Holiday gifting for entrepreneurs and employees can be a challenge, especially during a unique time in history, but we have some solutions to simplify your Santa search this year!
Gifts for Entrepreneurs & Employees
We want to thank you for being a part of the Simplified Communications village, and wish you and your community a very Happy Holiday Season!
Microsoft partners with SpaceX to connect Azure cloud to Musk’s Starlink satellite internet
Every industry has been hit a little differently from COVID-19 and its subsequent mandates, restrictions and consumer needs.
Before COVID, business owners didn't put too much research into their phone and internet services. They knew it was simply a necessity for running their businesses, so they signed contracts without a second thought.
Lindsay Swanson, Marketing Manager for Simplified Communications, explains, "Back in March, a lot of businesses put big telecom decisions on hold and went into downsizing mode. Now, things are moving again and customers are pivoting and finding their new normal."
The demand for internet and virtual connection skyrocketed in the early days of the pandemic, and then business, government and personal systems accepted that level of usage the "new normal."
Now, customers are thinking more diligently about their telecom contracts and needs. They are taking more time to make decisions, thinking about the direction of their businesses, what their outlook looks like and then future-proofing their systems.
Much like when businesses started bringing on multiple phone and fax lines, businesses are now considering things like having two internet connections. This is crucial to meet the new demands of consumers and remote staff. Businesses are also looking more to voice and collaboration tools to work remotely and in office.
We trust that the telecom needs of businesses will continue to change. This "new normal" will change again at some point, too. We encourage our clients to schedule regular Telecom Audits to ensure you are receiving the best possible service for the best possible price.
SpaceX says its satellite internet service, Starlink, has achieved a latency under 20 milliseconds, which is on par with ground-based broadband.
Two benchmark tests, conducted by Ookla's Speedtest.net service, show Starlink achieving a 102 to 103Mbps download rate, 40 to 42Mbps upload rate, and a latency of 18 to 19ms. For comparison - the average latency for fixed broadband in the US is 25ms, while the rate on mobile networks is at 48ms, according to Speedtest.net. Interestingly, both benchmarks occurred on June 30, and in Seattle, Washington, at a time when SpaceX only had about 500 Starlink satellites in orbit. The company now has more than 700 satellites around the planet, which will likely improve coverage and data speeds.
SpaceX is manufacturing about 120 Starlink satellites each month. Their goal is to launch thousands of them into space to enable worldwide coverage and download speeds of 1Gbps. The company is also "on track" to produce thousands of user terminals consumers can hook up their homes to receive the satellite-based boradband. In addition, SpaceX plans on gearing up for a public beta trial for users "across multiple US states."
Get in touch with our experts at Simplified to see how Starlink can improve the way you do business.
CenturyLink has a new brand name and bold new purpose. As Lumen Technologies, or simply Lumen, the company will help lead enterprises through the challenges and opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution – a time when smart, connective devices are everywhere. Lumen® brings a new focus to how it views the marketplace and the world with the purpose to further human progress through technology.
The 4th Industrial Revolution represents the latest technological shift to change how everyone lives, works and thrives. At its core, this new age requires companies to effectively acquire, analyze and act upon their data to stay ahead of the curve and to be competitive.
Here at Simplified, we are excited to see CenturyLink transforming to meet the increasingly data and technology driven needs of businesses, and Lumen's combination of global technology infrastructure, powerful business solutions and industry-leading services creates the platform to help our customers excel in this new industrial age and produce amazing things.
Lumen president and CEO Jeff Storey comments on new brand name, new purpose:
"Our people are dedicated to furthering human progress through technology. Lumen is all about enabling the amazing potential of our customers, by utilizing our technology platform, our people, and our relationships with customers and partners."
Get in touch with our experts at Simplified to see how the Lumen product set can improve the way you do business.
Speed and options are key in a time when internet usage has sky-rocketed as businesses switch to remote working, and schools switch to virtual learning.
A proposal to provide more broadband funding across Minnesota faces an uncertain future this year as state officials consider how to spend federal virus-related aid.
