As your business grows and develops, you’ll need a telephone system that has the robust capabilities and functionalities that can match its pace. However, the investment in telephony solutions can be hard to justify if your existing phone system is well enough to “hack it.”Read More
Dublin, CA.-It seems to be on everyone’s mind. The drought in California and everything related—there are hundreds of interconnected issues, subjects and debates occurring at the same time bringing with it a cascade of information. In California this year alone, Governor Jerry Brown has declared a State of Emergency, issued an Executive Order calling for conservation of water resources that has extended all the way to the State Senate issuing mandatory fines of $500.00 or more to homeowners who abuse water—discussions of a Bay-Delta Conveyance or twin-water tunnel extending from Santa Clara to Los Angeles, water bond issues of over 11 million dollars to be passed in November, State Water Board Emergency regulations, emergency drought proclamations, agricultural losses from the drought totaling almost 2.2 Billion dollars, burn bans, proposed water use rules—you get the point of all of this, right? It seems the dissemination of information related to the drought is nearly impossible to navigate.
What is important to recognize is that we should make an attempt to understand the information, no matter how difficult. We should also take that information and make an informed decision about how to help. Our future is at stake, and it is a fact that current water losses are abysmal and a primary concern of not only Californians, but all Americans as the wealth of America and well-being of all is at stake. You should know, as a commercial enterprise or business in California or the United States, there is an opportunity to make a significant difference.
Recently our CEO at ACD Telecom, Greg Hudson had asked me to investigate how we could make a difference as a business in California in regards to water conservation and the drought and report back to him on my findings. I had mentioned that I thought I could gather information in a few days and have an analysis prepared for him relatively quickly.
As I began to gather the associated data from articles, websites, and blogs—glean everything I could to see how we could help as a business, I realized it would take much more time and effort than originally thought. I also discovered something quite alarming. As far as commercial water conservation is concerned, there is minimal conversation about it while at the same time resources to help in the water conservation effort are readily available. All of the focus upon this issue seems to center around individual, family or private water conservation. Do a quick Google search if you do not believe me. Is there a reason for this?
Sure, there are entertainment celebrities like Conan O’ Brien, Lady Gaga, sports figures such as Anaheim Angels pitcher Hector Santiago and San Francisco Giants Javier Lopez “pitching” for environmental education and conservation—also websites dedicated to promoting understanding and cooperation such as Save Our Water and California Drought promoted by the California Department of Water Resources and the Association of California Water Agencies—but the elephant in the room that no one seems to be addressing is how to conserve water at our offices, places of business and commercial areas of our California cities. While the efforts of these celebrities and organizations are commendable, there is more that can be done. Is there a way to really make a cost-effective difference that doesn’t strain the budget, for both large and small businesses? The answer is yes.
This article is meant as an answer to the aforementioned questions and be an introductory resource to find the means to make a difference, begin a conversation at your office and become more aware of the water conservation issues from a commercial standpoint. The following are some initial points and information we found useful for our company that we would like to share them with you.
Commercial Water Conservation in California: How to Make a Difference
Governor Brown assisted in the development of an inter-agency Drought Task Force--and also reaching out to the community by stating “I call on every city, every community, every Californian to conserve water in every way possible…The driest months are still to come in California and extreme drought conditions will get worse." In the article by the Fresno Bee, it was also explained that part of the April 25th Emergency Drought Proclamation that “encourages outdoor sports facilities to similarly reduce irrigation of playing fields. It urges hotels and restaurants to give patrons options to reduce water consumption, such as limiting laundering of linens and making water available only on request.”
It would seem then that commercial water usage and conservation should be a primary issue according to the efforts and proclamations of the Governor’s Office and interagency task force. Of course, educating yourself and your team members at your respective place of employment would be the first step in commercial water conservation efforts, and there are many resources to help in that respect.
One of the first sites I came upon in my research that was very helpful was through the Pacific Institute and their concept of “Corporate Water Stewardship” which is explained as:
“Corporate water stewardship is an approach that allows companies to identify and manage water-related business risks, understand and mitigate their adverse impacts on ecosystems and communities, and contribute to and help enable more sustainable management of shared freshwater resources. Stewardship is rooted in the concept that robust and effective public water governance is critical to the long-term business viability of water-intensive industries and that companies can play a role in helping to achieve this end. As such, stewardship approaches result in companies improving water efficiency within their own operations, encouraging good practice throughout their supply chain, and collaborating with others to advance sustainable water management.”—Pacific Institute
The Pacific Institute has many valuable resources for you to peruse and examine further, including but not limited to the UN CEO Water Mandate, how to conduct a Corporate Water Assessment for your business, Alliance for Water Stewardship and many other resources. This was central to our critical understanding of what position to take and how these issues affected our business in regards to water sustainability and the human right to water. The Pacific Institute’s website also has a Media Center that was very helpful, which included multimedia and research available to you through PI Experts through contact information provided.
