30
Mar 15

Broadband Speeds and Blueface

broadband speeds

We are often asked what you need to use your broadband connection for telephony purposes. The fact is that these days Ireland has such good broadband speeds, that you probably don’t need to worry. In fact a more important consideration is how you manage your connection. If you have any more than one or two concurrent calls then you really should be prioritising voice traffic on your firewall / router. This is easy to do but easy to get wrong also! It’s also important to remember that the upload speed is an important factor.

The actual physical requirements are 80 kbps for both upload and download. Of course you will need a connection with a greater capacity in order to adequately support other concurrent services. For example if you wish to send an email or browse the web while speaking, your connection must obviously have the capacity to do this and provide the necessary bandwidth for your call.

The three most important factors for a happy VoIP experience are:

1. Broadband Connection with consistent upload and download speeds in excess of 100 kbps per voice call

2. No or little variation in connection latency – known as Jitter, this is the change in the amount of time it takes information to get from your phone to our server – you can test it by pinging sip.blueface.ie -
http://www.blueface.ie/helpandadvice/troubleshooting.php#connection

3. No or little packet loss – this is the loss of pieces of information (packets) as they are transmitted back and forth to our servers.

A solid connection from a good broadband provider will result in no packet loss in all but exceptional circumstances. Occasionally their may be glitches and a few packets may go astray but Blueface have very strong connectivity with Irish and International ISP’s along with INEX (the Irish Internet Exchange) so this is not a normal occurrence. If there is consistent packet loss it is likely to point to an internal network issue such as an old or poorly configured router or switch, a virus on a PC flooding the network, or some kind of hardware problem.

If all of the above are satisfactory then you are ready to go and can be confident of a first class service. The only other check to make is if you are planning on having more than one or two simultaneous calls you must prioritise traffic to and from our domain blueface.com, and obviously ensure that you have sufficient bandwidth for the maximum number of simultaneous calls plus what other bandwidth you need. It may be an idea to obtain a second separate connection solely for voice - perhaps from an alternative provider so that you also have redundancy; you can always use it in an emergency for data also, or vice versa.

It doesn’t seem that long ago since we had seriously underdeveloped infrastructure, and there were black holes all over Ireland without any type of connectivity. There are still the odd few unconnected places, but really not many. However the most striking thing is not the ubiquity of internet access in Ireland, but the development of speeds. Standard connection speeds in many areas are now up to 100mb for xDSL services, and cable is providing up to 240mb download speeds.

It’s a long way from this: https://youtu.be/gsNaR6FRuO0

Happy calling!


27
Mar 15

Blueface for Beginners

Blueface for beginners

#1: I am unsure what VoIP actually is?

A lot of people don’t know what VoIP is because it’s still relatively new. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Rather than using telephone lines, you can use your Internet connection to make and receive voice calls. It’s the same service as you’ve always known with your landline except it operates using a different technology.

 

#2: Are there any special requirements to use Blueface’s VoIP service?

You just need a good broadband connection and a VoIP phone.

 

#3: What broadband speed do I need to use Blueface’s landline service?

Each voice call consumes 0.1 of a Megabyte per second in upload and download. This represents a very small proportion of most companies’ broadband connections. Visit www.speedtest.net to test your connection.

 

#4: Why bother to change to VoIP?

VoIP provides its customers with a chance to use a phone system in the cloud that removes the need for an on premises PBX phone system. This makes your phone service accessible from anywhere. With no line rental and no PBX fees you can expect to save 40% per month. VoIP is not any more complicated or confusing from what you already have so why wouldn’t you change?

 

#5: What does Blueface provide exactly? Is this for any size company?

Blueface is an Irish-owned telecoms provider for businesses. Blueface provides a VoIP business phone system also known as a cloud telephone solution. The benefits are cost efficiencies, enhancing productivity, and improving workplace mobility. This system will even provide you with additional benefits such as call transfer, call forwarding, voicemails to email and much more. Blueface makes it easy and provides you with unlimited room to grow. It’s suitable for any size company with packages ranging from 1 person to 1000′s of users; Blueface will find a plan that works for you.

