SD-WAN adoption has reached an inflection point, according to Aryaka’s 2019 State of the WAN report, which found more than half of enterprises were poised to make the switch from tradition WAN networks to SD-WAN in the next few years.
The SD-WAN vendor’s third annual report surveyed 795 IT and network practitioners working for companiesranging in size from less than 1,000 employees to more than 10,000.
According to the report, enterprises are demanding more of their WANs than ever before with nearly a third operating more than 20 branch offices around the globe and roughly half leveraging five or more cloud providers or software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Of those surveyed, 15% had more than 1,000 applications deployed.
Aryaka found that enterprises faced a wide array of challenges associated with their WAN deployments including 40% reporting cost, 35% maintenance and management complexity, and 24% access speeds to cloud services and SaaS applications.
The survey found slow application performance was responsible for poor user experiences for 45% of branch offices and 36% of remote and mobile users.
However, the report found little consensus as to where these performance issues stemmed from with those surveyed roughly split between the last mile, middle mile, and the cloud. According to Aryaka, the takeaway is the need for better visibility across the entire network.
Ginsburg said 29% of those respondents identified managing multiple service providers as part of their WAN offering as difficult. He said this lends itself to what Aryaka sees an increasing need for a managed SD-WAN solution that eliminates the need to work with multiple service providers to solve a problem or implement a change.
Performance challenges also extended to universal communication as a service (UCaaS). The survey found 41% of respondents experienced challenges with poor voice and video quality, 31% reported trouble with laggy connections, and 28% experienced set up and maintenance issues. Overall Aryaka found that UCaaS remains highly intolerant of poorly optimized WANs.
“UCaaS is becoming increasingly critical for global organizations,” Ginsburg said.“They have a lot of problems in the performance of UCaaS over the WAN and that has to be at the top of mind and addressed with any WAN transformation.”
According to the report, SD-WAN adoption continues to build. The survey found 48% of respondents were in the process of gathering information in preparation for a deployment while 17% were actively evaluating vendors.
Just 12% of those surveyed were in the process of deploying an SD-WAN while 19% reported having completed their deployment.
Of those evaluating SD-WAN solutions, Aryaka found cloud and SaaS connectivity, advanced security, WAN optimization and application acceleration, and the ability to replace MPLS were among the highest-ranked features.
Meanwhile, respondents said the high cost of deployment, complexity, and a skills gap were among the biggest barriers to SD-WAN adoption.
A Divided Philosophy
The report did find some geographic divisions across the metrics.
Ginsburg said in particular, the report found that enterprises in North America preferred a do-it-yourself approach while in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) enterprises were more open to a managed approach.
The same divide was evident when it came to security. Aryaka found North American companies preferred a single-vendor approach to security while in EMEA companies tended to choose multi-vendor security services.
A Manageable Solution?
What Aryaka, a managed SD-WAN vendor, sees as the solution comes as little surprise — managed SD-WAN.
Ginsburg said the data shows that many enterprises going down this path of digital transformation don’t want to spend their effort creating this dedicated cloud connectivity or understanding where the handoffs are.
“SD-WAN is really moving into a more productive phase with large scale deployments,” he said.
No Surprises Here
Aryaka’s report reinforces many of the trends in the SD-WAN space including an emphasis on security and managed SD-WAN products.
However, unlike IDC or IHS, which offered independent reports alongside industry rankings, Aryaka, which ranked third in the latter’s report refrained from comparing itself to its peers.
Living in either Florida or Texas, residents will be very familiar with extreme weather. Besides ruining a day at the beach or a softball game, thunderstorms and weather related events can cause power interruptions and surges that wreck havoc on telecom, data equipment, and related devices. So what should a business do when a phone system is down or damaged by power issues of weather?
- Power Cycle your phone system– to begin with, you should turn the phone system off and then back on. Depending on what type of system you are using in your business, that may be accomplished several ways. If you have a Nortel/ Norstar/Meridian, consult this page for instructions. For other systems, there is sometimes a power switch which can be flipped off, left for a moment, and then flipped back on. If that is not evident, then you can unplug your 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.
