How Do Content Filters Affect Employee Production?

No matter what industry you are in or what size your business is, employee productivity and efficiency will always be important to operations. The advent of the Internet threw a wrench in the works for many businesses when it came to employee production. Though the Internet can certainly help employees do their job faster and more accurately, it can also provide a distraction that may cause a lot of unplanned downtime.

That’s where content filters come in. If you are losing time and money due to non-productive web surfing, then web content filtering might be a helpful solution for your company. Below, we’ll talk a little bit more about what content filters are and how they can help make your employees more productive.

What are Web Content Filters?

A content filter is a piece of software that is designed to restrict the websites that a person can visit on their work computer. These filters can be used to automatically monitor and prevent different types of activities such as online shopping or social media usage. The goal of a web content filter is to prevent time-wasting activities that can hurt your company performance and profit, while also protecting your company equipment from exposure to malicious websites.

Web content filters can also be customized and include certain exceptions in the event that employees need to access restricted sites or content to do their job. There are even web filters that will load only part of the content on a page to filter out restricted content. This helps ensure that your employees still have the resources they need to complete projects without the temptation of activities that waste time.

How Content Filters Improve Employee Productivity

Not every employee spends their work time checking Facebook, watching videos, or streaming music online. However, when the option is there, there will always be the temptation to participate in these types of online activities, which can negatively impact employee production. Even if employees only spend a few minutes each day shopping online, scrolling their social media feed, or watching cat videos, these minutes add up over the course of a year, resulting in hours of wasted work time.

By restricting access to certain websites, your company can prevent these time-wasting activities and promote a productive and efficient work environment. Without the distraction of non-work related content, your employees will better be able to focus on their tasks and complete projects faster and more competently.

Are you looking for other ways to make your workplace more productive? Streamlining employee communications makes it easier for everyone to do their jobs. The telecommunication experts at Nebula Solutions are ready to help you find the right telecom solutions for your business. Call us today to find out more: (888) 257-0955.

PSTN vs Hosted VOIP – An Analysis

VoIP, and hosted VoIP, in particular, is the new age communication technology that is gradually replacing the PSTN technology. However, the latter still has not lost its relevance. The traditional analogue technology or the PSTNs are still used by a large portion of users. However, the VoIP is a much cheaper and more user-friendly alternative to PSTN.

Is VoIP The Answer to PSTN?

Telephony comes along with a string of technical issues that plague the PSTN technology. VoIP is the best answer to those issues. Frankly speaking, this is where VoIP scores over PSTN. When VoIP first appeared, it did so with issues like dropped call and poor quality of calls. At that time, no one considered it a real challenge to PSTN. However, gradually it overcame those glitches. Now, VoIP is a very serious alternative to PSTN.

PSTN is expected to become obsolete over the course of the next few years. Still, it has not lost all its relevance. There is a strong debate in the air as to whether VoIP will maintain its quality and push PSTN to oblivion. Here is where the comparison between the two technologies pops up.

The Technological Facelift Hosted VoIP

Over the last decade or so, VoIP has seen a lot of technological facelift. Today, there are a lot of reasons why it is considered the face of telecommunication technology. A modern avatar of VoIP is hosted VoIP.

A number of enterprises still stick back to their age-old PSTN service or analogue telephony technology. There are reasons behind this psychology of these enterprises. This is a well-known, tried and tested technology. It also comes up with in-built reliability, security and some emergency services. These are some of the reasons why these enterprises still would vouch for PSTN over VoIP. Over the ages, PSTN has proved to be one of the most trusted technologies in the world of communication. While VoIP has come up as an alternative, PSTN also has had its own share of development and modernization.

The Gradual Shift to Hosted VoIP

On the other hand, a considerable number of businesses are switching over to hosted VoIP. They are replacing their age old PSTNs with less expensive hosted VoIP technologies. Firstly, using hosted VoIP is simpler that using PSTNs. This is because the technology is Internet-based. A mere Internet connection is enough to set up a hosted VoIP based telecommunication service. The platform can integrate data, voice and video under a concurrent platform. This integration increases the scalability. Also, the data is sent over the network in a somewhat compressed format. This makes sure that proper utilization of bandwidth is possible.

