Making Sense of Telecom Jargon – Part 2

This week, we are continuing our featured series on common telecom jargon and acronyms in our blog.  If you missed part 1, you can check it out here.

MSP – Managed Services Provider – An MSP (it’s me, again!) is an outsourced agency that assumes responsibility of a business’ day-to-day IT operations.  It delivers and manages network-based services, applications and equipment.

What kind of services?

MSPs save your business time and resources.  Instead of being bogged down with software updates, system support, and verifying that your business is utilizing the latest in security and encryption technology – your IT department can focus on strategic initiatives.  It allows your IT department to work on growing your business, not maintaining and supporting your technology.

VPN – Virtual Private Networks – These private networks use a public network (the internet) to connect remote sites or users together, in order to provide users with access to a company’s database.  Prior to the virtualization of private networks, businesses would set up private networks with T1s.  The costs, associated with the purchase and maintenance of this type of equipment, are high.  A VPN is a pay-per-user system, with no maintenance expenses; therefore, it is a cost-saving solution for businesses.

Access to VPNs is restricted to specific users and/or locations.  There are 3 types:

  1. Remote Access – This network allows users to access company data from any remote location, i.e. home office, hotel, coffee shop, etc.
  2. Intranet – This type of network allows access from specific locations only – from a satellite office or home office.
  3. Extranet – This network allows remote access to only certain locations within the company database.  Your accountant to your financial records or a supplier to your inventory records.

UM – Unified Messaging – There are 3 sources from which you receive messaging throughout your day:  phone, email, and fax.  UM delivers and stores all messaging in a single interface that can be accessed by computer, smart phone or tablet.  Voice messages are delivered to your inbox and can be replayed through computer speakers, through a headset or, of course, through a smart phone.  UM helps you stay organized by storing all messaging in one location, and it also saves you time.  When out of the office, how often do you check your voice mail?  Check your email?  Call in and ask if you have received any faxes?  UM gives you one source to go to, and everything you missed is right there in front of you.

What are the telecommunications phrases or acronyms that makes your scratch your head and think “hmmmmm…what are they talking about?”  If so, email it here and you could be featured on our blog!

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Making Sense of Telecom Jargon – Part 1

Listening to someone speak about telecommunication systems can make us feel a little like Ginger in this Far Side cartoon:

It’s an industry that loves acronyms and isn’t afraid to use them.

Over the next few blog posts, we are going to define those common acronyms and terminology associated with telecommunications in the cloud.

Hosted PBX  – PBX stands for private branch exchange.  It is hardware that is stored in your office – generally in a back room or closet that connects all your internal phones to the outside phone lines through something known as the trunk line.  If you want to go really old school, your PBX would look like this:

With Hosted PBX, your system is managed off-site by a business phone services provider (Hi!) and instead of travelling into your business through a trunk line; all calls and PBX features (extension dialing, voicemail, conferencing, disaster recovery solutions, etc.) are connected to your internal phone system through the Internet.

The advantages associated with having your PBX hosted are no upfront costs associated with having to purchase hardware, or continuing costs from maintenance and upgrades.  A hosted solution is a subscription service, so you only pay for the lines and services you need and you can add or delete users as necessary.

Hosted VoiceHosted voice is essentially the same as Hosted PBX, but its features may be limited.

IVR – Interactive Voice Response.  IVR automates interactions through the telephone.  These come in the form of prerecorded prompts that the caller can respond to using dual-tone multi-frequency signaling (the touch tone key pad) or through speech recognition.  You know that drill:

Press or say “1” to hold, press or say “2” to hold….

IVR systems can be either installed in your business or integrated through your business’ network by using a telephony solution provider (hi, again).   The advantages of having your IVR hosted are the same as the PBX:  no upfront costs for equipment, no maintenance, no hardware to manage, and scalability.

Here are a sampling of ways an IVR system can help your business:

  • Capacity to handle high call volume
  • Provides answers to routine customer service questions after hours
  • Lowers call center costs
  • Prioritizes call – urgent problems can be dealt with first
  • Ensures that the caller reaches the right person/department quickly and accurately

Stay tuned for more!