- Call CSM South– After cycling your phone system, either 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 should be done next. It may be as simple as replacing some lightening protectors on your lines, which is very inexpensive, it could be replacing some parts on the telephone system such as line cards, station cards, or appliances. If more extensive damage is done, the system itself may need to be replaced. A technician can determine the best steps so that you can make an informed decision.
- Insurance– It should be noted at this point that most business insurance policies cover damage sustained from lightening or power surges. Organizations should consult their policies or insurance agents 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.
The hotel industry is always changing. As a hotelier, you may be at the forefront of new technology that enhances the guest experience and improves efficiency (and we know a thing or two about that), but things don’t stay static for long. That’s why it’s so essential that products and services that are designed for the industry are able to keep up with the changes without causing hiccups along the way.
Enter Phonesuite. We make it our mission to anticipate hoteliers’ needs, develop new tech, and ensure our products are completely future-proof. Our new-and-improved Voiceware functionalities are game changers. Here’s what’s new:
New Voiceware Functionalities
At the forefront of the advancements made by Phonesuite, we have our Voiceware software available to hotels of every shape and size. Just recently, we’ve made some upgrades to this already robust software, and we thought it would be a good idea to break down a few of the biggest changes, all of which were designed with ease and functionality in mind. Here is a taste of the new features you can expect:
- No-Hassle Replacement of Vtech SNOM Brand Phones — If your hotel currently uses Vtech SNOM phones for its communications system, all Phonesuite needs is the new MAC address to complete the replacement. Then, simply plug in the phone and you’re all set.
- Polycom Speed Dial Display Improvement — Park keys on your phone will now only display if a call has been “parked.” This will free up your screen so that it can fit in more speed dials at any given time.
- Faster, More Accurate Installation — Phonesuite’s installation process is now even better than before. Back-end features have been added that assist with the system’s overall setup, enabling installation to be done more quickly and accurately.
- Rare Bug Fixes for Specific Situations — Like all systems, bugs can crop up from time to time, and Phonesuite is always working tirelessly to remedy them. For this upgrade, we fixed a few rare bugs that had appeared in very large installations or in some extreme cases.
Tried-and-True Features You Can Count On
The functionalities listed above fit in quite nicely with the tried-and-true Voiceware features that hoteliers have come to expect over the years. For instance, our software has always provided a customized experience for a hotel’s guests, enabling lobby personnel to quickly identify a guest’s specific and unique needs, and then act on those needs accordingly. This time around, we made changes to complement existing Voiceware features with those that make the user experience that much easier, and the response has been phenomenal.
Never Satisfied with the Status Quo
Phonesuite will never be satisfied with maintaining the status quo because our techs realize the importance of staying one step ahead whenever possible. As the years go by, we will continue to improve not only our Voiceware software functionalities, but also the specifics of our servicing options, which cover everything from installation to our incredible Hosted Solution. If there’s one thing hoteliers can count on, it’s that our software and services will continue to advance right along with the industry.
Regardless of the size of your hotel or what your specific needs for your facility are, Phonesuite can help streamline and improve your communications system through the use of VoIP, Voiceware, Hosted Solution, and much more. Reach out to our experts today and we’ll get you started on the road to success.
There are so many incredible ways that artificial intelligence (AI) can be applied across the enterprise: conversational intelligence, smart routing, agent augmentation, interaction insights. Yet there’s one form of AI that many companies choose to focus on, and it’s a coin toss as to whether their strategies are effective.
