environment.

Features 

The Yealink SIP-T53W is an attractive phone unit with a 3.7” LCD display that swivels vertically for an optimal viewing angle depending on your desk height and setup. This desk phone model has advanced wireless connectivity, including built-in support for Bluetooth, and dual-band Wi-Fi, so you can use it without being tethered to an ethernet cable if you choose. Finally, you’ll find and a USB port for call recording or using with a wireless expansion module that enables you to use Yealink expansion modules, or cordless phones 

In an office environment with background noise? You’ll enjoy Yealink’s proprietary Acoustic Shield technology, which eliminates background chatter and distractions. In today’s growing work from home use of phones made for the office, this is a big plus when the kids walk in and just start talking to you from across the room.

Other features to highlight:

  • Support for Wi-Fi (including 802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
  • Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity for wireless headsets
  • USB port for call recording on a USB thumb drive
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) support
  • Support for up to 16 VoIP accounts
  • LED for call and message waiting indication

Lastly, I’d really like to highlight the Wi-Fi capability that’s included onboard the Yealink SIP-T53W. With more office workers needing business phones at home, this unit’s wireless connectivity enables you to have a phone in places in your home/office without the need for ethernet cables. This is a huge advantage for this Yealink model.

Opening the Box and Setup

My review unit came with the expected included pieces: the phone base unit, the handset, cord, stand, ethernet cable and power supply. One note — not all Yealink SIP-T53W phone units come with a power supply, so make sure to check and purchase a Yealink power supply separately if your unit does not include one, or if your network does not have power over ethernet (PoE).

Lastly, there’s an included plastic stand that enables you to customize the angle the phone sits on your desk. This phone model is easy to assemble and to connect to your network — it took me less than 75 seconds to get the phone physically ready to use.

If you purchase the Yealink from the SkySwitch store, it arrives already provisioned out of the box. For me, this unit came from Yealink, so I had to provision it myself. Luckily, getting the new Yealink handset online and ready to use was an easy three-step process:

  • Find the MAC address using the YeaLink on-screen menus
  • Add the phone to my Skyswitch Dashmanager PBX using the Yealink’s MAC address
  • Setting the Yealink to use SkySwitch’s server URL in the web user interface

For the Yealink, I simply navigated to the Admin settings, set the provisioning server address to http://sipcfg.io/cfg – then, the Yealink SIP-T53W power cycled itself and the phone came back ready to use!

Let’s Check Out Performance 

I’ve been using the Yealink for a week now, both at my home (to mimic working from home situations) and at my office. In both environments, the SIP-T53W performed marvelously. The phone is easy to set up and sounded perfect in each call I placed and received. I have used the SIP-T53W to call my SkySwitch colleagues via extensions, regular landlines and on their mobile phones in the U.S. and Canada, and each call sounded really clear.

Yealink’s Acoustic Shield noise isolation technology came in handy when I had noisy office chatter in my work area; it was great at canceling out cars driving by and copying machines that are near my workspace. The phone has a great user experience overall. Using the on phone display, I was easily able to handle calls such as mute, transfer and use my headset.

I also tested out the speakerphone on the Yealink, and it performed as expected. Callers were able to hear me but not any of my background noise – but, of course, they also reported that  I didn’t sound as good as when I was on the handset.

Lastly, at home, my review of the Yealink SIP-T53W was to ensure the WiFi support performed well in different parts of my house, where I know my WiFi signal is strong and other areas where it’s weak. I’m happy to report the antennas and performance of the desk phone performed well in my house, no matter where I placed calls from. I had zero dropouts and no dropped calls. So – home workers – this is a great phone for you to use in your home office workplace.

Conclusion

The Yealink SIP-T53W is an attractive, well-built, and highly functional office desk phone that will compliment your office or home office well. It delivers amazing call performance and has a set of features that’s unrivaled in the marketplace. 

*Like all products Jason Harris is reviewing, this device is available in the SkySwitch store, accessible through the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard.

 

Snom’s M10 and M10R KLE Wireless DECT Handset Enables You to Walk While You Talk

Sometimes being tethered via cord to your desk all day simply doesn’t work — perhaps if you manage a retail store or just need to move about your workplace. That means you need a portable solution. Enter the Snom’s M100 KLE DECT base station accompanied by the M10 KLE handset. 

