Small businesses are increasingly turning to hosted voice for a cost effective, simple-to-adopt, and reliable company phone system.

Hosted voice, otherwise known as virtual PBX (private branch exchange), is a private phone system that’s hosted in the cloud and uses your internet connection to let users make, receive, and manage calls. Our post tells you more about what hosted voice is and how it works.

Here’s why it’s time for your SME to adopt hosted voice.

1. It’s cost effective

When you’re running a small business, keeping your overheads down is vital to help your business grow. For this reason, cloud-based hosted voice is a much more cost-effective option than an onsite PBX.

Hosted voice can save you plenty of money on the company phone bill. Calls are made through the cloud, meaning internal communications will be incredibly low cost.

As you can use any mobile phones, tablets, and computers you already own with hosted voice, you won’t necessarily have to buy a load of new hardware to get you and your employees connected to each other and the outside world.

2. Easy to adopt

The lack of need for new hardware and the ease with which you can integrate mobiles and other devices is part of what makes it easy to get hosted voice set up within your small business.

You can keep all your phone numbers the same, so your customers will easily be able to contact you after the switch, and you don’t need to bother with sending out new numbers to them.

As your hosted voice equipment is stored in the cloud and managed externally, you don’t need anyone on your payroll managing it.

3. Simple mobile integration

Using our twinning service, you can set up a mobile phone or another handset to act as though it’s a device within your small business.

All it takes is a few clicks and an app for you or your employees to have a smartphone connected into your hosted voice service. This should be much easier for your employees, as it lets them use a device that they already know well.

4. Secure and reliable

Cloud-based PBX should come with a layer of protection to keep your system secure. This could make hosted voice safer than a system you’d have on your company’s premises because it’s not down to you, or someone you employ, to keep on top of security best practice.

Hosted voice is also a reliable solution in the event of disasters, such as flooding, power cuts, and other technical issues – whatever happens to your premises doesn’t happen in the cloud. This can relieve a lot of stress for small business owners where even a small amount of downtime can have an enormous negative impact.

Furthermore, even if something were to go wrong at the source for your PBX, there’s usually a contingency plan to reroute your data and help you avoid any disruption.

5. Flexible and productive

You need to be prepared for growth when you’re running a small business, so it’s good to have a PBX that can be easily scaled up or down. Since your PBX is offered as a service, you can simply add more features to your subscription or take them away as and when you need to.

Hosted voice can also help to increase productivity by letting you and your employees use it while on the go. With our mobile integration, you can use hosted voice whenever you’re travelling on business. Then there’s our remote office feature, where any phone can be registered as a desk phone – this lets you use hosted voice from home.

If you feel that your small business needs its own PBX, you might find hosted voice to be a valuable solution. It’s cost effective, easy to implement, secure, reliable and you can use it while on the go, integrate it with your employees’ mobile phones, and adopt more features as and when you need them.

Introducing new technology into your business often sparks positive change, and hosted voice is no different. However, not all employees will immediately know of the practical benefits of implementing a new phone  system. Consider this a bit of a cheat sheet.

From its reliability and practicality through to the ways it supports remote working, we’ve detailed the positive impacts a hosted voice network will have on your staff in everyday use so you know how to communicate the benefits and get them on board.

We’ve also anticipated a few questions and issues you might be up against and given some suggested solutions.

Know how to answer ‘What is hosted voice?’

It’s easiest to explain hosted voice to employees as exactly like a normal phone system except everything happens over the internet. And the big benefit is they can make and receive calls easily across a range of devices: laptops, smartphones, desktop phones, and more. In short, they can answer and make calls far more flexibly.

We have a post that acts a quick introduction to hosted voice. You might want to circulate this to your colleagues.

Emphasise the benefits: It’ll make remote working easier

Whether working at home, on the road, or abroad, being contactable as if you were at the office makes working life simpler.

A hosted voice system only requires staff to have a working internet connection and something standard, like a laptop, to be reached. This simplifies home and remote working, meaning colleagues don’t have to be connected to a work landline to talk to each other or with clients.

Because communications are all connected to one network, employees can set incoming calls to be reconnected to their mobiles, avoiding the need for separate work and mobile phones. This means employees can manage their work directly from the same familiar device they use each day, so you rarely leave a client call unanswered again – and if they do, it’s possible to get an instant email notification.

Professionalism is highly important in business, and the system also has benefits for outgoing calls – hosted voice technology offers employees the option to display a desk phone number, giving the impression they’re in the office at their desk.

Let them know it’s a seamless switch

A big concern your staff might have with switching to a hosted voice system is losing their current number. However, with many hosted voice solutions, employees can transfer details over with ease, meaning there’s no need to inform clients of any contact detail changes. This removes any confusion from both sides and allows business to resume as normal.

Switching’s easy on a micro level too. Changing between devices can be done with ease throughout the day. By connecting phone, tablet, and computer to the same hosted voice cloud network, employees will find that they can communicate via whichever method is easiest for them at any given moment.

