Monday, July 28, 2014

Choosing the right Internet connection and speed for your business

The Internet connection and speed you choose for your business depends largely on several factors. In addition to speed and cost, you should also consider reliability, consistency and security. Keep in mind that pricing and availability vary greatly on location. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can advise you of the best and cost effective options.
 


Factors to consider:
  1. Employees / size of company
  2. What is your Internet being used for / what is your current usage?
  3. Does your company / staff use a lot of video and audio applications? Video and audio files are large, and transmitting them over a network uses a lot of bandwidth. As your company looks to use multimedia, it is important that you have adequate bandwidth to manage these large files.
  4. Do you use, or plan to use cloud solutions in the near future? When you are accessing cloud services, you will require a more robust Internet connection.
  5. Do you use, or plan to switch to VoIP? VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and is commonly referred to as Internet phone service. VoIP technology allows users to make and receive calls using a high-speed Internet connection instead of a standard landline.  When making or receiving a VoIP call, sound (voice) quality can be affected if not enough bandwidth is available.  On average, each phone call will consume about 88kbps of upload and download bandwidth.  Not enough bandwidth may cause choppy or garbled calls and delayed audio.

Internet service types can be broken down into 3 main categories:

  • Dedicated Internet Access (DIA)
  • Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)
  • Private Lines / Point to Point

Connection Types Available: 

  • DSL
  • Fixed Wireless
  • Ethernet / EoC / Fast Ethernet
  • T1
  • DS3
  • OC3
  • OC12
  • GigE
  • Cable
  • Satellite
  • Wireless
  • nxT1

DSL can satisfy most home offices and small businesses, but for companies that require more speed and reliability, an Integrated T1 is a more practical and cost effective option. It is highly flexible and could be used to run multiple services (such as voice and data) over the same line.
 

If you are connecting two or more locations, most companies opt for a Point-to-Point Private Line or MPLS network not only for cost purposes, but for security and reliability.

Here is a breakdown of some of the advantages of each type of Internet circuit. Your Internet Service Provider can discuss the most viable and cost effective options with you based on your requirements.  Speak with an Internet Specialist now.


Dedicated Internet Access (DIA)
Dedicated Internet Access provides congestion-free transmissions with speeds that range from 1.5 Mbps - 10 Gbps. DIA is a perfect solution for those businesses that require reliable Internet connectivity, but still want to leverage the cost advantages of using the public Internet. 


Connection Types Available

  • T1
  • n xT1
  • T3 , DS3
  • OC3, OC12, OC48
  • Fast Ethernet
  • Gigabit Ethernet

Advantages

  • Reliable, high-speed Internet connectivity - 99.9% network availability guarantee
  • Pay one flat fee for unlimited usage
  • Supports growing demands for Internet access and data sharing
  • Get high-performance network quality and availability with service level agreements (SLAs).
  • Manage costs for service provisioning, bandwidth changes, and site development.

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) / VPN
MPLS offers customers a great deal of adaptability when it comes to network set up because it allows them to mix and match access types and speeds for each of their individual locations. This offers a significant cost savings, 10% to 25% over comparable data services (frame relay and ATM); and almost 40% for companies who add voice and video traffic. 


A VPN keeps data safe as it crosses the public Internet by using encryption. A MPLS VPN refers to a virtual private network that is built on top of a multiprotocol label switching network. MPLS VPN is deployed to create a secure connection between branch offices at different geographical locations.

Connection Types Available  

  • DSL
  • Fixed Wireless
  • Ethernet / EoC / Fast Ethernet
  • T1
  • DS3
  • OC3
  • OC12
  • GigE

Advantages

  • Cost savings – Perfect for multi-location businesses and enterprises. MPLS allows for multiple access types and speeds for each of your individual locations to deliver the most cost effective Internet solution while maintaining performance, reliability, and security.
  • Private, safe and secure – A VPN keeps data safe as it crosses the public Internet by using encryption such as IP-Sec, PPP, or SSL
  • Flexible Routing – Customers can choose a CPE and managed router services, or they can maintain control over their own routing.
  • Improved performance – MPLS offers Class of Service (CoS) and Quality of Service (QoS) network-wide routing based on individual business requirements. Data can be split into different categories such as real time traffic, priority traffic, and low priority traffic.
  • SLA-Backed - Customers receive 99.9% uptime, network availability, packet delivery, latency, and jitter guarantees.

Private Lines
Private lines provide high-speed dedicated point-to-point connectivity for voice, data, and video applications. Private lines serve as secure options for companies looking to connect to the Internet, connect multiple locations, or interconnect data centers.


