The Ultimate Guide to Apps for UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT

Connect Get Started Image

Desktop and Mobile Application Get Started Guide for UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT

New to Connect or looking for some extra tips? Read this guide to learn the basic and some more advanced features to bring yourself up to speed.

UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT App Downloads

Univerge Blue Connect has been designed to make it easier than ever to control your call flow and work anytime, anywhere. For the best experience, please download the desktop and mobile applications.

Univerge Blue Connect Logo

Windows Desktop App

Google Play Store

MacOS Desktop App

iOS App Store

Mobile App Full Setup Tutorial for Android and iOS

Sign In

Log in to the desktop application. You will be presented with a screen asking you to select your preferred application mode.

Computer Softphone

In this mode, the application will work as its own calling device. You can make, receive, and control phone calls directly through the application. A phone is not required for this option and is great for computer power users or remote working.

Desk Phone Controller

This options allows the application to control your desk phone. You can use the application to transfer, hold, and decline calls that are currently happening via the desk phone. This is a great option if you use a specialised wireless headset, such as Plantronics (Poly), to communicate hands-free.

Application Mode Selection Screen for Connect

Team Chat

The black navigation bar on the left side of the application has six icons in the top half. The very top icon is the team chat. Click this icon to open the team chat window. 

Send a Direct Message

To send a direct message, click the blue ‘+’ icon next to the search bar. Select direct message and type in the name or email of the other person. Select the recipient, type your message, and press click send or press ‘enter’. 

Univerge Blue Connect Team Chat Window

Create a New Channel

A channel is likened to a group chat for your team. To make a channel, click the blue ‘+’ sign, and select ‘new channel’. You will be presented options for the channel name, description, privacy, and members. The privacy setting allows or prevents other non-current members of the organisation to see the channel and its contents. 

Creating a channel in the messaging window

Formatting Messages

Use the rich text feature to organize and format your messages. If the additional tools appear to be hidden, click the bold “A” icon below the text input box. 

Team chat rich text display

Add emojis and GIFs to chats

Have some fun with coworkers in your messages by adding emojis and GIFs into conversations. Click the GIF icon for the GIF window, and the smiley face for emojis.

emoji chat window

Sharing Files in Team Chat

To share a file in the Connect App team chat, simply click the attachment icon in the chat window that looks like a paperclip. You can also share files to collaborate with your team by finding files in the file explorer window, then dragging and dropping them over the chat window.

Files will remain in the team chat until they are deleted, or until the Univerge Blue Connect license is revoked for that user. Be sure to use the ‘Share’ tab for long-term storage and backup, which will be covered later in this guide.

Attaching a file to a message

Filtering Files in Team Chat

If you need to find a file from previous chats, you can select the direct message or channel, then click “Files” in the right tab. You will see all the files within the conversation history appear. 

From here, you can download, share, view, edit, and more. If you ‘Pin’ the file, it will maintain a more prominent position in the chat window, making it easier for other users to find. The ‘Pin’ option is great if you repeatedly need to find the same file.

Video Conferencing

Meet face to face with your team and clients with Univerge Blue Connect’s MEET application. In the left panel, three different tabs show the attendees, chat, and notes. In the top right, options are available for you to record the meeting, lock it, change your background, and more. At the bottom center, you can change mic and camera settings, share your screen, and even send emojis across the screen. The bottom right displays the draw icon, which allows attendees and hosts to temporarily draw on the screen during presentations.

UNIVERGE BLUE MEET Application Download

MEET is included with the CONNECT app but for more advanced features and options such as changing automatic meeting settings, custom branding, scheduling options, and more, download the Univerge Blue Meet Application.

Univerge Blue Meet Logo

Windows/MacOS Desktop App

Google Play Store

iOS App Store

Start a Video Meeting

To start a meeting, you can directly hover over a team member in Univerge Blue Connect and click the video icon. To have a mix of internal and external members, go to the video tab in the Connect app and start your meeting. For advanced scheduling options, download the MEET application coming up in this guide.

Integrations for Meetings

Integrating your meetings and Connect with Outlook or Google calendars allows your to keep up to date. Your administrator for Outlook will need to enable the integration. For the Chrome extension, click the link in the Chrome logo or Visit the Chrome Web Store  

UNIVERGE BLUE SHARE

Univerge Blue file sharing allows for a better collaborative experience across your team. With Share, you can access, manage, store, and securely share files with anyone inside and outside of your organization. This is a great tool for accepting uploads and sending files to download with the options for password protection, restrictions, and more.

UNIVERGE BLUE SHARE Application Download

Download the desktop apps to add file locations to your file explorer in Windows or Finder on MacOS. All files can also be accessed directly in the file tab in the CONNECT app.

Windows Desktop App

Google Play Store

MacOS Desktop App

iOS Download

Sharing Files with Connect Users

To share and collaborate on files with a colleague, simply click ‘Share’ and type in their name or select the user profile. Once shared, the file, or folder and its contents, will be available in the other person’s share tab. Changing the permissions can restrict unwanted user activity for the invited users.

