Posted on April 20, 2017 by Dan Quick
As you may recall, the countdown is on for our VirtualPBX Remote Work Tips and Tricks Webinar, and that means that seats are filling up fast. Or, to be more accurate, there aren’t actually any seats to speak of, but people are registering. The nature of webinars is that, similar to Audio Conferencing that allows people to contribute to meetings from anywhere in the world, our webinar is understandably drawing attention from all corners of the globe. We are thrilled to have seen such a positive response from our audience, many of whom are Digital Nomads, or professionals who world purely from satellite locations and often change their settings constantly. Virtual meetings are gaining popularity with more than just Digital Nomads, though, as more and more companies are offering creative ways to grow audiences for their events.
Virtual Meetings For Both Startups & Massive Enterprises
We’re modestly proud of the turnout we expect for our upcoming webinar. It turns out that specifically addressing many of the soft skills that go into developing a cohesive corporate culture and identity even when employees aren’t centralized in a single office is a compelling topic in today’s world. But it’s not just private companies that leverage the benefits of virtual meetings. Just this week, in fact, Facebook held their annual F8 summit, the majority of which was available to attend for free via livestream technology similar to the core of what our webinar is powered by. Google, Apple, and the complete list of “who’s who” in the tech industry all broadcast their major trade shows and keynotes via similar virtual meetings, as well. And it’s not just technology companies that use virtual meetings, either. Over the past decade, more publically traded companies of all industries have opted to conduct their quarterly earnings calls over web-based virtual meetings rather than over traditional telephone conferences.
The Benefits of Virtual Meetings
In addition to the immediacy of being able to host a virtual meeting with distributed teams at the drop of a hat, the cost savings over holding an in-person equivalent are staggering. Webinars are also some of the most cost-effective practices available to educate and evangelize for products and services, regardless of the size of the company hosting them. One challenge that is often overlooked by companies that make the shift into a virtual meeting strategy, however, is that there are more than just technical knowledge barriers to executing a virtual strategy well. Conveniently, the webinar we’re hosting next Wednesday specifically addresses the soft skills that go into a virtual strategy. The advantages of adopting a virtual strategy for a business communications platform, a meeting strategy, and even just from a more flexible working schedule point of view are boundless, but only if it’s executed in a sustainable and conscientious way. Sign up now
to join in on the conversation about how to ensure that execution is seamless at your company. And remember to join in adding your questions to the list of specifics we’ll address during the event on Twitter and Facebook, and we’ll look forward to virtually seeing you then!
Posted on April 19, 2017 by Dan Quick
Race Officials at the boston Marathon tried to knock Switzer from the course in 1967. Photos by Harry Trask of Boston Traveler. Photo credit to the Boston Herald.
We’re no strangers to doing new and exciting things. As some of the pioneers in offer VoIP to businesses as a utility and reinventing what hosted communications look like again and again over the past 20 years, we know a thing or two about shaking things up. But everyone including us, can take a lesson in challenging the norms as taught by Kathrine Switzer. Switzer was first made known to the world as, “K. V. Switzer,” when she became the first woman to ever have an entry into the Boston Marathon. And while Bobbi Gibb technically owns the record for the first woman ever to complete the iconic marathon, it was Switzer who, by being coy to register with her gender-neutral moniker, became the real Boston Marathon Trailblazer that opened the world of distance running to women everywhere.
