5 locations in Austin with calls being sent to voicemail or giving busy tone and need to be integrated w/ centralized number

Problems – Customer is experiencing 4 different problems with their current system.  The first problem is that clients are receiving a busy signal or being sent to voicemail when calling into a location.  This issue is especially problematic at 1 particular location and resulting in loss calls or calls “falling through the cracks”.  This problem is affecting potential clients, current clients and contractors who work with them.  Another issue is that the outbound Caller ID shows incorrect information.  Clients and potential clients are calling wrong locations because the outbound caller ID shows the incorrect location.  This problem results in confusion to both the client and employee due to calls being routed or returned incorrectly.  Due to this issue, clients must then hang up and call the correct clinic resulting in wasted time, inconvenience and inefficiency.  The third problem is that offices are not integrated/able to transfer between locations.  There is no way to transfer calls between multiple locations with the current system in place.  If a client or potential client needs to speak with someone at a different location than they called into, they must hang up and redial the correct office.  This causes an inconvenience and time loss to the client and could result in the person becoming frustrated.  If employees need to speak to one another, they must get a line out and dial the appropriate office as opposed to having the option to press one button in order to reach another location, thus resulting in a less efficient operation.  The final issue is no centralized number.  Each location is listed separately with no centralized number for new and prospective clients to call and be processed appropriately.  Once calling into this centralized number, clients could then be transferred to the appropriate office to handle their needs.  A centralized number would help to cut down on lost calls, end confusion and result in a more efficiently ran system.

Scenario Solutions – The proposed solution to address and resolve the current issues would be a VoIP system.  The VoIP solution provides the following:  Allows calls to be answered by a live person and avoid clients receiving a busy signal or being sent to voicemail.  Phone calls will ring to the number dialed, and if that line is being used, it will then rollover to the next line in the system.  This ensures that even if someone is on the phone at the location being called, someone else will be there to answer the call and take care of the client’s needs or transfer them to the appropriate place.  The outbound caller ID will show the appropriate number and clinic information (location and number) that the client needs to contact.  This will stop the client from calling the wrong clinic and having to be moved all over the place.  All offices will be integrated and have the ability to transfer calls between each other seamlessly.  This will enable the operation to become more efficient and manageable, as well as cut down on time wasted on hanging up to call the appropriate location.  This will greatly reduce the inconvenience for both clients and employees.  Ability to have a centralized number for all clients and new or prospective clients to call, thus making the process more streamlined.  With a centralized number, new clients can call and be processed before being sent to the appropriate office to handle their needs.  This gives a more professional appearance and cuts down on confusion.

Cons – Because this is a VoIP solution, the performance of this system is dependent on the quality and reliability of the current Internet at all locations.  If they choose to stay with the current provider(s), the system proposed will work, however we cannot guarantee performance.

Outdated phone system with no features and 2 office that needed to be connected

Problems – A company has locations in both Austin and New Orleans and wants to tie the 2 together.  Their current phone system is 10 – 12 years old and severely outdated.  The existing system does not have features the company needs, such as: caller ID, voicemail and cell forwarding, voicemail to email, and auto attendant.  They also need conference call capabilities to accommodate anywhere from 10 to 20 users.  Due to having an old, outdated system they are also experiencing poor call quality and cannot transfer calls between locations.  Often times they find that calls are not being routed correctly and voicemails end up in the wrong mailboxes.  The main goal is to integrate and connect the 2 offices, while added features are also must-haves.  The company needs a solution that will enable them to accomplish all of their goals while giving them the “bells and whistles” they are looking for in a phone system.  

Scenario Solutions – The most logical solution for these issues is to replace the entire old system at both locations with a new VoIP set up.  This will allow them to connect both locations, as well as give them the features they want and need.  They will receive IP phones with the capabilities they want and the auto attendant and voicemail features they need.  A conference bridge will allow them the ability to have up to 30 users per conference with room to expand.  The new phone system will also greatly improve sound quality and reliability.

Pros – This solution allows the company to connect both offices, as well as give them everything they’re looking for feature wise.  They can now transfer all calls between the 2 offices and properly route both calls and voicemails to the correct place.  They will have a system in place that allows them to grow while addressing the lack of functionality of their outdated phones.

