All Systems are Go!... Or Are They?

A cartoon regarding obsolete products.

Imagine spending a lot of money on a new phone system or other technology only to find out a year later that it won't work with other important technology tools you have. This could be a very costly mistake for your business. Preventing obsolescence is crucial and choosing products that are created by way of open source and open standards may be the solution.

In a perfect world, computer systems and technology would all play nicely in the business sandbox. Unfortunately, not all vendors abide by that sentiment because many like to keep their secrets close to the vest. Proprietary technologies (like those offered by Shoretel, Cisco, Toshiba and NEC) are often not compatible with other systems and can be a big dead-end for customers. They can be very costly when it's time to upgrade.

Open Source/Open Standard

A flash drive.

So how can we work together to succeed? Open Source and Open Standards customarily make it easier for businesses to succeed. Open Source is the philosophy of users having universal access to a product's design. It refers to source code that is freely available for others to work on and improve, then share within the community. Open source means more features and fewer bugs in software than propriety applications offer.

Open standards is just that; standards that are available to the public to use, aiding in interoperability and producing solutions that are affordable. This philosophy works extremely well as long as you adhere to the standards. Take the USB Standard A plug - a thumb nail drive or smart phone cable we all use on our computers today. It is compatible with both MAC and PC, game systems, and other electronic components. You know if you have a USB plug, you can insert it into any device or brand that has a USB port and it just works. Plain and simple.

SIP Standard

Similar to USB plugs is the SIP standard (Session Initiation Protocol) on phone systems. This protocol is widely used in the transfer of voice or video calls over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. SIP is to telephones today what IBM was to home computers in the 80s.

The Sip Connect Compliant logo.

A carrier that has SIP trunks as its dial tone, as opposed to analog or T1s will be compatible with almost every modern phone system today. It allows for better success and fewer problems. SIP compliant phones work across multiple phone systems. For example, in the past if you bought a Toshiba phone system, you were obliged to buy Toshiba phones. Today, since most phones are SIP standard, you can use one system with many different brands of phones. For instance, Polycom phones will work with many manufacturers' systems such as Digium, Cisco, etc. Manufacturers today will often advise clients to purchase competing brand conference phones because they are compatible.

Freedom to Choose Individual Components

Digital interfaces.

Why is this so important? SIP compliant phone systems give our customers freedom! You have the choice to pick from an array of products that best suit your needs! You're not pigeonholed into a certain brand and locked into purchasing all its pieces, especially when they don't make sense for your business.

While all this is great news, there are still companies today that have proprietary phones and systems. Buyer beware because customers buying these systems will be locked in for years to come. The need to upgrade in the future will be cost prohibitive because it will be a major investment. Buying non-SIP compliant systems today means not having the capability to upgrade just the system or just the phones in the future. The entire network will have to be replaced.

If you're thinking about replacing part of your system or phones and would like to discuss options that are best for your business, call us today at 203-493-0267. We can make sure all your systems are go!

How Efficient is your Email Signature?

Can someone easily refer you business?

If someone tries to refer your business to a potential new customer, can they find your contact information easily? OR, do you send them on a wild goose chase playing "I spy with my little eye"?

Frequently we refer a friend or business associate (our "Partners") when that partner can provide a product or service that our clients need. We know who is good so we act as a resource for our customers when possible. Often times, I try to refer these people but cannot find their number. We may have an ongoing email dialogue, but because they don't have their number and email in their signature, the information is hard to find and pass along.

Suggestions:

1) In your email program, choose to have a signature added for BOTH original emails AND replies. (It is usually only the replies I find in my iPhone email.)

2) Add your email address to your signature. Don't assume that someone receiving your email will have it at their fingertips. Often I want to cut and paste my partners' signature from an Outlook email to a customer. You would be surprised at how many people SKIP their email in their signature!

Using Outlook as your email client? Click here to read how you can create your own professional email signature!