Business Tech Playbook

#11 – What is VOIP?

Feat Ray Orsini from OIT

9 months ago
Transcript
Robbz

This is the Business Tech Playbook, your source for It help for your business, man. We got our first guest, BJ. I'm so excited, dude.

BJ

Pumped up. I know, he's actually on video right here and he basically just did a dance. It was one of the most exciting things we've done so far.

Robbz

He's even snapping his fingers, you know?

BJ

I know, it's amazing.

Robbz

First off, I'm your host, Rob Zolson.

BJ

And I'm William Pote, owner of Etop Technology. And this is the Business Tech Playbook.

Robbz

And we are pleased to have on Ray Orsani.

Ray

Orcini I can never, but I'll take anything.

Robbz

It must be Italian then, am I right?

Ray

Yeah, a little bit Italian. There you go.

Robbz

Ray Orcini. And you are from a company called OIT. Thanks for coming on, friend.

Ray

No, thanks for having me on. I love the podcast, so happy to be on this side of the podcast, the listening.

BJ

So a little bit of backstory. Ray and OIT have been one of our preferred partners for a very, very long time. Part of our goal in bringing him onto this conversation is to just kind of explain through some of the values of his company and how it might bring value to a company like yours.

Robbz

Today's topic that we're going to go over is voiceover IP. They're a different form of doing business telephone. So if you're listening in and you're trying to figure out why your It guy came up to you and said, we need to switch to VoIP, this podcast is for you. So, Ray, before we begin, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your company?

Ray

Yeah, absolutely. So I'm a network engineer turned CEO. My background is in complex and distributed networking. So for the last almost 30 years, I've been building networks that were multi city, multistate, multicontinent, that's pretty much my jam. I am a serial entrepreneur, come from a family of entrepreneurs. So my first company I sold at age 18 with the help of my parents. So OIT. I founded in 2011. It was started as a managed service provider, exactly what BJ does now. And I realized within a couple of years, loved what I was doing, but I'd rather people like BJ do what they do best. And I had an affinity for working with clients and working with MSPs technology service providers on selling VoIP, on how to get that value, get those products in and get the business outcomes they were looking for. So, been doing that since 2016 up to now and having a great time doing it. And I love the possibilities it's opened up for partners and clients during the Pandemic was a perfect example. A bunch of people couldn't cancel their contracts, they had to work from home, they had no option. VoIP allowed us to give them service for free and they could forward calls over and still have service at home instead of potentially losing calls for their business which for an SMB, you guys know is critical. You can't lose calls. It's not an option.

Robbz

Now since we, since we explained the alphabet soup SMB small medium business habit. We got to keep going through the alphabet soup for sure there's going to.

BJ

Be a lot so used to it. I just totally rolled with it. I was like, oh yeah.

Ray

And Robbie absolutely warned us ahead of time. He's like, we want to make sure it's as clear as possible if we use the alphabet soup make sure we declare know, proper college paper rules. And it completely skipped past me. I apologize.

Robbz

No worries.

BJ

It's going to be MSP. Like everyone knows what it is. We're failing at our own game here. So MSP is managed service provider. So outsourced It fractional It departments, companies that can take care of aspects of your technology instead of having to hire somebody in house or to supplement somebody that you have working on your team. So just to follow our own rules of trying to jargonify everything.

Ray

Well, and if you want to go along with mean you want to look know your MSP, right? Is your contractor. They're the ones getting the best solutions for your house. If we're using the building a house analogy, they bring in vendors like me. Let's go ahead and call me the Viking appliances of VoIP and a ton of other things to make sure the business operates in the best way so the business doesn't have to be an expert on VoIP or on any of the other millions of acronyms. You have a BJ, which is its own acronym.

Robbz

Well, good times to dive into questions. First one, just so we have our listeners on the same page. What is VoIP and why is it different than normal telephone?

Ray

Normal telephone as we know it today, I'll give another alphabet soup. It's built in what's called the PSTN public switch telephone network. So anybody that's ever had a phone line at home or at the office, there's a copper wires in the ground or in the walls and they're literally copper wires that connect all the way across the world. Different stops in between, which is great, but it's not scalable. Right? Any business that's ever had to add on another phone or add on a new feature because they're adding a greeting, because they're closed for Memorial Day, right? Or Labor Day or whatever, or something like the pandemic is happening, whatever is going on. Those changes were traditionally very expensive to affect. And physical systems had severe limitations. They were usually a divisible of eight. So you could have up to eight phones. And then if you needed a 9th phone, you had to add like another couple of $100, couple thousand dollars card to the max of the phone system, which we call a PBX public branch exchange. Basically just the box. It's the computer for your phones. I'm learning. I'm learning. Robbie, you got it.

BJ

You got it.

Ray

Yeah. So what happened is in the early ninety s, and actually the documents that state how wipe is supposed to work were started even before that, but around the where it really started to take off, they said, well, we have this thing called the Internet, right? This is DSL digital subscriber line. The 1.5 megabits you would get from your telco.

BJ

Oh man, that was so good back then.

