Smartinfo Systems News Round Up w/b 27 January 2014

ID-100207610The world of telecommunications is ever changing. Here are some news items, articles and opinions which caught our eye over the last week.

You Need a New Phone System – What Now? [give us a call!]

Growing number of Irish employees now work from home [our systems are great for supporting remote working]

Using VoIP and Other Communication Services to Expand Your Businesses [our clients would agree]

Phone Etiquette: A Refresher Course in Courtesy [good tips!]

Common mistakes made by companies implementing flexible working [make sure you have the right comms – we can help!]

Updating PC World’s “VoIP Buying Guide for Small Business” – Business 2 Community [worth a look]

So, that’s our industry news round up for this week – see you next time!

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Ofcom – Price Rises in Fixed-Term Contracts

Ofcom has published a statement on how it will protect consumers from mid-contract price rises for fixed-term landline, broadband, and mobile services.

Following a consultation, Ofcom has decided that consumers and small businesses should be allowed to exit a fixed-term contract without penalty if their communications provider increases the cost of their monthly subscription price deal.

The statement contains new guidance for communications providers on one of the ‘general conditions’ with which they must comply – GC 9.6 – which tells them how to interpret and apply current telecoms sector rules in relation to price increases during fixed-term contracts.

This guidance sets out that:

Ofcom is likely to regard any increase to the recurring monthly subscription charge in a fixed-term contract as ‘materially detrimental’ to consumers. Providers should therefore:

1 – Give consumers at least 30 days’ notice of any such price rise and allow them to exit their contract without penalty.

2 – Any changes to contract terms, pricing or otherwise, must be communicated clearly and transparently to consumers.

The new guidance comes into effect three months from today (Oct. 25, 2013).

It will apply to any new landline, broadband, and mobile contracts (including in some cases bundled contracts) entered into after this date. We think this is generally good news for the consumer because it will protect them from ad hoc and sudden price increases which could affect their monthly outgoings.

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London’s Tube to get free Wi-Fi in time for Olympics


Free Wi-Fi will be made available to London’s commuters in time for the Olympics. That is, when the Tube drivers aren’t on strike leaving half the network crippled for days at a time.

Everyone loves a freebie, especially if it comes in invisible wireless waves of Wi-Fi enjoyment. Thankfully for the typical grumpy Londoner, users of the Underground subway system will receive free Wi-Fi during July and August.

The catch? There isn’t one as it happens, with anyone able to use the free Wi-Fi during the Olympics and beyond, thanks to Virgin Media. If there were one, however, it would be that once the slightly later Paralympic Games are over, non-Virgin customers will be shuttered out.

London’s Tube to get free Wi-Fi in time for Olympics

Read more from source

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Cisco phone system for small business

Cisco phone system for small business

Cisco phone for small business



Smartinfo can supply and configure a Cisco phone system for you small business. Based on the Broadsoft r17 platform, customers can manage their extension online and upload auto attendant and music on hold online.

POE (Power over Eithernet)  switches, cat 5 installs, and fax to email solutions are also available.

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Progressive dialling


Progressive dialling enables a phone system to dial a fed list of contacts, this boosts productivity massively.

Its common knowledge among sales managers and directors out bound calling is the most hated of tasks by sales people, often this is a psychological barrier and the hardest barrier to break is the initial pick up the handset and dial.

Once most sales people are in dialogue all fear dissipates. Our progressive dialling software

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CTI phone system intergration to your PC, network and calendar schedule


For owners of Samsung, Mitel and Alcatel Phone systems; we can integrate them to you network and desktop PCs, giving you popping of your Outlook contacts on an incoming call, or dialling out straight from an Outlook contact record.

Many of the CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) can also dial out simply by highlighting a phone number on a webpage of PDF document, from the initial call adding to the address book is as simple as ‘add new contact’

Samsung Xchange, Mitel Communicator (previously YA, or Your Assistant) and Alcatel Pimphony (personal information manager) have also moved into the realms of “Presence” put simply your phone or mini-message-window can be set depending on your activity, such as in a meeting, on a call, out of the office, Some can even look up your calendar to set your phone/cti ‘presence’

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Phone system for Islington (N1) Estate agents react to market conditions using Smart Telecom technology


Smartinfo have an estate agent customer in Islington, London.

The estate agent was started by two partners and had grown to 2 offices, the main in Islington and the second in Hampstead.

Their traditional incumbent provider had failed to keep abreast with the latest developments in telecoms technology, both in relation to telcom services and phone system features that can enable their business model.