Out at lunch? Use a smartphone. Back in the office? The laptop might be most straightforward. Working from home on Fridays? Chat on the tablet in the kitchen while making a late breakfast.

Support and security issues: There’s always someone or something looking out for them

Businesses and employees are often wary when working with cloud- or internet-based technology. Remind staff they can rest easy knowing that all details and information are kept securely behind a highly resilient system, much safer than on-premise security.

As well as security, they can rely on their communication system to offer an incredible service. Any issues and the provider is always there to help. No risk of them being on holiday and unavailable to answer queries or fix problems.

Plus, it’ll all look as professional as possible, with a high-quality service guaranteed with every call. Not to mention call parking, forwarding, and holding included within packages. They can always maintain a professional relationship with whoever’s on the other end of the line.

Head over to our other posts to learn more about the benefits of hosted voice or how it can add value to your business.

How does this sound? Easy, cohesive, cross-device communication with anyone in your business anywhere in the world. Unified communications gives you that. It’s a potentially company-transforming way of approaching comms.

Unified communications means channelling many kinds of business discussion into one platform that ‘lives’ in the cloud. So, employees could exchange messages, have voice conversations, send files, and more, all via one communication network. Because it’s in the cloud and bought as a service, companies don’t need to worry about maintaining or managing it.

Below, we explore three ways unified communications can benefit your company and take your business to the next level.

1.  Make your business more efficient

Transformation: Faster communication and an improved bottom line because costs are lower

Implementing a unified communications approach in your business can make things more efficient – logistically and financially.

By using one unified system, rather than numerous individual networks, you can keep things like your voice callingweb meetings, and instant messaging in one place. That could be quite the transformation for a company that’s finding there are lots of crossed wires and missed messages because of working across multiple, non-unified networks and devices.

Cohesive comms allows your employees to communicate more effectively because conversations happen in one place. They might take different forms – voice, video etc. – but the point of call is the same place. Threads don’t start in one channel and end somewhere else. And everyone who needs to be in a given conversation can be.

Integrating all your technologies into a single, cloud-based communications platform gives employees a single point that connects all tools of communication.

From a cost standpoint, unified communications is based around an internet connection – there won’t be any large phone bills at the end of the month. Additionally, unifying your company’s communication network maintains a single cost that you can manage with ease. One cost going out, one contact point.

Furthermore, features can be scaled up or down hassle-free as your needs change. And because it’s in the cloud there’s little need to invest in communications equipment as your staff numbers change.

2. Support remote working

Transformation: Employees are happier because they can work when are where they want

Remote and flexible working is becoming more common practice, so it’s important for your business to adapt accordingly. Introducing a unified communications network makes it seamless for your employees to work flexibly. They can stay in the loop on all their projects via instant chat groups, or be contacted for a call if something goes wrong, because their devices are connected to the same unified communications network as everyone else.

Choosing a cloud-based unified communications network removes traditional geographical or device barriers, enabling employees to work wherever they want without affecting productivity. Because the whole business is connected to the same system, communication flows as if everyone is in the office. Similarly, you can connect with partners and clients remotely as if you were at your desk.

This approach is particularly beneficial for staff remote working late or early who require round-the-clock access to messages and more. Instead of having to wait for the office to wake up, employees can just get on with things.

3. Improve client services

Transformation: Client problems are solved faster

There’s always room to offer a better service to clients, and incorporating a unified communications system can make it easier to react to customer requests.

Unifying your communications allows employees to be more contactable to offer help and find information quickly for clients. Potentially even out of hours – it’s possible for staff to be on the same network on their phones at home.

Having a single point of communication streamlines your business and allows your employees to act promptly to internal and external challenges. Everyone is connected so it’s possible that there’s always someone to answer the phone.

Unified communications can help to transform your business, encouraging more efficient working from the office and further afield as well as offering the ability to be more agile, making you a more attractive proposition for clients. Create a single point of communication throughout your company and take your business to the next level.

Strong internal communication is one of the main keys to success within any company. That’s why adopting unified communications (UCaaS) is vital if you want to have a competitive edge in your industry.

Unified communications allows you to connect a range of communication services and devices. This might include phone calls, instant messaging, video and web conferencingscreen sharing and more, depending on the needs of your business. These days, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) offers a cost effective and scalable solution for improving business communications.

Plenty of businesses could see the benefits of unified communications. If any of these points apply to you, it’s a sign this service could improve your business.

1. Your staff and clients are in various locations

UCaaS makes it easy to collaborate with your staff and contact your clients as and when you need to. If your company has offices in different places, or some of your employees work remotely, then there’s no need for people to travel.

Instant messaging lets your employees quickly and easily chat together about their projects. Web conferencing is ideal for meetings across locations, while screen sharing lets colleagues see what others are working on. A picture paints a thousand words, after all.

Conference calling is an easy way for staff and clients across multiple locations to speak to each other.

