From time to time CSM South likes to take a moment to spotlight a recent new phone system installation. Recently, CSM staff had the pleasure of working with the Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Heartland.
The Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Heartland is an agency tasked with the important job of connecting children and families with a range of services to assist with accessing high quality early care, education, and health. The organization operates in four Florida counties- Charlotte, Desoto, Hardee and Highlands in both urban and rural areas.
As a not-for-profit organization supported by grants from the State of Florida, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) is constantly looking for ways to streamline expenses, improve business functions, and make the most of their time and treasure. In 2018, they thought that they had found this in an AT&T cloud telecom solution with Grandstream SIP telephones as it offered the functions and features that they needed, at a reasonable price. However, come late 2020, they were informed that AT&T would no longer be supporting their product and they would need to upgrade- at a significant and unexpected expense.
CSM South worked with the ELC to provide a cloud-based telecom solution from LogMeIn- their flagship GoTo Connect software using their roughly 50 existing Grandstream VoIP telephones which had been purchased from AT&T.
“The ability to reuse our existing Grandstream phones was crucial, and the fact that we saved nearly 60% off our AT&T product was a real plus!” Anna Brookbank, Associate Director of Contracts & Compliance.
The provided GoTo Connect platform provides all the necessary functions required by businesses today, and a whole host of no-cost addon’s such as Conferencing (ad-hoc, scheduled, video, etc.), remote users, cradle to grave call reporting, and an easy-to-use user interface for all employees.
CSM South proudly celebrates July 4th, Independence Day for the United States of America
A mere 245 years ago, brave men and women chose to seek a new way of life by founding a nation on the principles of rule of law, equality for all inhabitants (though that would take almost 100 more years), and the promise that all should be able to find their own life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. CSM South is a committed American company, proudly founded in 1984 in Tampa, Florida, who honors our veterans and civilians alike, who strive together to build and realize the founding fathers vision.
The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, born in Scotland, resident of Canada, and emigrant to the United States in 1882, had these profound words to say regarding the destiny of men:
A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with – a man is what he makes of himself.
Alexander Graham Bell
CSM South believes this as well and urges all Americans to do their best to further our nations ideals and treat all men and women with kindness, respect, and charity.
God bless the United States of America, and may our great nation endure and continue to prosper!
When businesses start their search for a new VoIP telephone system, one of the challenges they face is how to integrate existing infrastructure into the new VoIP environment. Until recently, paging systems were a major hurdle in this arena. Being analog devices, it was difficult to keep the infrastructure in place without a wholesale replacement of the speakers, which might be only a few years old.
Viking Electronics, a company that CSM South has been working with for nearly 30 years, has solved the problem with the new PSA-IP, a device to convert analog PA systems into VoIP enabled ones. No matter if the speaker is 8 Ohm, 25 Volt or 70 Volt – any option works with the new PSA-IP analog to IP speaker adapter.
“The PSA-IP adapter will be the go-to for customers looking for a cost-effective way to convert their existing analog paging speakers to SIP/multicast speakers.” – Greg Yocom, Engineering Manager, Viking Electronics
For amplification, the PSA-IP features a high-efficiency 6 Watt class D amplifier. This allows a single PSA-IP to power up to six paging speakers in a single paging zone providing approximately 1 Watt of paging power to each speaker, an ample amount of power and coverage for many applications.
Thankfully, installation is easy! CSM will mount the PSA-IP magnetically to the back of an analog speaker magnet or to the 25/70V transformer mounting holes on the speaker frame, then we will connect the PSA-IP’s speaker output to the input of the speaker. Finally, CSM connects the PSA-IP to an open port on a PoE switch and uses Viking’s IP Programming software to enter SIP and network credentials.
After the quick conversion, the speaker can then be used for standard one-way SIP endpoint paging or multicast paging, removing the former need for costly and intrusive PA system replacements.
