ORLANDO, Fla. - Large-business and government customers increasingly are looking for integrated solutions that enable employees to work anytime and anyplace, and Verizon Business continues to respond.
At the VoiceCon trade show Wednesday (April 1), the company unveiled several enhancements to Hosted IP Centrex - its premier "in-the-cloud" voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) service - that make it easier for businesses to leverage IP networks and applications into effective telework solutions.
Also at the trade show, Verizon Business is demonstrating how several of the company's other products and services enable companies and individuals to take advantage of the transformation to telework.
The new enhancements are:
- Expansion of the company's Burstable Enterprise Shared Trunks (BEST) capability to Hosted IP Centrex. BEST enables cost savings by allowing customers to use idle VoIP capacity in one location to accommodate an increase in traffic from another location.
- The addition of features that enable Hosted IP Centrex customers to make the virtual office a reality for remote workers, and allow businesses to more efficiently establish a local presence. These features include the ability to have calls made from a softphone - a software program using a computer, headset and a broadband Internet connection - appear to originate from the user's business line; easily register a physical location for E-911 purposes; and to provision local business numbers for teleworkers that are in business markets strategic to an enterprise.
The enhancements combine with a wide range of innovative Verizon offerings to help organizations employ telework as a strategy to do more with less, enhance workforce mobility and productivity, and achieve environmental objectives - all essential in today's business climate.
"Whether companies want to reduce real estate costs, improve productivity, increase customer and employee satisfaction or reduce carbon emissions, the tools exist today for businesses to do the job right," said Blair Crump, group president of worldwide sales for Verizon Business. "By thinking outside of the box - or in this case, the physical office - companies can transform their operations to establish a more global presence, or a more local presence, as their business requires, while controlling costs."
(Note: To view a social media release that includes related online resources such as video and audio podcasts, visit: http://www.verizonbusiness.com/about/news/displaynews.xml?newsid=25274&mode=vzlong.)
Hosted IP Centrex Features BEST Capability, Unified Communications
Verizon Business' Hosted IP Centrex customers will now be able to take advantage of the company's award-winning BEST feature, previously only available with Verizon IP Trunking, to share call capacity between physical locations and better control communications costs. This is especially important as companies determine how best to implement VoIP with minimal capital infrastructure investment. The service will become available to U.S.-based customers next month, with expansion to Europe planned for June.
By leveraging Verizon Integrated Communications Package (ICP), a Web-based unified communications interface exclusively available with Hosted IP Centrex, workers can take their business with them wherever they go and still have access to the advanced telecommunications features and functions available in a full-fledged office.
With the enhancements announced Wednesday, ICP now enables Hosted IP Centrex customers to use a softphone as a business line with the business number reflected on caller ID, eliminating the need to purchase IP-enabled phones. Using only the softphone, users can easily manage how they initiate and receive calls. In addition, users can manually register their physical location with authorities for E-911 purposes.
For enterprises with teleworkers in local markets, Verizon Business can provision corresponding area codes and phone numbers to enable a local presence without the expense of obtaining additional office or retail space. Because Hosted IP Centrex resides within the expansive Verizon global IP network, companies can employ these capabilities without the capital expenses and leasing and maintenance costs associated with traditional IP PBX equipment.
In addition, workers can use ICP to access voice mail; manage their online presence (signaling availability and communications preferences); send text messages; synchronize contacts and calendars; and initiate audio and Web-based conferences.
Telework Grows in Popularity
Telework - the use of telecommunications to enable employees to work from almost anywhere - is becoming increasingly popular as issues ranging from rising fuel prices last year to the current economic crisis are causing more and more businesses to look for ways to operate more efficiently at a lower cost.
In its Telework Trendlines(tm) 2009 report, the HR association WorldatWork found that the total number of U.S. teleworkers - employees, contractors and business owners - has risen 17 percent, from 28.7 million in 2006 to 33.7 million in 2008. Chuck Wilsker, president of The Telework Coalition, said that the volume of employer inquiries his organization receives has tripled in the past two years and that "mainstreaming telework will enable employers to control costs and provide the foundation for employment stability and future growth."
At VoiceCon, Verizon is demonstrating the following innovative solutions for companies and individuals to take advantage of the transformation to telework - with minimal capital expense:
- Verizon Web Center - Verizon's hosted IP contact center solution enables companies to employ call center agents at home or outside of a traditional centralized call center environment to help control costs while increasing communications flexibility to scale up or down to meet cyclical business requirements or business-continuity objectives. To access Web Center, agents and supervisors simply need a phone line, a computer and Internet access, which eliminates the increased capital expenditures associated with other contact center technologies.
- PBX Mobile Extension - A software application that allows individuals to place and receive calls on their wireless phone and use the same advanced office features and functions associated with PBX and key systems. Workers can move seamlessly between their mobile and stationary phones to complete a call in progress, conduct quick and secure conference calls, and initiate mass notification enabling companies to quickly respond to planned or unforeseen situations.
- HD videoconferencing and telepresence - Verizon Business teams with leading video equipment providers, including Cisco, Polycom and TANDBERG, to enable advanced visual collaboration for its customers. In addition to placing video equipment throughout a corporate wide area network, organizations can provide teleworkers with broadband connections, such as Verizon FiOS to the home. For example, Verizon Business helps TANDBERG conduct the day-to-day visual communications that are essential to the company's operations. In addition to providing the global Private IP wide area network that is the foundation for TANDBERG's advanced collaboration style, many TANDBERG employees who telework from home also use Verizon FiOS for their high-definition video meetings.
"The technology and the business climate are ripe for telework," said Nancy Gofus, senior vice president of global business products for Verizon. "As a leading global managed security leader and a pioneer in developing and delivering IP-based applications, Verizon Business offers the expertise and the tools for our customers to employ telework strategically and securely across an enterprise. We can manage and protect corporate data across an extended enterprise while eliminating the need for travel to, from and beyond the traditional workplace, helping our customers to adopt new business practices that make sense today."
Through a variety of access methods, Verizon can provide the IP broadband connectivity that enables telework, including Verizon FiOS and High Speed Internet; Verizon Wireless EVDO over the Verizon Wireless 3G network; satellite technology; and Ethernet access to Private IP, Verizon Business' global MPLS-based virtual private network (VPN).
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), is a global leader in communications and IT solutions. We combine professional expertise with the world's most connected IP network to deliver award-winning communications, IT, information security and network solutions. We securely connect today's extended enterprises of widespread and mobile customers, partners, suppliers and employees - enabling them to increase productivity and efficiency and help preserve the environment. Many of the world's largest businesses and governments - including 96 percent of the Fortune 1000 and thousands of government agencies and educational institutions - rely on our professional and managed services and network technologies to accelerate their business. Find out more at www.verizonbusiness.com.