Please Join me on Project:REBOOT

Since we founded The Flat Planet Phone Company in 2006 we have been doing the same thing. Providing Small Businesses and Call Centers the best Hosted PBX System with unbelievable support.

At the time we were a pioneer. Today there are hundreds if not thousands of providers. It is time to look ahead and
become a pioneer again! While I am very proud of what our team has done, building a successful and profitable organisation with thousands of customers, the world is changing and we we need to change with it!

Therefore I decided to step back and for the next few months work on Project:REBOOT. I plan to learn more about technology, the market and users needs, speak with thought leaders and poll our customers. We don’t want to be another me too company! We need to look 5 and 10 years ahead and built solutions based on the future not the past.

I am inviting you my friends and colleagues to join me on this exciting journey. Don’t be shy! Let me know what you think about the future of business communications!

OK, So Why Do People Immigrate?

Historically, immigration was caused by economic or political reasons. Wars, religious persecution, economic hardships have all been strong factors behind immigration trends over the years.

Surprisingly, over the last decade a new factor has joined the list. Technology is not only changing the way we live, but also where we live! On the forefront of these life changing technologies is IP Telephony (also known as VoIP – voice over Internet Protocol).

Nowhere is this more evident than in the State of Israel. Tens of thousands of new immigrants to the Startup Nation are employed in jobs that would not have existed without VoIP (Which by coincidence, or not, was first invented and patented in Israel). In fact many new immigrants made the decision to move to Israel, based on the knowledge that they would be able to continue their existing job in their new home due to VoIP.

How does this work? We all are familiar how we can see our email from any computer no matter where we are, just by entering our user name and password. Well with VoIP, a telephone number is just like an email address. I can take my VoIP phone and plug it anywhere in the world and calls made to my NY number will ring there. Physically in Timbuktu or Kalamazoo, telephone-wise I am in NY and no one knows otherwise…

Joe Asher is a good example. Joe was a stock market analyst living in Los Angeles with his wife and three kids. Since they finished college, Joe and his wife had dreams of moving to Israel. One day sitting at home during their Sabbath meal, they decided to make the move. “With the kids starting school, it was either now or putting off our dream until we retire”, Joe related.
Today the Asher family lives in Jerusalem, Joe works for a NY investment firm while sitting in a small 2 desk office in Jerusalem. On his phone are two buttons, one for his Israeli number and one for the his USA number.

But VoIP is not only for individuals. Aryeh Freund the CEO of Newtel Systems (a Lawrence, NY based IP Telephony Provider for the SMB market) relates with excitement the story of “1-800-ICE” (not their real name). “It is unbelievable what they are doing. They are disrupting a whole consumer sector back in the states, a sector with a legacy of high pricing, “1-800-ICE” is offering customization, low prices, fast delivery and great customer service, all from their office in a suburb of Tel Aviv!”
Newtel provided “1-800-ICE” with a USA 800 number and customers don’t have a clue that when they call this innovative company they are actually speaking to someone in Israel.

Based on the number of telephone lines that Newtel and other IP Telephony companies are selling to Israeli based companies, success stories like these are only the beginning.

Yes, There is a Storm Proof Telephone System

Small businesses depend today on technology more than ever. When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast at the end of October 2012, many small businesses discovered to their chagrin how extensive their dependence on technology was! With electricity, Internet and Phone Service down in many areas, businesses ground to a halt. Not only were many offices flooded and without power, communications – the lifeline of most small businesses were down.

In the age of the Global Village, no communications meant an immediate loss of revenue. While companies scrambled to reopen, many businesses were closed for weeks and a few were able to resume business only a few months later!

Newtel Systems, a Lawrence NY based provider of IP phone services for businesses was one of those hard hit by the storm. The building that houses their sales and customers service office, was flooded and closed for weeks. As a phone company, Newtel could not afford even one hour of downtime.

