Many companies occasionally have a need to do a multi-party conference call. Most modern telephone systems will easily accommodate a three party conference, and some systems will even handle five parties. But what happens when you need to talk with ten or twenty people at a time? You can buy some fancy (i.e., expensive) conferencing equipment, or you can utilize a third-party conference system.

North Florida Communications is now providing a conference solution for small to medium businesses. For less than $10 a month, we will provide you with your own conference telephone number. This number can be local or toll-free. You’ll then be able to set up a conference at any time and simply pay a few cents per minute, per caller.

Want to go a little further? We can provide you with a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) conference phone that will allow you to connect your entire conference room to a phone call, while allowing everyone to hear and be heard.

Please contact me if you would like more information.

Larry Nazworth

ITExpo East 2010

Last week I was able to attend ITExpo (Internet Telephony Exposition) in Miami Beach. It truly is amazing to see the products being developed in our industry. Here are a few things that I think are very exciting:

SIP Trunking- In a nutshell, SIP is a connection to an ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider) that connects a phone system, or a simple gateway, to the PSTN (Public Switch Telephone Network), which is the traditional telephone network that we all think about when we discuss "The Phone Company".

SIP Trunks have become a very reliable way to make telephone calls that also can save you 50% (more or less) on your phone bills. SIP Trunks also provide more advanced features, such as Direct Inward Dial (DID) numbers, call pairing (have your cell phone ring with your desk phone) and faster setup/tear-down times.

Hosted PBX- Imagine a small company getting a powerful telephone system without having to buy any equipment, except the telephones. This can be done with a Hosted PBX. A company, such as North Florida Communications, rents a customer a server, or a portion of a server that is located at a remote location. Customer phones then connect via the internet to the hosted system.

The hosted solution gives all the standard features such as auto-attendant, voice-mail, etc., while allowing the customer to pay a monthly reoccurring fee, instead a big chunk of money up front. Since SIP Trunking is often used, those monthly fees can be equal to the cost you may pay to the local Telco just for the phone lines you would use with a traditional telephone system.

A hosted solution is also great for companies that have many remote users.

Unified Messaging- Imagine getting all of your voice-mails and faxes sent directly to your cell phone via email. That is what Unified Messaging can do. Personally, I love it because I’m on the road a lot. I no longer have to dial in to check messages, or ask to borrow someone’s fax machine so I can see an important document. Very nice!

Guess what, these are really not new technologies. They have all been around for a few years and are now mature technologies. Are you ready to start a new decade with some time AND money saving purchases? If so, please contact me!

Larry Nazworth

Twenty Years

Happy New Year! In 2010 North Florida Communications celebrates 20 years in business. I started the company in August of 1990, and I’ve seen a lot of changes!

When I first started NFC, 1a2 systems were a dying breed, but still in use in many businesses. 1a2 systems were the big bulky phones with a red hold button and five or more clear lines keys that mechanically clicked each time you pressed one. Each phone required a 25-pair cable (50 wires). Loads of fun!

Analog telephone systems were the big things in the early 90's and they only required 2-4 pairs of wire. Digital systems started taking over in the mid 90's and continued to have dominance well into the early 2000's, or should that be 00's? Voice Over IP (VoIP) systems are now taking over the business telephone system market.

In 1990 computer network cable was serial based. Each wire had to be soldered onto a DB-25 connector. The pinout of the cables was different for each system. Today we have much clearer standards to follow.

It really is great to be in a business where things change! Change helps to keep us on our toes and helps us to grow emotionally and mentally!

NFC had about three customers in August of 1990. I started the business by subcontracting to other companies. Today we have more than 1,100 contacts in our database. It has been great to meet so many people over the years. I still find it humbling that people allow us to take care of there most critical communications needs. We really do appreciate our wonderful customer base.

On a personal note, in August 1990 I had just turned 21 and was single. Today I’m 40 (for a little while longer) and have been married to my wonderful wife, Leslie, for 15 years. We have three boys: 9, 11, and 13. We’ve been blessed as a family.

Last year was a hard year for most companies. We were fortunate to be within 4% of our 2008 sales, thanks in large to a big job that took us several months in the first quarter of ‘09. Spring and summer were bad, but things started picking up in the fall. I’m thankful that we have not had to lay anyone off.

2010 looks very promising for us. I really think the economy is starting to turn around. Small businesses that have persevered through these hard times will need to implement some much needed system upgrades that they have been putting off. The poor economy will produce more entrepreneurs that will be needing telephone systems and networking. Our new SIP Trunking product will help our clients reduce their phone bill. Business Owners will start to see the light at the end of a recession and will start to spend money again. New employees will be hired that will need telephones.

I hope you are as optimistic about 2010 as I am! As always, if there is anything I can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Happy New Year,

Larry Nazworth

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