Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Orchard Park Rehabilitation & Healthcare Case Study

The Challenge

To achieve its mission of providing excellent care to its patients, Orchard Park Rehabilitation and Healthcare, a premier skilled nursing facility in Orem, UT, sought to speed up its response time. With 59 patients in residence, the nursing staff was constantly on the run and wanted to improve their efficiency.

When Orchard Park had the opportunity to upgrade its facility with the assistance of state funds, they immediately knew what they wanted to do—purchase both a new call button system that would enable them to respond faster to patients while simultaneously upgrading their telephone system. What they didn’t know at the time was that they could actually integrate the two systems together.

The Solution

Orchard Park turned to Selectric, a systems technology integrator from Linden, UT who joined forces with Hello Communications, an authorized Panasonic dealer. “Our initial meeting with the Orchard Park staff was only supposed to last a short time, but when we demonstrated the capabilities of this integrated system, their team was so impressed that we spent hours brainstorming potential applications,” explained Von Gordon, owner of Hello Communications. Selectric and Hello jointly developed a solution that connected patients’ telephones to the wireless nurse call system.

In the spring of 2010, the facility installed approximately 50 Panasonic KX-DT321 telephones, with 32 placed in rooms and the remainder in the administrative offices. The hub of the phone system is the Panasonic KX-TDE600 Converged IP-PBX, combined with the Poltys Direct Care Connect Application, which is designed to help healthcare organizations manage communications and works with Panasonic PBX systems.
Additionally, all nurses and nurse’s aides were equipped with a KX-TD7696 ruggedized, splash-resistant wireless handset which basically lets them carry their extension number with them anywhere in the building. This solved a number of problems: Prior to carrying the cordless handsets, nurses or nurse’s aides would have to visit a patient’s room in response to call button alert without knowing what the problem was. If a patient needed medication, the nurse or aide would then have to walk back to the nurse’s station to retrieve it. Nurse’s aides, who aren’t allowed to dispense medicine, would often have to track down a nurse if one wasn’t nearby to assist. The process was inefficient, time consuming and required lots of walking, not to mention it kept the patient waiting.

Now, when a patient hits the call button, it automatically rings a cordless handset. The nurse can speak with the patient to find out what the problem is. If the patient needs medicine, the nurse goes directly to the nurse’s station to retrieve it without first visiting the patient’s room. If a nurse’s aide fields the call and medicine is required, they use the wireless handset to locate and inform a nurse who retrieves the medicine and visits the patient directly. The ability to immediately communicate with the patient and with each other from anywhere in the building has been a huge time saver for the medical staff and ensures patients receive more timely care.

The flexible architecture built in to the TDE600 is what lets everything work together. Hello Communications installers were able to easily sync the system with the call-button system. Additionally, the Panasonic system accommodated a PRI line. This, combined with the large number of extensions available with the TDE600, allowed Orchard Park to scrap their old system which saw 60 individual lines coming into the building. Now every room in the facility can have up to 3 DID (direct inward dialing) numbers even though Orchard Park only pays for a single PRI line. The result was a whopping $1,500 in savings on their monthly phone bill.

“This was a brilliant solution,” said Jared Swain, Orchard Park Administrator. “We now have a way to conduct two-way communications with some of our residents and patients which increases the efficiency of our care staff. The new updated telephone system also delivers better quality while saving us thousands of dollars on our phone bill.” Gordon adds, “It’s been gratifying to help them achieve their goal of better servicing their patients and improving overall communications while saving money, too.”

Customer Information:
Orchard Park is the premier skilled nursing facility in Orem, Utah. They provide compassionate and personal 24-hour skilled care and rehabilitation services in a comfortable and friendly environment.
At Orchard Park, caring is their main concern. They believe the most effective way to provide compassionate care is to maintain high medical integrity, build a team spirit among staff and provide friendly, beautiful surroundings for their patients and visitors. Although most transitions can be challenging, they strive to facilitate that process with an environment where patients and guests feel informed and comfortable.
Their team of qualified professionals helps patients recover from surgery, injury or serious illness. They understand the importance of creating a comfortable and nurturing atmosphere, whether providing patients with short-term treatment or long term care.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays from Key Communications!

To all our friends and clients,

The coming of the New Year brings with it an opportunity to say Thank You for your support and business, and extend our heartfelt greetings for the season.  It is clients like you who enable us to become the best in our field.