Ray

Yeah, it was great. I loved it. It was a step up from dial up, right? It was a lot faster. It was three times faster. It's fantastic. But what we realized is we could transmit phone service over the Internet similar to the way we do web pages, the way we do any other audio, any other video. That's the OIP portion of it. Voice over IP internet Protocol. So it's going over the internet. And so we realized you don't worry about where you can have your computer in your house. You have WiFi, you can move your computer around your house anywhere you want. It's much easier. Computers are much and networking is much more flexible. To add connections anywhere else in the office, you need a little bit of wiring, but that's far easier to do than if you had to add phones or traditional phone systems. And then because of that, you had all this new flexibility. And then on top of that, with these cloud based systems, like what we offer, you can make the changes yourself. It's just a web page. It's no different than logging into your email, logging into your bank. You just log into a portal and say, okay, I'm going to record a greeting and it'll call your phone and you can do it there or upload something. All these options opened up. And the mind blowing part of this was it was cheaper, like 90% of the time. It was cheaper than buying that $2,000 phone system or getting this hardware that was out of date by five years. And then you got to go to ebay because they don't make your hardware anymore and that's the only place you can find it. And these are real problems that people with these legacy phone systems today still encounter.

BJ

We don't have any clients that have that problem.

Ray

We all do, brother.

BJ

I'm sitting here literally thinking of one client who has, I think, 65 extensions on an old Avaya PBX and we've pretty much just gone well, and it.

Ray

Becomes to be changed. Complicated to manage, right? Like all the wiring, I should have prepared with pictures, but I have pictures of rats ness and they work. It's one of those things like it works, don't touch. You know, if you have to do anything to it that's not user, you know, BJ, you or your team might go maybe work on it, or maybe you have to go hire somebody to work on these things. And they're very, very expensive. And then they have their licensing costs and all this other nonsense. I'd rather people put their money where it really matters on their It infrastructure and on their services.

BJ

Well, and as more and more things just touch the network more and more, we found that's a big part of why you say, I think it's a good way to kind of classify it. MSPs are a lot like a general contractor, where you bring in the specialists for each of the sub trades to really understand how to kind of orchestrate and build an entire building. We know enough about each of the things. I know enough about voice and anything that touches your network. But there's a lot of pieces that go into making a business successful technology wise.

Robbz

When us as an MSP are a jack of all trades and master of some not everything, it's nice to have a provider on the backbone to take care of that so we don't have to deal with that 20 year old system. Real tangent here, by the way, was in a business, and we were doing an audit to see if we could engage the customer and help them with our managed services. And went through an audit, and as they were doing it, and like, oh, I have to call so and so, and they grabbed their phone, and I noticed that they had to do a complicated dial system, and then it said, hello, dialing to Karen. I'm like, Who's Karen? Well, she died ten years ago, and we haven't been able to take her off our phone system because we don't know anybody to manage it and no one will work with it.

Ray

That's a common thing that happens all the time to this day. That happens all the time. Maybe not with Karen, but that happens so much. And it's mind boggling to me because these are tiny things. They're tiny things you can easily work around. Yeah, I'm calling Mike and it says Karen on the phone. It happens. Whatever. But it also creates a little bit of hiccup, a little bit of a barrier to operating efficiently. And even if it's that half second, if you can remove that, and you're taking away the average users calling their coworkers 1015 times a day, those half seconds, that's seven and a half seconds, right? If you're calling them half seconds, that adds up during the week, that adds up over the year. Why not make their quality of life a little bit easier? And then we just had Ray Bomb's Act and Carrie's Law last year that specified rules around, like, you can't require anybody to dial anything but 911. To dial 911. Well, these old legacy systems, plenty of them, you have to dial nine to get an outside line and then dial something. Well, Carrie's Law and Ray Bombs Act immediately invalidated every one of those PBXs, because now you're outside what you're supposed to be doing.

Robbz

Help me out here, because it's been a while since I've worked for a telecom. That law number one. It makes sense. But how does that invalidate? Let's say I'm a business owner listening in, and right now I know I have that old system that I got to dial nine for. Am I the one as a customer or the owner of this system liable for not being able to dial nine? Going to get some sort of surcharge that my telephone company hasn't told me?

Ray

The old saying, misery loves company. So the rules actually state it's the owner of the PBX, the owner of the phone systems required to have it maintained and make change. And there are some caveats, there are some little gotchas where you can get exemptions and anybody that works on it. So if you're that MSP, you're, that managed service provider, says, oh, I figured out how to work on Ava or Samsung or NEC. The minute you go to change anything in that system, you're now also equally responsible. It's like HIPAA for telco. It's like, yay, everybody's getting in trouble.

Robbz

So if you're listening into this right now and you have one of those old systems and you help, even help with it, don't call us, don't touch it because you're probably liable now.

Ray

Well, let's replace it with a cloud.

BJ

Yeah, we're replacing it.

Ray

Shoot.

Robbz

Yeah. People don't understand how badly the telephones are still managed legally because they have to because of emergency resources, the backbone so emergency clients could get taken care of, spam calls being technically illegal, even though there's a lot of laws all based upon when phone systems were mandated.