As Aryeh Freund the Newtel CEO relates “Our customers depend on us to run their business so our servers are housed in some of the best and most secure data centers worldwide. We weren’t worried about our actual phone service going down, but we knew our customers would want to talk to us, and we couldn’t afford to close our customer service department, just because our office was flooded”.

To the surprise of their customers Newtel Customer Service was up and running almost immediately. Newtel (like many of their customers) had automatic rerouting of calls setup in anticipation of such an event. As Freund tells it., “We did not miss a beat. The Newtel Phone System automatically detected that our office is down and rerouted calls to alternative phones. Due to the built-in Disaster Recovery feature in the Newtel System calls are not lost and as the business recovers, settings can be reset on the fly.

Disaster Recovery is just one of the features offered for free to Newtel customers. When a disaster or even a simple loss of power hits, Newtel will automatically reroute calls to cellphones, portable IP phones or other land lines. Customers will still hear the same “Auto Attendant” and “Music on Hold” and will not have a clue that they are calling a temporary office.

While some companies spend large sums on special DRP sites which are very rarely used, if at all, Newtel customers have a DRP solution feature in their phone system at no cost!

As Newtel reps like to say “We are Storm Proof, Certified by Hurricane Sandy!”

Hmm… I am not the only who thinks that Hosted VoIP is about to Explode!

For the last few months, ever since ITEXPO, I have been convinced that we are about to explode. Our resellers tell me that they rarely get a NO from SMB leads. It is just a good proposition, all over.

Last week Forbes came out with an article by Gene Marks. “The Value of VoIP

Peter Radizeski put up a great post on his TMC blog. Unlike the Forbes article which was a little superficial, Rad really details why Hosted VoIP is exploding. Some of the points he brought up are —

I have to think that in the economic reality we are facing, the distributed workforce, the tele-worker, and the mobility of employees, more and more lines will move to VoIP. For cost savings as well as productivity reasons

There are so many reasons for small and medium businesses (and self-employed persons) to migrate to VoIP that I don’t see it being stagnant for long.

The point I liked best and the one that I always stress to our resellers is

Many of the people selling VoIP pitch the cost savings. Wrong! There will be changes, so it needs to start with a conversation about how the business operates and uses the current phone system. It takes longer but it is the best approach. Looking at the bill and shaving points off it hasn’t been highly successful for CLEC’s, who have spent billions to make millions.

Rad is right that is what Hosted PBX is all about. More Features, No Equipment, One Virtual PBX for all offices and cost savings. What more could you want? If for some reason you are not yet reselling Hosted PBX service to the SMB market, don’t wait contact us today

VoIP for the SMB – Better late than never!

Hosted VoIP telephony has experienced another year of steady growth, as the small business market continues to be the sweet spot with most deployments in the 20-to-50 seat range, reports In-Stat.
Hosted VoIP will continue to experience dynamic growth over the next few years, with projected revenues exceeding $2 billion by 2010, the high-tech market research firm said.

When I read this quote 2 years ago, I believed that Instat was right on the money, and Hosted IP PBX services for the SMB market such as what our company offers would be very successful. Although it was slow at the beginning, the last few weeks have proved them right.

I am not sure what is the exact driver, but we have seen a sharp spike in inquiries from resellers interested in selling our hosted pbx service in the last 2 months. Most of the potential resellers are providers of traditional SMB phones systems such as Panasonic. Others are installers of computer systems who are looking for additional services to sell. For both, The Flat Planet Phone Company service is an interesting addition to their existing offerings.

In a nutshell, we provide a platform which enables you to set up your own Phone Company in less than an hour and immediately start selling. For the whole spiel go to our website!

For me it is really exciting to see an idea sprout into a money making service. Flat Planet is a win-win proposition for the both the business owner and reseller. For me it is a great feeling to sell something that is both profitable and beneficial for all involved. Nothing makes me happier than showing a new reseller how to set up his own phone service. Well, let me qualify that — Nothing in my business life….
After all there is a life after work :-)