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We’re Ready to Manage Your SD-WAN Deployment or Support it “as a Service”

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology can help overcome the bandwidth, scalability, complexity and cost concerns common with legacy network services.

With legacy business WAN links – such as MPLS – rapidly exceeding the capacity for which they were originally designed, a software-defined network lets you take advantage of broadband and fiber links to significantly save on WAN costs and deliver the desired level of performance you need.

Ideal for multi-site deployments and critical cloud applications like Voice, Data and Video, SD-WAN also enables you to offer the highest level of performance to your locations without sacrificing security or data privacy.

There are many ways your business can benefit from an SD-WAN…

  • Platform unification – Combines SD-WAN, firewall, segmentation, routing, WAN optimization and visibility, and control functions in a single platform.
  • Backhaul elimination – The traditional router-centric model that backhauls traffic from the branch to headquarters to the Internet and back again no longer makes sense and is no longer necessary with an SD-WAN.
  • Increased throughput & reliability – Application-aware routing protocols let your network adjust to demands in network traffic.
  • Performance optimization – Features like a scalable pipeline and intelligent path selection can improve network performance enterprise-wide.
  • Performance tracking – Monitor critical web applications traveling through VPN tunnels or directly through the public Internet.
  • Problem identification – Easily pinpoint the cause of poor application performance at LAN, WAN, or server.
  • Time & travel savings – Handle tasks like pushing policies to branch locations and launching new sites remotely from a central location.
  • Cost reduction – With intelligent software substituting for hardware functionality, you can save as expensive hardware options are consolidated or phased out.

SD-WAN adoption can be a gradual process…

There’s no need to scrap existing investments in traditional networking infrastructure. No matter what kind of network solutions you may have in place now, TCI can ease your transition, help you select from the best Carriers, provide SD-WAN as a Service and manage all the deployment details.

Let’s talk about how SD-WAN can improve the way you connect your business. Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

5 Cloud Contact Center Trends to Watch in 2020

With 2020 upon us, it’s safe to say the cloud contact center has arrived. Over 70% of businesses already have their contact center in the cloud or at least have plans to start the migration this year.

What follows are the most important trends you need to know to ensure your cloud contact center stays on the cutting edge. The technologies supporting these trends will help you create the most engaging experience possible for your customers.

1. A real omnichannel experience provides even more ways to communicate.

A true omnichannel experience allows customers to move seamlessly from one channel of communications to another without skipping a beat. Achieving this requires working with a provider that offers true omnichannel support. TCI’s implementation of Mitel’s MiCloud Connect Contact Center, for example, allows your customers to communicate effortlessly with your agents as they navigate between voice, web, text and other options without losing any of their information or having to repeat themselves.

2. Artificial Intelligence delivers training and assistance. 

Although AI already has begun to transform cloud contact centers, planned investments mean the technology will have an even bigger impact in 2020. The technology brings real-time training and coaching through virtual agent assist. Virtual agents are AI-powered chat bots that monitor interactions between agents and customers – even if the conversation moves between channels – to provide guidance and training for the agent in real time.

3. Analytics play a more powerful role.

Contact centers have long been collecting data on customers, but the information is useless if it isn’t properly analyzed and applied. This is where AI makes all the difference. The use of natural language processing (NLP) interprets data and provides analysis around why customers contact you, ways you can improve your products and services and how you make information available to customers. Since these insights are created in real-time, you can respond and adapt to customers’ preferences quickly, increasing loyalty while staying ahead of the competition.

4. Self-service expands. 

Customers don’t want to get stuck in a queue or wait for a human agent – especially when they have a simple question about a product or service. Chat bots allow customers to get answers to basic questions and FAQs. They also free up human agents to focus on more complex queries and keep wait times down for those who really do need to speak to a live agent.

A key differentiator in 2020 will be the provision of chat bots that create a smooth transition when a customer needs live support. Smart bots route customers to an agent with the appropriate level of expertise and provide agents with a full history of the customer engagement. This saves customers from having to repeat themselves and enables agents to pick up exactly where the chat bot left off.

