What is SIP Phone Service and How Does it Work?

Posted by Mark Greim on May 23, 2023 9:45:00 AM

People have gone back to the office. Companies are growing, adding more employees and needing office infrastructure just like they’ve always needed it. And while the costs of many goods and services have risen in recent years, there’s one area where you can save money while you upgrade to more advanced technology: your business phone service.

Read More

Tags: voip business phone system

Office Phone System - Is it Time for an Upgrade?

Posted by Mark Greim on Mar 23, 2022 9:30:00 AM

Today, businesses are evaluating everything to do with the definition of the “office” and the office phone system is a key component to establishing a flexible environment. There are several other triggers that also lead to the evaluation of the office phones. So, when is the right time to replace the office phone system?

Read More

Tags: voip business phone system, Phone System Replacement

The Most Important Feature of Hosted VoIP

Posted by Mark Greim on Oct 26, 2017 10:34:52 AM

Over the years, we've discussed the variety of advanced business phone features that a Hosted VoIP phone service delivers to businesses of all shapes and sizes.  These features have created a new standard for phone service, effectively making analog phone systems and service obsolete.  Moreover, they have transformed the communication practices of the businesses who have deployed them and utilized them to their fullest extent.  So, what is the most important feature of Hosted VoIP?

Read More

Tags: Hosted VoIP, voip business phone system, Business VoIP, Customer Service, Customized Business Phone Plans

Choose Hosted VoIP and Never Buy a Phone System Again!

Posted by Mark Greim on Dec 17, 2014 9:31:00 AM

Is your business still using old analog phone technology?  Many businesses are getting every last bit of value out of their phone switch in their equipment room.  They paid thousands for it many years ago, and even though it lacks the features to elevate their business, they still remember the pain of writing that large check years ago, and will keep it alive as long as possible for that sole reason.

We run into this situation all of the time.  These businesses continue to sink money into the old technology even while facing difficulty securing parts or getting service.  When they realize that they can receive the most current phone features and there's no need to ever purchase another phone switch on the wall, hosted VoIP becomes a real solution. 

For businesses in this situation, the following items are worth consideration when deciding on whether or not to choose Hosted VoIP technology. Aside from spending on maintenance and the lost opportunity of an old analog phone system, there’s also this to consider:

  • Low Up-front Investment - With Hosted VoIP, all you need to purchase are the VoIP handsets for your business.  There are a variety of options of VoIP phones, most at a very reasonable cost.  Typically, businesses capture a return on investment in a very short time frame as they will see lower administrative and maintenance costs and, many times, lower phone service costs as well through the hosted provider. This makes the solution a fit for any cost-conscious business, including the non-profit community.
  • No Obsolescence - Because you are now connecting to your phone system over the internet, your hosted provider bears the financial and managerial responsibility of keeping the phone system current and state-of-the-art.  Thus, you will always have access to new features and technologies through your provider without reinvesting in a new phone switch.  Wouldn't you have loved to know this ten years ago?  From the handset perspective, depending upon the manufacturer and general wear and tear, they should last a long time.  Down the road, you may choose to upgrade a few handsets to newer models, but that is a choice you would make.  It wouldn't be forced upon you. 
  • Easy Scaling and Sizing - One of the challenges when purchasing a phone system is sizing it to meet your future needs.  You run the risk of overspending and may still miss the mark, or under spending and need a full replacement in the future.  Hosted VoIP removes all of those risks, as you only need to purchase the number of handsets you need today.  As you grow, you simply add a handset.  If you downsize, your provider can take those phones out of service.  Thus, your phone system will always be sized to your business.  VoIP is a natural fit for any small business for this very reason. Additionally, as time goes on, your hosted provider should be introducing new handsets and features to the platform, keeping your system on the cutting edge of technology.
  • A Phone System that Goes Where You Go - As your business grows, you may see the need to move to a larger location.  Because your system is with your hosted provider, all you need to do is move your handsets to the new location and you're good to go.  Of course the new location would have the internet and internal network set up, but that's it!  It also will allow for tremendous flexibility in these situations, as you can defer the expense of moving right away by deploying a virtual workforce or a smaller, secondary location.  Associates could have phones at the other location or at their homes, and they will be connected to the "system" just as if they were at the headquarters! 
  • Features Than Can Aid Your Business - If you haven't upgraded your phone system in a while, there are numerous advancements that can improve your internal and external communications.  Most Hosted VoIP systems offer the latest features, and most providers include them as a part of the standard package.  From customized call flows to find-me/follow-me features for sales and service associates, a good provider can cover the various features and discuss which ones can elevate your business communications!