Blue Share sharing files

Sharing Files via Web Links

To share files or folders externally via a web link, click ‘Share’ and then ‘Get Link’. You will see the dropdown of ‘view and download’ which can be changed to view only or upload only. Click ‘Create New Link’ and you will be presented with a new window where you can copy the web link and send to colleagues, clients, or other collaborators.

sharing files via a web link

Password Protecting Web Links

If needing to share a web link like in the previous step but with an added layer of security, you can add a password to protect file access. To do this, finish creating your link, you will see the window that allow you to copy the various links you have created. Rather than clicking ‘Copy Link’, go to ‘Actions’ and click ‘Edit Link Settings’.

In a new window, you will see more advanced settings where you can add or remove passwords on links and set an expiration date too. Click ‘Save’ when finished and copy your updated link to send.

If sharing confidential files, we recommend using strong passwords and never sending both the link and password in the same messaging or platform, if possible. 

If the link expires, users will not be able to access files via the web link, even if they have the password.

password protecting web links in univerge blue share

UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT CALLING

Univerge Blue Connect calling features within the Connect App provide a powerful way to control your call flow on your computer and mobile app. For standard calls through the desktop app, regardless of application mode, navigate to the calling tab and type in the phone number into the dial pad and click the call icon.

Choosing the Right Application Calling Mode For You

When you first logged in, the CONNECT app had a prompt for selecting softphone calling or desk phone controller functionality. We have devised a table to help you decide on your preference if you have both the desk phone and computer app next to each other.

Changing Application Calling Modes

To change your application mode at any time, click the circular profile logo in the bottom left corner of the CONNECT app. In the next menu that pops up, click ‘Application settings’. Application Mode is the first option in the new window.

Changing application mode in Connect
Application Mode Selection Screen for Connect

How Features Change with Application Modes

Below we have a table that shows you the full details of your calling options based on your application mode selection. For reference, DTMF are the audio tones your phone makes when dialing numbers. If you have any questions on this table, do not hesitate to contact us.

App Mode
Place Call
Receive Call
3-Way Call
Mute / Unmute
Hold
DTMF
Call Flip
Call Park
Transfer
End Call
Desk Phone Controller
Desk Phone
Desk Phone
Desk Phone
Desk Phone
Soft Phone Calling

Choosing the Right Application Calling Mode For You

When you first logged in, the CONNECT app had a prompt for selecting softphone calling or desk phone controller functionality. We have devised a table to help you decide on your preference if you have both the desk phone and computer app next to each other.

Changing Application Calling Modes

To change your application mode at any time, click the circular profile logo in the bottom left corner of the CONNECT app. In the next menu that pops up, click ‘Application settings’. Application Mode is the first option in the new window.

Application Mode Selection Screen for Connect
Changing application mode in Connect

How Features Change with Application Modes

Below we have a table that shows you the full details of your calling options based on your application mode selection. For reference, DTMF are the audio tones your phone makes when dialing numbers. If you have any questions on this table, do not hesitate to contact us.

Features
Desk Phone Controller
Soft Phone Calling
Place Call
Receive Call
Desk Phone
3-Way Calling
Mute / Unmute
Desk Phone
Hold
Desk Phone
DTMF
Desk Phone
Call Flip
Call Park
Transfer
End Call

Placing Calls from Chats

To call a team member from the chat window, click the users name, then at the top of window, click the blue phone icon to initiate a call.

Placing Calls from Contact Profiles or Call History

To call a team member or external contact that has been added to your contacts, hover over the contact in the calling tab and click the blue phone icon that appears to initiate a call. 

If wanting to see all information within a contact in CONNECT, hover over the circle profile icon of a contact. In the small window that appears, other information will be available that has been added such as groups, mobile number, department, email, and more.

Connect calling from chats

UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT Mobile Application

The mobile app for CONNECT allows you to take your business extension anywhere. It is designed for seamless transferring and communicating between users no matter where you are. Core features from the desktop application can be found in the mobile app and some specific features for the mobile app only. Your use of the mobile app will prevent the need for handing out cell phone numbers in the future and will keep you connected.

Mobile App Navigation

The navigation for CONNECT works slightly differently on iOS and Android, so if your app looks slightly differently to ours pictured, do not worry. If you have any trouble finding a menu or tab on your device, please give us a call and we will assist. 

The navigation on mobile is horizontal, either at the top or bottom of the screen. The menu will move from Chats on the left, to Voicemail on the right. To access your profile, you can tap on your profile image in the top left.

Messaging

To view or send messages, tap the chat icon on the left of the navigation bar. To start a new message, tap the pencil and paper icon in the top right. Remember, all messages sync across devices.

Calls and Contacts

Calls and contacts are in two different tabs of the navigation, similar to the desktop app. To access the dial pad in either tab, click the nine dots icon in the top right and the dial pad will appear.

blue connect mobile app

UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT Mobile Application Download

CONNECT for mobile is a great way to stay connect and access key features on the move. Download the apps here.

