Stay up to date on the latest in business technology, IT services, and AV solutions.
Stay up to date on the latest in business technology, IT services, and AV solutions.
Written by Pam Bednarczyk, Content Marketing Manager at ShoreTel
Cost effective, easy to set-up and scale… if you’re already sold on the benefits of cloud communications, but aren’t yet ready to make the leap, SIP trunking might be just what you’re looking for.
SIP Trunking is a way to deliver telecommunication voice services over the Internet. If your current phone system or PBX can connect to the Internet and use the SIP protocol to make calls over the Internet, then SIP trunking can be a means of delivering high quality, reliable digital voice services for your business without the cost of additional hardware or the need to switch phone systems.
Certain business dynamics are well-suited to SIP trunking. If you see your business in one or several of the five scenarios below, a SIP trunking solution may be right for your organization:
1. Growth or Seasonality. SIP trunking is a great way to support anticipated growth or seasonal fluctuations in call volume without overpaying for lines that you won’t use right away. By pairing SIP trunks with your onsite system, you’ll be able to add capacity on-demand with no guessing about how many lines you might need in the future. Plus, since adding capacity requires little effort from your end, you’ll save time and money by eliminating the need for onsite installations to support growth.
2. Nearing End of Contract. If the contract for your current phone system or connectivity service will be coming to an end, there’s no better time to re-evaluate your current telecom needs as a whole. SIP trunking is a great way to address common quality, cost and management issues. By switching to SIP trunking, you’ll gain instant savings with usage-based pricing and uptime you can depend on. Top SIP trunking providers are able to work with multiple carriers to deliver competitive pricing and lower implementation fees.
3. Looking for Cloud Benefits. Cloud phone systems offer scalability, improved business continuity and less maintenance. If your business would benefit from these cloud-based features, but you’re not ready to make the switch, SIP trunking can be your intermediary solution. It allows you to scale on-demand so you’re not paying for more telecom capacity than you need. Plus, it improves business continuity by delivering redundancy and automatic failovers to ensure your phone system is always running.
4. Office Locations Worldwide. Top SIP trunking providers work with numerous international carriers to deliver a large global footprint of services and localized phone numbers. By running your voice and media data through SIP trunks, you can deliver a seamless communications experience regardless of location. Additionally, it becomes easier to maintain your telecom connectivity throughout the different offices since all services can run through the same network with the same provider.
5. The Need to Simplify Telecom Management. By eliminating the need for hard wires and the maintenance associated with them, your teams will have one less thing to worry about. SIP trunking providers frequently offer other communications solution as well, which may allow you to consolidate vendors and have a single source for all your communication needs.
Want to learn more about Shoretel’s SIP Trunking solution? Contact us here.
Time is money.
So, how much time / money do your employees spend in meetings?
Chances are, it’s more than you think. According to research conducted by management consultants Bain & Company, about 15% of an organization’s collective time is spent in meetings.
That percentage has risen steadily since 2008, so it’s unlikely we’re going to see the end of the meeting culture anytime soon. All the more reason to take steps now to improve productivity and efficiency. Unified communications (UC) make collaboration simpler and faster by eliminating the complexity and problems associated with disconnected devices and technologies.
The end result – You spend less time trying to get things to work and more time working together.
Every Minute Counts
How often have you led or participated in a conference call that was delayed because another participant didn’t have the correct dial-in information or had difficulty viewing the presenter’s shared desktop?
With UC, keeping meetings on time, productive and cost-effective becomes naturally embedded in your workplace culture. Below are six ways UC can improve meeting efficiency and effectiveness:
1. Join with a single click. With UC, employees don’t need to enter dial-in numbers or passcodes. A click of a button gets them directly into the web, video or audio conference.
2. Work from any device or location. One of the biggest obstacles to a prompt start is the use of different devices to join a conference call. Incompatibility inevitably leads to hiccups – plug-ins need to be downloaded at the last moment or the meeting app isn’t available on a particular platform. UC can eliminate such roadblocks because it’s designed to work across all iPhones, Android devices, and both Mac and Window platforms.
3. Use an agenda to stay on track. What’s the top piece of advice for having a productive meeting? Create an agenda and stick to it. This sets clear expectations about what will be accomplished and acts as a guide for keeping the meeting running efficiently. UC can help you stay on target by tracking the amount of time spent on each topic.
4. Share ideas – visually. One way to help facilitate understanding is to use visual presentations. When others can see your screen, you can more easily convey your ideas. Cut down on the amount of time spent explaining and increase comprehension in the process. Screen sharing also facilitates collaboration, making meetings highly productive.
