Connecticut Communications Newsletter June 2013

Connecticut Communications Newsletter June 2013

Connecticut Communications produces a newsletter each month. The newsletter is an informative piece of information on technology and consists of;

  • Helpful Technical Information
  • Phone System Feature or New Product
  • Phone Set Feature for User

Last month’s newsletter included;

  • Internet Redundancy
  • NEC Bluetooth Handset
  • NEC Auto Set Relocation

The Newsletter is very easy to read and understand.  Our readers enjoy learning about new features, how to’s, and saving money.  Each month the newsletter gives the reader something different to read, but it’s always informative.

Internet Redundancy

Everyone has an internet circuit.  What happens when your internet goes down?  You are basically out of business, right? Today, your business relies on the internet now more than ever.

Why not add an inexpensive secondary internet circuit such as AT&T u-verse or DSL?  This will give you redundancy, in case your primary internet connection fails.  Also, your secondary circuit can actually combine with your primary internet connection to give you more bandwidth.


A dual WAN (wide area network) router will allow you to connect both of your internet circuits.  The router can be configured to use the secondary circuit only in a fail-over mode.  Or, it can be configured to use the secondary circuit along with the primary to increase your bandwidth.  Either way, when one internet circuit fails, the router will automatically switch over to the other circuit.  Business can continue, at a slightly slower speed, but at least you’re still in business.

A secondary internet circuit costs about $70 per month and a dual WAN router costs about $750.  A small price to pay to keep your business functioning. 

Bluetooth Handset Adapter

NEC has a Bluetooth handset that takes the place of a regular corded handset.  You can expect to get about a 150′ range from the bluetooth handset, about the same as your cordless phone at home.  It has a 20-Character/ 2-Line display, eight (8) programmable function keys for one-touch extensions, and six (6) fixed feature keys.  The best part about the Bluetooth adapter is the ability of the user to sync up their existing mobile phone Bluetooth headset with their NEC telephone.  Mobile users can leave their Bluetooth earpiece on and sync it up with their NEC phone when in the office and mobile phone when they are out of the office.  Or, you can just use it as a cordless phone in the office.


Newsletter July 2013 – NEC VoIP phone system

Newsletter July 2013 – NEC VoIP phone system

This month’s newsletter provides a Move Checklist for communications.  Learn the sequence of events that will help make your move easier.  It might be best to move your existing phone system, or it might make sense to install a new VoIP unified communications system.

Move Checklist

It is said, people move only once in their personal life and once in business because the experience is so painful.  Here is a list of items you need to keep in mind when moving your communications.

1)  Perform a site survey of your new office to see if you need voice & data cabling.  Sometimes you can reuse the existing cabling but sometimes you cannot. As soon as you have the keys to your new space, give us a call and we will give you a free site survey.


2)  Do you need to keep your phone number?Some businesses need to keep their phone number at all costs.  To some it’s not as important.  If you are moving within the same phone exchange, moving your lines is easy.  Call your phone provider at least two weeks ahead of time.  They will want an exact date that you want your lines moved and time of day, morning or afternoon.  Always say morning.  They will disconnect you by 8am that day and reconnect you by noon if you choose morning, or by 5pm if you choose afternoon.  If you are moving a long distance call away there are a few options that we need to discuss.

3)  Order Internet service ahead of time.  Have it installed a week or two before you move in.  That way you can have your IT person connect the router and get that working before you move in. 

4)  When you confirm your phone service installation/move of your lines, contact Connecticut Communications to schedule the move of your phone system.  On the day of the move, we will come in and disconnect it from your old office and re-install it in your new office.  

Connecticut Communications can help you with all of these items. We can cable your new office for phones/fax/credit card/paging system, as well as your computer network.  We are agents for all major phone line providers as well as Internet providers so we can place an order to move or add new service. You can do it all yourself or have the experts at Connecticut Communications do it all for you. 

We make moving easier for you so you can concentrate on the actual move.  In fact, you might even be up for moving again!

Power Outage Due to Lightning

It’s that time of the year where lightning strikes at least once per week.  And when lightning strikes, you have power outages. Connecticut Communications installs a UPS ( uninterrupted power supply) on each phone system.  If you lose power, the UPS will protect the phone system from power surges and will provide power to the phone system for about 10-30 minutes. After the UPS exhausts its battery life, the phone system will power down.  When power is restored, the UPS does not come back up on it’s own.