These high-fidelity, functional cordless phones bring flexibility, performance and utility that can’t be matched or offer that mobility without the need for a WiFi network or forwarding calls to a mobile phone.

Features and Out-of-the-Box Experience

First, let’s talk about model numbers so the rest of the review makes sense. 🙂 

The M100 KLE is the base station that plugs into your office’s wired network. It has the appearance of a cable modem and enables the system to function correctly — and facilitates up to 10 cordless phones to work properly. The M100 KLE plugs in via ethernet and can be powered by power over ethernet (PoE) or the included AC adapter.

The M10 KLE and M10R KLE are the two cordless handsets I’ve been testing that work with the M100 base unit. Respectively, these are the regular version and the ruggedized 10R version that adds water resistance and shock resistance — perfect for businesses who may take the cordless handset outdoors, or in backrooms where concrete floors are the norm.

M10 KLE Handset
M10R KLE Handset

Let’s cover the M100 base unit features:

  • Easy wireless installation
  • HD audio
  • Compatible to 10 cordless handset or deskset
  • Advanced call handling

A for the M10 KLE handset:

  • 1.8” LCD screen
  • Four LED backlit programmable keys
  • Nine hours of talk time and seven days of standby
  • Local phonebook up to 1,000 entries
  • Call handling: call hold, forwarding, timer, Caller ID
  • 2.55 mm corded headset jack

The M10R KLE has the same feature set as the M10 and adds shock and water resistance.

When you open the boxes for these devices, you’re greeted with all the cables and necessities to get up and running. If you buy your Snom M100 and M10 KLE system through SkySwitch, it already comes provisioned and is ready to go right out of the box. 

For me, because these came directly from SNOM, I used the handset’s user interface to specify the settings needed for me to get the phones up and running.

Use and Performance

After a week of using the Snom DECT wireless handset, I am very impressed. The KLE set delivers an easy to use experience, crystal clear audio quality, amazing distance and fantastic battery life.

One of my favorite features is the user-definable function keys that customize my phone experience. I can set my frequently called colleagues, or conference bridges, to be just one button away, adding convenience and speed.

As for call performance, the Snom M10 and M10R shine. I used the phones to call colleagues by extension and landlines and mobiles across the United States. During every call, my callers’ audio was clear and audible — and they said the same for my voice. I tested out the phone’s speakerphone functionality and found it worked well. But, if I am more than 2 feet away from the handset, callers reported they had trouble hearing me.

Does your business have a large footprint? You’ll be stunned by the Snom M10 KLE’s range. I walked all around my two-story office and never experienced any dropouts or cut out voices — which is a strong testament to the handset’s range, fidelity and capability.

As for the M10R KLE, I dropped the handset to test the shock resistance and showered the device — as advertised, these tests didn’t foil the handset. It just kept working as if nothing had happened

Finally, let’s talk about battery life. The M10 KLR and M10R KLE live up to the promised battery life. I spoke for more than 8 hours between charges on these phones, so if you’re looking for a long-lasting, long-range and durable phone set, seek no further.

Conclusion

The Snom M100 base station combined with the M10 KLE handset has proven to be a high-performing office phone — perfect for businesses that need to have wireless flexibility that really performs. This phone set will give you days worth of talk time and a rugged toughness that will keep you connected and in-touch with your colleagues and more.

*Like all products Jason Harris is reviewing, this device is available in the SkySwitch store, accessible through the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard.

 

Webinar Rewind: Safe Workplace Solutions For Your Customers That Can’t Work From Home

Yesterday, the SkySwitch team hosted a webinar focusing on Safe Workplace Solutions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a surge of employees quickly adapting to work from home environments. However, many essential workers can’t easily fulfill their job responsibilities from home and still need to report on-site. What can you, as a SkySwitch Reseller, do to help alleviate the pain points that essential workers experience when trying to create a safe work environment for the workers and the customer?

 

Our group of expert panelists, SkySwitch CMO, Andy Abramson, SkySwitch Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) Specialist, Justin Baker, and CyberData President, Phil Lembo, walked us through all of the current problems we’re facing today and the solutions for those problems — along with great tips, observations and insightful banter that will help you help your customers!