Cons – The users are now dependent on their Internet connection and having a primary and secondary location.  If the primary office goes down or experiences problems, it could affect the second location.  The users must be properly trained in order to have a seamless transition from the old set up to the new one. 

Cast Studies: Scenarios

Problems – The first problem this company is experiencing is the phone service and lines are being handled by 2 different vendors, resulting in poor communication and integration between the 2 separate companies.  The voicemail is only at one end and provided by 1 of the vendors.  This causes voicemails to be left in the wrong mailbox and calls to “fall between the cracks”.  The integration voicemail service is limited and poor.  They are also experiencing poor quality and frequent “cracking” noises in the background of calls.  The company is in the process of expanding and hiring people to work remotely from their homes in other cities, but have no way to keep them connected to the phone system ran from a corporate office.  They have used softphones in the past, but found this to be difficult and cumbersome as compared to hardphones.  Their main concerns are missing calls or having them routed incorrectly due to the current system and various voicemail issues.  The secondary concerns are incorporating remote users, sound quality and appropriate training on how to use the new phone system.

Scenario Solutions – The main phone system is located in San Antonio with 1 remote user in Austin and 1 remote user in Houston.  They need to be connected and have designated lines and voicemail accounts, while giving full access to the remote users in other cities.  Therefore, this scenario calls for a VoIP solution to give equal access to all users.  This system will also allow for proper routing and voicemail accounts to avoid missed calls and lost voicemail messages.  The sound quality will also greatly improve thanks to QOS that will be provided.  By merging their 2 separate vendors and system into one unified system, they can expect better integration and results.  Hardphones will replace the softphones, and training will be provided for all users at the time of installation.

Pros – It allows flexibility for remote users to work from home and also allows the company to expand beyond San Antonio.  All users can be tied in to the same phone system despite their different geographical locations.  By switching to this type of VoIP set up, phone use is seamless and easy which allows uniformity between office numbers, lines and locations.  A user in the corporate office can answer the phone and transfer to a remote user, or customers can dial a direct line for an employee.  Voicemail is assigned to specific users and their numbers so there is no confusion, roll over or messages left in the wrong person’s mailbox.

Cons –Remote users are dependent upon their home internet connection, as the phones rely on internet to function.  Voicemail and other components must be set up properly from the beginning and users must be trained (due to the fact that this system may be more elaborate and in-depth than previous systems they have used).    

Voice and Data Cabling

Types of Cabling

  • Category 3
  • Category 5/5e
  • Category 6
  • Fiber
  • Coaxial

Cabling Details

Category 3:

Cabling systems are categorized by the levels of data they are able to sustain.  Category 3, commonly referred to as Cat-3, is an unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable designed to carry a maximum data rate of 10Mbit/s and bandwidth of 16MHz.  It is part of a copper cabling family and is recognized by its defining standard, TIA/EIA-568-B.

Cat-3 was a very popular format in the early 1990’s, but has since been replaced in favor of the higher performance Cat-5 cable standard.  For the last decade, most new cable installations have been built with Cat-5e or Cat-6.  Category 3 is still being used for two-line telephone systems and unlike Cat-4, 5/5e and 6 it is still recognized by the TIA/EIA-568-B standard.

While Cat-3 and Cat-5e look identical, Cat-3’s lower specifications tend to cause more errors at higher speeds.  Cat-3 is compatible with the original PoE (Power over Ethernet) specifications, though it does not support 802.3at Type 2 high-power variation.  Cat-5e is certified for a maximum of 100 MHz, while Cat-3 is only rated for 16 MHz.  Category 3 was designed for voice and data transmissions up to 10 Mbit/s, but also runs Ethernet 10BASE-T.

Category 5e:

Category 5 (Cat-5) cable is also a twisted pair cable used for carrying signals.  Cat-5 is used in structured cabling for networks such as Ethernet, telephony and video.  Most Category 5 cables are unshielded and rely on twist pair design for noise rejection.  Cat-5 cable has been superseded by Category 5e (Cat-5e), which is an enhanced version of Cat-5.  Category-5e has formally been recognized as the standard since 2001.