If you return to your office and your phone system is dead, go to the UPS and press the power button until it clicks back on (press and hold for a few seconds).  This will bring the UPS back to life and send power to the phone system.  Allow ten minutes for the phone system to boot up completely.

Sometimes the power surge blows out the UPS.  In this case, simply bypass the UPS and plug the phone system directly into the wall electrical outlet.  Call Connecticut Communications for a replacement UPS. They are free under our Maintenance Agreement. 


Newsletter August 2013

Newsletter August 2013

This month’s newsletter showcases NEC’s Unified Communications Desktop software.  NEC UC Desktop is software that gets installed on your office PC to allow the user to transfer calls, view phone status, view out of office status, and much more.

Users today want to process calls using their PC, not their telephone.  NEC’s UC Desktop gives strong PC users an easy way to handle call processing.

NEC’s UC Desktop

NEC’s UC Desktop Suite delivers integrated unified communications (UC) that enhance an organization’s productivity and collaboration.

It is a scalable, feature-rich solution that simplifies communications management and enables complete mobility. Specifically developed for small to medium size businesses, UC Desktop Suite users become more mobile and efficient.

UC Desktop Suite provides an easy, affordable way for businesses to implement UC functionality throughout their organization. It offers a wide-range of capabilities from managing communications on desktop personal computers (PCs), CRM Integration, Presence, collaboration through a multimedia softphone to placing a complete attendant console right on an operator’s PC.

  • Simplified Call Management – users simply click easy-to-understand icons on their computer screens for all calling functions
  • Mobility – offers two ways to stay connected and productive:
    • Mobile Presence – through a user’s mobile phone or laptop web-browser, enables ability to change user status; access, search, view status and profile information of all contacts plus simply click a contact to place a call
    • UC Web Client – ability to launch UC Desktop Client from anywhere within an Internet browser window and access most available features. (For Internal Server Blade only)
  • Presence – provides users with real-time status and availability of their colleagues
  • Instant Messaging – enables users to effectively and efficiently communicate in real-time
  • CRM Integration – offers businesses seamless application access to leverage and manage their information more efficiently
  • Quick Messaging – enables users to send a personalized message to one or more colleagues’ PC or multi-line display phone
  • Integration with UNIVERGE SV8100 Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) – enables users to login as an agent and view real-time queue statistics plus monitor ACD states of other agents
  • Integration with UNIVERGE VM8000 InMail and UM8000 Voicemail – offers quick access to and easy management of messages directly from the UC Desktop Client
  • Multimedia Softphone – enables mobility and sharing of real-time information through advanced UC applications such as videoconferencing, Presence, application sharing, whiteboard, chat and file transfer

NEC’s Unified Communications Desktop Suite

Newsletter September 2013 NEC InACD

Newsletter September 2013 NEC InACD

In this month’s newsletter we learn about NEC’s Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) software package called InACD. This feature is available on NEC SV8100 VoIP telephone system.

InACD puts callers into a queue, first in first out.

InACD yields live call reporting on calls in queue for a particular department.  Managers, from their PC, can instantly see how many calls are in queue, see the longest wait time, and view what agents are logged in to handle calls.

InACD also produces statistical call reports at the end of day/week/month.  Managers can view reports to see how many phone calls each agent takes, what is the average per call length, and much more.

InACD is part of unified communications from NEC and is available on the NEC SV8100 business telephone system.  Special NEC lease rates are available.


ACD – Automatic Call Distribution

If your business receives a lot of calls place them in an ACD queue, NEC will put them in order first in, first out.  Callers have the option to leave the queue to dial another extension or leave a voice message for a call back.  Boost customer service by reducing the hold time. 

The NEC SV8100 ACD MIS real-time display provides a simulated wallboard. It instantly provides both queue threshold and agent information to supervisors via their PCs. Supervisors and authorized agents can use the agent desktop GUI to text message important information to agents or groups. This instant access to information improves agent performance and reduces training time without increasing business costs.

Agents and supervisors can retrieve statistical information from the SV8000 Series ACD by simply pressing a telephone button. When queued callers or caller hold times exceed a pre-determined threshold, the system automatically sends alerts to agents’ and supervisors’ telephone displays.

Supervisors may run reports on agents to see who is performing well and who needs improvement.

To SIP or not to SIP?

To SIP or not to SIP?

Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about with SIP trunking? Well, for starters, not only can SIP trunking improve communication and collaboration, it can also significantly lower your IT costs – so much so, that some organizations have taken advantage of the savings to justify additional investments in Unified Communications.

Traditionally, an enterprise’s private branch exchange (PBX) is connected to the public-switched telephone network (PSTN) over a “trunk”, which is a hard-wired connection of the enterprise to the rest of the world. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking is an alternative to that model, in which third-party Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) connect the PBX to the Internet and then to the PSTN, allowing communication with fixed and mobile devices worldwide without the hassle of a physical wire trunk.


Switching to a SIP trunking solution can yield significant communications savings and offer a quick return on investment, especially if your company has multiple locations and often uses international calling.

So what are the benefits of SIP trunking, and how can SIP help your organization? SIP trunking will better utilize your bandwidth because telephony and Internet lines are combined, allowing for optimization based on average consumption rather than peak usage.


Additionally, call speed is increased because all data, voice, and media is passing through carrier systems as IP traffic rather than analog signals. The risk of implementing new technology is mitigated by using an ITSP, as the ITSP keeps you current with technology updates without recurring costs. By using multiple ITSPs and least cost routing (LCR) to always make the most cost-efficient call, a company can realize substantial savings – especially with regard to international calls. What’s more, SIP reuses HTTP ports so it can be easier for end users to work with. Plus, billing is bundled, making things easier on you, the end-user. These aren’t the only benefits; check out the list below for more.

Benefits of SIP trunking

  • Reliable delivery of communication applications such as instant messaging (IM), presence tracking, video conferencing and application sharing. 
  • You will no longer need a costly PSTN gateway. 
  • Long-distance charges will be reduced. 
  • Voice, video, and data are combined in a single line. 
  • SIP trunking can be a cost-effective delivery option for external communication.

Connecticut Communications can help you decide if SIP trunking is for you.  We can analyze your phone bill and go over the advantages and disadvantages.There’s an ongoing debate questioning the value of SIP trunk costs savings as justification for migrating your PBX. Some believe the value is an overstated reason to migrate, while others point to real cost savings. Which side are you leaning toward?

Newsletter October 2013 – Conference Bridge

Newsletter October 2013 – Conference Bridge

This month’s newsletter talks about the NEC Conference Bridge.  Do you use a 3rd party conference service?  If so, save money with the added convenience of hosting your own conference calls.

The NEC SV8100 VoIP unified communications server has a conference bridge card that connects to your LAN and phone lines.  Easily setup conference calls with email notification.  Callers can call in when they are ready to join the conference.

The newsletter also talks about changing your company’s main greeting on your automated attendant.

View the Connecticut Communications newsletter to learn about the NEC conference bridge.  Host your own conference calls with this easy to use feature.

– Save money, purchase the card and host unlimted conference calls at no extra charge!

– Comes in 8 or 16 user conference capability

– Host mulitiple conferences simultaneously

NEC Conference Bridge

Host your own conference calls

NEC offers a built in conference bridge where you can setup and run your own conference calls.  I’m not talking about 2-3 party conferences, I’m referring to a conference bridge where callers call in, enter a PIN number, and are joined together with superb voice quality.

The conference bridge connects to your LAN so administers can easily setup a conference.  Invitees are sent an email with the call in information where the user can click to add it to their Outlook calendar.

NEC offers the conference bridge as an 8 or 16 party conference.

Get rid of your monthly 3rd party conference bill.  Purchase the NEC conference bridge one time and get unlimited conference calls forever at no additional cost.

Click below for a brochure on the NEC Conference Bridge!

NEC Conference Bridge


Video Surveillance – analog or IP cameras?

Video Surveillance – analog or IP cameras?

More and more companies are installing video surveillance systems.  Businesses want to protect their property against thieves and outside cameras are a deterent.  And any person foolish enough to commit a crime with video cameras installed will surely be caught.  In addition to protecting the business from intruders, video surveillance is also installed inside the office to prevent employee theft and false workmans comp claims.  So, the question is not should you install video surveillance, it’s what kind of video surveillance, analog or IP?

Analog:  An analog video surveillance system connects analog cameras to a DVR.  A DVR is much like the DVR at your home, its an appliance that records video for easy playback.  DVRs come in 4-camera, 8-camera, 16-camera or 32-camera configurations.  How much video you want to store will decide on the size of the hard drive you purchase for the DVR.