There's never been a better time to see just how affordable and advantageous choosing hosted VoIP service can be for your business.  Contact sipVine today to begin a consultation.


About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Read More

Tags: voip business phone system, Phone System Replacement

10 Ways to Spot a sipVine Customer

Posted by Mark Greim on Dec 23, 2013 1:06:00 PM

Who are sipVine's customers? Anyone who needs a good, affordable, flexible solution for their organization's phone system. But there's more to it than that. There are many ways you can spot a sipVine VoIP customer. While they come from all walks of life, and all types of business, they've always got a few things in common. sipVine customers are:

Happy – There are few things in life more satisfying than when something works exactly as it's supposed to, and with sipVine's VoIP service, our customers have a lot to be happy about. Our commitment to customer service ensures that anything that goes wrong is handled quickly, efficiently, and with a minimal disruption to our client's business, so that our customers can keep that smile on their face.

Secure – At sipVine, nothing is more important to us than the security and privacy of our customers. Our hosted platform features fully-redundant servers in a secure data center, and our customizable built-in disaster recovery program lets our customers maintain control even in the event of an interruption of service.

Well-connected to their customers – VoIP phone service from sipVine ensures that our customers are always in touch with their customers clearly, easily, and efficiently. It's our business to make sure that our customers can do business.

Flexible – sipVine customers are highly adaptable entrepreneurs and business leaders, riding the wave of new technology, and they expect us to be just as flexible. That's why we offer customizable deployment packages to ensure that our VoIP plans fit the specific needs of our customers.

Efficient – There's a reason that customers choose VoIP phone solutions. They want to get more done, and they don't want an outdated phone system getting in the way. Our customers have a lot to do, and they need solutions that will help them get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Cutting-edge – Hosted VoIP phone service allows our customers to future-proof the phone system at their business. sipVine stays on top of new technology, and helps implement it seamlessly into their VoIP system, with no more need to worry about old phone systems becoming obsolete. Plus, our custom-tailored feature deployment means that our customers can add their own personal touches to their phone systems.

Confident – Our customers need to be able to have confidence in themselves and their business, which means they need to be able to feel confident about the performance of their phone systems. That's why they rely on sipVine. Our round-the-clock observation, maintenance, and support of our hosted VoIP systems give our customers the peace of mind they need to run their business.

Savvy – Our customers want the best from their phone systems, but they also don't have money to burn. They want a good return on their investment, and they know that VoIP phone systems can save money not just on installation, but also down the road in monthly service charges, maintenance, and administrative costs.

Forward-thinking – VoIP customers are looking to the future, not just in terms of riding the crest of new technology, but also in terms of business growth and cost savings. Hosted VoIP from sipVine allows our customers the flexibility to easily adjust their phone systems to changing business needs and new challenges, while also offering them cost-saving benefits in the long term.

Satisfied – Above all else, sipVine customers are satisfied. We consider it our duty to ensure that our customers receive the best possible service, and we're so committed to it that we require no long term contracts. We believe that our service speaks for itself, and that our customers will be so satisfied that they'll be happy to keep coming back to us month after month.

If you think you've got the makings of a sipVine customer, give us a call today to learn more about our VoIP phone solutions!

About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of hosted VoIP phone systems and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.

Read More

Tags: voip business phone system, Business Digital Phone Service, small business phone service, VoIP Phone

Is your Business VoIP Ready? Here’s Your Checklist!

Posted by Mark Greim on Oct 10, 2013 10:19:00 AM

Most businesses looking to upgrade their phone communications are taking advantage of the benefits a VoIP system and service has to offer.  Productivity, internal communications, and customer satisfaction all can achieve measureable improvement through VoIP technology.  Below are a few items to review to ensure your business is ready for a conversion to VoIP.