Viking Electronics engineers and manufactures over 500 security and communication products in the USA. Products include Emergency Phones, Entry Systems, Paging Interfaces, Mass Notification Systems, Hotline Phones, Autodialers, Enclosures and more. In Addition to their extensive analog line, Viking offers a large selection of IP products that are SIP compliant. Based in Hudson, Wisconsin, Viking’s legacy of reliability and electronic innovation spans 50+ years. Viking builds products that are designed to last and they also offer many of their products with Enhanced Weather Protection. Offering free lifetime product support they also back their products with a two-year limited warranty. For more information, please visit: www.vikingelectronics.com.
For several decades, telephone technology didn’t progress beyond basic analog technology. Indeed, for many of us, it seems like just yesterday we were all using rotary phones that were either attached to the wall or sat on a desk like a paperweight. For decades, phone technology didn’t progress beyond those analog systems.
However, with the advent and market acceptance of VoIP, modern phone technology has made major advancements. When it comes to modern phone technology, whether it’s the cell phone you carry in your pocket or the advanced VoIP system used by many businesses today, phone communications have certainly come a long way.
Hotels, in particular, have has a difficult time accepting the new VoIP telecom world. While they may no longer be using rotary phones, many hotels continue to live in the stone age of phone technology. If you find yourself in this group, here’s why it’s time for your hotel to catch up.
VoIP Is Still the Most Cost-Effective
In the past few years, a big selling point of VoIP has been the lower cost, both in installation and operation. Since the widespread adoption of VoIP, less expensive options have arrived on the market to rival their price point.
But while VoIP might not be the absolute lowest-cost solution for your hotel, the benefits of a digital PBX system — efficiency, compliance, and additional features — far outweigh the cost. There’s also the long-term cost to consider. If you need significant upgrades in five or ten years, a VoIP system can be upgraded with a simple software update, while other systems require expensive infrastructure alterations.
Customers Demand New Technology
Are your guests’ expectations being met by your current telephone system? Many hoteliers think their current suite of phone features is sufficient for their needs, but guest satisfaction surveys say otherwise. Guests are living in an increasingly digital world — they expect to be able to do everything from their smartphones or online, rather than waiting in line or calling someone on the phone.
By adding the new features that VoIP offers, you’re keeping your hotel up to date with the expectations and requirements of your guests while offering them a more seamless, attractive experience.
On an old analog system, implementing these changes would be nearly impossible. On a digital system like the ones offered by Phonesuite, changing our phone systems was a simple software upgrade in a browser window. Sooner or later, the laws surrounding phone behavior will change again, and your hotel needs to be ready.
Increased Staff Efficiency
Far too much of your hotel staff’s time is spent on mundane, repetitive tasks — telling people what time breakfast is served, scheduling wakeup calls, checking to see if housekeeping has finished with a room, check-in and check-out, and so on. You hired your staff for their people skills, so they’d be far better off spending their time with guests who will appreciate the face-to-face interactions.
A digital PBX on VoIP allows your staff the freedom to do just that. By automating many common processes, implementing phone trees that can answer frequent questions, and allowing guests to handle many simple tasks like check-in themselves, you’ll free up your staff’s time to provide better service to the guests right in front of them.
Talk to Phonesuite Today
If you’re ready to bring your hotel’s service into the 21st century, talk to CSM South and Phonesuite. Our phone systems are intuitive, easy to install, and simple to upgrade. We’ll examine your hotel’s infrastructure and specific needs to build a plan that’s perfect for you. Get in touch today!
With the majority of our telephone system customers living in the southern states of Florida, Alabama, or Texas, we are all well acquainted with extreme weather. Thunderstorms and other weather related events can do more than ruin a day at the beach or a pickup softball game- they are also the primary cause for phone system and electronic failures. So, if your phone system ahs been affected by severe weather, what should you do to diagnose or repair, if possible, the issues? Let’s take a closer look.
