Santa w_childrenWhile wandering through the mall drinking my gingerbread latte, I happened upon Santa’s Workshop where four small children were visiting with Santa. While waiting for the caffeine to kick in, my curiosity was piqued when I heard a topic not traditionally discussed on the lap of that jolly old elf. It went something like this. “So, tell me children, what can Santa get you for Christmas this year?”

“An X-Box,” blurted Timmy.

“A dolly,” whispered Baby Louise.

“Another Christmas!” shouted Billy.

“Well, well, well,” chuckled Santa. “Little girl, what do you want for Christmas?” he said looking directly at Sally; the only one who had not answered.

“Can you tell me a secret?” asked Sally.

“I’ll try my best.” replied Santa.

“What’s VoIP?” asked Sally.

“That’s easy,” answered Santa. “It’s Voice over Internet Protocol.”

“But what does that mean, Santa?” asked Sally.

“Well, little girl, it’s actually a communications protocol.” conjectured Santa.

“Isn’t it more of a transmission technique via the internet in lieu of PSTN,  Santa?” asked Timmy?

“It’s free phone calls!” shouted Billy.

“What about the absence of QoS on the internet?” retorted Timmy.

“It’s Google Voice!” yelled Billy

“What about latency, jitter, 911 considerations.” stated Timmy calmly.

“It’s free faxes!” yelled Billy after a momentary pause.

“Not without T.38 stupid head!” shouted Timmy to Santa’s amazement.

“Children children this is no way to talk to each other.  Don’t be naughty or I’ll have to put you on the list!” said Santa in a non-threatening way.

“Santa, I’m not trying to be naughty but you can’t discount the lack of redundancy and weak security!” pleaded Timmy.

“Santa?” whispered Baby Louise.

“Yes, sweetie,” answered Santa.

“You’re just like VoIP.” answered Baby Louise speaking a little louder.

“How so?” asked Santa.

“Well, everyone’s heard of you but you mean different things to different people. If we worry too much on who or what you are, we miss your true meaning.” stated Baby Louise.

“Go on,” encouraged Santa.

“It’s not important who or what we are but what good can we bring to one another. That’s the true meaning of Christmas, Santa.” smiled Baby Louise.

“Yes, sweetie,” said Santa smiling, “That is the true meaning of Christmas!”

If you’ve spent anytime on the internet, you’ve certainly been solicited by vendors based on your search history. Being in the telephone industry I regularly receive e-mails for “white papers” comparing and contrasting different telephone systems. Is this a viable technique when you’re considering upgrading your phone equipment? I have three thoughts I’d like to share.

  1. The content is not as impartial as they imply. The easiest way to guess who is sponsoring this survey is to find the vendor of whom you have never heard. They are typically the vendor wishing to be considered with the major players.
  2. Expect to be contacted. In order to download this information you are required to register with your name, phone, e-mail, number employees, sense of buying urgency etc. Regardless of what you enter, you will be called, and soon; usually within 15 minutes.
  3. The information sent can not address your specific business issues.  These white papers can list a systems’ capabilities, features, capacity and relative cost. They can not be tailored to focus on the important things; increasing customer retention, adding to your bottom line or improving an internal process. You need a sales professional to accomplish this.

If you are in need of upgrading your telecommunications system and you would like it designed to address your company’s specific issues, we know where you can find that sales professional. Contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. Internet access not required.

Ever since I’ve been in the Telecommunication Industry, sales people have always pushed their product’s features. They would provide a laundry list; some of which you could decipher but much of which meant absolutely nothing. Astute sales people would ask pointed questions to their prospects in which they would try to convince them that their exclusive feature would be to the prospect’s benefit. To me that seems a bit backwards.

My recommendation is to take the “tool box” of features, define their applications and address business issues specific to those of the prospect. A simple way is to ask yourself, “What does this feature mean to me?” If you can not answer that question move on. A wiser way to proceed is to ask, “Will this feature solve a problem? Will this feature make me more profitable? Will it streamline a process? Will it make it easier for my customers to buy from me or to pay me? Will it add to customer satisfaction and eventually customer retention?” When you focus on what’s important to your business that laundry  list now becomes a note pad.

