In the event we don’t have an exact category for a blog post, you’ll find it here! If you have suggestions, be sure to let us know.

Cover All Your Bases For Less With Mitel AnyWare Hosted PBX

At BCS Voice and Data Solutions, we believe that your business should be able to communicate flexibly, reliably and in a way that maximizes your bottom line.

If yours is like many small to medium sized companies, you may find that managing a complicated, premises-based executive phone system can be anything but flexible and reliable and often  incurs extra (and unpredictable!) communication costs. Some of the more complex systems require a specialized IT staff to fix even small issues, and employing such a staff isn’t always an option for still-growing businesses.

For those businesses, BCS recommends using a virtually hosted telephone solution (aka hosted PBX service) like Mitel AnyWare. With Mitel AnyWare’s low cost monthly per-user subscription, you receive everything you need to streamline business continuity and take the headache out of phone system management. What’s that exactly? Mitel AnyWare gives your business:

  • Mitel’s feature-rich, intuitive, executive class business telephones. One for every user.   And Mitel’s phones aren’t simply phones. They are cutting-edge, unified communications clients that put the world at your employees’ fingertips.
  • Reliable and pristine call quality.
  • Unlimited calls to the US and Canada.
  • Mobile device integration, or “Mobile Twinning.” This means that, if you so choose, calls to an employee’s desktop phone can be directly routed to his or her mobile phone. Your remote workers never have to worry about missing a call, no matter how far they are from the office.
  • Faster disaster recovery with less downtime. Mitel AnyWare’s mobile Auto Attendant continues to run your phone system, even in the event of a power outage. And with Mobile Twinning, business doesn’t have to stop short for Mother Nature.
  • Highly customizable and user-friendly web-based interface.

We can’t say enough about the benefits of using a truly complete hosted phone solution like Mitel AnyWare. Lots of voice and data solution companies provide bits and pieces of the necessary communication arsenal, but BCS in its partnership with Mitel offers the full spectrum. We come to your business, install the phone system and even train your users so they can make the most of Mitel AnyWare. And when your business grows enough that it requires a more complex premise-based phone system, we can help you with that too.

 

Do you think that Mitel AnyWare hosted PBX service might be the right choice for your business? Do you have some questions?  Call or contact BCS today. We are looking forward to helping you make business happen!

Today’s the Day to Protect Your Data

Did you know that today, March 31, is World Backup Day? Well, if you didn’t you do now, and it is time to take action! What better day than today to back up or plan to back up your important personal files and business critical data? After you’re done with the egg hunts and chocolate bunnies, consider taking steps to protect your data.

According to Worldbackupday.com:

“More than 60 million computers will fail worldwide in 2013. Only 1 in 4 people back up their information regularly–that’s roughly 45 million times this year where files will be lost forever. Even worse–113 cell phones are lost or stolen every minute in the United States alone. That’s hundreds of photos, conversations, calendars and more, gone in an instant.”

The statistics are staggering. What is even more shocking is how much trust we put into technology to protect vital information in our businesses and in our personal lives, when we all know that that technology sometimes fails. Are you ready to place yourself among the wise and tech-savvy by backing up your data? We sure hope so.

First thing’s first, read our blog post from last month, A Data Backup Strategy is Your Best Defense. It details the options you have for backing up business-critical information as well as the structure of a good security strategy for today’s small business. The best option for most businesses is cloud-based data backup and storage in the VMware virtual environment.

As for personal data, the strategic backup decisions are less complex and overwhelming. Whether on an external hard drive or an online cloud backup service, make and store copies of all important files on all data-heavy devices and websites. These might include:

  • Desktop and laptop computers
  • Smartphones
  • Mp3 players
  • Tablets
  • Social Networks where you store valuable pictures

And remember, one copy is not enough! It is wise to make one or two copies of the initial copy, just to be safe. Store those extra copies somewhere different than your home or office (online or at a friend’s home). Give yourself some peace of mind by making the effort today to start protecting the files and the information that are precious to you.

If you have any questions about business data backup and storage, please don’t hesitate to call or contact BCS Voice and Data Solutions. We are here for you on World Backup Day and every other day of the year!

interactive whiteboards in the classroom

Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom

interactive whiteboards in the classroom

Imagine that you are a child sitting at your desk in a classroom waiting to start the day…

The teacher walks in, presses a button, and all of a sudden you and your classmates are teleconferencing with another classroom across the world in China for your social studies lesson. When you move on to math, the teacher displays multiplication tables on the same board and you and your classmates go up to the front of the room and take turns dragging and dropping the correct answers. The English lesson is exciting, too, because you get to read a book along with your class on the board, complete with pictures, right from your desk. At the end of the day, your teacher emails an absent classmate an audiovisual recording of everything that happened on the board that day, so even he doesn’t miss out.

Until recently, this kind of scenario seemed positively futuristic. With the incredible technology of interactive whiteboards (IWBs), it looks like the future is here.

For the past 20 years, interactive whiteboards have made their way into classrooms across the globe. In many K-12 schools, the traditional blackboard has been phased out entirely by the IWB because of the latter’s innovative flexibility.

Structurally, your general IWB is a large screen placed at the front of a classroom (or boardroom.) Many have desktop or tablet hubs from which the instructor writes on and navigates across programs and the web for students to see.

The uses and benefits of interactive whiteboards in the classroom are many:

-Presentations

-Ability to record information and lessons for those not in class

-Digital Storytelling -Teaching the fundamentals of Internet navigation in real time

-Demonstrating the correct usage of editing marks on typed text for the whole class to see.