Cat-5e is the most common cable for data networks.  Category 5e is defined as the TIA/EIA-568-B standard with clarification in TBS-95.  The specified performance and test requirements are for frequencies up to 100MHz.  Cat-5e offers twisted pair cables in two main varieties, solid and stranded.  Solid cable will support longer length runs and operates best in fixed wiring configurations.  Stranded cable is more pliable and better suited for shorter distance moveable cabling.  Cat-5e can be bent at any radius that exceeds four times the diameter of the cable.  Most Category 5e cables are connected using 8P8C modular connects, commonly referred to as RJ45 inappropriately.

Cat-5e is not rated for outdoor use and operates at temperatures from -10C to 60C.  If being used outdoors, a conduit is required in order to protect it from moisture and lightning.  The maximum length for a cable segment is 328 feet, therefor any longer runs will require a repeater or switch.

Category 5e cabling is commonly used for faster Ethernet networks, such as 100BASE-TX and 1000BASE-T.  10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX Ethernet connections require two cable pairs.  1000BASE-T requires four cable pairs.  Cat-5 is rated for 100M, while Cat-5e is rated for 350M.

Category 6:

Category 6 (Cat-6) cable is a cable standard for Gigabit Ethernet and is backward compatible with Cat-5, Cat-5e and Cat-3 cable standards.  It offers high quality transmission of data at more than twice that of Cat-5e.  Category 6 provides performance up to 250 MHz and 1000Mbit/s.

Like the other twisted pair cables, Cat-6 has four twisted wire pairs.  It is the 6th generation of twisted pair Ethernet cabling and is made with 23 gauge wire.  Category 6 is suitable for 10 BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX and 10GBASE-T.  Cat-6 cables are normally terminated in 8P8C modular connectors and use either T568A or T568B pin assignments.

Cat-6 connectors help reduce noise, as well as lower attenuation.  Category 6 may be used for security systems and telephone services, while having superior transmission performance to the Cat-5e cable.  All these features are why many consider Cat-6 cabling the predominant media in the structured cabling market.

Fiber:

Fiber optic cables are those which contain one or more optical fibers.  They use light pulses to transmit information down fiber lines.  They are typically individually coated with plastic layers and contained in a protective tube.  Fiber optics are replacing traditional copper lines due to their large carrying capacity and ability to transmit signals a greater distance without the need of refreshing.

Modern fiber cables can hold up to a thousand fibers in a single cable and have potential bandwidth in the Terabytes per second range.  Fiber optic cable has become cheaper over time and the cost of small fiber-count-pole-mounted cables has greatly decreased.  It is estimated that no more than 1% of the optic fiber buried in recent years is actually “lit”.

While copper cable cost less per square foot, fiber optic cable has much more capacity.  Connectors and other equipment needed to install fiber optics are also more expensive.  The ends must be cleaved when joining lengths of optical fiber and therefor require special connectors. 

An optical fiber link in a commercial network will allow the transmittal of ten billion digital bits per second. Telephone calls numbering in the tens of thousands could be carried. Fibers consist of two layers of silica glass; the core and the cladding enclosed in a protective sheath.  Plastic optical fiber (POF) is a newer, plastic-based cable. POF promises performance similar to glass. POF will cost less than glass fibers but will only be used on very short runs.

Benefits of Call Recording

Have you ever wondered what the real advantage of voice recording can mean to your business? Many companies use this software on a daily basis to record phone calls for various reasons. Some of the reasons to utilize a recording system are: quality assurance, record and file information, record sales calls for later review, legal requirements and overall customer/employee satisfaction. Everyone from call centers to doctors offices use some form of call recording to ensure every call is handled properly and is up to par.

One popular use of the call recording systems is for sales people, whether it be inbound or outbound, to measure how well they interact with customers and prospects. This application allows managers to ensure the companies philosophies are well represented by the salespersons attitude and delivery. The salesperson can also benefit from the recording system by being able to replay recent calls for review. Reviewing the call allows them to see where mistakes were made and where they can improve for future calls. Both of these examples help to ensure everyone who answers the phone is doing so in a professional and helpful way.

Another advantage of having a call recording system is for companies who have a help desk or technical support department. We’ve all heard the disclaimer at the beginning of these types of calls, you know the one…”this call may be monitored for quality assurance.” Quality assurance may have dual meanings in this case, one being the issue I previously discussed (to ensure the person fielding the call is polite and professional), and they other is to determine if the technical support or help the person called to receive is actually helpful. Managers want to make certain that their technical support center is giving the correct type of advice and doing so in the appropriate manner. This can often mean the difference between a happy, repeat customer and someone who will never do business with you again.

