Appia Communications: Managed VoIP, call center, and full network services

Part 26 of Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services — This Cisco shop will do all things telecom—including deploy and manage your own CallManager system, if you like.

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Sep 8, 2009
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Appia Communications, Inc., headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, was founded in 2001 to provide managed IT and telecommunications services for small and mid-size companies, helping those organizations level the playing field against their larger enterprise competitors.

Appia’s customers range in size from 10 to 60,000 employees and from one to over 200 locations. They represent all of the major vertical industries, including finance, construction, education, engineering, entertainment, government, healthcare, legal, not-for-profit, and manufacturing.

As a result of Appia’s focus on service excellence, its customer retention rate tops 99 percent. Appia is a stable, profitable company, whose senior management has more than 80 years of combined experience in IT, IP, and telecom. Appia was named to Inc. magazine’s list of America’s fastest-growing private companies in 2007 and 2008, ranking in the top 100 in IT Services and Telecommunications.

The company has 35 full-time employees with operations in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, and other markets in North America and Europe. Appia delivers its managed services anywhere a customer can obtain access to IP, including virtually any location in the U.S. and many locations throughout the world.

Appia provides a number of managed IT and telecom services, including: hosted IP-PBX and other voice solutions; network design; deployment and management; network security; network device support; e-mail hosting and spam management; audio and web conferencing; plus video conferencing and video broadcasting.

Appia is a Cisco Powered Network with advanced Cisco unified communications certifications. All of Appia’s services are supported 24/7 by engineers and technicians in its own network operations center (NOC).

Appia’s managed voice services combine voice, video, and data over a single, reliable high-speed connection. IP PBX solutions have the features and functions of a more costly PBX, but without the capital investment, and when combined with customer-provided IP phones, the cost savings are immediate.

Legacy solutions interface with existing PBXs or key systems, allowing customers to reduce monthly expenses while maintaining their PBX investment. This option is ideal for phased or gradual VoIP deployments.

Call Center solutions are designed for as few as five to as many as 200 call center agents and deliver features that are typically only found in much larger systems.

Cisco CallManager implementations are for customers that wish to have an on-premises communications system, but desire implementation and management services assistance from Appia. These voice services also include such features as ad-hoc audio conferencing, voicemail-to-e-mail, fax-to-e-mail, free interoffice calling, and competitive domestic and international calling rates. Because they are managed services, these voice solutions can also be scaled up or down as business cycles demand.

For customers that own a Cisco CallManager system, Appia offers a program called TotalConnect that consists of one or more connections between the customer and a secure, telco-grade Appia operations center. These connections deliver voice services (inbound and outbound calls, toll-free service, and so on), plus Internet access. Benefits of this service include fewer connections into the telephone network, a single service provider to contact with any billing or support issues, plus nationwide direct inward dial (DID) numbers from many U.S. cities, allowing the customer to establish a virtual presence almost anywhere. In addition, this service provides a disaster recovery capability, so that if a physical location becomes unavailable, call can be rerouted by Appia to phones at alternate locations, including home and mobile numbers, as determined by the customer.

In addition to the managed voice services, Appia is also strong in the WAN management area, with three distinct network monitoring and management solutions. WANCare Management is a complete WAN support service, designed for companies and organizations that want to maximize network performance, with the benefit of Appia assuming ownership of any network problems that arise.

WANCare Notification is targeted at small to medium-size businesses, and maintains a continuous 24/7 watch over the customer’s network via the Appia NOC. This service offers end-to-end monitoring, and immediate notification of any hardware or carrier issues.

WANCare Reporting offers 24/7 access to third party network reporting tools that provide a real-time view of the network infrastructure through a secure web portal. This service is designed for companies that do not want to invest in their own support and reporting platform, and is included with the WANCare Management offering, and optionally available with the WANCare Notification service.

Further information on the Appia Communications solutions can be found at http://appiaservices.com/. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2009 DigiNet Corporation®, All Rights Reserved


Author's Biography
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.

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