By way of this small note, we wish you and your dear ones a safe and happy Holiday Season and a very happy New Year. We sincerely hope that this New Year brings with it more successes and joys and good health and cheer for you and your family.

We hope that your support and patronage will continue into the New Year and we shall have the privilege of serving you in the years to come. We wish to thank you again for the privilege of serving you in the past years and look forward to future projects. Wishing you and your family a very happy New Year once again and hope you have a great holiday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Financing Business Communication Equipment Makes Sense...

Why Finance?

A constantly changing business environment makes managing cash flow both challenging and critical. Technology changes just as fast – presenting both the opportunity and the need to acquire that new technology.  The successful business leaders are able to balance cost cutting, preserve business capital and take advantage of adopting new technology.

Equipment financing with Marlin is the solution.  Our flexible financing allows you to acquire Panasonic communications technology without an up-front cash investment. We offer various financing plans with flexible terms and payment options.

Bottom line – acquire new technology and preserve your cash.

Flexible Financing Options

We all hear the word "leasing" or "financing" and usually cringe.  The early days of leasing and financing made us fear enormous interest rates and giant balloon payments at the end of the term.  That isn't the case any more!  With flexible financing options, special plans and rates for non-profits, schools and municipalities, and great rates for everyone, financing your new system might just be the solution you have been looking for.

With $1 Buyout financing, also referred to as a Capital lease or finance lease, you simply pay $1 at the completion of your term, and you own your system, it's that simple.  This option is perfect for companies or residences that are fairly certain they want to own the equipment after the lease term ends. With a finance lease, you (the lessee) can claim ownership of the asset for tax purposes (although the funding source is the actual owner), so you can claim depreciation and interest expense deductions. Most commercial leases are done under a $1 buy out lease due to the mileage restrictions with other types of leases. With a $1 out lease, you own the equipment at the end of the term.

With FMV (Fair Market Value) financing, also known as an operating lease or True lease, you have the option of making the final payment and owning your system, or turn in the equipment and upgrade to a new system.  FMV financing is primarily designed for businesses that want the lowest monthly payment with the greatest flexibility at the end of the lease term. With an operating lease, the lessor (funding source) retains ownership of the asset for tax purposes, and the lessee (you) typically claims all lease payments as an operating expense or tax deduction. The greatest asset of the FMV is to lower the monthly payment to the least amount possible. At the end of the lease, you would hold no obligation to purchase the equipment, although you would have the availability to do so from the leasing company at the equipment FMV as determined by the leasing company.

The differences and /or advantages of one type over another would be specific to each particular customer and in each specific application. You could see the same company use an operating lease in one situation and then a capital lease in another. Particular use, long term ownership needs, and mileage requirements would certainly sway one's decision.

Why Marlin Business Services?

Marlin Leasing Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marlin Business Services Corp., continues to make borrowing available to most Panasonic customers.  Marlin Leasing and Panasonic have formed a strategic alliance to provide flexible financing that allow Panasonic customers the ability to upgrade older communication systems or to deploy new technology.

Marlin is not experiencing the same financing capacity issues as other financial institutions and independent leasing companies. We are well capitalized and acquire funding support internally through Marlin Business Bank – allowing us to be less reliant on external funding sources.

As a trusted business partner, Marlin can help you obtain and maintain the right Panasonic solution for your business.  Contact Key Communications today for more information.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shhhhh... it's a Secret System! Coming Soon!

We are proud to announce that we have been included in a select group of dealers asked to be a part of the pre-launch of a new system due from one of our manufacturers in early 2012.  It is so secret, we can't even talk about the system or name the manufacturer!  We are so honored to be asked to be a part of the handful of dealers invited to this pre-launch.  Bob and Steve will be headed South for the meeting tomorrow and will be getting the scoop on the new system.  We are very excited at the new features and capabilities we are hearing about and can't wait to see them in action, and bring them back for our clients!  As you know, Key Communications has built it's reputation on only providing the best equipment, with a proven track record, to suit your specific needs.  This pre-launch gives us the opportunity to see the system live, and be included in a dealer only demo program so we can fully test the system and put it through it's paces before the release to the general public.  We'll be sharing more information as it becomes available and are excited to have this sneak peek into the future of telephony.  Stay tuned for more details as they come available!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Have Neck/Back Pain or Headaches After Work? Headset Benefits VALIDATED!