Now that I have touched on why companies use call recording systems, lets talk about what types of systems are offered. There are various types of call recording systems available, including: VoIP call recording, outbound call recording, random call recording, station-side call recording, trunk-side call recording and business rules driven call recording. Your companies exact needs will determine which system is right for you.

In today’s world, call recording is becoming increasingly significant and useful for all businesses. Issues like customer service, providing proof of calls, later playback for review and improvement and legal matters are all reasons call recording has become so used today. Whatever your business may be, it’s certain it can only benefit from call recording software and systems. With so many different choices and applications available, let the professionals at Business Communication Solutions help you decide which one is right for you! For more information visit us at www.bcs-ip.com or call us at 512-257-1433.

Bad Data Cables

We recently pickup a few customers that needed it security (malware, antivirus, and firewall). After we finish setting this up, customer ask us if we can look into why they have computers constantly loosing network connectivity. After a bit of troubleshooting, we realize the cables were bad. We ended up replacing come cables (Cat 5e plenum). After we removed the old cables and replace with new one, we were curious, what could possible be wrong with cables, as in our experience cables rarely go bad. After inspecting the cable, we did a quick burn test. We found out the cable was not 100% pure copper. In the last 5 years, we have ran into more and more of these scenarios. Our guess was that in the last decade, there have been a major price increases on copper due to demands from China, have force some vendor to purchase cheaper quality cables. If you have computers that are constantly loosing network connectivity, give us a call, we can help!

Google fiber jack move

Google has started fiber installation in South Austin. Over the past few months, we been getting quite a bit of calls from google customers requesting that we help them moved the fiber jack. It kind of shock me that google won’t service such requests. I’m guessing they are so busy with build out, it’s hard to make that happen. With that being said, if you have google fiber install and want to have it move, give us a call, we can help.

Security Cameras System Install – labor only

In the last few months, we install quite a bit of camera systems. We had lots of calls from potential clients asking us if they already have a system and just needed someone to install it, would we be willing to install it for them. I answered simply yes. It has occurred to me that there are lots of vendor out there that their requirement to become a customers is that you have to purchase everything from them. Even if the customer already have a system, they still wants to sell you another one. I understand the logic behind it, it is a bit harder to get your technician to support all the camera systems, it’s much easier to get them to learn just 1 brand. I understand the other logic is that you have to make more money. Well, here at Business Communication Solutions, we do our best to support other brand of cameras systems, whether we sell it or not. We understand sometimes you can inherit a system when you bought a house or a business. You probably got a system as a Christmas gift. It doesn’t matter! At the end of the day, if you feel more comfortable buying the camera systems you prefer, just wanted someone to install it for you, give us a call! Let us help you save!

In the last few months, we have installed Lorex, Swann, Night Owls, LTS, Ankee, some where POE and some were TVI (coaxial)..

Cameras, access point, cat 5e data cabling….

Last week, we had a call potential customer call that needed help finishing off a cabling job that another vendor started, but did not finish. We then schedule a meeting for a site survey to see what was going on. When we came on site, we had notice that none of the cables were terminated and some cables run never made it to the destination boxes. While we were walking through the building, the customer asked us if we do security cameras systems, we replied of course! I’ve asked him if it was poe, and we found out that all the cabling was already done for it, all we needed to do was terminate, install the cameras, program the system, and set it up so the customer can view from off site via smart phone, tablet (android or ios or even windows), or from a PC. As I was wrapping things up, the customer ask us if we can install the access point and program it for them, I got a bit excited as I realize there were potential for more work. In the end, we ended up doing all the work for the customers. For those companies that have a cabling crew run all their cables, but couldn’t finish the job 100% give us a call. We can help. Whether you need to add or program security cameras, setup a basic network or a complete network with windows servers, router, antivirus, and wireless access point, we can help!

Authorized Reseller & Installer

We are Authorized Reseller & installer for all the top of the line business phone systems, to include Adtran, Allworx, NEC, Engenius, Xorcom.