Connection Type Available

  • T1
  • DS3
  • OC3
  • OC12
  • Ethernet / Fast Ethernet
  • GigE circuits

Advantages
  • No limitations due to network congestion
  • Guaranteed throughput
  • No restrictions based on time of day or day of the week
  • Constant and predictable latency
  • A secure, dedicated channel
  • A predictable price without usage based variations

Have questions, or would like a free quote, call 888-TOUCHTONE or e-mail sales@touchtone.net.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Job Listing: VoIP Engineer

Position:  VoIP Engineer    

Company:  TouchTone Communications – Whippany, NJ

Experience:  Mid-Senior Level

Job Function: Engineering

Employment Type: Full-Time     
         
Industry: Telecommunications

Job Description


Provide engineering support for TouchTone VoIP and TDM Networks across the U.S. This key position is responsible for technical operations support and performance management of all elements of the TouchTone Network. This position will be instrumental in assisting the company to deliver high levels of service availability.

Desired Skills and Experience
 

  • Must have a thorough understanding of call flows and signaling protocols which include SIP,   RTP, TDM including ISDN, DTMF and FXS/FXO, TCP/IP, LAN Switching, Routing protocols, L2/L3, device configuration, VLAN, etc.
  • Must have strong knowledge in the following: Sansay VSXi or similar VoIP Telephony, Lucent LCS or similar TDM experience, Cisco and Juniper data networking routers and switches.
  • STRONG KNOWLEDGE and combination experience of TDM - signaling PRI, CAS(DTMF), FXS/FXO, Data - LAN/WAN and VoIP - SIP/RTP.  
  • Demonstrated experience using Wireshark and other quality based IP tools used to monitor Jitter, Packet Loss, etc.
  • Knowledge of telecom principals and terminology, including DID and Toll Free numbers, LATA OCN and NPA/NXX.
  • Full understanding of VoIP architecture, including SIP and VoIP implementation.

About TouchTone Communications

Headquartered in Whippany, NJ, TouchTone Communications is a privately-held, debt free company established in 1993.  TouchTone provides nationwide voice, data and VoIP services, including Dedicated Voice and Data, Hosted PBX, Enterprise SIP, Call Center Termination, Conferencing, MPLS and Ethernet, and Switched LD services to residential, SMB, public sector enterprise, government and wholesale customers.  TouchTone is a facilities-based carrier offering services through its own proprietary network and through multiple Tier 1 networks, with major points of presence in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Newark, NJ.  TouchTone prides itself on providing the highest quality service at the most competitive rates, while always maintaining highest levels of customer service. 

What We Offer

* High-energy atmosphere                * Work with a highly motivated and dedicated team

* Competitive salary                         * 401K

* Medical    Benefits                         * Generous PTO program


Send cover letter and resume to JOBS@TOUCHTONE.NET.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Need to get the word out fast? An IVR solution can help!

Woman on Headset in Call CenterInteractive Voice Response (IVR) solutions are increasingly being implemented by both small and large businesses to improve overall customer experience and to cut costs.

An outbound IVR solution allows companies to deliver automated, personalized messages to hundreds of people quickly and inexpensively. Messages can be pre-recorded or event triggered. Event triggered messages can offer a wide range of options and/or require further action to be taken by the person answering the phone (for example, “Your appointment is scheduled for Monday, July 21. To keep this appointment, press 1. To reschedule, press 2.”). Responses can be collected through the phone’s keypad or though spoken words with voice recognition.


Common applications for outbound IVR applications include:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Payment reminders
  • Order statuses
  • Shipment notifications
  • Appointment confirmations
  • Account alerts
  • Shipment notifications
  • Surveys
  • Refills/reorders
  • Fundraising requests
  • Notifications and closings

Industries benefiting from IVR technology:

  • Financial
  • Airlines
  • Banks
  • Pharmacies
  • Political
  • Travel and tourism
  • Polling and surveys
  • City and state governments
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Schools 
  • Churches 
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Customer service and call centers
  • Collections agencies

Benefits of outbound IVR solutions:

  • Cost advantages – leveraging VoIP technology, large volumes of outbound messages can be sent quickly, reliably, and inexpensively.
  • Frees up office personnel and call center employees to work on more valuable tasks.
  • Calls can be made off business hours when customers are more readily available.
  • Flexible and scalable – IVR technology allows different events to trigger different responses allowing for a better overall customer experience.
  • Proactively reach customers avoid high volumes of inbound calls during business hours.

IVR service and software provider reputations depend on who they choose as their voice termination provider. An IVR solution is only as good as its ability to complete calls.


TouchTone Communications works with Tier 1 carriers to deliver reliable, quality voice termination to IVR service and software providers. TouchTone's high-performing switch and redundancy capabilities can handle a massive amount of concurrent calls without sacrificing quality. With pay-as-you-go pricing and no short duration penalties, customers can count on TouchTone Communications to deliver consistent, quality voice termination to support demanding needs.