Another valuable resource that is actually two separate websites but is inter-connected is Save Our Water developed by the Association of California Water Agencies and California Drought issued by the State of California. Save Our Water has ‘tools you can use’, a Toolkit and the ability for businesses to increase awareness and understanding by providing videos, site buttons and infographics that can be posted directly on your business website. In fact, they have a ‘Partner Program’ which will assist in increasing awareness not only to potential clients and current customers, but differentiate your business from others that indicates your concern for commercial water conservation and your active involvement in the process. California Drought on the State of California’s website also has valuable tools, archived information and related links to help you navigate the information that is out there about current water issues and conservation efforts.
Conservation is in the Toilet
That’s right; water conservation in California is in the Toilet. Let me clarify; there is a direct way for businesses to not only assist tremendously in the conservation efforts, but do it affordably. I was surprised to find in my research that almost every municipality and county in California offers some type of rebate, loan structure or assistance in replacing urinals and high-flow toilets—even to the extent of eliminating costs for assessment, procurement and installation of all water-saving utilities. Some counties or municipalities, like the Town of Windsor, offer free business water assessments and incentive programs. Most municipalities do.
As Governor Brown has encouraged businesses in California to think of alternative ways to provide and conserve water, as well as individuals and families, you should know that according to the United Nation’s Environment Program website “Buildings use about 40% of global energy, 25% of global water, 40% of global resources, and they emit approximately 1/3 of GHG emissions. Yet, buildings also offer the greatest potential for achieving significant GHG emission reductions, at least cost, in developed and developing countries. Furthermore, energy consumption in buildings can be reduced by 30 to 80% using proven and commercially available technologies.”
With that being said, a large majority of water usage in buildings comes from high-flow toilets and loss of so-called ‘blackwater’ or ‘greywater’ that is not often recycled or put to its full usage. So essentially there are two options that I found will work for our business that we are considering. Quite simply, they are Blackwater Systems implementation and the replacement of our high-flow toilets and urinals with EPA recommended as follows:
· High-Efficiency Water Sense Certified Commercial Toilet-$200 Rebate
· High-Efficiency Urinals-$300 Rebate
These rebates are provided by the California Urban Water Conservation Council and they have the specific geographical areas covered on their website. If you do not see your municipality listed there you can check your city and county government sites and most do have commercial rebates available as of August, 2014.
As for Blackwater Recycling systems, there is an informative article at the Environmental Building Strategies website, a private company that “optimizes green building projects starting with the initial design charrette and resulting in third party verification of improved energy performance. Comprehensive energy analysis and modeling coupled with water and waste conservation strategies” is offered to clients and there is also valuable information on their website.
Blackwater recycling is also discussed through another corporate website, one that specialized in its implementation, Phoenix Water Recycling. There is an informative page that discusses the details of Blackwater (and Greywater) recycling and how it can affect your businesses positively from both an environmental and fiduciary standpoint. Many buildings in San Francisco are already migrating to these types of systems and in fact San Francisco County and City is becoming a leader in that respect.
Of course, there is a wealth of information out there but here are a few more helpful sites that can contribute to Commercial Water Conservation efforts:
“Better buildings are our legacy. USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings, and works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities.”
WaterSense-An EPA Partnership Company
WaterSense, a partnership program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services.
WaterSense brings together a variety of stakeholders to:
- Promote the value of water efficiency.
- Provide consumers with easy ways to save water, as both a label for products and an information resource to help people use water more efficiently.
- Encourage innovation in manufacturing.
- Decrease water use and reduce strain on water resources and infrastructure.
The program seeks to help consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance. Products and services that have earned the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient without sacrificing performance.
The WBCSD Global Water Tool—launched in 2007, the Global Water Tool (GWT) is a free and easy-to-use tool for companies and organizations to map their water use and assess risks relative to their global operations and supply chains.
More than twenty WBCSD members formed an advisory group, led by CH2M HILL, to develop and provide oversight and pilot testing of the GWT. Expertise was provided by The Nature Conservancy and the Global Reporting Initiative.
By comparing a company’s sites with the best available water, sanitation, population and biodiversity information on a country and watershed basis, the GWT allows to answer the following questions:
- How many of my sites are in extremely water-scarce areas? Which sites are at greatest risk?
- How much of my total production is generated from my most at risk sites?
- How many of my employees live in countries that lack access to improved water and sanitation?
- How many of my suppliers will be in water-stressed regions in 2050?
More than 300 corporations have used the tool which has been regularly updated with improved datasets and functionalities as well as customized to various industrial sectors. Adaptation to specific geographies is under development in Europe and China. The India Water Tool was launched in July 2013.
- California Urban Water Conservation Council-For Rebates on your Toilets and such
- Environmental Defense Fund-A great article entitled “Four Lessons in Corporate Water Efficiency” and gives additional resources and information for commercial conservation
- Bewaterwise.com-A great website with useful information from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California-also with links to rebates and funding for green initiatives
- The Hero Program—“Choose a lending company that caters to your specific needs. HERO™ is a financing plan that specializes in funding commercial energy and water efficiency products, as well as renewable energy systems. This program offers up to 20 years of financing at fixed rates and creates a special tax assessment on properties. Moreover, it also eliminates the barriers of high, up-front costs.” Free Application Fee and Consultation (see website)
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If it makes a difference, please let me know. ACD Telecom has committed to promoting Save Our Water on our corporate website, becoming Green Certified in California, replacing our high-flow toilets and urinals recommended by the EPA and Energy Star (taking advantage of the rebates), and are in discussion about replacing the current sewage system in our offices with Blackwater or Greywater recycling systems. What about you and your business? What will you do? Can you make the commitment to change?
