First American Business Enterprise

Customer Success Story

First American Business Enterprise has just successfully completed a 100+ site and system deployment for a major Fortune 100 financial institution called “Branch Deployment” which also included a major CM7 Upgrade Project.  The project was over 2 years in total and on the very day of the final branch deployment our customer sent us this note which says it all:


Darryle, Mike, Don, Rich, Kim, and Val:

It is hard to express our appreciation for the amazing work you have done.  Thank you all for the endless hours that each of you spent/are spending working nights and weekends for the past two years – benching, data gathering, end user training, deploying phones, installing switches, installing gateways, FDOB support, adds, moves, changes, ordering, tracking and shipping hardware, etc.  Challenges have been numerus – and your ability to adapt to the constant change in procedures has been outstanding. The dedication, professionalism and team effort that each of you have shown has been immensely impressive.  Congratulations on a job well done!


Lauren and Lin:

Lauren, your diligence, dedication and ownership has been a source of inspiration for everyone on the team.  You and Lin have done an outstanding job in keeping the wheels turning and on track for two years – processing 270 Cisco orders – managing and storing HW – plus weekly deliveries; 167 Avaya orders, and 167 site travel arrangements/expenses, managing and delivering billing on time – it’s been absolutely crazy – and not once did we have a travel hiccup or major invoice delay.  Thank you all for your efforts and for an outstanding job.  

*** Mark – again – you should be so very proud of your team – First American has delivered yet another successful job! **

Wishing everyone the best for exciting times ahead.  I am looking forward to our next endeavor together. 


Project Statistics:  Branch Deployment Project:

  • # of sites deployed – 167
  • # of systems deployed per month (max) – 12
  • # of systems reverted back to the old system – zero!
  • # of people on the project – 6 (include PM)
  • # of months -start to finish –22 months
  • # etc. etc. – 2 maternity leaves (diff people)

Project Statistics:  CM7 Upgrade:

  • # of sites upgraded –182
  • # of systems upgraded per month (max) – 45
  • # of people on the project – 4 (include PM)
  • # of months -start to finish –7 months

Convergia is a powerful Global Provider of Telecom Solutions

First ABE | September 18, 2017

Convergia is a powerful Global Provider of Telecom Solutions

As a leading provider of international carrier services, Convergia offers a comprehensive portfolio of quality managed services, while focusing on customer needs and providing reliable business solutions.

First American Business (ABE and ABS), as a leading Enterprise and Government provider of nationwide dispatch technicians, installation engineers, and training around voice & contact center support services, offers a tactical complement.

Lately, First American and Convergia have been working on a number of opportunities.  In particular, First ABE leverages Convergia’s:

  • Wholesale DID prices – which are up to 50% lower than other international providers, through their CLEC network
  • Wholesale toll free service includes a variety of cost-effective tools designed that will expand a customer’s communications capabilities
  • Wholesale Sip Trunking
  • Wholesale SMS bulk and two way SMS messaging service.

On the Business side of things Convergia has a solid portfolio of:

Convergia is a powerful Global Provider of Telecom Solutions

To Monitor or Not

If your network is down your business is down.   Have you ever experienced the frustration of your business’s voice network being completely down?  Your contact center?  On one hand it is a nice feeling “hey, my phone is not ringing so I can get a lot of work done”.   Then it dawns on you… your customers can’t call you; they get frustrated; they start to think about alternatives to doing business with your company!

There are some companies who “react” to issues when they happen and there are some companies who are “proactive”.   The companies who are not proactive generally believe it costs less than being proactive, however when you factor in the cost of down time and lost revenue that is not necessarily the case.

To be proactive in managing your network, it is best to have eyes on your network at all times.  Not just Monday – Friday 8 – 5, but truly on a 7×24 basis.   Proactive monitoring, alarm generation and notification give you those “eyes” even when your staff is not there.   If an outage happens to your voice network on Saturday and you are alerted and able to fix it over the weekend, think how much better that proactive solution is to showing up on Monday morning and then starting your trouble shooting while your business leaders are pressuring you for an answer.

At First American Business Enterprise, our monitoring product suite is focused on two major areas:

  1. Monitoring remote Telephony and IT equipment, and
  2. Giving you secure, simple access to that equipment from anywhere in the world.

Our solution starts with connectivity to your remote site. The solution does this by having a small appliance at every customer location. The appliance is called an ENS and it has all the connectivity and logic to connect to any console. The device supplies access in one of two different ways: 1 – Via a Secure Access Link Tunnel (SALT) through the remote firewall and back to your central location, or 2 – via Modem.