More importantly, the proper utilization of bandwidth results in enhanced efficiency. This in turn, leads to a massive reduction of cost. Many times, even value-added services come free of cost. VoIP is a near perfect technology that meets all the needs of the present day communication.

Choosing The Right Communication System

That takes us back to where we started, when it comes to choosing between VoIP and PSTN. Perhaps the best option is to choose a hybrid system with VoIP in the core and the PSTN in the periphery.

Experts believe that the hosted VoIP will take over the PSTN completely in near future. However, as of now, VoIP will provide the feel of the future technology and PSTN will help to get that age-old feeling of the comfort zone. This is the right combination till VoIP or hosted VoIP completely takes over. Till then, the debate over the two technologies is likely to continue!!

About Nebula Solutions

Nebula Solutions (originally Technology Convergence Group (TCG)) is a provider of business telecommunication solutions in the Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio areas. Nebula Solutions is a Toshiba Platinum Dealer, which is the highest attainable certification level. Nebula Solutions supports all Toshiba telephone systems from the IPedge VoIP system all the way to Strata communication systems. At Nebula Solutions, our technicians are Toshiba certified and have an average of over 20 years of experience.

Call (888) 257-0955 today for all your telecommunication needs.

 

Why Do Some Countries Block VOIP Calls?

When VoIP has so much to offer to its users, there are countries that block VoIP calls. In countries like Oman, Belize, UAE, usage of VoIP for making phone calls is blocked. In some of these places, the local government has taken the authority in their hands to decide how it’s citizens and, people residing, there shall use the Internet. Different countries have different reasons behind their decision to block VoIP. Irrespective of the cause, normal users often are not able to reap the benefits of using VoIP communications.

Common Reason To Block VoIP Calls

Many Middle East countries claim that they have to block VoIP calls which are against their values. They state that the content of the sites disrespects the values of Islam. Now, the question is blocking certain websites is fine, but why block VoIP calls?

When people can access VoIP, they can make calls and send instant messages at much cheaper rates. Especially, making international calls from these connections will make calling much cheaper. However, irrespective of the obvious advantages, these countries have blocked services of VoIP. One cause behind it could be the drop of revenue for the state-owned telecom companies!

Many of these countries that block VoIP calls have a monopoly over telecommunications and Internet services. Now, if they allow VoIP, it is natural that the total revenue earned by them from the telecom sector, especially from overseas calls, will drop drastically.

Thus, it is quite clear that in many countries like Dubai, where the density of foreign workers is high, allowing VoIP calls will reduce the revenue of state-owned telecom companies. This story is common in almost all other middle-eastern nations like Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Syria and others are following the same principle.

Let’s look at countries in other continents that block VoIP calls and the reasons behind it:

Panama

Among all, Panama was the first country to block VoIP calls and communications in 2002. The government commanded that every ISP in the country must block 24 UDP ports that are needed for IP telephony. However, in 2004, the government changed its policy and decided to introduce a tax of 12% on calls. This includes calls made through VoIP.

Belize

In Belize you will not be allowed to use VoIP, neither will you be permitted to use free messaging. You cannot use free messengers like MSN Messenger, Google Talk, and Yahoo! IMs are also blocked as they allow free chatting and messaging.

Guyana

The main reason behind VoIP being blocked in Guyana and other Caribbean countries is a reduction of revenue of the government-owned telecom companies. GT&T is the premier Telephone Company of Guyana, and they have made all calls from IP telephony illegal as it has reduced the revenue of the government.

India

Although VoIP is currently available in India, it is expected it will be blocked soon. This is mainly because of terrorist threats. The government has asked for a plan to be submitted to them for accessing communications. The plan expects stgrict security measures and the ability of the givernment to monitor all calls. Those companies that do not comply with the government rules will be banned from operating within the country.