VoIP Benefits Explained
Explaining Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and how it can benefit your startup is quite simple, actually. If you are not already familiar, the first step would be to understand what VoIP delivers. VoIP basically provides telephone services over your existing network infrastructure to all personnel, whether they are working at your main offices, are mobile or telecommuting (working from home).
In fact, Robin Gareiss, Executive VP with the independent research group, Nemertes, piloted a study that “conducted one-on-one interviews with 200 IT practitioners and gathered cost and deployment data from another 1,393 via an electronic survey.”[i] In the study, Nemertes discovered that “By allowing employees to work from home, particularly those who work in a contact center, companies are reducing turnover rates. Typical contact-center turnover rates are 35% to 45%, but by giving those employees flexible work schedules from their home offices, they are dropping turnover rates to 10% to 20%. VoIP allows companies to do this cost-effectively by paying for just a broadband access line ($25 to $45 per month, depending on service level) and eliminating the $50 to $70 monthly POTS charge for voice service.”[ii]
Essentially, VoIP helps you create a unified organizational network without the need of a physical office site. Many start ups are utilizing VoIP as a cost savings tool by simply avoiding a commitment to real estate at the start. NTI@home mentions that “For companies, telecommuting expands the talent pool, reduces the spread of illness, reduces costs including real-estate footprint, increases productivity, reduces their carbon footprint and energy usage, offers a means of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and possibly earning a tax credit.”[iii]
In California, utilizing a VoIP system can help you qualify for the Green Business Program, furthermore each telecommuting employee should receive corporate climate credit, which can become a monthly payment to your employees who work at home! Imagine having a virtual office through a VoIP telephone system that is flexible, scalable and cost-effective! Many of ACD Telecommunications customers indicated that one of the outstanding features of VoIP telephone systems is that when they experienced growth, or were ready to expand or relocate to another office, the VoIP telephone system easily migrated with them and actually helped cultivate their businesses!
When incorporating voice traffic over the network, companies realize substantial cost-savings by reducing expenses characteristically related with deployment or relocating phone systems and also on monthly recurring charges. VoIP implementation streamlines multiple aspects of corporate communication through simplified integration of e-mail, video conferencing or instant messaging. Some other critical points that can benefit startup companies as mentioned in the Nemertes report:
- “Ongoing network costs–Companies that have not converged voice and data traffic onto a single WAN can save money by eliminating idle capacity and combining access lines. The typical savings is 23%.”
- “Savings from SIP Trunking–Replacing PRI lines with SIP trunks can save about 40% off the monthly circuit costs.”
- “Fixed Mobile Convergence–Companies with many mobile employees eliminate costly roaming charges by moving mobile calls to the corporate IP backbone (calling a local number and routing the call from the IP PBX through the corporate WAN)”[iv]
Telephony and VoIP solutions can benefit Start-ups: Simplified Points
• Extensive cost-savings over outmoded telephone system platforms
• Unify employees rapidly and effortlessly, regardless of location
• Add additional business extensions/phone numbers seamlessly
To-do list, remembering to investigate and analyze:
- Analyze present or launch applications and investigate or plan for future bandwidth usage. Research Telco providers or ask vendors such as ACD Telecommunications to gather this for you. ACD can be reached at 800-988-6511 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ask for demonstrations and presentations. Get feedback from multiple employees and especially from those who would be communications-intensive. Employees who use your telephony solution the most stand to give you the most direct and honest feedback. If you are just starting up, ask colleagues and networking partners their ideas or associated knowledge on communications.
- Understand how your employees/customers will communicate.
- Consider what system features that will benefit your startup business in pre-launch and be prepared to discuss this with your selected vendor-i.e. unified messaging, voice-mail usage or purpose, mobile applications, remote or telecommuting employees.
- Identify and analyze cost-savings and how data will be gathered to streamline future upgrades, understand call reporting and recording.
- Identify and analyze how you will want your VoIP system to augment your business, investigate multiple platforms and solutions while gathering data.
What Businesses Need to Know: Minimum Point of Entry Issues (MPOE)
Pleasanton, CA.—There is a tale going around in certain business circles. The story is about a man who owned a barbershop, ‘Cutting Edge’ and his was the only shop in town. Then, without warning, a competitor arrived down the street and opened another shop. This would be fine except this new competition, let’s call them ‘Shear Madness’, was charging 10 dollars for a haircut while Cutting Edge had been charging 16 dollars.
After a while, Cutting Edge found out that their profits were decreasing, and it appeared from the barber’s viewpoint that there was a steady stream of customers heading into Shear Madness. The barber was getting worried and losing customers that he had for years. Then, suddenly, the barber at Cutting Edge noticed that a few disgruntled customers that had been going to Shear Madness were coming back to his business, complaining about the quality of their haircuts at Shear Madness. He had an idea. He decided the solution would be to put up a sign out front of his barbershop. It read “We fix 10 dollar haircuts”. Business returned to normal.