2. Your employees use a lot of different devices

Your employees will always need devices to work on, including computers and phones. You’ll either need to buy these yourself or, in the era of ‘bring your own device’, you can let your employees use their own laptops and mobiles while at work – often a popular solution when employees work from home. Yet, you need these devices to be on the same communication network, so it’s easy for your staff to chat to each other.

With UCaaS, it’s simple to have all the devices you need to be connected. This means your employees can comfortably keep in contact wherever they are, making all the calls and having all the meetings they need whenever it’s convenient.

3. You’ve had communication problems before

If you find there’s often crossed wires and confusion, it could be solved by using unified communications.

For example, instant messaging offers a quick, easy, and relaxed way for staff in different offices to speak to each other. Conference calling lets groups of staff collaborate and hear the same information first hand – vital for clarity. And screen sharing gives you the visual aids to make sure you’re all on the same page.

4. You want to increase productivity

Offering flexibility to employees is one known way to make them happier and more productive. Unified communication allows for this flexibility because it means your staff can work from home, or another location, if they wish, and keep in touch with people in your offices easily.

Plus, they’ll be able to call their colleagues if they’re travelling, which means that your team can carry on working together even when one person is away.

You could also use web conferencing to train people across your company from the comfort of their desks, making the most of the knowledge within your workforce to boost everyone’s skills and create a smarter, more productive workforce.

5. You want to save time and money

As we’ve already mentioned, unified communications offer a quick and easy way for your employees to speak to each other, whether they’re in the office or on the move. This will also free up time for your employees to get on with their work, which makes completing projects more cost efficient.

Choosing UCaaS means you only need to pay for a subscription to the services you need, so you’ll save money buying up loads of hardware for your office. You’ll also outsource the cost of keeping the system up and running, and up to date, so this’ll save your IT department a lot of man hours.

6. You’re a growing business

A growing company will see its needs change over time. Your UCaaS can support this.

You can scale up the services you use just by changing your subscription. This makes planning investments in communications technologies easier as you can just adapt to what you need. And since you can add any device to a hosted voice network, you don’t need to make space in your budget for any extra hardware.

Unified communications makes it easier for your company to grow. It offers flexibility to your employees and makes it quicker and easier for them to speak to each other, which helps to create an all-around more productive workplace. Consider whether any unified communications services, such as conference calling or video and web conferencing, could be a good fit for your business.

Hosted voice systems are sometimes referred to as cloud PBX (private branch exchange). While it might sound complicated, it just means you’re using the internet to make, receive, and manage phone calls, rather than having a physical system in your workplace.

Here, we talk you through everything you need to know about the cloud and how it relates to hosted voice, touching on the processes that make it possible and why it’s a great idea to integrate cloud PBX into your business.

What is the cloud?

To put it simply, ‘the cloud’ refers to the process of cloud computing, which is a way of storing and accessing data over the internet.

Rather than being stored on your own internal office server or on your computer’s hard drive, the information or application that you’re using is stored remotely. This means that the physical data is located on a server somewhere else in the world, and you gain access to it via the internet.

One of the most relatable ways of explaining the cloud is with the example of Google Docs and Sheets. Rather than having an application like Microsoft Word or Excel saved on your computer, you can simply open a browser and use the Google version of the application, which has very similar features and functionality.

You can save your documents, share them with others, and even access them from other devices by logging into your Google account. As you know, your documents aren’t saved to a folder on your actual computer. Instead, the data powering Google Docs is on a server somewhere else, and therefore you’re accessing the application via the cloud.

This is how it works in any scenario of cloud computing – you use the internet to gain access to an application and all its features, and the backend technology that powers and stores that data is located on a server somewhere else.

How does the cloud factor into hosted voice?

Hosted voice is a phone system within a business – just like any phone system, you can answer, make, and transfer calls. But rather than having the hardware located in your office or on your own servers, with a cloud PBX system it’s hosted on a server somewhere else and you access it through the internet.

This means you can use any internet-connected device (such as a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or computer) to make and answer phone calls. All you need to do is download and log into an app. And you can have an entire business that’s connected on the same platform.

The actual system that does all the hard work is stored and maintained by a third-party, which will ensure that it’s resilient and secure, with specialised systems in place to protect your data and keep everything running exactly as it should.

How do I set up hosted voice?

It’s incredibly easy to bring hosted voice into your business. Because the provider maintains the equipment and operates the service for you, there’s no need to invest in any hardware or change your infrastructure.

All you need to do is choose a package based on the number of minutes that you want and any additional services you might require, such as call recording, parking, and contact grouping.

Typically, you’ll pay a monthly fee. Some providers will also give you the flexibility to review and change your package to adapt to your business needs.

To access these services, your employees can download an application onto their existing devices. This means there’s no need to invest in new technology or training, as they can use the phones and laptops they’re already familiar with.

Why should you choose a cloud-hosted voice system?