  • Hosted vs. On-site – The first question to be addressed is if your business should invest in an on-site VoIP system versus a Hosted system.  The advantage of a Hosted VoIP Service is that the up-front investment is much lower, as you are only purchasing the VoIP handsets and some minor equipment.  Typically, the hosted provider will handle your administration as well.  Your monthly service is a function of the number of users/phones you have on the system.  On-site systems are much more expensive up-front and you have responsibility for administration.  However, if you provision sip trunks to the system, you only need to provision the number of trunks to match your maximum concurrent call volume.
  • Existing Telecom Contract – Check with your current phone service provider to determine whether you are under contract.  Many have automatic renewals that kick in without notice.  If you are planning on switching in the near future, understanding the nature of automatic renewals and cancellation notice requirements is important.
  • Bandwidth RequirementsVoIP does not require much bandwidth, only 80kb per call, both upload and download.  Gain an understanding of your maximum concurrent calls as well as your current bandwidth utilization.  A wired internet connection to the building is highly recommended.  If you are already experiencing the effects of bandwidth saturation, you should consider expanding your bandwidth prior to deploying VoIP.
  • Ethernet – VoIP phones require an Ethernet connection to the phone.  Most VoIP phones have two ports, so it can share an Ethernet connection with a computer.  Most of the VoIP phones have 100mb ports.  If you have built your internal network to gigabit speeds, there are some VoIP phone models with 1gb ports.  One “gotcha” we run into a lot when converting companies from analog phones to VoIP are wall mounted locations.  Ethernet cabling will need to be run to those locations and power delivery is also a consideration.
  • Power Requirements – VoIP phones require power, and there are a couple of options.  Traditional power cords from the phone (provided with the phone) to an outlet are the least expensive alternative.  You can also deliver power to the phone over the Ethernet cabling if you deploy Power over Ethernet (POE) switches on your network.  This is a very nice luxury, as it removes the power cord from the desk area, but POE switches come in at a premium over standard switch pricing.  If you are deploying a wall mounted phone or phones, or even a conference room phone where you don’t want to be inhibited by a power cord, POE becomes more than a necessity.  If you don’t want to spring for a full switch that is POE enabled, there are some single port POE injectors that will deliver power to the single phone.
  • Paging – Many VoIP phones and hosted service provides offer paging to phones, direct paging, and paging groups.  Additional considerations come into play if you have any overhead paging systems tied into the phone system.  There are some adapters on the market that will allow for this, but be sure to have a conversation with your potential providers to see how they will accommodate your needs in this area.
  • Provider Selection – The good news is that you have a large pool of potential providers to choose from.  For hosted services, your phone equipment and service will come from the same provider.  Every company has their own priorities and goals that will influence provider selection, but there are a few characteristics that should be table stakes for your potential provider:
    1. Do they promote best in class VoIP phone manufacturers?  Cisco and Polycom are great examples.
    2. Does their service footprint cover your potential for growth and expansion?
    3. How do they address Quality of Service?  Most suggest more bandwidth.  sipVine contends that QoS is best handled by a local device to prioritize voice packets.  Read more in our VoIP Voice Quality whitepaper.
    4. Does the provider require a term contract and do they build the phones in a locked manner?  Hosted VoIP providers confident in their delivery of service do not build in such restrictions.
    5. Do they provide a consultative service to effectively build your system to match how you do business?  Good providers help you take advantage of the power and flexibility of these solutions through custom programming.  If the providers provide a web portal for you to do it yourself, be wary.  It is cool, but it also speaks to their service philosophy.
    6. What is the provider’s customer service philosophy?  Do they essentially become an extension of your company and function as your phone department?  Wouldn’t that be refreshing?  It is what your business deserves!

I hope this checklist of items has been a good resource for you as you evaluate the potential of moving to a VoIP system.  Your comments are welcome!


About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Read More

Tags: voip service provider selection, voip business phone system, Phone System Replacement

POE for VoIP, a Luxury?

Posted by Mark Greim on Apr 8, 2013 1:04:00 PM

When deploying a VoIP system, you have a choice whether to deliver power to your phones via a Power over Ethernet (POE) switch.  VoIP phones require electrical power and differ from your analog phones, which receive their power from the copper phone lines.  POE switches can deliver the necessary power to the phones, thus eliminating the need for the AC power cords at the work stations.  However, POE switches run around 70% more than traditional managed switches.

So, is such an expenditure a luxury when you are deploying VoIP?  Obviously, every individual company deploying VoIP has their own perspective on this.  There are a few considerations for going with the POE option:

  • Elimination of the power cords at the desk removes cord clutter.  You may also be challenged with available electrical outlets and would need to buy power strips.  Finally, the location of the electrical outlet and Ethernet outlet may force the placement of the phone at a spot that is different for the employee.  As some employees may be resistant to the change in the first place, why create another reason for them to complain?
  • Power outages are not that common, but the phones will not work if the power goes out.  Analog phones typically survive power outages with their power delivered over a separate source.  Because the POE switches are located in a central place and deliver power throughout the building to the phones, you can power the POE switches to the universal power supply that you likely have your network gear connected to already.  Thus, if there’s a brief power outage, your phones will remain operational via the UPS battery backup.
  • For conference room or wall mounted phones, not having a power cord to the phone is more of a necessity than a luxury.  You could select a single port POE switch for each of these phones, but a couple of them would drastically cut into the premium you are paying for the central POE switch for all phones.
  • Finally, your hosted VoIP provider or IT support will love you, as it makes the installation of the phones MUCH easier!