Even countries like Paraguay, Pakistan are also found to block VoIP services with more or less same reason as other countries.

Thus, different countries cite different reasons behind blocking VoIP. It is true that with this service international calls cost lot lesser, but it is not profitable for government owned companies. Moreover, there are certain countries where VoIP usage can lead to a breach in security. These countries need to ensure that the security of their nation is not compromised. There are high chances of VoIP system being hacked and it is not good for security. Thus, they put a restriction on usage of VoIP. However, in near future, if the security of these connections is increased and government changes their rules, people can use it from every country.

About Nebula Solutions

Nebula Solutions (originally Technology Convergence Group (TCG)) is a provider of business telecommunication solutions in the Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio areas. Nebula Solutions is a Toshiba Platinum Dealer, which is the highest attainable certification level. Nebula Solutions supports all Toshiba telephone systems from the IPedge VoIP system all the way to Strata communication systems. At Nebula Solutions, our technicians are Toshiba certified and have an average of over 20 years of experience.

Call (888) 257-0955 today for all your telecommunication needs.

 

SIP Trunking Explained

SIP Trunking Explained

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Hosted VoIP & Disaster Management

Hosted VoIP & Disaster ManagementThe perception about VoIP is that of a money saving technology which helps organizations reduce their telephone bills and enhance their bottom line. However, people often tend to forget that the primary purpose of migrating to VoIP is to ensure seamless and continuous connectivity during critical business communications. As users of VoIP we need to realize that it is an essential technology that helps us to keep our business running even during the worst disaster. A recent survey has revealed that companies in North America are losing about $26.5 billion because of the IT downtime, which can be easily saved by taking the necessary safeguards against such disasters. It is better to stay alert and avert any kind of disasters because a little care can save you thousands of dollars.

Landlines And Failures

For those who use landline or traditional telephone systems, a failure in the phone system can incur huge losses for the company and the company can even lose customer goodwill. There are several benefits of investing on hosted VoIP or PBX systems. The first and the foremost advantage is that you will never have to worry about installation and maintenance of expensive and complex hardware equipments. The telecom infrastructure that you avail is deployed at some other remote location that can be connected over the internet. Thus, in case your office faces some or the other disaster like flood, power cuts or any other manmade disaster then you can still continue to access your centralized communication system located at a remote location. There won’t be any break in the continuity of your business communication system.

Mobility

Besides this, if you do not have access to your handset, you can always use the softphone apps that can help you to communicate only with the help of your laptop, smartphone or tablet that has an internet connection. Hosted VoIP systems can even help you to carry our business communication from any desired location. Thus, if you have a problem at office, you might get started from the comfortable couch at home!

About Nebula Solutions

Nebula Solutions (originally Technology Convergence Group (TCG)) is a provider of business telecommunication solutions in the Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio areas. Nebula Solutions is a Toshiba Platinum Dealer, which is the highest attainable certification level. Nebula Solutions supports all Toshiba telephone systems from the IPedge VoIP system all the way to Strata communication systems. At Nebula Solutions, our technicians are Toshiba certified and have an average of over 20 years of experience.

Call (888) 257-0955 today for all your telecommunication needs.

 

Hardware Included With VoIP Systems

For those companies that might be considering a move to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) based solution for their communications needs, we are sure that there are many questions you have. Not the least of these questions will be “What sort of hardware will I get with my VoIP system?”

IP Telephone

Of course the first piece of equipment you’ll get will be the IP phone itself. Just as one example, Toshiba has a line of IP phones, the 5000 series. It comes in several models, both in 4-line and 9-line versions. This is ideal for any SMB considering a move to VoIP.

The phones themselves have such features as:

  • an Integrated Gigabit Ethernet switch which provides the fastest available network access
  • a large, backlit display, which provides exceptional readability even in variable light environments
  • a low profile and sleek design, including a unique tilt-base which allows versatile phone placement

The phone will announce a call through speaker or handset. Superior sound is offered through full duplex speakers. Common tasks can be completed easily with the help of onscreen prompts. Calling functions can be accessed easily with programmable one-touch buttons a headset interface is integrated into the phone

Toshiba has many other IP phone offerings, so please be sure and pick the one that is best for your company. There are many other vendors that offer IP phones as well.

