Michigan’s Small Towns Are Going Global

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“Eaton Rapids Director of Utilities Scott Poyer, left, and Mayor Steven Platte, right, pose for a picture in downtown Eaton Rapids”

Small Michigan towns such as Charlotte, Mason and Eaton Rapids, are becoming Internet boom-towns by partnering with the right fiber optic company. These towns and many more have turned themselves into mini-startup hubs with new companies that are helping to retain their younger residents.

Mayor Tim Lewis of Charlotte explained that they have had nearly $30 million of economic development in the past three years. This includes housing, entertainment and news business in the downtown area.

Eaton Rapids and Hillsdale – all located in southern Michigan with populations between 5,000 and 9,000 – in recent years collaborated with ACD to implement fiber broadband in their communities. Currently, fiber is available to businesses, schools and utility plants; eventually, residents will start to receive fiber connections as well. Municipal and business leaders in these cities agree that having fiber networks gives them a competitive advantage.

“Having access to the global economy is critical, and without Internet connections, Michigan businesses can’t compete. But if we can help businesses better understand the benefits of a high-speed connection, we can grow and improve Michigan’s economy,” says Eric Frederick, executive director of Connect Michigan.

A better understanding of the need for fiber is vitally important, and these small Michigan towns have achieved a faster and more reliable Internet connection with the help of ACD and fiber broadband.

Facebook Live Making an Impact

Facebook Live is a whole new platform that is inclusive, raw, truthful and organic. We are using it for events like the Lansing Mayoral Debate to include the citizens of Lansing in important events that matter. The event is being held at The Lansing Brewing Company which runs on ACD fiber. The best technology is there and we are taking advantage of it with this broadcast.

“Some of the most engaging videos I see are coming from people just taking them with their phone; you want people to feel they are an active participant in what you are putting up on Facebook, not a passive observer ”

The following is an article from Government Technology about the potentials of using Facebook Live in Government:

Facebook’s newly released video feature has created a lot of hype, primarily among users who embrace the platform as a way to stay in touch with friends and relatives and, of course, share the ever-popular cat video. But what does the new apparatus mean for government?

At first glance, another way to post video content online hardly seems revolutionary. But when given a second look, it really could make things easier for state and local governments to get their messages out to the people who already care enough to follow them.

Until recently, the live video feature had only been available to public figures, but on April 6, the social media company expanded its user base to include everyone. With built-in features like real-time feedback and analytics, users at all levels have a new toy to play with.

For a state or local government, the possibilities are just as unlimited as they are for, say, a big wave surfer who decides to enable live streaming while he goes about his business — maybe not as exciting, but likely more informative. A press conference or meeting can now be shared live, direct to the source, much like it would have been through a platform like Periscope.

Katie Harbath, Facebook’s Global Politics and Government outreach director, addressed attendees of the 2016 Government Social Media Conference in Reno, Nev., last week, saying the tool presents a new way to engage constituents who might otherwise not participate in things like public meetings.

In Canada, the speaker said, officials were surprised to see users take interest in recent budgetary hearings. According to Harbath, roughly 2,000 people watched proceedings using the Facebook Live tool.

“Now, that’s not a huge number. It’s not in the millions, it’s not even in the tens of thousands, but that’s 2,000 more people who wanted to participate in this process about the budget that otherwise would have never had a chance to do so,” she said. “Even just broadcasting your press conferences and your speeches, you can reach a lot more people by going live than you could maybe reach who is there in person.”

While leveraging online video is far from a new concept for government agencies, instant access and the ability to receive comments during a video broadcast seems to have taken its place as the next step in the medium’s evolution.

Harbath said those who are drawn to the live feeds watch three times longer than prerecorded video and engage as much as 10 times more.

The possibilities behind live streaming video were a topic of conversation at Facebook’s F8 developers conference this week as founder Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated the capabilities of streaming from a DJI drone.

The company has also opened the API to third-parties to allow for better integration into the commercial markets.

According to Harbath, users of the live service will soon be given the ability to include groups, use filters and draw on the live broadcast, as well as include a map so users can see where real-time live streaming is taking place.

As Facebook stacks its chips behind video, at least for the time being, other trends in the medium are also catching the attention of company officials. Harbath noted that viewers aren’t necessarily drawn to high production values, but instead linger on in-the-moment videos that immerse them in the action.

“Some of the most engaging videos I see are coming from people just taking them with their phone; you want people to feel they are an active participant in what you are putting up on Facebook, not a passive observer,” she said, noting that one of the biggest trends the company is seeing with video is how people are interacting with it on a mobile device. “We really think that video this year is going to be one of biggest game changers on social media.”

Fiber Optic Broadband: Transforming Business Profit and Productivity

A growing number of Midwest businesses are seeing the profits of their competitors inch ahead of their margins because they’re deploying fiber-optic based technologies.

Fiber broadband delivers competitive advantages. And it could be a threat to companies that are not deploying it.