Univerge Blue Connect Logo

Google Play Store

iOS App Store

Mobile App Voicemail

Voicemail in the mobile app is just as powerful as the desktop app. To access voicemail, go to the voicemail tab in the far right of the navigation. Tap on any voicemail to open up the message and transcription. Transcription features need to be activated and may depend on CONNECT licensing. Contact us or your provider if you are unsure.

Listening to Voicemail

Listening to voicemail is simple and can be on speaker or similar to a phone call. If you tap the play icon, hold the phone up to your ear like a phone call to listen to the voicemail. If you tap the speaker icon also, so that it highlights blue, the voicemail will be played on speaker.

Mobile App Settings

Your CONNECT mobile app has a lot of settings that can be customized such as contact syncing, voicemail pin code, and silent modes. To start, tap your profile icon in the top left. It should bring up the settings window where you will see information you can change such as your status and status message. Various options are available including other app locations for your mobile device. From this window, you can turn on call forwarding and activate or disable multiple features and integrations. If you are unsure on how to properly setup a desired feature or setting, please let us know and we will assist you.

Activating Silent Mode

Understandably, you may not want your mobile device to be ringing 24 hours a day. If this is the case, you have manual and schedule options for silencing phone calls. Once in the settings window, tap ‘Silent mode’ and you will see the options to manually activate, use a schedule, and choose which notifications are silenced.

connect mobile app silent mode settings

Congratulations, You are a UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT Master!

We understand learning a new system can be challenging but by reaching this far in the guide, you have understood the ins and outs of how to navigate and use the applications in CONNECT to the fullest extent. Go ahead and show off to your colleagues just how in-tune you are with your new communication system.

How did You Like The Guide?

Please give us feedback on what you like or dislike about this guide and CONNECT. We are always adding and changing features and this guide alongside them, so please help us to help you and people in a similar position. You can always reach out to use directly at any time.

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Join us for Training Tuesdays

Our close friends at NEC offer training sessions the first Tuesday of every month for UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT, please come along if you would like to learn even more and say hello.

Univerge Blue Connect Logo

5 WAYS UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORTS REMOTE WORKERS

5 WAYS UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORTS REMOTE WORKERS

As companies seek alternatives to business travel, one thing stands true – the business environment waits for no-one. If anything, it’s accelerating. But business leaders don’t have to choose between operating a distributed organization and compromising success. The workplace has evolved significantly in the last decade and employees no longer have to be tethered to their office desks in order to be productive.

The workplace ecosystem now includes millions of remote workers as well as employees that are always on the go. This change means that employee tools must support the new workforce – tools like Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). UCaaS can improve productivity in the workplace, empowering employees to communicate on their terms, and get more done.

UCaaS DRIVES PRODUCTIVITY

One huge benefit of UCaaS is that it provides a single platform for communication. Your team may currently be managing multiple apps, which certainly doesn’t contribute to productiv- ity. With one central hub, communication can be streamlined and simplified. UCaaS lives in the cloud, so as long as you have an internet connection, then you have the same call quality and features as you would if you were sitting in the office. UCaaS allows for chat, video conferencing, screen sharing, and file sharing. With a fully integrated suite of communication solutions, higher productivity is easily within reach.

A MORE PRODUCTIVE WORKFORCE

Nurturing a more productive workplace requires a company culture that supports it along with the right tools. Here are five ways UCaaS improves productivity in the workplace:

1

Greater Mobility Equals Greater Productivity

UCaaS facilitates access even away from the office. In a world that’s shifting towards telecommuting – which by the way, can equate to more productive workers as well – to remain compet- itive in your industry, and to attract and retain talent, you must offer mobility. Workers can communicate and collaborate with others with ease with UCaaS. They can also respond to and connect with customers quickly and without limitations from their home office.

2

Real-Time Responses

Legacy phone systems have multiple features that were designed to help users save time and effort, like call forwarding. However, those aren’t portable. UCaaS takes those features and improves them – by supporting automation of voicemails to email, for example. Should you miss an important call, you don’t have to bother with the voicemail as the message is already in your inbox and can be forwarded to another party if needed. Responding immediately to urgent matters helps you better support customers and resolve issues in real-time

3

Enhanced Collaboration

Your company thrives when employees collaborate to solve challenges and develop new ideas. However, collaboration doesn’t mean all parties have to be in the same room. Your team may be spread all over the world, and that’s okay because UCaaS allows you to collaborate without restraints. Your team is connected on one network and can work together in a number of ways through virtual meetings and instant messaging. Beyond just being able to communicate easily, which enhances collaboration, you can also expand on features that enable better teamwork, such as the ability to share and work on documents simultaneously

4

Easy Integrations

Technology powers your workforce. Across your organization, you may employ many different technology platforms that your team needs to do their job every day. With UCaaS, you can integrate many of those. It works seamlessly with other cloud-based applications, allowing you to manage multiple functions via one system. For example, you can integrate with your customer relationship management (CRM) software to better track customer behaviors and interactions. Plus, your customer-facing employees will have information about that

5

Consistent Reliability

If your organization is using analog phones, what will you do should service go down? What’s your backup? What’s your business continuity plan? It’s hard to answer these questions when you must depend on antiquated systems. UCaaS has greater reliability than legacy phone systems. You can’t be productive when your system is down, and that’s why so many businesses depend on UCaaS for communications.