Are you a headset user?  SHOULD you be a headset user?  If you are having neck, back, hip, leg pain or frequent headaches, it might not be "just stress", it could be your telephone use!  In my many, many years of retail and office telephone use I have discovered one thing... headsets really DO work.  I spent lots of years (and lots of money) at my chiropractor getting adjustments when my neck or back would go out.  Then I started noticing a pattern, my neck would always go out in the same spot, and it was usually after a high-volume phone week.  I had never been a headset fan in the past, but decided to give it a try to see if it made any difference.  To my amazement, the change was all but immediate!  I started out with a simple wired headset with a Quick Disconnect so it was easy to detach and go if I needed to leave my desk and graduated to a wireless headset within a year for total freedom.  I cannot say enough about how not only this increased my productivity, but also improved my health.  No more missed days because I couldn't move my head or walk, no more smashing headaches at the end of every day, and all because of this simple little earpiece. 

And now Plantronics commissioned H.B. Maynard & Company to do a random study on the benefits of headset use in the workplace, and the results mimic my own personal experience.  Some excerpts of the study:
Results from a commissioned study conducted at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA, provide, for the first time, strong evidence that office workers can reduce neck, shoulder and upper back muscle tension as much as 41% by using headsets.
In the course of the three-month study, 62 people (33 women and 29 men), ranging from 20 to 63 years old, were involved in tests that evaluated the various levels of muscle tension resulting when office workers engage in other tasks while using the telephone.
Neck and upper back muscle tension is one of the most common ailments of office workers today. This new evidence now confirms Plantronics Headsets as a cost-effective, preventative solution for office workers.
The H.B. Maynard & Company study, also commissioned by Plantronics, first confirmed that headsets improve workplace efficiency and productivity as much as 43%. These new study results, combined with the results from the Maynard study, prove without a doubt, the benefits of headsets in today's demanding work environment. Employers and employees alike will benefit from using headsets, from lower medical costs to happier, more productive workers.

To read the entire study from Plantronics, click HERE to go to the PDF.  For more information on headsets for your system, contact Key Communications, or see the different models available at  Get your headset today and save your health!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Did You Know....

You can have a 7 YEAR PARTS WARRANTY on all new Panasonic telephone system purchases?  Talk about a worry-free system!  It's true, any new Panasonic equipment purchases have the option of adding an additional 6 years to the standard 1 year factory warranty for a full 7 years of coverage.  For around $10 per phone, $63 for a telephone system control unit, and $42 for a voice mail control unit, you get 7 years of no-worry system.  That's less than $1.50 a year for phones, $9 a year for telephone system, and $6 a year for voice mail (*expansion and feature cards and other equipment are additional), at that price how can you NOT afford to add the extended warranty?  Contact Key Communications today to get more information!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Actor Rob Lowe Chooses Panasonic Business Telephone System

Rob Lowe, the celebrated actor who was nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Sam Seaborn on the hit television series The West Wing, recently outfitted his estate in California with a Panasonic business phone system, including more than 30 sophisticated desk phones and several DECT cordless phones. Mr. Lowe and his family chose Panasonic for their new home because they wanted a way to easily communicate from room to room within the house as well as on the surrounding grounds, which includes a pool area.

With the same type of research and preparation that he brings to his acting, Rob Lowe and his wife concluded that a complete Panasonic phone system was the best fit for their home and lifestyle. “We’ve had really good luck with Panasonic in the past, and we know the company has incredible systems for business and home,” Mr.Lowe said, noting that ease-of-use, mobility and the means to “have as many extensions as you need” were key factors in his decision to go with Panasonic.
“The system and the phones are really easy to use and set up,” Mr.Lowe said. “There was no learning curve or heavy training involved to get started. The system is reliable and we’ve had no down time—you just pick up the phone and you’re good to go!”

“Panasonic’s phones also go well with our décor, and for mobility we’re using the new DECT 6.0 cordless handsets, which give us the freedom to go from room to room, even out onto the grounds,” Mr. Lowe continued. “We don’t have to worry about dropped calls, and the sound and range are pretty incredible. The phones are also extremely secure.”

Rob Lowe, who rose to fame in the 1980s after appearing in such iconic movies as The Outsiders and St. Elmo’s Fire, supports a number of causes, including Best Buddies, a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the Dream Foundation, the first national wish granting organization for adults suffering life-threatening illness.