Women Can’t Run a Marathon
Or at least that was the conventional wisdom of the time. In fact, in the mid 1960’s when women like Gibb and Switzer were already regularly logging 40 mile runs, the Boston Athletic Association, the body that oversees the Boston Marathon, was busy endorsing “scientific fact” that cited the life-threatening dangers women faced from endurance competition as defenses against allowing them to compete in the historic race. Well, although Bobbi Gibb’s unofficial race time technically was faster than hers, it was Switzer who earned the honor of logging the first, and therefore fastest ever, official marathon time for a woman. This respectable 4:20 has, of course, been bested many times over since Switzer ran in 1967, and in fact, 25-year-old Jordan Hasay broke the record for the fastest American woman’s marathon debut time with a blistering 2:23. To think that what Switzer accomplished that day 50 years ago can be distilled down into hours and minutes, though, is to miss the point entirely. She, over the course of a little over four hours, completely dismantled an entire network of propaganda that had been built to prevent women from participating in the joys of competitive endurance racing. And like all good positive disruptions, this one wasn’t over at the end of 26.2 miles.
It’s Not a Sprint, it’s a…
The story of Switzer and Gibb is a great way to remember that sometimes it’s worthwhile to break or bend some rules. Occasionally, systems that have stood in place for a long time need to be challenged. We support those efforts wholeheartedly. We’ve been challenging the powers that be ever since we hung our shingle and we don’t plan to stop making products that do that any time soon. Therein, specifically, is where the real message to take away from Switzer’s record-setting running career lies. The real message behind Switzer’s mark on history is a corollary for the marathon itself in that you need to prepare yourself for the long haul. To illustrate that running for gender equality is a long road, Switzer just set another new record by becoming the first woman ever to complete a marathon 50 years after her first. Switzer returned to Boston to run once more before retiring from the marathon distance.
She told the media that during her first Boston Marathon, “Every step of the way I felt paranoia. This year, all I felt was support.”
I think that if her first marathon didn’t create room enough for Switzer to be remembered forever as being a person of great strength and character, the fact that she came back half a century later to do it again most certainly should. Oh, and one more thing, at only 70-years-young, Switzer clocked a 4:44:31, not even a half hour over her first time.
Posted on April 13, 2017 by Dan Quick
It’s that time again! We’ve been away from the webinar game for a while, but we’re back and better than ever with news on the next in the growing pantheon of webinar greatness we began building years ago. This latest installment, the VirtualPBX Remote Work Tips and Tricks Webinar, comes complete with a cadre of soft skill suggestions for working away from the office that often goes overlooked. Sure, we have plenty of tools to talk about that makes the ability to work remotely possible, though many of the other factors about working remotely that we’ll be discussing aren’t as immediately evident. So mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 10:00 Pacific time.
The Work in Remote Working You Don’t Know About
We are fortunate to help thousands of businesses switch from a traditional in-office setting to a more flexible, more affordable, and more rewarding flexible setting each year. In addition to offering a variety of VoIP products and Network Services that enable these companies get started, we have found an increasing number of them need help in preparing for other areas, too. Specifically, many companies who have never been in the situation where they need to maintain a strong corporate culture and establish new, distance-working policies on productivity and attendance are often a bit of a loss on where to begin. That is precisely the type of topic our VirtualPBX Remote Work Tips and Tricks Webinar is going to cover!
Help Us Make the Remote Working Webinar Conversation Great
Here’s your chance to contribute to making our Remote Working Webinar the best is can be by guiding the topics we cover. Of course, you can ask questions live and during the event itself, but you can also begin submitting your questions and topics of interest now through our Twitter and Facebook profiles. Simply tag us with your question and not only will we be happy to offer you an answer right away, we can make sure to include added information on the topic on the 26th, too! Plus, it should go without saying that we’re available for your hosted communications and remote working questions 365 days a year, too.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up now to reserve your seat to the 2017 VirtualPBX Remote Work Tips and Tricks Webinar!