Ray

In the there's a ton of those. And then you got Stir Shaken and you got Robocall rules in the databases. Even stuff as simple as the National Suicide Hotline was enacted, they gave us warning in 2021 and then it was required by June of 2022 that you need to be able to dial nine eight eight to get to the National Suicide Hotline. There's a lot of local PBXs that don't allow that now. Are you going to get caught? Probably not. It's like ripping the tag off the mattress, right?

Robbz

No, but it's allowed to do at.

Ray

Home, you can't do in the store.

Robbz

It's sure nice to have a provider to take care of it for you.

Ray

But take the liability off, it's like that half second we're talking about, take that off your shoulders. Why worry about it?

Robbz

So to get back and slightly lower level questions, what makes Voight better? I mean, you clearly built this company up based upon I'm better. You told us some reasons, why can you tell us some more?

Ray

Yeah, absolutely. So flexibility is the biggest point, right? Flexibility is where you want to be able to whether it's pick up your phone and go work from home, whether have a second phone at home and you see your same extension no matter where you're working from. Pre show we were talking about my office. This is my actual office, but I have a studio set up at home as well, in my home office, and I can operate from there anytime I want. VoIP adds so much flexibility. So Microsoft teams. Right? I'm sure our audience has heard of Microsoft Teams in some know, and absolutely anybody working with their MSP absolutely has Microsoft Teams. We can funnel the calls through Microsoft Teams. So you have a single experience. You want to have it on your cell phone as an app. You can have it on your cell phone. You can have a second SIM card on your cell phone. So it's actually local calls. I'm not going to okay, subscriber Identification Module is SIM, but the little card, I was wondering if you were going to clarify on HIPAA. I wasn't going to go there.

Robbz

We did that in three episodes.

BJ

Some things are just out. We don't have to whatever.

Ray

Healthcare information. Public Portability Act or something like that. Anyway.

BJ

Yeah. Health insurance provider, portability act.

Robbz

Your data is private and the government says so, right?

BJ

Yeah.

Ray

So you can have a SIM card and actually have like I have my second SIM on my phone says Oat VoIP. So I'm actually making receiving calls, sending and receiving texts over the cell network. So I'm not worried about data coverage. And it's all going through my PBX, my phone system, so that I have unified call records. If you have remote employees, you have salespeople, you don't have to get cell phone plans. Now it's all just one system, one bill, and much easier to manage. And you or your MSP could manage it super, super simple. That flexibility. It's one of those things where you get something and you bought it for one thing, and then you start messing with it and you realize, oh, I can do this too, and I can do this too, and I can do this too. I've said for years, the Cloud PBX's Cloud phone systems give you literally hundreds of Oxford dictionary, literally, not current generation dictionary, literally, but these systems give you literally hundreds of features, and you're going to use probably 20 or 30 of them, whatever. But you have the features you want, and normally you don't have to pay any extra for them. You can't say that for these legacy phone systems.

Robbz

So my question that I get continually from users individually is I want to keep my same phone. They can't keep their same phone traditionally from their old experience at least, even if they have some sort of adapters or something they shouldn't because they're not going to get that full experience. But how similar are some of the phone options for users? I'm asking this because yes, I know the question, but listeners are going to want to know is I'm going to have to pick up something entirely different or am I just stuck with that Microsoft Teams interface?

Ray

No, no, it's absolutely right. I mean, some people like physical phones. This absolutely can be a generational or a cultural thing as well. Older generations, and honestly, my generation should be most of us use like and prefer physical phones, right? They like to be able to pick up the phone call. You have your same twelve digit number pad, all that stuff is there, and that's fine. But if you don't want to use this, my calls I make with my earbuds and this microphone. I don't use a desk phone at all. This was here for testing or teams, and that's the flexibility. Also, if you got an Avia phone system, and this is true for Samsung, NEC, and all the other ones, if you got an Avia phone system, for example, the only phones you can get are the Avaya phones that are for that system. Not even all the Avaya phones, just that system. Well, in VoIP, VoIP is a protocol, so you can actually, there are, without exaggeration, thousands of phones, thousands of devices that are compatible. And with most providers like us, we're agnostic on hardware. I like Yaleink, it's one of my favorite brands. It's nice and easy. But behind me I have polycom, I have Yaleink, I have grandstream. Cisco, avaya SNOM. I have a ton of brands. So if you're coming from another VoIP provider, you probably can keep your phones. And if you have a specific phone you like with certain button styles you like because you've gotten accustomed to it, there's probably a VoIP option that is very similar in form factor and features, or form factor and layout, and I guarantee you with more features that can do it. And here's the best part, go sell the old stuff on ebay. Because there's somebody else with that legacy PBX that needs that handset that's not been made for the last 15 years, so you can make a little bit of money back.

Robbz

I did not expect that until I had to live that same life. Literally pulled out a 30 phone system. These phones, I mean, the buttons were sticking from some nicotine because they still let some dude smoke in a warehouse, and they still sold in bulk on ebay without return for nice money.

Ray

My favorite is when they have that big rubber thing on the handset they used to have.

Robbz

Yeah, the rubber shoe.

