Executive Summary

1a. Incoming calls. Create a table that shows the various services/methods available for providing users with no-long-distance fee calls, and the advantages and disadvantages of each method in this context. Using the data in the table, make a recommendation on the method to be used and provide a full justification for this recommendation.

Services:

Wide Area Telecommunications Service (WATS)

Advantages:

Users from any area can call free of charge

Can mix flat and measured rate lines if calls are not equally distributed geographically

Disadvantages:

May have to pay more for service in Bands (or regions) that service highly selective areas, such as metropolitan areas

Charged a monthly access fee and for usage

Only one call per line can be active

Cost:

Approximately $37.50 per line plus usage at about $0.15 per minute

Remote Call Forwarding (RCF)

Advantages:

Inter-LATA calls automatically forwarded to remote location

Users charged the price of a local call

Cost effective if volume of calls is low

No dedicated lines are required

Disadvantages:

Have to rent a dial tone line from a Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) for every supported area

Charged for a long distance call

Cost efficiency drops when volume increases

Cost:

Approximately $0.25 per minute

Foreign Exchange Service (FX)

Advantages:

Inter-LATA calls can also be supported

Some users will be charged the price of a local call

Disadvantages:

Have to rent a dedicated line for every supported area

Charged a monthly service fee

Users may have to place a long distance call and billed accordingly

Cost:

Approximately $25 to $50 per line depending on distance

 

Incoming Calls Recommendation:

I recommend that this firm use the in-WAT or 800/toll free service. It will allow all users in the area to make toll free calls. It is a scalable solution that will easy give everyone in the supported area, which in this case is the entire state, the same service for the same price. I feel this is solution is better than Remote Call Forwarding because of scalability and also the requirement to rent a line from every LEC in the support is costly. This solution eclipses Foreign Exchange Service because FX is best for point to point communication as opposed to regional service. FX is also better for having a local connection in an area that is very far in distance from a firmís main location.

 

1b. PBX, Centrex, or Key Telephone System: Define and describe the service alternatives of PBX, Centrex, and KTS. Make a recommendation on service and clearly state the rationale for your decision. Be sure to include any assumptions that you made about the business and its needs that factored into your decision.

A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) is an elaborate telephone exchange system. It is electronic in nature and has all the switching logic, the ability to access dial tone and outside resources and common control features encapsulated. It has the ability to share resources so that minimal resource from the LEC can be rented and used optimally within the firm. It is a very expensive piece of hardware. It resides on the premises of the firm and is owned by the firm. A PBX is a solution for a larger business or corporation.

Central Exchange Services (Centrex) are PBX-like services offered by the Central Office. It to is a resource sharing apparatus, however all the logical, control, and other electronic equipment resides at the Central Office. Users rent services and stations from the Central Office. This is usually a solution implemented by small to medium sized businesses.

A Key Telephone System (KTS) is an another form of a resource sharing telephone system. It offers users basic internal and external connectivity. It is a solution utilized by very small businesses and organizations, on the order of ten to thirty employees, that only require a limited amount of lines.

Services Availability Matrix

PBX Centrex KTS

Desired Services:

3 Lines per Staff Member YES YES YES

Personalized Voice Mail YES YES YES

Internal Caller ID with YES YES NO

Database Connectivity

Auto-Call Back YES YES NO

Call Detail YES YES NO

Internal Four Digit Dial YES YES YES

Advance Telephone Stations YES YES YES

Cost per User $750-$1000 $12-$15 per month $75-$100 per

per user line per user

Telephone System Alternatives Recommendation:

I recommend that the firm sequester Centrex services. Usage should continue until the time arrives that the monthly charges for the number of employees out weighs the initial capital required to purchase and install a comparable PBX system with accompanying stations, which also be equivalent to the existing devices in functionality and features. A KTS system does not possess that feature set or scalability required by the firm. Also, assuming that the firm, currently with about fifty employees, grows at 100% annually, a PBX system would not be required for another four or five years. Additionally, at this point, a huge capital outlay would extinguish all positive cash flows the firm now holds. However, it would be wise to examine the use of un-PBXís. The device is basically a microcomputer acting as the logic and control unit of a small telephone network. Although, this type of apparatus little used at this point, its utilization may significantly increase in the future.

 

1c. System Peripherals: Discuss add-on devices/services for the PBX, Centrex, or KTS system that you recommended in 1b above that will be useful to your help desk operation. Make a recommendation for an initial set of add-on devices/services and projections about services that may be useful in the future.

An Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) is a device that processes the incoming calls of a systems by one of the following: prioritizing calls, routing calls to the appropriate agent, delivering announcements, queuing calls, redirecting busy calls, or handling messages for call backs. If used in tandem with Centrex services, the hardware resides on the firmís premises. May support agencies and group utilization such devices in their systems.

Least-cost Routers are peripherals that route calls on a queue to the first available agent. These devices can work intra or inter-site and are usually implemented because of their ability to load balance. Meaning, no agent can go without servicing a user of the system while her or his station physically connected to the firmís telephone network. This is offered by Centrex services.

Email Gateways are devices that allow for seamless connectivity of data and voice over the same network. With Centrex services, new equipment will needed on site for data conversion purposes. Phone companies offer a wide array of services that package this feature with others.

Fax Back Services are peripherals that process a message left by a user of the system. It then in turn faxes the requested information back to the user. In systems where users leave voice and numeric messages, a voice processing devices are used in addition. This is a service only available with PBX systems.

