Bob Vila is a renowned expert in the area of home renovation and repair advice. If Bob was a “voice over IP technology specialist”, what tips would he offer to help you make your VoIP installation successful? We’ve compiled a list of the Top 5.
- Parallel; not daisy chain. When it comes to wiring, you should keep your voice and data separate! Some experts will recommend that you establish a VLAN and share one wire to the desktop. In theory these “experts” may be right; however, that’s what they’re dealing with – theory. In reality (which is what we deal with), daisy-chaining one wire introduces a variety of “unpredictable results”, which are usually not good.
- Don’t go for the lowest cost, there’s always a reason. There’s an old saying about Product, Price & Service. You can have this exceptional product; expect to receive responsive service; and you can have it at the lowest price – but you can’t have all 3, so which 2 do you want? Look at the total cost of ownership over a 5 to 10 year span. How about ongoing support? And commitment to the product? (Some vendors represent 3 to 4 different manufacturers).
- Develop a common spec. If everyone is creating their own system configuration based on a general idea that you’ve provided, you can’t accurately compare your options when reviewing their proposals. This will become a very frustrating and laborious challenge; and you will probably not get what you think you’re getting. With a little help, this can be a very simple process. After all, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your vendor(s) understand your requirements and expectations. The better you articulate your requirements, the easier your evaluation becomes.
- Avoid hybrid / converged phone systems that support digital phones. Believe it or not, there are still quite a few digital phone systems being represented and sold as Voice Over IP. A hybrid or converged system is a “DEAD END” with a limited lifespan. And just because the product uses “IP” in its name, or has Ethernet ports on the face of the appliance doesn’t mean it’s a VoIP server. Rise above the smoke & mirrors, and interpret the propaganda for what it is. Voice over IP has proven itself as the phone technology du jour and beyond, and you’re hurting yourself if you turn back.
- Check references early in the process. Why waste time with vendors that you’re never going to do business with anyway. Early on, ask their clients tough questions to get a more accurate representation of what they’re like to do business with. You are dealing with technology so you can expect that there will be issues from time to time. So ask their references about the last 3 problems they had how their vendor handled them. Get specifics and realize that a problem doesn’t have to be something catastrophic. You simply want to make sure that they’re responsible, reliable and responsive; and will see things through to completion and to your satisfaction. The answers should resonate a consistent theme about each vendor.
This is only a tip of the iceberg, and one of the main reasons you need a specialist to consult with and guide you through the process. IDeACOM Communications Group is a uniquely positioned local VoIP service provider with a nationwide; check that, worldwide reach. We’ve become the VoIP specialists that you continue to depend on with confidence. Let us know how we can help you maximize your results with today’s business solutions!
Want to learn how to buy a phone system? Ask for a copy of our Phone System Evaluator. It’s a valuable tool that helps you quickly create a system specification and establish a true side-by-side comparison. At IDeACOM we design, install and support VoIP systems and services every day. Take advantage of our experience and expertise by requesting this free guide, and do what Bob would do.