BJ

Yes.

Ray

And you can't take it off because that's become like cement by this point.

Robbz

It is bonded to the plastic.

Ray

People buy it. I love it. Even with normally you say, okay, I've invested so much, I don't want to invest again. Here you can actually recoup some of your money. You usually can't say that if you're upgrading a server or a PC or a laptop. So it's nice.

Robbz

Now, Ray is on video chat with us on our Discord. So you can join our Discord by going to Businessechplaybook.com Bottom, the podcast site. You'll see the link for discord. You can join us. We try to record these live if applicable. But Ray is holding a Yaalink phone that's spelled yealink. That particular phone is probably the most popular worldwide. You can go to Yalink.com, you can see a bunch of their different phone lines. And let me tell you, when you're looking through you can get every shape, size, form factor with cameras and a screen making it look like a computer. Anything down to even the basic without screen, just buttons on the phone. So if you are trying to contemplate what you want, this is one company to show you the examples of what you can get out there.

Ray

The vast majority you for being like one of the three people I know that actually pronounces Yaleink, right. I don't even say yeah link. That is the proper pronunciation. I say Yale Link.

BJ

Really?

Ray

So good on you man.

BJ

Hey, you know funny, I totally was going to call him out and being like it's like him calling you Orcini incorrectly.

Ray

He's absolutely right. Really?

Robbz

Hey, my ISP experience is showing bud there you okay?

BJ

Okay. So part of what we always try to talk to is kind of talk through what would Brian, our fictional CFO be looking for to make this decision. So what's one of the maybe the top three things you would tell Brian their know, what does he need to think about in switching to a voice.

Ray

Provider or switching voice so you want a voice provider that can demonstrate a proven history of uptime. Right? Because your phones are important. I've never met a company that says we don't care about our phones. I've never seen that even where I mostly don't.

BJ

I'm joking, I'm joking.

Ray

So you want that, you want one that makes things as simple as possible, right? I'm all about making it easy. Right. So there's Microsoft 365 plans that most MSPs have the ones they standardize on because of the best benefits for clients. And VoIP is no different. Let's be honest, the ability to pick up and dial some numbers and connect to somebody else, while magical is not complicated. It's table stakes for anybody. Look at the stuff that's nontraditional. The average person is going to tell you go look for a phone system where it's going to have this feature and this feature and yes, know the features you want. Okay, fine. But truthfully call recording, auto attendance, voicemail to email call, transcription messaging. Right. SMS short message service and MMS multimedia message service.

Robbz

Forms of text messaging.

Ray

There you go. Thank you. That's what I should have said. Forms of text, know. All that stuff is really table stakes. Most of the providers out there already do this. Look for the ones where they have a close tie in with your MSP where they have a good relationship and your MSP can either get them to do the work for you or the MSP can do the work for you. One of the two, or both, ideally because you want that symbiotic relationship for the benefit of the client. Look for one that has a proven track record of not raising prices because that's kind of a thing, right? We all know the whole shtick of get in at 1299 and then suddenly you're locked in and it's 51 99 a user like two months later. Thanks comcast. Or look for the ones that have favorable operating terms, right? So like us, we have a two year agreement, then it's month to month after that. I don't need to sit there and lock you in for life. You're going to stay for life because you like the service and it's good for your business. And if it's not, Godspeed, I don't hold it against you. And so you want a company that's going to align with your business goals. And that's hard to say because there's no feature sheet that you're going to look at and say, okay, this aligns with what's our fictional CFO's name?

BJ

Brian.

Robbz

Brian.

Ray

Brian. There's no spec sheet that's going to be like Brian's needs and have all of Brian's needs there. But they should at least be able to answer your questions. You should be able to get them on the phone and make sure they can meet your needs. And don't be afraid to qualify them. Don't be afraid to say, go to your MSP and say, why is this the VoIP company for me? If they're an awesome MSP like Etop, they'll be able to explain to you why they're recommending this solution.

Robbz

A couple other things that I've noticed actually selling VoIP phones myself as well, is when you're out there and you're doing anything that's type of managed contracts, see if they have a friendly. If they don't have someone to say, hey, this person's been with us for the last three years, they've enjoyed the hell out of us. Talk to them and see what their review is. If they don't have a friendly for you, that's kind of a sketchy company, in my opinion. And also ask some of the contingencies of the contract. Managed print and VoIP providers a lot of times have auto price raises, auto renewals, huge. So they auto renew in two ways. Commonly, yours could be very different. Check into it. One, they have, no matter what, you have a 20% price hike every year for what they call cost of living, contractual obligations. So yes, you might have signed three years, but one year in 20%, 2nd year in 20%, even though you're still locked in the commitment to me when I sign a contract, that means I'm doing the contract for the benefit of maintaining that price. So ask the questions. And two, if you fail to contact them before your terms up, they're just going to renew for maybe the same length of the original contract, which can happen. Some states have laws protecting that where you can get out of it, but you were going to say there BJ.

