Moving On Up…

27101 Puerto RealBig news to share with all of you: Due to rapid growth, we’ve upgraded our digs!

As of Friday, April 24, the ROI Networks address has moved to:

27101 Puerta Real, Suite 100
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

We found that as our business and team has grown over the past few years, we really needed a newer, larger space to support it and, more importantly, to allow our team to better serve our customers. With this new space located off I-5 and Crown Valley Parkway in Mission Viejo, it provides easy access to our geographical concentration of customers and prospects located in Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties.

We’re very excited about this expansion and look forward to the opportunities that this new location will bring to our team (and customers)!

SIP Trunking: Get Educated and Make the Shift

shutterstock_126765362Making a move to SIP trunking in the past was a no-brainer. The sizable savings was the biggest allure, as many businesses reduced costs by 50 percent.

Today, the savings aren’t quite as significant for telecom departments that may only need a primary rate interface (PRI) replacement, but SIP trunking offers far more improvements than just the company’s bottom line. Businesses should consider the following areas when investigating SIP trunk implementation.

When it comes to the implementation of SIP trunks, not all options are created equal. Budgeting for more bandwidth will help minimize compression over the system. Businesses should ensure that the configuration is correct to achieve the optimum voice quality and that the vendor will assist with the configuration process. Look for service level agreements (SLAs) from vendors that guarantee an acceptable level of latency.

While not having to manage the complexity of SIP trunks is often a relief, control should not be left entirely to the vendor. An easy-to-use user interface (UI) for system administration is preferable and would ideally include a graphical representation of the voice quality and system performance. This visual synopsis should allow access to more detailed information. Administration of the environment in this manner will help the company’s tech team identify opportunities for optimization and ensure that minimum performance levels are met.

Handling demands on a system would be much simpler if traffic was evenly disbursed during every minute of every day, but that scenario is not realistic. Peak time traffic may be exponentially heavier than off times and must be accommodated without lag or delay. Pooling and effective load balancing are an essential component of a solid SIP trunking system, and the vendor should address this topic during the interview process.

A well-constructed and configured SIP trunk system will be able to avoid failure points and reroute traffic if an error or hardware problem occurs. As many telecom and technical needs rely on the performance of the SIP trunk, continuity routes must be effective.

Other questions that businesses should ask a potential SIP trunk vendor include:

  • What are the system uptime statistics for various periods of time (past week, month, and year)? Reasons for any significant downtime over those periods?
  • Does the fee structure include management costs? Will any additional fees appear on the invoice?
  • Is there a contract period? What is the satisfaction guarantee should the system or quality of services not adequately meet the requirements?
  • What can this particular system do? Is media proxied?
  • How is configuration handled? Is an easy admin tool available for company users?

Making the move to SIP trunking is advantageous for many reasons, both financial and non-financial in nature. However, businesses should be prepared to ask the hard questions before selecting a vendor. This will ensure it’s the best choice for the business and provide a strategic way to move forward with this powerful technology.

From Server to Cloud: How Core Apps Can Make a Successful Leap

shutterstock_144202432The world of cloud based applications and data is expanding by the nanosecond, yet so much of the potential of the private cloud remains untouched. High availability, fast and flexible configuration, self service, and easy provisioning are a dream to technology teams, so why haven’t more companies migrated their core apps from server to cloud? The answer to that question revolves around security and knowledge.

In relation to the history of computer science, cloud computing is in its infant stages. Though the technology has evolved to become more secure, flexible and cost-efficient in recent years, many questions about private cloud are yet to be answered.
Core applications are often extremely complex, and the thought of migrating them from a wonderfully sound and tangible piece of hardware (the server) to a mystical cloud environment may seem questionable. The benefits of the cloud far outweigh any discomfort of transitioning, and a shift in perspective may be all that is needed to make the switch more simple.

1. Availability is not an obstacle
Core applications must be online as close to 100% of the time as possible and this fact has long delayed the movement to private cloud hosting. However, multiple approaches can be used to ensure an app is highly available.

Redundancy and mirroring are tools that aid in promoting high availability on the cloud. These methods are often much simpler to implement on the cloud versus on server hardware. In most cases the applications do not have to be changed to accommodate the cloud environment, so the cost of the move is minimal.

2. Learn the load balancing ballet
Resources on a private cloud system are much more flexible and agile than traditional options. This is a distinct advantage of cloud hosting for core applications since each app may have different peak usage times or require rapid scalability.

The use of tools such as software-defined networking will help route traffic the most efficient and speedy way possible to avoid lag and expertly handle increased traffic. Resources can be opened to higher-demand applications in an instant without losing access. By using configurations that can be changed dynamically rather than hard coding requirements into the software, development work (and therefore added cost) is avoided.

3. Use existing technologies
One of the immense values of the internet is the sharing of thoughts, ideas and even software. Moving core applications to the private cloud is made easier and less expensive with open source offerings. Recreating the wheel is expensive and unnecessary with such powerful tools so accessible to a business.