DOES YOUR COMMUNICATION PLATFORM HINDER OR HELP YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Upgrading to a UCaaS solution will clearly be an aid to produc- tivity and efficiency. Using dated communication platforms, on the other hand, is a massive hindrance, impacting not only productivity but also the customer perception of your business
UCaaS is the foundational technology for a modern commu- nications approach – the direction that leading businesses are taking now. Improve productivity today by checking out our UCaaS solution, UNIVERGE BLUE™ CONNECT.

INTEGRATED UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS: Why It’s a Smart, Cost-Effective Move

UCaaS Blog Post Image
UCaaS Blog Post Image

INTEGRATED UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS: Why It’s a Smart, Cost-Effective Move

Effective communication is a key driver for business productivity across all industries.
Today’s business environment makes unified communications nearly an operational necessity.

Effective communication is a key driver for business productivity across all industries.
Today’s business environment makes unified communications nearly an operational necessity.

What is UCaaS?

With the advent of cloud computing, many businesses have turned to hosted services for managing IT resources that include network topology, servers, data storage, and even complete data centers. This evolution in technology now extends to communications infrastructure, allowing providers to offer access to sophisticated functionality without the acquisition, maintenance, and management expense that goes along with building such systems in-house.

A MORE PRODUCTIVE WORKFORCE

Nurturing a more productive workplace requires a company culture that supports it along with the right tools. Here are five ways UCaaS improves productivity in the workplace:

Benefits of Integrated Unified Communications

Today’s mobile workforce presents many challenges for business: 

Boosting Productivity with UCaaS

There are many ways UCaaS contributes to business efficiency such as providing access to business systems and peers.

Coupled with these operational and financial benefits are the many ways UCaaS enhances productivity for a competitive advantage.

Solve Business Communications and Educational Challenges with UCaaS

Online training is an incredibly useful tool provided by integrated unified communications.

Why UCaaS is a Smart Choice

UCaaS is being implemented by both global enterprises and SMBs for many reasons, including efficiency gains and financial benefits:

REMOTE WORK – BE THERE WITHOUT BEING THERE…

Remote Work Image

REMOTE WORK – BE THERE WITHOUT BEING THERE…

Even in light of recent travel concerns, businesses have increasingly been looking for opportunities to cut down on the travel of their employees, while at the same time maintaining the level of collaboration and important sense of connectedness that face-to-face meetings can afford. The advent of new, affordable communications solutions – such as cloud-based video conferencing, cloud voice, and file collaboration – over the past several years has helped to usher in a new era of the way people work; addressing both the cost and productivity interests of employers, and the ever-increasing desires/expectations of employees to have greater flexibility of where they work.

Telecommuting has been surging for years

The ability to work remotely may be more important to employees than how much they get paid. A survey of job candidates found that 40% consider schedule flexibility a top factor when making a career decision. In addition to what employees desire, organizations see the advantages as well. Remote workers reduce the space they need and the overhead for it. Companies also can choose from a wider pool of applicants if they don’t all have to be based in one city.

Delivering on flexibility can be a means to retain employees because they feel as though they have a better work-life balance. Telecommuting may also result in fewer sick days as sick workers won’t come into the office and spread their illness. Businesses are looking to technology to ensure remote teams have the tools they need. And the most urgent of those is a communications system that’s consistent, easy to use, and budget friendly.

CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS ARE MUST-HAVE FOR REMOTE WORKERS

No matter where your employees are, they need access to a reliable and convenient way to communicate. A cloud communications and collaboration platform that includes business phones/voice, video conferencing, chat, file sharing and archiving, and more makes telecommuting efficient, reliable, and productive, allowing your employees to connect at any time, from anywhere, to each other and customers. Further, they can truly collaborate on projects by instantly entering a video conference, sharing files, and enabling multiple users to edit and comment in real time. It’s the same type of exercise that previously could only be done around a conference table. Now, this flexibility provides your team with a way to work more efficiently and effectively. 

It’s also extremely affordable. Much more so than legacy phone systems, which require dedicated equipment and hardware. With the cloud, you only need a reliable Internet connection and a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.

More Benefits of Cloud communications for remote workers

working on the go image

Working on the Go

Cloud communications solutions allow workers to be on the go, which is especially attractive for those in positions such as sales where travel is commonly inherent. With the cloud, they have access to communications tools just as they would at home or the office. Cloud systems can integrate with smartphones so that individuals can stay connected to incoming phone calls, new tasks, and more.

Central hub for Information

One of the biggest hurdles in a remote workforce is defining central hubs for information. Organizing documents and data on a cloud communications platform offers employees the ability to do this. With accessibility and one source of truth, there’s not a constant back and forth via email, where documents are edited individually. With a central hub, you won’t miss any edits or comments and you’ll experience more seamless workflows.

Improved Productivity

Cloud communications platforms are designed to help workers get more done faster. They allow instant communication, so team members can get feedback and make decisions sooner. There’s also the time factor. If an employee has the ability to work from home a few days a week, they cut out the commute. They have more time to focus on projects without distractions.