Power Cycle your phone system– Generally, when most electronics which are not operating properly, or at all, the first step is to power cycle the unit. For a telephone system that is needing to be reset, the particular steps for this will depend on what type of system you are using in your business. For details on Nortel/ Norstar/ Meridian/ Bel South phone systems, check out this page (opens in new tab) for instructions. For other phone systems, we can offer some general assistance. To begin, search for a power switch or toggle, as most phone systems do have one. If you can find it, flip or toggle it to the “off” position, leave it alone for a moment or two, and then flip back to the “on” setting. If, however, you are unable to find a power switch, you may choose to unplug your phone system at the wall outlet, leave for a minute or two, and then plug it back in. Sometimes these operations reset the system properly and it will come back up; however, if there is physical damage from the power interruption, this will not solve the issue.
Check the Power Strip, UPS, or wall outlet- Many times after a power surge, the equipment itself is undamaged, but other auxiliary power equipment is not. If your phone system is setup with a battery backup, or UPS unit (and it should be!), try unplugging it from the unit and directly into the wall outlet. If the phone system comes up, then the battery or power strip should be replaced with a new one.
Give CSM South a Call– If you have attempted to power cycle your telephone system, or are uncomfortable doing this yourself, give CSM South a call (813-961-9351) or email our Service Department, firstname.lastname@example.org. Our phone is monitored 24/7 and our email from 8-5 M-F. A tech will be dispatched to access the situation and can advise what the net steps should be. Sometimes, it is as simple as replacing some lightening protectors on your lines, which is very inexpensive, alternatively the solution may be to replace some parts on the telephone system such as line cards, station cards, or appliances, which is also usually affordable. However, if more extensive damage has been done, the phone system itself may need to be replaced. A qualified telephone technician or engineer can quickly determine the best steps so that you can make an informed decision.
Insurance– We would like to point out that most most business insurance policies do cover damage sustained from lightening or power surges. Of course, every policy is different, so businesses should consult their coverage documents or an insurance agent for additional information. If it is indeed determined that power or weather was related to your service issues, CSM is happy to write a letter or speak with insurance companies as required for your claim.
CSM South has been in business since 1984, assisting clients who have been affected by weather or power issues with service calls on their phone systems. Please contact us if you are experiencing problems with your telephone system and you suspect that they may be damaged by lightening, power issues, or weather related.
Communications Systems Management has been installing, servicing, and deploying new telephone systems since 1984. Our clients include a wide range of businesses from small, mom and pop establishments to large corporate environments. From our head office in Tampa, and our field offices in Jacksonville, Ft Myers, and regional center of Austin, TX, we service 17 different states.
When we meet with customers, we commonly get asked, “well, which phone system is best for my small business?” we have to say, “it depends!” This is not sales speak, this really is true! Each manufacturer has different niches that they play best in. Let’s take a closer look at our products and the space that they play best in.
For small business customers, CSM South offers a variety of products. Our reasoning for this is that there is rarely a “one size fits most” when it comes to telecom, and different phone systems accommodate different businesses. Customers can be sure, however, that every product that we install comes from a tried and true manufacturer or VoIP provider such as NEC, Avaya, PhoneSuite hospitality phone systems, and cloud providers such as Mitel Cloud Connect, GoTo Connect, and others.
NEC New Telephone System
One of our most popular new phone systems to install in small businesses is the NEC SL2100 as it is perfectly positioned for the small office who needs a traditional feature set, while still preparing or utilizing VoIP technology. The NEC Sl2100 is commonly referred to as a “key” system in our industry, indicating the telephones have various programmable “keys” or buttons for features. While capable of CO, T-1/ PRI, or SIP lines, if you are unsure which type of line service is best for your small business, we are happy to consult and offer our opinion based on price vs functionality and reliability.
The digital telephones available for the NEC come in 12 and 24 button flavors, and in black or silver. For VoIP, NEC makes a beautiful self labelling telephone which operates simply and elegantly. Additionally there is also a portable DECT telephone with standard office or rugged case.
Avaya New Telephone Systems
Avaya is commonly known as a converged product, which simply means that it can handle traditional digital phones and also VoIP. So, if a client needs a high quantity of digital telephones for their phone system, then that is an excellent enterprise grade product that scales down to a dozen or so handsets. Also, it does exceptionally well when many analog devices are being employed, such as in long term care/ retirement facilities or manufacturing environments. Typically, our customers choose the 1400 series of business phones, but sometimes they choose to utilize another product from the wide range of choices such as the 1600 VoIP telephones.
