Consolidated Technologies: Future-proof IP Communications.
Part 71 of Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services This company's services which cover a vast range of business communications needs are custom designed and fully supported.
Consolidated Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Port Chester, New York, has been providing converged communications solutions since 1997, serving medium to large businesses nationwide.
They also have an interesting history, and provide an example of how to design an entrepreneurial venture with four unrelated businessmen and make it work for the long haul. We have all heard stories of someone who gets a good idea for a business, gets some friends and business associates to join in, but before long realizes that the skill mix or personal chemistry is not quite right, and before long the doors are closed.
Consolidated Technologies is an exception, with a compelling story of how a strategist, a technical type, a businessman, and a salesman got together and formed a powerful company that provides an array of high-quality services, including both premises and hosted solutions, carrier services, and management. The company was created on the premise that the direction of superior communications was in applications like IP telephony, mobility, contact centers, unified communications, communications-enabled business processes and disaster recovery. They utilized a single source approach, bringing together leading communications experts, world-class products, and the creativity and expertise to design, implement, and manage powerful converged communications solutions for medium to large businesses nationwide. And this partnership has been successful recording over $25 million in business during 2009.
Since its founding, Consolidated Technologies has developed an impressive suite of communications services:
Installation Services includes a tested, proven implementation process, complete system programming and testing, data cabling project management, plus end-user and operator training.
Carrier Services assist with ordering, installing and managing the appropriate carrier links to complement the communications system that has been selected.
Support Plans are available to provide extended parts and labor warranties on equipment, plus 24 hour support lines with guaranteed response times.
Call Center Services support Avaya Call Center systems, assisting customers with agent resource management, complex routing algorithms, and distributed systems.
Managed PBX Monitoring provides business customers with a managed PBX solution that is monitored on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis, with real-time problem response and resolution.
In addition, Consolidated Technologies has Avaya, Cisco, and Polycom specialists on staff, and owns a BroadSoft softswitch that provides hosted PBX and enhanced SIP trunking services.
The companys hosted PBX platform, named ClearPath MVP (Managed Voice Plus) combines many of these services into a single offering that allows the customer to get rid of their on-premises hardware, the PBX vendor, the maintenance contracts, system programming challenges, and so on. This service is targeted at customers with 20-200 end users, and is available on a nationwide basis. Customer deployments typically involve a SIP-aware firewall, a router and one or more L2/3 switches, with equipment supplied from Adtran, Cisco, and SonicWall.
The service comes with a long list of features, including
- alternate numbers, which allows up to ten phone numbers or extensions to be assigned to a single user;
- authentication, which ensures that the user of the device is authorized to gain access to the ClearPath MVP service;
- automatic hold/retrieve, which allows a large volume of calls to be managed by transferring incoming calls to designated parking stations;
- call notify, which enables a user to define criteria that cause certain incoming calls to trigger an email notification;
- call screening by digit pattern, which enables users to specify digit patterns (such as area codes or exchanges) that trigger selective services, such as call forwarding, call rejection, and so on;
- CommPilot, a computer-based tool for users to administer and observe their services, as an alternative to using feature codes or a switch hook flash;
- diversion inhibitor, which prevents calls that are redirected by a user to be redirected again by the called party to their voicemail;
- hoteling, which enables mobile users to share office space and phones on an as-needed basis, like a hotel room; and
- Outlook Integration, which enables users to integrated their personal contacts in Microsoft Outlook with their CommPilot.
Of interest, Consolidated Technologies puts their ClearPath MVP Service Level Agreement terms and conditions on their website for all to see, including service credits that are provided to the customer should any network outage occur.
Cost for the ClearPath MVP service is priced in three ranges: Basic User service costs $15.00 per month, and features metered usage; Standard User runs $35.00 per month, with the standard features and unlimited local and long distance service; Premium User costs $50.00 per month, including the premium features and unlimited local and long distance service. Auto-attendant and advanced call center and voice recording options are also available for additional fees.
Further information on the Consolidated Technologies solutions can be found at http://www.consoltech.com/. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.
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.