An Explanation Of VoIP And Why It’s A Good Thing

An Explanation Of VoIP

BT or British Telecommunications announced that it would be switching off its PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) by 2025 in favour of VoIP powered calls, which means even more change in how we communicate and businesses are clamouring to future-proof their systems.

What is VoIP?

Voice over IP or VoIP is technology aimed at turning voice into data by making it possible to place phone calls using the internet highway. Probably one of the most known VoIP technologies is Microsoft’s peer to peer service Skype, which is an application that allows phone and video calls to be made worldwide at a fraction of the cost or for free – once the receiver has Skype as well.

Within the business world, VoIP is a highly useful piece of tech to integrate into any communication system and is quickly overtaking hardware reliant on-premise setups as the preferred solution for customer communication.

VoIP and the cloud

VoIP plus the cloud is great for any agile business, meaning that it eliminates the need for PBX (private branch exchange) hardware allowing for freedom to scale at a chosen pace. Another plus to relying on communication through the cloud – it prevents the loss of customers over the phone due to power outages and/or natural disasters.

It’s very difficult to miss a call with cloud-based VoIP since the service allows for mobility, meaning a distributed workforce can connect to customers from anywhere.

Security wise, most cloud providers would have automated security protocols that adapt and evolve according to threats.

So in short, if your business is reliant on legacy telephony systems – get ready for the shutdown by adopting a reliable cloud telephony provider, ease up on buying heaps of outdated ISDN reliant hardware and get some strong WiFi.

With these checked off the future will be brighter – and cheaper.

Via: Computer Weekly

Why Cloud-Based Healthcare Can Put Power In The Caller’s Hands

cloud-based healthcare

Cloud communication can certainly make a difference in how we connect to customers and proving ROI but when the customers have life-threatening issues, it’s even more impactful. 

Healthcare is a hot topic on the minds of tech innovators, cloud-based healthcare is even more engaging. “The NHS England’s former director of patients and information, Tim Kelsey, has said that investment in electronic health records, digital services, and data could save the NHS up to £13.7 billion out of a £127 billion forecasted healthcare budget by 2020–21, or as much as 10.8 per cent of total healthcare spending,” according to McKinsey. 

Saving money isn’t the only benefit of using the cloud to store patient data, it also offers secure flexibility to caregivers and takes the weight off of IT departments. Doctors and nurses have easier access to patient records from any device.

Since January 2018 the NHS has greenlit cloud technology for storing patient data. “They come at a time when NHS trusts are increasingly looking to cloud as their next big IT project, allured by the technology’s promise of enabling rapid scaling-up without the associated hardware costs,” writes Digital Health.

One of the biggest sources of data? Calls. Doctors in both private and public systems see calls as a cause of both pain and pleasure. Within five years there was a 25 – 50% bump up in patient to private doctor calls in the US, mostly due to rising insurance deductibles – people are looking for an easy way to diagnose illnesses without paying huge doctor bills.

Meanwhile, in the UK, “the NHS England Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, says it’s time to ‘grasp the nettle’ to help reduce some of the 118 million outpatient appointments every year – many of which are unnecessary.”

He’s currently turning to remote communication platforms like Skype, apps and online services to help reduce the foot traffic.

Cloud features and patient care

Beyond the obvious convenience, calls are highly useful clusters of data because they occur in real time and wield immediate and significant information quickly. This is vital to delivering good care in the health industry but it also gives patients power. How? It adapts to their needs and patterns.  In healthcare, 96% of patient complaints are related to customer service, according to a study by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Probably one of the most significant aspects of using cloud communication features for incoming calls is the ability to prioritise based on context. This tool can benefit patient callers by finding them the right care quickly and not leaving them waiting in a call queue.

IVR can’t understand the digital context of a call, but cloud-based communication platforms can use intelligent workflows to route patients based on their need and clear the outpatient queue mentioned by Professor Stephen Powis.

So someone complaining of the worst headache they’ve ever had would receive a pick up before a simple enquiry about surgery opening hours. Automation processes can either give them a time for a callback or redirect to a voice assistant programmed to answer more arbitrary questions.

We’re not at the point of AI self-diagnosis but we’re close, until then helping this new influx of mobile reliant patients with advances in technology can make a huge difference.

Via: Becker’s Hospital Review, McKinsey, Digital Health, Marketwatch, NHS.

Want to know more about caller context? Click here. 

A Few Ways Finnish Technology Changed Communication 

Yesterday marked a century since Finland declared independence from Russia in 1917. With that in mind, we at Swedish-born Freespee thought we’d mark the occasion by highlighting the astounding contributions that Sweden’s neighbour has made to communication as a whole.
Safe to say that, without countries like Finland, global digital conversation platforms would cease to exist.
The GSM Journey 
Connecting to another country from a smartphone seems like an effortless task these days, but it wasn’t always that way, and we have the Finns to thank. They played a significant part in the creation of an autonomous system for connecting across the planet.

The world’s first GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) phone call was made from Finland in December of 1991. It was initiated by former Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri, who called Kaarina Suonio, the Mayor of Tampere at the time. They used a network built by (Finnish) Telenokia and Siemens.
It all occurred after the country won a race prompted by the CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations) to deploy a standard cellular telephone system across Europe. Fifteen operators from 13 European countries participated and Finnish operator OY Radiolinja AB came out on top.
The success was arguably a milestone in a long journey, starting from the inception of GSM’s predecessor — NMT (Nordic automatic Mobile Telephone system). NMT created the first mobile network on earth and was established in 1971 from an impromptu meeting at the Danish PTT (Postal, Telegraph, and Telephone service) between Tony Hagström, the once Director-General of Televerket in Sweden, and Pekka Tarjanne, former Director-General of the Finnish PTT.
NMT’s development was fraught with setbacks and triumphs, including the loss of their founding chairman Håkan Bokstam. Sadly, Bokstam died in a car accident before he could see the fruits of his labour. It was Bokstam who established the “14 commandments” that formed the framework which still informs the global mobile network used today.
It’s fair to state that the principles for global mobile communication were created by a group of Nordic engineers and innovators who were led by the common goal of making information technology available to everyone.
“I see this principle in the same way I perceive another theme which is very close to my heart: the right to communicate, a right those of us living in richer countries of the world often take for granted,” said Tarjanne. 
SSH (Secure Shell)
Finland created another tool for digital relay which is one many laymen may not have heard of, but it is widely used by experts in more technical fields.
Secure Shell, or cryptographic network protocol, was developed by Finnish software engineer Tatu Ylönen in 1995 as a response to the security concerns brought about by clear text (unencryptable readable data). The format was used in the early days of the commercial internet – when it was seen as merely a research network.

Today SSH is utilised as a secure way to remotely use and securely administer computers. It is also used on every Linux server worldwide (another Finnish technological contribution).
These are just two of the many offerings Finland has made to the communication realm. We can expect more in the years to come — according to the Finnish Invention Foundation, the Finnish people produce 15,000 inventions per year.
Via: Telia Company History, ITU News, Miradore.