 

Watch the Webinar Rewind below, download our slide deck and read on for the important highlights of the webinar.

What problems are essential workers faced with today?

Identifying the problem you’re trying to solve is one of the most important steps when it comes to properly consulting your customers. Our team has observed three major three problems that essential workers experience, which include:

  1. An uptick in burglaries and vandalism at unattended businesses, such as schools and libraries 
  2. Practicing social distancing and safe work practices when working on-site with others instead of working alone from home
  3. The need to heavily regulate who is admitted on-site, like medical offices or locked and gated facilities 

How does CamCommand help solve these problems?

CamCommand is SkySwitch’s Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) solution. It’s quick and easy to deploy, and by removing the need for on-premise storage and working through the cloud, your customers have instant access to footage. This is especially important now when businesses want to avoid having security personnel on-site, and need live notifications for urgent matters, like break-ins.

 

Along with features that include Cloud Voice and Hosted PBX integration, triggered event notifications, easy scalability, unlimited camera connections and unlimited guest users, CamCommand offers your customers not only a surveillance solution but also a security and safe workplace solution.

 

Make sure to listen to the full webinar replay to learn more about CamCommand’s unique features, and for tips and ideas on how to sell CamCommand.

 

What has CyberData observed during this time of uncertainty?

As leaders in SIP-based VoIP paging and mass notification devices, the team at CyberData are experts when it comes to contactless communication for businesses. CyberData President, Phil Lembo, first explained typical use-case scenarios you’d see with their products, like their multicast microphone to broadcast live messages to all endpoints, or their SIP paging server to enabled zoned paging and scheduled announcements, both commonly seen in use at public schools. 

 

What’s interesting, is how these paging systems, intercoms and mass notification devices have been used in different ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the SIP h.264 Video Intercom has been set up in peer-to-peer mode in medical exam or intake rooms, with video displayed on the staff’s PC for contactless, patient-safe video intake in medical facilities.

 

CyberData has also observed other new use-case scenarios for its products at gas stations, fast food restaurants, fire stations and assisted living facilities. To listen to more of these use-cases, make sure to listen to the webinar replay above.

 

Congratulations to the webinar prize winners!

All webinar attendees were eligible to win one of CyberData’s three big prizes. After the webinar, we randomly drew three names. Congratulations to…

  1. Bill Smith from Ingenious technology, LLC
  2. Dale Morgan from Business VoIP, Inc.
  3. Steven Stemkowski from Cloud Service Networks



Our team had a great time meeting up with you virtually yesterday! Make sure to register for our next weekly webinar with Jenne, where we’re doing a deep dive into new Yealink products.

Webinar Recap: Work from Anywhere with Jabra – Solutions for Anyone: Companies, Managers and The Team

Yesterday, on SkySwitch’s weekly Tuesday webinar, Jabra joined us for a discussion on their long standing belief surrounding the benefits of working from anywhere. Speaking alongside SkySwitch CMO, Andy Abramson, Jabra’s Channel Account Manager, Nicholas Boan, educated the audience on how to manage virtual teams while maintaining productivity in a remote work environment with the proper tools. 

If you missed the live session, no worries! For your convenience, you will find access to the webinar recording, presentation and the major highlights of this webinar below.

Adapting To A Remote Work Model in Unprecedented Times

Due to the recent unforeseen changes in society, you may have experienced a disruptive shift in both your work and personal lives. Nicholas gave some practical advice and recommendations on how to adapt, keep engaged in your work while adding value to your customers who now find themselves working from home. With Jabra’s partnership with SkySwitch, you can easily access the products you need via the SkySwitch Store, to create a successful system for managing virtual teams and growing your business.

Home Office Habits of Highly Successful Employees

When it comes to creating a plan for a remote work model, it is important to involve everyone from the CEO to entry-level employees, to ensure success in a digital workspace. 

Nicholas explained how leading by example and showing your employees how to conduct themselves by setting the tone for communication behavior is very important to remain successful. He also touched on another vital aspect of a fully virtual office, which is setting up your employees with the right technology tools. This is where SkySwitch and Jabra can help! 