Better Reliability

With cloud communications solutions, you’ll have much better communication quality and reliability. Because it works on the cloud, it’s not in danger of being out of commission because of hardware failures. Plus, most cloud providers have strong uptime percentages and can reroute calls in the event of an outage.

Enhanced Security

The cloud is a very secure way to communicate and share data. The data remains private and secure in a SOC 2-audited cloud. The system is always updated to the latest version, hindering the ability for cyber-attacks. Because your employees will be accessing their cloud platform via a VPN, you can ensure that everything stays within your protected environment rather than worrying about whether an internet source is a secured network.

Empowering a distributed workforce with cloud solutions is a win-win for all parties. See why cloud communications solutions are ideal for either establishing or supporting remote teams by learning more about UNIVERGE BLUE™ CONNECT.

9 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Replace Your Aging Phone System with UNIVERGE BLUE

9 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Replace Your Aging Phone System with UNIVERGE BLUE

82%
of consumers look for an immediate response to marketing or sales questions. – Hubspot Research

Whether it’s a question about a product or service, a new order, a support issue, or simply trying to pay a bill, customers still need a human connection when they’re looking for help – and the right cloud communications platform – that includes calling, video conferencing, chat, and secure file sharing provides just that.

The architecture of conventional phone systems dates back to a time when going to work meant going to an office. But today’s mobile and global workers require more agility and capabilities than these systems can support.

The trouble is the architecture of conventional phone systems dates back to a time when going to work meant going to an office. Many were even designed when smartphones were considered nothing but science fiction. Today’s workers, who now need to be flexible to work from wherever they happen to be, require more agility and capabilities than these systems can support. Aging phone systems typically do not
support remote workforces, who can be productive from any location. Most aging phone systems do not even provide direct access to company voicemail from a mobile device, which could cause delays in responding to customers. And you can’t afford to miss sales or lose customers because they can’t communicate with your employees when and how they like.

A modern cloud communications platform not only provides highly reliable connectivity and call quality but is also easy to deploy and simple to maintain. Plus, the cloud delivers the agility and advanced features your business needs to keep pace with impatient consumers and mobile workers.

Let’s take a bit of a deeper look at nine key benefits that explain why companies like yours have already made the move to the cloud.

1

SAVES COST

You enjoy one flat-rate for all your calls, chats, and video conferences anywhere in North America. For one predictable monthly charge you also get a range of services like internet fax and conference calling – without the complexity of multiple bills. Contrast that with traditional on-premises systems where even when the hardware is paid for, you still incur ongoing costs for things like software upgrades, maintenance, and support. You may also need expensive expansion cards to add new users or costly private business exchange lines for connectivity between multiple locations.

Unlike on-premises systems that require a major investment of time and money to add advanced features like video conferencing, these services, that employees now rely on readily, come pre-integrated with a cloud communications platform. Also, rather than making a major investment in hardware, pay-as-you-go subscription pricing means low risk to migrate to the benefits of the cloud.

2

89%
of consumers begin doing business with a competitor following a poor customer
experience.

– Harris Interactive

IMPROVES
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Your phone system is often the first point of contact with your customer, so it should be a good experience. A new breed of customer – tech-savvy, online, and mobile – demands the same of your company. They expect to reach someone the first time they call. Plus, these impatient customers expect that person to have all the information they need at their fingertips – at least
as fast as they could get it themselves on the web. According to Harris Interactive, 89% of consumers begin doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.

Especially because the COVID-19 virus prompted so many to shelter in place, old habits gave way to new ways of working remotely and conducting business without in-person contact. Whether connecting through a call, video, chat, or email, customers demand choice and convenience. A study by the respected research firm Gartner also found that when it comes to making a purchase, 64% of people find customer experience more important than price. This
means businesses must quickly put customers in touch with exactly who they need.

This can create problems for businesses still using old-school phone systems. When a traditional on-premises PBX phone system can’t integrate with your teams’ mobile devices or support your customers preferred means for engaging, you leave yourself open to a poor customer experience, especially if your company’s representatives aren’t sitting at their desks in the office at the moment the customer calls. You worked hard to get that customer on the phone, so why take the risk of missing the call?

A modern cloud communications platform gives your employees tools like instant access to company voicemail and business SMS to stay in touch with customers anytime, anywhere, and from virtually any mobile device.

3

YOUR BUSINESS ALWAYS HAS
RELIABLE PHONE SERVICE

A cloud communications platform offers benefits that will give you more modern communications benefits. But first and foremost, every business needs reliable phone service with good audio and video quality. A cloud provider with a robust network and core infrastructure located in redundant data centers can provide carrier-class reliability and superior call quality.

A cloud communications platform offers benefits that will give you more modern communications. But first and foremost, every business needs reliable phone service and good call quality.

Plus, having a mobile and desktop computer application, along with all of your data being backed up in the cloud, means your business continues even in the case of a fire, power outage, or natural disaster. In the event that pandemic shelter-in-place mandates prevent your employees from working in your offices they can simply use the mobile app or softphone, and it’s business as usual without any breaks in service.