Analog cameras use coax cable to connect back to the DVR.  This coax cable can distribute power as well as video so the analog cameras do not need to be plugged into a power source.

Analog cameras are very high quality…about as good as today’s IP cameras.  Analog video is not compressed, its sent down the coax cable as is, therefore, the image is not going to be getting any better with advances of technology, but it is still very good.  The DVR can be connected to the LAN for easy viewing from a networked PC or smartphone.

Analog video surveillance is still the most cost effective method of installing video surveillance and still represents over 85% of the video surveillance market.

IP:  An IP video surveillance system connects IP cameras to an NVR (network video recorder), a server on the network.


The NVR can handle any number of IP cameras, you simply purchase IP camera licenses for the NVR.  As with the analog solution, the size of the hard drive will determine the amount of days you can keep your video.

IP cameras require data cabling (CAT5e or higher) to connect back to the NVR.  To supply power to the camera you will need a power over ethernet (POE) managed data switch.  Data has a range of 350′ so any IP camera that needs to be installed further than that will require another managed POE data switch in between the NVR and IP camera.

Today, in my opinion, analog and IP camera quality are basically the same.  As technology progresses IP cameras will be better than analog.

An IP system is already on the LAN so it also can easily be viewed from networked PCs and smartphones.

Both analog and IP video surveillance systems can work with your business phone system for added security at the entrances.  The NEC unified communications systems has a door box that allows visitors at the entrance of a building to press the door box to talk to employees on the phone system.  The employee can view the person at the door using their PC which is connected to the video surveillance system.  Once they have a positive ID on the person they can choose to press a button on their phone to let the person in.

Price:  IP video surveillance systems are typically 30% higher than analog camera systems.  If you want a really good video surveillance system at a good value, install an analog system.  If you want to preserve the investment for the future because you feel you will need better camera technology later, spend the extra money now and install an IP video surveillance system.


Unified Communications as a Service helps in bad weather

Unified Communications as a Service helps in bad weather

Winter Storms Ion and Hercules, followed by a polar vortex, are spreading a swath of heavy snow across the American Midwest and ushering in dangerously cold temperatures throughout the United States. As of Monday, there were more than 100,000 people across six states without electricity, with temperatures continuing to fall. Flights have been canceled nationwide, and people are staying indoors.

It hasn’t been this cold for almost two decades in parts of the Midwest and Southeast, and businesses across the country are feeling the weight of the storm hit their bottom lines.

What many people don’t know is that having Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) in place means that businesses can actually stave off some of the sales losses seen during cold weather outbreaks.

Inclement Weather and Remote Workers

Firms that have adopted UCaaS or cloud-based communications could find that it curbs the amount of revenue lost from storms during the winter. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimates that cold weather snaps can seriously affect small and medium sized businesses. While places reliant on foot traffic are most at risk, any business can be beset by weather delays.

Working remotely, or in the cloud, is increasingly feasible and beneficial thanks to services like UCaaS. Tools like softphones, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing can keep your business up and running even in the worst weather conditions.


How UCaaS Solutions Can Help

By giving your employees access to cloud computing services such as remote desktops and softphones that can be accessed from home or at work, organizations can ensure that employees are continuously able to do their jobs even if they cannot physically get into the office. This allows you to keep employees safe when conditions are too dangerous to travel without losing, what many times can end up being multiple days of, employee productivity.

UCaaS is one of the few services that can offer the tools required to help keep businesses communications running smoothly.  This is critical for organizations that rely on communication for their revenue. In the normal course of doing business, or remotely during inclement weather periods, Unified Communications Solutions can:

  • Integrate email, voice and instant messaging into a cohesive communications system so all employees can stay in-touch as needed.
  • Provide access points to all data used by your organization, so users can communicate with others inside and outside their organization more easily and more quickly.
  • Lower overall IT and telecommunications costs, particularly for labor, because of the inherent economies of scale available with an integrated communications platform.
  • Provide access to carrier-grade communications that deliver consistency with easy-to-use functionality.

UCaaS solutions are just one of many cloud-based solutions businesses can utilize to protect themselves during inclement weather.

In the event of a cold weather snap, the right UCaaS solution can easily adapt to your changed situation without any extra spending on your part. These services house your businesses data in centers that are part of global networks. This ensures that once your data is backed up, it is mirrored in multiple data centers across the globe, meaning that there is more than one copy of your data to rely on in the case of a disaster or emergency.

