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Unified Communications and Remote Working

There are many areas in which Blaze can support businesses as an increasing number of employees work from home: integral to any home working strategy is the ability to extend the office’s unified communications capability to every employee, no matter where they are.

Working from home with Unified Communications

Keeping Employees Communicating

While use of simple divert of an employee’s DDI to their mobile phone is often the first “go-to” solution for remote working, this does not provide the integration and easy access to features which many corporate phone systems provide.

Features that are often sacrificed or degraded include:

  • Ease of access to directory services
  • Call transfer
  • Call / Video conferencing
  • Call distribution
  • Integration with IT systems (CRM)
  • Presence (availability signalling)
  • Choice of number displayed for outbound calls (a privacy issue when employees are using their own mobile or home phones)

It is becoming clear that remote working as the norm must be sustainable over a long period of time.  Compromises which impact productivity (such as loss of functionality listed above) should be avoided so that the business remains efficient whilst employees are remote working. 

Blaze Networks can help.

We provide a Unified Communications (UC) solution using Mitel’s UC platform, MiVoice Connect.  When used in connection with Blaze Secure Access (Blaze SA) remote workers can connect to the Mitel system exactly the same as being in the office.

Mitel MiVoice Connect

We have four options which better support remote working:

1. Mobility

For the mobile workforce where it is not practical for employees to be limited to a single home office. Blaze offer the Mitel mobility server. An app is used on the employee’s mobile phone and this connects back to a Mobility Server, making the mobile an extension available on the Mitel platform. For outbound calls, the employee’s number appears to be their office DDI. When the employee’s office DDI number is called, their mobile rings and the Mitel mobility application displays the caller details. This works over both 4G and WiFi.

2. Softphone

By setting a line’s Primary Assignment to Softphone the employee can continue to use Mitel MiVoice Connect’s full functionality when connected to an internet connection anywhere in the world. The employee connects back to the system using Blaze SA to initiate a protected VPN tunnel back to the corporate network. There is no feature loss when using the Mitel MiVoice Connect software in this way.  (Please note internet connection quality must be of a good standard to maintain a reliable voice call.) The customer will require a USB head set or a microphone and speakers to support Mitel connect on their remote device or laptop.

Using Mitel Softphone on laptop

3. External Assignment

A user can set up their mobile number or home telephone number to act as their extension in the office. When anyone calls their office DDI or extension number the call is simply passed over to the configured mobile or home telephone number. For outbound calls (when used in combination with the Connect software on your desktop machine or remote terminal server via Blaze SA) the outbound call appears to be from the office number.

4. Edge Gateway

For Employees that require the same handset experience at home as they have in the office there is Edge gateway.  This uses purpose-designed phones that have SSL VPN capabilities built into the handsets.

When connected via an ethernet cable to the employee’s home router the phone simply creates a secure tunnel back to the edge gateway server.  The remote worker can then login to the phone as if they are in the office. There is no feature loss when using phones connecting back through the Edge gateway. The remote user can also use Blaze SA to connect back to their PC or terminal server, enabling use of the Mitel MiVoice Connect software to interact with their home office phone in real time; this provides features like presence functionality, application integrations, click to dial and much more.

Blaze Cloud

Blaze Cloud provides a highly available platform that we use to provision all our Mitel deployments. By using Blaze Cloud, a company benefits from immediate resource availability and great business continuity in the cloud – beyond what is cost-effective when implementing Mitel as an on-premises implementation.

Dealing with Poor Call Experience

In all cases where calls are carried over the employee’s home broadband connection, the quality of the call is dependent on the quality of connection: bandwidth and latency is critical for voice and this requirement for a good quality connection is often the issue when home users are utilising consumer broadband from pay TV companies and “value” suppliers. Where this is a problem (perhaps for key employee roles) a Blaze private broadband connection should be considered. Please see our remote access options for better ways of keeping your employees connected to the corporate network. 

Whichever combination of solutions would be of use, businesses also needs to maintain the same degree of security and control over access to systems and data that is achieved for workers operating within corporate offices.  As a Managed Security Solutions Provider (MSSP), Blaze is intently focused on delivering solutions which enable productivity, collaboration, and security to companies moving to a remote workforce configuration.

Planning ahead will allow Blaze to properly plan all elements of your remote workers’ needs, ensuring both the infrastructure and the business is ready to fully support your remote workloads without issue.

Please contact us now if you think we may be able to help.

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