“As a market leader, Panasonic is committed to delivering innovative features and superior performance, qualities that led to Rob Lowe’s decision to choose our products for his home,” said Bill Taylor, President of Panasonic System Networks Company of America. “Mr. Lowe is also quite concerned about environmental issues and Panasonic is serious about its commitment to environmental responsibility, another issue that was appealing to him. Our new DECT line uses 100% recycled packaging materials, and our new models are Energy Star® compliant, which means they use about 1/3 less energy than non-qualified models.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What Does “The Cloud” Mean to You and Your Communications Systems?

The decision between on-premise and off-premise infrastructure is becoming more relevant and important with each major company's commitment to providing Software as a Service (SaaS). There's still plenty of speculation on the actual transition and immersion, but the prospect for cost-effective production attracts small businesses of all kinds.

The phrase 'cloud computing' has been thrown around a lot and sometimes we forget the basic foundation - the internet. Typically, cloud computing is summarized as a model of IT services based on and provided over the internet with on-demand access to network materials while experiencing little to no service provider interaction. The software and data are stored on servers and the software is delivered through online web services or software (i.e. browser).

With a lot of confusion regarding a transition to the "cloud," are we using the term too loosely to define a more precise shift in IT services?

In a post over at, Jonathan Eunice explains how many people are throwing the vague "what comes next in IT" label on cloud computing, emphasizing "overhyped" and "overused." He does not agree with the general viewpoint, and later goes on to say this:

"Cloud is the realization that what comes next in IT isn't a specific technology, but the infusion of flexibility, variability, and elasticity into what was previously a static, front-loaded, inflexible world."

While some may question the definition, others still debate over the cloud's security standing and performance factors. Over at, two experts make excellent points for and against the readiness of cloud computing. While one stresses the need for "significant answers to the significant questions," the other insists that the cloud is ready for specific tasks and edging closer to the ultimate 'platform' which businesses await.

Of course, for most enterprise users, the most important aspect of cloud computing that needs to be established is security. stresses that cloud service outages and criminals operating in the cloud threaten the overall participation in the model. The good news - there is plenty of research, partnerships, and products being developed to further enhance and advance the cloud arena. Click on the Computerworld link or check out how puts the enterprise cloud to the test.

If there ever was a "hyped" IT model, cloud computing takes the cake. Will we continue to see slow enhancements, a faster acceptance, or a slippery slope of denial when it comes to cloud computing capabilities and adaptation?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Panasonic Communications Assistant 3.0 Empowers Businesses To Stay In Touch While On The Go

Panasonic, a leader in business telephone systems, announced today that it has enhanced its state-of-the-art Communications Assistant (CA) productivity software suite. CA is a PC-based software application suite that allows the business user to manage their telephony needs from a desktop or laptop, with different levels of functionality available to suit a variety of business situations:

  • CA Basic Express – Users can visually manage all of their individual communication needs from a PC
  • CA Pro – Builds on CA Basic Express by enabling voice mail control from anywhere in the world and adds presence and chat/IM functionality to assess coworker availability at a glance
  • CA Supervisor – Allows supervisors to visually manage all of their employees’ call activities
  • VM Assistant – This module allows users to check voicemail messages from a PC, forward them via email as .wav attachments, and perform many other voicemail management functions (requires optional KX-TVA voice messaging solution)
  • CA Operator Console –Simultaneously manages and redirects multiple calls with such features as drag-and-drop call transfer—ideal for the busy receptionist, customer service desk or support desk
“More and more businesses have been moving away from the traditional static desktop workplace in favor of a more mobile one,” said Bill Savino, marketing manager for business telephone systems at Panasonic System Networks Company of America. “In this new dynamic work environment, it’s essential for people to be able to easily manage their communications anytime, anywhere, which includes from their computers. Panasonic’s Communication Assistant is designed to offer businesses another way to stay in touch with and manage interactions with colleagues, customers, and suppliers—wherever they may be.”

CA 3.0 features point-and-click call control; instant messaging (chat); visual voice messaging; Microsoft® Outlook® integration; door telephone and sensor control; IP camera integration and control; call history, calls made/missed, and supervisor group call monitoring and management. The system also supports two types of deployments: computer telephony integration (CTI) without a server for small-to-medium-sized businesses and CTI server-based systems that can support up to four separate locations. Some of the new features available with version 3.0 include “drag and drop” on-screen icons so callers can visually manage teleconference locations; remote location call monitoring; busy signal override, and detailed status reporting.

