First American Business Enterprise

WHAT IS Wi-Fi 6?

WHAT IS Wi-Fi 6?

When Wi-Fi 6 came out, it was announced as the great upgrade. Since every generation of wireless makes a similar claim, what is a significant upgrade is vs. what is “just a little bit faster”?

WI-FI 6 ISN’T ABOUT TOP SPEEDS

Instead of boosting the speed for individual devices, Wi-Fi 6 is all about improving the network when a bunch of devices are connected.

The latest generation of Wi-Fi, known as Wi-Fi 6, brings with it some significant performance improvements that aim to address limitations in older generations.

It’s important to understand that 802.11ax, also known as “high-efficiency wireless,” “Wi-Fi 6”.  So, here is the rundown of the current and prior generations of Wi-Fi:

  • Wi-Fi 6 = (802.11ax);
  • Wi-Fi 5 = (802.11ac); and
  • Wi-Fi 4 = (802.11n).

 

Wi-Fi 6 is just beginning its rollout in the market.

Technically, Wi-Fi 6 has a single-user data rate that is 37% faster than Wi-Fi 5, but what’s more significant is that the updated specification will offer four (4x) times the throughput per user in crowded environments, as well as better power efficiency which will help with battery life.

Home users who upgrade their hardware will see improvements from these technologies, as the number of devices per household increases – some estimates suggest there will be as many as 40 connections thru a router, per home by 2023.

Wi-Fi 6 isn’t designed to boost download speeds significantly – it mainly allows for device count increases. This will lay a foundation for the number of nodes expected on upcoming expansion of home smart devices – i.e. the Internet of Things.

 

Here’s some of Wi-Fi 6’s main benefits:

  • More overall bandwidth per user for HD streaming
  • Support for more simultaneous streams of data with increased throughput
  • More total spectrum (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
  • Packets contain more data and networks can handle different data streams at once
  • Improved performance (as much as 4x) at the maximum range of an access point
  • Ability to offload wireless traffic from cellular networks where reception is poor

 

WHAT IS WI-FI 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of Wi-Fi. It’ll still do the same basic thing — connect you to the internet — just with a bunch of additional technologies to make that happen more efficiently, speeding up connections in the process.

How to Contact First American Business

Our new First American Ticketing system has been up and operational for over six months now and is working exceptionally well.

Customers can call us 7×24, email us or open a ticket on our web portal.   The following is a summary of that process:

How to Contact First American Business

Work from Home – Impact to Telecom

Work from Home - Impact to Telecom

The future of work is changing rapidly.

The coronavirus pandemic has shifted many companies away from the physical office leaving people wondering how long they’ll be working remotely and how their work will change once they return to the office.

This is the new digital telecommunication world we are in now.

Teleworking has been around since the late 1990’s.    Back then a few innovative companies including Nortel Networks decided that they could save money on corporate real estate and improve employee satisfaction and productivity.   It didn’t hurt that companies like Nortel and Cisco made network equipment that allowed for remote offices to work in the first place.   High speed bandwidth was just coming into play in the ‘90s – before that it was dial up modems which were not capable of supporting a digital workplace.

Slowly, over the years, more and more companies allowed workers to work remote and meanwhile the technology that allows for unified communication (voice, text and video) kept getting better and better.

Fast forward to 2020.  The digital office isn’t temporary. Instead, the pandemic has accelerated a shift that was already in the works for a while. Much of the abrupt transition that companies made because of the pandemic will be here to stay, and it’s up to companies to consider the unique needs of their workforces as the future continues to evolve.

The pandemic accelerated the work from home movement by at least 5 years. It was already moving in this direction before, but the pandemic actually forced companies to experiment on new ways of working.

Explosion of Zoom, Teams and other collaborating applications hit mainstream.   Zoom was there but most people hadn’t used it before March this year.   The pandemic forced people to try it (and other collaborating tools) and they found them to be easy and they liked it!   The boom for these high bandwidth applications also drive IT sales of PCs, Headsets, Laptops, soft clients, directory services, call centers and virtually every part of a company’s telecom infrastructure.   Do you want to own a data center with servers and perpetual licenses when you could get Zoom or Salesforce or G suite from the cloud and pay on a per user basis?  Many companies are taking this opportunity to move to the cloud.

