The newest, technological improvements in the telecommunications products and service market are now integrating better than ever before. And some providers are giving smaller entities a significant technical upgrade in telecommunications.
“Our clients aren’t enterprise clients,” says Jerry Schnepp, a communications consultant at Convergence Communications, which caters to ad agencies and law firms, to name a few, and surprisingly, homeowners.
Schnepp has experienced first hand, the convenience of technological improvements in the available efficient, reliable communications, even in his position while far from the flatlands of Burr Ridge.
“I’ve taken care of clients from the top of a mountain,” Schnepp says. “I’ve dialed in and made changes to their voicemail system from the top of Vail Mountain. On the one hand, you’re trading off vacation and dropping everything, on the other hand, you don’t come back to pile of work too—you deal with the real important things.”
Convergence Communications is a value-added reseller with the product service-installing know-how of a professional IT. They are in the “niche market,” says Schnepp, servicing smaller municipalities—fire stations, police stations—and medical offices too.
As a distributor, they keep up on the latest products for migration to VoIP technology and telecommunications’ network assessments and equipment interoperability solutions for clients, by visiting trade shows that include several companies with new offerings.
One product Schnepp is glowing over is the VoIP system, NetVanta 7000 Series by Adtran (a networking and communication equipment provider), that is one server-space big. It includes a router, a phone system, voice processor, and an auto attendant all built into one rack space.
“It would be awesome for a small techie company,” he stresses. “It could support up to 50 users. It’s everything all together; you could manage it real easily. If somebody was techie and wanted to manage their own switch, I could teach them,” Schnepp says confidently. “It’s a really cool product.”Schnepp added the cost of this system has lowered and there’s no need to go buy a router, phone system, and VPN (virtual private network), so it’s an ideal product for first-time businesses. He also says the new line of phones that go with it optimize the technology.
Adtran is Cisco Systems’ closest competitor, and Schnepp also swears their tech support is excellent.
“They basically make products that function almost identically to Cisco’s, and they’re as reliable as well—and they’re much cheaper.”
Reliability is paramount in today’s market, says Schnepp. He also added they install Panasonic’s phone systems the most because they are producing the best, dependable equipment and systems.
“They’re very reliable, feature-rich, and they are less expensive. For bang for your buck, Panasonic phone systems are the best to go with.”He says Panasonic goes through rigorous tech R&D. “They go through a lot of testing. When they release a product, it’s usually pretty solid.”
Convergence Communications extend their new product knowledge and business outside of municipalities and other various groups too. Up to 10 percent of their business is on the residential market.
“Up until a couple years ago, we were just dealing with businesses, and then we started to get all these calls from large residences,” Schnepp says. He added that these prospective home clients had huge homes, with a phone system with 20 to 30 extensions.
“These folks would buy these houses—and their phone system doesn’t work the way they want it to—and they do a web search and they find us, and call us and say, ‘We need you to work on these phones,’” Schnepp recalls.
He pointed out that the influx of home-based clients is an interesting development. “The houses are so big, that they can’t just hire an electrician to do the phones. They have to have folks that specialize in phone systems.”
Schnepp says that wireless networks in large houses are not unlike big businesses—
they require several axis points. The complexity and enormity has to be remedied with the latest systems and available tech support. “You can’t just go out and buy a Linux.”
He added that much of the residential business for Convergence Communications has been word of mouth.
With the aid of Convergence Communications, those interested, big or small, can acquire the knowledge of technological advances with telecommunications’ products, and the integration of merging mobile efficiency, thus helping them “move toward the cloud.”
(For more on Convergence Communications, read part 1 at www.tincmag.com)