“Fiber-optic connectivity offers great advantages to Michigan-based companies of all sizes, particularly businesses using cloud-based technologies, off-site data storage, and operating with multiple locations,” said Chris DeVine, Major Business Accounts Manager at ACD.

Fiber broadband is the underpinning of the backbone of productivity for many businesses. Even if you think your business doesn’t need faster Internet, fiber broadband opens the gateway to the future, allowing your business to scale-up easily and run more efficiently.

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“We are living in a time when a small business can have the same technological advantages as a global corporation,” said ACD’s CEO Kevin Schoen. “Your profit gains will be large in comparison to the little amount of time and money you spend.”

Brent Sanders is an operations manager at DBI Office Interiors, located in Lansing, MI, and his company uses a direct hand-off to ACD’s Gigabit fiber network in Lansing. He says DBI needs massive broadband and robust connectivity to power the company’s productivity technology.

DBI uses the Internet for connecting every aspect of its business from sales to design, build, and customer follow-up. Their fiber optic network is involved from the moment a sale is made to the moment it’s delivered.

This means designers and managers at DBI’s headquarters are connected through high definition wireless devices (Ipads, computers and cell phones) with sales people in the field, who are also connected to the employees building office interior systems in their warehouse.

At any given time there are three or four dozen people connected to their fiber network, nearly every position at DBI requires an Internet connection whether it’s for purchasing, design, or customer service.

For instance, warehouse managers at DBI are virtually riding shotgun with their delivery truck drivers. As soon as a customer signs for a product that order gets automatically uploaded to the website to show proof of delivery. This is the same technology used by UPS and FedEx, meaning fiber allows a medium-sized company like DBI to compete in the global market.

“We are living in a time when small businesses can have the same technological advantage as a global corporation,” said ACD’s CEO Kevin Schoen. “Your profit-gains will be large in comparison to the little amount of time and money you spend.”

Project walk-throughs have also advanced with fiber. DBI designers use tablets when walking through a project space. If they find a problem, they’re able to take a picture, attach it to the problem-point in the project’s CAD drawings, and send it to a DBI designer at the office. This allows salesmen, designers, and warehouse staff to collaborate in real-time. These staff members are quickly solving little problems before they become big ones.

The office product side benefits from better connectivity too. There are fewer processing issues, allowing orders and purchasing to happen faster.

“Good, solid connectivity makes your toolkit a little more effective and so you just have fewer issues. The quality of the connection is vastly improved with fiber compared to copper,” Sanders says. “With fiber it’s so scalable, if I need to go from a 30 mg connection to a 40 I make a phone call to ACD, literally within an hour my connection is now running at that higher bandwidth.”

As a result of DBI’s fiber broadband they’re upgrading their office system, getting a better toolkit that includes videoconferencing and different systems to use with their customers.

Sanders says the fiber allows them to tighten their business up and be more efficient without having to worry about their bandwidth-usage or problems with connectivity.

“If you have the opportunity to be able to connect into the fiber and that’s something that’s available to you, I highly recommend that,” Sanders says.

Fiber is a superior product that allows businesses to do much more with better connectivity and a scalability that can grow alongside your business.

Next Generation Phones Are Productivity Tools

Phones today provide far more than a way to talk to other people physically distant from the caller. While traditional telephones have been around for over 100 years, new voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) phones are becoming the next new ‘must-have’ technology. As highly versatile communications devices, they can be as valuable to your business as your desktop computers. Think PCs and the Internet in 1996 and now think VoIP phones and seamless communications in 2016.

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Nancy McKeague, senior vice president of the Michigan Hospital Association 

With these Internet phones, you can take your company to the next level with low- cost, seamless communications for the 21st century. Designed for portability, versatility, and ease of use, VoIP phones can save your business time and money. And that translates into greater productivity and increased profits.

More and more U.S. companies now use Internet phone connections instead of conventional phone lines. A VoIP system provides sophisticated functionality at a cost savings compared to a landline system. And placing a call with a VoIP phone is usually no more complicated than making
a conventional phone call. VoIP capabilities can be easily added to conventional phones with an adapter.

Upgrading to a VoIP system can increase your profits as soon as you plug it in. Your VoIP system will boost productivity, increase mobility, and strengthen your competitiveness.


It’s no longer a question of whether VoIP will replace conventional phone systems, it’s now merely a question of when. The simplicity of a VoIP system has made it a perfect t for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA).

Nancy McKeague, Senior Vice President of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, knows it’s no longer a question of whether Internet phones will replace conventional phone systems, but when.

“All of the settings are web-based so it couldn’t be easier,” said MHA Senior Director of Information Technology, Mike Nowak. “We rarely have any interaction with users that have phone problems.”

Installation of the phone system can be almost as easy as making calls to customers.

“We put a lot of front-end leg work in setting up our customers’ VoIP phones,” ACD Sales Engineer, Kevin Meeker emphasized.

