Industrial-Strength Business on the Virtual Network

Purvis Industries evolves to the Toshiba IPedge system for a seamless nationwide network that feels familiar, appears local and saves money all at the same time.

“… well-equipped to ensure our customers get the right products for the right applications — delivered by one company that can manage it all.
From our unmatched engineering and expertise to our top-quality products from leading suppliers to our complete array of best-in-class services…”

Reading the mission statement on the Purvis Industries home page is like looking in the mirror.  The right products, one trusted source, engineering excellence, unmatched support… all Toshiba hallmarks as well.  So it’s no wonder Purvis and Toshiba have such a lasting relationship.

Purvis, a leading national distributor of industrial products, had been using a Strata® CIX™1200 system hosted in an AT&T data center in Dallas, the company’s headquarters city.  With calls routed through AT&T’s Flexible Reach managed IP network, Purvis’ 54 locations operated as one virtual network.

There was only one problem with the arrangement: the company did so well that they outgrew it.
“Our choice was to either purchase another CIX1200 or move over to the IPedge®, which doubles our capacity,” said company president Robert Purvis.  “We chose to switch to the IPedge since it is the latest and greatest technology.”

Working with Radcom Technologies Inc., an Authorized Toshiba Dealer for 25 years, Purvis selected a Toshiba IPedge EM system, which supports up to 1,000 users.  One sleek server supports the company’s headquarters and 56 branch locations, with more than 450 Toshiba 5000-series IP phones and plenty of room to grow. With Toshiba’s National Accounts Program, Purvis benefited from consistent pricing for every aspect of system ownership across all locations.

Evolving to “the latest and greatest” didn’t mean business disruption or a big learning curve.  Users enjoy the same features and applications they had on their former Strata CIX system.  The user interface is updated but comfortably familiar.  Through the magic of SIP trunk connections, there’s a local dial-in number for each branch, even though the calls are routed through the server in Dallas.  And the whole system is centrally monitored and managed through the Web-based Enterprise Manager application.

Purvis had previously eliminated about 80 percent of long-distance charges by moving to the AT&T-hosted Strata CIX1200 system; now the new IPedge virtually eliminates all long-distance charges.

Toshiba Customer Success Story at-a-Glance

Customer:    Purvis Industries LTD

Business:     National distributor of industrial products

Locations:    Headquarters in Dallas, with 55 additional branch locations nationwide

Dealer:          Stephen Schnorbus, Radcom Technologies Inc., Dallas

Solution:        IPedge EM, AT&T Flexible Reach managed IP network

Results:        Advanced IP telephony for all users
                        Seamless networking of 56 locations over IP
                        Local numbers for all branch offices
                        Standardized technology and pricing for all locations
                        Remote centralized management over the network

More Than One Brand of Romance

On Saint Valentine’s Day, we muse on two prevalent models of love.

From their earliest memories, little girls are raised on the fairy-tale promise of that perfect prince to marry for keeps and live happily ever after.  Little boys… not so much.

Throughout history, there have been two prevailing approaches to romance.  First, you have your “Committers,” who bought into the fairy tale.  These are the ones who prefer to make that upfront capital investment in the shindig, the dress and the honeymoon, knowing that the spouse is theirs to keep and — for only modest additional investments in maintenance — to provide a feature-rich lifetime of marital bliss.

Then you have your “Keeping Options Open” types.  These are the ones who don’t want to lock in when the future is uncertain.  They would rather invest in an ongoing series of first and second dates in exchange for the freedom and flexibility to change their minds and upgrade whenever a better model comes along.  Perfectly sensible.  Different approaches suit different needs.

The same is true of business strategies.  The “Committers” and the “Keeping Options Open” types will embrace different approaches.  Do you go franchise or independent?  Buy or lease?  Hire or outsource?

The right choices will depend on multiple factors.  Which works better on the books:  an upfront capital expense or an ongoing operating expense?  Is this a core competency that needs to be in-house or a support capability that is better outsourced?  Do you expect big fluctuations in business demand and capacity by season or over time?  The answers will guide whether it makes sense for your business to be a “Committer” or a “Keeping Options Open” type when deciding whether to buy equipment, hire staff and so on.

We think you should be able to choose either approach when it comes to your business telephone system as well.  With Toshiba’s Strata® CIX™ and IPedge® systems, you can own and manage your own on-site PBX and enjoy a lifetime of business communications.  But you don’t have to.

As momma was reading the fairy tales to her girls, she was telling her boys, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk delivered to the doorstep for a modest pay-as-you-go fee?”  You don’t have to feed and care for the animal when all you need is the milk and cheese — and who can predict how much of that you’ll need in two years or five years?

For those who ask such questions, Toshiba offers its award-winning IPedge® business communications system in its cloud-based VIPedge solution.  With VIPedge, you get the functionality of an on-premise IPedge system, but instead of marrying into the deal through purchase or lease, you simply pay a monthly service fee based on size and usage.  You automatically get the benefit of upgrades as they come along.