This movement to home has been both good and bad for employees.   On the positive side they aren’t wasting time in the car commuting.  They’re taking advantage of the time that they have at home, which they would have normally spent on the road.  However, they’re working even more and taking more time out of their personal day, or they’re not focusing on the families. Some companies are asking their people to block their calendars for personal time, which is a new situation for sure.

From a company standpoint E-commerce was already a piece of the business. Now it’s becoming the business itself.  When talking about digital transformation, business must look at the payback. Digital transformation is the business performing and growing better.

Working from home is really about the art of bringing together — the right tools and the processes and people. It is estimated that 40-50% of all jobs in American can be done remotely and long after the pandemic is over there will be more jobs done from home than ever before.

First American Business

100% of our staff works from home.  We remotely access our customer’s networks to trouble shoot and resolve issues and if we need to go to a site we nationwide network of over 800 technicians in the field that we can deploy locally as needed.

In short, we are fully operational, productive and supporting our customers during this time of change in the Telecom world.

End

PRESS RELEASE – May 2020 NEW AWARD

PRESS RELEASE – May 2020 NEW AWARD

CONTACT INFORMATION

FIRST AMERICAN BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, INC.

David A. Colangelo, PMP – Federal Business Manager

401-258-2095

David.Colangelo@firstamericanbusiness.com

 

DEPT OF THE NAVY CONTRACT AWARD

[New Port Richey, Florida, May 3, 2020]  First American Business Solutions was awarded the Telecom support agreement (O&M) for the Dept. of the Navy – West under a one + four year arrangement due to its superior customer service.

The Department of the Navy (Navel Support FLC Puget Sound) awarded a Firm Fixed-Price contract to First American Business Solutions on April 29, 2020.   Under the award, First American Business will provide telecommunications Operations and Maintenance services under a base year plus four optional years.

The intent of the award is to provide telecommunications operations and maintenance (O&M). This includes secure and reliable, classified and unclassified, voice and data services in support of the U.S Navy and other DOD agencies under the Commander Navy Region North West Area of Responsibility.

First American Business shall provide all material, labor, supplies, vehicles, test equipment, and any other items required to maintain the Nortel telecom Private Automated Branch Exchange (PABX) systems, AVAYA Systems, Voice Mail systems, Remote Intelligent Peripheral Equipment (IPE), batteries and rectifier systems, proprietary digital telephone sets, fiber optic and copper cable plant, main frames, and operator consoles.

First American Business shall also be required to provide labor and material to maintain and install additional inside/outside cable plant and fiber optics, as well as equipment and labor to provide switch expansion capability and dot release software updates.

“We are excited to expand our presence within the Department of Defense.  This contract award from Navy West is an amazing opportunity for us leverage our Nortel and Avaya product expertise and to solidify our corporate security clearance as we expand further into the government space” says Mark Morningstar Owner and Managing Partner of First American Business.

Specific sites to be supported by First American Business Solutions under this award include:

  1. Naval Station Everett, Everett, WA
  2. Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, WA
  3. Naval Magazine, Port Hadlock WA
  4. Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Keyport, WA
  5. Pacific Beach Resort and Conference Center, Pacific Beach, WA
  6. Naval Hospital Bremerton
  7. Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor, Silverdale, WA
  8. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Bremerton, WA
  9. Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton, WA

End

President’s Piece

President’s Piece

Fall 2020!

It has been 6 (crazy?) months since COVID-19 hit our communities.    The virus is still playing out so it is difficult to predict when things will truly be back to “normal” from a business standpoint.   A few things are coming more into focus however.   Before the pandemic about 8% of all knowledge workers worked from home.   Over the past 6 months that has shot up to over 30%.   Surveys are predicting that it will settle back to around 20% once a vaccine is widely available.   Even at twenty percent, that is over double from what it was a few short months ago so our business – telecommunications – will only become more important supporting this change.  Higher bandwidth, video conferencing and unified communication platforms are now common business tools.