With the variety of Jabra headsets and speakerphones available that deliver easy-to-use functionality, the Jabra product line can quickly improve the overall employee and customer experience when working from home.  

Enable Your Customers to Work From Anywhere

Nicholas also covered how easy it can be to work from anywhere, drive profits and sustain growth with some use-case examples with some of Jabra’s products. For example, with Jabra’s Evolve wired and wireless headset series, their Panacast and Speak 710 and 750 it is easy to collaborate and stay connected without ever missing a beat.

As a Jabra partner, you have free access to their Jabra One Zone program, which provides you with sales and marketing materials, training and tools to help you sell Jabra products and solutions to your customers. For more information about this program, you can reach out to Nick Baon at nbaon@jabra.com

Congratulations!

To top off such an informative webinar, all attendees who joined the live session were eligible to win a Jabra Work From Home Prize Pack that included: 

  • 1 – Jabra Evolve2 65  Headset – Work anywhere with superior wireless audio performance
  • 1 – Jabra Speak 710  Professional, portable speakerphone
  • *Both packaged in a high-quality Jabra-branded pack with office supply items
Jabra Evolve2 65 Headset – Work anywhere with superior wireless audio performance
Jabra Speak 710 Professional, portable speakerphone

For this webinar, the lucky winner of the prize pack was Justin Dipopolo of Quality Communications of New Jersey. Congratulations Justin! 

Want More SkySwitch Webinars?

If you enjoyed this webinar, make sure to keep an eye out for our weekly newsletter, which highlights our upcoming webinars! To ensure you’re receiving all of our important email announcements, add “info@skyswitch.com” to your address book.

Don’t miss our next webinar: Safe Workplace Solutions for Your Customers That Can’t Work From Home. On Tuesday, April 28th, at 11 AM ET join Phil Lembo, President of CyberData, Justin Baker, VSaaS Product Manger at SkySwitch and Andy Abramson, CMO at SkySwitch as they discuss safe workplace solutions you can offer your customers who are required to work on-site during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Times of Crisis, Communication is Essential

When it comes down to it, we all think we are prepared for the unexpected — but are we really? Power and IT outages, natural disasters, even global pandemics, can happen at any time and inevitably affect your entire organization. In order to always be prepared for the myriad of unforeseen circumstances, businesses should have a crisis communication plan ready to deploy at any given moment to ensure business continuity.

Coming from a company with a cloud-based business model, SkySwitch wants to help ensure that your business keeps flowing in the event of a crisis or when unexpected situations arise. To keep going, here are some questions to ask yourself in order to create an effective crisis communication plan for your business: 

Do your employees have an easy way to communicate their status?

Whether it be during a crisis, or when you are operating business-as-usual, employee safety should always be a top concern in your company. As part of a safety assessment, C-level executives and managers need a way to account for their teams no matter where they are in the world. You might want to consider implementing a platform, like Slack or Microsoft Teams, for your employees to use for daily communication and messaging. It’s important for your crisis communication plan to include an established way for employees to check-in safely and quickly during an emergency.

Do your employees have a way to make and receive business phone calls at any time?

By using cloud-based softphone systems, you can provide your team with communication connectivity without the need for a physical desk phone. Apps like ReachUC Mobility offer essential and crucial features such as smart call routing and auto-attendant services. This makes the concept of “taking your work with you” easier than ever by bringing your office phone to your mobile device. Softphones allow your business phone number to follow you anywhere so your contacts can easily reach you. Making sure your employees are properly trained on how to use these cloud-based systems on their mobile devices is essential for times of uncertainty. 

Does your team have an efficient way to stay connected with their customers?

During non-emergency situations, your employees should have a safe place where they can serve your customers and be able to meet crucial deadlines. Consider checking out places like coffee shops, local co-working facilities like WeWork and Regus or other safe spaces for your employees to set up shop. But, during a global pandemic where everything is closed to the public, where should your employees and customers meet? To prepare for this kind of situation, make sure your employees are properly trained and equipped to work from home (#WFH) with all of the proper resources.

Do your employees have access to the proper resources for a digital workspace?