We’ve written a lot about the benefits of hosted voice and why cloud PBX adds value to a business, but we’ve summarised some of the key perks:

While it might be a strange concept to get your head around, the cloud is a great tool that can allow you to bring your business to new heights. Implementing hosted voice into your business model means you can connect and communicate with co-workers and clients in a high-quality, fast, and affordable manner, without having to worry about hardware or maintenance. Find out more about hosted voice and how it works and explore the glossary of cloud PBX terms to better understand the features available.

Businesses across the UK are increasingly reliant on remaining connected and mobile, with great internet connectivity being the key to maintaining productivity. So, whether conference calling, browsing the web, or working remotely, we’ve looked at what cities the UK’s savviest digital professionals should head to for the best internet connection – and where they should avoid.

London is the UK’s best connected city

City Index Score Rank Population Mean Download speed (Mbit/s) Mean upload speed (Mbit/s) Full Fibre availability (% premises) % of premises unable to receive 2Mbit/s 4G coverage (indoor, all operators) Data Coverage (indoor all operators)
London 8.5 1        8,173,941 52.5 6.5 11.4 0.0 94.1 100.0
Bristol 8.4 2            428,234 66.6 5.8 6.9 0.0 90.9 100.0
Cardiff 8.4 3            346,090 61.0 6.9 6.8 0.0 83.7 99.7
Coventry 8.3 4            316,960 52.0 6.0 16.4 0.0 77.5 100.0
Nottingham 8.2 5            305,680 66.0 5.9 4.8 0.0 86.9 100.0
Southampton 8.1 6            236,882 56.3 6.1 6.2 0.0 88.9 100.0
Liverpool 8.0 7            466,415 56.6 5.7 3.8 0.0 91.7 100.0
Leicester 7.9 8            329,839 61.4 5.6 3.2 0.0 86.9 100.0
Glasgow City 7.9 9            593,000 46.8 6.1 6.5 0.0 89.8 100.0
Birmingham 7.9 10        1,073,045 59.0 5.5 3.1 0.0 90.0 100.0
Edinburgh 7.9 11            477,000 63.1 5.9 4.7 0.1 89.6 99.9
Newcastle 7.7 12            280,177 49.8 6.0 6.9 0.1 90.6 100.0
Leeds 7.7 13            751,485 52.4 5.9 7.8 0.1 85.2 99.8
Dudley 7.7 14            312,925 60.2 5.8 0.1 0.0 81.3 99.9
Manchester 7.6 15            503,127 45.8 6.0 6.5 0.1 92.8 100.0
Wigan 7.6 16            317,849 61.6 6.2 0.4 0.0 68.0 99.9
Bradford 7.3 17            522,452 51.2 5.5 1.8 0.1 85.4 99.9
Fife 7.2 18            365,000 43.4 6.3 8.1 0.2 77.7 98.6
Sheffield 7.2 19            552,698 43.0 5.9 1.5 0.1 86.8 99.8
Cornwall 6.2 20            532,273 27.6 5.3 31.0 0.6 59.9 90.7

London is officially the UK’s best digitally connected city. A global hub for international business and finance, the capital scored top in our digital connection index that weighs up factors such as internet speed, fibre optic broadband coverage, and mobile data availability. Bristol came second on our list, and Cardiff took third.

Notably, the cities of Coventry, Nottingham, Birmingham, and Leicester all represent the Midlands in the UK’s top 10 most connected cities while, heading further north, only Liverpool and Glasgow rank among the 10 best cities for remaining connected.

The north dominates 4G connectivity

Despite London topping the list, northern cities take the lead when it comes to finding a great 4G connection. Bristol is the only southern city outside of the capital to offer connectivity at more than 90% of premises, whereas Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool all represent the north in offering 4G coverage at 90% or more homes.

Being one of the UK’s top digital hubs, Leeds follows this regional trend but does struggle when it comes to a good overall connection, especially when compared to other northern cities like Newcastle, Nottingham and Liverpool.

Where is the UK’s fastest internet?

In order to find the speediest connections in the UK, we’ve compiled the mean download speed and mean upload speed for the 20 most populated areas in the UK to give an overall speed score.

Cardiff is the best city for internet speed

City Speed Score Rank Population Mean Download speed (Mbit/s) Mean upload speed (Mbit/s)
Cardiff 9.6 1            346,090 61.0 6.9
Nottingham 9.2 2            305,680 66.0 5.9
Bristol 9.2 3            428,234 66.6 5.8
Wigan 9.1 4            317,849 61.6 6.2
Edinburgh 9.0 5            477,000 63.1 5.9
Dudley 8.7 6            312,925 60.2 5.8
London 8.7 7        8,173,941 52.5 6.5
Leicester 8.7 8            329,839 61.4 5.6
Southampton 8.6 9            236,882 56.3 6.1
Birmingham 8.4 10        1,073,045 59.0 5.5
Liverpool 8.4 11            466,415 56.6 5.7
Coventry 8.3 12            316,960 52.0 6.0
Leeds 8.2 13            751,485 52.4 5.9
Newcastle 8.1 14            280,177 49.8 6.0
Glasgow City 7.9 15            593,000 46.8 6.1
Bradford 7.8 16            522,452 51.2 5.5
Fife 7.8 17            365,000 43.4 6.3
Manchester 7.8 18            503,127 45.8 6.0
Sheffield 7.5 19            552,698 43.0 5.9
Cornwall 5.9 20            532,273 27.6 5.3

Surprisingly London isn’t the best place for a quick connection. In fact, Cardiff has the fastest internet, with Nottingham, Bristol, Wigan and Edinburgh the only other cities with a speed score of nine out of 10 or more.

