Typically I focus on computer hardware and software, along with complimentary products. Today I’m going to step back a bit and talk about some of the technology used in homes and offices. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been a number of technology changes being made in the Unleashed office and more are in the works in the near future.
First up, we were overdue for an upgrade in our Internet service. Unfortunately our choices of providers are limited and we had hoped that one of those choices had greatly improved. We tried using a service provided by the local phone company (CenturyLink). It did give us faster download speed, but our upload speed was decreased significantly. Neither speed came close to what was originally promised.
I called the current provider to see if they were able to do anything more. When all was done, both our download speed and upload speed had tripled. The price could have remained the same if I had settled for doubling the speed, but I was happy to pay a little bit extra to get even more speed. Uploading the Cave Creek Geek videos will go much faster now! Even better, we are supporting a local small business that does a great job of providing personal service. When we need help, we just call Fred.
Another reason we wanted to get faster Internet is so we can move one phone lines to VOIP (Voice Over IP). In short, this means calls are routed via the Internet instead of through phone lines. I will talk about the hardware in a future post after I’ve gotten it installed. This allows me to better tell you the pros and cons with hands-on experience. Once this system is up and running, it will cut our monthly bill for phone service by around 75%! Wouldn’t you like to cut your home or office phone bill that much?
If customers do notice our phone system has changed, we hope you will consider all of the changes to be positive. Our phone numbers will not change and my fingers are crossed that the transfer of the numbers to the new system will be very smooth.
There are some potential glitches to not having a traditional phone line. Our fax machine may or may not work with this new system. I’m not one who likes to take the chance and so I’m investigating online fax services. This delivers inbound faxes to e-mail with a PDF file attached. Our current fax machine will already scan paperwork to a PDF for us and the online service would allow us to upload the PDF to be sent to someone else’s fax machine. I don’t know about your home or office, we the volume of faxes both inbound and outbound each month is very minimal for us. So while there may be a small amount of hassle involved in sending a fax going forward, it is well worth it based on the drop in the phone bill.
Another device that won’t work with the new phone system is the terminal we use to process credit cards. There are new terminals that connect via Ethernet in addition to a phone line so a new terminal is an option. We could also process them using software on the computer. Each method has pros and cons as well as variable costs. A final decision has not yet been made on which method will be used going forward. Don’t worry, the security of your payment is extremely important and any decision we make will make sure your payment is secure. There are also criminals who place fraudulent orders using stolen cards and we are making sure that we have methods in place to protect not only our business from these fraudulent orders but also the poor cardholder who had their card stolen (from elsewhere, not from us).
Regardless of which choice we make with the processing of credit card payments, we should be able to slice our bill dramatically on our merchant accounts while having a better system in place for you and for us.
What Changes Can You Make?
I’ve described a few of the changes and upgrades going on in our office. If you haven’t evaluated the services used in your office for a while, you might want to put it on your to-do list. The changes we’ve made so far have a small investment up front in new equipment, but the savings on monthly bills will pay off those costs in only a couple of months. Then we will not only be saving a lot of money, we’ll have much better technology in place going forward. If you decide to make some changes in your home or office, post a comment and tell us all about it.