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West Corporation

Posted on March 5, 2013 by West Corporation 


The Top 3 Reasons Why You NEED to visit 911 Enable at Enterprise Connect

Enterprise ConnectEnterprise Connect is the year’s biggest enterprise UC event, with sessions covering every aspect of UC, numerous receptions and networking events, and an exhibit hall packed with over 140 different solution vendors. Even with all that going on, you can’t afford to miss 911 Enable in the Exhibit Hall. Here are the top three reasons why you should make a point to visit booth 1513:

  1. You may be violating your state’s laws, and not know it.
    17 states have already implemented E911 regulations, and more are in the works. Add on to that OSHA requirements for a safe, hazard-free workplace, and E911 isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have. In addition to tough, legislated penalties, failing to provide E911 service to your employees opens you up to increased liability risk in the event of a tragedy. Why take the risk? 911 Enable has cost-effective solutions that can get you in compliance with any legislation you’re required to meet, and can help you establish E911 best practices for your deployment.
  2. Implementing E911 isn’t a complex as you might think it is.
    911 Enable’s experienced team makes setting up E911 easy, and our solutions make ongoing management a breeze. Features like automatic IP phone tracking keep phone location information up-to-date for 911 purposes, eliminating the need to manually administer moves, adds, and changes. Record provisioning and updates are automatically processed in real-time, so administrators don’t have to upload records themselves, and then wait for them to be processed in 48 hours. When E911 can be this simple, there’s no reason not to have it.
  3. More solutions for more platforms, period.
    Though competing E911 solutions are available, no one offers solutions for more of today’s leading platforms than 911 Enable. We’re constantly developing and enhancing our solutions, which regularly undergo interoperability and certification testing with leading UC platforms from Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, ShoreTel, Aastra, Alcatel-Lucent, Genesys, Interactive Intelligence, and more. This means that no matter what your deployment is today or in the future, we can provide you with robust, seamless E911 support that is proven to work.

See for yourself why 911 Enable leads the pack when it comes to E911 solutions for UC. Stop by booth 1513 to ask questions, find out what makes us different, and see our solutions in action.

To learn more before you go, check out our solution briefs for Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, ShoreTel, Aastra, Alcatel-Lucent, and Genesys.

West Corporation

Posted on March 1, 2013 by West Corporation 


Making a Difference

My whole life has been spent solving problems. If I perceive that a problem exists, I feel the need to solve it. It doesn’t always matter what it is – problems just need to go away. I know I’m not the only one out there either. There are lots of you just like me that I’ve met along the way. You are the ones that clean out the coffee pot at work so the coffee doesn’t taste bad. You are the ones that refill the paper in the copy machine when you see the light blinking. You are the ones that stay at work an extra 15 or 20 minutes on a ridiculously busy shift just to make sure you thoroughly briefed your relief.

When I became a dispatcher, I quickly learned that I couldn’t solve all the problems I faced. There were always more calls that needed to be dispatched than I had officers to handle them. Dispatchers all know that the calls holding actually translate to people who need assistance. But even when the call is dispatched, it doesn’t mean the problem was solved. That bothered me for a long time. Dispatching felt like painting a fence in the rain; the paint never actually dries. What was I actually accomplishing?

Then I realized something that changed how I thought about the work I did and shaped the work that I do now. First, I did realize that the problems were not specifically MINE to solve. But I felt that my job was to send someone who COULD solve the problem. Sometimes it actually worked out that way. I will always remember the call I broadcast on the radio “in the blind” (because there were no available officers) of a child not breathing. Luckily an officer on a call not far away, spoke up and said “I’ll take it”. He got to the scene and got the button dislodged from the child’s throat. On the officer’s next radio transmission I could hear the little guy crying in the background. Problem solved with a happy ending.

I hadn’t personally solved that problem, but my actions had made a difference. So when I thought about that call and others, I figured out what my purpose really was – to make a difference. Over the past years (okay, decades), I’ve worked in just about all parts of the 9-1-1 business both on the public and private sides. But one thing has always stayed with me and kept me going at the end of an awful day – the thought that my actions made a difference!

In my life on the commercial side, I was able to be a part of a team which helped a Sheriff to achieve the goal he had set of bringing 9-1-1 service to his community. When the project was complete, the community had gone from 7 digit phone numbers for each individual agency to 9-1-1 for all public safety. An entire team of people had worked diligently for years to make this happen and I was only one small piece of the effort. My one small piece made a difference. I’ll never forget the smile on his face when the first call was answered. I remember thinking to myself, “I have the coolest job in the world”.

So to all of you in this business, regardless whether you are on the public or commercial side of 9-1-1, the next time you have a particularly trying day, please remember:  YOU do make a difference!

And if no one has said it to you recently, thank you for making a difference.

West Corporation

Posted on by West Corporation 


Climbing the Next Hill

Imagine 30,000 menacing obstacles in your path. You’re dehydrated. Hungry. Wobbling like a drunk, barely able to put one foot in front of the other. Your feet are blistered, your eyes hurt, your head throbs and your will is all but broken. You’re not even sure how you will to go on. You feel defeated. Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on February 22, 2013 by West Corporation 


Cloud Computing for 9-1-1

The term “cloud computing” seems to be encroaching on every aspect of the technical scene these days,   but do you really understand what that means and    how it applies to 9-1-1? 

In the past, to have a real-time software experience, we had to load software onto a personal computer at the desk. Your experience depended upon how fast your processor was, how fast your drive was, and how much memory your computer stored. We all envied the person with the latest X86 processor because their experience was better than ours on the same software.