4

STRONG SECURITY
AND EXPERTS
IN GOVERNMENT
REGULATIONS

With the right provider, robust security protects your data. This is particularly important for small- and medium-size business, which typically lack the dedicated
IT staff of larger businesses. The right cloud service  provider experts can provide worldclass security, which includes compliance with government regulations like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

87%
of respondents stated that cloud governance will become very important in the next two years, yet many do not believe their IT department is capable of handling it.

– Ponemon Institute study

5

75%
of employees use their smartphones as their main business communications tools.

– IDC

MOBILIZES
YOUR WORKFORCE

Pre-pandemic, workers were already expecting to have the tools to work from anywhere, optimize their commute time, and make calls outside of business hours. This is not a surprise as more than one-in-three American labor force participants 35% Millennials – the largest generation in the U.S. labor force – grew up in this mobile-first world. When COVID-19 surprised so many businesses with social distancing regulations that required employees to work remotely, business leaders were forced to rethink their workforce location models. Geographic flexibility for mobile workers, speed and agility shifted from competitive advantage to table stakes. A cloud communications platform means employees can talk to customers, and to each other, anytime, from anywhere, and on virtually any mobile device.

A good cloud communications service provides apps for mobile devices and desktops to support your workers anywhere they roam. This mobility allows employees to access conference calls, video conferences, chats, faxing, web meetings, and file sharing from
a mobile device. It also provides a big advantage in a world where people increasingly use a smartphone even when they get back to their office desks.

Better still, your mobile workers will have the same capabilities of a full-featured phone system as employees in the office. They can access the company directory, check voicemail, and transfer calls from a smartphone. Meanwhile, your customers can reach your employees from a single company number. When employees call out from a mobile device, customers and partners see your company number – not a personal cell number. So, you strengthen your brand, and when an employee leaves the company your customers don’t go with them.

The cloud can also deliver advanced features like video conferencing, web meetings, and file sharing to keep your employees seamlessly connected – and usually for less than you’re paying for that old phone sitting in front of you.

6

SCALES EASILY

Adding, moving, or changing lines with a conventional phone system might take a technician or a call to the phone company. With a cloud communications platform you add users quickly and easily with just a click on a web-based administration console – even from a mobile device. You will enjoy the kind of business agility you need to adjust to seasonal spikes in business or to quickly expand into a new market.

7

EASILY SPIN UP BRANCH OFFICES
OR PROVISION REMOTE WORKERS

Rather than requesting a service call or waiting for the phone company to provision lines, you can simply send phones to new offices or remote  workers. Your employees easily plug the phones into an internet connection, and they’re ready to go. Your new office also has a complete business phone service that includes features like the ability to transfer calls to your home office or other remote locations. Wherever your employees work, your cloud communications platform can route calls to them seamlessly and  without interruption.

80%
of SMBs would prefer to get a single bill for all of their communications

– Amdocs study

8

ALWAYS STATE OF THE ART:
ACCESS TO THE LATEST FEATURES

Technology is progressing so quickly, it’s hard for even the most advanced IT professionals to keep up with enhancements and patches to hardware-based systems. A top-tier service provider will automatically upgrade your calling and other communications features in the cloud. You won’t have to worry about upgrades or added fees; your employees always have access to the latest features.

9

STREAMLINES COMPLEXITY
AND ENHANCES PRODUCTIVITY

A cloud communications platform eliminates the need to pay for collaboration services such as video conferencing, chat, secure file storage, internet fax, backup, and other stand-alone services from different suppliers. This not only reduces procurement and billing complexity but also dramatically improves employee productivity. For example, with an integrated cloud communications platform, employees collaborating in a group chat can instantly elevate the session to a video-conference or web meeting.

SWITCH TO THE CLOUD AND GET RELIABLE BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS UP AND RUNNING QUICKLY

The days of waiting for the phone company for lines or getting on-site business phone hardware set up and connected are gone. You will have a reliable, full-featured cloud communications platform up and running almost instantly. Most businesses have the network bandwidth, Ethernet connections, and other requirements in place already. And there’s no bulky, complicated on-premises hardware to struggle with – it’s all managed, updated and secured remotely by the service provider.

READY TO MOVE TO THE CLOUD?
MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE

The rate of technological change continues at breakneck speed, and your phone system is no exception. As customer behavior and expectations change almost daily, businesses need to stay current and equip employees with the latest tools for communications and collaboration. The cloud provides these advantages and more.

If you’re ready to make the move, make sure you choose a cloud company with superior call quality, proven reliability, and a track record for stellar customer service and support. The fully integrated NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT solution provides a premier business phone system to meet your needs.

If you haven’t considered a move to the cloud before, now’s a great time to start. Contact us today to find out how reliable, affordable, and easy to use NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT can be.

5 Must-Have Productivity Tools that Support Your Modern Workforce

Times have changed. Modern workforces have become decentralized. It’s now common to have entire departments staffed by employees working from multiple locations – many even working from home. To keep these employees productive while also staying connected, new modern tools are required. While that legacy PBX system worked well for years, today it takes a fundamentally different type of business communications system – one designed from the ground up – to integrate all your remote and mobile workers with the in-office teams.