So what does this have to do with Fiber Optics and Minimum Point of Entry for business customers?
The company Oil Changers, and their corporate headquarters in Pleasanton, California, wanted to get their IP Network current. The company was using an outmoded IP solution to handle their mission critical data applications. Access to a fiber optic network was not available. Then, with the current roll-outs by several companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly AT&T in their “Project Velocity IP” three-year plan, Oil Changers wanted to take advantage of the functionality for data applications that a fiber-based solution would provide.
This relates to the ‘Cutting Edge’ barbershop story. There was a business need of improving IP functionality at a cost-effective rate and connecting the solution to their office location. Luis Garcia, IT Manager for Oil Changers, had discovered that while a fiber optic solution was available, the cable was only routed as far as the minimum point of entry (MPOE or demarcation point) at a central location in their present office building—but not directly linked to their offices by AT&T.
He would have to research and outsource the work to a local vendor and ended up, as many businesses have lately, selecting an electrician to connect the fiber optic cable to their offices. Oil Changers believed that the electrician would have the correct knowledge to professionally connect their IP Network to a fiber optic connection at the minimum point of entry.
Oil Changers discovered a valuable lesson that sometimes a cost-effective solution is not the best course of action, which the electrician did provide. What the electrician did not provide is the actual solution.
While this decision might appear to be not thought out, it is common for IT Managers and executives to select electricians for this type of outsourced work instead of those who have had extensive experience in telecommunications and cabling. One cannot blame Oil Changers for making a decision that was placing the fiscal needs of the company first and following traditional practice.
It is critical to understand the difference between an electrician and cabling technician—make sure each vendor has references and experience to back up their service offering. One ‘barber’ down the street might be cheaper, but the established ‘barber’ who may charge more does the job right and consistently –the first time—just might be the safer and reliable option.
While some electric companies do have technicians available to connect fiber optic networks at the point of entry to your business, many do not.
Luckily, Garcia was able to locate a local Bay Area vendor who had been in business for over 20 years and had Cabling Technicians who could handle the work. Garcia explained that the “nightmare” associated with selecting an Electrical Company to do the work was quickly and professionally resolved by ACD Telecommunications.
Last month, ACD Telecom was contacted by Garcia, informed them of the issue of lost connectivity and unprofessional service they received from the Electrical Company. ACD had their technicians on the spot within hours and solved the problem quickly. They were able to complete the objective of Oil Changers. Now, their mission-critical data applications work better than ever before and are consistent.
This brought to mind the story of Cutting Edge, and the thought that while there might be a ’10-dollar haircut’ available, the best solution might be to first contact those companies who are proclaiming ‘We fix 10 dollar haircuts’ first, or at the least have them in your contacts if something goes wrong with the cost-effective solution. It could turn out to be sheer madness.
- Be sure to find a Telecom Vendor Partner that can provide a solution in connecting the fiber optic network to your MPOE. ACD Telecommunications is one that is available to service most locations in California and Western Nevada. See the link to their website for further details.
- Prime Buyer’s Report has a list of the Top 10 Bay Area Telco Vendors, check out the other companies that offer similar service and compare pricing and personnel by scheduling a free consultation with those companies that offer it as a value-added service.
- Make sure to meet with multiple vendors, ask for references and while comparing prices, make sure the references the vendors provide are current and trustworthy.
- ABOUT Oil Changers “have developed an automotive fast oil change concept based on convenience, quality, and service. Each of the company's no-appointment-necessary services is provided on a drive-through basis. The first Oil Changer facility was opened in Northern California in September 1986 and the organization currently consists of 34 facilities in the regions of San Francisco, San Diego, and Fresno…Californians enjoy a deserved reputation for car-consciousness and environmental awareness, and the Company's convenience and environmental sensitivity make it an ideal service provider.”
Contact ACD Today about providing solutions your MPOE Issues by filling out the form below!
CASE STUDY: KENSINGTON, MD
Wicked Electrical Storm Forces Emergency Upgrade of Phone System & Presents Opportunity to Add Special Security Features
When a powerful storm swept through metropolitan Washington, D.C. early last summer, an electrical strike knocked out the entire communications system at Holy Redeemer School in nearby Kensington, MD, leaving the Catholic school without telephone service. About the only good thing about the incident was that the K-8 students were on summer break and not due to return for a couple of months. Still, the school had to make a series of quick decisions about how to restore phone service.
Everyone knew it didn’t make sense to repair the aging phone system, as was evident from replacement planning begun even before disaster struck. The cabling dated back to 1950 when the school was built and was not likely to be reused. It quickly became a question of what kind of phone system to install, and, more importantly, did the school have any special communications needs that could now be addressed?
Panasonic system engineers met with school administrators to determine how many phones and extensions were needed and what they had in mind beyond standard phone features. Fortunately, the local Panasonic engineers had installed a fiber-based data network with all new cabling a couple years earlier so the infrastructure for a new communications system was already in place, making it possible to get a new system up and running quickly. In addition to supporting 13 phones with room for future expansion, the school needed a system that could also bring significant security benefits to the table. The administrators had two capabilities in mind: 1) monitor each of the school’s main entry/exit ways from the front office and 2) remotely open each door without leaving the office.