 

#6:  How reliable is VoIP? How is the quality of the calls?

Blueface prides itself on the reliability of the service. With a split switch operating across two data centres, the service is built to be resilient for multi-national and government level customers. Blueface’s Network Operations Centre (NOC) is a team of highly skilled engineers that maintain the network on a 24×7 basis. When you combine Blueface’s infrastructure with a good local network, your sound quality should actually be better than your old traditional phone system. If in doubt, contact Blueface’s sales team for best practice advice.

 

#7: What is the installation process? How do I get started?

It’s as easy as Plug and Play. All Blueface phones come pre-configured so all you need to do is plug them in to your LAN cabling once delivered by courier. You and your business can start working right away with a new reliable and updated system in no more than a week from the moment you order. The best part is that you keep your old number so no calls will be lost in the switchover.

 

Have more questions? We’ve love to hear them. Drop us a line at sales@blueface.ie or call us on +353-1-5242000.

By Alexis Macaluso


06
Mar 15

Disaster Recovery for your Business

dublin fire

source: william murphy / flickr

Disaster Recovery Benefits of Blueface
It’s important to analyse the risks that face your business. At some point or other there may be some sort of unavoidable disaster that affects your company whether it’s a fire, severe weather, fraud, burglary, equipment failure, or even lost corporate knowledge.
While mobile phones have removed some of the risk associated with telecommunications, there’s no denying that most of the most important calls in business with customers, suppliers and partners still takes place over landlines. How badly would it affect your business if you were without landlines for a day or two?
Blueface offers your business a ready-made disaster recovery solution.

Architecture
Using an on-premise PBX represents one single point of failure. If anything happened to this PBX it would affect all of the phones connecting back into this. Whereas using Blueface’s hosted phone system allows for you to distribute this risk. Blueface operates a split switch across two Irish data centres with our partners TelecityGroup. This means that if one of the data centres suffered a disaster, your Blueface service is unaffected.
Since Blueface runs over the top on broadband infrastructure it does allow you to avoid analogue line faults if you employ two broadband connections taking diverse routes.

Support Expertise
Using an on premise PBX requires an expert to maintain it and make changes. If this person is based in-house, it can represent a risk when that person leaves the company with intricate knowledge of how the office phone system is set-up.
Our Hosted PBX platform is manned by a team of NOC engineers that monitor it 24 x 7 x 365 to ensure the highest levels of availability. Blueface has built our own core solution investing over €1.5 million over the past 10 years to offer a best in class solution.

Instant Failover
When disaster strikes, it’s important to re-establish continuity to your business operations. If there’s an issue with accessing your physical office location and you’re relying on your PBX to make changes in call routing, it can be a messy ordeal to make a quick fix.
The biggest concern of a CEO around adopting Blueface is around the scenario of a broadband failure. How Blueface mitigates this is by diverting to mobiles or alternative numbers when this occurs. Phones are constantly pinged to check a connection exists and where this connection fails, the backup numbers kick in.
If this hasn’t been pre-set by a customer, Blueface offers an online portal that can be accessed by approved admin users to switch call routing instantly. For example in the case of heavy snow or floods, calls could be routed to employee’s mobiles or home office phones.

Home Office DR Solution
Many customers of Blueface provide their CEO or executive team with offsite Blueface handsets that mirror their main office phone set-up. This allows them to retain the same extension, DDI, voicemail and caller ID across both locations. While this is primarily to allow for more flexible working, it also provides a seamless disaster recovery solution.

Company Financial Position
Finally it’s important to ensure the company you select to provide your telecoms services will not go out of business. Ireland has unfortunately had telecoms companies in the recent past that have collapsed. Blueface is backed by Lord Iveagh of the Guinness Family and has been profitable each year.

Building in resiliency to your communications is easy with Blueface.


12
Feb 15

Six Nations Kick Off in Rome

Last weekend was a spectacular one in Rome for Blueface; not only did it mark the begin of the Six Nations (Ireland vs Italy) , but it meant that both the BF Italian and Irish offices were re-united again.