5. The rise of the remote contact center workforce.

Cloud contact centers have ushered in the ability to maintain a remote contact center workforce, without the need to offshore calls to a third-party vendor. With a cloud contact center, agents can be dispersed throughout the country, putting them closer to your customers. The money saved on office space and other overhead can be applied toward hiring local talent that can provide localized service. “Homeshoring” improves customer satisfaction, and this trend will continue in 2020.

Putting these cloud trends at the center of your contact center plans will help you meet your customers’ expectations for a stellar experience.

Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

It’s a New Decade… How to Leverage Smart Workspace & UC Technology in Your Business

Today, the term “workspace” no longer refers to employees sitting at their desks in cubicles, pecking away at their keyboards from 9 to 5. Workspaces have evolved, and today’s “smart” version allows employees to get their work done from any location, at anytime, using any device.

Millennials now make up more than half of the workforce. That number is expected to hit 75% by 2025. This generation is tech-savvy, demands flexibility and thrives on collaboration. Organizations that let workers choose their own style of work increase retention rates by more than 10%. This means businesses that want to attract and retain top talent have to embrace smart workspaces.

TCI’s unified communications systems enable smart workspaces for your employees and provide a suite of collaboration tools that offer…

  • A single application for voice, video, messaging, audio conferencing and more so employees can easily switch between channels on the fly.
  • A consistent experience across devices.
  • Mobile-first design that supports both iOS and Android.
  • Audio conferencing and web sharing to promote collaboration.
  • Single number reach, making employees accessible on any device.
  • Individual and group chat to keep the lines of communication open.
  • File and screen sharing, which make it easy to keep team members up-to-date on projects.
  • Secure remote access so employees can work from anywhere without having to worry about confidential company information.
  • Multi-region and multi-language support to provide employees around the world with access to the same unified experience.

By keeping your employees connected on-the-go, you’ll also break down silos between departments and locations. In other words, smart workspaces are just as good for the bottom line as they are for employee satisfaction and retention.

Interested in details about smart workspaces and how they can help your team and business excel? Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

Want Productive Meetings? Follow These 4 Simple Steps & Use the Right Collaboration Tools

Unproductive meetings cost U.S. businesses $37 billion a year – and countless hours of exasperation.

When you follow these 4 simple meeting rules, while using the collaboration tools included in our Mitel-powered Cloud Voice service, your attendees will leave meetings informed, engaged, and ready to get the job done.

1. Prepare with agenda-planning tools

A little bit of prep work goes a long way. Ask yourself what you need to accomplish and create an agenda tailored to this goal. Do you need to provide some additional information upfront? Should attendees do some prep work beforehand? What are next steps?

Once you’ve defined the points of discussion, create an agenda and add it to your invite. Be sure to set time limits for each item. Stick to your plan during the meeting by using a collaboration tool with a built-in agenda capability.

2. Determine who needs to be in the meeting

Most meetings aren’t productive because there are too many people involved. Often organizers tend to invite colleagues who “might” have something worthy to contribute.

A better way to determine who should join is to use your freshly created agenda to select the right people to invite. Choose attendees who are essential to the decision-making process or who have a key role on this particular piece of the project. If your invite includes more than 8 people, perhaps it’s time to rethink the meeting. To avoid duplicate conversations, make sure to use a collaboration tool with calendar integration and presence to ensure you’re scheduling the meeting at a convenient time for everyone.

3. Take advantage of virtual workspaces

People find it too easy to get distracted. The trick is to engage attendees throughout the meeting. Collaborate in real-time on documents with screen sharing. See each other eye-to-eye using video conferencing. With Cloud UC services, it’s easy to move seamlessly between desktop sharing and video. Any attendee can share a document or start a video conference with a single tap.

Beyond curtailing the impulse to multitask or daydream, these tools also make communications clearer. It’s easier to grasp the true meaning behind a comment when you can follow words appearing on a page or see the speaker’s facial expressions.

4. Don’t leave ‘em hanging

Aim to end your agenda with five minutes of “wrap up.” Agree on next steps and who is responsible for each one. Ensure nothing gets missed or forgotten by assigning follow-up tasks in your collaboration tool. Mitel Teamwork has the option to build tasks right into the workspace.

With a little planning and a smart communications tool, you can save your business money by making your meetings more structured, more productive and more actionable.

See for yourself how an all-in-one service like MiCloud Connect can bring integrated connectivity to your meetings: Watch the Video (1:35 min.).