5. Control side conversations. UC can help you keep the conversation on track via a group messaging feature that enables attendees to comment without interrupting the meeting. Feedback is discussed only after the presenter has finished, a far more efficient method than constant interruptions. Plus, by capturing questions in a conversation pane, the speaker can prioritize and address them in a logical manner.
6. Record, share and save time. Another efficiency driver is the ability to record your meeting. It can be used for reference, especially if key decisions need to be revisited. And if a key player missed the meeting, he or she can get up to speed without impacting fellow team members’ time.
If a team can save just five minutes a day by using these features, organizations can shave hours of wasted time each month. The numbers are compelling because time is money. With solid UC tools at their fingertips, your employees can better focus on what really matters – working together to get the job done.
Learn more about ShoreTel here.
Implementing a new VoIP phone system is a high-profile project that will impact every aspect of your organization. With stakes like that, you’ll want to identify the steps that will make the switch a huge success.
Start the process by asking these five questions. They’ll provide a solid framework for a practical and thorough project plan.
1. What features do your employees want?
Before defining your business needs, it’s critical to get internal feedback up front. Employees are your best source of information about current processes and can help you understand obstacles to seamless communication. All this provides a solid foundation for your project requirements.
Start by understanding each team’s goals. While employees may not immediately see the connection between better results and specific VoIP features, it’s certain you will.
It’s a big task to collect requirements across the organization, which could encompass a dozen or more departments, groups or teams, each with its own set of needs and expectations. But this is absolutely the most important step in making the switch. Without a clear understanding of what each group needs from the new VoIP phone system, you’ll have difficulty getting employee buy-in.
2. What are the system requirements?
Conduct an audit of your organization’s existing systems and equipment, including routers, wiring, switches, phones and local area networks. Your quality of service depends on these elements, so be sure to identify what’s missing and what needs to be replaced or upgraded. The wrong equipment can impact performance significantly. A weak spot in your LAN, for example, can ripple across the entire system.
3. Who will handle system administration and technical support?
To remain competitive, your business should be agile. You need the flexibility to make administrative changes, such as adding users, on the fly. Ideally, you should be able to make routine changes and updates without having to call the vendor.
You also don’t want your IT team to be mired down troubleshooting technical issues. Look for a vendor that can provide both an administrative portal to ease day-to-day management, while also taking on the responsibility for keeping your VoIP system up and running.
4. What are the project goals and how will we define success?
Define and measure three types of goals: technical, project and business outcomes. For example:
5. How do we support a mobile workforce?
In all likelihood, much of your workforce is already using mobile phones to perform daily duties. Your new VoIP phone system should enable employees to use collaboration and productivity apps through their preferred mobile devices. Plus, all users should have the same features and functionality, no matter their location or their device. The bottom line: It’s essential for the vendor to have mobility baked into their solution.
Switching to a VoIP phone system will be a game-changer for your organization, especially if you’re jettisoning legacy telecommunications technology. With lower costs and greater flexibility, VoIP can offer your company a tremendous competitive advantage as your workforce becomes more nimble and responsive.
Learn more about ShoreTel’s VoIP phone system here.
In today’s world it is vital to implement technology in a business’s customer experience management toolkit. A total of 88% of IT managers surveyed say technology implementation increases employee productivity. Another 77% say it increases customer satisfaction. Businesses not using technology as part of the customer experience, or those working to begin the transformation, may be met with disappointment. A study by Genpact states that as many as two-thirds of digital transformation projects fail to meet expectations.
To implement a successful digital transformation, businesses must find solutions that address the major issues affecting workers and IT teams before they trickle down and impact the customer experience. Industry leaders should prioritize the following four considerations when planning a transition to digital service platforms.
Schools today face a vast assortment of threats, from violence to severe weather, school security needs to protect from all types of dangers. By assessing and investing in physical security solutions, education facilities can be prepared for the unthinkable. School security is top priority at Camera Corner Connecting Point, and our physical security department will help you identify must-haves for your school security system, assessing multiple aspects of security. Remember that each facility and application is unique and should have a one-on-one consultation with an expert in physical security. Below is a general list to consider for the security of your location.
While school safety is a broad topic, it’s an important aspect of all educational facilities. Having the best security solutions in place for your school will help protect your students and faculty, while easing the fears of parents. Contact Camera Corner Connecting Point to learn about the best options for your school’s needs, or learn more about our security options here.
After the long, cold months of winter, most people look forward to the warm relief of summer. With vacations, festivals, and trips to parks and beaches, homeowners spend much of their time away from their property…and burglars take advantage of it.