We evolved past this stage to server-based software. The software could reside in a back room on a bigger, faster server and deliver us a real-time user experience via the CAT-5 cable running to our desk from the back room. We all became dependent upon IT gurus that kept that server alive and functioning back in that closet. Remember that love/hate relationship from the ‘90s?

With the advances in network speeds and reliability nationwide, and actually worldwide with the major carriers, we have entered the age of “cloud computing”. Now we can have a real-time experience just like we had with the server in the back room, except the back room can be thousands of miles away!

There are several advantages to having your 9-1-1 solution in cloud-based architecture. First is geographic diversity. If your PSAP is affected by an event (flood, fire, tornado, gas leak, electrical failure, etc.), your equipment is safe and functioning. If you are in a cloud-based solution shared with other agencies, your staff can log in at those agencies and keep receiving calls. You also don’t have to worry about security, air conditioning, electrical, software upgrades, security upgrades, or not having a trained technician to work on your call handling equipment.

Cloud computing solutions for 9-1-1 have really been tested recently. We never thought we would see another Hurricane Katrina type situation, but Tropical Storm Irene was just that for Vermont. We saw twelve communities cut off by flood waters, one PSAP underwater and a host of other state facilities compromised. All of Vermont’s capabilities are cloud based. Throughout the storm, the network stayed up and they did not lose a single 9-1-1 call. Their 9-1-1 network was the only statewide network that stayed up during Irene.

Super Storm Sandy hit next generation sites in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Despite the massive 9-1-1 problems reported on the East Coast, these next generation systems were still able to handle the incoming calls. In fact, to illustrate the power of cloud computing, the Government Services Administration (GSA) had moved its employees in New York and New Jersey to a cloud-based solution; despite the massive power outages and loss of a major part of the telecommunications network in New York City, their 4,000 employees stayed online throughout the storm and even helped in the relief efforts.

West Corporation

Posted on by West Corporation 


Navigating New Intersections in Your Customer Care Center

My hometown has recently experienced a boom of “roundabout,” or traffic circle, construction in many major intersections, a practice that doesn’t sit well with several people in the community. I was in the car with my father the other day when he was complaining about them:

“Ugh, I hate these traffic circles. Nobody that I know knows how to use them.”

“Well, what about younger people?” I said. “Are they figuring it out?”

“Yeah,” he conceded. “But older people don’t get it.”

“But in a few years, there will be a lot less older people on the road, and the younger people, and their kids, will be cruising through this with no problem. Sounds like the state built these thinking about making things easier for the future.”

(Grumble) “I still don’t like it.”

My dad can be bit of a curmudgeon.

It becomes too easy to reject something just because it’s not worth your time today. When it comes to the technology to handle a new generation of customers doing business on a new playing field, change can be hard to adapt to, especially if your business is thriving now. Looking toward the future is a goal of almost every company’s communications, but embracing the future can be a more arduous task.

Connected Customer Experiences

Customer contact in 2013 is a more complicated task than it used to be. While good people and high-quality cellphones are the standard, it’s necessary to embrace the other ways the next generation of customers will want to reach you. So many people, some older but especially younger, are putting their smartphones, tablets and laptops to work for them to do so many things, from paying their bills to inquiring on their orders to inquiring where the heck their orders are and why they aren’t in their hands yet.

Interacting with someone on the phone, for some, feels like a waste of time, especially if the technology is already staring them in the face while they’re already multitasking. And, having a channel of convenience for them to work through is a heck of a lot more productive than allowing them to twist in the wind and “go viral” with their friends if something about what your company did isn’t making them happy.

Your customer care agents can multitask, too. The telephone is their first priority, but it may not be forever. If they can handle a request through a text, chat or even a smartphone app just as quickly, then the new technologies are doing what you’re paying for them now for — benefitting the next generation and improving the process of customer contact. Implementing software and systems that facilitate those needs and controlling the flow of traffic are key. The next generation will adjust and navigate it every bit as easily as many of us who might still pick up a phone to reach out.

Don’t be afraid to build it, and let people know how it works. The next generation of customers will prove the value of it for you. And, don’t be afraid to hear people grumble a little bit in the meantime.

 

West Corporation

Posted on February 19, 2013 by West Corporation 


Do You Speak Story?

In our first video blog post, West Interactive’s Doug Sasse discusses how storytelling can enhance your business communications.

West Corporation

Posted on February 18, 2013 by West Corporation 


911 Enable Participating at Inaugural Lync Conference

Lync Conference 2013The inaugural Lync Conference kicks off tomorrow, and 911 Enable is pleased to announce it will be participating as a Silver Sponsor. Lync Conference brings together the best and brightest Lync professionals – from Microsoft Partners and MVPs to Lync Developers, Consultants, Support Engineers and customers – to learn, share and interact.

This year’s sold-out conference takes place February 19-21 at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA. If you’re planning to attend, make sure to visit us in Booth K3 to learn more about our unique solutions for Lync. To learn more, read the press release.

West Corporation

Posted on February 15, 2013 by West Corporation 


Do Your Customers Trust Your IVR System?

Click the icon to listen to the audio blog.

West Interactive’s Jim Milroy offers tips for IVR personalization that will help your customers trust your IVR system.

West Corporation

Posted on February 14, 2013 by West Corporation 


Consider Automation When Regulations Require More Calls

Financial and insurance companies have a multitude of regulations to follow based on the legislative acts passed in recent years. Regulations now require companies to disclose account information that in the past has not been shared with consumers. Or, in some cases, companies are required to ensure that they have done due diligence to talk to a consumer or consumer’s relative regarding an account before they can take an action such as to closing the account, charging a fee, or taking the account to a collections agency. A lot of times these disclosures cause the consumer confusion and lead them to call the company. And, more calls equals more costs. Read More >


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