Voice Mail is a messaging service that allows users to leave messages for agents and other employees. Digital in nature, voice mail allows for random access to messages. This service is the integration of computer and telephony as text to speech conversion and vice versa is also used. This is a standard service that comes with all available telephone systems including Centrex.

Automated Attendant devices supplement normal operators by performing one of the following tasks: answering incoming calls, announcing options to the caller, accepting touch-tone input, or forwarding the call to an agent. This service is also a standard service that comes with all available telephone systems including Centrex.

 

Call Detail is a service that tabulates and formats a telephone systemís statistics into a readable form. The outputted data is usually examine to see how well the agents are servicing calls, how long the spend on incoming and outgoing call, and of course time, duration, destination, and source of calls. This service is using done totally within a PBX system. However, telephone-billing systems allow this service to be available through Centrex services also.

Add-on Services Availability Matrix

PBX Centrex KTS

Add-on Peripherals:

Automatic Call Distributor YES YES YES

Least-cost Call Router YES YES YES

Email Gateways YES YES YES

Fax Back Services YES NO NO

Personalized Voice Mail YES YES YES

Automated Attendant YES YES NO

Call Detail YES YES NO

 

System Peripherals Recommendation:

I contend that a voice mail system, an automatic call distributor, an automated attendant, and call detail should all be attained. All are available through Centrex services and are aligned with some features the firm is seeking in its telephone system. For instance, the firm has expressed its desire for a system that provides internal caller ID (linked to a registered user database), automatically routes calls to the help desk staff member with expertise in the application area of the caller (using caller ID), and provides an auto-callback option to users who do not wish to wait on hold. These three objectives can be achieved through the implementation of an automatic call distributor. The firm has also listed that call detail and voice mail systems are required. The use of an automated attendant will buffer the small staff of agents the firm currently has and can be removed or upgraded as the company grows. Call Detail really extinguishes the need for Least-cost Routing. This is because managers will be able to monitor individualsí productivity and make human resources decisions accordingly. An email gateway would be an effective way to add online connectivity to its gun registry, health planning, and community policing applications and is so recommended.

1d. System Design: Create a map that shows the physical layout of the voice network you specified. Be sure to identify types of cable used inside the building, outside facilities running to the building, and all telecommunication service providers.

 

Memorandum

To: Board of Directors

Venture-Capital-Funded Start-up Company

From: Nicholas Armstrong

Shoeless Joe and Associates, Inc.

 

 

 

Dear Board of Directors,

I am writing you this memo in regard to the regulatory changes that have occurred in the turbulent industry of telecommunications in the last twenty years. Notice that our ability to choose different carriers have been greatly impacted.

One of the regulatory changes in our lif time occurred in 1984. It is refered to as the Modified Final Judgement, but it is really the official disvestiture of AT&T. Decided on by the Department of Justice in early 1982 and implemented Janurary 1, 1984, the MFJ forced AT&T to give competitive long distance carrier acces to the long distance network, which at the time was almost entirely owned by AT&T, and its customer billing systems. AT&T was mandate to only provide long distance service while the Baby Bells or Bell Operating Companies were force to provide only local service. The Baby Bells were broken into separate entities away from AT&T and each other. Also, the end point of the telephone network moved from including the actual phone in oneís home to the Demarcation Point, which is the the station drop for oneís home.

Another was the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Some refer to this law as total deregulation. It allows for the following vendors: cable TV providers, data connectivity providers, long distance providers, and local telephone providers to offer the following services: cable TV, data connectivity, long distance, and local telephone service (dial tone). Due to this complete disolvement in regulation, many startup companies have arisen and offer competitive prices and services that established companies are force to contest with. These market confrontations are an advantage when we select which carrier will take us into the twenty first century because not only will establish carriers with a wide array of services be vying for our business, but these startup firms may materialize into carriers that can supply our needs. We are, in deed, lucky to be able to make this choice in this age of technolgy.

 

Sincerely,

Nicholas Armstrong

Memorandum

To: Help Desk Staff Manager

Venture-Capital-Funded Start-up Company

From: Nicholas Armstrong

Shoeless Joe and Associates, Inc.

 

 

 

Dear Help Desk Staff Manager,

I am writing you this memo in regard to the low volume problems you have been experiencing when assisting customers in rural communities. It is not helpful to shout into the phone when dealing with these problems as shouting may increase its affect. Allow me to explain the root of the problem.

Voice is analog signal that transmitted over twisted pair copper wire. Voice, like all signals, attentuates or weakens. Telephone companies combat this by adding amplfiers on the line to keep the integritiy of the signal. This is the problem. Since twisted pair copper wire is cheap and insecure, other signals (such as RF signalss) easily permeate its insulation if it indeed has any, and enters the wire as intereference. Additionally, when the amplifiers are added to the line, the inteference is also amplified. This really is not a big problem in metropolitan areas because not much amplification is required for the signal to reach oneís home. However, in rural communities, a series of many amplifiers ensure that the signal, or some form of it, reaches its destination. The signal reaches the user weak and full of interference. Shouting does not help this problem, because when you shout, some times you increase the amplitude of the voice singal such that it exceeds the banwidth of the wire. That excess will become interference as it moves down the line. The simple illustrations attached should help explain the problem.

Sincerely,

Nicholas Armstrong