Looking for IVR voice termination? Call 1-888-TOUCHTONE, or e-mail sales@touchtone.net.






Monday, July 14, 2014

What’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

and How Can It Help Your Company or Business

Woman using IVR system
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an effective tool to get messages out in a timely, professional, and cost effective manner. Many businesses are using IVR technology to help cut costs and to improve customer sales and support.

Interactive Voice Response allows a computer to automate interactions with telephone callers through the use of voice recognition and touch-tone telephone keypad entry.


IVR solutions use pre-recorded voice prompts and menus to present information and options to callers, and entries made on a phone's keypad to collect responses. Some also enable responses to be gathered through spoken words through voice recognition.


For example, airlines use an IVR system to help retrieve flight information and real-time flight delays. They can set up their IVR system to recognize callers by their registered phone number.


For example: Would you like to check the status of your flight to Chicago? For yes, press or say 1. To hear additional options, press or say 2.

Businesses and companies use an IVR to help direct customers to the appropriate party and to help streamline customer service.


For example: Hello and thank you for calling Joe's Auto Parts. If you know the extension of the party you wish to reach, please enter it now. To speak with the operator, press 0 at any time. For Sales, press 1. For Support, press 2. For Billing, press 3. To repeat this message, press pound.

TouchTone Communications’ customer, New York-based Dial Global, is a full-service radio network that produces and distributes radio programming to more than 6,000 stations in the U.S. One of their services, Radio Voodoo (an IVR system), answers phones for radio stations and makes it possible to use caller recordings in station programming. Dial Global provides the technology, and TouchTone provides the toll-free and DID termination.


"Radio Voodoo is a service that specializes in allowing radio stations to have their phones answered by an IVR. Stations then use the audio left by listeners during radio shows or in promotional announcements. Radio Voodoo has partnered with TouchTone as a provider of toll free origination and DID termination. As you can imagine, radio station traffic has great highs during contesting and sometimes great lows depending on market size. TouchTone has been able to balance the sometimes huge spikes from stations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles while servicing the smaller stations in Lubbock, TX, Massena NY and St. Joseph, MO. 


The best part about working with TouchTone has to be the customer service. At Radio Voodoo, so much of our success has been the team at TouchTone coming up with creative ways to find solutions to our problems. They are energized, engaged, and do not rest until we arrive at a solution. TouchTone is very much a part of the team that has made Radio Voodoo a must have for radio stations across the country."

~Dee Perkins, Distribution Sales Manager
Dial Global


Looking for IVR voice termination? TouchTone Communications provides quality, low-cost in-bound (local and toll-free) and outbound calling to IVR service and software providers. To learn more call 888-TOUCHTONE or e-mail sales@touchtone.net


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cool Technology Trends

From wearables to apps to self-sterilizing keyboards, technology is helping to make lives easier and more enjoyable. We've compiled a list of some cool (and innovative) technology trends to look out for.

Wearables!

Fashionable yet functional, the wearable tech craze has just begun and it's not going to slow down anytime soon.


From glasses to watches to baby monitors, these gadgets can do anything from track your daily fitness activities to monitor your baby’s sleeping patterns.
 

  • Liquid Image Co® is a leading Action Camera manufacturer and the developers of the first in-goggle camera with the lens mounted at eye level, allowing for True POV video capture. The Apex HD+ is a Full HD Video Snow Goggle with WiFi for live streaming to Smartphones and Tablets. With the camera lens positioned just above the eyes, the Apex captures True POV footage of everything you see. (pictured above) 
  • Intel unveiled a headset nicknamed “Jarvis” that is supposed to act like a personal assistant.
  • Razer’s Nabu is a smartband health tracker that reports calories burned, steps taken and hours slept, among other things.
  • A SmartOne infant sleep monitor fits into a chest pocket and sends information and active alerts ontemperature, baby orientation, and breathing to a parent's mobile device.
  • The Quardiocore heart monitor can send the electrocardiogram to a smartphone and the EKG can be forwarded to a physician for remote heart monitoring.
  • YEI Technology's PrioVR, a virtual reality gaming accessory, allows sensors on the player to translate movement into the game.
 Rumor has it that Google is coming out with a watch that has it all! Rather than having to pull out your smartphone or tablet for frequent email, text and social media updates, you’ll glance at your watch.

Check out more wearable technology at http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/wearable-technology-ces-2014/. 


Apps

 
Technology companies are constantly developing new apps to make our lives easier. There’s literally an app for everything!
Five years ago, Apple only offered 500 apps for download on its brand new App Store on iTunes. As of October 2013, Apple announced 1 million apps in its App Store.


