Posts Tagged ‘Mike Bayer’

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!”

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.

 

When we think of video surveillance we picture the young punk in the hooded sweatshirt waiting in the shadows for the unsuspecting young professional women to walk to her car. Although it’s true that video surveillance will cut down on parking lot purse snatchings, there are other reasons that businesses, both large and small, are implementing, and in many cases, upgrading their video surveillance systems. There are three main reasons.

  1. Theft Prevention. This is the obvious one. If something is stolen, you want to see who took it, when they took it and where they went. With that information, you can notify authorities and can implement procedures to keep it from recurring.
  2. Litigation. If someone is hurt or injured on your property, you can be sued. Depending on the nature of the incident and your company’s financial health, the settlement could be in the millions of dollars. Video surveillance can monitor the forklift driver, the punch press operator and even the pizza delivery person in your parking lot. If there were an accident you can help determine if it’s your company’s responsibility, someone else’s carelessness or their intent to commit fraud.
  3. Employee Productivity. Monitoring inside your facility will verify shifts starting and ending on time, smoke breaks not running over and may even make the water cooler the last place to hide. If your employees are somewhat feisty in nature, audio surveillance combined with video surveillance in the breakrooms will answer the age old question of who started it. 

The more thought that you give it, the more reasons there are to invest in a video surveillance system. The varieties of cameras are endless; inexpensive analog devices, IP cameras that are never out of focus, 180 degree units, employee recognition at 100 yards, infra-red, wireless; the list goes on.

As for recording and playback, we’ll save that for another day. In the meantime, if you’d like to see how video and audio surveillance can help your company by reducing theft, shielding you from litigation and increasing employee productivity, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. We’ll show you how we have helped companies like yours keep an eye on their bottom line.

Did you ever wonder where the expression, “thinking outside the box” came from? According to my extensive research, participants were asked to look at the 9 dot puzzle and connect all the dots using 4 strokes with a pen while never leaving the paper. Try it. I’ll wait…Give up? Try again and think. “Use your head!’ to quote your father. Still can’t get it? Okay, we’ll help.

I know what you’re thinking, that’s cheating! No, it’s “thinking outside the box” both literally and figuratively.

In business do we think outside the box? Should we think outside the box? After all, it is cheating. At Select Telecom we love to cheat; cheat your competitors who focus on quick profits while ignoring customer satisfaction; cheat other telecom providers who focus on buzz words and not their client’s bottom line. If you’re prepared to “think outside the box” and use technology to cheat the odds, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151 and we’ll show you that cheaters do prosper.

Every four years it’s leap year. Yes, I know that there is no leap year at the turn of the century; unless that year is divisible by 400. Anyway, we get an extra day this year. What shall we do with it? How about giving your business phone system a 48 month check up?

When you had your new phone system installed you’d have been lucky if it were designed correctly to make it easy for your customers to buy from you and hopefully easy for them get their billing questions answered so that they can pay you. Making it easy for your clientele to deal with your company is the key to customer retention.

As technology changes and competition for business increases, it behooves you to update how your business telephone system interfaces with your revenue stream; your customer base. Take this extra day to do a mental inventory. Ask yourself:

  • Are my incoming lines answered in a timely manner or are my customers hanging up and calling my competitors?
  • Is my Auto Attendant helpful or just annoying?
  • Does my voice mail tell my callers anything other that, “I’m either away from my desk or on the telephone”?
  • Is my system designed to get the callers to someone who can help them or just their voice mail?
  • Are my remote workers connected to my company via their smartphone? 
  • Am I using today’s technology (SIP, Unified Communications, Mobility) to add to my bottom line?
  • Do people find it easier to e-mail me than to call me?

If you answered yes, no or maybe to any of the above questions, that may be a reason to get the 48 month check up. Give us a call at 815-282-5151 or e-mail us (if you find it easier, oops!) at sales@slectteltech.com  If that be the case maybe we need to take the day off for a little check up ourselves.

Network Services, commonly referred to as dial tone has been around since there have been choices from the telephone company. Years ago your company could have a T1 line which provided Direct in Dialing numbers, DID. This affords your employees having a direct telephone number without have a dedicated line. This evolved to ISDN, Integrated Services Digital Network. This was like T1 but had ANI, Automatic Number Identification which is very similar to Caller ID. It had some additional features most notably DNIS. This stands for Dialed Number Identification Services which allow your company to determine which telephone number was dialed by a customer. Unique numbers could be associated with distinctive products and services. These numbers could be answered differently by your employees. Do you remember those late night 800 numbers selling the ginsu knife? That was DNIS in action. DNIS let those operators know if you were calling for a Kitchen Magician or the Slim Whitman record.

In the old days, every outside line you had in your business corresponded to a pair of copper wires sent from Ma Bell’s Central Office over her telephone poles and into your building. Today the great majority of business telephone service is brought in over T1 or coax. Ma Bell evolved into a LEC, Local Exchange Carrier. They are the default providers. In our neck of the woods, it’s AT&T and Frontier (who purchased it recently from Verizon, formerly GTE). Chances are your service is not provided by the LEC but a CLEC, Competitive Local Exchange Carrier. You know them as Earthlink (formerly One Communications) TDS Metrocom, PAETEC, Norlight etc. Since these CLEC’s don’t own any telephone poles, all their service to you is over anything but copper. It could be T1, fiber, coax or even satellite.

Since you’re getting a full T1 and voice is but an application on the network. LEC’s and CLEC’s are providing internet access and dial tone (voice and data) on the same connection. Whatever is left over on the T1 bandwidth after you subtract what is needed for voice equals the usable bandwidth for your internet.  Sometimes this is called Dynamic T1. Do you want DID numbers and DNIS with that? It’s not a problem.

So now that we know where we’ve been, where are we going?  SIP, Session Initiation Protocol, holds the most potential. SIP trunks typically cost less than comparable service. They’re location agnostic-you can have listed telephone numbers from anywhere in the US and often times the world. Since the FCC and Illinois Commerce Commission see it as a data service, it’s exempt from many of the taxes levied on traditional dial tone services. Most of the newer telephone systems are designed to integrate directly with SIP trunking. This lowers the cost of the telephone equipment needed.

SIP, T1, DID, DNIS; what works best for my business and will be a cost effective implementation? Do what the Pro’s do. Call a vendor who is affiliated with your LEC and all the CLEC’s and provides all the services. Our affiliation with a Master Agent to all these providers with all their services make us the Pro’s choice. Give Select Telecom & Technologies a call today at 815-282-5151 or at sales@selectteltech.com and let us put our 25+ years of experience to work for you.