To create a smooth transition for your business during a crisis or unexpected event, it’s best to already be actively using remote-friendly apps and platforms. Using the proper collaborative resources for voice calls, instant messaging and video conferencing, where you can easily invite participants in and out of your organization, will help your business stay running as usual in a crisis situation. With the advancements in 4G and 5G technologies that are available today, it is easier than ever to give your employees a way to seamlessly switch from working in an office to a remote work model while still maintaining productivity. 

Creating a team environment has always been essential to keep business flowing. Now that we are experiencing a global crisis together, it has never before been more important for businesses to pull together as a team and stay connected. As a SkySwitch reseller, you have the tools available for your customers to maintain communication as they make use of their crisis communication plans. 

In times of need, SkySwitch is here for you, and your customers. If you’d like to learn more about how SkySwitch supports resellers in times of crisis, please contact us.

Product Review: Poly VVX 450 Business IP Phone

Poly is a leader in telephony and communications product offerings. In our exploration of the VVX series of Poly phones, we’ve already looked at the VVX 350 and today we’re evaluating the Poly VVX 450 and putting it through its paces.

Features and Overview

The Poly VVX 450 is a business IP phone that brings a fantastic price to value offering that features:

  • A large 4.3” color display
  • HD Voice support with support for the G.722, G.722.1, G.729AB, G.711 codecs
  • Group intercom paging — you can broadcast messages out to other Poly phones in your office
  • 12 line key buttons — including a Power Keys Service that enables you to manage up to 6 live calls at one time or monitor status of 4 other extensions
  • Two (2) gigabit ethernet ports 

Opening the Box

Poly’s packaging for the VVX 450 is straightforward and gets to the point. The company only ships using recyclable materials and when you open the box, you’ll encounter the expected phone base, power adapter, handset, cord and ethernet cord. 

The Poly VVX 450 offers power over ethernet capable (PoE) but comes with a power adapter, which is a value add amongst competitors.

Lastly, there’s an included stand that enables you to customize the angle the phone sits on your desk. This phone model is easy to assemble and to connect to your network — it took me less than 30 seconds to get the phone physically ready to use.

Image from iOS (24)-cropped

Setup and Provisioning on SkySwitch

Once I had the VVX 450 out of the box and onto my workplace’s wired network, the phone booted up for its’ initial set up and I was ready to provision and start using it.

Luckily, getting the new Poly handset operational and ready to use was an easy three-step process:

  1. Find the MAC address using the Poly VVX 450s on-screen menus
  2. Add the phone to my PBX set up on Poly using the MAC address
  3. Use the Poly’s on-screen setup screen, setting the server type and address

Note: while some desk phones can use an integrated web page user interface to provision and set these preferences on the device, I read this Skyswitch Knowledge Base article and found that for Poly phones, you set this easy configuration up using the phone’s menus, not the Web UI. 

That said, phones ordered via the SkySwitch store are shipped already provisioned.

So, in my case, I simply:

  1. Navigated to the Admin settings, then Network Configuration, 
  2. Chose Provisioning Server
    1. Changed the Server Type to HTTP and set the server address to http://sipcfg.io/cfg – then, the Poly VVX 450 power cycled itself and the phone came back ready to use!

Performance and Real-World Usage

I’ve been using Poly VVX 450 to dial landlines, Skyswitch office mates’ extensions and mobile numbers in the US, UK and France. The audio quality on my handset is dynamic and easy to hear. My callers can hear me clearly and I can hear them. I find the ergonomics of the handset to be a pleasure to use as Poly has placed buttons and call functionality in ideal spots on the phone base. The color screen is ideal to work with and the programmable softkeys bring conference lines and colleagues into one-touch reach.

When I deploy the speakerphone, I’ve been told my voice can be heard despite my office space’s high ceiling and ambient noise. Paired with my Plantronics Savi 8220 headset – which is supported by the VVX 450’s headset jack – calls sound pristine and clear.

Conclusion

The Poly VVX 450 is a solid handset that offers a price to value that can’t be matched. Its monster screen and easily accessible function keys bring your colleagues easily in touch with one-click accessibility.

*Like all products Jason Harris is reviewing, this device is available in the SkySwitch store, accessible through the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard.

 

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