The Minnesota Senate passed a $27 million broadband bill that relies on federal CARES Act money during the June special session, but the House never took up the bill. Republicans say House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Gov. Tim Walz have held up the bill over political issues, while Democrats say Walz is carefully weighing state spending priorities when it comes to federal COVID-19 funding.
As a result, the state may not get more broadband funding at a time when more Minnesotans are using the internet for work and school, something lawmakers agree will hurt Greater Minnesota over time.
"Rural broadband is a very important issue on par with rural electrification of the United States in the 1930s," said Sen. Nick Frentz, DFL-North Mankato.
Simplified Communications will review your current usage and provide alternate options. See our recommendations on how to safeguard against slow connectivity and outages.
Microsoft Teams gets an Upgrade
Microsoft Teams gets several new features including Spotlight, Call Merge and more
Microsoft announced several new features for Microsoft Teams users across the world. The new features announced are applicable across meetings, calling, devices, chat and collaboration, IT admin, and industry.
Spotlight is a brand-new feature that is part of this release. With Spotlight, presenters can lock their video as the main view for all meeting participants. Microsoft Teams now supports Call Merge, so you can merge several calls into a 1-1 call or another group call. For education customers, the improved Insights in Microsoft Teams for Education now offers a new view that allows administrators to monitor digital engagement from the student to the system level.
For assistance with getting the most out of your Microsoft Teams account, contact Simplified Communications!
Businesses are certainly rethinking normal right now, and we have a way to simplify the changes.
We recommend that businesses consider purchasing two internet connections from two different providers.
Yes, you heard us right. For example, one internet connection from Comcast, and another from CenturyLink, depending on which providers are in your area.
As the Wi-Fi waves become the new window shopping and staff meeting room, businesses will be wise to protect themselves from connection failure, outages, and other internet issues by using two providers. As businesses do more and more online and in the cloud, their dependency on having a functional, bullet proof internet connection increases exponentially.
In today’s environment, more businesses are shifting their thinking from paying for obvious Brick and Mortar items, to paying for more Online and Virtual assets that will better serve the customers and staff.
How can I utilize two internet connections?
Need assistance finding the best additional internet service provider?
Microsoft Teams Voice Integrations
Microsoft Teams may be one of the most important additions to your business this year. Whether you're new to the software or have been enjoying its perks for awhile, Teams is releasing several new features:
While Teams is great, voice integration options are missing; features that a receptionist or switchboard might offer like handling calls and automated after hours messages.
We recommend using a voice platform that can integrate with Teams to access enhanced features like:
Our experts can help determine which voice platform will work best for your organization.
As your company gets comfortable with a remote environment, consider using our recommended enhanced features to further maximize on all that Microsoft Teams has to offer.
Not sure if your business would benefit
Fiber based internet services are no longer out of reach for typical business owners. While the cost of fiber based internet is still higher than other options, the price is on the decline.
What is lost in hard costs may be made up for in increased speed and productivity.
Fiber has a much higher quality than traditional internet service.
Quality is measured in milliseconds and is referred to as latency and jitter. Fiber optic cabling provides lower latency and lower jitter, and also guarantees certain quality levels are met.
What sets Fiber apart from traditional internet?
Higher upload speeds are a major benefit of using Fiber Internet. Most carriers who provide fiber internet connections have synchronous bandwidth, which means you'll enjoy the same download and upload speeds.
Synchronous bandwidths and faster upload speeds are key for businesses employing remote workers who are sending files and documents to a server or the cloud.
Fiber Internet services are recommended for small to large businesses in any industry relying on the internet to keep operations and sales running smoothly and quickly. Not sure if this is a good fit for you? We can help identify the costs and return on investment.
To see if your company qualifies for Fiber, enter your zip code. Our team will research your options and get back to you!
"The more you rely on the internet for your day to day business operations, the more you should invest in it. And consider getting a second connection."
-Patrick Keane, Simplified Communications
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