TCI is ready to connect your teams with better meeting tools. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Is Your Building a Barrier to Your Smartphone’s Cellular Signals?

Suffering from weak or intermittent cell phone coverage in your building?

You’re not alone… Businesses everywhere are looking for ways to ensure that on-the-go employees and visitors can stay connected in every corner of their buildings. At stake are productivity, customer service, and corporate image.

When mobile carrier signals can’t penetrate your building’s glass, metal, concrete or other obstructions, you can expect poor signal strength or dead zones. Which means more dropped connections, wasted time and a lot of frustration.

What’s needed is a carrier-neutral, in-building Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that allows you to take control of your wireless communications. DAS covers anywhere mobile connections may be a concern, including…

  • Offices in high-rises
  • Parking garages
  • Warehouses and manufacturing facilities
  • Arenas and entertainment venues
  • Hospitals
  • Campuses

TCI offers DAS solutions that have the flexibility to accommodate any space or floor plan. Our network infrastructure experts will design, configure, install and support the latest DAS technology from the industry’s leaders to increase the voice, text, 4G LTE and 5G signals of all carriers and service providers – including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

Your DAS project team manages all the details from site survey to configuring the equipment that gets the carrier signals into your building. They will also deploy the antenna systems and cabling that provides the coverage you’ve been missing.

Don’t let spotty in-building cell signal coverage put your business on hold. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Tech Overload? 5 Ways to Streamline all those Apps & Communications Tools

The average employee uses 17 different cloud apps, 3 content-sharing services and 3 collaboration tools.

If this sounds familiar, it might be a good time to consider a unified communication system like Mitel-powered TCI Host, which includes collaborative tools that allow team members to assign tasks, share documents, schedule calls, chat and conduct audio and video conferences at the push of a button.

Are your current systems providing the productivity and customer experience you need for 2020? If not, consider these pointers for re-energizing and remaking your approach to collaboration and communications.

1. Identify the purpose and value of each communications tool

Start by identifying what frustrates people, where necessities fall through the cracks, or how customers could be better served. Then evaluate your current tools in terms of:

  • Does the technology help or hinder productivity?
  • Do your communications tools keep your team’s conversations seamless no matter what device is used – be it smartphone, desktop or laptop?
  • Do they create a common space where team members can easily communicate, share documents and set up meetings?
  • Can employees respond quickly and efficiently to customers?

2. Analyze the costs vs. benefits of your communications software

The goal of any communications system is to aid productivity and bring value to the business. The problem is technology – especially when it’s the newest thing. You have to ask yourself: Is the time spent using that latest app really achieving the outcomes you need?

Spend more time assessing the costs of your existing communications tools, from time wasted swapping between business apps to the monthly costs of separate collaboration tools. If you’re not getting results, use this as an opportunity to find more cost-effective, all-in-one communications tools.

3. Reduce distraction and optimize attention capital

Step back from the whirl of digital life by identifying what’s most important to you, then add / keep the technology that will support your priorities. In business, that means finding solutions to increase productivity by automating simple tasks like setting up meetings and improving workflows.

Start by automating and controlling who can reach you, and when. Need some time to tackle a major project? Use presence technology to tell coworkers you’re not available, or you’re only available via a specific channel, like text.

4. Focus on the customer experience

As you’re evaluating your communications tools, consider how your communications software impacts your customer’s experience with your business. Does your current solution enable seamless communications both internally and externally? Does it easily integrate with other essential systems, like CRMs? Can your contact center agents quickly access the information and internal resources they need, when they need it? The answers to these questions directly impact your responsiveness to customers.

5. Make it convenient to work anywhere

With more team members working remotely – on the road, from a home office or in the field – reach out to them and find out what headaches they’re experiencing. Do your collaboration tools enable them to easily communicate and respond quickly to customers? Can they access information and people easily from their smartphone? Look for a communications solution like TCI Host, TCI’s Cloud Voice Service that allows your staff to access everything they need via a web portal.

Now is a perfect time to take a fresh look at your communication solutions to ensure you’re offering the best customer experience.

Ring in the New Year right… Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Did You Know TCI Provides Infrastructure as a Service… Managed Wi-Fi, Cabling, Security & More?