To Monitor or Not

First American’s solution is “Device Agnostic”. As long as the device at the customer’s site has some mechanism for communicating that it is unhappy, we can monitor it.

First American monitoring gives you what you need the most: knowing that there is something wrong with the systems, knowing it before the business user might even know it, and having the ability to fix the issue from anywhere before it has a serious impact on the business’s operations.

Summary:   With First American Business monitoring (part of our full managed services offer) you get on solutions that provides:

  • 24×7 local and remote network monitoring
  • Proactive notification via email
  • Fail over connection
  • Troubleshooting tools
  • Easy Web Browser tools
  • Port History and replay
  • Keyword search and alert
  • Secure remote access

Mitel to buy ShoreTel

Mitel is at it again!   On July 27, Mitel announced it was purchasing ShoreTel in an all cash transaction.   This follows the announcement on May 11th that Mitel signed a Memorandum of Understanding to transfer assets and support obligations, including existing inventory, from Toshiba.

Mitel is based in Canada (Ottawa) and has annual revenues of about $850 million.

The premise PBX market continues to shrink and as the Cloud telephony business ramps up, there was not enough runway for the likes of Shoretel and Toshiba to make the transition.

Combining the two companies catapults Mitel to number two in the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market, according to the company.

With the stroke of a pen, Mitel now has almost doubled its UCaaS revenue to $263 million, and there will be other efficiencies achieved by combining the two companies with similar markets.

“This is a very natural combination that enables us to continue to consolidate the industry and take advantage of cost synergy opportunities while adding new technologies and significant cloud growth to our business,” Mitel CEO Rich McBee said in a statement.

$1.3 Bil in Revenue:  The combined companies will have approximately $1.3 Billion in annual revenue.  In addition when combined will have 3200 channel partners and 4200 employees worldwide.

Financial highlights of the transaction include:

  • Combined sales of $1.3 billion*
  • Increases Mitel’s total recurring revenue to 39% of total revenue*
  • More than doubles Mitel’s UCaaS revenue to $263 million*
  • Significant synergy opportunity targeted at $60M in annual run rate spend expected to be achieved over two years

The deal is still subject to regulatory and shareholder review before it can close.

The combined company will be headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and will operate as Mitel. Rich McBee, Mitel’s Chief Executive Officer, will lead the combined organization. Steve Spooner, Mitel’s Chief Financial Officer, will also continue in that role.

Mitel to buy Toshiba’s Telecom division

In blog #34 (March ’17) we posted that Toshiba was shutting down its Telecom division headquartered in Irvine CA.  At the time of the announcement it was a pure shut down… Toshiba did not try to sell their Telecommunications division but simply decided to shut it down.

The premise PBX market continues to shrink and as the Cloud telephony business ramps up, there was not enough runway for Toshiba to make the transition.  Toshiba sales have been declining for some time and the company has become far less visible and innovative than many of its competitors. Toshiba made an excellent PBX that competed with small business systems from the likes of Panasonic, Mitel, and NEC.

Toshiba had been losing some of its pull in the industry, it was still a shocking decision considering that the company has about a 3% market share in the U.S.

Fast forward to May ’17 and we learn that Mitel is picking up the parts from the Toshiba telecommunications business.

A little about Mitel:  They are based in Canada (Ottawa) and have annual revenues of about $850 million.

On May 3rd Mitel announced Q1 financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.

Mitel announced they too are taking proactive cost reduction actions to align its operating expenses with its current business needs. This includes a workforce reduction of approximately 10% expected to be completed between now and the end of the year.

Financial Highlights from Continuing Operations

  Q1 2016
in millions
(except per share data)
Q1 2017   Historical
GAAP Revenues $223.1   $233.0
GAAP Net Income (Loss) ($19.7)   ($11.8)
Non-GAAP Net Income2 $10.9 $10.5
GAAP EPS – basic ($0.16)   ($0.10)

Mitel Business Highlights this quarter included:

  • Recurring cloud seats grew by 45,000 during the quarter and now stand at 588,000
  • Working with a large service provider, Mitel is transitioning 10,000 employees of a second large European-based auto manufacturer from premise to a cloud-based Unified Communications solution.
  • A Midwestern US-based furniture retailer with more than 65 locations and an on-line presence selected MiCloud Enterprise and MiCloud Contact Center to connect all locations, centralize answering, and manage their advanced contact center needs including callback in queue and multi-media requirements.  The system is all hosted by Mitel. 

