The annual freeze is upon the UK with forecasts of snow and freezing temperatures and of course the possible disruption to business inlcuding staff shortages as employees refuse to struggle through dangerous conditions to get to work. In this age of high speed internet and multitude of communications options it should be easy for desk based employees to work from home and it is not as expensive as you might think as long as you have made some preperations.
The obvious first choice is using VoIP (Voice Over IP) so that home based employees, even temporarily snowed in ones, can communicate with the office and customers seamlessly. As long as they have a reliable ADSL connection at home and a PC with suitable headset they can quickly establish a connection with the office phone system to remain a productive member of the team. Even if your business does not have a VoIP or VoIP enabled telephone system you can plan ahead by installing a VoIP Gateway which will easily upgrade your existing phone system to provide basic VoIP connectivity as a backup for this type of situation. The Telecom FM Onestream VoIP Gateway will connect to your small business phone system and provide VoIP connectivity for both the office phone system and also allow home workers to connect using an IP softphone on their computer or they could use an IP Phone at home and be able to answer incoming calls and transfer them back to the office. The Onestream Gateway also fetures a built-in GSM Gateway so the company can reduce their call charges to mobile phones or provide easy, low cost mobile extension functionality for their mobile workforce.
The next thing that a home based employee will need to do is access their office PC and applications from their home computer and this is easily achieved using a basic VNC service or a paid for remote access solutions such as gotomypc or logmein which are easy to set up and allow the user to work as though sitting at their desk.
With a little planning, and maybe a small outlay for items like VoIP Gateways which can provide additional benefits such as reduced call charges throughout the year, most small businesses can easily survive the cold snap.
Now that the Vegastream operations have been integrated into Sangoma, the popular Vegastream VoIP Gateways are now available again in the UK. The newly branded Sangoma Vegastream units are available in the same formats as the original Vegastream VoIP Gateways.
The use of SIP Trunking by small and medium sized businesses in the UK has risen dramatically over the last twelve months compared to the previous three years data. The rise in SIP Trunk usage in the UK has been driven by the change in business phone system technologies that have been implemented by the leading phone system manufacturers such as Panasonic, Avaya and Siemens. New communications platforms from these leading systems providers such as the Panasonic NS1000 have focused heavily on SIP technology and promote the use of both IP Telephones for extensions and SIP Trunking to replace traditional PSTN Analogue, ISDN2e and ISDN30e telephone lines.
The move to SIP trunking has not yet been driven by pricing or service except in the case of new installations where the cost of installing multiple SIP Trunking channels is far cheaper and quicker than analogue or ISDN phone lines. SIP Trunk channel rental combined with the cost of using a dedicated broadband service to deliver high quality VoIP calls will usually cost the same as renting the equivalent number of PSTN or ISDN telephone lines, and the typical call charges for using a VoIP service compared to normal phone lines are usually the same.
During 2011, there were 127 new suppliers of SIP Trunk providers in the UK compared to only 32 new SIP Trunking providers in 2010 and this should help drive down the price, provide new innovation and improve quality.
The increase in SIP Trunking has also promted a new range of VoIP Gateway products that will enable business users to utilise SIP Trunks without changing their existing analogue or ISDN phone system. A VoIP Gateway will connect to the phone system trunk ports and provide conversion of these traditional telephone technologies to VoIP so that businesses can take advantage of the VoIP revolution. Oneproduct that does just this is the Onestream VoIP Gateway that provides PSTN and ISDN2e connectivity for SIP Trunking as well as providing two built-in GSM channels to enable low cost calls to mobile phones, as well as offering mobile extension capabilities and the connection of IP Phones to provide extra capacity in the office or for homeworkers.
The Telecom FM range of Onestream VoIP GSM Gateways offer businesses with traditional analogue or ISDN2e telephone systems to easily take advantage of low cost calls using VoIP telephone services. The Onestream Gateway connects between the phone system and telephone lines and then connects to the broadband router so that it can route calls from the phone system over the internet to a VoIP service provider (SIP Trunking) to enable low cost calls.
As well as offering the abilty to make VoIP Calls, the Onestream Gateway also features a built in 2 channel GSM Gateway that can use mobile phone SIM cards from the major networks including O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Orange so calls from the phone system cal also be routed directly over the mobile phone network and using the low cost inclusive, cross network call packages from these mobile phone networks, calls to mobile phones can typically be reduced by 50%. The Onestream GSM Gateway even has the abilty to track the number of minutes used on calls to mobile phones so there is no overspend on inclusive minute bundles.
As well as offering the small business an easy way to use VoIP and GSM networks to save money on calls, the Onestream gateway can connect branch offices and home workers and even provide mobile extension functionality so that cals be be directed to external numbers including mobile phones, homeworkers and branch offices and calls answered on these external telephones can be transferred back to the office phone system making it a truly mobile extension solution.
To read more about the Onestream Gateway and view the Onestream presentation which explains how the Onestrem Gateway can benefit your business visit the dedicated Onestream Gateway site.
The Onestream Gateway has different models depending on your phone system type. There is the Onestream GFX for analogue phone systems and the Onestrem GBRI2 and Onestream GBRI4 for ISDN2e phone systems and for businesses that have already upgraded to a VoIP phone system but want to make low cost calls using a GSM Gateway then the Onestream G is a VoIP GSM Gateway.