While Avaya IP Office is well positioned for the SMB phone system market, it can grow with you to support over 1,000 users across 32 different sites, ensuring ample room for business expansion. As your business needs evolve, Avaya IP Office can add advanced unified communications or contact center capabilities, increasing productivity and customer satisfaction. With Avaya’s many partner relationships, you can also choose from over 170 innovative third-party software applications to enhance your solution deployment.
Other Phone System Products from CSM South
For premise based business phone systems, we also offer Mitel and PhoneSuite, but these are more effective for sites larger than 24 (Mitel) or hospitality (PhoneSuite).
Cloud Based VoIP Phone Systems from CSM South
In today’s small business phone system market, cloud based products are making MAJOR headway. CSM offers both Mitel Cloud Connect and GoTo Connect as our two primary products, along with several other niche players.
There was a time when businesses deployed a cloud based product purely based on cost. It was a trade off- cell phone type quality for lower monthly phone bills. But no more! Cloud based telephone services make your business more efficient and easier to manage. They replace existing legacy phone equipment with a cloud hosted PBX, which means your desk and smart phones work together and can be managed from your web browser or a mobile app. Cloud phone systems make it easier for your customer to contact your teams, turn any location (even home office workers) into a workplace and reduce your current expenses. And those old problems with quality of service (QOS), jitter, or dropped calls? Those are a thing of the past. As long as businesses choose trusted vendors and have a company like CSM handle the transition, those potential pitfalls can be avoided.
Mitel, a trusted name in telecom since the dawn of the PBX, has successfully integrated the ShoreTel Connect Cloud solution into their product portfolio and have branded it as MiCloud Connect. Delivered over a private connection or your existing internet service, Mitel MiCloud Connect provides the absolute highest experience. Licencing in the Mitel Cloud is also simple. There are several choices, offering flexibility to make the appropriate choice and only pay for the services any particular user or location requires. Many of the features which are included in the higher level licenses can be purchased on an individual basis such as Contact Center, Always on Recording, Follow Me, Scribe, etc.
Voicemail– As the name implies, is simply a voicemail only license used for information boxes, job lines, etc.
Courtesy– This license is used for locations such as break rooms, hall phones, etc. It only includes 200 minutes of calling, after this it runs at a metered rate.
Telephony– Users who require a phone, voicemail, and unlimited calling, but not the PC client or more than 3 party conferencing fit comfortably in the Telephony License.
Essential– Everything that is in Telephony is included in Essential, with the addition of 8 party conferencing and the award winning Mitel Connect Client software.
Premier– Building on Essential, the Premier License includes all of the above, with the expansion of conferencing to 25 parties, the ability to record calls, and the integration of various CRM software such as Salesforce and Microsoft.
Elite– With 100+ party conferencing, always on recording, and a host of additional included features, the Elite License is the most “inclusive” option available.
loud provider GoTo Connect is one of the best cloud VoIP providers. The GoTo Connect solution is robust and supports multiple SIP telephones that can be deployed worldwide. GoTo Connect really shines for small and medium sized businesses that are willing to make a small up-front investment in the SIP telephones and have a solid voice solution.
Work from anywhere: GoTo enables your workforce to work from anywhere they have an internet connection. Home. Office. Hotel. On the road. Anywhere they are – they are connected.
Some users choose to have a physical phone at their home office- easy to do with GoTo! Other people like to utilize the GoTo Connect app on their smartphone, included with every GoTo user license. Finally, some choose the softphone, a software device that uses a laptop or desktop computers speakers and microphone. Whichever option works for your employees they are free to use, call it a mix and match approach to VoIP telephony!
All the features: GoTo has all the features you need and want for your business to thrive.
Analytics? Check. From basic reporting to robust packages, GoTo Connect has a wide range of reporting options that can provide information on “cradle to grave” call flow, call queues and other functions.