Upgrading to a VoIP phone provider will help improve your call ow as your phones will be set up to operate more ef ciently. VoIP systems provide automated attendants, call queues, and computer integration that allows desktop computers to be turned into “softphones.”

VoIP digitizes the sound of speech into digital data packets. So you might think of VoIP as the World Wide Web for voice communications. The magic is that routing phone calls over the Internet instead of conventional phone lines and towers results in enormous cost savings for your business.

“Slow Internet connections cost businesses money, especially when it comes to employee productivity,” said Chris DeVine, ACD’s Major Business Accounts Manager. “Fiber-based data networks from ACD, coupled with business IP phone services, offer our customers a powerful combination for solid and reliable business communications.”

Businesses can use VoIP for basics like teleconferencing, call screening, and voice-mail-to-email transcription. And businesses can become more efficient by creating a ‘placeless’ workplace with employees untethered from the physical office.


Equipped with advanced calling and conferencing tools, good voice quality in VoIP phones is important. And ACD guarantees call quality. That’s unique.
It’s the only company that makes this guarantee for VoIP services.

You can take your VoIP phone with you and use it anywhere you have access to a broadband Internet connection. The system’s “follow me” feature enables users to take calls on their smart phone from their desk phone.

“Our staff doesn’t have to sit at their desks waiting for calls,” said MHA Senior Vice President, Nancy McKeague. “Our of ces are now placeless. Our staff now have the freedom to travel anywhere in the state without missing a single call.”

The VoIP connection also provides handy efax service. Faxes are sent to the recipient’s email inbox in PDF format instead of being received the traditional way.

“You can be driving down the freeway and all of a sudden that fax is in your inbox, so when you get to your client you already have it available,” said Meeker. You are not tied to the fax machine anymore.

Mike Nowak

“All of the settings are web- based so it couldn’t be easier. We rarely have any interaction with users that have phone problems anymore.”

Mike Nowak, MHA Senior Director of IT

VoIP system capacity includes seamlessly connecting a workplace that has multiple physical locations. If a user wants to connect with a coworker across the city or state, they simply use a 3-digit extension. No more direct dial or calling the main phone line to get routed through the phone tree.

No more delays. It’s easy and seamless.

The VoIP system environment is also highly collaborative in its support of media applications, such as video. Computer-based VoIP systems also often allow data sharing or application sharing with the person you’re talking to. As a result, important interactions are not limited to voice communications.

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ACD Celebrates Viking Culture

At ACD, we’re fascinated by any and all technologies.

This weekend’s Michigan Nordic Fire Festival in Charlotte, MI is a time to celebrate the technology of the Viking culture.

Some of the most famous Viking technologies include:ulfberht-double-edged-sword

– Ulfberht sword made from crucible steel

– Strong  and surprisingly small ocean going ships that allowed them to navigate in veryunknown shallow water and at fast speeds

– Advanced compasses called Uunartoq discs that allowed them to sail whether sunny or cloudy outside

All of these technologies were unique to the Vikings and unheard of at the time of their occupancy. Most were not discovered until unknown-1recently.

ACD likes to lead a culture similar to the Vikings and be ahead of the technology advancements brought to you and your families.

We look forward to the festival this weekend and hope everyone in attendance has a safe, fun, and culturally enlightening experience. See you there!

For more information on the Michigan Nordic Fire Festival, please visit: http://www.michigannordicfirefestival.com

Mo’ Apps, Mo’ Problems

Guest Blogger: Sanjeev Verma, Director of Network Operations, ACD

Three Things to Keep Your Data Safe


ACD’s experts want you to know that more apps and more features on your phone and desktop have created more doors for cyber robbers to get your money and your identity info. Being able to keep your money and your family safe are two critical concerns on the Internet today. It is imperative to know how to stay safe on the Internet so hackers don’t learn personal information.

Sanjeev.jpgWhat Can You Do?

The Department of Homeland Security says October is National Cyber Security Awareness
Month. The message this year is:

Stop think and connect which includes:

– keeping a clean machine,

– protecting your personal information and

-connecting with care.

Step One: Clean Machines are Safe Machines

First, to keep a clean machine one should keep security software current, enable automatic software updates, protect all devices that connect to the Internet including smartphones and gaming systems by enabling virus and malware protection, and scanning devices before plugging them in (such as USBs and other external devices).

Step Two: Logins are Key

Next, to best protect all personal information, it is important to lock down your login, make passwords a sentence that is at least 12 characters, have a unique account and password via different passwords for every account, and write passwords down to keep it safe.

Step Three: Social Media Security

Finally, to connect with care one must keep emails and social media clean by deleting threads every so often, limit the scope of usage on WiFi hotspots, and always check that a site is security enabled when banking and shopping online. These simple steps can make it much easier to keep yourself and your assets safe online.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is upon us, and we want to help raise awareness about cyber security.