A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Business Telephone System
If you’re in the market for a new business telephone system, there are a few questions you should ponder to lead you on the right track. In this article, we’ll go over these questions and help you answer them. The questions you should be asking yourself are:
Do you need physical phones on your desks to operate. or would your employees get by using a virtual phone number on their mobiles?
If you do need desk-phones, what kind of service would suit you best? You could choose a traditional business telephone system, provided by a telco or a dealer company such as ourselves. Alternately, you could choose a VoIP system which you can get from a number of suppliers.
If you’re opting for VoIP, do you want it kept on the property (on-premises) or hosted by your service provider (cloud-based)?
We’ll help answer these questions in the article, but if you’d like to speak to an expert about this click here. Later in this article, we show you how to apply those questions to choosing between these types of business telephone systems:
Traditional Business Telephone Systems (Landlines)
In this case, we refer to traditional business telephone systems as landlines. They are typically supported by telephone companies, though if you are a Brisbane based business, you should contact us to see how we can improve your experience! Landlines, or public switched telephone networks (PSTNs) are analogue systems that run over normal telephone lines. To run a traditional landline system, you’ll need an on-site PBX (private branch exchange). This piece of hardware provides support for internal extensions and call transfers. There are some landline systems that are actually hybrids, partially utilising VoIP. In these systems, the phone line is connected to the business’s data network, which in turn connects to the individual phones. It is worth noting that traditional business telephone systems are being phased out by telcos and may eventually go the way of dial-up internet.
Pros: They’re reliable, have stood the test of time, and are what most companies are most comfortable using.
Cons: Most providers are moving away from this solution, meaning it can be difficult to get them repaired or serviced.
Advice: These systems are suited to larger companies with the budget to pay for the hardware as well as IT consultants who can service them. They are also a necessity if your business doesn’t have a high speed internet.
VoIP Business Telephone Systems
These systems run over your internet connection rather than traditional phone lines. They boast a feature set which previously required expensive top of the range PBX hardware. This includes automated attendents, call queues and integration with computers. This computer integration allows calls to be sent to email inboxes, and allows you to use your computer as your business phone. VoIP also gives remote workers to access the business phone system from their mobile devices.
Pros: VoIP provides an advanced phone system with all the features of a large corporation’s landline service. They’re cheaper than regular landlines and significantly less painful to configure.
Cons: These systems rely on a stable internet connection. If your internet connection drops out, so will your phone system.
Advice: These systems are great for smaller businesses that want to have the same level of functionality for their business telephone system as a larger corporation, or who have remote workers that need access to the phone system. Make sure your internet connection is reliable before committing to this option though.
If this is the option you’re going for, the next decision is to determine how it will be hosted. Read further for advice on this.
Virtual Business Telephone Systems
These systems are the most basic type of VoIP system. They are essentially an extensive call forwarding system that routes calls to the main business line to either the employees mobile or home phone. These systems can work well for home offices with a decent internet connection, but be careful if you live with other people outside of the business. These systems still provide a variety of features however, including automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening and more.
Pros: These services allow businesses to present a professional image, even when working offsite.
Cons: Virtual phone systems aren’t full fledged phone systems, and since they work by forwarding calls, you will be paying for calls on your home or mobile phone, as well as the virtual phone line.
Advice: If your business has workers that work offsite most of the time or you’re a home office, then this solution may be for you.
Cloud and On-Premise VoIP Systems
With on-premises VoIP, the hardware used to run the system are kept (as you’ve probably guessed) at the business premises. This arrangement requires a large upfront cost since you’re purchaseing the equipment that runs the VoIP connection. Because of this, you only pay a one time fee for the hardware, but you will still have to pay the ongoing costs of SIP trunking which allows you to make and receive calls with it. With this solution, your IT staff are responsible for maintenance, repairs and updates.
Pros: You control your service, so you are only relying on yourself to keep it going. You can also configure it exactly the way you’d like.
Cons: You will pay a significant upfront cost for the hardware. You also need to have IT staff capable of maintaining the system.
Advice: This solution is suited to those who have an in-house IT staff and are hoping to have total control over their system with immediacy.
With a cloud based system, you don’t have any maintenance or expensive hardware to worry about. The service provider houses, maintains and updates all of the PBX technology for you. The cloud makes growing your business easier by alleviating the headache of needing to upgrade your PBX hardware or add new lines manually. For this type of service, businesses generally pay a monthly fee on a per-user basis.
Pros: You needn’t purchase or maintain the expensive hardware that is otherwise a necessity. In fact, you don’t even need a desk phone (although that certainly is an option), you can set up your computer to work as your desk phone.