It may be less romantic than the fairy tale, but it just might be the right model for your business.

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How to Make 900 Miles Disappear

Crow Friedman Group brings four cities together into one unified company network.

The Crow Friedman Group provides professional liability, commercial, and group health insurance, as well as risk management services, to more than 1,800 professional firms and individuals, such as architects, financial consultants, lawyers and healthcare professionals.

In the course of a day’s business, the firm’s specialists answer coverage questions and provide loss prevention advice and in-house claims assistance.  They offer advice on contractual agreements, provide educational opportunities and help evaluate the best way to structure the cost of insurance protection.

In other words, they spend a lot of time on the phone.

With offices in four cities — Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta and Birmingham — Crow Friedman wanted its staff to be able to communicate as easily across state lines as across the hall.  With the right phone system, physical location could become immaterial.  Employees could be just as accessible to clients and colleagues — with all the productivity and convenience features they need — whether they are in another office, on the road or at a client location.

To achieve that ideal, the firm chose a Toshiba Strata® CIX™ system — a converged solution that supports a mix of IP, digital and analog endpoints along with IP telephony and unified communications applications.  And they chose CommWorld of Memphis, an Authorized Toshiba Dealer since 1996, to install it.

Led by vice president of operations Valerie Beaver, CommWorld of Memphis installed a Strata CIX670 system at Crow Friedman’s Memphis headquarters.  The system has a media applications server that supports auto attendant, voice mail and unified communications for the entire firm.  In the Birmingham office, IP desk phones and IP softphones (PCs or laptops equipped to perform as telephones) are connected to the headquarters’ Strata CIX system.

The Atlanta and Nashville offices have their own Strata CIX200 and CIX100 systems.  All four locations — a total of more than 100 ports (users) — are networked together over IP to perform as one unified phone system with centralized applications that serve all locations.

The Toshiba phone system gives Crow Friedman three important forms of professional insurance:

  • Mobility without compromise.  With Internet access, the sales team can take their business phone capabilities — the familiar features and functionality of their desk phones — with them wherever they go, using an IP softphone application on a laptop or smartphone.
  • Better internal efficiency.  With the “presence” feature on Toshiba telephones , staff can easily see who is on the phone or available for a call, wherever they are.  Power users can use a laptop or desktop PC to manage phone calls, voice mail, Web, email and more all from a single screen, using the mouse, without ever picking up the telephone.  With unified communications, staff can view and manage voice messages and faxes right in their email boxes.
  • Substantial cost savings.  By adding auto attendant capabilities and enabling one receptionist to handle incoming calls for all four locations, Crow Friedman saves $100,000 a year.  And that’s before factoring in all the productivity gains of the new phone system.

Finally, distance disappears.  The firm’s associates, account executives and administrative staff can work together as a unified team rather than a dispersed and remote workforce.  The hundreds of miles between locations become irrelevant, and the firm that protects professional services can itself provide the most professional services possible.

 For an Authorized Toshiba Dealer,

Endpoints Demystified

A layperson’s guide to the array of desktop and mobile communication devices

Remember when a telephone sat on the desk, didn’t light up, didn’t get carried around, and certainly didn’t talk to the PC sitting right beside it?  If you’re younger than 50, you might not.  In mainstream business environments, digital telephony has been around since the 1980s, mobile workplace phones since the early ‘90s, and IP communications since the mid ‘90s.  It has been a long time since the basic telephone and its cousin the fax machine were the primary means of connecting in the workplace.

Today business users have an impressive range of choice in phones.  In fact, telephones are now so versatile, diverse and smart that they are often called endpoints.  (They don’t like to be mistaken for those soulless, legacy devices that couldn’t do much more than transmit the human voice.)

Facing a new wealth of options in endpoints, how do you make the right choice for yourself?  For employees throughout the office?  For remote or traveling employees?  Here’s a quick look at the first steps to narrowing down the choices.

To what type of business communications system will the endpoints connect?

Where will the endpoints be used?

If the user stays more or less at a desk – whether in a local, remote or home office
A desktop phone with microphone and speaker (with mute options, headset interface and programmable feature buttons) is the logical choice.

If the user needs to roam around the building
Choose a wireless handset or mobile phone that uses your wireless LAN or wireless base stations to connect into the central communications system, such as Toshiba IP4000 wireless mobility phones.

If the user travels to other locations outside your company’s phone or data networks
Choose either: (A) a softphone client (software that empowers a PC to perform the features of a desktop phone), or (B) a network option that enables your smartphone to function as a PBX extension via the office wireless LAN while in the office and via a cellular network out of the office.

Having narrowed down the choice to digital or IP, desktop or mobile, you still have a wide range of choice in features and functionality, to find just the right model at the right price point for each user/role in the organization.