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Enable Remote Working During COVID-19

Many companies are preparing to protect the safety of their staff by enabling their employees to work from home. However, having staff working from home introduces many issues from social to technical. Companies need to prioritise the minimisation of technical issues to allow employees to feel more comfortable and less anxious about the transition.

Enable Remote Working During COVID-19

25/3/20, 9:10 am

Many companies are preparing to protect the safety of their staff by enabling their employees to work from home. However, having staff working from home introduces many issues from social to technical. Companies need to prioritise the minimisation of technical issues to allow employees to feel more comfortable and less anxious about the transition, while at the same time maintaining corporate productivity.

There are many ways to enable staff to work from home and it is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Customers may choose multiple methods and offer them to their employees based on job roles and the level of features or functionality required.

Here are some IP communications options to consider when equipping your work-from-home team:

Who is it for:

Employees that love their desk phone. Choose a model that can be plugged into home routers and have it work just like it does in the office.

Employees do not require any additional training or headsets and all applications that control the phone will continue to work. Perfect for console and contact centre operators.

Requirements:

Businesses will require a VPN concentrator or Session Border Controller within their corporate network and these details will need to be pre-configured into the phone.

Who is it for:

For employees that need full telephone functionality and want to work from their PC (Laptop) without the need to lug around a physical phone.

Just connect up a USB or Bluetooth headset and employees are ready to make and receive calls. The softphones works just like desk phones with virtually no loss in functionality.

Requirements:

  • A VPN or Session Border Controller may be required.
  • A Bluetooth or USB headset.

Who is it for:

For highly mobile employees that need to make and receive calls but don’t need a lot of additional functionality.

A mobile client can be installed on almost all iPhones and Android phones. It will connect to the corporate phone system over the internet (it will use Wi-Fi or mobile data) and presents the user with complete access to their smart phone's contacts for incoming calls and making calls.

Requirements:

  • A Bluetooth or wired headset is useful.
  • A Session Border Controller or VPN is required.

Who is it for:

Productivity workers and staff that need to meet with customers remotely.

This solution can hold multi-party web based conferences where you can see video of other participants and share an employee’s screen to work together, hold engaging meetings and present ideas to customers.

Requirements:

  • A Bluetooth or USB headset is required.
  • Firewall configuration will be required and the use of a STUN or TURN service

Who is it for:

Essential for all types of workers.

Staff need to stay in contact and audio conferencing allows groups to meet and discuss ideas from anywhere they can make a call. By enabling conferencing on an existing phone system, companies can save significant usage costs and home workers can dial directly into the system via its extension number without the need to pay for carrier phone call costs.

Requirements:

  • Employees simply need a phone

Who is it for:

Productivity workers and mobile staff.

UCE enables staff to know when their colleagues are available with integrated presence, instant messaging and conferencing capabilities. Phone calls can be made from the employee’s PC (UC700) or their smart device (MC550). UCE is fully integrated into Microsoft Outlook.

Requirements:

  • UCE is supported on NEC SV9500 and SV9300 Communication Platforms.
  • A VPN is required for PC and soft phone features.
  • A session border controller is required for smart phone calling features.
  • A Bluetooth or USB headset is required.

Who is it for:

Workers who want the complete Productivity and Collaboration experience.

People can work together online and in real-time from anywhere in the world, with all their collaboration tools available in one single interface including conversations, chats, online meetings, shared files, tasks and a comprehensive meeting and calling experience, including voice and video.

Requirements:

  • A Session Border Controller for Calling Features and Direct Routing capability
  • Office 365 Licensing (BYO)
  • Carriage and Calling Plans (BYO)

Who is it for:

Productivity workers.

If you already use Skype For Business, NEC’s UC Connector for the SV9500 and SV9300 allow your staff to also make and receive calls from their PC. Leverage the benefits of Skype for Business with instant messaging, presence and conferencing capabilities. Enhance it with the ability to call other employees and to know who is calling.

Requirements:

  • UC Connector is supported on NEC SV9500 and SV9300 Communication Platforms.
  • A VPN is required for soft phone features.
  • A Bluetooth or USB headset is required.

Who is it for:

Mobile staff who don't want to be bound by desks

Mobile extension allows all calls to a person’s desk phone to be automatically sent to their mobile. Employees can also dial into the phone system and then dial a customer. The system will present their desk phone number – no-one needs to give out their mobile number.

Requirements:

  • Requires additional trunks, one for incoming and one for outgoing call legs

Other Considerations

Networking

To enable remote workers, companies may need to perform changes to their existing network. Changes include:

  • Adding additional bandwidth to support remote workers
  • Implementing voice and application security (see VPNs and SBCs below)
  • Reconfiguring a network to implement Quality of Service
  • Reconfiguring firewalls and routers

Security

To ensure network and voice system safety, it is mandatory that a VPN or Session Border Controller is installed and correctly configured. This is to protect a company’s voice and data networks from toll fraud, hacking and abuse.

VPNs

Some scenarios will require the use of a VPN to route traffic (securely and safely) from the employee’s laptop or phone to the phone system. It is expected that there is a working VPN in place with capacity and licences to support the additional remote users.

Session Border Controllers (SBCs)

Some scenarios will allow for voice communications to be routed over the internet using the employee’s existing home network. In this case a Session Border Controller is required and will need to be appropriately licenced for the correct number of users and concurrent voice calls.

Phone System Hardware Licenses

In some cases, the choice in communications platform may need additional hardware or software added to support remote workers.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • PAD cards
  • Media gateways
  • Device and capacity licenses
  • Main software upgrades
  • VoIP resource licences
  • Memory expansion modules

What Next?

An NEC representative can assist you in establishing the most cost effective way to implement your remote working requirements. See what other solutions might suit your requirements using the button below.

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