Phone System’s Expert Dennis Jenkins of www.DennisJenkinsCo.com answers your VOIP questions.
Dennis Jenkins: The last time that I was here doing something other than an intro, I said, “What do you guys talk about a little bit?” And so I heard things like, “Well sometimes I’m out of the office, so when I go out of the office, I want my phone to ring on my cell phone. And the reason for that is because I’m out of the office a lot and it would be much better for me to answer the phone, than take a voice mail, have it call me, send me an email, and that kind of thing. That’s the way I prefer to do business.” Well, in fact, we can do that. Okay? Mark can attest to that, Mark does that on his system, that’s the way he prefers to be is right there when that person calls, pick up the phone, catch them blind whenever it is, it doesn’t matter he’s on it.
Man: Catch them blind.
Dennis Jenkins: Similar patterns are to take it to voice mail and say, “Wait a minute, let me listen to what the request is.” The benefit of that is now I can kind of figure out, well is it the kind of thing I need to respond to right now, or is it the kind of thing that says “Yeah, I can call him back in an hour, its fine I’ll finish what I’m doing right now.” Okay? So you can kind of gauge that. Another thing we talked about was VPNs, and VPN, that application says, “Well we have an office here but we have one in Tennessee, and it would be very convenient if we’re not paying long distance charges to make those calls, but rather dialing three digits, boom, right to Joe.”
So anytime anybody want to call Joe, you just ride over to Shaun’s house, slide up the phone, and Joe has an extension right on their system. We can do that, it doesn’t matter where it is, we can do that anywhere. I have an account that’s got their PPX in Santa Anna, they have extensions in Forest, they have extensions in Vista. So the VPN now connects it, makes one big device, and one of the benefits of that is that if the people in Lake Forest or Vista happen to be with a customer, because it’s retail, the phone rings two or three times it starts ringing at one of the other stores. Well the beauty of that is a call doesn’t go unanswered, but the client doesn’t go unattended for a phone call. So you take these resources and you redistribute them dynamically. So that’s one of the benefits of the VPN, which is out there to help you.
Then there are SIP trunks, which I’ve talked about a few times. SIP trunks working in over the internet, there they go. The beauty of that mostly is it’s very easy to manage additional phone numbers, it’s very portable, so that if you move your business it’s very easy to move the lines. You just connect to your new service and you are up and good. It’s that easy. But the other part of that is that with SIP trunks, compared to, for example, a PRI. PRI would be comparable in that it has 10, 12, 14, 20 outside lines. That service would cost you 700, 800, 900 dollars a month. SIP trunk’s about 130. Quite a bit of money, quite a bit of savings. In Los Al there’s a place where we saved them almost 1,000 dollars a month by cutting out the AT&T analog lines and putting in SIP trunks. Pretty dramatic, pretty dynamic. What else did I write down here.
Oh yes, hosting. Some of you have hosted, some of you have in the room have hosted phones. What does that mean? It means there’s this little gal that brings the phone whenever it rings. Okay, that’s not what it means. What it means is rather than having a PBX on your property it’s in the cloud. And in doing that, if you’re just getting started and you have no upfront funding to put that kind of resource out there, then to say “Here let me buy a phone and I’ll pay 15-30 dollars a month. And then that one, and that one, and that one, and that one, and that one, and…” Well as you can see, every time you add a phone you’ve added some more reoccurring costs. So in a start-up solution, in a small business, those costs are probably a good way to go. In the long term, paying for the equipment when you have many phones is the better way to go. Because now you’ve taken that one fixed number of 130 bucks and you’ve amortized it over 20 or 30, 40, 50 phones. Doesn’t matter. Substantially less money than paying 20, 25 dollars per phone.
What else did I write down here? Oh yeah, good old analog lines. You got to talk about analog lines. Analog lines are like, okay, when the horses were fewer and the cars were more, about then that’s when analog lines started coming down that same road. And they were up on that pole somewhere and then they got dropped into a house and so on. Well, one of the problems with those guys is the same lines, the horses didn’t live very long, the cars are long gone, but those lines are still up there on the poles and there they go. And the maintenance schedule on that is when its broken we’ll fix it. In the mean time, tough luck. How long does it take to fix? Well, you know, it depends on where it’s broke. So the reliability of that has diminished over time. So they’re really not a very practical solution anymore, but it is part of the things that we do in the PBX world and the phone system world. Okay, so how am I doing for questions, captain?
Captain: Yeah, you can keep talking.
Dennis Jenkins: I have all the time in the world? Woah.
Captain: Just under two minutes of talking.
Dennis Jenkins: And that’s how it goes? That’s what we’re doing next?
Captain: Six minutes and 20 seconds.
Dennis Jenkins: Six? Six minutes and 20 seconds? I must have two Presenters.
Captain: You can’t walk. You’ve got to just stand there and talk.
Dennis Jenkins: Two Presenters for one. Stand there and don’t move?
Man: Come on Dennis, you’ve wasted another minute. Keep going.
Dennis Jenkins: But it’s a form of communication.
Man: Jazz hands.
Dennis Jenkins: Yeah, jazz hands. Could you now?
Man: Are you doing all the jobs stuff with the homes and all that? And inebriating the phones or Androids?
Dennis Jenkins: Yeah, actually, done several homes and one of the biggest reasons to have phones system in a large home is you know who’s at the door because you answered it on the phone. You can see what’s going on, hear who that person is. If you don’t recognize the voice you may not want to allow them in. You can also open the front door or open the front gate depending upon whether or not Bruce put a gate out there to keep them out. Okay, there you go. So that’s one of the factors. The other factors is as you get an upstairs, downstairs and you’re 3, 4, 5, 6,7, 8,000 square feet of house where do they go? “Hey Jim, call me on the kitchen.” Why? Well because I don’t know where he went.
We did it for a retired couple in Long Beach right over by the college, and we put a system in their house after they had remodeled it, and he works in the garage a lot. He does some competitive shooting and that kind of thing and the fact that she could call him from the kitchen and call him in the garage was just such an exciting thing for her. I don’t have to walk all the way out there to that stupid garage to tell him your lunch is ready.
Male: Did he unplug it?
Dennis Jenkins: Unplug it? He wouldn’t do that to her. Very nice couple and just they get so excited about it. You know there is a lot of large homes that have…
Male: Are you able to take maybe an older system and be able to integrate the newer technology, like with security and that?
Dennis Jenkins: Absolutely. As far as the systems able to talk or are you making reference to when you make the word security as part of your statement where are you going with that?
Male: Well, what happened [inaudible 00:08″49]. He actually put in a security system that…
Dennis Jenkins: Tell Mike to make it quick. Go ahead.
Male: …and then the talking as well as intercom and visuals.
Dennis Jenkins: Right.
Male: You can see if someone is ringing the doorbell.
Dennis Jenkins: Absolutely, yeah.
Male: So that you can do?
Dennis Jenkins: Yeah, there is a lot of that kind of thing available, and often time it’s tied to security system as well, so. Okay, so now Mike took up my last minute so I’m all done. That’s it. Three, two…
Man: Thirty seconds!
Dennis Jenkins: Thirty seconds left? What’s your next question?
Man: If you don’t like analog how do you get faxes working with voice systems?
Dennis Jenkins: It’s easy.
Man: There you go.
Dennis Jenkins: It’s easy. What you do is you call e-fax and you say, “E-fax here’s my number, port my number over to e-fax.” E-fax then will answer that call. How many seconds left? Bring it down on your desktop…
Man: Four, three…
Dennis Jenkins: …and open it right up and you can print it, and you’re done. Thank you very much.