Voicemail to email? Check. Receive your voice mails in your email inbox. Even more cool,. you can have the system transcribe the voicemail into a text email!
Conference bridge? Oh Yeah! GoToConnect has a powerful, included conference bridge that also includes video conferencing and scheduled calls.
Mobility integration with your Smartphone:
Using the included GoTo Connect app, callers can take calls, make calls, setup audio and video conferences, and complete telephone related duties as if they were in the office. Users can even seamlessly switch from the app to their VoIP desk phone, at any moment. Talk about flexibility!
Oh, and a ton more features too.
GoTo Connect operates on a wide variety of SIP telephones from trusted manufacturers such as Poly (formerly Polycom), Yealink, and Grandstream.
Contact CSM to learn more about Cloud based VOIP and if it is right for your small business.
Known for its vibrant, youthful appearance and style, the Tru brand by Hilton is one of the fastest growing hotel flags in the industry. This brand ethos, coupled with the explosive growth in southwest Florida, is sure to lead to a rocking success for the all new Tru by Hilton Bradenton I-75
As a new location, this was a greenfield opportunity with all new infrastructure. That made deployment of the new PhoneSuite Voiceware telephone system a breeze. Analog phones were chosen for the hotel rooms while slick new V-Tech 736 telephones were installed in the office spaces and front desk. The PhoneSuite Voiceware telephone system includes a full suite of hospitality features including:
SIP VoIP telephones for office and front desk
Analog telephones for guest rooms and common areas
Music on hold
Auto attendant and voice mail
PC and MAC software for accomplishing every hospitality function imaginable including wake up, check in/ out, welcome message, etc
CSM is proud to be a part of the success of the new Tru by Hilton Bradenton I-75 and looks forward to additional work installing new telephone systems in the southwest Florida area.
When a small hotel or independent motel starts the search for a new hospitality telephone system, oftentimes they can become overwhelmed by the vast amounts of information, both good and bad, to be found on the internet. Many hospitality flags, such as IGH, Best Western, Choice, and Marriott do have preferred vendors, which can help in making the selection of a new telephone system a little easier. In these cases, CSM South suggests sticking to the preferred brands, which are uniformly PhoneSuiteand Mitel. While we do work with both phone system manufacturers, we remain unashamed about our bias towards PhoneSuite for nationally flagged properties as it contains all the familiar features from Mitel but is about 30% less cost. However, when it comes to boutique, independent, or smaller flags such as Magnuson Worldwide, it is also possible to purchase the NEC SL2100 telephone system which has a nice hotel/ motel software addition. Let’s take a look at both the NEC and PhoneSuite products by providing some details, which should help your hotel decide on the correct new phone system to install.
The NEC SL2100 is a well designed phone system to consider for a small hotel or boutique motel. Below is a chart detailing the maximum capabilities of the phone system when it is configured with 1, 2, or 3 chassis. Even a quick look will show why the NEC Sl2100 is well suited to the small hotel/ motel telephone system market. With a maximum of 256 ports, and out of that a max 96 analog extensions (room telephones & guest area analog phones), the NEC SL2100 can scale to cover a smaller property, but cannot be expanded to accept additional extensions or lines.
Number of Chassis
Analog (room telephones)
IP Trunk (SIP/H.323)
Multi-Line Telephone (MLT)
Single Line Telephone (SLT)
With the included telephony ports detailed above, staff can make pages over paging systems, access external phones such as poolside analog telephones, employ the relay for remotely opening doors, and so much more!
Some of the typical hotel/ motel features included in the NEC Hotel software package are:
The NEC SL2100 telephone system is a simple, cost effective new phone system for the small hotel/ motel marketplace. CSM South has installed these in many locations throughout Florida and Texas from our HQ’s in Tampa and Austin. If you own or manage a small hotel/ motel, contact us today to learn more about the NEC SL2100.
PhoneSuite Voiceware is our primary product for hotels requiring in excess of 96 rooms , a more robust PMS integration, or their hotel brand has PhoneSuite as one of their preferred vendors or as required equipment.