Research from Vanson Bourne shows that chatbot technology is the predominant form of AI for nearly 60% of companies today. While most agree on the importance of AI expansion, the research suggests an inability to effectively do so. Consider the contact center, where 94% of companies agree that effective AI helps improve performance but 70% feel they’re missing the mark.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with prioritizing chatbots, so long as you do it right. Some organizations need to fundamentally shift their perception of the technology to clear a path to truly effective AI. Let’s break this down further…
There’s a general misperception that scripted bots (those programmed by humans to interact and behave in certain ways) are true AI. Scripted bots are the earliest iteration of an intelligence system, having been around for almost a decade, which leads many to mistakenly believe they are the first (and therefore genuine) form of AI. These scripted bots are also widely considered AI because they are the best that many companies can do (Vanson Bourne’s data shows that these kinds of chatbots are the only “form” of AI that most businesses use effectively). Scripted bots are easier to implement with less barrier to entry, while AI-enabled bots require ample time and investment in resources.
True AI is not just a computer programmed to think like humans; the technology has abilities to autonomously solve problems and drive new efficiency gains. Companies can use a scripted bot to streamline customer service, but that solution won’t know how to analyze customer interactions to better understand next-level drivers of satisfaction like sentiment, personality, emotion and relatability. Scripted bots may be able to quickly resolve issues or have full conversations around an inquiry, but that doesn’t make them a true form of AI. Rather than being built on augmentation, these bots are built on automation. They generate data based on continuous conversations, whereas AI takes that data and analyzes it to generate actionable insights.
The good news is that chatbot technology is one of the easiest ways to begin the planned expansion of AI across the enterprise. Consider partnerships you can leverage as part of an ecosystem approach to begin doing work in spaces like voice analytics, sentiment, and customer journey analytics. For example, you could apply machine learning around chatbot conversations to better understand the types of experiences customers are having in that specific communication channel. That can help you pinpoint the top things customers are saying or top issues being reached out about.
Identify one or two relatively simple actions you can take (applications of AI that represent low-hanging fruit for your organization) to augment your chatbot strategy. Master these simpler applications of AI, then start considering how you can leverage the same kind of technology (conversation analysis, pattern recognition, etc.) across other areas of business.
Effective AI isn’t a race; it’s about moving one step at a time. For many organizations that prioritize chatbots, leveraging AI to improve chatbot conversation strategy is a great next step for success.
As is true in many industries, hotel technology news and seminars seem to be circling around hot new tech trends and buzzwords like AI (Artificial Intelligence), blockchain, and 5G.
While some of this in-vogue tech holds promise for hospitality, aside from AI, it is future tech, not currently available. We aren’t ready for it yet – there is no vendor offering some practical application to today’s hotel. So let’s separate the practical from the trendy, the work from the fun, the meal from the dessert.
In a recent Hotel News Now article, leading hotel IT leaders claim to be spending most of their IT budgets for 2019 on back-of-the-house software that will help streamline operations (for efficiency, i.e. savings), minimize disparate systems (for more efficiency and savings), and reduce staff (ditto).
Savings is important, but don’t overlook the increased guest satisfaction that should come from more efficiently knowing and then meeting their needs.
Probably the most overlooked yet noteworthy aspect of hotel technology today is the lack of disruption, or even simple innovation, in the PMS arena. As the core of the hotel’s overall technology systems, the PMS has the most potential for evolving and improving. Yet the biggest national brands remain attached to clunky systems whose core remains stone-aged (1980s) in terms of software technology base.
A single independent (from a specific brand) PMS provider dominates the rest of the industry. There seems to be no pressure on them to innovate, yet they are and remain “ahead of” the aforementioned clunkers in terms of features and capabilities. Hoteliers are thankful for simple feature adds and enhancements. Perhaps safety over innovation is key with this core technology.
The PMS remains the hub of the hotel’s data world. All hotel tech systems, both guest facing and back of the house, interact with it. It’s understandable that from one of the largest hotel chains in the world to the simple independent boutique hotel, hoteliers discover quickly how painful it is to transition from an out of date system to something more modern. Most decide it just isn’t worth it.