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a computing environment that is provisioned and managed by your provider. IaaS simplifies your life. You avoid the complexity of buying and managing your own infrastructure.

Rather than paying a big upfront capital expense, you pay an affordable monthly subscription that scales up and down based on what you need. TCI’s experienced experts can design, build and support all of your infrastructure needs…

  • Structured Cabling
  • LAN/WAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • Security

When it comes to financing, we’re flexible… You can own any aspect of your IT environment and subscribe to IaaS for other elements. When we manage the infrastructure, you get…

  • End-to end setup, implementation, and testing
  • Ongoing monitoring and support, including a 24×7 help desk
  • Upgrades included and new equipment as technology evolves

Talk to our certified network engineers. We offer the best in specialized expertise, project assistance, and development help. Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Snow Season is Here… Stay Connected When You’re Stuck at Home

Providing employees with the ability to work remotely – with full access to their desktop voice and data and applications – has become an essential element of business continuity, especially in our area, where a winter snow blast can suddenly force streets and buildings to close.

With “plug and work” access to the voice and data network at the office, your team can use all of the features and functionality they need while at home or on the road, allowing your business to keep going until everyone can return to the office.

TCI makes it easy to set up remote Voice and Data capabilities that can be used to keep your customers happy. You get immediate productivity and efficiency benefits, plus blizzard protection when you need it.

While competitors scramble to find alternatives until the snow clears, it is “business as usual” for you. To get started, contact our experts today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Tech Planning for 2020… Schedule Your Customer Business Review Now

Your annual TCI Customer Business Review is a valuable 60-minute session that provides our team with an opportunity to learn more about your business goals and needs, get feedback on our product roadmap, and share best practices with you.

One of our Customer Service Managers will be reaching out to you to schedule your review. While scheduling, please let us know if there are any specific topics you would like us to cover.

For you, it’s an opportunity to:

  • Discuss your business plans for the next six months to two years, and how we can contribute toward meeting your objectives.
  • Review historical results and metrics.
  • Learn how to leverage new technologies, features and capabilities.

For TCI, it is our goal to:

  • Build and maintain a strategic relationship with you, particularly if you are a new client.
  • Ensure you have the right solutions to achieve your business goals.

Get a running start and schedule now… Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

How On-Site, Wireless DECT Phones Offer SMBs Cost-Effective VoIP & Flexible Communications

Smaller companies need mobility and flexibility. Employees have to be reachable by customers or colleagues from any location in the office or in the building. But your resources are stretched thin and you’re juggling a lot of balls. What should you do?

Going with VoIP DECT phones from TCI and Mitel provides an on-site wireless communications solution. Using a DECT mobile handset or headset, your people can transfer calls, set up conference calls, access the company directory, and more.

With one-touch speed dial everyone can communicate easily and quickly no matter where they are in the building. And because VoIP DECT phones use encrypted technology, you can be confident that all conversations are secure.

Quality, Security and Reach

Cell phones are great, but you can’t depend on them for a clear connection in every setting. With DECT mobile phones you get high-quality sound with no crackling or drop-offs. Both handsets and headsets include an ambient noise filter – essential when you’re calling from a busy environment. DECT’s use of encrypted wideband voice technology provides an extra layer of security to ensure conversations are confidential.

Ease of Use and Installation

VoIP DECT phones are intuitive with user-friendly features, applications and softkey prompts that will enable your people to manage calls with little or no training.

Systems are configurable via a web-based interface. A base station can support up to 20 cordless phones. The unit fits in a small enclosure that can be mounted on a wall or placed on or under a desk. You can expand the system by deploying additional base stations and add more lines without running more cable.

Although the phone’s range from the base station is 150 feet (50 meters), if you need a little more room you can simply add a repeater in another part of the building to boost the signal.

Everything You Need

Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can’t have all the bells and whistles the big guys enjoy. For example, using VoIP DECT phones with a cloud communications solution, your people can access a company directory, transfer and forward calls, use call waiting and hold functions, and conduct conference calls.

When choosing a VoIP DECT phone, ease of use should be a priority. Look for features such as a color backlit handset, intuitive menus and navigation, and a speakerphone option. A long-lasting battery should be a requirement, so you don’t have to worry about recharging mid-day.

If your small business is ready to sound like a big player, contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.