Analog Telephone Adapter

The next piece of equipment that a company will receive is the analog telephone adapter. This is a simple box that will allow the connection of older non-IP phones to the new IP network. Typically it will include one or more standard RJ-11 phone jacks, and a USB jack that is used to connect to a computer. The computer then acts as the intermediary, transmitting the voice data converted by the adapter to the network. It will then perform the reverse task, taking the voice of the person being called, transmitting it to the adapter, where it is converted to a voice signal. It is then sent to the analog phone, where the caller hears it properly.

ADSL Modem/Router/VoIP Combos

Finally, in order to connect the internal phone system with the external world – the Internet – there will have to be some sort of interface. Usually this will be some sort of modem, either an ADSL or cable modem, a router, and a VoIP interface. Although it is sometimes possible to find this equipment in one box, it’s generally advisable to keep them separate. That way, if one part fails, then just that part can be replaced; the company won’t have to buy an entire new box.

In short, moving to VoIP can be something to be ready for. But, it doesn’t have to be scary. It can be one of the best moves a company ever makes – if it’s done right, and with the right tools.

About Nebula Solutions

Nebula Solutions (originally Technology Convergence Group (TCG)) is a provider of business telecommunication solutions in the Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio areas. Nebula Solutions is a Toshiba Platinum Dealer, which is the highest attainable certification level. Nebula Solutions supports all Toshiba telephone systems from the IPedge VoIP system all the way to Strata communication systems. At Nebula Solutions, our technicians are Toshiba certified and have an average of over 20 years of experience.

Call (888) 257-0955 today for all your telecommunication needs.

Video Conferencing – Communication Made Easier

Telecommunication has reached a new level with the introduction of video conferencing system. Business executives can now hold meeting with their counterparts from any part of the world at the click of a mouse. The need to travel to the client’s site for a presentation or a meeting can now be avoided and the same results can be achieved with a video call from the confines of your office.

Video conferencing has been around for quite some time now. It did have a number of issues which stopped it from becoming popular. Video capturing cameras were bulky, expensive, and had low resolution. Inexpensive cameras were more plaything than ones that could be used for serious business discussion. Available bandwidth was low leading to sever interruptions and glitches.

With the passage of time, all these technical issues have been eliminated. Higher bandwidth is now available at the disposal of users and they can take full advantage of video conferencing.

For those whose still wonder about the value of video conferencing, here are some of the unique advantages of video conferencing that would make communication a breeze:

Easy to use
Video conferencing solutions available nowadays are really easy to install as well as use. Only a few clicks are required to install the application interface on your computer. In case you are installing the conferencing solution on your office network, you will be able to do so without any hassles though you might need the help of a qualified network engineer for the first time. Once installed, all you need is to understand how to use a remote control. The GUI of the video conferencing solution is as easy to use as a DVD player.

Scheduling
The video conferencing system can be integrated to your Outlook or other calendaring applications. This can be shared with all the participants. You can schedule conferences for a particular date and time and send reminders to all who are supposed to attend the conference.

Eco-friendly
Since, business travels can be reduced with the use of video conference so it would allow you to cut down on the fuel emissions. Thus, indirectly your migration to the video conferencing system will be a great help to the environment. Every year, a lot of pollution results out of the fuel emissions and your prudent choice for the video conferencing system will have a direct positive impact on the environment.

Enhanced Mobility
Employees working at remote offices will be able to stay in touch with one another and communicate when needed with the use of video conferencing system. This will help you build a culture of cohesiveness among all your employees. All your employees will be able to attend conferences even if they are separated by thousands of miles. Thus, adopting a video conferencing solution will enhance mobility for your employees and colleagues.

Reliability & Security
The video conferencing system is highly reliable and secure as all the communication takes place over a secure network. The users can use the video conferencing system only when they use their username and password to log in to the network. There is also a security hierarchy that can be followed while conducting a video conference and users can be provided restricted privileges by the administrator.