With these types of disaster recovery options, it becomes easier to see how UCaaS and cloud-based services can help create a safe and secure solution to protect your businesses applications and data, helping to insure your businesses against losses caused by winter weather storms.

Contact Connecticut Communications representatives today to learn more about our cloud-based solutions and their disaster recovery benefits.

Music on hold for a VoIP phone system

Music on hold for a VoIP phone system

Music on hold (MOH) is the playing of music to a caller placed on hold so they don’t hear silence.  Callers calling into a VoIP phone system often get put on hold for a variety of reasons; being transferred to another extension or because the user needs to walk away from the telephone.  Without something to listen to the caller might think they were disconnected by accident and hang up.

A PBX, or VoIP phone system, has a music on hold port to connect any audio device for music on hold.  That music on hold device can be a radio, CD player, an .mp3 player or any device with an audio output.

The problem with a radio is that it is illegal in the United States to re-broadcast without the permission of the radio station.  And even with permission, it’s illegal for the radio station to license it because it would violate their agreement with music title owner.  Besides, who wants to risk the caller hearing a commercial on the radio from one of your competitors?

SiriusXM radio offers businesses a music on hold option.  You pay for the service so it is legal, but it does come with a monthly fee that never expires.

A CD player that plays music is also illegal unless you first obtain permission from the owner of the song.  You can record your own message and download it to a CD player, such as ‘please stay on the line your call is important to us’.  If you select this option, please make sure the CD player automatically replays in an endless loop.

An .mp3 player, like the one above, is one of the more advanced options for music on hold for unified communications systems.  You can easily create your own message file from a PC and then plug the USB drive back in the .mp3 player.  Once again, you cannot load music that you do not have permission to use, but you can creatively produce your own messages anytime you want.  Click on the link below for detailed information on an .mp3 music on hold player we offer.

.MP3 Music On Hold Player

To add music on hold to your digital phone system, hosted VoIP phone system, or premised based VoIP phone system, please contact Connecticut Communications at 203.985.1000.


Connecting your NEC phone system to your LAN for advanced features

Connecting your NEC phone system to your LAN for advanced features

This month’s Connecticut Communications newsletter describes advanced features an end user can receive by connecting their phone system to their local area network.

  • Conference Bridge
  • Remote Programming
  • Smartphone Integration
  • Unified Messaging
  • Call Center
  • Presence
  • IP Networking of Phone Systems

VoIP phone systems already realize the advanced features of connecting to the LAN.  However, older PBX systems can also connect to the network to realize the same features of VoIP systems.

Connect your Phone System to your LAN

If I asked you why would you connect your phone system to your data network, most people would think of VoIP.  However, there are many features that are available because of the LAN connection.

Remote IP phone:  Use an IP phone from home or remote office. Callers have no idea you are not in the office and you have the convenience of being connected to your office.


Conferencing:  A Conference Bridge in the phone system allows for professional grade conference calling.  From your PC you can send email invites and setup the conference.


Remote Access:  Connecticut Communications can remote into the system to make programming changes for you.  Maintenance customers get remote programming changes free of charge.

Unified Messaging:  Voice mail to email is a large part of unified messaging.  All voice messages are sent your email as .wav file IP Networking: Link other phone systems together to allow extension dialing, trunk/line sharing and a single voice mail system.attachments for easy listening from your PC or smartphone.

User Mobility:  Users can use their smartphones to connect to the phone system.  Never miss a call when you are away from the office, check voice mail and intercom fellow employees.


Call Center:  Agents can view the number of people on hold in real time and run reports of detailed call activity.


Presence:  PC users can see other users that are available to take a call.  Users set their presence to show if they are in the office, out of the office or unavailable.  Phone buttons only show the status of on/off the hook and the number of users you can see is limited by the number of buttons on the phone.  Presence shows more detail and can include every single user on the phone system.


IP Networking:  Link other phone systems together to allow extension dialing, trunk/line sharing and a single voice mail system.

NEC Aspire Displays

The display on the NEC Aspire display telephones will go bad eventually. Humidity gets into the displays and damages the pixels.

If you would like the displays fixed, a technician can come out and install new displays.  Cost is $75 per display plus labor.

If you have a Maintenance Contract with Connecticut Communications a technician will come out and replace them free of charge.