Must-Have Productivity Tools for Modern Business

Modern businesses require a specialized set of tools to stay connected to coworkers and get work done. Accessing a big presentation file during the flight to a conference, conducting a team status session from the den and handling a customer issue from the road are all examples of typical work scenarios faced by today’s workers. All of these situations require  communication tools that go beyond the desk phone.

Take a look at the five top tools you can deploy now to overcome common challenges like these. These advanced features will also boost the productivity of all your  employees —whether they’re in the office, at home, or on the go.

1

MOBILE SOFTPHONE

Today’s workers are using mobile devices more than ever; so why not turn that into an advantage for your business? Employees want to route work calls to their mobile phones so calls can follow them anywhere with a single number. What’s more, workers want access to the same features they get on their desk phones, including conferencing, call forwarding, and call parking. A secure, well-designed mobile softphone app is the easy answer. It’s quick to set up and works on almost any device, transforming a smartphone into a virtual business desk phone. When users call out, customers and partners see their business number on the caller ID, and users get quick access to their work voicemail, full-featured  conferencing, and the ability to juggle calls as easily as they can with a desk phone.

2

DESKTOP APP

A well-designed mobile app will seamlessly sync with an associated desktop app, so workers can make calls using their computer as they would with a desk phone. And just like the mobile app, the desktop app shows them voicemail transcriptions and displays whether or not their coworkers are available to receive calls. Plus, a desktop app goes beyond phone calls to offer instant access to video/web conferencing and team chat. Employees can easily see if their coworkers are available, on the phone, out of the office, or offline with simple presence/status markers.

3

VIDEO CONFERENCING

Studies have shown more than 90% of communications involve visual clues. That makes collaboration harder when you’re not in the office. HD video conferencing offers an excellent way to get together in the same room even when that’s not possible. It can also help you have more face-to-face interactions with customers, while saving on travel costs. Ideally, video conferencing should integrate with the user’s mobile and desktop apps and make it easy to invite participants and launch a conference with the touch of a single link.

4

TEAM COLLABORATION AND CHAT

Need a quick answer from a busy coworker, or simply want to remind them that others are on the conference call? Team messaging lets you chat in real time with one person or a group. You can also share files to make it even more collaborative. When work can happen in a noisy café or a pin-drop-quiet office, team chat is one of the most useful productivity tools available today, so make sure you equip everyone on your team with this essential feature. When it’s integrated with a mobile and desktop app as part of a cloud business phone system, you can quickly see who’s available to meet and who’s offline, so you can elevate a chat session to a conference call or video conference with the press of a button.

5

FILE SHARING AND FILE BACKUP

File sharing software gives users quick and easy access to all of their data from any device. When you’re using your  laptop in the office, or your mobile phone on the go, it’s easy to share files with customers, partners, and colleagues for improved team collaboration. What’s more, with the right solution, all of that important data – and work – is automatically backed up. A secure file backup solution will also protect your data against theft or corruption by screening for malware and ransomware. Plus, when file sharing is part of a business cloud phone service, you save the cost of third-party services like Box or Dropbox.

GIVE YOUR
EMPLOYEES EVERY
OPPORTUNITY TO
BE PRODUCTIVE

Traditional on-premise PBX systems were designed to support physical, in-office employees. However, modern workforces increasingly work from outside
of the traditional office setting – and frequently use mobile devices. This puts a strain on on-premises systems, rendering many of their features and functions as obsolete.
With the latest cloud-based communication and collaboration tools, you can make sure all your employees stay connected and productive – from anywhere. You’ll find that the benefits of these tools extend to all your employees, your customers, and to your bottom line.

Move Up to the Cloud or Stay Where You Are?

Move Up to the Cloud or Stay Where You Are?

Decisions, Decisions

There are many reasons you might be looking at upgrading your Contact Center system. Perhaps your manufacturer has declared your current one at the end of its life. Maybe you’re lacking some key features that would improve your customer experience. It could be that your needs have changed, and you need more flexibility, or the ability to scale up or down with demand.

Whatever the reason, you’re already aware that upgrades to a traditional on- premise Contact Center hardware system can be costly, time-consuming, and disruptive. You may be wondering whether or not a cloud-based solution is the answer you need, but don’t know quite enough about
it or the benefits it can provide.

Before you make any move, the following guide outlines six things you should consider to determine which decision is the right one for you.

CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS ARE MUST-HAVE FOR REMOTE WORKERS

No matter where your employees are, they need access to a reliable and convenient way to communicate. A cloud communications and collaboration platform that includes business phones/voice, video conferencing, chat, file sharing and archiving, and more makes telecommuting efficient, reliable, and productive, allowing your employees to connect at any time, from anywhere, to each other and customers. Further, they can truly collaborate on projects by instantly entering a video conference, sharing files, and enabling multiple users to edit and comment in real time. It’s the same type of exercise that previously could only be done around a conference table. Now, this flexibility provides your team with a way to work more efficiently and effectively. 