Polls are closed and the votes are in. It’s Applications by a landslide! Like in any election, focus on what’s important to you and tune out the hype. It’s the patriotic thing to do!

Select Telecom and Technologies is proud to announce its partnership with Toshiba to market its line of video surveillance equipment. We here at Select Telecom are not new to the industry. We have successful installations with cameras from Pelco, Arecont and Speco as well as Network Video Recorders from Exacq and Aver. Why is the addition of Toshiba noteworthy? The reasons are numerous. Take a look.

  1. Brand Recognition and Superior Corporate Stability. Being in business for 137 years and having $75 Billion in annual revenue have their advantages.
  2. Full Range of Solutions for a Variety of Applications. Toshiba markets IP and analog cameras, DVR’s, software, servers and accessories.
  3. Complete End to End Recording Solutions. The most comprehensive line-up in the industry features forward migration with IP cameras and backward compatibility with analog cameras. 
  4. Total Cost of Ownership Will Not Increase Every Year. There are no upgrade, maintenance or yearly license fees plus unlimited remote users at no charge.
  5. Excellent Service and Support. Advance warranty replacements on defective equipment; no questions asked.
  6. Interoperability. Toshiba cameras work on almost any Network Video Recorder (NVR). Toshiba NVR’s support over 100 brands of IP cameras.
  7. Customized Monitoring Software. MySurvellix provides critical alerts when cameras, hard drives or recorders need attention. We can even tie in with your POS, Point of Sale software.

So if your application requires simple analog cameras or HD 1080p cameras requiring crystal clear resolution, Toshiba and Select Telecom have the solution. Contact us a sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. We’ll be happy to do an on-site survey to discuss your options.

With football season well into week 4 and the Bears tied for mediocre in the division, it’s neither time to celebrate nor despair but to think long term. One victory does not guarantee a season’s success.  Conversely a slow start does not doom a team to failure. The same is true for your business. If after 3 fiscal quarters you need a quick score or even a monumental comeback, you don’t punt; you go deep!

From a technological standpoint how can you “go deep” when your team is down? One way is to make sure customers can get a hold of you when they want to buy something or need a problem solved. Ask yourself, “What’s the most important call I expect to receive today and how will I guarantee that I answer it?” If your solution is to hope that you are at your desk when the phone rings, you will find yourself 4th and long. The answer may be Find Me-Follow Me and Unified Communications.

Find Me-Follow Me allows you to have your phone extension ring a few times and if you are unable to answer the call it will ring another number, typically your cell phone. If the call is connected, all is well. What happens if the call is not connected due to poor cell service, the phone turned off or you being on another call? In the old days it would give the caller a chance to leave a message on your cell phones’ voice mail; not a high level of service if the caller had a time sensitive issue. Your cell phones’ voice message ends up saying, “Hi, this is Bob and you’ve reached my cell phone voice mail. If you want anything done today, please hang up and call my office again and for your own sanity do NOT ask to be sent to my extension…unless you want to end up here again!” With Find Me-Follow Me calls unanswered are left in your company’s voice mail where the caller can dial an extension to reach a specific person or press “0” for the receptionist. Customer satisfaction scores a touchdown!

If your customer does choose to leave you a message in your company’s voice mail, Unified Communications can send that message to your smart phone. You will be notified immediately and can respond or delegate accordingly. Missed sales opportunities and poor customer service are thrown for a loss.

So if you’re ready to do what it takes to put your company’s revenues in the win column, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151.

I have not been the biggest proponent of Hosted/Managed IP. As a previous post “An Open Letter to Hosted IP Providers” will attest to,  https://selecttelecom.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/an-open-letter-to-hosted-ip-providers/  Now it’s time for me to change my tune for I believe Toshiba has got it right with their VIPedge.  As I make my argument, let’s break it into two logical discussions. First being, “What type of company would benefit?” and the second being “Why is this solution superior.” 

What type of company would benefit? Toshiba’s VIPedge is designed for companies needing advanced telecom features, such as Unified Communications and PC integration with Outlook or their CRM database but not willing or wanting to own and maintain a telephone system. The VIPedge offers the alternative. Customers pay a recurring monthly fee based on size and usage. Unlike other providers who lock you in to 3 and 5 year contracts, the VIPedge commitment is only 2 years.