Mitel, on Thursday May 11th signed a Memorandum of Understanding to transfer assets and support obligations, including existing inventory, from Toshiba to Mitel. The agreement also includes a transition of product and services agreements from Toshiba customers to Mitel.

Mitel expects to close on the Toshiba deal this summer.

Besides transferring their existing inventory, Mitel will also be transferring all of their service and maintenance contracts to Mitel, so that Toshiba customers continue to have support as they move forward.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mitel made its last acquisition in 2015 with the purchase of cloud-based UC provider Mavenir. The vendor made a bid to buy Polycom last year, although the deal fell through.

Verizon exits Cloud

Verizon Enterprise Solutions on Tuesday (5/2) said it had reached a deal for IBM to buy its cloud and managed hosting services. No value of the sales price was indicated.

Verizon says it will still sell services to “securely and reliably connect to their cloud resources” – this is presumably Verizon carrier and transport security services which will allow customers to “connect” to the various cloud providers in the industry.   With this sale to IBM, Verizon just won’t be hosting applications on its cloud infrastructure, which it gained by acquiring Terramark in 2011 for $1.4bn.

This news with IBM follows the earlier announcement where Equinix announced it would pay $3.6bn for Verizon’s 29 datacenter locations.

Verizon had ambitions of moving into the cloud back in 2011 when it acquired Terremark.

The acquisition by IBM is expected to close later this year.

As George Fischer, SVP and group president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, notes in the announcement, IBM and Verizon will work together on a number of “strategic initiatives” that will involve networking and cloud services. “This agreement presents a great opportunity for Verizon Enterprise Solutions (VES) and our customers,” Fischer writes. “It is the latest development in an ongoing IT strategy aimed at allowing us to focus on helping our customers securely and reliably connect to their cloud resources and utilize cloud-enabled applications.”

It appears Verizon never reached the scale to compete with other infrastructure cloud providers like Amazon, IBM and Microsoft.

With this move, IBM bolsters its position in the private cloud and managed hosting space to help them better compete.

E-MetroTel Telephony Solution – UCX

First American is a proud channel partner of E-MetroTel telephony solutions.   E-MetroTel, headquartered in Plano Texas, is a cost effective telephony and contact center solution targeted at the small and mid-enterprise market.

Here is where E-MetroTel excels:

  • Perfect for companies with up to 5,000 users.
  • Perfect for companies that have legacy systems like Nortel who what to save money by replacing the core but reuse the handsets.
  • Perfect for companies who want a traditional Appliance solution delivered and installed at their site; or
  • Perfect for companies who want to install the E-MetroTel Software on their own virtual servers; or
  • Perfect for companies who want a hosted “Cloud” solution where they pay for what they use on a subscription basis!

The E-MetroTel UCX is a cost-effective SIP Based Unified Communications solution that helps customers extend the life of their existing IP, Digital or Analog and add new open standard SIP devices. Employees become more productive and collaborative by using new UC capabilities – while leveraging the existing telephony investments and reducing ongoing maintenance cost.

UCX supports Analog, Digital and VoIP phones — in any combination.

UCX delivers the latest Unified Communication features such as integrated mobility, Home working, Call Recording, Meet-Me Conferencing including support for SIP compliant telephones and cost effective SIP trunks.

The Product Family of the E-MetroTel line is:

E-MetroTel Telephony Solution - UCX

The feature rich, E-MetroTel solutions includes:

Mobility Never miss another call. Ensure all calls find you based on rules you create, using features like scheduler, simultaneous ringing and privileged lists. Don’t want customers to know you’re working from home? Make and receive calls on your mobile device, with the appearance of using your office phone.
Conference Bridge  Host your own on-demand conference calls for both internal and external attendees, with all the features like conference recording and add or remove participants. It includes: Password-Protected Conference Bridges, Third-party dial-in through DID, Participant Management & Conference Recording.
IVR Interactive Voice Response offers several options to help ensure that your callers don’t get confused and trapped. Within each IVR, you can choose whether or not to allow your callers to dial an extension at any time. This is useful for creating different kinds of IVR experiences. Play a sound to the caller, then continue to the next action. This is for greetings, prompts, instructions, etc. Use the Sound Manager to record whatever sounds you want.
Call    Recording Record Calls on Demand or all calls. Complete set of call records that are easy to access, browse and export. Set up recording of every call made or received on an extension-by-extension basis. Also you can create a rule that dialing a particular sequence in the course of a call (such as *1) will result in the call being recorded.
Easy to configure and use yet highly effective contact center solution with advanced reporting. Minimize customer hold time by sending the caller to the agent that is properly trained to handle their query. Transfer callers who require specific handling in a certain area, such as technical support or sales, directly to agents. Keep the callers in queue if all agents are busy and provide choices to go to another group, supervisor or even have the system call them back.
Integrated Messaging Simple flexible voice messages users retrieve from their hard client, Softphone, portal or even via email. Leave you a Voicemail message that can be sent to you as a .wav file to your favorite email client.
Call Detail Reporting Complete set of call records that are easy to access, browse and export. A log of all calls made including: source number; destination number; call duration, date and time. Full graphic reporting included as standard.