Posted on April 12, 2017 by Dan Quick
If you haven’t seen it by now, let me fill you in on what is likely to be of 2017’s biggest PR mess recently perpetrated by United Airlines. In a nutshell, United Airlines found themselves in a position to require four passengers to surrender their seats on a flight from Chicago to Louisville over the weekend. After offering vouchers for mileage credit and still having zero volunteers, the company claims that a randomized computer selection identified the passengers who would have their tickets canceled. What followed with one passenger who was unwilling to surrender his seat is pretty unfortunate and can be seen
in the video from the New York Times. The fact that United felt it was a good decision to literally drag a customer off the plane is bewildering. United Airline’s gaff has rightfully dominated the national conversation over the past couple of days, but I believe there’s an opportunity to learn from both the airline and the passenger in this situation. And frankly, why shouldn’t we? If there’s an opportunity to reduce my chances of getting dragged of a plane, then I, for one, believe that I owe it to myself to take it.
The Airline is Only Guilty of Being Uncreative
Okay, this is where we’ll likely get a bit divisive. I have no problem with passengers being forcibly removed from planes. Period. As a frequent air traveler myself, I understand the “laws of the land” so to speak, are not skewed in my favor. FAA regulations are immutably in favor of the absolute authority of the pilot, flight crew, and any other airline official. Sure, that’s a lot of power to put into the hands of people who, at least in this instance, have proven to have highly flawed decision-making skills, but that’s just how it is. Therefore, while I’d be quick to vilify the airline employees who failed to consider any other option involving finding an alternate passenger, increasing the incentive to volunteer, or anything short of a violent removal of this gentleman, once they said he needed to be removed, they were well within their rights to do so, forcibly if necessary. At the risk of sounding like an authoritarian apologist, I’d remind the world that this type of control on airplanes is literally designed for the safety of everyone involved- both in the planes and on the ground. Remember that the circumstances that created these draconian laws in the first place were the events on September 11, 2001. That said, the security officer likely violated his departments code of conduct on use of force, but the airline, from my completely inexpert position, is only guilty of being boneheads, and not of any actual rule infraction. Moving on, let’s take a look at how easily this can be avoided for anyone who doesn’t want to be dragged off a plane.
Never Let a Job Get You Dragged Off a Plane
The man in the video has been identified as Dr. David Dao of Elizabethtown, KY. He claimed that he couldn’t leave the flight because he needed to take a shift and care for patients the next day. The veracity of his claim hasn’t been confirmed yet, and he has actually been operating on a provisionally reinstated medical license since 2015 after having to surrender it in 2005 following a conviction for charges surrounding illegal distribution of Vicodin. The doctor’s history is not on trial here, but it’s important to note that a man chose to invoke the need to get to work so vehemently that the airline felt no other options existed short of dragging him off the plane. This is ridiculous. I don’t want him or anyone else to be dragged off a plane, or dragged anywhere, for that matter. I certainly don’t want someone in this day and age to assert such a need to be physically in an office that it prevents a 75 minute long flight an additional 3 hours. I mean, it’s 2017 for crying out loud. Plus, the drive time from Chicago to Louisville is only about 4 hours and 30 minutes so, realistically, there is no excuse to claim an inability to get to work in light of the incentives United was offering. But alas, that was not the case.
One Easy Step to Not Being Dragged off a Plane
Here it is, folks, the one step process to completely avoid this unfortunate event. Chances are good, you already have the ability to do this, too; Work remotely. I know, it’s not the sexiest answer in the world, but more often than not, the best solutions are also the simplest ones, too. In fact, it’s estimated that over half of all US workers have jobs that can be done remotely, and with the latest innovations for video visits, yes even doctors can work remotely, too! Plus, considering the simplicity of working remotely and the fact that the majority of distance working tools actually save companies upwards of 80% over traditional phone systems, there is never any good reason to get dragged off a plane for work.
It Really is That Simple
To prove just exactly how easy it is to start a remote working policy at work, I can even offer you a free seat at our upcoming Remote Working Webinar. We’ll go over all of the aspects of maintaining strong company culture, ensuring open communications, and every other detail that teams new to remote working should consider. While all of those details will be helpful, after you leave the webinar you’ll be just as bewildered as I am why anyone would let themselves be brutalized by airport security over a job. Or maybe you think the airline was way off base? Let us know about it by signing up for the webinar or by joining the conversation on Twitter or Facebook and we can discuss it more. Until then, however, please be safe and courteous both on the ground and in the air, and do everything in your power to avoid getting dragged off a plane.