There is potential for disruption of this paradigm: no doubt there is a young company out there thinking about how to usurp that iron throne. They’ll need a dragon or two and some real magic. (Please, no leeches.)
No surprise here, but the single most important guest-facing technology in terms of cost (regular refresh required) and guest expectation is the WiFi. If the guest HSIA solution is slow or in any way difficult to access and use, that will produce a series of complaints on TripAdvisor or Yelp, and the hotel WILL suffer from it. Kind of sad, isn’t it, to know that the ever-increasing technology refresh budget goes to a service that nobody will ever rave about in their online feedback, but will quickly roast the hotel about if it isn’t up to their expectations.
Hoteliers must keep this guest technology amenity operating at least close to the current state of the art for home and office use. Stringent brands require a full HSIA/WiFi refresh every 3 years. Imagine the cost.
In terms of guest-facing technology, the current challenge involves just how guests want to use all that bandwidth they are demanding. Online streaming of entertainment continues to climb as a percentage of guest HSIA use, with more than 65% of hotel guests hoping to stream their own content to the in-room TV. Simplicity of use is key, and a solid, dependable, works-for-everyone solution is on its way no doubt – but not here yet.
Technology Provider Consolidation
Overall, there is a trend toward consolidation of systems. Hotel technology executives are faced with an ever expanding array of needed tech, so vendors who offer multiple, integrated or at least streamlined installation and operation of systems are often favored over single-solution providers.
This kind of consolidation should theoretically lower, not raise, the costs, since companies are able to piggyback installation teams and core backbone (network and cabling) work on multiple systems.
Many IT and business leaders believe that shifting communications to the cloud is risky. The reality is that not moving can be far riskier (as in, “your company could be nonexistent five years from now” riskier). In today’s fast-paced digital business era, seeing changes in the market and responding quickly is the key to success.
Having the agility to do this requires a highly dynamic and agile IT foundation. And communications is at the heart of any digital transformation initiative. Here are seven irrefutable reasons to say “yes” to cloud communications:
- The top two drivers of digital transformation are enhancing customer service and improving employee productivity—communications is core to both.
- The more advanced the capabilities of a contact center, the more likely customers will have a positive experience that increases brand loyalty (legacy solutions built only on voice can’t hold a candle).
- Long upgrade cycles were fine in an era of lengthy market transitions. Today, innovation can and must happen faster. A cloud model is designed for rapid innovation to meet new and highly dynamic business needs.
- Roll out new services and add new features as fast as you feel comfortable (as in right now, today).
- Streamline operations: deploy what you want, when you want for any reason necessary.
- Address compliance and security mandates: a few years ago, businesses were reluctant to adopt cloud communications because they lacked the reliability and/or security of traditional systems (we get it). But this is no longer true. Today’s modernized cloud solutions can be designed with high reliability, security, and compliance for meeting specific business and industry needs.
- Empower every worker as a change agent: help employees collaborate more quickly to make the best possible decisions in the shortest amount of time, regardless of location or what tools are being used.
The time for cloud communications is now. But it’s imperative that decision makers choose the best delivery model for their business. Learn more about your options (and which is best for you) in my upcoming webinar with Zeus Karravala of ZK Research. Or download ZK’s latest report, “A Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Communications.”
Over the decades, Phonesuite has consistently produced outstanding products and services for hotels that improve hotel communications functionalities and their ability to satisfy their guests’ needs. Working with these hotels means so much more to us than simple transactional business, though. It’s hard to overstate how much we value the relationships with various hotels and hoteliers that we’ve cultivated over the years.
Our team dedicates itself to forming true partnerships with hotels, and we have dozens of real-life scenarios and stories that we could tell. What we’d like to do today is call on a few of our most memorable situations, which will give you a good idea of what we truly bring to the table.
