27
Apr 15

SME Awards 2015

The inaugural SME Awards took place on Saturday in the Radisson Blu Cork with a gathering of 200 SMEs. Organised by Damien Mulley and MC’d by Rick O’ Shea the event was a fun night out that recognised the hard work of SME owners and staff across Ireland. The awards were split into 12 different award categories.

Blueface sponsored two awards and after a competitive judging process (independent of any sponsor involvement) the deserving winners were as follows:

B2B SME Growth: Mr. Crumb

B2B Exporter: Learn Upon

Congratulations to all winners and finalists.

Special thanks to the Sweet Emporium for our blue bon bons and former Bluefacer Ryan Whalley for the photos!

Brian Martin, Laura Wilson, Kevin McGrath, Courtney Flynn

Brian Martin, Laura Wilson, Kevin McGrath, Courtney Flynn

SME Award Winners

SME Award Winners

B2B Export Winner: Susan Nolan (LearnUpon) & Brian Martin (Blueface)

B2B Export Winner: Susan Nolan (LearnUpon) & Brian Martin (Blueface)

B2B SME Growth Winner: Rachel Cogavin (Mr. Crumb) & Brian Martin (Blueface)

B2B SME Growth Winner: Rachel Cogavin (Mr. Crumb) & Brian Martin (Blueface)


27
Apr 15

Culture

Blueface Dublin visiting Blueface Italia in 2012

Blueface Ireland visiting Blueface Italia in 2012

There is a topic that often gets neglected in the popular entrepreneurial discourse which I think needs a little more focus – culture.    The culture of a company or enterprise is often that unquantifiable force that drives an enterprise, guides recruitment and selection and impacts on performance and team retention.    Culture is shaped by a mix of a lot of differing factors including the vision of the entrepreneur(s), the company’s approach to recruiting talent and working with people, the practices and ways of doing things on a day to day basis, the style of communications, decision-making and how the company engages with customers, suppliers and partners.  A lot of companies even put huge emphasis on manifesting their company culture through the symbols and signs and layout of their offices as they recognise how important it is to reinforce positive culture and their way of doing things.

Unfortunately, I think that culture is under appreciated on the road to success, when in fact it is vital.  We often forget that culture uniquely binds people together in a shared approach and way of operating along the business journey.  A positive, high energy and driven culture can massively impact the performance of individual workgroups and the enterprise itself.  Culture impacts performance.  Culture drives work practices.  Culture impacts hiring and retention and it is one of the key success factors in scaling your business.  It also explains why some companies buzz with energy and performance while others don’t.

At Blueface, we are fortunate to have a unique, differentiated culture that has grown with us as we scale the business.  I am thankful that our culture is a positive one, where strong performance is demanded but also where being a friendly, decent person is equally as important.   We have a mix of extraordinarily talented team members – from technology to sales, marketing to customer care and finance/operations.  We have a strong bunch of talented people with a friendly, nice approach and positive attitude to others around them.  Our culture has uniquely blended from a core focus on service quality, innovation, delivering for customers and achieving strong results while growing the business sensibly.    Our team’s culture is what provides an edge and I think it’s also that which helps us have fun along the way.

I’ve noticed this impact of culture most when we recruit new people.  Our team seems to select new team members that they believe will have the right attitude, values, commitment to performance and approach to others that will work well in Blueface.   This is particularly comforting to know, particularly as we scale.  Blueface’s headcount is growing constantly and it’s reassuring to see that we are attracting new candidates who our team believe will fit into our performance culture and positive working environment.   It helps build the right attitudes, competencies and approach to work on our growth path.  It reinforces our Blueface culture and identity.

Reflecting on our growth, I have noticed that it is important to actively reinforce your company culture from time to time.   That can be as simple as going out for a few beers or organising a team trip or team afternoon out of the office.   We try to do this often – although in my opinion, we probably don’t do it often enough.   It’s so important to encourage open dialogue and communications among all of the team and there is nothing better than an informal event to let that happen naturally.  It’s also a great way of sharing the myriad of entrepreneurial stories or company folklore with new members of the team.   This context setting, bound by some fun, can be the most reinforcing catalyst of a company culture.   I firmly believe that creating opportunities like these to reinforce our positive culture, ultimately helps us to build Blueface’s successful growth story here in Ireland and abroad.  Culture is a vital element of any successful entrepreneurial story.


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.


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