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RCS Solution from VoipSwitch

A NEW Android dialer is already on Google Play

Check our award-winning VoIP software clients which are available for all popular mobile and desktop operating systems.

The Rich Communication Suite (RCS) enhances VoIP services by adding a whole suite of new features going beyond voice and text communication. Users can make video calls, see other users presence information, share location, send multimedia files or take part in a group chats. The softphones are delivered fully branded, which includes all graphics and colors of the app. We also offer more advanced customizations of the GUI according to the specifications of the provider. Below are some examples of various dialers based on our RCS core app.

Advanced features:

  • Sign-up using phone number or email
  • Encrypted secure calls (TLS/SRTP)
  • Presence and Instant Messaging (group chat)
  • In app Top-up with support for various payment providers (Vouchers)
  • Multimedia files transfer (video, audio notes, pictures)
  • Geolocation sharing and many other advance features

*Full list of features: http://www.voipswitch.com/products/sip-softphones/rcs/

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you’re interested in deploying our RCS solution.

Becoming an IP PBX reseller

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There are many reasons why you’d want to become an IP PBX reseller. You might be totally new to the world of VoIP, and reselling IP PBX services is a good place to start. You might have researched all the different types of VoIP services and come to the conclusion that you want to start offering IP PBX services, as many have turned IP PBX into very lucrative business. Or, you may already be a VoIP service provider but you want to offer your clients something new in order to grow your business and get new clients.

For all of you interested in the business of IP PBX – you probably know how confusing it can be and some of you probably don’t even know where to start…

This guide is all about helping you understand what IP PBX is exactly and what you need in order to start a successful IP PBX company.

FIRST THINGS FIRST – WHAT IS IP PBX EXACTLY?

Years ago, before the existence of PBX, if a worker wanted to speak to another worker in the same office, the full calling price was charged – this was obviously a big waste of money for most companies and so PBX was invented.

It wasn’t always IP PBX… years ago before the internet was used as much as today, it was just plain and simple – PBX.

PBX

In 1970 the switchboard started to be used. The switchboard was a hardware based system and was first connected by hand – this is what we call ‘manual call switching’.

This is how it worked:

  • When someone called the business phone system, the call came through to the main switchboard.

  • The caller had an option to choose who or what department he wanted to be connected to.

  • Once he made his choice where to be connected to, a receptionist had to manually connect the PBX server to the phone of the person or department they wanted to call.

  • Once the call was finished it had to be unplugged

This obviously had a lot of disadvantages. First of all, companies needed to pay someone to connect and disconnect all those cables. Secondly, the amount of cables going around must have caused a real mess. On top of that, a PBX system was really expensive and only the very big companies could afford to have one.

This is why a change was needed…

It wasn’t before long that a system was invented to connect those cables automatically.

There were now two types of systems:

  • private automated branch exchange’ (PABX) – which was the system that connected the cables automatically, and was used by the big and wealthy companies

  • private manual branch exchange’ (PMBX) – the system where one had to manually connect the cables, which was used by the regular companies

Slowly but surely PMBX disappeared from the market, and it was only PABX which later became PBX short for ‘private branch exchange’.

When VoIP started becoming popular in the years 1990, PBX started turning into IP PBX (internet protocol private branch exchange) as businesses found this an easy way of saving money. Calls through the internet are charged at a fraction of the price of regular calls.

With the years IP PBX has improved dramatically and more features are added all the time.

NOW THAT WE UNDERSTAND WHAT IP PBX IS, LET SEE HOW IT WORKS…

IP PBX is basically a telephone network within a company that allows for free calls to be made between the different users (internal calls). Calls to outside of the network (external calls) can also be made with IP PBX, but they will probably not be free. IP PBX calls are made with VoIP, so even though external calls are charged for, they will still be much cheaper that regular phone calls.

IP PBX offers many features such as call queueing, call transfer, voicemail, call recording, voice menus, etc. in addition to just regular calling.

In order for a business to set up an IP PBX system, they will need an IP PBX server, one or more IP or softphones and an optional gateway (for external calls).
The IP or softphones will need to register with the server so that the server has some sort of list of all the users connected to it.

When a worker in the company wants to call another worker, this is what will happen:

  • The person that wants to make the call will ‘ask’ the server to establish a connection

  • The server has a list of all the user and phones and their IP addresses, using these IP addresses internal calls are made

  • For external calls, the server will make use of a gateway or VoIP provider

  • Users can call with the IP PBX system anywhere they have internet access. This means that they do not all have to be working from the same office – they can be working from home or different offices.