Video and audio are encrypted and sent. Only the authorized receiving system will be able to decode the signals and display the video. If you video signal is caught by someone else, all they will see is garbage.

We can see that a better and efficient communication system can be built by the use of video conferencing systems. Employees can expect to enhance their productivity by effective communication with the client as well as their peers. Video conferencing can improve the work culture of a company.

Get in touch with The Technology Convergence Group for all your video conferencing requirements. We can set up a professional video conferencing solution for you.

What You Need to Run A Cloud Based Telephony

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Many people now are sold on the benefits of cloud or hosted telephony. The wondrous world of cloud based VoIP has also been understood and they are now shifting from PSTN systems. Before you take that extra step, however, it is necessary to understand how it works and what you will need in order to have it installed. As such, you need to take a look at the options and see what sort of equipment will be required.

How It Works
Cloud telephony works like as a SaaS or Software as a Service. The service provider installs a world class IP PBX on a secure data centre and gives you connectivity in whatever numbers and features you need. The service provider will give you an id and password for you to connect. Once the setup is complete, your endpoints become extensions to the large IP PBX hosted by the provider. You can start making and receiving calls. The provider will also give you an application to manage your extensions, call patterns and features.

The Application
The application to connect to cloud telephone will be provided by the service provider. Many of these are browser based, so you do not have to even install any application. All you need is a user ID and password.

The Server
The server, as we mentioned before, is a large IP PBX. This is installed by the service provider in a data center. The service provider is responsible for all its upkeep in terms of hardware and software. Some service providers go a great length. Toshiba, for example, has hosted it’s IP PBX in an extremely secure environment with multiple T1 lines, a generator that can power the entire center for 20 days, and a complete backup in another data center for failsafe.

The Telephony Resources

At your end what you need are the following:

  • A high speed Internet connection. At a rough scale, look for at least 50kbps of free connectivity for each extension you install.
  • A good LAN with structured cabling and a VoIP router set in place.
  • A telephone or what we call end point. If you are eager to use an existing analog phone, you need to get an adapter. If you have good LAN with a high speed broadband connect, go for a modern IP Phone. That will have all the capabilities you need for a robust VoIP set up.

The Deployment
The deployment as such is quite simple. When you sign up with a service provider, he will guide you through the steps. In most cases if you are able to connect to the Server, you are done.

Connection to PTSN Network
Remember that VoIP through the cloud is strictly IP communications. Essentially, you can only speak to people who have an IP address. But what if I want to speak to a landline or a mobile phone? What if I want to call someone outside the US? This is where SIP trunking comes in. Most local and long distance call within the US will be provided as part of a package. If you need to call someone outside the US, discuss it with the service provider and list your countries. He will have deals ready for you to make those calls. He will provide you with a list of ITSP routes that you can choose from.

The Data
One of the fantastic features of VoIP is Unified Communications. This allows you to integrate your data with voice telephony. In simple terms, you can send data to the person you are speaking to in real time. Just make sure that you have enough bandwidth.

10 Communication Innovations in The Last 10 Years

Communication_InnovationsThe last decade has been really interesting in terms of the technical innovations and mankind has been gifted with numerous new technologies. We are really thankful to the inventors who have created interesting communication tools and applications in the last 10 years. One of the major advantages of these innovations is the reach of connectivity to mobile devices. You are no longer tied to a desk, and can keep in touch with the worlds seamlessly through smart phones and tablets.

Here is a brief description of the 10 communication innovations that have made our lives interesting and easy:

Wifi

This is a very popular technology that allows electronic devices to connect with each other to exchange data or connect with the Internet wirelessly by the use of radio waves. WiFi is the general term used for Wireless Local Area Network, or WLAN. With this technology we can now connect any digital device to a network if it is wireless enabled. Thus, the exchange of data has become really hassle free. Modern WiFi technologies such as 802.11ac can actually transmit at nearly 1.7 Gbps. For small companies that have limited connectivity requirement, WiFi can replace network cabling completely.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

This technology converts analog voice signals into digital signals and transmits them over a secured data network or the Internet. There are many companies that have adopted VoIP technology for their communication system in their offices. This is one of the most efficient communication technologies in the market, and will do away with your regular PSTN completely. In fact, companies such as AT&T are slowly moving away from PSTN connections and have also applied to Federal Authorities to shut down their PSTN business completely by 2015/2016.