With these criteria in mind, the Panasonic engineers recommended Panasonic’s modular and highly flexible KX-NCP1000 Network Communications Platform as the core business telephone system. In addition to accommodating near term growth and future expansion—which as it turned out would include moving the rectory’s phone system onto the NCP platform at some point—the NCP1000 made it possible to converge disparate phone systems that had been haphazardly cobbled together over the years into a single state-of-the-art IP telephone system.
Robust electrical protection was already built in to the NCP to ensure that future thunderstorms would not put the school’s converged data and phone network at risk. Finally, the NCP1000’s modular architecture would easily accommodate the desired security features with room to expand. Once they had approval to move forward, Panasonic engineers ordered the products and installation began two days later. “I was impressed at how fast Panasonic was able to deliver the equipment,” Nolan said. “They knew the situation and really worked with us.”
The installation team made room for the main NCP unit behind a locked cabinet in the computer lab, which would now serve as the school’s telecommunications control center. The Panasonic display phones were distributed throughout the school’s main building to a variety of spaces, including the lunch room, day-care center, nurse’s office, kitchen and religion office. The two administrative assistants who run the school’s main office each received a KX-NT343 IP desk phone and aKX-NT305 60-button expansion console, which enables them to quickly transfer calls to teacher mailboxes, among other things.
Both model phones offer a multitude of useful features, including speakerphone, ring tone selection and Bluetooth compatibility for those who prefer to wear a wireless headset, to name a few.
Taking communications to the next level, the engineers turned to Panasonic’s KX-TVA50 voice processing module and Communication Assistant Pro software package to make a wealth of special features possible. The TVA50 facilitates an automated attendant feature, enabling parents to dial teachers directly and leave voice messages instead of waiting to speak with someone in the main office. Teachers can pick up their messages on a 48-button KX-NT366 phone in the lounge by simply hitting the virtual button with their name on it.
Cameras and Doorphone Boxes Boost School Security
Panasonic’s Communications Assistant Pro software is what makes the NCP1000 system really shine. Besides allowing administrators to visually manage voicemail on their computer screens or use their PCs as “softphones,” CA Pro enables security monitoring. A Panasonic BB-HCM735A outdoor camera is installed above each of three doorways that are not visible from the main office: the back door near the playground, the entrance to the teacher’s lounge and the exit door leading out to the school’s magnificent Astro Turf fields. Each door—including the main entrance, which is plainly visible from the front office—is also equipped with a KX-T30865 Doorphone box and an electronic door opener.
When a student (or visitor) walks up to one of these doors and hits the Doorphone button, he can speak with one of the administrative assistants in the main office. Whenever a Doorphone button is pressed, a corresponding video image pops up on the assistant’s computer screen so she can see who is at the door. Unlocking the door for that person is a simple matter of hitting a button on the NT343 phone. “The ability to screen and control entry into the school is an important safety feature that brings great peace of mind to the school’s staff."
Room for Expansion and Then Some
Even with the amazing NCP1000 and all of its many features in place, there is still plenty of room for expansion and upgrades, starting with adding a few DECT cordless handsets to provide wireless mobility throughout the school and replacing a vintage paging system with a cutting-edge intercom network.
Each classroom will be equipped with a paging phone that can be used to page the whole school or any one of its several zones as well as make outside calls, including 911 in the case of an emergency. “The ability to easily expand was a key reason we went with this system,” explained Mary Del Bianco, the school’s technology integration specialist. ”The goal is to put into each classroom a phone that can be used as an intercom and for paging. When we do lockdown drills now, we have to rely on cell phones because there is no other way for our teachers to talk to each other.”
All in all, the Holy Redeemer staff seems to love the new Panasonic Network Communications System and can’t wait for the next round of upgrades—as long as they aren’t accompanied by a wicked round of thunder and lightening. As Del Bianco put it, “Being able to see who is at any of the doors before buzzing them in is a big security improvement for the school. Before the cameras and Door-phones were installed, teachers and students were propping doors open to get in and out, which is not very safe. Now they ring a doorbell and a video image pops up in a window on a computer screen in the main office. Our building is much more secure.”
ACD Telecom Awarded Public Employees Union Contract
Martinez, CA—ACD Telecommunications was awarded last week with the contract for telecommunications issued by the Public Employees Union #1, currently located in Martinez, CA.
Michelle Heistand, Manager of the PEU, had selected several vendors from the San Francisco Bay Area to bid on their telecommunications project, which included cabling for new 25,000+ sq. ft. location in Walnut Creek, California (Category 5e Voice and Data), and provide a new telephony solution or upgrade of their existing Avaya telecommunications infrastructure. Heistand located ACD Telecom from their Top Ten listing on Prime Buyer’s Report.
After several weeks of discovery, research and consultations from the vendors, PEU selected ACD Telecom to provide cabling services and upgrade their Avaya IP Office 500 platform. GM Heistand explained why their organization chose ACD Telecom by stating, “We chose ACD because they made everything simple and easy for us to understand” and “ACD Telecom’s prices were 10,000 less than all the other quotes we received.”