The Embassy of Ireland, along with Enterprise Ireland hosted a stunning networking lunch at Villa Spada before the match, with many other Irish and Italian companies, for an opportunity to explore mutual interests and business opportunities. After the lunch, we all headed off to the Stadio Olimpico – the main and largest sports facility of Rome, located within the Foro Italico sports complex, north of the city.

It was quickly clear who was supporting whom as we all arrived to the Stadium. The Irish turnout was phenomenal, and there was a great atmosphere running through the stadium. Blueface would have been happy with either team winning, but credit where credit due, Ireland were the stronger team in what was a game of attrition. At least the sun stayed out for most of the match, and of course afterwards we were treated to some amazing food and wine in Trastevere.

We would like to thank all the lovely people we met over the weekend, and a special thank you to Enterprise Ireland, the Embassy of Ireland, and Bord Bia for a fabulous event.

See below video of Ireland’s try!


09
Feb 15

SME Awards

SMEAwardsLogoLarge-300x280Blueface is delighted to sponsor The B2B SME Growth category in the inaugural 2015 SME Awards.

Running an SME is no small thing and you alone should get an award for that but there are also 16+ other awards that you should consider entering your SME in.

Nominations are open until this Friday, February 14th. Get your business some recognition and enter here: http://smeawards.ie/nominations/

7 Reasons to Enter:

  1. Free to enter
  2. The public judge i.e. your peers
  3. Sponsors can’t be nominated in any category and can’t influence judging
  4. The awards ceremony is a fun night out for you and your colleagues and isn’t expensive to attend
  5. Pre-event workshops on eCommerce and B2B Sales
  6. Run by the same team behind the Web Awards and Social Media Awards with Rick O’ Shea hosting on the evening of the awards
  7. Get the recognition that you deserve for your business and the team you work with

02
Feb 15

Jabra Headsets Now Available with Blueface

Jabra Headset

Blueface is delighted to partner with Jabra, a world leading manufacturer of business headsets. Based out of Denmark, the company is an industry leader in the supply of headsets for SME’s, corporates and government.

Blueface customers can now avail of wired headsets and wireless headsets. The Jabra Biz 1900 Mono and Jabra 920 with headset lifter are the two preferred options as being among the most popular headsets in the market.

6 Reasons Your Business Needs Headsets

  1. Freedom to use both hands at once
  2. Consistent positioning of the microphone
  3. Noise cancelling technology filters out background noise
  4. Better for your health – give your arm a rest and reduce stress on your back, shoulder and neck
  5. Cordless headsets offer users the mobility to be away from the desk and still be productive
  6. All headsets supplied by Blueface integrate with the Panasonic UT series of phones

22
Jan 15

21 Ways To Reduce Telecom Expenditure in your Business

Telecom Cost Reduction

Use this free whitepaper to educate yourself on 21 ways to reduce telecom expenditure in your business.

Read this whitepaper if you are:

  • In a decision making capacity around your telecoms offering
  • Overpaying for your telecoms services
  • Haven’t reviewed your landline, phone system, mobile, call conferencing, fax or service fees recently

It’s time you re-evaluated your set-up to maximise the cost efficiencies that providers such as Blueface can provide with enhanced technology and service offerings.

This whitepaper covers:

  1. Roaming
  2. Soft phones
  3. Call destination barring
  4. Refurbished handsets
  5. Shared usage plan
  6. Contracts
  7. Contract exit penalties
  8. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
  9. Voicemail costs
  10. PBX licensing, PBX upgrade and PBX service fees
  11. Fraud prevention
  12. Leased lines
  13. Line rental
  14. Non geographic numbers
  15. Call conferencing
  16. Internal telecoms policy management
  17. Invoicing
  18. Support
  19. Internal audit
  20. Negotiate rates
  21. International local numbers

Check out the telecoms cost reduction whitepaper here.

Want to find out more? Get in touch to find out Blueface can improve your business communications at sales@blueface.ie / 01 524 2000.


06
Jan 15

2014 Year in Review

Blueface 2014

source picbasement.com

Blueface, Ireland’s leading cloud telephony company, recorded its most successful year in business in 2014, with an impressive growth to 24,000 business customers users and a 18.9% growth year-on-year increase in revenue. To cater for this growth, the company will recruit for ten new positions across the areas of sales, marketing and engineering.