At First American Businesses, our work-at-home policy has been in place for over 10 years.  Our suite of collaboration tools make communicating internally and with clients relatively easy.

Another key change in the business world is air travel.   Airlines are only operating at 40% of pre-pandemic levels and don’t expect to recover for years.   With newly accepted telecom tools like Zoom and Teams there won’t be as much of a need to get on a plane.  We are fortunate to have a nationwide footprint of local engineers.   We are able to continue supporting our customers with a combination of local and remote technical support.

We will see what the next few months brings.  We are proud to have kept our entire staff this year – in fact – our business has continued to grow and we have added new employees!

New Customers

Over the past six months the number of quotes and contract wins has really picked up.  Like most businesses we were impacted by the “pause” in the March and April timeframe but then, customers who had delayed decisions, started to sign new agreements and request new proposals.  A few examples of new big awards this year for our team include:

Navy Contract:  First American Business will provide telecommunications Operations and Maintenance services under a base year plus 4 optional year agreement to The Navel Support FLC Puget Sound (“Navy West”).  This is a multimillion dollar contract supporting many Navy locations in the Northwestern U.S.   Please see our Press Release.

Damovo:   We signed an umbrella agreement and a direct support agreement with Damovo USA in August.   First American will dispatch to their customer locations on a 7×24 basis throughout the U.S.

These are just a few examples.  The First American Business team has been working overtime to on board these new customers!

Staff Expansion

Because of our new contracts we are expanding.   We now have 5 full time certified CM8 engineers and 4 full time certified Nortel engineers.    On the Navy West project we hired four new (very talented) staff dedicated to that account:  Chris Kinsman, Earl Lange, Matt Mason, and Tom Thornwall.  We are very happy to have them on the team!

This is the largest our engineering team has been since business started 11 years ago!

Our Lab

If you recall in previous newsletters we mentioned we were constructing a Lab.  The Lab is 2,200 square feet that includes a server room, a small warehouse, individual desk space, a conference room, a training room and a small kitchenette.  The Lab is up and running and fully functional.

First American Facemasks

We know these are trying times for families and businesses.   More than ever we are grateful to our customers for sticking with us and for helping us to expand.

To ensure we are doing our part to protect our customers and employees, First American Business has created a company sponsored protective facemask that is being distributed to our personnel who report to or visit a customer site.

 

Thanks to you, and our employees – we look forward to finishing out the year strong!

 

Sincerely,

Mark
Owner, Managing Partner

mark.morningstar@firstamericanbusiness.com

Work from Home – Impact to Telecom

Work from Home
The future of work is changing rapidly.

The coronavirus pandemic has shifted many companies away from the physical office leaving people wondering how long they’ll be working remotely and how their work will change once they return to the office.

This is the new digital telecommunication world we are in now.

Teleworking has been around since the late 1990’s.    Back then a few innovative companies including Nortel Networks decided that they could save money on corporate real estate and improve employee satisfaction and productivity.   It didn’t hurt that companies like Nortel and Cisco made network equipment that allowed for remote offices to work in the first place.   High speed bandwidth was just coming into play in the ‘90s – before that it was dial up modems which were not capable of supporting a digital workplace.

Slowly, over the years, more and more companies allowed workers to work remote and meanwhile the technology that allows for unified communication (voice, text and video) kept getting better and better.

Fast forward to 2020.  The digital office isn’t temporary. Instead, the pandemic has accelerated a shift that was already in the works for a while. Much of the abrupt transition that companies made because of the pandemic will be here to stay, and it’s up to companies to consider the unique needs of their workforces as the future continues to evolve.

The pandemic accelerated the work from home movement by at least 5 years. It was already moving in this direction before, but the pandemic actually forced companies to experiment on new ways of working.