Why is this solution superior? The easy answer is the phones. Instead of tiny phones with hard to read LCD’s and even harder to understand buttons, choose either a 9-line LCD, 20 programmable button set or the DECT 6.0 IP4100 wireless.

With its large footprint and layout to which you’ve been accustomed, transition to the Hosted world is a breeze.

You’ll get the features that most hosted systems tout such as:

  • The ability to give each extension a unique telephone number, but still maintain your company’s listed number
  • Voice Mail with Unified Messaging including Presence, IM, Chat and Desktop Call Control
  • Mobility with Find-me, Follow-me
  • Unlimited Local/LD in all 50 states. Toll free and international calling available
  • Seamless Networking between offices
  • VIPedge Enterprise Manager web interface to configure, manage, control and maintain
  • Survivability

More importantly, here are some features that the VIPedge has that is usually not found in Hosted IP. These are the key system features we’ve grown to love:

  • Outside Line Buttons
  • Directory Numbers; Primary, Phantom and Pilot
  • Direct Station Select (DSS) Keys
  • Multiple Call/Delayed Ringing
  • Telephone Group Paging
  • Off-Hook Call Announce
  • Music/Messaging on Hold
  • Uniform Call Distribution
  • Call Record to Voice Mail

If you’re thinking that it’s time to upgrade your telecommunications platform but don’t want the cost and hassle of purchasing a new system, the VIPedge is the right choice. If you’re currently on Hosted/Managed IP platform and you’re just not feeling the love, the VIPedge is the obvious choice. Either way contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151 and we’ll get your telephone system in the cloud with your feet planted firmly on the ground.

 

We spoke about cameras in a previous post. Today we are going to talk about the second piece of the surveillance puzzle, the video recorder. This can be a DVR, Digital Video Recorder or NVR, Network Video Recorder. The technical difference is that DVR’s support analog cameras and NVR’s support IP cameras. Regardless of which one you choose, always remember the business issues related to surveillance: Theft Prevention, Avoiding Litigation and Employee Productivity.

Recent technological advances have made video recorders less expensive and have added value such that the benefits far outweigh the initial investment. These advances are:

  1. Hybrid DVR’s: This is an NVR which will accommodate both analog and IP cameras. Combining both types of cameras on a single NVR is very cost effective when the solution warrants such a mix. Choose analog cameras for smaller areas when where objects are always in focus, like the front entrance, and IP cameras for longer focal lengths where you will need to zoom in and not lose resolution.
  2. View Anywhere, Anytime: All DVR’s/NVR’s have an IP address making them accessible from any computer connected to the internet or any smart phone. What’s an improvement is that most manufacturers have a free app for your iPhone or Droid allowing you to view all cameras, view a specific camera, zoom, export images and so on.
  3. NVR Software Enhancements: Like any computer, software enhancements create new applications and benefits. Here are some of the most noteworthy readily available.
    1. Motion Detecting Software. The NVR can be set to record motion only. This saves on hard drive space and makes playback a breeze. You can even designate certain areas as immune to motion detection. For example you may only want to record someone entering your property but want to dismiss street traffic or trees blowing in the wind. When you couple this feature with lower cost for hard drives, a 30 day storage of content can be cost effective.
    2. Alarm Notifications. Any designated event can trigger an e-mail alert to be sent. Let’s say for example you wished to be notified of anyone entering your company’s property after hours. You set the alarm notification to be active from 6:00 PM to 7:00 AM and all hours on the weekends. You define movement as 10 seconds continual in a defined area. You create a new e-mail for this notification; e.g.  mypersonalalarm1234@gmail.com. Program your smart phone to play a specific tone when you receive the e-mail. Open your viewer app and see who or what has triggered this event. Call 911 or go back to watching TV as needed.

When technology meets affordability, you have this “tipping point” when that technology starts to be implemented at an accelerated rate. Past examples being the fax machine, personal PC’s and flat screen TV’s. Now is that time for video surveillance. If you’d like to see how we can design a system for you, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151.