Real-Life Scenario #1: Complete System Shutdown
It’s a hotelier’s worst nightmare: a complete shutdown. No matter when they occur, they’re always bad news, and they can have far-reaching consequences. In some scenarios, though, there can be additional issues that aren’t initially clear. One of our clients reached out to us because they found themselves in an panic-inducing situation when their non-Phonesuite phone system went down. There’s a regulation stating that each room must have an operable phone capable of dialing 911 in case of an emergency, so a system outage is unacceptable on many levels. Upon receiving the call, our team went to work immediately and was able to have a brand new Phonesuite system in place and operational in less than 48 hours.
Real-Life Scenario #2: Rebuilding Efforts Following a Hurricane
When a powerful hurricane struck Puerto Rico, it caused devastating damage to both residential and commercial structures. A large hotel property spanning many acres and multiple buildings was having extreme difficulty getting everything back up and running. Phonesuite’s solution was to institute a phased approach to assist them with their reconstruction process. We started by installing admin phones that were operational immediately so that they could conduct business properly. Then, once a portion of the property was ready to be re-opened, the hotel only paid for the installation and use of our communications system for those rooms. They continue to be in the reconstruction phase and our experts are closely monitoring the situation. As more rooms are re-opened, we will expand our services.
Real-Life Scenario #3: Non-Hospitality Phone System Is a Lemon
In a situation that is actually quite common (more than it should be), a hotel had purchased a non-hospitality phone system that turned out to be a lemon. The fact that it didn’t fit their needs was bad enough, but it also wasn’t operational. Since they had already spent money on the system, they were on a tight budget and couldn’t spend more cash on yet another brand-new system. Phonesuite was able to utilize the hardware they already had and then provided our Hosted Solution service to save them money and get them back up and running only two days after they contacted us.
Real-Life Scenario #4: Advance Work on New Construction
From time to time, Phonesuite tackles jobs where a physical structure doesn’t even exist yet. In one particular scenario, all we had was a build site for an upcoming hotel. Our team of communications experts dove right into the task and was able to get the property’s phone numbers in place, deploy a cloud solution, and route incoming calls so that the hotelier could begin conducting business prior to the full deployment of the communications system — or even a fully opened hotel! Then, once the hotel opened up for business, the transition went off without a hitch.
As you can see, Phonesuite truly values its partnerships, and we can tackle any problems that come up when dealing with a hotel’s communications needs. If you’re ready to get started or would like to learn more, contact our communications professionals today. We’ll assess your needs and find the right solution for your hotel.
What do family vacationers, business travelers, and honeymooners have in common? Well, they might all be enjoying the amenities in your full-service or resort hotel. These guests, different though they may be, all expect a certain (high) level of service during their stay at your full-service or resort hotel. For this reason, it’s important for hoteliers to partner with companies that recognize the particular needs of these guests and will follow through with providing exemplary products and services.
Phonesuite has been providing future-proof products and services to full-service and resort hotels for many years. Not only are hoteliers extremely happy with what we offer, but guests enjoy an even more relaxing time with help from our technology. Here’s how:
Easy Transition to VoIP
Since full-service and resort hotels must maintain a high level of service quality at all times for their guests, some may be reluctant to risk downtime by switching to a new communications infrastructure. But fear not: Phonesuite has painstakingly created installation and implementation procedures for VoIP that ensure a smooth transition throughout the entire process, regardless of your hotel’s size or its current communication system.
Crystal-Clear VoIP Communications
When VoIP was first developed, it was seen as a somewhat second-rate communications system because the technology was still in its infancy. But those days are long since passed, and now VoIP delivers crystal clear communication that any size of hotel can rely on. Not only does this benefit your guests, but will also ensure better service encounters between guests and your staff.
Hosted Solution Opportunity
When you enlist the services of Phonesuite, you receive years of experience and know-how. Your partnership with us can end as soon as your installation is over and everything is running smoothly, but many hoteliers decide to utilize our Hosted Solution. With this service, our technology experts will monitor your system 24/7 to ensure that it remains operational at all times, and that any threats or problems are dealt with immediately.
