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Unwanted Sales Calls, Part One


9/8/2022

Photo by Pixabay

{This is for our customers, their families, friends, and everyone they know.}

Unwanted sales calls and robocalls (a recorded caller), are voice call spam and can be irritating time-wasters. In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission, the branch of the U.S. Government for consumer protection, set up a remedy for public use that is FREE.

The “Do Not Call Registry” was set up for residential users and will stop most sales calls even to cellphones. (Part Two is help for business users.) It is easy to do on a website, DoNotCall.gov, or toll-free number: 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register. Did I mention it is FREE?

Designed to reduce telemarketing calls to consumers, it will not stop illegal, debt collection, political, charitable, informational calls, or surveys. But if you are called illegally and report it, the caller can be fined thousands of dollars for each call.

While this will not stop all calls, if you are still getting calls that are not in the above-mentioned categories, they are likely a scam. If you feel it might be a scam, hang up without pressing any buttons. Legitimate businesses follow the rules, and it is likely that you would not want to give your money or time to those that do not. Businesses that have a relationship with you can call, until you ask them to stop. Once you register, the number stays on the registry until you cancel it, or change numbers.

There are other options for residential users, but this is a good first step. Thank you for being an AccelerateNetworks customer.


Unwanted Sales Calls, Part Two


9/8/2022

Photo by Pixabay

As discussed in Part One, unwanted sales calls and robocalls (a recorded caller), are voice call spam and can be irritating time-wasters. Part One has information on the Do Not Call Registry for residential phone lines, including cell phones. However, the registry is not available for business phone numbers. Here are some ideas for reducing these calls on a business line.

FusionPBX is a website where you can customize your company’s phone services and is available to our customers at AccelerateNetworks. On this website, you can add an incoming menu, such as: “Press 1 for…, Press 2 for…,” enable Call Screen for your extension, or use the Call Block tool.

To add an incoming menu, from Applications you go to the IVR, or Interactive Voice Recording Menu.

To enable Call Screen for your extension in your FusionPBX portal, go to Accounts, then Extensions, then to Call Screen.

Call Block is our call blocking tool accessible in FusionPBX under Applications, then Call Block. To use Call Block, press “Add,” and you should see a screen like what is shown below. Check off the numbers you would like to block, then press Block to save these blocked numbers.

We hope you will give these ideas a try. If you are still plagued by unwanted sales calls, ring up our Customer Service Team at 206-333-3341. We would be delighted to help you, and thank you for being an AccelerateNetworks customer.


VoIP – Is it for you?


8/9/2022

Photo by Bruno Cantuária

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It uses broadband Internet for communications, and where a conventional landline is analog, VoIP is digital. Using the internet to make phone calls comes with a variety of benefits, such as affordability, flexibility, portability, and convenience.

Affordability - The basic service for VoIP calling much less expensive than a traditional analog phone line, and is packed with features that are usually expensive “extras” from the phone company. As an example, basic business phone service does not come with voicemail. With VoIP, you might not see any extra fees since VoIP providers usually give customers every feature available in every plan offered, for a set price.

Flexibility - We provide your office phone(s) of choice, whether corded, or cordless. However, if you do not want to upgrade your phones, it is possible to use traditional handsets as long as you have a converter that will allow your analog phones to use Internet-based calling. Also, it is possible to keep your current business phone number when switching to VoIP, or get as many phone numbers as you need for your staff. VoIP service is often based on a per-user price, meaning you have the flexibility of using just a single number for your business or using several numbers where each employee has his or her own line.

Portability - The average businessperson who is traveling, whether near or far, used to need a mobile phone for travel and a landline for office calls. Some businesses have given up the landline completely in favor of smartphones, but VoIP has made it even easier to get calls anywhere. As long as you are near a broadband connection, you can log into the VoIP phone system and get a dial tone. With VoIP portability, patients, clients, or customers do not need to make multiple calls to reach someone at your business. They dial one number, and they will reach you wherever you are – and you can answer from virtually anywhere, too.

Convenience - VoIP allows you a flexible approach to setting up your business phone system, and there are several convenient features that could make your life much easier and efficient. For example, a call-follow feature that will find you, so you can answer calls rather than missing them. Additionally, VoIP makes it easy to set up video calling and conference calling. A user-friendly interface for conducting conference calls makes it much easier to get everyone on the call without hassle or accidental hang-ups.

Are you ready for VoIP phone service?  Give our AccelerateNetworks Team a call at 206-333-3341. We would be delighted to help you.


Ethernet, or Wi-Fi: Which is better for your business?


8/9/2022

Photo by Victor Santos

As early as 2009, there was concern about the overuse of Wi-Fi for business communications. To understand the potential problem, check for available Wi-Fi connections on a phone or computer. If you are in a small office, you may think you do not need ethernet, but if you see many networks available, you are probably better off running an ethernet cable to provide stable connectivity. When many Wi-Fi networks are available, it is known as a High-Density Area.