Cons: You’re not in control of the hardware. If the system has an outage, you need to trust that the service provider will bring it back up in a timely fashion.
Advice: This system is well suited to growing businesses that are on a fixed budget and who don’t have an in-house IT team to maintain and operate the PBX hardware. It is also a great option for businesses who want a stress free setup of a new phone system with all the features of that of a large corporation.
How 5G is changing Australian internet for small businesses and consumers.
Since the days of 1G, every new generation of mobile technology and internet has brought with it faster speeds and more functionality. Now, with 5G around the corner, the wireless technology promises to deliver speeds allowing you to download a 3GB file (like a HD film) in a mere matter of seconds (in contrasts to the current 4G technology taking a minute or 2)
Low latency Internet: What is it?
With 5G comes faster speeds, the ability to support 10 times the amount of connected devices, this is a massive boost for business mobility. How is this possible you ask? One of the major drivers behind the speed boost is called latency. Latency is the time it takes from sending a request to recieve a response over the internet.
5G internet may even deliver a 30th of the latency of 4G. Thus, 30 milliseconds on 4G may equate to 1-6 milliseconds on 5G (though it won’t be quite this fast in early days). The more rapid relay of information and fewer delays may lead to advances in various technologies.
For example, imagine a self-driving car that uses such low latency to collate information from its sensors to know what’s happening virtually in real-time, whilst also receiving updates on traffic and adjusting its route to alleviate the all-to-common congestion in Brisbane. Faster end-to-end transmission from the sensors to a cloud-based control system enables the car to collate information from the sensors and respond to hazards in a timely fashion.
“5G still has to adhere to the laws of physics – limited by the speed of light. However, with 5G technology, what has changed is the time it takes for data to travel from your device to the tower, through the server, and to a router to get somewhere,” a quote from Paul Milford, Networks Principal, Mobile Innovation Rollout at Telstra.
How can Telstra’s 5G low latency benefit small businesses in Brisbane?
This latency decrease means that business requiring fast response and reaction times can enjoy increased efficiency. Combine that with other recent innovations of the tech industry like big data and machine learning and the potential is astoundingly impressive.
According to a recent study on 5G for businesses “On top of the benefits for consumers, much of 5G’s value will come from enabling Australian business to become more efficient. Three-quarters of surveyed businesses say that faster, more reliable telecommunications would benefit their business.”
There’s predicted to be an even greater benefit for those in the tech industry. “Imagine a race where high-performance cars relay a huge variety of data, from braking to acceleration to wind dynamics, back to the team’s dashboards. Now imagine if all that data is relayed via 5G. In a car race when every millisecond matters, giving the team virtually real-time data would help them make in-the-moment racing decisions” says Mr Milford.
Other potential advances include off-site surgeons using surgical robotics and 5G internet to provide medical care to those in remote areas. The faster haptic feedback (virtual-feeling) may lead to more accurate outcomes.
What will it take to get there?
5G is anticipated to contribute up to $50 billion to Australia’s GDP by 2030 according to a recent report.
Telstra hopes to help ensure that Australian businesses are among the first in the world to harness the game-changing power of 5G. Telstra is leading in rolling out 5G networks, reaching a number of world and Australian firsts, and has already rolled out more than 200 5G capable sites.
The use cases for 5G will keep growing as the technology develops, and preparations for advances in emerging technologies like Internet of Things devices (IoT), AI, augmented and virtual reality, and even drones are set to benefit. All this depends on the quality of the underlying network.
Services will not be available for purchase by new customers.
30 June 2018
Services will not be available for purchase by existing Telstra customers who already receive the services as at that date. However, such existing customers will continue to be able to make configuration, software and record changes to services for each of the services, as outlined in Required Measure 5(D)).
From 30 September 2019
services will be disconnected in areas where the area’s rollout region disconnection date falls on or before 30 September 2019; or
for areas in which the rollout region disconnection date falls after 30 September 2019, services will disconnect as per the rollout region disconnection timetable.
the final exit date for any services that have not been disconnected in accordance with the above will occur by 2022. We shall communicate the date in due course.
Smart NBN Ready Hybrid Solution – PBX designed for small to medium size businesses.
With trunks from PSTN, ISDN (BRI & PRI) to SIP, thePanasonic KX-NS700can support whatever connectivity you require.
ONE FLEXIBLE SYSTEM – MULTIPLE COMMUNICATION CAPABILITIES
The Panasonic KX-NS700 Smart Hybrid PBX system has been designed to allow small and medium businesses to grow and adapt their communication needs as their business expands. The KX-NS700 has been designed specifically for small or medium businesses looking to take advantage Panasonic’s reputation for quality technology without needing to spend a large budget.