UCX WebRTC Client

WebRTC stands for Web Real-Time Communications, and the technology is focused on embedding real-time communications, such as voice, directly within web browsers. The WebRTC client that’s built into every UCX system allows you to use a simple web-interface on a laptop, desktop, tablet or smart phone.

E-MetroTel Telephony Solution - UCX

If your company is looking for a new, feature rich, telephony product that is easy on your budget E-MetroTel likely has what you are looking for.

Toshiba Shuts Down Telecom Division

Interesting that Toshiba did not try to sell their Telecommunications division but simply decided to shut it down.   As the premise PBX market continues to shrink and as the Cloud telephony business ramps up, maybe there were just no buyers for the smaller players?

Founded in 1975, Toshiba Telecommunication Systems Division (TSD) was a division of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. (TAIS) – a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, TSD is a manufacturer of IP business telephone systems, designed for small to medium-sized businesses and larger enterprises with multiple locations. Its ‘Strata CIX IP’ business telephone systems and related applications are sold by a network of Authorized Toshiba Dealers throughout the United States and Latin America.

Dealers were informed via letter on March 21, 2017 that “Toshiba Corporation has deemed it necessary to wind-down its Telecommunication Systems Division (TSD) business starting immediately.” Toshiba has decided to shut down its Telecommunication System Division (TSD) and associated hosting platform services.

According to a memo from Brian Metherell, VP & GM of Toshiba America Information Systems, TSD:

“As part of its continuing global restructuring, Toshiba Corporate has deemed it necessary to wind-down our Telecommunication Systems Division (TSD) business starting immediately.

“Dealers can submit orders through May 22, 2017 subject to inventory availability and purchase order acceptance.”

Toshiba sales have been declining for some time and the company has become far less visible and innovative than many of its competitors. Toshiba made an excellent PBX that competed with small business systems from the likes of Panasonic, Mitel, and NEC.

Toshiba Canada also will be announcing the wind-down of its telecommunications business, and TSD will no longer be selling in Mexico.  TSD vowed to support dealers in all warranty and maintenance obligations to customers.

It is a surprise that a once dominate market continues to see contraction.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)

The UCaaS market today is comprised of pure-plays, network operators, cable MSOs, ISPs, system integrators, and traditional premises-based vendors. With a multitude of options, things can be confusing for businesses trying to find the right provider and service to fit their needs,” said Diane Myers, senior research director of VoIP, UC, and IMS for IHS Markit and author of the fourth quarter 2016 Analyst Insight report. “Today, as our report and the data indicate, the leader is BroadSoft, comprising the larger share of installed base seats running over its platform.”

In November 2016, BroadSoft announced it surpassed 15 million cloud UC lines deployed globally, – an industry leading milestone three times greater than the next nearest competitor. At the same time, BroadSoft market share for new cloud UC line shipments is double that of the next closest competitor, a key trend as BroadSoft expects the market for new cloud PBX/unified communications will surpass on-premise PBX/UC equipment shipments by 2020.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)

PBX Market Share

Check out how the things have changed in the Enterprise PBX landscape over the past 10 years.    In 2006 Avaya plus Nortel had 38% of the entire market.   Avaya, 10 years later, and after purchasing Nortel’s Enterprise group, is down to 17%!

Who is moving up?   Microsoft was not even on the 2006 chart… it now has 6%

Cisco, 10 years ago was only 15% and is now 35%

PBX Market Share

Now, 10 years later:

PBX Market Share

But this doesn’t tell the whole story.   Companies are now moving to the Cloud and UCaaS.   Check out our next Blog Post.