In the past year, Blueface has become a leading telecom brand in the SME and corporate market, through strategic partnerships with Panasonic and Microsoft Lync and continued developments in Research & Development. The company has performed strongly in growing its SME and corporate customer base and has secured contracts with BAM Construction, St. Patrick’s College, Goal, Nicholas O’ Dwyer Consulting Engineers, Tusla, Dualway Coaches, Galetech energy, Castleknock College, Amentum Capital and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. Such growth can be attributed to the growth in broadband availability, the rise of remote working and the market beginning to mature with respect to telecoms services in the cloud.

Alan Foy, CEO of Blueface, said: “This year has been an exciting year for Blueface. The company has recorded its most successful year and this is reflected in our current recruitment drive for ten new positions. We have found that customers are increasingly eager to avail of new low-cost converged offerings and hosted voice services delivered on the company’s existing IP network. Blueface strives to support Irish business by supplying high-quality, low cost services. The company’s ambitions for 2015 are very clear; aggressive growth through investment in sales and marketing along with a proactive acquisition strategy”.

Highlights for the company in 2014 included:

  • In February 2014, Blueface published its ICT Insight Report, which uncovered insights into existing business telecoms usage across Ireland as well as a set of predictions based on research.
  • A strategic partnership with Microsoft Lync, to offer Lync customers the ability to make calls outside of the corporate network anywhere in the world.
  • A strategic partnership with Panasonic, to launch a new range of IP phones. This product is available exclusively to the Irish company and is a world first.
  • Blueface Italia office was officially opened in Rome by Mr Richard Bruton TD and Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon
  • Blueface became the first Irish owned telecom company to have a second Point of Presence with a split switch
  • Continued CSR activities including becoming a Patron of the Ireland Funds, supported Trinity’s LaunchBox and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland
  • Bronze sponsor of the Web Summit
  • Celebrated 10 years in business

Are you interested in joining a growing Irish technology company? Take a look at some of the roles we have in our careers section.


22
Dec 14

15 Business Phone Service Features You Cannot Live Without

15 ReasonsChoosing a new phone system for your office can be daunting.

Traditional line rental or VoIP? On-Premise PBX or cloud phone system? Which company to trust? What functionality do I need in my phone system?

High costs, technical jargon, PBX reviews and a broad range of suppliers can leave a business owner feeling confused about what is required of a phone system for their office experience.

Inspired by this issue, Blueface came up with 15 Business Phone Service Features list the companies cannot live without as your buyers guide.

  1. Dial Tone Reliability

This seems like the most obvious consideration but when you pick up the phone you need the reliability of hearing a dial tone and being able to make or receive a call. Choose a company that has invested heavily in their technical infrastructure, has trusted customers and a good reputation so that you’ll always hear that dial tone. If you do choose a Voice over IP service, you’ll want some sort of protection if your broadband goes down. Look for a provider that offers automatic failover on incoming calls to mobiles or other numbers should your broadband suffer an outage of some sort.

  1. Music on Hold

Nobody enjoys being put on hold. It often happens when somebody needs to check with their colleagues, look up your records or as they transfer you. In any size of organisation, putting a customer on hold does usually spare time for both parties. Making this experience as nice as possible with music helps create a relaxed mood for your caller. This is particularly helpful if there’s a complaint but it also helps create a professional impression of your business. Avoid using radio stations and chart music that will rack up royalty fees by using a provider that supplies you with royalty free music as standard.

  1. Call Transfer

Transferring a call to the correct department or the right person can save precious time for both the employee and the caller. It avoids walking from one end of the office to another to pick up a call. Look for the ability to make supervised and blind transfers depending on your business needs.

  1. Call Forwarding

If you’re ever away from the desk you’ll want the call to route to either your voicemail, mobile or to a number of other colleagues’ phones. Where you don’t want to send callers to your voicemail, being able to forward them with one click will mean you’ll never miss another call. It’s important you have this functionality without needing to involve somebody else to action otherwise it won’t be practical to use.