The most common time for a home invasion to occur is when there is no one present in the home, so it’s no surprise that the rate of home invasions rises by 10% in summer months. Specifically, July and August have the highest number of home invasion occurrences. Keeping your windows and doors locked can help reduce your risk of a home invasion, but locking entry points is simply not enough protection. An average of 3 out of 5 invasions involved using forced entry.
One home invasion occurs every 14 seconds in the U.S., but you can utilize a strong defensive strategy to lessen your chances of becoming a victim. The number one deterrent for burglars is a monitored home security system. While an extravagant system may not fit into everyone’s budget, other options are available.
At Camera Corner Connecting Point, we would like to show you a cost-effective security system from Bolide. The Bolide Camera Security System features recording and Internet accessibility, and can be installed yourself. Let us show you how an effective home security system can be used to protect your home or small business.
As an added bonus, when you stop in to ask about the Bolide Camera Security System, you will receive a free insulated cooler and be entered to win a “loaded” cooler and picnic blanket. (Coolers available while supplies last.)
If you make money using the phone, then your phone system needs to be one of your business solutions, not inhibiter. Your prospects must be able to reach you in a timely manner. Your customers need to find you wherever you are, at the front desk, in a meeting or outside the office. That’s how you want to serve your prospects and customers. That’s how they want to be treated.
Here are two ways an onsite phone system can better enable how your customers do business with you by eliminating latency and enhancing reachability.
When a customer or prospect calls your company and the phone rings endlessly without being picked up, or it goes to a general mystery voicemail box, they may question how capable your business solutions are. You want to give the impression to current and potential customers that you can serve them the way they want to be served, whether your business is big or small.
Phone system latency is sometimes referred to as the, “mouth to ear” delay. It’s based on:
An onsite phone system allows you to address latency by routing calls using the power of work groups.
Work groups can be created to respond to what’s happening in your business. For example, you might have a new advertising campaign and you need more people ready to answer the phone. Perhaps there are changing weather conditions and you need to re-route how support is handled. Or you want to better enable how calls are routed to a call center team and establish a top down or longest idle calling pattern so your best sales person or available call center consultant gets the next call. You may even have a business that requires seasonal considerations like greetings or auto attendance during high call volumes.
Addressing latency gives you speed and flexibility in how you run your business and respond to your customers.
Some folks lament the current standard that you must always be reachable anytime, anywhere. But business reality is such that if you aren’t reachable and you aren’t set up to respond to your customers, then your customers are going to go elsewhere.
Reachability is how easy it is for a customer or prospect to locate you or your team. It’s not just how long it takes to reach them, but how easily a customer can access them.
An onsite phone system can help you be reachable by allowing your phone to find you or key staff members wherever they are.
It gives you the ability to use external assignment rules that have phones ring wherever an employee is – whether that’s in a meeting, traveling or at a client site. It can even mean having several phones ring at the same time, say, your desk and cell phone ringing simultaneously.
World class phone systems using unified communications allow you to implement tools that make you and your staff more accessible through Microsoft Outlook integration, and desktop client and mobility features like find me/follow me. These basic unified communication tools are a must in today’s business environment.
This enables your staff to be reachable and findable, building on the capability of your business, not working against it.
You pride yourself on how you serve your customers. But if your current phone system isn’t helping you be responsive and reachable then it might be inhibiting your business – not enabling it.
Is it time to consider how your phone system can help you serve your customers even better?
If you’d like to evaluate your phone system’s reachability or other business solutions, email us or give us a call at (920) 435-5353.
Tamron, a leading manufacturer of optics for diverse applications, has announced the launch of the SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 MACRO (Model F017). The new 90mm macro has been enhanced with advanced features and builds upon a legacy of superior optical performance.
Built upon the outstanding optical performance of the legendary Tamron 90mm Macro
Inheriting the optical design of the previous 90mm Macro lens (Model F004), the new Model F017 delivers the same excellent resolving power and remarkably soft background blur effects (bokeh). The design ensures the best imaging performance at any range by adopting the Floating System that shifts the location of a group of elements to the best possible position as the focusing group travels relative to shooting distances. From life-size close-ups to the most distant horizon, this new 90mm Macro lens achieves outstanding image quality.
Optimized for spectacular background blur effects (bokeh)
Earlier models of Tamron’s 90mm macro lens received high acclaim for their spectacular blur effects, and the new 90mm macro builds upon this legacy. The lens achieves both sharp, vivid images and spectacular background blur effects. This combination is highly prized by portrait photographers.
This lens provides maximum efficiency in image stabilization optimized for all distance ranges from infinity to macro.