The IP PBX also deals with incoming calls and can easily direct callers to the person or department they wish to call

  • The IP PBX system can be connected to one or several phone numbers

  • Companies can choose to have a custom greeting that callers will hear when they call. If there are several phone numbers, there can be separate greetings for each number. Companies can choose to have a custom greeting come on only during out-of-business hours.

  • Companies can choose to have a custom menu where callers can choose what person or department they wish to call. Companies can also choose to just have their receptionist answer calls and direct callers to the appropriate person/department.

  • Companies can choose to record a message for when a person in the company or department is unavailable.

  • The IP PBX system will make sure the call connection is stable for the duration of the call and that the connection gets closed when the call is finished.

  • There are additional features such as call queue, hold, call transfer, etc. that some providers will offer. Companies can also choose to have customized music or ads playing while callers are waiting to be connected.

ADVANTAGES OF IP PBX FOR BUSINESSES

  • IP PBX makes internal calls easier, more efficient and cost free. This contributes to the smooth running of a company.

  • If there is an automatic menu, then it saves money because there is no receptionist answering

  • Workers can connect to the IP PBX system even if they are not in the office. This means that workers can easily work from home and still be connected. Workers can also work from different offices and be connected to the same phone network. It is easy to add or remove phones from the system as there are no wires involved. This means that as the company grows, the system can grow with it

Besides for advantages for the company themselves, there are also advantages for the company’s clients.

  • There is only one number needed for clients to call anyone in the company

  • When the call menu is automatic, it saves time as it is faster than when a receptionist has to answer and direct the call and they are less likely to be connected to the wrong person

These also benefit the companies themselves as clients are more likely to deal with businesses that have good phone systems that those that haven’t.

A NEW REVOLUTION – HOSTED IP PBX

Hosted means there is no physical IP PBX system in the office. Everything is in the cloud. Companies will basically rent the system from their provider. The system will be in the office of the provider and all company needs in order to be connected is internet connection.

More and more companies these days are turning to hosted IP PBX systems instead of being their own because they offer many benefits including:

  • no upfront fee

  • no installation costs

  • when software updates, companies with hosted IP PBX can just download the update

The downside of hosted is that there is not as much customization compared to owned IP PBX systems.

When it comes to choosing between hosted or owned IP PBX systems, small or medium size companies of up to 300 users are advised to use hosted systems, whereas large companies are better off with their own system.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED IN ORDER TO START OFFERING IP PBX TO YOUR CLIENTS

You will need IP PBX software in order to start offering these services to your clients. This is basically a softswitch with IP PBX module. You can either buy or rent one. If you are just starting out, it might be better to rent as it is a lot cheaper. If you are already offering VoIP services and are just adding IP PBX, you can use the same softswitch but you will need to get the IP PBX module.

Before you can decide what you will need in order to start offering IP PBX services, you need to decide what type of clients you will be targeting. If you want to offer your services to small and medium companies, then it is best that you offer hosted services. If you want to offer services to larger companies, then offer regular IP PBX. If you are already offering VoIP services to your clients, decide what your clients would prefer and offer that.

 

WHAT YOUR IP PBX CUSTOMERS WILL EXPECT FROM YOU

When you start offering IP PBX systems to your clients, there are some thing they will expect from you:

  • As with all VoIP systems, there is an issue with privacy and security. Your IP PBX clients will want to make sure the phone numbers of their clients, suppliers etc. are safe. This is why you will have to show them you are trustworthy and will never give out their info to third parties.

  • They will expect good quality at low price

  • They want their system to save them money and time

  • It needs to be easy to set up

  • They might want additional features such as voicemail, call forwarding, queue, hold, options for smartphones and tablets etc.

  • They will also want excellent customer service in case something goes wrong

WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO DISCUSS WITH YOUR CLIENTS BEFORE THEY START WITH IP PBX…

When you offer your clients IP PBX services you will need to help them decide on a couple of points to help them get the most out of their system:

  • What times of the day will the phone system work?
    what will happen when it is out of business hours? Will there be a customized message?

  • When will voicemail come up?
    Only when out of hours? Or when an extension is busy?

  • When several calls come in at the same time, how should the server manage them?

  • Some IP PBX providers will offer a feature that allows companies to see what number the callers are calling to. This is useful for companies that have several phone numbers that all connected to same server and wish to know what number the caller used to make that call.

  • Before the IP PBX can be used, a directory has to be made with all the phones that will be connected to it

Because the IP PBX market is growing so fast there are endless of opportunities for offering IP PBX. Whether you wish to cater to large, medium or small businesses, if done correctly it can turn into a very lucrative business.

How to start your very own Calling Cards Business

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Have you always wanted to start your own calling cards business, but didn’t even know where start?

Here I will guide you step by step into the process of starting your business, so you can turn that into reality!

