What is Unified Communications?
Unified Communications or UC is a group of individual products integrated to form a seamless and continuous communications environment. This growing concept in communications has been embraced as a way for businesses to promote more efficient communication, better manage communication queues and respond in ways needed by both external customers and internal groups within the company.
Unified Communications traditionally include IP-based phone systems, e-mail and scheduling applications, voicemail to e-mail, Instant Messaging and presence applications, conferencing, faxing and more, with the true test of the system being the ability to transfer communications from one system to another without disrupting the flow of the conversation.
Example of communication escalation through UC
"The CEO is working with marketing director on the launch of a new product. Initially the conversation is started by a few simple questions over an Instant Message client. Once the conversation gets a little more involved the marketing director transfers the conversation from IM to a voice call. When a question comes up that the marketing director cannot answer, they initiate a 3-way call with the product development manager. The conversation takes a more technical turn and the product development manager initiates a web conference to display product costs and pricing justification models. Because the CEO is late for an appointment, the file is quickly e-mailed to all parties and a meeting is scheduled for later in the day."
How is LightEdge enabling Unified Communications for Business
LightEdge is one of a small handful of providers that are providing Hosted Unified Communications or Unified Communications as a Service. Whereas a traditional UC environment requires a considerable investment to purchase, and integrate separate communication platforms, LightEdge offers integrated UC components in a Scale-on-Demand model. Use the communication pieces that you need and only pay for the number of seats that you need. As your business grows and you need more, simple add more seats and more integrated communication components.
This fall you will receive a brief survey to determine your interest in Hosted Unified Communications for your business. Please take the time to answer these questions so we can learn your needs and how we may best serve them.
For more information about Unified Communications, please contact the LightEdge Sales team at 877-771-3343, email@example.com or visit our website.
Hosted PBX Voice-over-IP for your Business
What is a Hosted PBX system?
A Hosted PBX (HPBX) system delivers PBX functionality as a service over a private managed broadband connection. Rather than purchasing or leasing PBX equipment to utilize on-site, now you can simply contract for hosted services and reap the benefits of advanced calling features and hassle-free management of your phone system.
- Eliminates the need for a PBX and telco lines
- All PBX "intelligence" is delivered out of a redundant central voice platform (giving a unified environment for multi-office settings)
- Calls are routed over a private, managed network to the LightEdge platform
- Hosted PBX is a converged service - voice and data traffic is managed dynamically across the same connection
- Dynamic bandwidth allocation means that you aren't limited to the number of available lines like a traditional telco-based system
How does it work?
Voice traffic is passed over your company’s data line, dynamically sharing the bandwidth with data traffic. Since the bandwidth is shared between voice and data traffic, you no longer have to pay for separate voice and a data lines. A router is set up on your site and configured with Quality of Service (QoS) so that the voice traffic always has a higher priority than the data traffic. This eliminates voice quality issues that could otherwise occur if there is a high volume of data being passed over the line. Your company uses IP desk phones that connect into your corporate LAN, and a router that handles the voice and data traffic that flows to our data center. Our BroadWorks system routes the calls and provides the advanced services. BroadWorks is the leading platform in the world for hosted business services, so you can be assured you’re getting the best platform available.
HPBX is a scalable service that allows you to easily manage how your calls are routed using an intuitive web-based interface. In addition, your phones are no longer directly tied to physical telephone lines, so groups of workers can be defined logically in software instead of by a physical connection.
The voice platform is hosted in a fully redundant, carrier-grade data center. LightEdge performs all of the operational work - running and monitoring the system, handling upgrades, increasing capacity, managing dial plans, etc. - that you would otherwise perform on your premise-based equipment. You leave behind the complexity of dealing with a voice switch, the expense of purchasing a PBX or Key System, and the worry of keeping up with the latest technology. We handle all of that while you get access to the newest and most advanced features available on the market.
Our system can reroute your calls to alternate numbers such as a cell phone using "find-me, follow-me" functionality such as simultaneous or sequential ring. Employees can manage their preferences when they are on the road by logging into a web portal. They can also integrate other phones (such as home phones and cell phones) to receive calls from their office number. Hosted PBX is a seamless way to appear at the office, when you could be anywhere in the world.