Initially we consolidated their ISDN and analogue lines, and converted them into SIP trunks – this enabled more efficient line usage, ie they could cut down from 8 lines to 4 Sip trunks (Sip trunks can also be increased and decreased instantly at busy times, on a monthly basis).

All new Sip trunks are now delivered into the main Islington office. Calls to Hampstead are delivered into Islington lines, but ring in Hampstead on IP (Voip) phone extensions, unless unanswered in which case it can overflow identified to Islington N1 HQ.

As the market over the last couple of years has fluctuated the partners have used the phone system to react, where bigger players could not and as a consequence folded. The Hampstead branch office was closed as a physical office, but calls were not taken by its staff in Islington, with no noticeable change to the public clients.

As an entrepreneurial pair, one decided to emigrate to South Africa, to replicate the same business model there. He took an IP phone and was able to continue his administrative role (Accounts and legals) as if still in the UK. (With the use of some cloud based access to London PCs).
As he embraced his new SA lifestyle he also had a requirement for his SA mobile to be attached to the sytem, to take calls at un synchronised hours and on the school run – this was achieved with Mobex so he had full call control, so the ability to transfer the call from his SA mobile back to a London Extension seamlessly.

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Phone System for Logistics Company, using VOIP phones, SIP trunks and Softphones


We thought we would outline a customer case study to show the power of a modern day Telephone system, in this case we outline how a Samsung telephone system enabled a modest logistics company punch above its weight and compete on a global stage, with true global scale.

The HQ of A Logistics is based in Essex and contains a small staff of 4 back office, operations and MD, the Samsung phone sytem is located here with a dedicated ADSL2+ connection for the voice to run SIP trunks over.

The encumbent analogue line number was ported over to the SIP trunks at the time of install. 4 VOIP extension phones were sent to Delhi, India – this is where the customer service calls are taken, so calls are made to the essex number and ring on the Delhi phones, if all the operators in Delhi are busy, the call can be grabbed by the Essex HQ.

The client also have a small office in Rotterdam and two further shipping agents (ie one man offices) in Vancouver and Toronto. Each of these three satalite offcies have an IP phone in place. This means any office can call another simply as an extension call, this means calls are not only free, but every user has access to teh features of the HQ Phone system, such as voicemail, comapny director, and of course can tell if a user in another country is busy or free.

As the MD is on the move and travelling alot mobile bills had become an acute problem. To solve this software was added to both the MD’s Lpatop and his mobile phone. A Samsung softphone was added to the MDs laptop, this gave him the full fucntionallity of a desk phone with programable keys for other users and fuctions such as conferencing – he can use the Laptop softphone in Airport lounges and Hotels as if he is in HQ, or indeed any of the 4 satalite offices. As an additial layer of communication a SIP phone licence was also added to his smartphone (firstly a windows mobile, later an android) this enabled him to take adhoc calls on the move on his mobile on the sip phone app (where wifi or 3g are available).

As a footnote if you are not roaming, domestic mobiles can be connected to the system as extensions with full PBX functionallity such as transfer, hold or conference.

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Telephone Systems for Schools and Colleges


Smartinfo have installed many new phone systems for schools and colleges. Many companies just remove old switchboards like for like, misssing an opportunity to add greater functionallity to a schools facility management.

Some of the features we like to install specifically for schools are:-

1) An Operator console – to enable the receptionist to handle a large number of calls at the busiest times

2) Texting from the desktop to allow student or parent realtime updating of urgent opening times info

3) Mobex – to allow mobile phones to replace DECT systems

4) Paging through phones

5) Scalling of lines up and down at busyest times such as admissions for 6th form colleges

6) Mobile gateway to reduce mobile call costs by 60%

If your supplier has not recommended any, or all, of the above they are not looking after a schools functional needs!

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Major Software upgrade on Virtual Infrastructure


Engineering work will be undertaking an essential software upgrade within the resilient virtual firewall infrastructure at the London 3 data centre. This work will allow further virtual firewalls to be provisioned whilst also removing a software bug recently identified that is preventing provisioning activites to take place. This work has been recommended by the vendor.


No customer impact is anticipated during the works as virtual services hosted on the device being worked upon will be migrated on to unaffected resilient devices within London 2. However, there is a very slight possibility of disruption to services in London 3, mainly the DNS platform but also including DSL and Leased Lines.

Advice to affected users

Please check your connectivity after the maintenance window. If problems persist, please contact the Emergency Support Team.

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