Before we discuss how to start you own calling cards business, it is important to understand how calling cards actually work.

HOW IT WORKS:

Selling VoIP calling cards basically means buying software (class 5 softswitch server with calling cards software, also called a calling cards platform) and wholesale minutes to all destinations and then selling them to your clients. When someone buys a calling card from you at their grocery store, they will use your minutes to make their calls and your server will bill them accordingly.

Because this system works with VoIP, you will be able to offer your clients calls at a fraction of the price of regular calls but still offer them great quality calling. (For more information on how VoIP works, take a look at the following article – how VoIP works.

All different types of people use calling cards, whether they are people that want to call family and friends abroad, tourists that want to call their home country or small businesses that have international clients – VoIP calling cards have benefits for everyone!

ADVANTAGES OF OFFERING CALLING CARDS AS A SERVICE OVER OTHER VOIP SERVICES

There are so many different VoIP apps today that let you make VoIP calls directly from your mobile phone – without the need of a middle-man, you may be wondering why calling cards still have a place in the market today?

First of all, many calling card providers allow you to use their calling cards from both landlines and mobiles. VoIP apps generally only work from mobiles. Calling cards are very easy to use and generally work without problems. When it comes to the VoIP apps, they are not always as reliable. When the user has internet that is not strong enough for example, the calls will be disturbed or not work at all.

There is a big market for selling calling cards as people are always looking for cheaper ways to call abroad. If done properly, this can turn into a very lucrative business.

If you are still wondering if calling cards is actually for you, then check out different types of VoIP services that you can offer, this will help you understand what is needed for every type of service and will help you decide what is best for you.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF CALLING CARDS

There are two types of calling cards:

PIN calling cards
Just as the name says it, users will need to enter their pin in order to make a call (usually found on the back of the card)

PINless calling cards
These calling cards will recognize the user and they will not have to put a pin before using the card

Once signed in, the system will ask the user to enter their access number, in the case of PIN calling cards – the user will need to enter their pin as well. The system will then tell the user the amount of credit he still has in his account. Now the user can enter the phone number he wishes to call – it’s that simple!

You can offer your clients either only PIN calling cards, only PINless calling cards or a combination of both.

WHAT YOU NEED IN ORDER TO START:

In order to start a successful calling cards business there are several components you will need

Hardware

  • Class 5 softswitch

This is the main part of your business. You can get a softswitch from a company providing VoIP services for resellers. Make sure you get your server from a reliable company – if your softswitch doesn’t work the whole business will be down. if you are just starting out, one server should be enough, when your business grows, consider adding servers to ensure stability. Having several servers also means that if one server is down for whatever reason, the other one can be used and your business won’t suffer. If possible, try to get different servers from different companies to work together.

If you want to start your business with only minimal investment, you can host or rent a softswitch – this means that you pay monthly instead of paying everything upfront.

Research different class 5 softswitches from different companies and see what they have to offer. When looking into them, make sure you know what the company does when the server is down – do they have 24-hour support in case something goes wrong?

Also check out if they offer training and use it if it is offered.

  • Stable internet connection

This is also a very important part of the business, if there is no internet connection – there won’t be any business.

It is advised to put your server in a co-location, as the internet is much less likely to go down in such places than in your home or office.

Also consider having a second internet connection as a backup in case the regular one goes down, or maybe your internet provider has a backup himself in case something goes wrong.

You can also consider having a generator to make sure your business keeps going in case of a power-cut. This obviously depends on the location you are working from, in some places it is needed more than in others.

  • PC

You will need a PC to manage the calling cards platform via web-interface

  • Printer

This is optional, you can use a printer to print your calling cards or you can have them made by a printing shop.

Software

  • Calling cards platform

The calling cards software or platform can be either part of or an addition to the class 5 softswitch. The calling cards software will ensure the smooth running of your business.

When researching different companies to get your platform from ask what type of calling cards it supports; PIN calling cards, PINless calling cards, or both. Ideally it should work with both.

  • Integrated billing

The VoIP billing software will collect the data from the call your client made, and charge for it. Integrated billing can come as part of your class 5 softswitch package.

The billing system should be easy to use and be 100 percent reliable, a reliable billing system means a reliable income.

Check out what features are important to you and make sure they are provided in your package; card PIN generation services, expiry dates, usage fee, prepaid/postpaid/flat fee accounting…

  • Callback, PIN codes generation system, IVR system

These are extras and make your services better.

International routes

Once you have all the hardware and software needed to start a successful calling cards business, you have to start thinking about the routes. This means you need to buy airtime in other words minutes that will allow your clients to call abroad.