Built using the latest VoIP technology, Voiceware is designed specifically for hotel use. It is based on an open standards platform to further protect your investment by not tying your hotel phone system to a proprietary platform, and to facilitate new features and functionality as technology continues to evolve. CSM is fully certified to sell and service PhoneSuite’s PBX 64, 112, 112e, and Voiceware hotel phone system technology throughout Florida, Texas, and the USA.
Wakeup calls and voicemail prompts are delivered in the guest’s native language – with additional options including scheduling of daily, weekend only, and weekday only. Wakeup messages can include the weather forecast, snooze, and transfer to room service options.
Extensive guest information, automated answering, automated messaging, and voicemail.
Check out from room phone option (requires property management system with remote check out interface enabled).
Compatible with all hotel guest phone speed dial buttons, whether SIP or analog.
For Your Front-Desk:
Powerful browser-based console offers more functionality and an intuitive and easy-to-use interface.
Find guests or staff easily by name, then one click to call or transfer a call.
Pop-up screen of guest information any time you answer a guest’s call including name, native language, VIP status, group affiliation, outbound dialing permissions, wake-up calls and more.
Setting wake-up calls is quick and intuitive with a complete activity log to see who set, answered or canceled wake-up calls.
PhoneSuite integrates with all known Property Management Systems (PMS).
For Your Staff:
Ability to run full-featured SIP phones from a variety of manufacturers like Grandstream, Yealink, and SNOM. Soft phones, which are completely resident on a PC or laptop, are also an included option.
Extensive find me / follow me capabilities with the ability to achieve true mobility.
Voicemail to email forwarding for a unified messaging experience.
Ability to handle multiple calls simultaneously on the telephone or with the PhoneSuite Console.
Unlimited call / staff groupings, ring groups, and role-based queues.
Automatic or on-demand staff call recording.
Unlimited number of extensions so that your property is prepared for growth or expansion.
Ability to centralize reservations and call functions for multi-location properties.
As it is made clear by the points above, PhoneSuite Voiceware is uniquely positioned as a high quality, extremely feature rich hotel phone system, specifically designed and engineered for hospitality. CSM South has installed PhoneSuite in many different hotel brands such as Choice, Best Western, IHG, Marriott, and independent operators.
CSM South is based in Tampa,Fl and Austin, TX from where we sell and install new phone systems, both cloud and premise, and service existing telephone systems.
As the census figures start coming in, it is clear that more and more people are moving to Polk County and Lakeland, FL. Which is, of course, great news to CSM because those businesses that will expand or move into the region are going to need new phone systems and related infrastructure. The growth in the area is so high, in fact, that the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area had the second highest rate of growth in the USA from July 2019- July 2020, a staggering 2.7%.
One of the attractive features of the area is that the location is right between two major metro areas, Tampa and Orlando (both cities where CSM does business and installs new telephone systems and services existing ones).
Additionally, many of the individuals who move to Polk County and Lakeland are pleased with the smaller downtown areas which are walkable and the easy access to businesses and services. The local governments have made a point to be welcoming to new businesses and to encourage existing ones to be successful.
However, with this new growth come challenges. Employees to fill open positions are currently in short supply with “hiring” sings visible in many retail and restaurant windows. Also, with the fast growth has come a shortage of affordable housing. Both issues are being addressed by local government through a range of programs and incentives.
New phone systems in Lakeland
CSM is excited to be a part of the dynamic and fast paced growth which is transforming Central Florida and the Polk County/ Lakeland area in particular. Our wealth of knowledge when it comes to VoIP telephone systems and traditional phone systems contributes to the success of our clients in the region, a place where we have been operating since 1984.
Our customer in Lakeland/ Winter Haven include hotels where we have installed the award winning PhoneSuite PBX, retail establishments where we routinely deploy NEC phone systems, and corporate offices where Mitel Cloud products are the order of the day.
To learn more about CSM and our history and future with phone systems in Lakeland and Polk County, visit our location page here!