BJ

I was going to say and a lot of times there's a very strict reporting window for cancellations. I've seen that a lot with I'm not going to say who, but they were a California based telco provider where they would do a lot of five year contracts with a like, you had to do it within 60 days before the end, but no more than 90. And if on a Thursday that happened.

Ray

Are they one of those that their name sounds like something you might put on a kitchen counter.

Robbz

I don't even know who this is. And that's great.

BJ

I'm not even sure where this is. That's it might be something like hella and the Pacific Ocean.

Robbz

How dare you guys? You just shat all over chopping block communications.

BJ

Chopping block communications.

Robbz

That is uncalled for.

Ray

But that's the thing, though, like from Legacy telco used to be notorious for 5710 year contracts. But remember what I was saying back to the PSTN days, the copper in the ground, they had major rollout costs to getting phone lines connected. They had to send somebody out to go punch down these lines and build those rat nests that we hate to see today. So I'm not going to say justifiable but it was more reasonable that they were understandable doing these five years, seven year contracts because they had out costs, voiceover IP, a little bit of costs, but no, and there's definitely no reason for automatic renewals every three years. And you need a 72 day notice, and it can only be under a new blood moon or something. No, it's just get somebody that's going to do business with you.

Robbz

I like that one.

Ray

That was a good one.

Robbz

All right. What does it take to move over from my traditional phone system to the VoIP? Talk to me about the bouncing ball first. I call you and say, hey, Ray, I'm in. I like your price plan. Contract looks good. What's next? Here's my signature on a piece of paper. Go.

Ray

Yeah. So we try to make it as complicated as possible. No, I'm kidding. I knew we either work with your MSP, your managed service provider, or directly with the client, and we assign somebody in onboarding to handle everything moving over. So they're going to have a call with you. They're going to go over the phone numbers you want to move over, they're going to ask you. We can ask what your phone system looks like today as far as how the calls go. More importantly than that, how do you want it to work? What is your ideal scenario when the calls come in? What do you want to happen? We walk you through all that, and then if you're buying hardware from us or MSP, it'll get shipped out. During that time, we need approximately a week to two weeks to move your numbers from your old provider to us. It can extend at time to time, depending on the losing provider. Some of them are more difficult than others, but for the most part it's pretty smooth. By the time you get the phones, within a week, they're ready to go. You plug them in anywhere your MSP goes in and plugs them in however you want to set up, and everything's pre configured, ready to go, and on the day of porting. So porting is the process of moving a phone number from one carrier to another. It'll just start ringing on the new phones and you're good to go. It can be completely seamless for the majority of times, and it's nice. And then you go cancel your old provider 30 days later and so long.

Robbz

And thanks for all the fish in that process. Porting I've had some customers that didn't plan. They tried to sign up for a commitment and found that they're in some tiny podunk town where there's only one provider and a thing called LEC or C. LEC prevents them. Can you, one, help with that alphabet and two, explain that to the listeners?

Ray

So telco, unfortunately, because of the age, I mean, we're talking like Alexander Graham Bell telco, because of the age, is this ridiculous quagmire of cables and providers and rate centers and what's called Lrns location routing numbers, which look exactly like phone numbers. So when you dial a phone number, it looks up the location routing number and then it says, I'm going to send to this rate center which houses every number for an exchange, right? So if your phone number is 555-1212 with area code 303, they're housed the 303 five numbers. And unfortunately, when the local number portability act came out in 1980, 719, 92, I always forget the exact date there were certain providers that because they didn't have data connectivity or they didn't have connectivity to any kind of digital connectivity, they were exempt from having to. Port so there's a lot of these rural providers because it would be a major cost to build that out. And that does happen from time to time. Alaska is the easiest example. There are two rate centers in Alaska, Juno, and I always forget the other one, Anchorage, and only one of them has portable numbers. So if you're the other one, you're Sol. I'm not going to go ahead and do the alphabet for Sol. And the companies that own these, the Lex local exchange carriers or CLEX competitive local exchange carriers, they have those rate centers and they have those exemptions, but you can do some things to get around it. A, most companies today, US 50 and Canada is just local calling. So getting a different number, getting a new number in a portable rate center is not the end of the world. It's not like if I'm from Birmingham and somebody calls me from Montgomery, oh my gosh, that's a long distance call with VoIP. That's not a thing. So getting a different area code is not a big deal. Some people still want that local area code. If that's the case, we can do what's called Caller ID. Spoofing so we provide a fake number, you forward it over to us. You do keep service with the original provider, you forward it over to us on another number we assign, and then we fake your outbound caller ID. So they always think it's that original number. It's a little kludgy. It does cost you extra because you're keeping that line alive, usually for a reduced cost. But if that number is one of those numbers you've had for 50 years, and I have a real estate company that's had the same number since 1975, if you have one of those and you can't let go of the number, you can do that. It is an option, and I would still recommend it because you get so much from VoIP, it's still worth that little extra $20 a month to have the number with the other provider. So it's not the end of the world.

Robbz

I live in rural Minnesota, and this is a big problem for some of our small towns. And the interesting local ISPs on purpose keep them LEC, so they're not competitive just to hold the numbers as essential ransom. So they have a lot of businesses that want that little local number because they've had it for, like you said, 30 plus years, and they have to pay for that number to be forwarded. So I just wanted to point that out. We got some local rural listeners out there.

