Michigan companies are finding new ways to save money and increase productivity using ACD’s fiber optic network. Watch the video and learn more about the internet of everything here.
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.
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.
“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.
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 sword made from crucible steel
– Strong and surprisingly small ocean going ships that allowed them to navigate in very 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 recently.
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
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.
What 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.
You likely won’t see them, but Lansing-based technology firm ACD installed 14 distributed antenna systems and built a fiber network throughout East Lansing.
This gives East Lansing world class Internet coverage, allowing businesses access to fiber optics for powering desktop computers, and gives the public improved cell phone and wireless Internet coverage.
“The improved coverage ensures that there is substantial capacity increase on 4G wireless service to East Lansing and will also result in improved broadband capacity for East Lansing,”according to Kevin Schoen, ACD’s CEO. “This next generation broadband network will also increase local companies connection speeds and reduce their business operational costs.”
How Will East Lansing Benefit?
• East Lansing residents are major consumers of broadband. MSU’s thousands of researchers have this need for speed, and it’s tech savvy residents made it a perfect place to build this network.
• The region has taken a huge leap forward in the next generation of broadband, into a gigabit network that lowers broadband costs for homeowners, government, and businesses.
• East Lansing is on its way to becoming a “FiberHood,” which means its residents now have world-class smartphone coverage and access to up-to-Gigabit-speeds in their offices — 100-times faster then regular broadband.
• How Did This Happen in East Lansing? The collaborative efforts of city officials and ACD have led to this important economic investment. ACD is building fiber networks in the areas where they can complete engineering and necessary permits. East Lansing city officials understand the importance of working with a provider such as ACD to build out broadband networks.
“People are making decisions on where to live and work based upon the technology infrastructure available to them. Our mission is to bring direct world class connections to all business andresidents, said Schoen.”
Tell Your Town’s Government Leaders To Get World Class For Your region’s Internet and Cell Phone Connections….It’s only a phone call away: 517-999-9999
About ACD and ACD Telecom, Inc. ACD owns an extensive statewide fiber network and is a leading fiber optic provider of broadband services to businesses and residential customers. ACD is headquartered in Lansing, Michigan. Learn more about ACD.net and its commitment to the state of Michigan at www.ACD.net
Pokemon Go is a lot of fun, but the App is also very nosey. If you don’t like your every move being tracked, don’t go with Pokemon Go. It’s cartoon world is fueled by GPS satellites just like hundreds of other Apps. With some cell phone operating systems, Pokemon Go asks to download the personal data stored on your phone.
Here some great content from a Dow Jones article on GPS, it might surprise you.
Author Greg Milner became interested in GPS — Global Positioning System — several years ago as consumers started using it more frequently on their phones to access maps and directions.
“It seemed like this thing that everybody used and no one knew anything about,” Milner said.
Although consumers might be most familiar with using the service on mobile applications such as Google Maps, Milner said it affects daily life in a lot more ways. By 2019, the number of apps that use GPS will double, according to his research, which he turned into a new book about GPS, “Pinpoint,” which was published by W.W. Norton & Company in May.
But not everyone is comfortable with being tracked. Here are some things you should know about using GPS:
GPS is made in America, and other countries are making their own versions
Milner became even more interested in GPS when he learned that it originated with the U.S. military; GPS operates out of Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado.
GPS is made up of 24 navigation satellites, plus ground stations and receivers.
The U.S.’s Naval Research Laboratory had been experimenting with positioning satellites since 1960, and added a timing signal to them in 1964. The U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force were working on their own satellite positioning technology at the same time. The Navy and Air Force launched a combined program in 1974 and called it NAVSTAR. That technology has improved over time.
In 2000, then-president Bill Clinton announced the U.S. would stop giving civilians only selective access to GPS, and they would be able to pinpoint locations up to 10 times more accurately than they’d been able to in the past.
The U.S. government does not charge companies or individuals a fee for using GPS (besides taxes that support the military).
Yet so many companies benefit from using it that Milner estimates it has a value of $3 trillion — from cutting down on inefficiencies in industries including transportation, shipping and farming, to making other industries possible, such as geography-based dating apps or games like Pokémon Go.
Other countries have set up their own satellite-based navigation systems, including Russia, China and the European Union, in order to not be solely reliant on the U.S.-based system.
Russia was developing its system, GLONASS, at the same time as GPS and it became fully operable in the mid-2000s; but GPS has better coverage, said Greg Worona, a senior security consultant at cybersecurity firm NCC Group. The EU’s system, Galileo, is expected to reach global coverage by 2020 and will potentially be even more accurate than GPS, Worona said, because it may be able to track locations within one centimeter. China’s system is expected to be complete in 2020 as well, he said.
Why do all of these governments need their own systems?
During a military strike, any government could disable the civilian versions of the navigation service, so countries want to be covered in those cases, Worona said.