Perhaps the most important contribution of interactive whiteboards to education is how readily they appeal to diverse learning styles in the classroom. For instance, in a classroom with a traditional blackboard, an audio learner is likely to be less intellectually stimulated than a student who is visual or tactile. An interactive whiteboard allows the teacher to integrate sound bytes in the form of music and video clips to instruct the audio learner more effectively and with ease. The interactive whiteboard is especially helpful to tactile learners because it gives them the ability to drag, drop, draw, and erase more clearly and decisively than they might on a blackboard.

We can’t underestimate the value of this technology in the classroom for a generation of students that is readily responsive to the Internet, touch screens, and everything digital. Interactive whiteboards meet children where they are cognitively, and they afford teachers a seemingly endless horizon of creative possibilities.

BCS is a first class proprietor of interactive whiteboards and we can answer any questions you may have about choosing, installing, and using an IWB in your classroom or office. Call us today.

image source: www.edudemic.com

source: http://www.rmtc.fsdb.k12.fl.us

Work 3.0

A report recently published by Mitel Solutions asserts that, “We are on the tipping point of a workplace revolution that will signal a model for a dynamic, adaptive and smarter business that is focused around the human cloud workforce.”

Flexibility. Virtualization. Bring Your Own Device. These are all things that characterize a new era of business technology that Mitel and the tech-world call “Work 3.0.” It has the potential to provide businesses with more skilled talent, happier employees, and in turn, huge gains in productivity.

But what is this transition to Work 3.0 all about, and what does it mean for small business?

While it’s no secret that business technology and culture has become increasingly reliant on virtual communication thanks to rapid technological innovation, many companies who felt the sting of the recent recession found the cost-saving merit of making a complete switch to virtual voice and data technology through use of cloud computing and unified communications (UC).

With UC, companies can provide their employees the ability to work from anywhere, be it their home office, the coffee shop down the street, or on a plane.

Working remotely is admittedly not a new concept, but UC’s emphasis on mobile capability transcends anything we’ve seen prior. It allows workers to make their job a seamless part of their “on-the-go” lifestyle. Imagine doing your entire job from a smartphone. Unified communications technology makes this possible.

It also makes expansive physical office spaces a little less relevant. In fact, there are quite a few companies who have harnessed the power of UC and gotten rid of their offices altogether in favor of virtual communication between employees.

Since these voice and data innovations have made collaboration and communication as easy as a click of a mouse, companies have access to a larger talent pool that isn’t constrained by location or ability to commute. This means that businesses can hire people on other coasts and in other countries who are truly best-suited for open positions, with a lot less overhead.

The essence of Work 3.0 is facilitating a work environment that interacts seamlessly with the lives of employees. They choose (in part, at least) when they want to work, where they want to work, and how they want to work. It used to be that one’s office was the only place to find the technology needed to get work done. Now, with the ubiquity of smartphones, tablets, advanced laptops and cloud computing, people are just as capable of getting work done at home as they are at the office, if not more so. For a growing number of companies, small and large alike, the days of the 9 to 5 workday are coming to an end.

Your business can harness the power of Work 3.0 without getting rid of your office space or regular business hours. As a Mitel partner, BCS Voice and Data Solutions leads the way for advanced voice and data technology in Hampton Roads. Among other things, we provide desktop and mobile integrated phone systems, wireless networking solutions, and high level teleconferencing equipment that can help your company stay on the cutting edge of innovative communication and increase overall productivity and ROI. Call us at 757-497-3100. We can help.

Source: Mitel 3.0 Whitepaper

Protect Your Company’s Data from Disaster. Create an IT Disaster Recovery Plan Today.

Modern businesses handle huge volumes of electronic data every day.  It is easy, convenient, and environmentally conscious to store records electronically, use technologies like VoIP and digital signage in lieu of traditional mediums, and depend on teleconferencing to keep business going strong.  Since some kind of computing is necessary to complete most tasks these days, data and data equipment needs to be secure in the event of a natural disaster.  Is your company prepared for the worst?

In the wake of the Hurricane Sandy, all business owners should step back and evaluate the security of their company’s technology. When a natural disaster hits, be it a flood, a hurricane, a tornado, or an earthquake, your electronic information and technical components can be particularly vulnerable.  What steps can you take to protect your data before calamity strikes? First, establish a protocol. FEMA recommends that all businesses create an IT disaster recovery plan  by following a few smart steps:

  • Compile an inventory of all hardware. This includes employee laptops and desktops, servers, phone system components and wireless devices.
  • Similarly, take an inventory of all software applications and data.
  • Periodically BACK UP all software and electronic data either on an external drive stored offsite, or on an external network/server.
  • Carefully note the most critical hardware, software programs, and connectivity components of your IT arsenal and make sure that those items can be restored if they are compromised by a catastrophic weather event.  This is where good business insurance comes in.

The kind of protocol you establish for your company and the type of business insurance you purchase are contingent upon the natural disasters likely to happen in your area. If your business is located on a hill in a high-altitude region, you probably don’t need extensive flood insurance. But if located in an area prone to flooding, buy that insurance and make it company policy to place IT equipment above even aggressive estimated flood levels.

You can prevent many of the stressful and costly effects of natural disasters on your business and the technology that helps it run with careful forethought and some practical preparation.  Keep your data safe and secure by taking the time to back it up in a way that makes sense and minimizes risk. Review your company’s existing insurance policies and make sure that they cover your critical IT components.  Last but not least, depend on IT professionals with sharp expertise to help you develop the best protocol for protecting your data and data equipment. Call BCS Voice and Data Solutions today at 757-497-3100 to schedule an IT needs analysis with one of our professionals. We will help you prepare your vital data and technology for any emergency and advise you as to best IT practices for your business. Let us provide you with intelligent solutions.

 

If Hurricane Sandy hurt your small business, refer to this article from Forbes.com for details on where you can find assistance to get your company back on its feet.