IP Communication

IP Communication describes networks that use Internet Protocol for voice and video traffic. IP communication can be on any network – local or global. Sometimes called Internet Telephony or Internet Communications, IP communications has come to encompass a large number of services such as telephony, video conferencing, and unified communications. Different protocol mechanisms are used for different kinds of communication, but they all fall into the category of IP Communication.

IP Communication is slowly replacing the old telephone system. For one you do not pay for the call or the distance between you and the called person. What you pay for is a fixed monthly fee for the Net connection. Secondly IP communication allows you to exchange voice, video and data in a single channel enlarging the scope of your communication capability. Feature such as presence advertises your availability so that your relatives, friends and business associates can locate you and communicate with you. Feature such as find-me follow-me ensures you never lose you communication even when you are travelling. The days of waiting for you to come back to office are long gone. With Internet connectivity becoming ubiquitous, you can keep in touch any time and from anywhere.

In a way, IP communication has also integrated all the devices you use for your business. Whether you use a PC, a laptop, a tablet or a smart phone, IP communication can work on all these platforms.

In the near future, IP addresses will be available to nearly all devices at home and office. Not too far away, you can send instructions to your fridge to complete a particular task before you come home.

Unified Communications

Unified Communication is a technology that has enabled the integration of varied communications mediums on a single platform. This is a very popular system because of its efficiency in handling numerous tasks simultaneously. Real-time communications services such as presence, telephony, data exchange, instant messaging, call control. Speech recognition can all be used together with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging.

Smart Phones & Mobile Communication

Modern mobile phones are far from the bulky instruments of yore that could just make and receive calls. With built in cameras on both sides, modern smart phones come with multi core processors and have multi-tasking capabilities. The screen resolutions are becoming high definition. With permanent connection to the Internet, smartphones are killing the desk phone market. And, over the recent past, smartphones have gained all the capabilities to be used for video conferencing and Unified Communications. With applications for literally every task you can think of, the smart phones keep you in touch with the world all the time. Chat and other applications allow you to keep in touch, exchanges messages, snaps, and even videos. Social networking has moved forward to the fast lane with these smart phones.,

Bluetooth

This is a wireless technology standard that is used for exchanging data over short distances. Bluetooth was created by Ericsson in the year 1994 and, since then, this technology has experienced immense improvement. There are numerous Bluetooth enabled devices in the market and it has made data exchange a breeze.

Youtube

This is a powerful video sharing website that was created by three former Paypal employees. Since its inception, Youtube has grown stronger with every passing day and there are billions of people using it on a regular basis to upload and share interesting videos from all over the world. Youtube has also become a im portant advertising and training medium when coorporates are loading vides on their products and services as well as training videos.

Social Networking Websites

There are several social networking websites that have had a great impact on the way we interact on the Internet. Yes, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn etc. have made it really easy to find our lost friends and even create a sense of solidarity among people with similar interest. Nothing can really beat these social media websites when it comes to building online repute and friends.

Skype

This is probably the most popular VoIP application in the entire world. It is a freemium (free premium) VoIP service that has caught like wild fire from the time of its release. Skype is used by people of every age as they can easily chat using voice, video, or text with anyone on their account list. Small enterprises and freelancers have made the most use of this application that has enabled them to stay connected with their clients and customers.

Nimbuzz

Nimbuzz is a very popular proprietary cross-platform instant messaging aggregator for tablets, smartphones and personal computers. It has been developed by Nimbuzz B.V. and has over 150 million registered users. This is being put to immense use by people who want to send messages, share images and locations.