Wi-Fi is a radio signal, sent over-the-air. These signals can be filtered, or interfered with by many things: electrical panels, microwave ovens, radios, cell phones and other Wi-Fi enabled devices, network security controls, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Similar to the picture above, the signals can also be overwhelmed by competing WAPs (Wireless Access Points), or by overloading the capabilities of the network hardware.

Conclusion? It depends on where you are located, what is nearby, how you use your devices, how many devices are on your network, the infrastructure of your building, and the hardware you are using. Sometimes, just upgrading your wireless router may be all that is needed to provide stable connectivity without running ethernet cabling.

If this all seems like TMI (Too Much Information), give our team a call at 206-333-3341. We would be delighted to help you.


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Auto-Dialing Challenges


6/29/2022

Photo by Thaddaeus

There is a challenge with some of the phones on our network, and we wanted you to know we are aware of it. It is called Inter-Digit Delay, and here is what happens:

  • When you enter a number in your cell phone, you must hit “call” before the phone dials the number.
  • When you enter a number on your VOIP phone, you can hit “send,” lift the handset on a desk phone, or wait for it to autodial the number.
  • Sometimes, maybe you need a bit of extra time to find all the digits of a phone number, such as the small print at the bottom of a business card. With our Yealink phones, there is a software “feature” that will automatically dial the number after 14 seconds, due to the Inter-Digit Delay setting - without pressing send, lifting the handset, or anything else. If you have not entered all the digits required, you will get the screen above.

This also happens with our Grandstream phones. However, the setting can be disabled, while on our Yealink phones it cannot. We are working with the company to address this issue. Thank you for being an Accelerate Networks customer.


Are your internet costs set to explode?


5/28/2022

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast (Xfinity) and Charter Spectrum offer great deals if you sign a 2 year or 3 year service agreement.

What your ISP may not tell you is pricing for the second or following years is much higher than the promotional price for the first year.

If you are concerned, give our team a call or text at (206)858-8757 for a free bill review. We are happy to help, and at Accelerate Networks a service agreement is NOT required.

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How do I get rid of robocallers?


5/6/2022

Red Corded Telephone on White SurfacePhoto by Negative Space

Nothing is more annoying than pesky robocallers!

Registering on the Do Not Call list at 1-888-382-1222 (voice) is a good first step, but adding a menu or enabling Call Screen for your extension in your FusionPBX portal under Accounts => Extensions is a great way to eliminate most robocallers.

Services like Nomorobo are also a free and easy way to augment your undesirable call blocking abilities, as is our call block tool accessible in FusionPBX under Applications => Call Block.

To use Call Block, press Add and you should see a screen like what is shown below. Check off the numbers you would like to block, then press Block to save these blocked numbers. FusionPBX Call Block Screenshot


Upgrading DeepSpeech Frontend for improved Voicemail Transcription


11/18/2019

Mozilla Common Voice We've updated DeepSpeech Frontend to enable better transcriptions using Mozilla DeepSpeech! From simplifying Voice Activity Detection to changing our weights to make the best use of the new voice model in DeepSpeech 0.5.1, this update significantly improves the accuracy of text generated by DeepSpeech Frontend.

If you want to help Mozilla in their quest to improve open source speech transcription, check out Common Voice, a project to build quality data that trains Mozilla DeepSpeech, Mozilla TTS and more!

The Machine Learning Group at Mozilla Research also blogs about progress on DeepSpeech, Opus and other Machine Learning enabled endeavors.


Power Connect: Capitol Hill Streetscapes will be a blast!


10/29/2019

Capitol Hill Business Alliance Logo with Streetscapes drawing of Capitol Hill

Help us build the Capitol Hill Business Alliance by attending this great event on November 7th at Union Bar. Hope to meet you soon!


Power Connect: East is happening tomorrow at The W Bellevue!


10/14/2019

Picture of Downtown Bellevue from Wikipedia

Connect with us in a great setting at Power Connect: East tomorrow night! We would love to meet you, and like other Power Connect events its sure to be a blast.


Meet us at Power Connect North in Edmonds, WA!


9/30/2019

We're excited to see you at Power Connect North and the preceding Snohomish County Business Roundtable at First Financial Northwest Bank on October 2nd!

Join us for a fun afternoon with the Greater Seattle Business Alliance, including a raffle, drinks and snacks for all to enjoy (at no cost). Don't forget to register for these events!


Building better communication tools


8/28/2019

We seek to provide a convenient, easy to use communications platform for our clients, and upstream our improvements to existing software as part of our mission to be a good member of the libre software community.

As part of that goal, we've upstreamed code into FusionPBX and documented features and added push support to FreeSWITCH to enable better support for Android & iOS users.


Got Mobility?


8/9/2022

Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina

Everyone wants mobility in their communications. Most of us have at least one cell phone we rely on. However, cell phones require a cellular account, are more prone to being stolen, and are too delicate for hard use. (Think concrete floors in a warehouse.)