Most wholesale route providers specialize in a certain area or continent, this means that they will have cheap rates to that place but they will charge more for other areas.
Get different providers for different areas, check out who has the best offers for each destination. It is a good idea to have more than one provider for each destination – that way if one route goes down, your clients can still make calls using the route from another provider.
There are also a-z providers, this means they offer routes to all destinations, this is convenient but they are also typically more expensive.

Choose international route providers wisely – you want your clients to be happy with their calls.

Choose providers based on:

  • Price

Obviously price is important as you want to make money. Some providers charge a monthly fee in addition to the rate per minutes so add that up when comparing different costs.

Take note of how you will be billed i.e. per second, per 30 seconds, per minute… if you are charged per minute and you will have many short calls then you will be wasting a lot of money.

  • Quality

Quality is just as important as price. If the call quality is bad, the clients won’t come back. Make a call yourself using that route and check if it is good, there should be no delay, jitters, echo…

Also note the post-dial delay, this means the amount of time it takes from when the user dials till it rings by his recipient, the less time the better.

If the price for a route looks too good to be true, it probably is so choose wisely!

  • Reliability

If the route goes down, your clients will not be able to make calls. Find out how often it goes down and what the provider does about it.

  • Capacity

how much traffic can the route handle to that destination? If for example you think you will have 100 people calling India at the same time – make sure the route to India can handle that.

A FEW MORE STEPS BEFORE YOU CAN ACTUALLY START SELLING YOU CALLING CARDS…

Print calling cards

Before you can sell the calling cards, they need to be printed. Two points are important when designing you calling cards:

  • Quality

You want people to be able to use your calling cards for as long as their account has credit on it. This means that it shouldn’t break after a few uses. Also, the place where the pin is, needs to be durable – it shouldn’t come off before the calling card is sold but it should still come off easily when scratched.

  • Appearance

If you want people to pick your card from the shelf, it has to look attractive.

Once you have decided on a design, you can either print them yourself or have them printed by a printing company. Keep in mind that most printing shops will require you buy a minimum amount to start off with and the more you buy the cheaper they will be per piece. Have a list of all your pin and access codes ready as the printing shop will need this to put on the cards.

Decide on your prices

This is a big step… in the end of the day you want to make money on your calling cards. Add up all your expenses (this is not only the wholesale minutes that you bought, but also all software needed etc…) and then you will see how much you need to sell for in order to make money. Have separate prices for each destination and think about it carefully.

How to charge for your calling cards

Many people mistakenly believe that you make money only by charging for the minutes that clients use. This is not true – there are other ways of charging that can add up to your profit…

  • Activation fee: when a card is used for the first time

  • Connection fee: charged at the beginning of the call

  • Maintenance fee: charged for every day/month/year that the account is open

You can also choose how you bill your clients whether it is per second, per 30 seconds, per minute…

Remember that if you put $10 on a calling card, you will not get $10 if you sell it through a retailer, as they will need to make a profit too. They will probably pay you about $7. When you sell a calling card, you can ask the user to top up his account through you own top up system when his credit is depleted. This means that if he tops up for $10, you will get the full $10 and there is no middle man. You will have to invest in software in order to do so but it may be worth it.

Another thing people do to make more money, is to specialize in a certain area or continent so they advertise their calling cards for that place. They make a normal profit on cards to that area. If a user wants to use that calling card to call a place outside of the area you specialize in, then they charge much higher rates which means they make a higher profit.

CHOOSING WHERE TO SELL THE CARDS

There are several places you can sell your calling cards, these include:

  • internet cafes

  • retail stores

  • distributor

  • grocer shops

  • hotels

Think about places foreigners shop for products related to their home countries, these people are probably interested in calling cards as you know they have some connection to a place abroad.

In order to get your cards to sell in the beginning you can consider offering a tiny percentage of your profit on the card to the person selling it, this will also drive him to try and sell yours over other brands.

When it comes to calling cards sold in shops you usually get paid when the card is sold and not upfront.

Another option is to offer calling cards through the internet. The way it works is that you just send users their pins and access numbers and there is no actual card. When selling calling cards through the internet, you save on the printing and distribution but you need software to take online payments.

PROMOTING AND ADVERTISING

Tell friends and family about the business you are starting and they will spread the word. Slowly but surely you will get more and more customers…

If you have a larger budget, you can consider advertising a little to bring awareness about your calling cards.

AND NOW, ALL THERE IS LEFT TO DO IS TO ACTUALLY GET STARTED AND MAKE MONEY…

At VoipSwitch, we offer you a calling cards platform that enables you to sell physical calling cards with PIN, online managed PINless calling cards or a combination of both. We will provide you will all the software needed to set up a successful calling cards business. Contact us today at www.voipswitch.com for an affordable quote!