Manchester has the lowest speed score in the North West, behind Wigan and Liverpool, while Leeds has the quickest internet connection in Yorkshire. Nottingham, Dudley, Leicester, and Birmingham all occupy a spot in the top 10 cities for internet speed, suggesting the Midlands is a hotspot for quick internet.

Southwark is London’s best borough for connectivity

City Index Score Rank Population Mean Download speed (Mbit/s) Mean upload speed (Mbit/s) Full Fibre availability (% premises) % of premises unable to receive 2Mbit/s 4G coverage (indoor, all operators) Data Coverage (indoor all operators)
Southwark 9.0 1            288,283 42.0 5.5 45.5 0.0 99.0 100.0
Wandsworth 8.6 2            306,995 47.7 7.0 22.1 0.0 99.7 100.0
Hammersmith and Fulham 8.5 3            182,493 40.4 7.0 25.9 0.0 100.0 100.0
Waltham Forest 8.5 4            258,249 60.2 6.0 21.2 0.0 92.6 100.0
Richmond upon Thames 8.4 5            186,990 65.8 7.3 6.5 0.0 92.9 100.0
Tower Hamlets 8.3 6            254,096 31.5 5.5 34.5 0.0 99.6 100.0
Brent 8.3 7            311,215 48.1 6.7 16.3 0.0 97.9 100.0
Newham 8.3 8            307,984 47.9 6.6 16.5 0.0 98.8 100.0
Kensington and Chelsea 8.3 9            158,649 56.6 7.0 7.4 0.0 100.0 100.0
Hounslow 8.2 10            253,957 61.0 6.8 7.3 0.0 93.7 100.0
Redbridge 8.2 11            278,970 59.6 6.5 8.5 0.0 96.8 100.0
Merton 8.2 12            199,693 62.6 7.2 2.2 0.0 96.2 100.0
Kingston upon Thames 8.2 13            160,060 65.3 7.2 2.2 0.0 89.7 100.0
Camden 8.2 14            220,338 56.7 6.2 9.1 0.0 99.4 100.0
Sutton 8.1 15            190,146 63.3 7.0 1.6 0.0 94.3 100.0
Harrow 8.1 16            239,056 57.8 7.2 3.3 0.0 95.9 100.0
Ealing 8.1 17            338,449 51.8 7.2 7.6 0.0 94.2 100.0
Greenwich 8.1 18            254,557 49.7 6.6 10.9 0.0 95.7 100.0
Enfield 8.1 19            312,466 60.7 6.6 2.6 0.0 96.3 100.0
Haringey 8.0 20            254,926 58.3 6.5 3.5 0.0 98.9 100.0
Hillingdon 8.0 21            273,936 59.2 6.9 3.4 0.0 92.3 100.0
Hackney 8.0 22            246,270 48.8 6.2 11.0 0.0 99.7 100.0
Barnet 8.0 23            356,386 43.0 7.4 10.5 0.0 93.1 100.0
Barking and Dagenham 8.0 24            185,911 58.6 6.3 5.5 0.0 93.5 100.0
Lambeth 8.0 25            303,086 46.3 6.1 12.3 0.0 99.8 100.0
Islington 8.0 26            206,125 55.0 5.7 8.3 0.0 100.0 100.0
Lewisham 7.9 27            275,885 44.4 5.9 13.0 0.0 98.7 100.0
Croydon 7.9 28            363,378 55.5 6.0 6.6 0.0 93.1 99.9
Westminster 7.7 29            219,396 28.5 5.1 22.9 0.0 100.0 100.0
Bexley 7.7 30            231,997 51.8 6.4 2.4 0.0 89.8 100.0
City of London 6.8 31                 7,375 17.1 1.9 25.1 0.0 100.0 100.0
Havering 6.3 32            237,232 59.4 7.0 2.9 0.1 89.6 100.0
Bromley 6.1 33            309,392 59.5 6.6 0.6 0.1 87.3 99.9

Within London, Southwark in the centre is the best connected borough, with Bromley in south London proving to be the least connected.

Interestingly, Lambeth lies immediately west of Southwark but sits in the bottom third of London boroughs for digital connectivity.

The boroughs of Southwark, Westminster and the City of London are all among the main financial districts in the city, however, while Southwark is the capital’s best connected borough, the City of London and Westminster are among the worst, overall.

The two underperforming locales, though, are both in the top five areas of London for a full fibre connection, joined by Tower Hamlets, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Southwark. The latter offers a full connection at almost 50% of premises, better than anywhere else in the UK.

