12
Aug 15

Summer Cooking

Two weeks ago was a glorious Friday for Blueface as it marked our annual party. This is one of the rare occasions we all manage to spend time with one another from our Dublin and Rome offices although there were still a few missing on holidays. Our day began with “Dee” the photographer who took beautiful photos of our team. We recently expanded to another floor in our IFSC building and want to give each person a profile on our reception wall.

Blueface Group Photo

Blueface Group Photo

For our personal portraits we were asked to write down our favorite quote and hold it up. It truly is amazing how much a quote can tell about someone. They ranged from, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” to the infamous Conor McGregor quote “We’re not here to take part, we’re here to takeover!“.

Once the group photos were done, we began our journey to Blackrock cookery school. As we walked out of the office, to catch a DART from Connolly station, we were blessed with a sprout of Irish weather and pounded on for ten minutes by torrential rain. A nice way to freshen up at the end of your working day!

The Dublin cookery school was stunning. We were all greeted by an amazing Apéritif (champagne and beautiful freshly made starters).

blog_food4x

The starters were:

  • Supplì
  • Small bruschetta with pàtè and caramelized onion on top
  • Black pudding sticks
  • Cucumber and salmon pàtè and many more.
Blackrock Cookery School

Blackrock Cookery School

Once the Apéritif was finished we moved into the next room (which was hidden from the first) to begin our cookery lesson with Eric. He taught us how to make mouth-watering ravioli, a leg of pork accompanied by potatoes topped with mint sauce, and for desert a delicate chocolate soufflé, yum yum.

As the lesson finished we were divided up into teams and put to the test. Each team had to repeat exactly what Eric had just taught us. It is safe to say, we were all hilarious. The best part of our day was the last, which we did not expect. We were sat down in the final room (which was also hidden from the first three) with lovely wine to taste and told to wait. Suddenly after about a half hour we were served a three-course meal. Little did we know that it was what WE had cooked, and let me tell you something, it was delicious.

To top off our day we had a couple of drinks in The Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock. It’s not often you are blessed to work with an amazing team of people, but in Blueface I feel we definitely are!

Dee Organ Photography-078-7251

Cooking up a storm

By Victoria McAuley


10
Aug 15

Kabzy Interview – Blueface Competition Winner

Brian Martin with Michael Flanagan of Kabzy

Brian Martin with Michael Flanagan of Kabzy

Blueface was delighted to present Michael Flanagan, winner of our Web Summit Competition, with a cheque for €1,000. We caught up with Michael to learn more about his start up - Kabzy.

What is Kabzy?

Kabzy provides all vehicle owners and particularly taxi drivers with a unique vehicle security product.

Our taxi product connects any driver to a trained emergency response operator with one tap of our in-vehicle panic button. We also use a CCTV camera to keep a record of an incident, so liability in the event of an accident or incident can be clearly proven. If a taxi is hijacked or stolen, we have the capability to safely disable the vehicle in seconds and it is tracked at all times.

We also provide car owners with the ability to safely disable their vehicle from their smartphone from anywhere in the world – within seconds. With the Kabzy mobile app, you can disable your car at night and even if your keys are stolen your car is not going anywhere. With one tap of a button in the app, you can enable your car in less than 4 seconds. You can also track your vehicle at all times and set a virtual fence around your car so if it is illegally moved you are instantly notified.

 

What triggered you to start Kabzy?

I had been working on a taxi safety product for passengers for three years, so I was in the taxi space. From speaking to many taxi drivers it was apparent that there was a real need for a service that protects drivers, so we pivoted the business around this problem. The number of taxi hijackings are growing rapidly, so we set out to create a service that covers as many angles as possible for drivers.

When we came up with the product I demonstrated it to friends and family and there was a consistent reaction throughout every demo I did.  What I kept hearing was, “I would use that in my car!”. It became apparent that this product appeals to everyone who owns a car and not just taxi drivers. Whether you are a private car owner or a fleet manager, having the ability to safely disable your vehicle and track it from your smartphone is a useful product, and as they say ‘the rest is history’.

 

What has the feedback been like so far?

The feedback has been amazing. When we tell taxi drivers and car owners what it can do, they are amazed. There is nothing else like this available and we believe that this is the future of vehicle security. Peoples’ reactions have been one of my main driving forces through the difficult times. Their reactions have bolstered my thoughts that we are onto something big here, so there’s no turning back now.

 

What difficulties have you encountered along the way?

For the taxi industry one of our biggest problems was making the product affordable to taxi drivers. We install a lot of hardware into the taxi and it doesn’t come cheap. Over the past six months we’ve worked hard to look at ways how we can reduce the upfront cost to the driver as much as we possibly can. We now offer a package where they can pay on a weekly basis.

Another difficulty I faced was convincing taxi owners that this new technology will bring value to their business. Our technology is completely new to the taxi industry, so it was difficult to persuade taxi fleet owners that this is the way forward. Thankfully in June this year we signed our first large taxi customer who are Ozone Cabs, who are based in Bluebell Business Park, D12. Ozone embrace new technology and have fitted their entire taxi fleet with Kabzy. Ozone recognised that by adding driver security to their fleet that this gave their rental company a greater competitive edge. Having a large reference customer like Ozone makes it a lot easier when we approach other Taxi companies.

 

What’s next in your plan for growing Kabzy?

