Today, we want to explore the world of IP Phone systems to demystify the technical terms and provide you with the information to make a considered and informed decision on what is best for your business.

Let’s start with the term Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP for short. This allows you to make phone calls using the internet. Internet Protocol is where the ‘IP’ in IP Phones comes from. IP phones are connected either through a wireless connection or using an ethernet cable. We usually recommend ethernet cable for a more reliable connection. IP phones can take the form of your everyday desk phone, cordless and conference phones in the same way as a landline phone, it is merely the way in which it places the call is different. There are no noticeable differences for the users between an IP phone and an analogue phone. The main difference is in the transmission.

This difference in the transmission of calls is where the cost savings lie in switching to an IP phone system. As an IP phone converts your voice to digital signals this means it can be transmitted across the internet and requires your standard internet connection that you will most likely already have! Therefore, this eliminates the need for charges based on the physical infrastructure requirements of a landline that are charged by landline phone companies. As a result of using the existing internet network within your building you do not need to install copper wiring throughout to setup a telephone system, simply plug the IP phone into the internet where ever you need it to be and it’s good to go. We have seen some of our clients achieving cost savings in excess of 50% between conventional and IP phone systems!

The other major advantage to IP phone systems is that you can make unlimited simultaneous calls. Your only limited becomes the number of physical phones and people you have to make and answer calls!

An advantage that has become increasingly more popular and useful to business with the current COVID-19 pandemic is that IP phone can be used in any geographical location, so long as they have a connection to the internet. This means your remote team can be in different area codes and still be phoning out from your business number.

As the IP phone system is operated using the internet, this also means that changes to the setup and who receives which calls on what options the callers use can be changed without site visits required from your telephony provider. This means you can get quicker support and changes carried out as soon as they have an engineer available, rather than have to schedule site visits to make changes.

The main and clear disadvantage you may have been thinking about while ready this blog is if the internet goes down, then my phones go down? Which this would be the case unfortunately, but it is key to remember that if you have a fault on your broadband line which causes an outage, this may have also affected your landline in certain circumstances. If having phone lines open during business hours is mission critical, it is worth while exploring options of a backup 4G router kit and data only SIM which could be setup and connected to your network to provide temporary internet usage while your broadband line issues were resolved. We have installed many 4G setups for our clients for permanent and backup options for internet supply so we are happy to provide advice and costing on this option as well.

It’s now time to take a moment and evaluate how many times in the last year has your internet completely dropped out? And then consider for how long each time? Would this down time with no phones be enough to outweigh the monthly cost savings and flexibility that could be gained from having an IP phone system? The team here at MJD can help you with this evaluation and with our IP telephony partners provide you with costs and comparisons to your current landline bills to help you make an informed decision on whether IP phones would benefit your business.

If you’d like to discuss further an IP Phone system and your individual requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at MJD. Let’s make IT work for YOU.

During lockdown many of us have turned to technology to keep us connected with our friends and family and to entertain ourselves. Some of the team here at MJD started online gaming together and it lead to the team reflecting upon the first computer games they ever played and we thought it might be a fun topic to share with you all.

Mark
Showing my age….. in the 70’s I can clearly remember my brother coming home with the first computer game I ever saw, it was called pong, more a video console than a computer game, playing Pong was a case of a simple controller or two twist dials to control the “rackets” at either end of the screen. The simple “Pong” noise as the ball hit a racket or side of the screen was distinctive, you could also play against yourself by effectively turning one end of the screen to a wall and the ball (cursor) would rebound just like a squash court. Considering graphics and games today, it was extremely basic but at the time was amazing to play. The next computer game would have been Space Invaders that was built into a glass table in a pub near RAF Cosford. I’m sure I got better as the night went on 😊 Again revealing my age at the time! A slightly more complex game with a few more sounds but still quite pixelated graphics by modern standards. A far cry from the real life POV games of today! My first real computer was an Atari 1040 STE, which I still have in the loft.

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Colin
I’m not much of a gamer, but I do remember being given a Sinclair ZX81 in the early 80s and thought, what’s this? I believe it only had 1K of memory! I do remember playing a golf game called Leaderboard which came out in 1986. So I must have had either a Commodore 64 or a Sinclair ZX Spectrum to be able to play it. The golf was fairly easy to play at the lowest level. Just pick your club and press a button and off it went on line and the right distance. However, when going for the pro option, you had to control the flight and the spin of the ball and take the wind into account. Even back then I found real golf a lot easier than the computer game so I opted for the real thing. Plus there is no 19th hole in a computer game!

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Ian
My 1st computer game was at aged 11 on the classic Sinclair ZX Spectrum in 1982!

The game was Football Manager and it came on a cassette tape…

In order to load the game onto the computer, you had to connect a tape recorder output/input via leads to the computer and then start playing the tape, and the game was loaded onto the machine via sound. The only problem with this was that you needed to set the volume just right on the tape recorder or the game would not load correctly & would have to start again – it took many hours of trial & error to get the right balance and the game finally loaded.

It was all text based, no fancy graphics by todays modern standards, but it kept me entertained for hours on end trying to get Liverpool to win the league!
(Never did though.)

Also, there were bugs in the game that stopped you from completing it, but back then, there was no internet or patches or software updates available to fix those bugs.

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Craig
The first game I remember was Horace Goes Skiing on a ZX Spectrum.

The problem was before you could play the game you had to first load the tape and let is run. You could tell if it was a good day if it loaded first time or if you had to turn the tape and try again before you could play the game.

If you did manage to get the game to load you had the amazing sound track as shown in the clip above along with the amazing colour loading screens.

The aim of the game was to first cross the busy road using the 4 control arrows. Once across you had to rent a pair of skis and make it back over the road. If you managed this you then got to go skiing, down the hill, avoiding the trees, aiming for the ski gates trying to get to the end of the course.

Natalie
The first computer game I remember playing was a basic ABC game which sang the ABCs to me when I was very young, and the story is usually told of the amount of times I repeated the song, much to my parents enjoyment! Luckily, I have never had a draw or need to come back to this game to relearn my ABCs!

However, recently in lockdown I have been reliving my childhood of battling my brother, Gareth, on Worms and playing the newer version of the game. The biggest difference I’ve noticed is that originally the game was 2D however now the graphics are 3D and much higher definition!

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Marko
Gaming for me stated when I was very young. The first games I remember playing, or at least trying would have been Doom PC and Robocop SNES. These were owned by my uncle and cousin so would only really get to play/watch them play when we went down to visit.

After that I believe the first console I owned would have been a Playstation 1 and used to actively play games such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro and Gran Turismo. Most of these have now been stopped so I don’t go back to play these however I did start playing the remaster of Crash Bandicoot when that came out back in 2018.

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Gareth
My first computer game that I can remember was Halo Combat Evolved.

This was bought on the original Xbox. I would spend hours infront of the TV trying to complete the game and never managed to until I went back and played the anniversary version years later.

At the time the graphics were amazing but since playing the remastered edition where you can switch the graphics between original and remastered it has confirmed just how far gaming has come! 😂

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