Ray

We've tried with a bunch of those local, and they're rural ISPs and Telcos. They're usually the smaller ones because it's too expensive for the big ones not to do it. But this isn't the days where it was 2030, 5100 grand to be able to get that connectivity. Nowadays they all have Internet at their locations anyway. It could be as simple as $1,000, $2,000. We've tried to create relationships with some of them. We've been successful with some very, very few. But like you said, a lot of them just hold onto it because they have gold in their hand and they know the minute they can start porting out, they're probably going to lose some business. So it is what it is. Go complain to the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, this time next year, telco actually be under the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, but for now, go. And actually, the FCC does respond to complaints they're actually really good about. So go. Yell.

BJ

Is the FCC going away or is it just changing?

Ray

So voiceover IP and Internet was never considered a utility by design, which means it's not beholden to a lot of rules, which is why there's some know, like Robbie, you may have like one.

Robbz

ISP that'll service many, many. Yep.

Ray

Yes. In a lot of places that's a normal thing.

Robbz

Oligopoly baby.

Ray

Yeah, I have multiple providers here in my office, you know what I mean? And they're all pretty cheap. So to combat that, because the FCC is a quasi governmentalist entity, it's much like USPS. They don't have the teeth that they really need to do to get effect change. The FTC is fully government. They have teeth. So legislation is being passed right now to move Telco over to the FTC. Other passes or not, we'll see. But there's a good likelihood it's going to.

BJ

And the FTC likes their teeth. They use them.

Ray

Oh, they do? Yeah. Go do some false advertising, see what happens.

BJ

They'll bite you hard.

Robbz

Now.

BJ

I know, it's so interesting.

Robbz

Telephone is variable, depending on your area, depending what you're looking for, all the features. So asking pricing is going to be pretty complicated without what are you looking for? But on average, what's the cost savings moving for a traditional user over from Legacy to VoIP, what do you see out there? On average?

Ray

Yeah. So we're seeing on average, 30% to 40% savings.

Robbz

Hold on, 30% to 40%. Ask anybody right now if they are getting any traditional service for, I don't know, 30 or 40% casually thrown out there. And they wouldn't just be like, why haven't I done this sooner?

Ray

Well, the average line and this is the thing as these copper lines, these copper lines in the ground, or we call Pots, plain old telephone service, as they get older and older, they're in conduits that collapse. They get filled with water. Even though they're waterproof, they get filled with water and dirt. They're expensive to maintain. Verizon, for example, in the northeast United States, they're not doing any copper anymore, period. If you want new service, you have to go, VoIP. It's not an option anymore. But as a result, the ones that are still doing copper are charging more and more. I'll give you an example back 20 years ago, 30 years ago, and Robbie, call me out if I'm wrong. You could get a phone line for about $20. You can get a low use phone line for 1850 if you wanted to, from at and T. Nowadays, those same lines are 45, 60, $80 a line. And then if you're in office, you're paying more. And God forbid you want voicemail or you want three way calling because they're charging for those features. So you could easily be $100 a line. Well, you have a typical ten user office telco, usually with his legacy systems, does a rule of third. So ten users, three to four lines to support the voice, and then maybe one more line for Fax, four times 100, you're $400 a month for ten users. That's insane. That's not including the Internet, that's $400. Not including the PBX, not including maintenance, not including taxes, $400 for an office.

Robbz

Now, I'm going to pause you there. I'm already going to have listeners saying in, well, why in the world if you say that's this pots this plain old telephone. It's so expensive in the copper lines. Why in the world is my ISP giving it for no additional cost as part of my Internet and TV bundle? And for those listeners, if you're listening in, there's a wonderful government act out there that they have subsidized home phone lines so that when they connect your line, they don't expect you to use it, but they know that they're getting that government subsidy for an active home telephone. This is not including in business. So that's their bundling scheme, if you will, to make money. And this does not actually pay for those lines and those features you're using for.

Ray

No, no, the users are paying for the lines either way, unfortunately, because that money came directly out of USAC before it went to those other initiatives. And anytime you look at your phone bill, you'll see USAC Universal service. I can't remember the you're good. So, okay, so what should we call it? So if you ever look at your bill, your telco bills, any of them, cell phone, home phone, VoIP, whatever you'll see there's USAC charges, or you'll see USF charges universal Service Fund. And that was made originally for libraries, schools, rural businesses, farms and the like, to get them telco services. But as it's been expanded, now they're using those funds to tell these telcos and ISPs offer service to this area, give them VoIP, give them whatever, and we'll subsidize it. We were offered half a million per city for like, I think they allocated like 25 or 30 cities to us if we wanted to. We ultimately chose not to because I don't like money. Obviously, it's amount of money. Yeah, but it's an insane amount of money for very little work with Voiceover IP, though, those costs are significantly less. And I'll give you an example, like your phone system. So that $400 a month company, your telco is saying well, or your ISP is saying, we'll just throw it in because of the reasons you said, and it doesn't cost them anything. What happens with companies like us? We'll charge 24, 50 a user. So 24 50, ten users, $245. Right. That's like 55% savings right there. But you also have unlimited phone calls. You have unlimited service, right? This is not the days where you're paying per text message or paying per phone call, paying per minute. And you got to call me on the weekends, because that's what my T Mobile plan allows for, unlimited minutes. No, you have ten users. You could have 200 calls come in. It could scale, because over the Internet, we can handle all that. It's not a big deal. And so you already have infinitely more for significantly less. And then we come out with features, and we're not the only ones that do this. We come out with features. I want to say we do releases at least every 30 days, 45 days, usually with some new feature and we'll come out with 20 or 30 features a year that we include for free. Right. Call recording is one we came out with years ago, and you can't do that with a legacy system.