If you have any other questions surrounding the deployment of such switches on your network or if you need to discuss any other impacts of your decision to go with VoIP, contact your hosted VoIP provider, as they should be well versed in such topics.


About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Read More

Tags: voip business phone system

5 Ways to Enhance Customer Communication with Hosted VoIP

Posted by Mark Greim on Feb 26, 2013 11:49:00 AM

Switching to a VoIP phone solution can provide your business with a host of features and advantages.  We are reviewing five of the ways your customer communications can be enhanced by with a Hosted VoIP Solution.  Granted, all businesses are built differently, which can present more or less opportunities than the ones identified below.  A key takeaway is that, upon selecting the right hosted VoIP provider, you can explore many improvements in communication processes for the betterment of your customer experience.  The technology is powerful, affordable, and within reach!

Efficiently handle inbound calls – Many businesses handle this differently.  Some preach the benefits of having a “live” person answering calls, while others prefer to have an automated attendant route calls.  The question should focus on what the customer’s demand.  The good news is that hosted VoIP solutions can provide the ability to blend the methodology to effectively manage the calls.  Say the goal is to have calls answered live.  You can build in a ring group process to ring a primary and secondary ring group prior to resorting to an auto attendant process. 

If customers will work with automated routing, an auto attendant can be at the front of the process.  Your auto attendant should be built around why customers call, making sure you have easy to understand options that address the majority of issues.  Examples would be departmental routing such as “customer service” or “to place an order”.  To maximize satisfaction with an auto attendant process, you should keep options to a minimum and avoid multi layer processes.

Improve satisfaction with departmental ring groups – As mentioned above, creating ring groups surrounding employees in a department allows for the quick handling of calls.  Note that ring groups differ from call queues in that the phone call rings a group of people for a select number of rings before a ring group voicemail takes over.  A call queue involves the team logging into a queue and callers being dropped into that queue for the first available caller.  Companies can deploy either or both strategies depending upon the customer requirements.

Customers can be routed to the ring group or queue from an automated attendant or from any associate answering a call.  The queue or ring group simply needs to be assigned an extension for calls to be manually dropped in.

Every queue or ring group process needs to have an efficient “end” stage.  This can be a simple voicemail option with the voicemail converting to an email to route to whoever will be responsible for handling the requests for the department.  It also may include an “opt” out feature, discussed below.

Allow callers to escape from voicemail – Whether your callers hit your personal voicemail, are in a call queue, or hit a voicemail for one of your departments (ring groups), it is always a best practice to provide a zero out option.  Such options can be custom programmed, but most have the option to ring back to the primary ring group or a designated person.  Depending upon the nature of your business and the needs of your callers, some may be fine with leaving messages and getting a prompt return call.  However, others may require getting to a live person.  Hosted VoIP services can even provide for emergency routing to a designated answering service or a cell phone ring group consisting of your company’s designated on-call employees.

Increase accessibility for associates with high customer touch requirements – Another great benefit of hosted VoIP solutions is to be able to provide for accessibility of your key contact personnel with your customers.  Using features such as find me / follow me or other forward options gives your employees to be found wherever they may be.  If they are on a ring group, the phone will forward to the number designated.  Another option would be to have a simultaneous ring to the associate’s desk phone and cell phone.  For sales and support personnel, this provides a great way to be available for customer calls.

Because the service is hosted, associates can take their phones home or wherever they can connect to high speed internet.  Their phones will register and operate as if they were in the office, including any ring group involvement.  This will provide great flexibility for associates who need to work remotely.

There are a few cautions with this option.  You will need to make sure that ring groups ring less than 20 seconds or folks with simultaneous rings or follow me options set for cell phones will not have their cell phone voicemail pick up.  Additionally, if cell phone users hit ignore or are out of service, the cell phone voicemail will pick up instead of the office voicemail.

Implementing on-call schedules for support personnel – For businesses that have selected a hosted VoIP service provider who can customize programming, there are some higher level actions that will allow for the selection of employees who are active on call.  Such applications come into play when an after hours auto attendant or during hours emergency attendant can ring to designated on-call associates.  You can create a menu of who will be on call and include desk phone extensions and cell phones in the mix.  Management can select which group is on-call with pre-programmed dial selection or web interfaces where available.

I hope this list has been informative and look forward to any comments.


About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Read More

Tags: Configuring digital phone service, voip business phone system, VoIP Phone Service

Power a Work at Home Strategy with a VoIP Business Phone System

Posted by Mark Greim on Apr 2, 2010 11:13:00 AM

Many businesses are sending their workers home, and not just for a holiday. They have found that there are some real benefits from deploying a work at home strategy.

Read More

Tags: voip business phone system, virtual workforce

Get More Information

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all