Posts Tagged ‘call quality’

cccVoice over IP (VoIP) has been the standard transfer protocol for voice telecommunications for quite some time. Its biggest drawback is that it utilizes the internet. Voice and video need to be transmitted in “real time.” Delays in video result in buffering which though annoying are somewhat acceptable. Delays in voice transmission result in jitter, latency and eventually, a dropped call. To most callers, this is unacceptable. The internet does not provide Class of Service (CoS); and since all traffic is treated equally, voice calls will suffer when internet usage is heavy. CoS allows for the prioritization of traffic such that voice and video data are sent ahead of non time-sensitive tasks such as e-mail and web page accessing.

In order to achieve a private telecom voice network free of jitter, latency and dropped calls you need to have a Closed Loop Communications Network, (CLCN). We have partnered with Cisco, EarthLink and Adaption Technologies to provide an integrated telephone and network application that couples the flexibility of Hosted with the operability and ease of use of a key system. Our solution utilizes Adaption Technologies’ Hosted VoIP technologies for transport over the nationwide backbone maintained by EarthLink. We provide a controlled CoS with end to end delivery. Carrier quality is guaranteed while jitter, latency and dropped calls are virtually eliminated. Your conversation never touches the internet.

This service is monitored 24/7/365 in our Aurora, IL Network Operation Center (NOC) in conjunction with our Help Desk. Our network is guaranteed with measurable Service Level agreements (SLA’s).

With this Closed Loop Communications Network you can use your existing telephone equipment or you can equip some or all locations with SIP handsets using Hosted VoIP. All calls are on net. One auto attendant can serve multiple locations. If there is a service interruption, calls are automatically redirected to a pre-assigned destination. This is location specific. We can provide enhanced customer service, detailed call reporting at a cost substantially lower than conventional telephone services.

CLCN takes the revolutionary technology of VoIP and refines it to be a cost effective business application for companies with multiple locations. It provides on net, no cost dialing between locations. You can answer any call from any location with the ability to transfer that call to any location. This results in enhanced customer service while requiring less manpower. If you believe this solution has an application at your company, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. We’ll help you get your own piece of the internet.

ekt2With the snow falling, congress stuck in neutral and the improving economy started to rear its lovely head, many companies are considering capital investment with the updating of their telephone platforms to Voice over IP high on their list. There are some business owners who have weathered this recession by lowering both profits and expectations. They tell me that they will be interested in talking about upgrading but not until their phone system dies. While this may be the best strategy to maximize your 20+ year investment, there are downfalls. They are:

Your phone system will choose to die at a very inopportune time. There is never a good time to have a major component of your business fail. Lost calls mean lost revenue and more importantly, lost customers.

The cost to maintain and old phone system is greater than the cost to replace it. Just like that 2002 Oldsmobile, there becomes a time when monthly repair bills exceed the price of a new car payment. Phone system pricing has dropped considerably over the years. It’s a safe bet to say that the price of today’s new system will be lower than what you paid back  in 1998. 

Lack of current features means lost productivity.

  • Not having an IP phone system means no off-site employees, no networking with other systems, no advanced features and no using technology to drive new business.
  • Not having unified messaging means your voice mail messages will never be sent to your smart phone. Your customers don’t know you are out of the office. They think that you just don’t care.
  • Not having fax to the desktop means looking for faxes in piles of papers and manila folders instead of a folder on your computer.
  • Not having find me-follow me means that if you do have a customer call transferred off-site to your mobile device, they may be answered by your cellular voice mail and will have to call your company again to get their problem solved.
  • Not having CRM integration means that you can endlessly annoy your customer by asking them their account number, phone number, alternate phone number or address just for the privilege of selling them something. If you’d like a demonstration of how annoying this is, call your cable provider.

As you can see this ticking time bomb approach is not a proactive way to run your business. By giving your customers the best technology available, you make it easy for them to contact you, to deal with you and to buy from you. Make them want to die to do business with you instead of you dying from the lack of their business.

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.

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.

 

Well, where do we start; our history? We’ve been around since 1983 selling and servicing small to medium sized businesses in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

Our primary products? We’ve been authorized Toshiba Telecom dealers since our inception but we also sell Allworx and hosted IP as telecom products. We are also agents for the major network service providers; AT&T, Comcast, TDS, EarthLink and the list goes on.