Hosted Microsoft Exchange
Effective communication is paramount to any business, but many companies find it difficult to leverage technology cost-effectively. Hosted Exchange and the other hosted tools in our Integrated Communications Suite offer a simple and effective delivery of the collaborative and organizational tools that will drive your company’s productivity without the large capital investment and ongoing maintenance that an on-premise solution would require.
The Simple Communications Solution
Implementing LightEdge Hosted Exchange is as simple as filling out the online Sign-up form and downloading a copy of Outlook 2007 or Entourage. With Hosted Exchange there are no servers to set up, no licensing to worry about and you have a free 30-day trial to kick the tires.
Your Communications Hub
Outlook 2007 connected to Exchange 2007 will quickly become the cornerstone for your office communication. Your managers and employees will have visibility into one another’s calendars for more efficient scheduling, shared task lists for assigning and managing projects, RSS news feeds to stay on top of industry trends, rules and alerts to filter messages and stay organized and both global and personal contact lists to ensure that contact information is close at hand.
Everywhere you work
Hosted Exchange works everywhere you do. Office and teleworkers will be able to access their Exchange environment through the corporate network or over the Internet without need for a VPN. Road Warriors can quickly access the system through the Outlook Web Access or on their mobile device with Active Sync and BlackBerry Integration.
Focus on your Business
Implementing and maintaining an in-house Exchange environment involves a significant use of IT budget and resources. Utilizing Exchange as a service means that your employees are able to get the tools they need to be productive, while you and your IT staff can focus on initiatives related to the core business.
Better on your Budget
Hosted Exchange through LightEdge turns what would normally be a huge up front expense into a hosted monthly service with a predictable fee.
By using a service instead of implementing an in-house platform, you create a better cash flow position for your business and can use your budget for other initiatives that will drive your business.
The BlackBerry® Enterprise Server managed by LightEdge Solutions gives you the ability to get more out of your BlackBerry smartphone by integrating it with your company's Hosted Exchange environment. Now you have the freedom of mobility with all the communication and organizational tools that you need to be productive - securely and in real-time.
Send and Receive E-mail
Take control of your bulging in-box by taking it everywhere you go. Now you can respond to messages from the airport, the soccer field or any place that you have a few minutes of downtime. Feel good knowing that any changes or deletions that you make on your device are virtually automatically synchronized with your corporate Exchange environment through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
Open and Modify Attachments
Don't let mobility keep you out of the loop. Read documents, update spreadsheets and view images directly from your BlackBerry smartphone.
Track your Meetings and Activities
Avoid the crisis of "where do I need to be now" with access to your real-time calendar of events. Track all of your business and personal meetings and create reminders so you'll never be late again.
Access your Business and Personal Contacts
Fortune favors the prepared. At least that's what you'll think when you realize that your entire business contact list is available in your front pocket whenever you need it.
Organize your busy day with To-do Lists and Reminders
Anyone who feels the satisfaction of creating lists and crossing off completed items can rejoice knowing that this list is now available 24x7 to update and manage.
Jot down and retrieve Important Messages
What do you do when inspiration strikes you? Quickly turn on your BlackBerry smartphone and create an Outlook Note so you never forget a good idea. Each Note is date and time stamped for tracking and organizational purposes.
Hosted Microsoft OCS
Hosted Office Communications Server 2007 streamlines communications by enabling you to easily communicate in real-time, with colleagues through a variety of methods from a single intuitive interface. With enterprise-class Instant Messaging (IM), rich presence awareness, PC to PC voice capabilities, integration with a full hosted PBX voice platform and multi-party audio and video conferencing, you can connect and collaborate from any location with Internet connectivity.
As part of the LightEdge Connected Office suite, Hosted OCS 2007 will help your staff become more efficient communicators by delivering the tools to ease collaboration even when colleagues are working in remote or mobile settings.
The Premium Version of Hosted OCS 2007 includes:
Hosted OCS has been designed to be a full-featured communication system bringing together Instant Messaging, Voice and Video. Communicator allows rich text formatting and emoticons in Instant Message conversations and supports groups as large as 100. As the conversation progresses, users can change to a PC to PC voice call or include webcam video without skipping a beat.