USD actuator maximized for macro photography is fast, accurate and quiet
The control software program for the USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) actuator has been revised to provide substantially improved focusing speed and accuracy when using Auto Focus. The USD quickly addresses any out-of-focus condition caused by back-and-forth camera movement (which commonly occurs during macro photography) ensuring better results when shooting at close range.
Moisture-Proof and Dust-Resistant Construction
Special seals protect areas of possible ingress surrounding switches, and the boundary between the focus ring and the lens barrel. These provide stronger protection against the intrusion of dirt, dust and moisture compared to the Moisture-Resistant Construction used previously.
A durable Fluorine Coating on the front element repels water and fingerprints
The water and oil repellant coating applied to the front element surface allows instant removal of dirt or smudges with ease.
Advanced coating technology reduces flare and ghosting
A combination of coatings virtually eliminates extraneous reflections and substantially reduces ghosting and flare which enables the lens to achieve flawless, crystal clear images.
Use of circular aperture to achieve beautiful, rounded blur effects (bokeh)
When shooting a scene that includes a point-source of light in the subject background, marvelously tuned blur (bokeh) can be obtained without generating undesirable polygonal shapes of aperture patterns thanks to the circular aperture. The 9-blade diaphragm retains a nearly perfect circular opening even when stopped down by two stops.
Focusing options perfectly suited to a macro lens
The new 90mm macro has a focus limiter that makes it possible to shorten the time for accurately focusing on a subject when the working range is known. The lens also features an Internal Focusing system, so the overall length of the lens never changes, not even when focusing. As a result, the user is assured of a comfortable working distance of at least 139 mm (5.5 in.) from the front of the lens. In addition, the lens is equipped with a Full-time Manual Focus override mechanism that makes it possible to flexibly choose focal points. Even with the AF driving system in action, it is possible to instantaneously override it to make manual fine focusing adjustments without switching the AF-MF mode back and forth.
The following images were captured using the Tamron 90mm Lens:
Tamron, a leading manufacturer of optics for diverse applications, announces the launch of the SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (Model F016), the world’s first fast-aperture telephoto lens with VC (Vibration Compensation). Tamron’s acclaimed VC makes it possible to take handheld photographs in dim light or at night.
The world’s first 85mm fast-aperture lens with image stabilization
Tamron’s VC image stabilization system enables handheld use in dim light without flash. Camera movement—often too minute to be perceptible to the photographer—is the leading cause of unpleasant photographs. The VC System, Tamron’s time-proven Vibration Compensation, keeps the sharpness at hand, even in moody, dim light when shutter speeds tend to be longer.
Superior resolving power and attractive bokeh
By thoroughly reducing comatic aberrations (distortion of off-axis point source) and astigmatism, subjects that appear as a distinct point source will be captured as a distinct point source even at the edges and corners of the frame. The 85mm achieves natural bokeh— that dreamy, semi-focus blur that separates the portrait subject from the background with a snap.
Fluorine Coating and Moisture-Resistant Construction
Fluorine Coating technology developed for use in industrial optics applications has been adapted to photographic lenses. The water and oil repellant coating applied on the front element surface allows safe and easy removal of fingerprints, dirt and smudges. In addition, seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to prevent infiltration of moisture and/or rain drops and provide Moisture-Resistant Construction. This feature provides an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions.
Sophisticated eBAND and BBAR coatings plus Advanced Anti-Reflection Technologies
Two highly developed lens coating technologies, eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency) which uses nanotechnology, and BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection), combine to increase light transmission and to reduce flare and ghosting to imperceptible levels. The 85mm lens delivers high contrast, sharp and clear images worthy of a fixed focal lens. This lens clearly captures detailed tones even in the shadows.
USD actuator maximized for fast and accurate focusing
Experience improved focusing speed and accuracy when using AF. Full-time Manual Focus override is available at any point during the autofocus operation for deliberately shifting focus without switching the AF-MF. Whether overriding the autofocus or focusing completely manually, the focusing ring turns smoothly and evenly.
The following images were captured using the Tamron 85mm lens.
Business competition in today’s economy is fierce. Your customers expect the highest level of customer care, and you and your staff need to be reachable, professional and customer focused at all times – no matter where you’re located. If that’s your business model, is your phone system serving you like you serve your customers?
Use this checklist to evaluate if your phone system gives your customers the experience they now expect from their chosen providers. Any items you can’t check off may signal that you could be getting more out of your phone system.
You want your employees to function effectively while improving company productivity and increasing customer satisfaction. Your phone system should help you do all that – and boost your competitive advantage.
If you’d like to discuss your phone system’s capabilities and see what’s possible for your business, give us a call at (920) 435-5353.