Communications Assistant productivity software supports the Panasonic KX-NCP and KX-TDE business telephone systems. For more information on Panasonic Communications Assistant and Panasonic business telephone systems, please visit

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Panasonic: Blurring Boundaries and Shattering Silos in Business Telephony

It may be true that as Gertrude Stein famously said, "A rose is a rose is a rose." But where businesses and their communications needs are concerned, it’s definitely no longer true (if it ever was) that a phone is a phone is a phone. For many if not most business users, "the phone" has evolved and continues to evolve as its role in effective business communications expands. Panasonic brings a unique combination of strengths to this dynamic marketplace, offering solutions that blend legacy and modern technologies to offer basic and enhanced functionality.

Telephony is changing, from "plain ol’ telephone service" (or "POTS") to voice and unified communications (UC) often running atop Internet Protocol (IP) network infrastructures. But many businesses still have significant capital and experience invested in legacy telephone systems, and are still deriving business benefits from those investments.

Meanwhile, the views of those buying and using business telephony systems are also in flux. That audience now includes growing numbers of younger, "IP-aware" people who have never worked in organizations with separate voice and data networks or management. But the ultimate audience for telephony services still includes those whose needs or desires for advanced or enhanced services is minimal or non-existent, at least for now.

Further, delivering basic dial tone has given way to a more systematic, strategic approach to telephony, focused on connecting workers to each other, to customers and to needed resources wherever they may be. But delivering basic dial tone is still business-critical and especially challenging in some geographies or where mobility support is also needed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New DECT Multi-Cell Wireless Telephone Handsets for Business Telecommunications

Panasonic, a leader in business telephone systems, today introduced two new Multi-Cell DECT 6.0 wireless telephone handsets that put advanced communications technology at users’ fingertips -- even away from the desk or workstation.

Ideal for high-end residential or business use, the KX-WT120 series cordless telephones connect with a Panasonic business phone system and are compatible with all of Panasonic’s current PBX models (TDA50G, TDE and NCP series). Depending on the Panasonic system chosen, up to 128 handsets can be supported. The Multi-Cell DECT system solves range-related issues in larger buildings by using multiple cell antennas, which automatically and seamlessly hand off calls from one station to the next as users move throughout the warehouse, plant, showroom or other facility. A large, clear display and graphical icon menu provide a quick overview of all system features so users always have the power of their desk telephones right at their fingertips.

“Today’s employees are more mobile than ever, and their communications demands have never been higher,” said Bill Savino, marketing manager for business telephone systems at Panasonic System Networks Company of America. “Our goal is to empower this highly dynamic, on-the-go workforce with the ability to effectively communicate from wherever they may be. Panasonic continues to push the envelope by developing advanced communications systems that are designed to meet the ever-changing demands of today’s fast-paced business environment.”

The new Multi-Cell DECT cordless telephone models offer a variety of useful features for business or high-end residential use:

  • Background noise-reduction technology
  • Backlit display and illuminated keypad for easy reading in all lighting conditions
  • Easy menu navigation
  • Programmable keys
  • Personal phonebook with up to 100 entries
  • Built-in speakerphone
  • Uses standard rechargeable AAA battery
The KX-WT125 and KX-WT126 models join the existing KX-TD7600 series DECT phones which include compact, standard and ruggedized models, expanding the choice of handsets and features available to business phone system users.

For more information on Panasonic business telephone systems, please visit

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Panasonic KXNT400 Touch Screen Telephone Review - This isn't a "Plain Old Telephone"

I had a chance yesterday to see the new Panasonic KXNT400 Touchscreen IP Telephone, and all I have to say is WOW!  This amazing unit isn't your average desk phone!  First off, it just looks really cool:

Immediately, your eye is drawn to the 5.7 inch touchscreen on the phone that provides one-touch, easy navigation to multiple feature options, from a contacts screen, to a chat screen, to a camera screen to view up to 20 Panasonic IP cameras, among others.  I was amazed at the ease of use and amount of information and functionality right at your fingertips.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

See Panasonic NCP systems in action - Panasonic Case Study, Angie Brewer & Associates

With multiple locations, a CEO that’s always on the go, and working in a sector where reputation is the key to survival, the folks at Angie Brewer and Associates put their trust in the quality and reliability of Panasonic, and the ability of our NCP system to seamlessly integrate remote and mobile colleagues for anytime, anywhere access.