Another factor in their decision for selecting ACD Telecommunications as their vendor partner was that ACD offered other services that many of the vendors in the San Francisco Bay Area did not provide. Heistand enjoyed that ACD Telecom was able to provide affordable solutions in regards to their telephony upgrade and cabling project, but also that ACD could provide services in the future for IT planning and management, call recording and accounting, security services including video surveillance and wireless/access control.
ACD Telecom has an extensive and reputable client list going back twenty years in the San Francisco Bay Area and greater California. In addition to working with organizations such as the Public Employees Union, ACD Telecom strives to develop and encourage minority and women-owned businesses, providing exceptional discounts and free consultations to these enterprises at no additional cost.
ACD also offers to its client’s 2-hour emergency response time as well as 24-hour response on minor calls, guaranteed. Also, which PEU also appreciated, was ACD’s “No Questions Asked Warranty” which provided coverage to their telephony solution and cabling project for seven years. No other telecom company in the San Francisco Bay Area offers a warranty of this sort.
To schedule a free consultation for your company, contact ACD Telecommunications at 800-988-6511 ext. 101 or email at: email@example.com
ABOUT Public Employees Union #1
“Local # 1 is an independent union, which means we are not affiliated with an international union. A primary goal of Local #1 is to provide strong contract language to protect our member's rights and enhance their wages and work conditions. It is also Local #1's goal to preserve the wages, benefits and working conditions of our members even in the most difficult economic times. 96% of our member's dues money is spent on direct representation of our members.”
5034 Blum Road
Martinez, CA 94553
P: (925) 228-1600
F: (925) 228-1099
SIP Hosted Phone Service
Why should your business choose ACD Telecommunications “SIP Service”?
What are the benefits?
There are no contracts, long-term obligations or penalties for cancellation of SIP Service. Cancelling the service is simple and easy if you are not satisfied.
It is cost-effective and flexible. Choose from stand-alone programs, paying for the specific services you will use or choose an all-inclusive package. The choices and packages are suited to your needs and there are endless possibilities.
Both toll and toll-free telephone numbers can support up to 25 simultaneous calls. You’ll find this feature quite useful as compared to rival services that showcase inbound calling, claiming to be “unlimited” while regulating numbers to a single call at a time. If you choose ACD’s SIP Service, busy signals will never be heard on your inbound lines. It is right in line with ACD’s business motto of “Service First”.
LNP (Local Number Portability) allows you to keep your existing phone numbers and ‘port’ it to ACD’s hosted service. Almost all telephone numbers are portable and ACD will seamlessly and professionally help you transition to the SIP solution. The process can take up to a week in some cases. Toll-free numbers are also available for SIP. Contact one of our expert technicians or account managers for a free consultation on ACD’s SIP Service.
ACD Telecommunications offers a 30-day free trial! Any ACD hosted service (i.e. voicemail boxes, auto attendants, and groups) can be cancelled within 30 days of installation. Public switched telephone network calls are not included during the trial period with ACD.
You simply need a SIP phone and internet connection. Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it is the truth and just that simple. ACD’s SIP Service is compatible with any SIP Softphone or Desktop phone; giving you extreme flexibility and allowing you to control your communications platform. ACD’s SIP Service also grows with your company, and strategic planning is discussed with ACD Technicians from the beginning of your transition to a hosted solution.
Are Hosted Phone Systems Good for Every Small Business?
You decide! There's no hardware. You can give an extension to that sales guy in Miami, Florida, and he'll get his calls directly or sent to him any number of ways.
This is a case for "renting" a phone solution because it's worthwhile to dig into this technology. A hosted phone service makes sense for a lot of small businesses.
• Eliminate your monthly telephone charges from the phone company
• No centralized equipment to purchase and maintain
• No contracts to sign; no long term commitments
• Pay for only for the services & calling as you go. No minimum.
• Add or delete extensions at will
How does it work?
1. You sign up for the service
2. You are given the option of porting over your existing phone number or adding a new number(s), or adding local toll-free
3. Chose the number of extensions and related services (i.e., voicemail boxes, automated attendant, and music-on-hold). After extensions were assigned to your people, provide them with their instructions for configuring their phone lines over the Web. After a few days you can shut off my existing phone system and services!
What do your Callers Get?
Up to 25 calls can ring into your regular or toll fee numbers. An automated attendant answers the phone (you may change the message as required). They can be given the choice of "sales" or "service" or you can choose the dial-by-name directory. You can leave a message. If you wait to get me on the line, the call can be automatically routed to my cellphone (you can choose to route calls to whatever number I want).
The service stores the messages online and also sends a text message and an e-mail with the voicemail attached as a media file. Nothing falls through the cracks. All of your employees can individually configure their extensions the same way.
There are the many features included in the a-la-cart (pay for only the services you use) and per seat plans include the following things for FREE:
· Advanced Call Handling - 3-way conferencing, call hold, call transfer, call logs, call screening, caller ID, do not disturb, simultaneous ring, work form anywhere and advanced call forwarding.