Top Apps of 2014 from CBS News


  • Beautified is an app that offers discounted spa services and helps you find and book same-day beauty appointments. 
  • Hotel Tonight is an app that features last-minute hotel deals.
  • Groupon Reserve gets you 20 to 40 percent off last-minute dinner reservations.
  • TodayTix is a new app that gets you up to 50 percent off theater tickets.
     
Self-sterilizing Keyboards

 
Forget all the Lysol and hand sanitizer! The ultra-modern UVLightBoard zaps bacteria from its surface as you type.


Smart TVs getting smarter


Nowadays more and more customers expect the ability to use Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and their web browser via their televisions. As a result, television manufactures are working harder and harder to make their TVs even smarter.


Smart TV shipments are expected to reach 123 million in 2014 – up from about 84 million in 2012.


3D Printing

 
The world has already seen some amazing things from 3D printing. However, from the looks of things it’s only the tip of the iceberg.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Business & Leisure Quandary:

5 Tips to a Stress-Free Vacation

A true vacation is tough for many small business owners and managers who feel the need to relentlessly check e-mail and texts from the beach. Many fear of missed opportunities, employees slacking off, or that business will not operate smoothly when they are away.
 

starfish beach sandals
In a recent survey commissioned by Sam's Club, nearly 50% of small business owners only take major holidays off (if any days at all). And when they do find time to relax, many still find themselves attached to their laptops or smartphones and taking calls.
 

However, taking a vacation is an important component to avoiding burnout, relieving stress and re-energizing creativity. Here are a few steps that you can take to help you achieve a more enjoyable (and much deserved) vacation.

5 Steps to a Stress-Free Vacation
 

1. Plan your vacation around slow periods in your business
For those owners and managers who fear that going away will wreak havoc on the business, experts suggest scheduling a vacation in a historically slower time for your company. These ‘slow periods’ depend on your industry. If you are a florist, taking a vacation during any holiday season may not be ideal. However, if you have an office job, holidays may be the best time.
 

2. Tie up loose ends and complete any big projects
If you must, stay late for a couple of days and make sure that any big projects that you are working on are completed before you leave for your vacation. Not only will you have less weighing you down when you're away, but if you're able to start fresh, you'll also have a smoother transition back to the office.
 

3. Empower your employees and delegate
Put a good plan in place with your employees and don’t forget to delegate tasks and responsibilities. Start handing off assignments early so you can answer any questions well before you leave. If certain aspects of the business are of particular concern to you, ask for brief daily emailed updates to keep your mind at ease. 

Do not assume the worst, trust your employees.

If necessary, pick the right person to manage your small business while you're on vacation and train them to do it ahead of time. You should do this even if you're not planning a vacation just in case you are unable to work for some reason.
 

4. Set a Schedule (to check in, if you must)
If it makes you feel more at ease to keep tabs on things, set aside specific times during the day to check e-mail or make calls. But stick to only those times. For example, check your email first thing in the morning before your kids get up.

Use technology. It is your friend.
 

Many business owners and managers are able to take advantage of current technology and take their work with them when they travel (just in case something should come up). As long as you can work remotely and are vacationing in places with acceptable technological resources (such as electricity and wireless Internet) you can use your smartphone or laptop/tablet to check in.
 

Many business phone systems also offer advanced call routing so you can have calls forwarded directly to your hotel room or cell phone. You can even customize your settings by day, time and caller.
 

5. Manage Client Expectations
Tell any clients that you work with directly when you will be taking vacation well in advance so you can address any concerns before-hand. Also, inform them of who they can contact in case a question or issue should arise while you are away.
 

Planning a stress-free vacation takes a little planning on your part, but it will be well worth it in the end. And once you have your processes and procedures solidified you may be surprised by how many more “vacation” days you could actually take (and enjoy).

Monday, May 12, 2014

Find Me Follow Me: Intelligent Call Routing

Receive calls anytime, any place and from any device - never miss another important call again 


Find Me Follow Me Business VoIP calling feature
Find Me Follow Me, also referred to as Mobile Office, is one of the most beneficial features of a business phone system.

With Find Me Follow Me, your office doesn’t have to be restricted to your main place of business.  This powerful feature allows your employees to receive calls anywhere, anytime and from any device with the appearance of them being in the office. Calls can be routed to a cell phone, another number (like a home office or hotel room), or another person (like a receptionist or a co-worker). You can even customize how you receive calls by day, time and even caller.



Benefits 

  • Give out one number and work from anywhere without missing a call 
  • Keep your cell phone and home numbers private 
  • Customize how you receive your calls by day, time, and even caller 
  • Have calls ring to multiple phones at the same time or in an order of your choice (for example: ring your cell phone first, and then your home office).

More business VoIP phone service features