BJ

Well, and to kind of your point, Ray, one of the things that I see in your system that you can do with, like a cloud based PBX is you can start integrating it into all of the different cloud based softwares you use. There's a lot of different pieces of tooling that you get with a cloud based PBX versus that on premise. What you paid for is what you got, and that is what you will have until you get rid of it.

Ray

Yeah, that's a huge thing. Also, you have so many options, you have so much flexibility, and that's what I say. It's beyond the features. It's beyond just, can my phone system dial this country? There's all these other things that go into it that you get so many benefits from. It goes back to that half second I was talking about, where you're saving a little bit of effort. Well, I have salesforce and HubSpot integrated with my phone system for our office. So when you call in, it pops up a record in salesforce and HubSpot, and it looks up and well, you know, Brian has called in three times today. I see all the issues Brian has. I have all the notes. I don't have to go looking for it's right there in front of me. It gets you that much faster. I mean, that's a huge win, you know what I mean? Now forget saving half a second. Now you're saving 60 seconds, 120 seconds of looking up records and seeing what's going on with Brian and seeing why the CFO is calling you. Imagine what kind of impact that would have for your company when you have all that information at your fingertips, which is the premise of the Internet. Right. We're supposed to have everything at our fingertips.

BJ

Well, one of the things that was interesting is we had a client who basically ran a call center on OIT. They were getting 600, 700 calls a day. And they're like, we are so busy. So busy. We just can't show we don't know why we're so busy. And I sat down with their office manager and was like, let's take a look at how many calls you're getting. And because of that, she was able to go back to ownership and say, hey, during our busy days, we're getting 600 calls spread across six people. That's 100 calls per person per day. That's a substantial amount. In an eight hour day, we really need three more people. So that way it keeps the hold times down. And so they were able to just run a very simple report off of it. It was accessible anywhere. I pulled it up on my laptop, showed her, gave her the Excel spreadsheet, and then they were able to hire three more people as a result of that because they had numbers to back.

Ray

It up, have salespeople, and they have no idea if they're making calls, have no idea if they're doing their dialing, doing their customer contacts, or client success. Right? That's a like, you don't have that data. Well, part of the cloud PBX, is you have all that data, you can export it to Excel and manipulate it, make some pivot charts if that's what makes you happy. I know there's a Brian. The CFO might be like Brian. I'm just saying Ryan's super happy about the Pivot tables. That resource allocation where you can say, I know we're busier on Tuesday through like, I have the data for us. I know 11:00 A.m. To 03:00 P.m. Eastern is our busiest time across the entire country. Crazy. But it is Monday through Friday. I know that on Saturdays and Sundays, saturdays, I get one 10th of the calls I get during the week. On Sundays, I get like one 20th the number of calls I normally get during the week. At a macro level, all that data is not because I'm the CEO of the phone company. It's in anybody's system they can go log in and see immediately, which is pretty awesome. That data nowadays, you can do so much more with data with I'm not going to go down the Power Bi and all the other dashboard analytics software grafana. The fact that you can do all that stuff is pretty awesome. Right?

Robbz

Wrap up the last couple questions. I'm pulling this from some user data that I've actually done presentations on VoIP in the past for, and I've had people raise their hand and say, well, hey, if I'm going to go out this cool Internet provided telephone, isn't the quality going to go down? And my immediate answer to those people are, if you're going from a tube TV to something digital and you're watching an app, suddenly now you have 4K. This is the same deal. It can handle the highest quality traffic phone can provide on the platform. But most importantly, the biggest question I had from people is what happens when the Internet goes down? If I have a plain old telephone that copper line is still connected, my Internet might be more unreliable in their mind.