Grandstream’s DP720 is a cordless phone with HD sound quality, long battery life, and range up to 50 meters indoors and 300 meters outdoors. It also has useful features such as call transfer, call forward, call waiting, do not disturb, message waiting indicator, speakerphone, and 3-way conferencing on up to 10 lines per system. These phones require the DP750 Base Station, which can support up to 5 handsets.

We have these phones and base stations in stock and ready for delivery now. Give our Sales Team a call at (206)858-8757 and we can help you be more mobile in your communications.


Your phone number reputation matters


5/19/2022

Person holding blank business cardPhoto by Pixabay

Your calls might not ring through depending on your phone number's reputation. Carriers today are filtering calls as part of their Robocall Mitigation programs, and customers have taken to apps like Hiya, Nomorobo, Jolly Roger, Truecaller and many others in an attempt to reduce the number of undesirable calls they receive.

Registering for the Free Caller Registry will help if your numbers are showing as “Scam Likely” or “Potential Spam” on recipients’ phones, but you should also communicate directly with the carrier used by your recipient. Our Lookup tool can show you their carrier, and you can check with Verizon Wireless, AT&T or T-Mobile by clicking on these links and completing the relevant form.

If your phone number has been flagged, we recommend switching to a different number for your outbound caller ID until the flag is removed by the carrier or vendor (after you file the relevant form/ticket).

Key things to ensure when calling recipients:

  • Set your caller ID to a direct callback number rather than a general number
  • Encourage customers to save your number
  • Email and text customers in addition to calling
  • Understand the telemarketing sales rules

Remember, the algorithms powering the popular call filters today often fail to distinguish between real and robocallers, and their data is generated by users who sometimes erroneously report numbers as scams. The system is imperfect, but with a bit of work you can avoid having your calls flagged.


Supporting Our Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic


7/17/2020

During these trying times, we are here to support your organization with Follow Me, Conferences, Remote Voicemail Access, using your phones at home & more!

Our clients will not see service discontinued or reduced during this pandemic. We are adding Conferencing without limits on the number of participants to encourage and enable working remotely, let us know if you would like this set up!

Need a phones for yourself or employees working from home? Grandstream's WiFi & Bluetooth enabled GRP2615 is in stock and ready for no contact delivery.

The safety of our team and clients is our highest priority, we are maintaining physical distance, sanitizing equipment and ensuring masks are worn.

Let us know how we can support your organization through this tumultuous time!


Happy Halloween!


10/31/2019

Scott & Kyle

We wish you a happy & safe Halloween, if you are in the Queen Anne neighborhood say hi to Scott & Kyle who volunteered as crossing guards this fine afternoon!

Queen Anne Chamber


How we reuse hardware, reducing cost & environmental impact


10/18/2019

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Repeat Image by Phil Gibbs under CC-BY-2.0

Our mission is to ensure everything we do at Accelerate Networks is ethical. As part of our mission to operate in an ethical, environmentally friendly manner, almost every phone we deploy is refurbished.

Phones arrive at our client businesses with little to no packaging (often in reusable totes or recyclable cardboard boxes), whereas a new phone arrives with 4 medium & large bubble wrap envelopes and 3 plastic bags containing various parts, which are nearly impossible to properly recycle.

Grandstream GXP2170 Front

The practical difference for our clients is minimal, refurbished phones are visually identical to brand new phones, we offer the exact same 1 year warranty on this hardware, and the client ends up with little to no waste after upgrading their phone system.

What happens to the phone systems we replace? Old phone systems and PBXes contain lead solder and other heavy metals that need to be properly disposed of, while cabling can be coated in lead paint and be considered hazardous waste. We dispose of old systems through eCycle Washington certified recyclers, evaluate whether old cabling is potentially coated in lead paint, and seek to safely retire in place or responsibly remove and dispose of said wiring.


Join us at the Capitol Hill Business Alliance Launch Party!


10/6/2019

While its sad to see community institutions like the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce wind down, we are excited to participate in the Capitol Hill Business Alliance!

Mingle with us on Tuesday October 8th as we warmly welcome the CHBA into our community!


Camp #Octothorpe: Radical Telephony at Burning Man


9/5/2019

Person answering a phone outside Camp #Octothorpe

Image courtesy of 973737BURN

One of our favorite clients, Camp #Octothorpe, recently made the trip to Burning Man!

A core tenant of Burning Man is to bring interactive art, in Camp #Octothorpe’s case they have built a performant game of telephonic chance, where phones ring on playa and people who otherwise wouldn’t speak are connected at random, forming new connections and experiences along the way.

This year Camp #Octothorpe was able to handle an impressive 131,000 minutes of calls across nearly 9000 calls on our platform, quite a feat given Burning Man lasts but a week!

Publications including the Reno Gazette Journal, Art Predator and many Redditors made this project vibrant and consistently popular.

Camp #Octothorpe has also worked to be accessible worldwide, letting people call using WebRTC right from their website, bypassing traditional middlemen to bring high quality, Opus audio to the playa! Check out their Facebook for the latest on their future adventures.