In theory, without a navigation system available to them, countries wouldn’t be able to find targets accurately during a war, said Rick McElroy, a security strategist at the security firm Carbon Black.
GPS works when your phone is off
GPS has also been used as evidence in crimes because it can signify the location of the person carrying the phone, including in the 2007 murder of Rachel O’Reilly in Ireland and in the trial of Adnan Syed, who was accused of killing his high-school girlfriend in 1999. Syed’s case was featured on the popular podcast “Serial.” Syed was granted a new trial in June after a new witness came forward to say she saw him at a library at the time police believe the victim was murdered; a judge also decided Syed’s late trial attorney “failed to cross-examine the state’s expert regarding the reliability of cell tower location evidence.”
Consumers should know GPS can still track cellphones when they are powered off, McElroy said, because even after using the “off” switch, many phones are still performing some limited functions.
To completely cut off GPS tracking, consumers would have to remove the battery from their phones, he said.
When people don’t want GPS to track them, there are a few options.
Putting phones on “airplane mode” is more effective in turning off GPS tracking, McElroy said, but may not work on every device. Plus, hackers can easily make phones appear to be on “airplane mode” when they’re not, so if a phone has previously been hacked in this way, GPS may still be picking up on a user’s location, he said.
People who don’t want to be tracked would be safest not carrying any devices with GPS capability or any that transmit radio frequency, such as using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, Worona said.
Sometimes, those who don’t want to be tracked try more sophisticated technology though, in a process known as “jamming,” or intentionally interfering with GPS signals by using a device known as a “transmitter.” Although this process is fairly easy to do, Worona said, it’s also easy to detect. “Jamming” GPS signals is illegal.
Another way consumers sometimes interfere with GPS is by “spoofing,” or essentially fooling a GPS receiver into providing false position, velocity and time information, Worona said. There have been some reports of Pokémon Go players using this technology to trick the game into believing they had visited certain GPS locations when they had not.
Most consumers probably don’t realize how much information apps are picking up about them by using GPS, McElroy said.
He recommended reading more closely what type of data an app will require before downloading it and said even if consumers are OK with giving those apps and websites their data, there’s a chance companies will sell the data to other companies without explicitly telling consumers their plans.
“Consider if whatever that activity is, is worth giving up all that data,” McElroy said. “It may say it’s ‘free,’ but the payment you make to that organization is your data.”
GPS directions don’t always pan out
GPS isn’t always accurate and people have gotten into some dangerous situations, Milner writes, such as a mom who drove down a road in Death Valley National Park and became lost while using GPS in 2009. She and her 6-year-old son Carlos were lost for five days, and Carlos died before park rangers found them. Park officials called the incident and others like it “Death by GPS.”
(The mother and son left their vehicle to find help in the heat of the summer, which is dangerous in itself.)
Of course, GPS isn’t the only problem in many of these cases, but it may contribute to motorists’ decisions to try driving in dangerous locations they wouldn’t otherwise, because GPS provides a sense of security.
“Something is happening to us,” Milner writes in “Pinpoint.” “Anyone who has driven a car through an unfamiliar place can attest to how easy it is to let GPS do all the work.”
GPS may be changing our brains
Because the rise of GPS is relatively recent, researchers don’t know yet the extent of its impact on the human brain, Milner writes. But there is some evidence that an over reliance on GPS may also be bad for our brains.
Some London cab drivers actually had larger hippocampi, the area of the brain that stores spatial information about the environment, than control subjects who didn’t drive taxis, leading researchers to believe the human brain can actually change in response to different demands, according to a 2000 study published in the scientific journal of the National Academy of Sciences, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. It stands to reason that many people aren’t creating the mental maps they would without GPS. The same size was small; the researchers studied the brains of just 16 drivers.
And yet it’s hard to argue with the benefits of GPS, Milner said.
“It’s a free thing given to the world to play with,” he says. That is, if you don’t include the data it uses up on your cellphone plan. Pokémon Go, for instance, has shown that GPS can now be used for augmented reality, which mixes real-time images as seen through a smartphone camera with added graphics or video, Milner said. “There’s so much potential for creativity.”
Certain game-changing events are as rarely seen as a black swan. Black swan events can be disruptive or creative, and they can happen to every Midwest industry.
Black swan events are extreme outliers. Rare as they are, they have vastly greater impact than regular occurrences. These large magnitude events include the rise of the personal computer and creation of the Internet.
Whether your business is selling baked goods or supplying parts to a global company, how you use technology to improve your company is an indicator of the future of your business — or if it even has a future.
Technology is naturally disruptive and generates more than its share of unpredicted black swan events. Smart-tech professionals are aware of this.
In 1995, only a few years before the creation of Google, Bill Gates said that large competitors didn’t worry him as much as small groups working on something completely new. Google’s market capitalization surpassed Microsoft’s in 2012.
“Small business people need to keep an eye out for these millennials working out of basements and garages,” ACD CEO Kevin Schoen said.