For the best 4G connection in London head to the centre of the city, with each of the central boroughs all offering 99% coverage, or better. Hammersmith and Fulham is the only borough outside the centre to offer full 4G coverage, with the City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, Islington, and Westminster all offering 100% coverage, too.

Richmond upon Thames ranks best for internet speed in London

City Index Score Rank Population Mean Download speed (Mbit/s) Mean upload speed (Mbit/s)
Richmond upon Thames 9.9 1            186,990 65.8 7.3
Kingston upon Thames 9.8 2            160,060 65.3 7.2
Merton 9.6 3            199,693 62.6 7.2
Sutton 9.5 4            190,146 63.3 7.0
Harrow 9.3 5            239,056 57.8 7.2
Havering 9.2 6            237,232 59.4 7.0
Hounslow 9.2 7            253,957 61.0 6.8
Hillingdon 9.2 8            273,936 59.2 6.9
Enfield 9.1 9            312,466 60.7 6.6
Kensington and Chelsea 9.0 10            158,649 56.6 7.0
Bromley 9.0 11            309,392 59.5 6.6
Redbridge 8.9 12            278,970 59.6 6.5
Haringey 8.8 13            254,926 58.3 6.5
Ealing 8.8 14            338,449 51.8 7.2
Barking and Dagenham 8.7 15            185,911 58.6 6.3
Waltham Forest 8.6 16            258,249 60.2 6.0
Camden 8.5 17            220,338 56.7 6.2
Wandsworth 8.4 18            306,995 47.7 7.0
Croydon 8.3 19            363,378 55.5 6.0
Barnet 8.3 20            356,386 43.0 7.4
Bexley 8.3 21            231,997 51.8 6.4
Greenwich 8.2 22            254,557 49.7 6.6
Brent 8.2 23            311,215 48.1 6.7
Newham 8.1 24            307,984 47.9 6.6
Islington 8.0 25            206,125 55.0 5.7
Hackney 7.9 26            246,270 48.8 6.2
Hammersmith and Fulham 7.8 27            182,493 40.4 7.0
Lambeth 7.6 28            303,086 46.3 6.1
Lewisham 7.4 29            275,885 44.4 5.9
Southwark 6.9 30            288,283 42.0 5.5
Tower Hamlets 6.1 31            254,096 31.5 5.5
Westminster 5.6 32            219,396 28.5 5.1
City of London 2.6 33                 7,375 17.1 1.9

For the quickest internet in London head over to Richmond upon Thames, which has an impressive connection speed score of 9.9. Notably, however, the business districts of Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Westminster and City of London all register the worst internet speeds across the entire capital, each with an index score of below seven. Similarly, the boroughs of Westminster and the City of London all offer 100% 4G coverage but rank as the two poorest areas in the country for internet speed.

Methodology

To create our index of the UK’s Most Connected Cities, we combined data based on internet speed, fibre optic broadband coverage and mobile data availability around the UK.

We gathered these statistics from the Connected Nations 2018 report.

How to hold a training webinar

Understanding your webinar hosting platform, planning your training session, and doing a dry run are just some of the ways to hold a winning training webinar.

Maybe you’ve done a few presentations, chaired meetings, and completed a talk or two, but webinars are a different challenge. It’s that much harder to keep participants engaged without the face-to-face interaction, and so extra effort is needed to make your session a success.

Here are our top tips on how to help make sure your next e-learning session runs without a hitch.

Research your audience

Before you begin crafting your webinar training session, consider your audience and discover their needs and expectations. Work out if they have any performance gaps, what kind of goals they are looking to achieve, and how they like to learn new skills.

There’s a good chance your training webinar will need to cater to a variety of needs, so the more you know about them, the better your chances for happy ‘students’.

Consider inviting a guest host

There are times when two heads can be better than one, and if you have access to a colleague or speaker considered an expert in a field relevant to your presentation, then a guest host could give your webinar some added gravitas. If you’re running the webinar as part of a marketing campaign, make sure you promote them along with exactly what they’ll be bringing to the table.

Choose the perfect webinar hosting platform

There’s nothing more frustrating than putting in the hours to create a brilliant training session, only to stumble at the last hurdle due to unreliable technology. Finding the right webinar hosting platform is crucial to your success, so take the time to find one that’s feature-rich and scalable, with the capability to interact and share screens and slides with multiple participants.

Also consider one-click entry (for easy access to your webcast), HD video and audio, and audience engagement features such as polling, surveys, and text chat.

Create your online content

When crafting the content for your online training seminar, it’s recommended you begin by producing a script that features everything you need to include from start to end. Next, you need to condense the information into more succinct and easy-to-digest slides for your audience. Don’t forget to mix up the content, using interesting imagery and insightful graphics to bring your presentation to life.

Choose imagery that accounts for all your audience, as something that seems poignant or entertaining in the UK may be lost on foreign participants. Think about the level of knowledge your audience has and create content that uses terminology to which they can relate. Balance is key – too basic and they’ll roll their eyes, too over-complicated and they’ll switch off.