· Unlimited Extensions
· Business Hour Routing
· Unified Communications Web App
· Up to 10 Phones per person (simulring)
· Outlook & Browser click-to-call plug-in
· Video Calling
· Mobile Extensions
· Free Internal Calls between extensions-unlimited outbound call limit
· The following items are included in the $29.95 per seat plan: (five person minimum) Optional extra-cost in the Pay-as-you-Go plan-*optional extra cost in both plans 2.9 c/minute Standard Calling - the Continental US, calls to over 20 countries. All extension calling is free, regardless of location.
If you've got a more significant customer service operation, you can set up queues for calls. You can transfer calls between extensions or outside lines, too. There are a bunch of reports detailing phone activities for your company and individual people. Contact us at 800-988-6511 today for further details!
The Challenge: Dowd & Guild Inc. and their headquarters in San Ramon, California, needed to implement a communications solution for their corporate network and 11 locations in the western United States. Dowd and Guild has a sales office in Cerritos, California and through utilizing public warehouses in the region, wanted to provide efficient and expedient service to their customers. They needed a robust and feature-rich telecom system that would help implement a reliable communications solution. They had an older model Panasonic KX-TD 1232 Digital Super Hybrid system with approximately 45 7400 series phones. They did not want to install a new system so were seeking to upgrade their system to reduce costs. Also, they sought to stay with current ‘green’ trends by recycling corporate telephony product if at all possible.
Dowd & Guild Corporate Office
14 Crow Canyon Court #200
San Ramon, CA 94583-1668
The Solution: ACD Telecommunications was selected by Dowd & Guild’s Operations Manager, Burt Rivera, to upgrade their telecommunication infrastructure with the latest Panasonic IP-PBX solution. Rivera chose ACD Telecommunications because of their recommendation to modernize their communications interface, streamline their ability to manage and administrate system functions easily and to deploy SIP/VoIP extensions to gain connectivity to their office & warehouse locations across the western United States, including Hawaii.
ACD Telecommunications was also able to preserve the corporate identity of Dowd & Guild in that they requested the most ‘green’ solution possible; in that ACD Telecom was able to recommend and re-use existing equipment. Specifically, all of their 7400 series phones were able to be refurbished and redeployed in their existing office environments through one simple interface. ACD Telecom was able to effectively demonstrate the valuable return of investment by choosing the Panasonic product offering. ACD effectively demonstrated the forward compatibility that has been a hallmark of the telecom platform for many years.
Dowd & Guild ultimately selected ACD Telecommunications to install the Panasonic KX-TDE 200 system, a converged IP-PBX system that supports up to 256 total extensions and 128 CO lines, and the KX-TVA200 voice processing system with 12 ports. The system was installed alongside a much needed enhancement of conferencing capabilities, which was a Konftel conferencing solution provided by ACD Telecom as well.
About Dowd & Guild
“Founded in 1986 in Northern California by Tom Dowd and Howard Guild, Dowd and Guild Inc. covers the 11 states west of the Rocky Mountains and we recently expanded into the South Western states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. We are headquartered in San Ramon, California with a sales office in Cerritos, California. By utilizing public warehouses in the region, we provide efficient and expedient service to our customers. Dowd and Guild Inc. is well positioned to support the paint and coatings, inks, adhesives, composites, building products, plastics and related specialty chemical industries. We buy and resell products or act as a sales agent for our suppliers. You will find our sales, customer service and administrative staff to be experienced, knowledgeable and solution oriented.
We are actively seeking acquisitions of other chemical and container distributors or sales agencies in the Western United States. In addition, we are always looking for professional, experienced salespeople interested in a career with a rapidly growing company. Interested salespeople should email their resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.”—provided by Dowd & Guild
Panasonic Phone System Enables Simplified Communications to Take Root at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden.
The Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden was looking to upgrade its existing telephone system to one that was current, easy to use and flexible. With their existing equipment, changing auto attendant or voice mail settings meant filing a formal request with a third party—a cumbersome process that could take up to a month for implementation.
In early 2011, The Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation issued a proposal request for a new phone system. Of the six companies who submitted bids, Panasonic emerged as the Foundation’s top choice. The Foundation hired Datafone Communications to install the Panasonic KX-TDE200 system, a converged IP-PBX system that supports up to 256 total extensions and 128 CO lines, and the KX-TVA200 voice processing system with 12 ports. Datafone additionally installed a series of Panasonic digital telephones including one KX-DT343, nine KX-DT333s and thirty-four KX-DT321s totaling forty-four extensions throughout the six on-site buildings. The system was installed alongside the existing telephone system in the Arboretum’s conference facility storage room, where temperatures were known to reach up to 100º F. Unlike competing vendors who stipulated air conditioning be part of the solution, Panasonic was confident that its system could withstand the heat. Additionally, other systems required new cabling—a costly proposition, especially for nonprofits like the Foundation. The Panasonic phone system used existing cabling and worked alongside the existing system.
There is a tale going around in certain business circles. The story is about a man who owned a barbershop, 'Cutting Edge' and his was the only shop in town. Then, without warning, a competitor arrived down the street and opened another shop. This would be fine except this new competition, let's call them 'Shear Madness', was charging 10 dollars for a haircut while Cutting Edge had been charging 16 dollars.
