Bringing the office up to the digital age

Since I started with Ultrasun back in 2002, I have been wanting to move our company into a more advanced, and easier method of communicating and in general… working. We have been a fairly small company where everyone in the company multi-tasks several jobs under one title. It has taken several years to get us to where we are today and we have several more years to get where I want us to be (overall).

In 2010, we started slowly changing out equipment that stopped working, or had major malfunction issues. We started with the camera system; our Ademco RapidEye system finally decided it could not longer keep up the good fight for us. While I didn’t get the exact model I wanted, I got a Speco system nonetheless. I wanted a system that I could use on my Mac’s as well as on windows PC’s which is what I got; even though I wanted one that would work on my iPhone as well but that is not the model I ended up getting. I am just hoping for an update that makes it compatible with the iPhone.

Here in 2011 it has been a rough year for our office equipment, in that our mail server and phone system both were on there last leg. I am going to partially blame not having battery backup units on all of the equipment or at least not proper ones.

We started off the year with shutting down our mail server and reducing our server machines to one main server computer instead of two. We switched to Google Apps for our small company instead of spending the money to update and maintain our current Microsoft Exchange server. This decision took some time to finally decide on because we would be giving up some control in the server and flexibility in adding users if and when we wanted too. I researched google apps for awhile and everything I seen or found seem to be positive so we decided to go through with it. So far it was the best decision we could make because of the overall costs and the features that were offered. It took me a few days to fully setup everyone and get things back to normal and on some of the administrative pieces I am still finalizing. I now can check my mail more easily on my macs as well with outlook either through windows or on the Mac and we don’t have to worry about server or Internet outages.

More recently as in the month of April our Intertel phone system that I swear is older than I am finally crapped out on us and instead of spending a lot of money on trying to get it fixed we decided to go another route. The route we chose was the open source route of Asterisk, so we made the decision to go with a company here in Indianapolis by the name of Gamma Code and inlist the assistance of it’s owner Mike Dawson. Mike came in and assisted in gathering the information and getting the equipment we need to install freePBX. We ended up using one of my old Windows computers to use as our Asterisk Server and so far… so good. I am in love with the flexibility and feature set that this open source system has and all of it’s future potential abilities.

This is a no photo post until I go back and gather some of my photos from setup to post to this article, I am currently typing this out as I await my trip to Ottawa, Canada.

Till next entry..

– Bradley

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