Ray

So let's get a little nerdy with that. Right? So telco, plain old telephone service, right? The PSTN telco actually generates the power current from that central office, the big warehouse that belongs to your telco, that is no further than something like two and a half, 3 miles away from you. Again, because copper limitations, right? So they're providing the current. So even if you have a power outage, you probably notice if you don't have a phone system, if you have just a plain phone connected to the wall, it still has service. And for a lot of people. I'm in Miami. Hurricane resiliency. We do have copper lines for backup. It happens. But unlike copper phones, where if your office power goes out, who cares if the phone works? Your computers don't work, your Internet doesn't work, your PBX doesn't work, your PPX doesn't work. So for the longest time, our backup plan was, okay, we'll grab your cell phone, you have the app or you have the SIM card, go work on Wi Fi at a McDonald's or Starbucks with a VPN on, you know what I mean? But go work from there. Go work from anywhere else. It literally enables work from anywhere. And while, yes, that's seen as a benefit to a lot of people, it's also a resiliency plan. And every MSP I've ever met is very strong on resiliency plans. Well, your communications we started this whole thing with people saying there's no business out there. Says phones don't matter, they're not that important. Well, if phones are important, you need a resiliency plans for your phone. VoIP is a no brainer because the Internet goes down, it can automatically fail over to your cell phones, automatically fail over to another office, automatically fail over to whatever you want it to do. And if it's set up for something you didn't want it to do, grab your phone, go to the website, change the routing, and you're good to go. It's that simple.

BJ

Well, to that point, you're talking about the failing over. Your business doesn't have to be down. We do that actively for several clients now where they have call queues. So a call queue is basically how it routes inbound calls to miss whoever you want it to internally in the company. But if you have one office that you have calls going into, but you only staff it part time, we'll have it ring there once and then fail back over to your main office where you have all your normal staffers. Or if your main office is super busy, but one of your team is at the other location, well, if everyone's on the phone here, that person can still pick up those calls. So it's the same thing you would do for business resilience or like the building going away can function very well for just normal how traffic flows inside your organization.

Ray

And with that flexibility, I mean, we're a completely remote I come into the office because my wife works from home, so to give us some space. But other than that, we're a completely remote company. We're literally global. So we have call takers literally. I have my receptionist, one is in the room next to me, the other one's in California on the opposite coast.

BJ

Where we are?

Ray

Yeah, where you are, actually. Absolutely. And so having that flexibility, where you can have staff anywhere, I mean, we hire staff, we ship them out phones, and they're good to go in 24 hours. They're ready to get started. So besides the flexibility and the resiliency, having those options where you can just pick up and go. Or you can keep working if you're one of those workaholics like us, where sometimes we work on vacation, sometimes we work on trips we're not really supposed to. You have that flexibility. You're not picking up your desk phone from the office and bringing a long cable and carrying with you. You don't need to do that.

BJ

It's a long copper cable.

Ray

Work however you want. It is a long cable.

BJ

Well, and to your mean, we're similar, robbie's in Minnesota, we have a team member in Austin, Texas. And right now, we have a virtual reception or a virtual dispatch person that's in the Philippines, and they're using OIT in the Philippines.

Ray

And guess what? It's pretty I forget about that sometimes because my EA is also in the Philippines. We have some staff in the Philippines, and we're on calls every day. I mean, multiple calls every day. And I forget. I'm like, oh, yeah, you're not like you're local. You're thousands of miles away.

BJ

I think they're 7000 miles from us in California. So you tack on another 3200 for you. That's a substantial amount of distance.

Ray

Okay, that had to be like you did not just pull that out of the top of your head.

BJ

You had to thank you. Googled it before.

Ray

Yeah.

Robbz

I appreciate you calling him.

Ray

BJ has that grasp of geography where he's like, yeah, give me any two points. Give me longitude, latitude. I got you, I got you.

BJ

I just happen to know those.

Ray

Maybe he does.

BJ

Maybe I do. I just have to wonder. Come up to me at a conference and give me Channel Flu, and then you can or conflue and you can.

Ray

Channel Flu and then ask them between Sri Lanka and San Diego, what's the distance exactly?

BJ

It's 482.

Ray

We're in America, so we can say it's 300 washing machines.

BJ

Exactly. 300 washing machines.

Robbz

Well, if you're listening to this, guys, and you got more questions, one, you can reach out to us. Our emails in the show Notes businesstechplaybook.com is the website to find us. And again, if you're looking for a telephone system or some help with the telephone system, please reach out to OIT. His contact information is in the show notes. And Ray, any other details about you want to give the listeners or tell us a little bit more about where they can find you guys?

Ray

So I'm literally everywhere. If you go to Slash Oitvoip, we have hundreds of videos talking about all this stuff in plain people language. The same thing you guys are trying to accomplish here speaking, making sure it's not highly technical with a bunch of acronyms and your eyes lays over little five minute digestible, easy videos to watch just to go see, does this work for me? And if it does, reach out to me, reach out to Etop and we'll make it happen.

Robbz

Well, thanks again, Ray. I appreciate it a lot. And BJ, you got any closing notes.

BJ

So nothing further from me. I really enjoyed this conversation. I'm looking forward to being well next week so we can record another really great podcast for everyone. But Ray, really appreciate having you on. Thank you.

Ray

Thanks for having me on, guys. I appreciate it.

Robbz

Till next time.

Episode Notes

Special thanks to our guest Ray Orsini for OIT. You can find out more at https://oit.co/ or on thier youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@OITVOIP

For more episodes got to http://businesstechplaybook.com

Find more on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-pote-75a87233

This podcast is provided by the team at Etop Technology: https://etoptechnology.com/

Special thanks to Giga for the intro/outro sounds: https://soundcloud.com/gigamusicofficial