It’s also extremely affordable. Much more so than legacy phone systems, which require dedicated equipment and hardware. With the cloud, you only need a reliable Internet connection and a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.

With more companies moving to the cloud, it is projected to become a $15.67B USD industry by 2021, compared to $5.43B USD in 2016.

Transition Time

Because your customers want to connect. Now.
Traditional systems generally need to be taken offline while service technicians perform any upgrade. Estimates on how long you’ll be unreachable for can vary, and be off by large margins – especially if the components needed to upgrade are faulty or if your system does not reboot properly.

Cloud system providers set up your contact center system while you continue to work from your old one. They interview your team to ensure the right set of features and capacities are incorporated. Then, when it’s just about ready, they test it to ensure that it’s performing optimally before switching over. Once all is approved, your Telco switches over the phone lines and the cloud Contact Center takes over. The old system is ready for the curb when you’re ready to put it aside. No interruptions necessary.

Access to Training and Support

Because there are always questions when there’s something new.
How and when your team can be trained on new features makes a huge impact on how long it will take to get your department back up and running after an upgrade. Just thinking about the process might make you not want to upgrade at all.

But in order to keep up with changing customer service demands, upgrades are necessary.

With a traditional on-premise contact center system, typically you’re dependent on the availability of your supplier. Beyond some of the obvious issues such as scheduling, location of training, and the time your team spends learning, some suppliers will only provide training for an additional cost – with re-training being even more costly.

Reputable cloud contact center solution vendors usually come with a built-in support team. Be sure to ask pertinent questions of your vendor, including: their average response time to queries; whether or not there are times when support is not available; and what the procedures are if your problem has not been resolved.

Future Upgrades

Because things are always changing, and you should too.
The funny things about upgrades, is that there will always be another upgrade. Upgrades to a traditional contact center system can require quite a bit of prep work that can have you putting your operations on hold, time and time again. Some disruptions may include technicians needing to clear access paths, creating space for large tools and equipment, setting up the new system space in a specific way, requiring your power to be switched off, or even needing changes to your air-conditioning and fire protection systems.

Things can be in complete disarray even before the new system has reached your office! Cloud contact centers can be adjusted at any time, especially at the moments that your needs increase or decrease. You never have to worry when you suddenly hit a higher than normal peak load. Updates and new features are included by your vendor, so you’ll automatically be upgraded to the newest solution without having to turn your office upside down or haul any equipment around. It’s all in the cloud!

Agents. Anytime. Anywhere.

Hosted Contact Center solutions are often 33% less expensive.

Traditional contact center models require for your team to come into a centralized location, limiting your ability to find talent to your locale.

Cloud contact center solutions enable agents to work remotely, providing you with the opportunity to expand your hiring range across the country or even globally. Agents can connect to the platform from wherever they
are – all they need is an internet connection.

In addition, a recent survey by Leadership IQ showed that employees are 87% more likely to love their jobs when they have the freedom to work from home or remotely. Happier employees lead to happier service and ultimately, happier customers.

Plan B

Because everyone needs a back-up plan… Right?
Your Contact Center Director has probably spoken to you more than a few times about the need to setup and operate a second contact center system just in case something should happen to the main one. As we all know from our phones and computers – sometimes, things just crash. The hope is that it never does, but regardless, JUST IN CASE, every month you need to spend some time maintaining the additional system (as well as a bit of money), whether you use it or not.

Now, imagine there was a horrific disaster and your office building was suddenly demolished. With a traditional contact center system, it could take months to be back up and running. Not so with a cloud contact center solution. So long as your agents have access to a phone, your cloud contact center will be able to keep on handling your customers. Cloud contact centers provide built-in redundancy and fail-safe operation solutions.

Cost

Because money doesn’t grow on trees.
So you’ve already invested money in the traditional system. You’ve paid to train all your staff on it, done several upgrades and it’s working right now. Great! But consider this – if you had a car that you were putting more money into than what it was worth, what would be the wiser decision? Continue maintaining it, or lease a new one that is likely more fuel efficient, has better features, and will save you both time and hassle? Traditional on-premise contact systems can take a toll, both financial and mental. When you start to break down the numbers, factoring in training costs, upgrade costs, service costs, and so on, you should also ask yourself: what’s my time worth? Is it worthwhile to have service disruptions when you upgrade? Is it worthwhile to need to schedule your time around your vendor’s availability? According to a Yankee Group analysis, cloud contact center solutions are often 33% less expensive to  operate and maintain. Plus, you get an external technical support team who takes the pressure off your staff so they can continue to focus on what really matters – providing your customers with a high-quality service experience.

An upgrade might be mandatory for your system. Staying with your system isn’t.

Before investing more money into what you have, think more about what you want and what makes the most sense for your company in the long run. With so much on the line, it’s worth taking the time to explore your options before jumping to order that upgrade.

Unlocking Stronger Agent Performance in the Cloud

Unlike most cloud contact centers, with UNIVERGE BLUE® ENGAGE Contact Center Solution you get the human capital you need to ensure your agents are empowered to deliver optimal customer service.

Unlocking Stronger Agent Performance in the Cloud

Questions? Contact Us today.

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