For companies looking to make the transition from servers to private cloud, there is no shortage of possible solutions that have already been vetted. Moving core applications to the cloud will help reduce costs, improve flexibility and achieve growth. Today’s technology options help make this process efficient and painless.

Video Conferencing : The New Business Necessity

Video conferencing allows organizations to increase efficiencies on several levels. Two of its many business benefits include increased employee productivity, thanks to real-time collaboration, and higher operating efficiency, due to lower travel expenses. This is a great way for businesses to boost their bottom line.


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The Art of Excellent Conference Calls: How to Achieve Meeting Greatness

shutterstock_204413098If there was one task that most people would choose to eliminate from their workday, that task would be listening to another incredibly dull conference call. While communication is absolutely critical for companies to be successful, most conference calls fail to engage the audience from the moment that roll call begins. Workers mute their lines and begin doing other more important or interesting tasks, updating their Facebook status or reading their Twitter feed.

Employees forced into attendance for a conference call are quite likely to miss the valuable nugget of information that may be buried within this drawn out process. Conferencing meetings do not have to be a mundane, uninteresting event. Make these calls count with the following tips.

1. Small, meaningful audiences
Not everyone has to be on every minute of every call for a project or topic. Fairly commonly, having extraneous people on a conference call is an invitation to political tension, added requirements and inefficient conversation. Identify both the key participants for a meeting and the relevant time of their participation. A subset of participants may only be needed for a brief update, in which case attending the entire meeting places an unnecessary demand on their time. Keep non-essential personnel out of phone conferencing as much as possible and remember to send a thorough set of notes to the wider audience after the call. Saving employees time by limiting their required attendance to truly useful periods will make them much more willing to participate in future calls.

2. Say cheese!
Video conferencing as part of a meeting where geographically disbursed workers are in attendance is a great way to build team cohesion. A more personal connection is established between parties and the immediate visual feedback of candid reactions and expressions will stimulate the flow of ideas and direction of discussion. The call is more engaging and productive as a result. Though participants may be shy at first, the benefits of this tool are so powerful that they’ll soon prefer video over telephone for important meetings.

3. Proper use of conference rooms and their tools
Conferencing does not have to be limited to basic verbal discussion. Use of tools such as whiteboards, screen sharing, webcams and multimedia sound will help keep the audience engaged and enthusiastic. Know how to fluently start and conduct a webinar or fire up video conferencing efficiently so precious meeting time is preserved. Using interactive means during meetings will stimulate creativity and help the brainstorming process.

4. Avoid overuse of technology
Just because multiple cutting-edge tools are available for a conference call does not mean they must all be used. A good meeting mantra should be to keep it simple and meaningful, which also extends to the use of conferencing technology. It’s unnecessary to employ video conferencing for every meeting or to start a webinar for a brief call that does not include a presentation. Stick to the most relevant tools for the discussion and keep the meeting as lean and useful as possible. Try a combination of tools to find the mixture that reaps the greatest engagement to employ in future meetings.

Conference calls can be stimulating and significant with the right facilitation. Conducting them effectively will reduce meeting fatigue and inspire participation, improving employee engagement and enhancing workplace productivity on many levels.

Seven Reasons to Revisit Wi-Fi Strategy Now

shutterstock_177126929In an era of cloud adoption, virtualization, mobility and automation, the forward-thinking enterprise must not forget about core technologies such as Wi-Fi. Without the right access, security, and connectivity powering the organization’s internet connections, even the most advanced IT organization risks taking a step back due to a weak Wi-Fi strategy.

Here’s why it’s important to include Wi-Fi as a key IT focus area:

Wi-Fi requires proactive maintenance
It is easy to take Wi-Fi for granted, but everyone notices when the network is down. The average employee almost forgets about the value of Wi-Fi until it’s not available.

Wi-Fi is a must for forward-thinking IT organizations
The Wi-Fi industry has experienced great innovations in the past year and every organization needs to think about how to embrace the new advancements.

Wi-Fi is the best way to provide value to both customers and employees
Ongoing Wi-Fi availability is crucial for everyday office work. The external-facing implications for Wi-Fi are huge in business models with a customer-facing environment such as a store, restaurant, or hotel.

It’s expected
Wi-Fi is no longer just nice to have – it’s expected for both customers and employees. Furthermore, many Wi-Fi consumers have baseline expectations for the speed and quality of their Wi-Fi connections.

The technology is more user-friendly than ever
Technology allows seamless connections across numerous networks and locations without requiring a user to re-authenticate every time.

It’s powering the technologies of tomorrow
Don’t get caught up focusing on mobile endpoints and the Internet of Things while forgetting about what it is that keeps those devices online: Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is a crucial connecting point
The Internet connects us to the people, resources, and technologies we value. It’s important to provide a positive user experience for such a critical service.

Both employees and consumers have adjusted their expectations for their online experience. In a world that is ever-connected, it is critical that IT professionals understand and meet the needs of an increasingly savvy user base.

Take some time to re-consider enterprise Wi-Fi strategy as a key focus area; doing so will help ensure that the business has the right tools to connect to and keep up with other exciting innovations.