After a while, Cutting Edge found out that their profits were decreasing, and it appeared from the barber's viewpoint that there was a steady stream of customers heading into Shear Madness. The barber was getting worried and losing customers that he had for years. Then, suddenly, the barber at Cutting Edge noticed that a few disgruntled customers that had been going to Shear Madness were coming back to his business, complaining about the quality of their haircuts at Shear Madness. He had an idea. He decided the solution would be to put up a sign out front of his barbershop. It read "We fix 10 dollar haircuts". Business returned to normal for Cutting Edge.
So what does this have to do with Fiber Optics and Minimum Point of Entry for business customers?
In March, an 'unnamed' company wanted to get their IP Network current. The company was using an outmoded IP solution to handle their mission critical data applications. Access to a fiber optic network was not available. Then, with the current rollouts by several companies, particularly AT&T, Google Fiber, and others--the company wanted to take advantage of the functionality for data applications that a fiber-based solution would provide.
This relates to the 'Cutting Edge' barbershop story in the following way. There was a business need of improving IP functionality at a cost-effective rate and connecting the solution to their office location. The IT Manager for the company had discovered that while a fiber optic solution was available, the cable was only routed as far as the minimum point of entry (MPOE) at a central location in their present office building--but not directly linked to their offices by the local carrier.
He would have to research and outsource the work to a local vendor and ended up, as many businesses have lately, selecting an electrician to connect the fiber optic cable to their offices from the MPOE. The electrician also offered a 'more affordable' rate than most of the other vendors researched. The IT Manager believed that the electrician would have the correct knowledge to professionally connect their IP Network to a fiber optic connection at the minimum point of entry.
The IT Manager and company discovered a valuable lesson that sometimes a cost-effective solution is not the best course of action. The electrician did provide a cost-effective rate. What the electrician did not provide is the actual solution.
While this decision might appear to be not thought out, it is a common oversight for IT Managers and similar executives to select electricians for this type of outsourced work instead of those who have had extensive experience in telecommunications and cabling. One cannot blame the IT Manager for making a decision that was placing the fiscal needs of the company first and following traditional practice.
You could blame him for not conducting thourough research. The IT Manager admitted that he "did not call all of the references on the list the vendors provided that I looked at" and also "did not ask specific questions related to the Electrician's background with fiber optic cabling & MPOE work."
It is critical to understand four things in this process: the difference between an electrician and cabling technician, what a CLEC is, the process of connecting your office to the MPOE, and what it is ultimately going to cost your company. If you want the benefits of the fiber optic rollouts, then you are going to have to pay the price--just make sure you are paying a fair price to the right company.
Also, make sure each vendor has references and experience to back up their service offering. One 'barber' down the street might be cheaper, but the established 'barber' who may charge more who does the job right and consistently--just might be the safer and reliable option. Also, it might be a key indicator of success examining the length of time the company has been in business and just who their customer base consists of. Would you place your hair in the hands of a 'barber' who has only been 'cutting hair' for a year, or twenty--or worse advertised that they could 'cut hair' but in truth, let's say, mowed lawns?
While some electric companies do have technicians available to connect fiber optic networks at the point of entry to your business, many do not.
Luckily, the IT Manager was able to locate a local vendor who had been in business for over 20 years and had cabling technicians who could handle the specified work. The IT Manager explained that the "nightmare" associated with selecting an electrical company to do the work was quickly and professionally resolved.
The experienced telecommunications company had their technicians on the spot within hours and solved the problem quickly. They were able to complete the objective of the IT Manager correctly, the first time. Now, their mission-critical data applications work better and are consistent.
This brought to mind the story of 'Cutting Edge', and the thought that while there might be a '10-dollar haircut' available, the best solution might be to first contact those 'barbers' who are proclaiming 'We fix 10 dollar haircuts' first, or at the least have them in your contact list if something goes wrong with the cost-effective solution. It could turn out to be sheer madness for you.
-Prime Buyer's Report has a free nationwide list of the of the Top Ten Local Telecom vendors in your area. Check out their website for information on companies that doesn't get broacasted publicly. It is almost like Yelp, but for businesses. They include impartial customer reviews and product information.
-Check out the other companies that offer similar service and compare pricing and personnel by scheduling a free consultation with those companies that offer it as a value-added service. They should not charge your company for an evaluation.
-Make sure to meet with multiple vendors, ask for references and while comparing prices, make sure the references the vendors provide are current and trustworthy. A tip here is to look at their website and associated social media presence. This can be a key indicator if the company has a solid infrastructure or not.
Tortuga the Turtle~Our brand for ACD Telecommunications! Any feedback on the logo is appreciated! New customers receive a 5% discount if they mention Tortuga to any of our Sales Representatives! Contact us today! 800-988-6511!
ACD Telecom offers the Synapse platform geared towards small and medium-sized business! Contact us today for a free product demonstration and consultation! 800-988-6511
Contact us today for a demonstration on the NT-300 IP Phones! 800-988-6511