Improved Data Security
Data security has become an extremely hot topic in recent years, in large part due to multiple breaches that have resulted in compromised personal info of clients and customers. Since the reputation of your full-service or resort hotel can be harmed if a data security issue were to occur, Phonesuite’s technology has the ability to monitor for breaches, and it uses sophisticated encryption to protect your guests’ data.
Any system outage, no matter how brief, could not only greatly inconvenience your current guests, but it could also lead to negative reviews and bad word-of-mouth communication once guests have left. Phonesuite’s ability to constantly monitor your VoIP system and its connected network through the use of our Hosted Solution enables our technicians to anticipate potential outage issues and tackle those problems before any downtime occurs.
Future Technologies Development
Despite Phonesuite’s success in developing partnerships with multiple full-service and resort hotels, we never rest on our laurels. Our dedicated technicians are always improving products and services, and will continue to enhance the technology at our disposal such as our Voiceware software so that you are always one step ahead of the competition.
If you own or manage a full-service or resort hotel, you deserve nothing but the very best. When you’re ready to give your communications an overhaul or to simply tweak your existing system, reach out to the experts at Phonesuite.
Hotels have so many technological advances available to them these days that it’s safe to say at this point that we are now living in the future that has been prophesied by technology experts all around the world for years and, in some cases, decades. The best part, though, is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what is available and we’ll definitely be seeing more advancements in the near future.
Phonesuite has demonstrated in recent years that our experts are always on the forefront of technology. This has been proven by our dedication to Voice over Internet Protocol as the best choice for hotel phone system communications options. What we’ve done to promote this technology to the hotel industry is tailor our VoIP services so that hoteliers can take full advantage of it. Let’s take a look at the VoIP solutions that we currently offer.
Ease of Scalability
One of the best features of any type of hotel phone system is its ability to scale as the needs of your hotel changes. With traditional phone systems, scaling the size of the system because your hotel has grown or plans to grow basically means rebuilding it from the ground up. With VoIP, no matter how big your hotel gets, it can be accommodated with hardly any effort at all.
Guest Info at Your Fingertips
The easier your staff can gain access to guest info, the more efficiently and effectively they’ll be able to handle their requests and satisfy their needs. The Voiceware software developed by Phonesuite provides a browser-based interface where information about any guest can be obtained quickly and easily. Plus, tasks that used to require that an employee be tethered to his or her desk can now be done through a mobile device such as a tablet, thereby increasing the efficiency even more.
These days, guests aren’t really big on coming to the front counter in order to check out of the hotel at the end of their stay. They would much rather pack their bags, load up their vehicle, and be on their merry way without the need to take a detour into the front lobby. Thanks to VoIP and Voiceware technology, guests can check out from the convenience of their room just before they leave.
Unlimited Voice Tree System
When a potential or existing guest calls the hotel for assistance, they are very often looking for information or requesting a simple task. With today’s VoIP solutions, not only can you create an unlimited number of options on your hotel’s voice tree, but those options can be customized to practically any functionality you desire. This allows you to free up your staff while servicing your guests more effectively.
Enhanced Wake-up Calls
You’d think that with everyone having an alarm on their phone, that wake-up calls would be a thing of the past. But, that is proven to absolutely not be true as guests still often find wake-up calls to be an effective way to get started in the morning. And now, these wake-up calls can be customized to include a snooze option, the local weather forecast, or even an automatic transfer to room services just in case they want to order breakfast right away or make a similar request.
No matter how great your hotel phone system’s functionalities are, dealing with multiple companies can become an issue. Therefore, perhaps the greatest VoIP solution of all is the fact that Phonesuite handles everything in-house. We don’t deal with any third-party vendors whether you opt for our Hosted Solution or any technology options, so you always know that the buck stops with us.
VoIP solutions aimed at the hospitality industry can help take your hotel to the next level. You can learn more by reaching out to the experts at Phonesuite, who will discuss your installation options and help you achieve the next level of technology.