Our complimenting products and services? It’s a rather diverse set which includes:

  • Audio and Video Surveillance from a few simple analog (CCTV) cameras and DVR to 20 megapixel, 180 degree IP cameras with a 10 terrabyte Network Video Recorder.
  • Cambridge Sound Masking Technology which provides cost effective ceiling mount speakers which produce a “white noise” which mirrors the spectrum of the human voice. It does not have to be loud to be effective.
  • The SonicWALL® TZ Series which offers a revolutionary breakthrough with higher performance protection, new redundancy capabilities, comprehensive Anti-Spam integration, application intelligence and control, and other innovations to protect and improve the efficiency of your business.
  • Care Connect by ESCO Technologies is a revolutionary approach to the bundling of telecommunications and TV services to the assisted living/senior housing communities.

The one thing you really need to know about Select Telecom is our goal which is to provide advanced solutions by leveraging the technology of both the equipment manufacturers as well as the network service providers to be the most cost effective alternative to affect profitability and increase client retention. That’s it. If we can’t put money in your pocket or help you keep your customers, then the technology and our expertise is useless. If you’re looking for a solution that means something to your company’s bottem line. Contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151.

Purchasing a new telecommunications system is not to be taken lightly. Considering most of us wait in the neighborhood of ten years or longer to do so, we need to do our homework. Failing  to doing so may put you in the unenviable position of gritting your teeth for a few years until you can justify pulling the plug on a bad decision.

Your homework assignment before undertaking this project is to Prepare, Research and Implement. Let’s break them out individually.

1. Prepare

  • You will be implementing a Voice over IP system. Ask yourself:
    • How will I be using the IP applications, if I am I in fact using them?
    • Am I willing to change the way calls are handled? The way calls are transferred?
    • Am I designing a solution that fits my personal needs? My employee’s needs? My customer’s needs?
    • What’s my budget? Can I spend more? Must I wait until the budget meets the application? Am I willing to settle for the least costly solution which may not meet my requirements?

2. Research

  • Am I considering a cloud based or premise based solution? What are the benefits and weaknesses of each?
    • If cloud based,
      • Should I sign a 3,5 or 10 year commitment? What are the early termination fees?
      • Is the cloud base service provided on the carrier’s internet pipe or will I need to subscribe with a separate internet provider? What happens when the internet goes down? How important is disaster recovery to my business?  What are my options? What are the costs associated?
    • If premised based,
      • Is this an open or proprietary system? Should I be concerned?
      • Once I purchase, will there be annual “license to use” fees?
      • What is the warranty on hardware? On software applications? What are the costs associated with the software upgrade and support services?
    • What changes are needed to my office to make either system function?
      • Will I need a dedicated Cat5e or Cat6a outlet for each voice terminal or can I share with the PC’s outlet? What are the drawbacks?
      • Will I need POE switches? Replace or upgrade my routers? Buy additional equipment to interface with the new telecommunications system?
      • What equipment is required if I wanted wireless handsets?
      • What if I want to keep some analog devices?
        • Single line phones in the shop area
        • Door phones/door lock access
        • Access to external paging horns
    • Choosing a vendor
      • Have I seen enough alternative approaches to designing my solution?
      • Have I seen how different vendors approach my application?
      • What’s important to me?
        • Price or value?
        • Local company or one with multiple locations?
        • Telephone centric or data centric company?
        • Between price, support, reliability, applications and total cost of ownership; how would I rate most important to least important?

3. Implement

  • Have I coordinated the install with:
    • My IT Department?
    • My Network Service Provider?
    • My Internet Service Provider?
    • My Customer Service Department?
  • How much down time can I expect? What are my options if I’m out of service for a day or more?
  • Will I be charged for training or minor program changes? How long is the grace period?
  • If the vendor and their solution can not perform to expectations, what is my recourse?

Purchasing a new phone system, like homework, can be fun if you’re prepared and ready to invest the time and effort needed to succeed. If not, it’s like starting that ten page term paper on Einstein’s theory of relativity due Monday morning on Sunday night.

If you’d like some private tutoring with this assignment, give our Sales Department a call at 815-282-5151. We’ve experienced those Sunday night jitters a few times.