Posted on April 6, 2017 by Dan Quick
For anyone who had either shopped for a car or simply wanted to play around with the latest and greatest options available in the automotive industry, the days of writing to request a catalog are long gone. Previously, a fully interactive car builder was only found on high-end vehicle websites, but now even the most economy rides on the road can be built into a nearly limitless array of configurations before ever stepping foot into a dealership. Cars aren’t the only place that more shopping choices are playing a role in reshaping the consumer experience. Everything from the alphabet soup that is some people’s coffee orders to the ability to customize everything from new bicycles to smartphones has driven the shift to a unique purchase process than ever before. That’s how we are accustomed to shopping and, frankly, it’s only one of the reasons why we’ve built similar customization into our own VoIP products and services.
Building More Options Into VoIP Each Day
While they may not have the same type of daydream potential as customizing your next dream car, our flexible VoIP products and services represent a new era in telecom, one where customers, not providers, decide what their service looks like. In fact, we have had such success building unique telecom systems for our customers that we’ve even begun offering Custom Voice Solutions that offer a bespoke and totally unique system for businesses in need. With this service, we employ a smooth collaborative process with our customer to identify all of the parameters of what their ideal communications network looks like. Then, following the presentation of various proposed solutions, we take the best option and implement it for the customer. Perhaps in this way, Custom Voice Solutions are less like building a new car online and more like having a custom kitchen installed in your home without all of the delays and hidden costs, that is!
Business Needs Supersede Shopping Choices
The fact that each organization has differing needs is exactly why we have more shopping choices than almost any other telecom provider. We offer products that can’t be found anywhere else in the entire hosted telecommunications industry that leverage the same type of customization today’s shoppers expect. We made them like this because we know all of our businesses are unique and so, too, are their needs. Plus, engineering-heavy products that lack the gloss or intuitiveness of consumer applications have historically dominated the VoIP industry. This doesn’t work for everyone because not every business has an on-site IT engineer to operate a complex VoIP system. That’s why we think that anyone who can use a desk phone should be able to use their virtual phone system, too. With that in mind, our Dash platform continues to win accolades for its revolutionarily simple interface and intuitive design. With Dash, any employee can be designated as an admin because anyone can navigate the system within minutes of exposure to it.
Unbranded Service for Ultimate Shopping Choices
Well, to be more specific, VoIP Clear Fix Service is less of an unbranded service and more of a brand agnostic one. But similar to Dash, VoIP Clear Fix Service has also won a heap of praise and recognition from the telecom industry because of its limitless applications for business to improve their hosted communications, regardless of who their telecom provider is. VoIP Clear Fix Service boosts shopping choices for telecom customers because, thanks to our vast array of expertise with unified communications systems and fluency with a plethora of ISP and VoIP service providers, we’re able to offer VoIP remediation services for any hosted telecom customer, anywhere. Additionally, because many VoIP providers have either limited or pay-for-support customer service options, VoIP Clear Fix is often times the least expensive or only remediation option available for non-VirtualPBX clients.
Looking Forward Towards Even More Options
As long as we present options that provide a specific benefit to our customers rather than ones that merely represent added options for options’ sake, we’ll keep moving forward. Fortunately, the unique products we offer and the customizable features of those products themselves continue to delight business owners who have struggled to find meaningful and lasting solutions to their communications challenges. The positive feedback these products gain from our customers, our own expectations as consumers, and the feedback loop from our VirtualPBX Product Roadmap all contribute to our mission of improving VoIP options across the board. Who knows? Maybe even someday you’ll be poking around with the equivalent of a sports package and roof rack as you build the future of VirtualPBX products online. Of course, that may be a few more years off yet, but it’s fun to think about.