  1. Conference Call

Do you ever feel that a quick phone call would prevent those long trails of emails with countless replies? Look for a service that offers a free call conferencing service allowing you to bring in multiple parties with a room and pin for larger meetings or a quick 3 way call from the handset itself. Even better is where your phone service provider can supply international numbers for you to share with international customers/suppliers to join your call.

  1. Call Block

Being able to put somebody on a blocked list, can sometimes be necessary. Be it an annoying sales person ringing three times a day or anybody else you don’t want to receive calls from. It’s quick and effective. You may also wish to block certain destinations e.g. premium numbers or certain international destinations to avoid employees racking up large bills for your company. Look for this option to control your costs.

  1. Call Log and Real Time Call History

Being able to access a call log directly from your phone can help find any missed calls, recent dials or last incoming calls. This is important for adding customer’s numbers to your CRM or for doing call backs. When you’re looking to do more analysis on the number of calls you receive, look to a service that offers you a raw CSV of your call history for monitoring how busy your staff have been and the costs you’ve incurred.

  1. Phone book

If you’ve got important customers who call you regularly, it’s nice to know in advance when they’re calling and greet them by name. You’re used to doing it on your mobile so why not on your desk phone? Look for this feature from your provider.

  1. Direct Dial

Having a direct dial (DDI) on a phone can make business much easier. You can give this out to people you’d like to reach you directly rather than going through your main line number. With caller ID you should be able to easily identify the origination of the call whether it’s coming in as part of a ring group, internal call or external call to your DDI.

  1. Call Waiting

During busy times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with a large number incoming calls. The call waiting feature allows customers to ring while you’re still on call. This allows you to put your initial call on hold, answer the incoming call to take a message and return to your original call. Even companies that aren’t that busy can benefit from this service where customers won’t get a voicemail and will have the chance to speak with someone.

  1. Voicemail to Email

If you’re out and about, you want an instant notification of your voicemails. Most landline services only inform you that you’ve a voicemail once you’re out back at your phone. Look for a service that sends you a recording of the voicemail by email. This is a really handy feature to avoid dialing 171.

  1. Virtual Receptionist

Whether you’re a big or small company, a virtual receptionist does help direct callers to the right department in the quickest time possible. While some people may argue it’s a less personal touch, when combined with a well recorded greeting, an IVR or virtual receptionist will give your business a professional impression. For added effectiveness look for time of day routing options that only send calls to you during work hours and go to voicemail out of hours.

  1. Self-Provisioning Phones

Phones that will work instantly once they’re plugged in mean that you won’t need to wait for any engineer’s installation and they’ll work in minutes with a broadband connection. This gives you the simplicity of a traditional home phone with a 21st century flexibility of being able to work anywhere.

  1. Ring Groups

Once your business is of a certain size, you’ll need ring groups for your sales team, accounts or customer support. A ring group allows you to send incoming calls to a group of phones that connects the call with whoever picks up the phone first. This is the most efficient way of routing calls and helps calls get picked up quicker increasing the speed of your business.

  1. Virtual Fax

While faxing is a legacy technology that has been slow to die off, it’s still heavily relied on in law, property and government sectors. A phone service provider that can allow you to send and receive faxes by email will not only give you more efficiency in your organisation but also removes line rental fees. Also if you have sensitive information in faxes, a virtual fax service will mean you won’t leave that confidential piece of paper sitting on the machine as it will be in your protected inbox.

So make sure to tick most, if not all the boxes while choosing a new phone system, and this will help to get a great phone system that no business can live without.


13
Nov 14

Blueface Web Summit Competition Winner

Blueface is delighted to announce the winner of our Web Summit selfie competition. Thanks to the hundreds of entrants and people who visited our stand throughout the week.

The winner of 2 x return flights to San Francisco is…… Michael Flanagan for this tweet with Zara below.

How we picked the winner:

  1. Turned each competition entrant into a number
  2. Entered the numbers into a range
  3. Used a random number generator
  4. Lucky number 73 was picked, which was Michael Flanagan’s entry

Keep an eye on the Blueface Twitter page for more competitions and updates.


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