Dynamic Presence Indicators
One of the key features of Hosted OCS is the ability to relay a user’s availability status to other contacts so they can determine the most efficient time and method to communicate with each other. Presence automatically updates a color-coded status indicator to: Idle or Away based on PC use or Busy when meetings are scheduled in Microsoft Exchange. The user can manually select a status of Do Not Disturb, type of brief description of what they are doing and add a location such as Office or Home.
Hosted OCS extends into other Microsoft Office applications enabling users to see the current status of their colleagues, reply to an e-mail with an Instant Message or create notes for the conversation in Microsoft OneNote.
Hosted OCS allows better collaboration between users by allowing files to be transferred from one user to another simply by dragging the document into the Communication messaging area. The recipient can reject the file or accept the transfer and store it in a directory specified in the Communicator settings.
Anytime, Anywhere Communication
With Hosted OCS you can keep in touch with your colleagues and business contacts without the need for a virtual private network: from your PC with the Communicator application, over the Internet with Communicator Web Access or on your mobile device with Communicator Mobile.
Full LightEdge Hosted PBX Integration
Customers using Hosted PBX voice service can leverage the integration between the two platforms to: directly dial contacts over the Hosted PBX platform (rather than PC to PC) and utilize the Hosted PBX phone status to influence the overall user presence indicators in Communicator.
Premium Hosted OCS allows users to share applications or their desktop using a lite version of Live Meeting. OCS Live Meeting includes basic web conferencing functionality which can be used to collaborate on projects or perform training sessions.
||Iowa IT Symposium
|| The 8th Annual Iowa IT Symposium is the Annual event for the Iowa CIO Forum. This full day gathering of Iowa’s top IT leaders features strategic-level presentations and best practices from industry thought leaders. Individual break-out sessions on various moderated topics are also planned for the 2009 Iowa IT Symposium.
LightEdge Solutions Ranked to the Inc. Magazine List of America’s 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies for the Third Consecutive Year
Hosted service provider poised for even greater growth as businesses hurt by the recession are turning to cloud-based IT service for reliability and cost control
NEW YORK, August 12, 2009 -- Inc. magazine today ranked LightEdge Solutions on the list of America’s fastest growing private companies for the third consecutive year. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs. Consumer electronics maker Vizio, Internet giant GoDaddy, rental car service Zipcar, and beverage maker Honest Tea are among the prominent brands featured on this year's list.
“Savvy trend spotters and those who invest in private companies know that the Inc. 5000 is the best place to find out about young companies that are achieving success through a wide variety of unprecedented business models, as well as older private companies that are still expanding at an impressive rate,” said Inc. 5000 project manager Jim Melloan. “That’s why our list is so eagerly anticipated every year.”
Tips for business continuity and contingency planning for swine flu
|By Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer
03 Sep 2009 | SearchCIO.com
With many students back to school this week, the federal government and health organizations are doubling down on efforts to get out the word on a second wave of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. A presidential advisory group of leading scientists has warned of possible absentee rates of 30% to 50% for an unknown duration. So what should CIOs be doing to their business continuity and contingency plans to help prepare for a swine flu outbreak?
New HIPAA data breach notification rules put health industry on notice
|By Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer
01 Sep 2009 | SearchCompliance.com
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is regarded as the toothless wonder of compliance mandates for its lax enforcement. That perception should start to change this month, when new data breach notification regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) go into effect.
SMBs spend more, enterprises buy more managed services
Aug 14, 2009 10:27 AM, By Carol Wilson
Economy is cutting IT budgets at big companies but spurring more services sales
Large enterprises are still planning to cut IT and telecom spending, but small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are ready to invest more, according to two new studies out this week from Forrester Research. Both groups show more interest in buying managed services, and larger companies are doing more of that buying already.
The two reports, “The State of Enterprise Networks and Telecommunications: 2009” and “The State of SMB Networks and Telecommunications: 2009” were based on interviews with enterprise and SMB IT executives in North America and Europe.