Do a dummy run

Once you’re happy with the content for your training webinar, it’s time for a dummy run. This will allow you to nail the timing of your session and make sure you’re hitting all the right notes. It also allows you to become familiar with your hosting platform, and gives you a chance to iron out any problems.

Tweaked your seminar accordingly? You might want to invite some team members along for a trial run in exchange for some constructive criticism. Ask them to fill in a survey afterwards to see if your content, presenting, or pacing needs work prior to your training session. Also, don’t forget to allow additional time for any guest speakers, as well as post-training questions from your attendees.

Post-training actions

Once your training webinar has finished, you might want to tell your audience you’ll be sending them the slides or a recorded version of the training. This will allow them to share their learnings within their teams. You might also want to upload your training recording so you or others can send it out to anyone who couldn’t attend.

Don’t forget to ask all participants to fill in a post-training survey, and you can use the feedback to perfect any training you have in the pipeline.

Training webinars are an excellent way to reach out to others on a global scale, and they are a great tool for building your brand when perfectly orchestrated. With some time, effort, and the right technology, you can make your webinar training session stand out from the rest and earn a reputation as an expert in your craft. For more knowledge and business know-how, head over to our main blog page.

It’s easier than ever to have meetings and collaborate with your colleagues when you’re on the go, thanks to remote screen sharing and conference calls.

You could be on your way to a client meeting, working from home or travelling the globe and still easily chat to your workmates and clients and show them what you’re working on. Having the visual aid of remote screen share means you can make sure everyone’s on the same page, while conference calling lets you talk to everyone at once.

Getting the best out of this software can be a little confusing for newbies, so here are five top tips to use remote screen share effectively while you’re on the move.

  1. Come prepared

When you’re working remotely, planning and preparation is key to making sure your meeting runs smoothly. Agree a time for you and your guests to dial in to the conference call and tell them you’ll be screen sharing.

With that in mind, it’s vital to avoid technical hitches. Sort out unique dial-in details for the conference call, making sure all your guests can use the number and pin, and give them the screen share link. If you’re using PowWowNow, you need to have the browser extension installed to remote screen share, so download it in advance. Our guide on how to screen share will help you out with what you need to do if you’re unsure about anything.

Right before your conference call, get all your documents open so you can easily flick between what you need to show your guests. This will make the best use of your time and ensure your guests don’t get bored while you’re finding the right document.

  1. Choose your location wisely

Being able to hear your guests properly is vital for an effective meeting, so finding somewhere quiet is a must. If you’re away on business you could use your hotel room, a co-working space, or even a quiet corner of a coffee shop.

As well as being quiet, the location you choose needs to be free from distractions, so make sure there are no TVs on nearby, your smartphone and desktop notifications are switched off, and there’s nothing going on nearby that could divide your attention.

Working somewhere with good lighting will save you from eye strain too, whether you’re in for a long meeting or you’re sticking around for your whole working day. Plus, if you use video on your call, it’ll look weird to guests if you’re enveloped in shadow.

  1. Check your internet connection

When choosing your location for your remote meeting, check you can rely on the internet connection. It can put a spanner in the works if there’s lag while you’re remote screen sharing, or worse, if you’re kicked out of the meeting altogether.

Test out the Wi-Fi for a while before the meeting starts to ensure it’s all working fine. If it’s not, try using your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot as a last-ditch solution, or find a better place to dial in to your meeting.

  1. Make the most of your smartphone

As well as being a Wi-Fi hotspot, your smartphone is an all-important tool for your remote meetings. You can dial into your conference call easily using your unique dial-in details and, from there, either use your computer to screen share while you talk on the phone or use your smartphone itself. The latter is a great option if you’re travelling.

If you’re using your smartphone, just put your speakerphone on so you can hear everyone while you check your screen – of course, make sure you’re in a fairly private area, so as not to disturb anyone nearby with your meeting. You can use the screen share function by using Chrome if you’re on an Android device, or Safari if you’re on an Apple phone.

  1. Check in with your audience

Before you get going with your meeting, make sure everyone is in on the conference call. Then, when you start sharing your screen, make sure all your guests can see it. That way, you’re all on the same page and there’s no confusion over what you’re looking at.

Dialling into meetings and sharing work with your colleagues while you’re on the go is easier than ever. Once you know how to make the best of conference calls and screen sharing, collaborating with your colleagues will be simple. Look at our plans and find the one that’s best for your needs.

There’s plenty of tech that can make conference calls even better for remote meetings. We’ve rounded up three essential tools that will make your conference calls better than ever.

  1. Screen share

Need to say something with images, not words? Save time on explaining what you’re seeing and reduce the risk of misunderstandings by using screen share. Having a visual element in your meeting or presentation makes it much easier for everyone involved to engage, and screen share makes it simple for anyone working remotely to get the same benefit as anyone in the room with you.

