Archive for the ‘IT’ Category

Unified Communications: The end is near for desk phones

By admin|September 25th,2013|IT,Lync,Unified Communications|No comments

By J.J. Rosen
For The Tennessean

“Mr. Watson, come here — I want to see you.”

With those famous words that Alexander Graham Bell uttered in 1876, the telephone was born. It was an amazing technical advancement that changed the future.

Now, nearly 140 years later, with many new features, there is still a physical telephone sitting on almost every office desk in the world. As other technologies have come and gone (e.g., telegraph, desk calculator), the desk telephone has remained a steadfast companion in our daily work lives.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end. The desktop phone is slowly going the way of the dinosaur, and your office desk is about to feel a bit roomier.

There is a new breed of telephone communications that will make your current phone feel like an old rotary model. With wireless, cloud and mobile technologies converging, there is a rapid shift in the way communications occur, especially business communications.

The new paradigm for businesses to communicate internally and externally with their customers and vendors combines voice, email, chat, video conferencing, text messaging and more, all in one device. With a global economy and a highly mobile workforce, employees in the office, on the road and even in their homes need to be able to communicate efficiently in a variety of ways — something the typical office desk phone is not capable of handling on its own.

The term “unified communications” (UC) is the catchphrase for the new approach to consolidating all of a company’s and individual’s communications needs into a single, manageable, easy-to-use platform. Using your mobile phone, tablet, and/or computer, you can have all the power of a traditional phone system, with the added advantage that all of your emails, voice mails, texts, chats, meetings, address books and video conferences are well organized in one spot.

The desk phone’s days may be numbered, if you consider all the bells and whistles of the current crop of UC offerings such as presentation sharing, HD video conferencing, inter-company chat, presence status (like an in/out board on steroids), archiving and more. And these features are often easier to use than transferring a call on a desktop phone.

So, how does this all work and how much does it cost?

There are several good UC software vendors. One of the most compelling offerings is from Microsoft. Using Microsoft Lync Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Outlook, companies small and large can optimize and organize their communications for less than the cost of a traditional phone system. The desktop phone becomes optional. Users can utilize voice, instant-messaging chat, online meetings, presentations and email (or all of the above simultaneously) using either their mobile device or a headset and computer.

Since UC can work on any mobile device, laptop or desktop, it does not matter where an employee is located — the only requirement is an Internet connection. Companies with remote offices, telecommuters or an outside sales team can keep in touch efficiently, as if they are all sitting in the same room.

Implementation of a UC system is usually cheaper than a conventional phone system setup because you no longer have to spend hundreds of dollars for each desk phone. Your computer or mobile device becomes your phone and much more. In addition, a unified communications system can be hosted in the cloud, so no more phone closets to worry about and support.

Companies using UC software report saving anywhere from 10 to 50 percent on their phone budgets while at the same time improving their productivity and communications. While your desk phone may be saying, “I’m not dead yet,” with the pace of progress, its demise is imminent.


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Mobile Devices Present Challenges for Employers

By WillD|August 10th,2013|IT,Mobile|No comments

Your phone is having an identity crisis.

Not unlike us humans, our smartphones (and for that matter, all of our mobile devices) are swamped juggling both our work and personal lives. This is presenting some interesting challenges for employers and employees alike.

Multiple research reports show that almost 70 percent of employees use their personal smartphones and tablets to access corporate data and applications. Despite resistance from IT departments, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is clearly what employees want, allowing them to manage work, home and fun on their personally owned mobile devices.

From the employer side, BYOD has both pros and cons. On the upside, employers can save tons of money on mobile hardware and services while enhancing productivity by giving employees the convenience to work more from anywhere at any time. However, this productivity boost and savings comes at the expense of security and control. Allowing personally owned devices on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) to access corporate networks and data can be a security, operational and, in some cases, compliance nightmare.

So what is a CIO or any business owner to do?

One popular way to manage company mobile devices is to implement Mobile Device Management software (MDM). MDM allows a company to manage all aspects of an employee’s mobile device remotely. While this is a great option for company-owned devices, it can be a bit awkward and downright intrusive on employee-owned devices.

Fortunately, there is a new breed of tools coming out that support a hybrid approach, keeping both employees and employers happy with respect to the BYOD movement. This new approach focuses on managing and securing just the applications and data on your phone rather than the phone itself. So instead of your IT department managing your entire device, it is able to manage only the applications and data that the company really cares about.

There is little need for a company to manage your Words with Friends app in order to allow you to use corporate email or SharePoint or work on a spreadsheet on the company’s network. Look for these new Mobile Application Management solutions (MAMs) to make the BYOD approach increasingly popular over the next couple of years.

While there is no current market leader or industry standard in the BYOD market, major players like Symantec, AirWatch, Citrix and many other smaller companies are all vying to establish a foothold around BYOD. This competition will eventually create a win-win for employees and employers by solving the unique challenges of your phone’s identity crisis in the workplace.

Give us a call today to discuss MDM solutions for your business: 615-353-1921 ext 200

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Nashville SharePoint Developers Group

By WillD|June 24th,2013|IT,SharePoint|No comments

Atiba Network Services,  a Nashville-based computer consulting firm, has started the Nashville SharePoint developers group. The group will meet once a month Atiba’s office in Cummins Station in midtown Nashville.   The purpose of the SharePoint developers group is to allow programmers who work with Microsoft SharePoint to share ideas and programming techniques related to SharePoint and Office365. Our next meeting will cover integrating business intelligence with SharePoint 2013 and SQL Server Reporting Services. We will also discuss using SharePoint 2013 as a reporting platform. For more information about the Nashville SharePoint developers group, please contact Atiba at info@Atiba.com or call 615-353-1921.

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