Click the link below to view the case study video:

Panasonic Case Study, Angie Brewer & Associates

Monday, September 12, 2011

What is “Hot Desking”?

Hot desking originates from the definition of being the temporary physical occupant of a work station or surface by a particular employee. The term hot desking is thought to be derived from the naval practice, called hot racking, where sailors on different shifts share bunks. Originating as a trend in the late 1980s to early 1990s, hot desking involves one desk shared between several people who use the desk at different times.  A primary motivation for hot desking is cost reduction through space savings - up to 30% in some cases.

This work surface could be an actual desk or just a terminal link. In any event the concept of the hot desk is that the employer furnishes a permanent work surface which is available to any worker as needed.

Hot desking is regularly used in places where not all the employees are in the office at the same time, or not in the office for very long at all, which means actual personal offices would be often vacant, consuming valuable space and resources.

Sorry for the interrupted posts!

There has been a two week interruption in our posts as one of our employees (me!) was stuck in one of the small Vermont towns that got completely cut off from the rest of the state when Hurricane Irene rolled through the NorthEast.  We had no power, water, cell service or phone for 5 days, and no way out or in of our town for almost two weeks.  We have had services back for about a week now, but needless to say, the rebuilding and recovering has taken top priority for us. 

I have been utterly amazed with the outpouring of support and help from our community, people and organizations around the state, and accross the United States.  This was a disaster unlike anything Vermonters have seen since the flood of `27 and the hurricane of `38, and everyone handled it with grace and the "Vermont Way".  Neighbor helping neighbor, towns banding together to get their neighbors safe and the roads rebuilt to get supplies in, and working from dawn `til dusk for the good of everyone.  There have been many times through this whole process that I have been moved to tears by the spirit of Vermonters, it has been hard mentally and physically, but incredibly fulfilling to the spirit and soul. 

As we slowly get back to "normal", or at least back to a NEW normal for us, we want to thank everyone that helped and supported our beautiful state through this.  The State and Town Officials, the National Guard from all over the country, the fire departments, emergency response and rescue teams, the tons of volunteers from around the country, and of course the amazing Vermonters that prove once again that if we band together, we can accomplish anything!

Please be sure to continue to support and help where and when you can.  The initial reconnections are done, no towns are isolated any longer, but there are many of our friends, family and neighbors that have lost everything, and there is a LONG way yet to go on the recovery, repairs and rebuilding.  Check out the fundraising events, donation drives, benefit concerts and shows, and volunteer opportunities in your area and help Vermont and it's dedicated residents.  Thank you! 

Proud to be a Vermonter,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Panasonic Leads Telephone Systems Category in CE PRO’S Brand Survey for EIGHTH Consecutive Year

Custom Electronics Industry’s Top 100 Integrators Rank Panasonic Business Phone Systems Well Ahead of Competing Brands

SECAUCUS, NJ (July 25, 2011) – For the eighth year in a row, CE Pro Magazine’s Brand Analysis Survey shows that Panasonic business telephone systems are being used by the vast majority of the CE Pro Top 100 Integrators*. The survey was confined to the elite group of top revenue-generating custom integrators who were asked to cite the brands they use in each of 41 categories, ranging from audio and video components to lighting and control systems to computers and telecommunications.

The CE Pro 100 Brand Analysis shows that 66% of the installers reported using Panasonic telephone products, with a 60 point lead over the next closest competitor.  The magazine noted that the next closest brand, NEC, garnered 6% of the total share, while Cisco captured 5%.

“It is a great honor to be recognized once again as the leading telephone systems brand among this elite group of custom installers,” said Bill Taylor, President of Panasonic System Networks Company of America.  “Their continued confidence and support help make us the number one brand year after year.”  

More information on Panasonic business telephone systems is available at

*CE Pro 100 Brand Analysis, published June 2011 by EH Publishing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

E-Messaging (Voicemail to Email), What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

A topic that comes up frequently in businesses is the issue of voicemail. It is surprising to hear how many people are still waiting until they get to the office to check their voicemail or calling into the office periodically to check messages. How many sales or opportunities are lost when you are on the road because you didn’t know you had an important voicemail left on your phone system at the office? Now with voicemail to email service, you can stay connected anywhere you are with E-Messaging.

