A brief outage on the way to the high speed future

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Image from a European technology conference. The video/wireless future has arrived.
Image from a European technology conference.  The video/wireless future has arrived.
Image from a European technology conference. The video/wireless future has arrived.

Yesterday, for the first time in several years, there was no Construction Marketing Ideas blog posting. I’ve managed to retain a daily schedule, even when traveling in remote parts of the world, by planning ahead — setting out a stream of postings during vacations to remote places.

But things were to be different just 24 hours ago. We had received at our home the gear for new super-high speed internet, connected with a VOIP phone system. The switchover from conventional land-lines had been coordinated several weeks in advance for a Friday before a (Canadian) long weekend, when I expected I could live without too much business communication. We arranged as well for a change in the home alarm system, so it would operate independently of the home phone system. (And I thought the change would take only a few hours.)

Just as I was setting down to write the blog, the line went dead. Then the doorbell rang. It turns out the third-party carrier uses the mainline carrier (Bell) to provide what is known as a “dry line” — that is, a phone number without a telephone dial tone, but capable of moving high-speed internet signals. (The fee for this service is $10 a month, rather than the regular $50 landline charge.)

All seemed to be working well, but the Bell technician was having trouble connecting the new modem and allowing it to “stick”. He gave up about 1:30 p.m., with the prospect of ordering a new modem, and the loss of service for the entire weekend.

yak.ca
Enticing offers make it tempting to switch to high-speed/voip systems. However, the switchover doesn’t always go smoothly.

I decided to take things in my hands, and called the third-party carrier (Yak.ca)s technical support. A technician there, in hearing my problem, asked if perhaps we had plugged in the wrong AC adaptor. (I wish I took a photo of the mess on the floor in my upstairs office, with new and old phone equipment, modems, cables, adaptors and wires.) Undoubtedly, it could be easy to pick the wrong adaptor cord.

Problems solved — not quite. In the process of trying “everything” the technician had reset the modem to factory settings and it couldn’t make the handshakes required to operate the system.  Add to the fact that I had forgotten the password of my (old) base computer (used mainly for things like the Internet back-end), and I was scrambling to find a way to rebuild things.

Finally, about six p.m., the systems appeared to be working. I grabbed a drink, and took a break.

However, things weren’t right, still. For some reason, the Internet works on my laptop computer but nothing else will authenticate, and the phones are “out” again. There will be more calls this morning to the carrier’s technical support and eventually, hopefully, things will be working properly by day’s end.

It’s a strange place to be. No phones in the house right now (other than our cellular lines), but the high-speed connection works amazingly fast on my laptop. Last night, I watched a movie on streaming video, connected through a VPN, and the signal was virtually flawless.  I think, finally, (once the bugs are resolved), our family will have caught up to the new era of high-speed wireless Internet.

So, what relevance does this have for your business and marketing? The answer, I think, relates to a few key aspects of how you focus your initiatives with marketing technologies. By now, hopefully, you aren’t printing product brochures and fact-sheets except for special circumstances. If you haven’t done it yet, now may be the time to learn/embrace video technologies, including videoconferencing, testimonials (they don’t need to be slickly produced) and, of course, you should consider moving your telephony to VOIP services (saving a pile of money that you can use for other marketing initiatives.

The trade-off, of course, is dependence on systems that can be fickle. This doesn’t need to desperately risky. You can certainly have backups (such as cellular services) and of course you can plan for system changes so they won’t disrupt your business operations too much.

So I’m glad I did this stuff as a summer long weekend approached. It will be good to live in the future.

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