Toshiba Shuts Down Business Phone Division

On March 21, 2017 Toshiba notified it's North American dealers that they are shutting down their Telecommunications Systems Division immediately. In the letter, Toshiba VP Brian Metherell stated:

As part of its continuing global restructuring, Toshiba Corporation has deemed it necessary to wind-down our Telecommunication Systems Division (TSD) business starting immediately. Dealers can submit orders through May 22, 2017 subject to inventory acceptance."

Toshiba has been struggling to keep its head above water in a large part due to with its nuclear unit, Westinghouse Electric.

Toshiba has made quality business telephones for many years, and it's sad to see this happen.  More information can be found here: Toshiba Shutting Down its Business Phone Division.

Avaya files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Telecommunications giant Avaya has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to help reduce its debt load of over 6 Billion Dollars.

Avaya has struggled over the last few years, not helped by the weak economy and increased competition. The makers of popular business telephone systems like the Avaya Partner, and the Avaya IP Office purchased the remnants of its former competitor Nortel in 2009, after Nortel filed for bankruptcy.

If Avaya is able to rebound from this bankruptcy, many believe they will come out as more of a software company, abandoning the hardware used to support more traditional small business telephone systems. Of course, this remains to be seen.

Hopefully, there will be little impact on their SMB customers. There is still plenty of new and refurbished equipment to support small-business telephone customers for some time to come.

For more information Click Here.

Windstream & Earthlink to Merge

Telecom giants Windstream & Earthlink have announced a merger in a $1.1 billion dollar agreement. Once the deal goes through, Windstream shareholders will hold 51 percent, and Earthlink shareholders will own 49 percent of the new company. The combined company will retain the Windstream name.

What does this mean for telephone users is in North Florida? It remains to be seen. While both companies have a presence in our part of the country, Earthlink has a lot fewer customers than Windstream. It seems that as a communications company gets bigger, customer service suffers for the end users.

For more information, look here: http://news.windstream.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1770

Buying a Phone System, How the Process Starts

At North Florida Communications we sell and service business telephone systems. We’re also network cabling experts and we provide background music and paging systems.  Many people hate the thought of updating an important piece of office equipment.  That's natural, change can be scary.  We'll do our best to make it easy for you.

When you call North Florida Communications to discuss a new phone system, or network cabling installation, you’re going to get an appointment with me, the owner of the business and not a high pressure commissioned sales person.  I’m going to come to your business and we’ll discuss your needs face to face.  This meeting helps me to see your current infrastructure, and allows me to see how your business is ran.  Like individuals, no two businesses are the same. In order to help meet your communications needs, I need to get an idea of how your business operates.

In this meeting we’ll discuss the basics like how many phones do you need, how many phone lines you currently have, your desired call flow and much more.  We’ll discuss what’s important to you, and I’ll try to make some suggestions on how things can be improved.  You’ll also be shown a sample of the phones that will meet your needs.

The Proposal

Once we’ve had our meeting, I’m able to go back to my office and develop a detailed proposal for you.  The proposal will include everything needed to meet the needs of your specific business.  We’ll include the phones, the back-end equipment, lightning protection, battery backup, installation and sales tax.  Most of our competitors do not include sales tax on their quotes, which might make our prices seem higher.  Personally, I like to know the exact amount of money I’ll be paying for something, and that is how I want our customers treated as well.

Some of our competitors do not include lightning protection or battery backups.  Be aware of these companies.  Lightning usually gets to a phone system in two ways: either through the electrical outlet, or through the phone lines.  We live in Florida and if your phone system doesn’t have proper protection, it’s going to get hit sooner or later and you’ll be stuck with a costly repair bill.  Companies that don’t install lighting protection know this and they know they can make more money when your system gets hit.

Your proposal will include brochures for the equipment we’re quoting and will even have clickable URL links for you to find further information at our web site.

After you’ve received the proposal, we’ll be glad to come back out to your business and do a full demonstration of the phone system.

Ready to start the process?  Contact Us now and we'll make the process easy!

Hosted PBX Benefits

We’re often asked what the benefit of a Hosted, Cloud-Based phone system are.  Here’s a few:

Lower Initial Cost- you don’t have to shell out money for the back-end equipment.  You’ll only need the phones and internet/network equipment.

Lower Maintenance Cost- since you don’t have to buy the expensive back-end equipment, you don’t need to worry about it breaking.  You won’t need to worry about any upgrades, it’s all taken care of.

Multiple Locations- with a hosted phone system, it’s very easy to set up a system with users at multiple locations.  End Users can easily work from home or from any location with an internet connection. 

High-End Features- you’ll get all of the features available with a Hosted PBX. (Well, at least with our Hosted PBX.)

You may be able to switch to a Hosted PBX and pay less than you currently pay for your phone service now.  You’ll no longer need to purchase expensive multiple phone lines from The Phone Company™.  You just need an internet connection, and we’ll take care of the rest.

If you would like to discuss a Hosted PBX, and obtain a free quote, please Contact Us!

Phone System Configuration & Installation

Configuration & Installation

A lot of companies start the configuration of your new phone system as soon as they start the installation process.  This can create chaos for your business.  We do things differently at North Florida Communications.

Once you’ve made the decision to go with our business communication solution, we start a dialog with the point-of-contact that you designate.  We’ll start by emailing a short questionnaire that is the starting point for programming your new phone system.  We’ll continue the dialog until we have a firm grasp on how the system needs to be programmed.

We then set up your new system on our test bench. We program it completely and run a series of tests on the system.  We then label and test each individual phone.

The next step is to schedule an install time that fits in with your schedule.  Since we’ve done most of the prep work beforehand, we’re able to do a smooth cutover with very little, if any downtime.

Pre-programming and Pre-Setup of your new business telephone system, is just another thing we do a little differently at North Florida Communications!

Telephony As A Service

Cloud Telephony, Hosted PBX, Hosted Phone System, Cloud Based Phone System, etc., etc., etc…what does it all mean?  For simplicities sake, let’s stick with one term, Hosted PBX.

A Hosted PBX is a phone system based in the mysterious “cloud”.  The phones at your location connect to the backend equipment through your internet connection.  The “cloud” equipment can be located in your same town, a different state, or even another country.

Hosted PBX comes in many different flavors, and from many providers.  There are internet companies that let you set up your own phones via their internet portal.  You’ll be responsible for the configuration, and if things go wrong you’ll be able to go to an online forum for help, or possibly email support.

A lot of mom & pop companies resell other’s services.  They basically act as the salesperson for the internet company.  They sell you on the big company’s product, and are rewarded with a commission every month.  Depending on the company, they may help you set up your new Hosted PBX, but generally won’t be responsible for making changes, or for problems.

At North Florida Communications, we own our own hosted equipment.  We’re not trying to sell phone service to the whole nation, just to the North Florida area.  Our equipment is located in a very secure data center located in downtown Jacksonville. 

If you choose us to provide your Hosted PBX, we’ll come install the phones for you, program them and show you how to use them.  If you have a problem with a phone, you won’t have to send it back and wait for a replacement, we’ll come fix it.  Want to make a change to your system?  No problem, you can talk to a live human being and we’ll take care of it for you.

Now, if you prefer a more traditional based phone system, we have those too!  Please contact us and let us know how we can help!

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