So what is E-Messaging and what are the benefits?
Quite simply, E-Messaging is a voicemail to email service which digitally records your voicemail messages and then turns them into a sound file (such as a .wav or .mp3). That sound file then gets attached to an email message which would typically include the details of the call such as the date/time, the caller’s name and number and how long the message is. This being 2011 and all, everyone has a smart phone so that those voicemail to email messages are instantly viewable on your iphone, blackberry, android etc and you never miss another important voicemail. A for better or worse, you can receive voicemail messages 24 hours a day without having to give out your cell phone number directly to customers. Being able to listen to the .wav or .mp3 file right on your smart phone or in your email inbox is a huge benefit and a real time saver. You can even use voicemail to email as an after hours service to customers who might need emergency support.
What if you don’t have a smart phone? Voicemail to email services can also send you an email to your home computer or laptop whenever a voicemail is left for you so that you don’t have to call in to check it.

The Panasonic KXTVA Voice Processing system can be connected to your Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN) providing integration with your email. This ensures your staff receives important messages, no matter where they are!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is Your Telephone and Voice Mail System Safe From Hackers?

There has been a recent increase in hacker attacks on business telephone and voice mail systems. The systems are hacked and used to make expensive telephone calls to international phone numbers or premium rate numbers at the expense of the unlucky company targeted. This type of attack is not limited to one type of system, ALL systems can be targeted, Hybrid, IP, Hosted IP, or basic PBXs. Unfortunately, many businesses adopt the "it can't happen to me" philosophy... until it's too late. Companies aren’t helpless against these hackers though – here are ten top tips designed to help you protect your telephone system from being hacked:

1) As obvious as it seems, many companies (including some installation companies) still forget to remove the default passwords from telephone and voice mail systems. Reset all default passwords as soon as possible and limit access to maintenance ports.

2) Change passwords regularly on telephone system and voice mail boxes to keep ahead of hackers. Make passwords as difficult as possible and avoid using your extension number as your password, or the "1234" or “Default” passwords at all costs.

3) Limit call forwarding by extensions. If one extension user has no need to forward to mobile for example, then block forwarding access to outside numbers, or limit to specific numbers, at that extension.

4) Make sure you always monitor (or disable if not needed) DISA – Direct Inward System Access.

5) Make sure that the telephone system hardware is kept in a secure place that has limited access.

6) Always check your telephone bills regularly and review your calls as often as you can. Also review your Telephone Service Provider line features, as many new VOIP lines have features that you (and your service provider) may be unaware of.

7) Block access and change the passwords of unused mailboxes, or even better, delete unused mailboxes.

8) Make sure you are aware of what functions your telephone system can carry out – and then deactivate those functions you don’t use.

9) Assess the security of all the telephone and voice mail system applications.

10) Always be on the lookout for signs of hacking – investigate any calls made outside of business hours. Most hacks occur on weekends and long holiday weekends.

Please contact Key Communications for a security assessment of your system.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Check Key Communications out!

All kinds of (online) excitement for Key Communications! 

Please visit our NEW website at WWW.KEY-COMM.COM!  Same web address, but totally new site with an online store, telephone and voice mail system information, services information, client user guides, the list goes on and on!  Take a moment to check out the new site and lest us know what you think!

This blog... of course!  Check here for interesting articles, Key Communications promos and deals, Manufaturer promos and deals, the happenings at Key, anything and everything that is pertinant... or whatever I feel like writing that day... could be interesting...  LOL

Key Comm on FACEBOOK!  It's true, you can find us on FB now!  Click on over and "like" your favorite communications company! 

Thank you to our clients, we hope these additions are useful and helpful, we'd love your feedback!

The Next VoIP System: Pure IP or Hybrid?

Key Communications offers custom built Hybrid-IP/PBX, Converged-IP/PBX, or Pure-IP systems to fit your needs now and grow with you into the future.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone system solutions come in two distinct flavors: the Hybrid or Converged IP/PBX products, capable of supporting both TDM (Digital and Analog) and IP communications, and the next generation of IP solutions, often referred to as Pure-IP. Pure-IP solutions have all the advantages in a "starting from scratch" environment, including better economic value, ease of deployment, greater manageability and standards-based architectural designs that enable integration into IT applications and processes. However, in the real world, each organization must weigh more than mere technological advantages in making a "pure" versus "hybrid/converged" communications system buying decision.

Eventually, the Hybrid IP/PBX approach will be as passé as the plain old analog telephone systems of years past that have largely been relegated to the scrap heap. Likewise, IP/PBXs will someday be no match for the new generation of highly integrated, IT-based voice applications.  BUT, that day has not come quite yet.  Pure IP solutions, as they mature, will overtake legacy solutions for their abilities to directly integrate with essential business process applications such as corporate directories, CRM, ERP, and other critical back-office applications.