At the moment we are sales focused. We have a great product but we now need to tell the world about it. We have just secured Enterprise Ireland funding and also private investment, so our aim now is to build a strong customer base internationally. We believe providing the owner with the ability to secure their vehicle from their smartphone is the future for vehicle security. We are currently in talks with some of the major insurance companies working on the potential for reduced vehicle premiums for having Kabzy installed.

 

If I wanted to put Kabzy in my car, what would it cost me?

The price is €395 which includes taxes, installation and 12 months monitoring. For this you can track your vehicle 24/7, disable it anytime, anywhere and set a virtual fence around your car all by simply pressing a button from your phone.

 

Do you have a particular target market outside of Ireland you’re looking to break into?

The U.K. is the obvious choice with over 36 million vehicles on the road. In May this year, I spent three weeks in London knocking on doors and getting feedback on our product. The response was fantastic and I learnt so much about the taxi market, but also the private car and fleet market too. Over the next 12 months I’ve set ourselves a target of entering the UK market and we plan to achieve this through strategic partnerships with a number of talks already underway. There are exciting times ahead.


25
Jun 15

10 Compelling Reasons Why Blueface is Right for your Business

10-Reasons-to-Choose-Blueface

If it’s your first time hearing about Blueface, then this guide is perfect for understanding just why Blueface is the right choice for your business. This free PDF will give you a quick snapshot of the ten most popular reasons why Irish business owners choose Blueface. Some of the areas that will be covered are as follows:

  • Administration Workload
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  • Workforce Mobility
  • Onboarding Experience
  • Ease of Switching
  • Ongoing Business Support

Download the 10 Reasons to Choose Blueface Guide here.

If you’d rather watch in video format instead, why not check out our YouTube Video below:

 


24
Jun 15

Addressing Buyer Concerns

common voip buyer concerns

Choosing to move supplier across any service in your business is an important decision. If it goes wrong, it can not only cost your company time and money to reverse the move, it also reflects badly on you for making the decision.

Of making a positive decision to switch phone provider can result in cost savings, increased capabilities for your company and the kudos that goes with being the person to make change happen.  Educating yourself on the new provider in advance of making the move is the best thing you can do to de-risk any move.

This free whitepaper on Addressing VOIP Buyer Concerns has been designed for you and other stakeholders in your business considering:

  • Moving phone provider
  • Changing phone system
  • Exploring new technologies in communications
  • Reducing telecoms expenditure

Moving to Blueface is a fundamentally different experience when coming from a traditional phone provider such as Eircom. There are differences in technology, cost and capabilities you’ll enable for your business that you should be aware of.

Did we miss a concern you might have? Drop us an email at sales at blueface.ie and we’ll be glad to answer.


28
May 15

5 PBX Capabilities Your Business Needs

1. Voicemail to Email
Receiving your voicemail by email is the biggest advance in voicemail since, well, voicemail. Forget having to dial your provider’s access number, and listening to each voicemail in sequence. Each time someone leaves you a message you receive it by email on your smartphone or computer so you can listen to it whenever you want. You can save it, delete it, forward it, listen to it again. If you regularly have to get through 5 messages before getting to the one you really want, then you really really need this.

2. Single voicemail for your fixed and mobile phones
If you have an office phone and a mobile phone, you’ll know how annoying it is to have to access two separate voicemail systems. One single voicemail for all your numbers is just so much easier, especially when you can access it from any device, and have messages delivered by email – see number 1 above!

3. Virtual Numbers
Remember when your phone number was tied to your physical address? No? Well then you’re under 30 :) It is now possible to have as many numbers as you like all directed to the same single physical phone – and that can be a fixed or mobile phone. Imagine you want to open a New York office but you’re stuck in sunny Cork. Get a virtual New York number and have the calls delivered to your mobile phone – useful so you can answer them wherever you like. Anyone calling that number in the US will be charged as normal for a New York call. You can have as many numbers as you like from all over the world. Argentina, Spain, Italy, UK, US, you name it!

4. Be in 2-or-more places at once
There was a time when your phone rang and if you weren’t there you missed the call. These days you can have a single number and many different phones which will all ring as you prefer. So if someone calls your desk number, you can have your desk-phone, your mobile and your alternate desk phone ring simultaneously. Simply pick up the call wherever you are and nobody is any the wiser. Just remember background noise if you’re telling your boss that you are working from home!

5. Free Call Conferencing
Call conferencing is more popular now than ever, and what better way to save time on travel than to have your own personal call conference room available for free. Local and global access numbers make call conferencing the low cost way to get your business done without having to travel.

Get a free audit of your business’ communications set-up. Contact our sales team on 01 524 2000 to see how your business can improve with Blueface.

By Feargal Brady


12
May 15

All Ireland Business Summit

Exhibitor-Badge_WebsiteBlueface is delighted to be exhibiting at the All Ireland Business Summit this Wednesday the 13th of May. Taking place in Croke Park, the event’s aim is to connect and inspire the All-Ireland business community in a one day high energy environment.

The event will provide participants with an opportunity to hear business leaders speak and to build new business relationships with fellow attendees.

Alan Foy, CEO of Blueface will be attending as one of the guest speakers selected. He will be sharing his experience of raising investment and growing a successful International company.

If you wish to come along on Wednesday, visit the Eventbrite website and please use the code AIS10 to receive 50% off your ticket http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/all-ireland-business-summit-join-over-1200-attendees-from-across-ireland-tickets-15299476145

 

Kevin McGrath (Blueface)

Kevin McGrath (Blueface)

Group_FA

 


27
Apr 15

SME Awards 2015

IMG_20150425_180927_mini

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 Dublin 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