With up to 252 users, the KX-NS700 will complement your company’s growth, without any messy and expensive hardware swap outs due to expansion capacities like many of Panasonic’s competitors.
Smart Hybrid System – The system has sufficient capacity for legacy port and IP ports. Old handset such as KX-T7600, KX-T7630 and KX-T7636 handsets that were previously supported on old Panasonic KX-TDA30 are compatible on the Panasonic KX-NS700.
Advanced, Rich features – The KX-NS700 is a unified communications system which has rich IP features such as mobile twinning, integrated voicemail, voicemail-to-email, instant messaging (chat) and presence information.
Scalability – The KX-NS700 is highly scalable. It has a stackable design and up to 130 digital extensions can be supported with the installation of an additional three KX-NS720 shelves. A single Panasonic KX-NS700 shelf can support up to 34 digital extensions on a single shelf or up to 128 IP extensions can be supported on a single shelf. It can even connect to a Panasonic KX-NS1000 system to create a small, medium or enterprise solution.
Call Centre Solution – The KX-NS700 can support the needs of supervisors in call centres, such as queue announcements, live status monitoring, activity reports and automatic conversation recording.
Simplified Installation and Maintenance – Panasonic highly trained and authorised dealer channel can easily programme PBX functions thanks to built-in web server. Programming can even be carried out remotely.
The pack includes:
Panasonic KX-DT543 x 4
Free voicemail to email
Free mobile twinning (have your mobile ring at the same time as your desk extension)
ISDN/PSTN or SIP trunks (NBN compatible)
Auto Attendant i.e. push 1 for Sales
Ability to place calls on hold, transfer and intercom
Professional bespoke professional Ad on Hold. Tell people about your business and solutions, build credibility whilst you place customers on hold.
$5,999.00 + GST INSTALLED with 12-months support including billing support for Telstra customers.
Align your business for success. Panasonic Business Communication Servers allow you to easily configure for 8 to 1000 extensions, reduce costs by leveraging existing data networks and support your mobile workforce with cordless connectivity. The future of business is connected. That future is now.
Communication is an essential part of what makes your business a success, and that’s why having the right telephone system in place is so important.
PANASONIC PHONE SYSTEMS – AS UNIQUE AS YOUR BUSINESS
Whether you run a boutique firm or a large, publicly traded corporation, Panasonic has a communication solution to unify your employees, customers and stakeholders. From our IP phones and digital phones to our market-leading cordless solution, you’ll find advanced features to connect your company like never before. With NBN being the drive behind much of the new technology available to Australian business, talk to our phone systems team to suggest the best option for you.
There is no better time for small business customers to invest in the tools that will help them to achieve their big ideas.
Budget 2017 – Small Business Tax Deduction of $20,000
Government announced an extension to the 2015-16 Budget measure providing an instant asset write-off provision for small businesses.
New laws have passed that allow small businesses to claim an immediate deduction for assets they start to use – or have installed ready for use – provided each depreciable asset costs less than $20,000. This will temporarily replace the previous instant asset write-off threshold of $1,000.
This measure starts 7.30pm (AEST) 12 May 2015 and will end on 30 June 2017.
The balance of the general small business pool is also immediately deducted if the balance is less than $20,000 at the end of an income year that ends on or after 12 May 2015 and on or before 30 June 2017 (including existing general small business pool).
The current ‘lock out’ laws will also be suspended for the simplified depreciation rules (these prevent small businesses from re-entering the simplified depreciation regime for five years if they have opted out) until the end of 30 June 2017.
Assets excluded from these depreciation rules include horticultural plants and in-house software allocated to a software development pool. In most cases specific depreciation rules apply to these excluded assets.
Assets that cost $20,000 or more (which can’t be immediately deducted under other provisions) are deducted over time using the general small business pool. Under the pooling mechanism a deduction for 15 per cent of the cost is allowed in the first income year with a diminishing value rate of 30 per cent deduction on the opening pool balance allowed for each income year thereafter. This includes the purchase of a business phone system.
It’ll be extremely tax effective for small businesses to purchase phone systems before end of this financial year.
With the End of Financial Year fast approaching, small business customers should look to take advantage of this tax deduction scheme and purchase Panasonic Phone systems before 30th of June 2017. You can also look at upgrading the phone system to Panasonic KX-NS700/1000 this financial year and claim immediate tax deduction.
Information gained from the ATO website.
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