BUT, for now, Hybrid and Converged IP/PBXs continue to live on and, in fact, to thrive. This is due in large part to basic business economics. Most enterprises find that it makes financial sense to preserve investments in existing TDM equipment. The Hybrid and Converged approach lets them do just that.

For each business, the decision to go Hybrid/Converged versus Pure IP depends on several factors, including:
- the architecture of the existing voice infrastructure - Will your existing infrastructure support Pure IP?
- the readiness of the IP network to support VoIP traffic - Is your wiring capable of handling a Pure IP system or are you looking at a high cost wiring job on top of your system purchase to make the system work as expected?
- the IT department’s ability to take on such a large project 
and, finally
- how voice communications relates to overall strategic business goals. Whatever the deployment choice—Hybrid/Converged or Pure—all decision-makers should fully understand the overall advantages and disadvantages of the two main types of platforms.

Here are seven tips that provide some basic guidance for the decision-makers:

POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service, ie: Analog lines) vs. PRI (Primary Rate Interface, ie: Digital lines)

The most basic and traditional phone service is called POTS or Plain Old Telephone Service. Chances are that you won't see it advertised that way. Instead it will be called business line or dial tone service. What you get is an analog connection to the nearest telephone company Central Office or CO. Any conventional telephone will plug into the RJ11 jack on the wall and give you dial-tone when you lift the handset. You can expand the number of rooms with phones by paralleling twisted pair wiring to other phone jacks. But you still only have one line and, if it is in use, no one else can make or receive calls.

Basic POTS is local phone service. Long distance service is either bundled for a single price or assigned to a competitive long distance carrier that offers lower per-minute rates on separate billing. Caller ID is an add-on service that is multiplexed on the same phone line and displays the caller's phone number and other information on phones with the necessary display, or a separate Caller ID unit. Toll free service can be added to forward incoming calls from a toll-free number to your phone line.

Up till now the phone lines we've been discussing are individual analog POTS lines. You pay for each one separately and the total cost is generally the cost per line time the number of lines. Once you need 8 to 12 lines or more, it usually makes economic sense to switch to digital trunk rather than use multiple analog lines.

The digital trunk, called a T1 voice line, converts up to 24 separate phone lines into a single digital connection between you and your phone service provider. The most popular variety of T1 service is called T1 PRI or Primary Rate Interface. It is also known as ISDN PRI for Integrated Services Digital Network. The difference between a T1 PRI line and a T1 voice line is that the PRI protocol establishes one channel of the 24 as a switching and data channel. This makes calling faster and allows you to have Caller ID for the other 1-23 channels or 1 to 23 outside phone lines.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5 Reasons that Hosted VoIP "Phone Systems" Might Not Suit Your Application

The newest buzzwords in the telephone and voice mail systems world is "Hosted VoIP" and "VoIP Telephone Systems".  Is it something you should be considering for your company?  When looking at this as an option, be sure to consider the following:

Quality of Service: QoS is the process of giving your voice priority on your internet/network over your data. If you don't have this dialed in, your call quality will be bad.

Lack of Customization: There will be some level of customization available in terms of the auto attendant, voicemail options, etc...but you've going to have a very basic system - compared to something like a Panasonic or Avaya which is customizable at every turn.

Potentially Inferior Customer Service: I say potentially, because at the end of the day, you're dealing with people at a company that you've never met...and there's only so much you can do over the phone some times. This may never be an issue for you. Just be aware that it may be...and sometimes it's helpful to get to meet a person from the company you're partnering with...and to have them available to stop by if you need it.

Growing Can Be Painful: Every phone call and every intercom call and everything goes over your you'd better be sure you have enough bandwidth!

Features, Features, Features: At this point in time, you just can't get all the features with a hosted VoIP system that you can with one that is located in your office. Someday...maybe. But not now. This is not a big deal for many small businesses, but I just want you to be aware of it.

There are some companies that a Hosted VoIP or a straight VoIP system will work well for, but we find the majority of people that have opted for this as their communications system are looking to get out of it within a year or two and getting back into a Converged, Hybrid or Pure IP/PBX telephone and voice mail system to meet their needs.  Please contact Key Communications to custom build a communications system that will work for you today and grow with you tomorrow.

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