We have a guide to what screen share is and how it works that’ll help you quickly learn the benefits. Also, you’ll find our top 10 tips to help you get the best out of screen sharing very useful.

  1. Web conferencing

Web conferencing lets you hold a meeting online and use a range of features like file share, screen share, and online chat. Features like these make it easy for everyone involved to look through any files you need to share (no need to wait for emails mid meeting). Plus, the chat function lets anyone in the meeting ask a question without having to interrupt the speaker – the person talking can just look at the chat once they’re done. Web conferencing also lets attendees draw on whiteboards, which is a handy tool to help everyone collaborate in the meeting.

Read our blog on the 5 benefits of web meetings to find out more about how useful web conferencing can be. We’ve also got a guide on how to hold effective web meetings, which will help you get the best from this technology.

  1. A smartphone

Using your mobile to dial into a conference call is ideal; you can easily jump in on a call wherever you are. Look for a conference calling system that makes this simple for you. The best allow you to just dial in and enter a PIN. Better yet, solutions like PowWowNow can make things even simpler with a mobile app or digital wallet card, which means you won’t have to remember a PIN to get into your conference call.

We have dedicated guides on calling into a meeting from a mobile and using a smartphone, tablet, or computer for conference calls, which will help you get the best out of using your phone or another personal device for this purpose.

With these three tools, your conference calls will be better than ever and more productive for all involved. Of course, there are other things you can personally do to make your call better – for example, we have advice on the best way to introduce yourself on a conference call, which will get you off to a great start. With our conference calls, you’ll have plenty of tools at your fingertips to help you hold effective meetings.

Preparation and checking your tech are just two ways to make sure your web meetings are frustration free.

recent European survey revealed the average employee spends the equivalent of 23 working days a year in meetings, with 13 of those days deemed to be unproductive. Which means companies are effectively throwing money away, whether those meetings are happening in person or online.

Having a better idea of what leads to meeting frustrations and issues can make a real difference to a business. Understand these five biggest frustrations so your next web meeting is sharper, more focused and ultimately, more productive.

  1. Poor preparation

They say that if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail, and this certainly rings true when it comes to hosting a video web meeting. Simply showing up and attempting to wing it will almost certainly end in failure. Likewise, if your attendees don’t know what is going to be discussed, they might struggle to contribute how you’re hoping.

Professional video web conferencing software can help you out with some of the leg work here, enabling you to send each delegate an agenda along with the invite. As well as detailing any background information surrounding the topic at hand, make sure you’re clear about any preparation required from attendees.

To be on the safe side, send a reminder and an up-to-date copy of the agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting, and don’t forget to seek acknowledgement from all participants.

  1. Location, location, location…

It goes without saying the main benefit of hosting a web meeting is that you can get together with colleagues and clients from across the globe. That said, such flexibility location-wise can also cause your meeting to fail before it’s even begun. There’s nothing worse than kicking off your meeting only to discover half your invitees have failed to book a room in their office, are on the Tube, or simply not there to begin with.

There are several ways to avoid this problem. In instances where you have attendees from your own firm across numerous sites, book the required rooms out for them and put this in the agenda, as well as adding it to their calendar. For attendees outside your organisation, put a gentle reminder in the invitation for them to book a private room that features all the necessary tech to dial in.

And finally, don’t forget to include your mobile number and email address so you can be easily contacted in the event they are going to be late.

  1. Tech issues

How many times have you arrived at a meeting to find the host red faced, fiddling aimlessly with their laptop or desperately looking for a cable or adapter? It’s bad enough when the meeting participants have failed to dial in correctly, but it’s even harder to forgive a poorly prepared organiser.

To ensure your meeting starts on a good note, make sure you check your meeting room and all the necessary equipment at least an hour before kick-off time. This will allow you some time to get help if needs be.

As for attendees, make sure your agenda includes all the instructions required to participate, including links to download any software and dial-in PIN codes or URLs.

  1. Zero control

Attention spans can easily wander in meetings. You can avoid this problem by beginning with a quick run-through of the agenda and any housekeeping rules. Introduce attendees to the meeting moderator if you have one, and make them aware of when coffee or lunch breaks will be. They’ll have a good idea of what’s going on and know there’s always something interesting on the horizon.

The moderator is there to keep the meeting focused, reign in anyone attempting to take over the meeting, and allow quieter participants to have their say. Keeping control will also help to make sure the meeting doesn’t overrun, which is another major bug bear among employees.

  1. Vague call to action

Great meetings can be rendered completely useless if they end with a vague, wishy-washy call to action. End the session by clearly stating the next steps, ensuring each participant is aware of anything they need to do. Follow up the meeting with a brief summary of everything covered, highlighting the dates by which any further actions need to be completed.

By paying meticulous attention to detail throughout planning, delivery and post-meeting, you can buck this trend and earn a reputation as someone who doesn’t hold meetings for meetings sake. For more expert knowledge, read more on our blog where you’ll find dozens of articles designed to help you get ahead of the business game.