Explosion of Zoom, Teams and other collaborating applications hit mainstream.   Zoom was there but most people hadn’t used it before March this year.   The pandemic forced people to try it (and other collaborating tools) and they found them to be easy and they liked it!   The boom for these high bandwidth applications also drive IT sales of PCs, Headsets, Laptops, soft clients, directory services, call centers and virtually every part of a company’s telecom infrastructure.   Do you want to own a data center with servers and perpetual licenses when you could get Zoom or Salesforce or G suite from the cloud and pay on a per user basis?  Many companies are taking this opportunity to move to the cloud.

This movement to home has been both good and bad for employees.   On the positive side they aren’t wasting time in the car commuting.  They’re taking advantage of the time that they have at home, which they would have normally spent on the road.  However, they’re working even more and taking more time out of their personal day, or they’re not focusing on the families. Some companies are asking their people to block their calendars for personal time, which is a new situation for sure.

From a company standpoint E-commerce was already a piece of the business. Now it’s becoming the business itself.  When talking about digital transformation, business must look at the payback. Digital transformation is the business performing and growing better.

Working from home is really about the art of bringing together — the right tools and the processes and people. It is estimated that 50% of all jobs in American can be done remotely and long after the pandemic is over there will be more jobs done from home than ever before.

First American Business

100% of our staff works from home.  We remotely access our customer’s networks to trouble shoot and resolve issues and if we need to go to a site we nationwide network of over 800 technicians in the field that we can deploy locally as needed.

In short, we are fully operational, productive and supporting our customers during this time of change in the Telecom world.

Telecom (AI) – Artificial Intelligence

Telecom (AI) – Artificial Intelligence

Last year Google announced its open ­source platform for machine learning, giving developers access to one of the most powerful machine learning platforms created. Google is moving to become a machine learning company.

The core of Contact Center AI is conversational.  “Human-like” interactions to improve conversation and the customer experience.

The development suite of code from Google is an example for building natural “conversational” experiences across multiple contact center channels (voice, chat, etc.)  More than one million developers are now using this suite of tools in multiple areas of AI including the Contact Center.

There are two areas in particular that are growing in prominence within a business contact center environment:

  • Virtual Agent

When you call in for help you may get a “Virtual Agent”.  This type of agent gives customers 24/7 access to immediate conversational self-service, with easy handoffs to human agents for more complex issues.  Instead of a traditional calling tree (i.e. “press 1 for payroll, press 2 for…”) you can simply say “I need help with payroll” and the Virtual agent will take you to a live agent who specializes in that function.

  • Agent Assist

When you are talking to a live human agent, “Agent Assist” helps the human agent with continuous support during the calls by identifying intent and providing real-time assistance.  You (the customer) may say a word or a phrase that causes the Agent Assist to go look up some information and present it to the agent live while you are talking.

Currently in contact centers, analytics are all done after the call. The call is recorded, it goes to a server where it gets transcribed for analytic purposes and then reported. This process pulls out the trending keywords, checking for tone, and recording metrics requested by the business. Then, it presents the overall readout with sentiment and keyword analysis. Looking at this information after the call is over is not nearly as helpful as doing it in real-time.

On November 14, 2019, it was announced that Google’s Cloud Contact Center AI is now Generally Available (GA). Genesys, Avaya, Cisco, Incontact, Five9s and Mitel have all announced interconnection or partnerships with Google’s Cloud Contact Center AI platform.

The current thinking and the current model is that, for the foreseeable future, AI will help agents in the call center, but it won’t replace them.

When a call comes in, it will be listening to what is being said and it will learn from what it hears. It will also be able to transition easily to an agent when needed, all of which helps the customer experience.

Example:  AI Anticipating Customer Needs

What we mean by AI:

A call comes into a parts supplier company from a long time customer.   AI will automatically pull up recent purchases.   It may recognize that that this caller buys x number of parts every six month so it will pull up the current rates for a potential new order… all before the human agent even answers the phone.

If the customer actually mentions a new type of part during the conversation with the live agent, the AI will immediately search and present to the agent the inventory, shipping dates available and prices without the agent having to type anything.   AI will hear the phrase from the customer and perform the search and present the information.    All of this to “assist” the agent and improving the customer’s experience.

This technology is already available. For example, Vonage’s communications API platform works with IBM Watson to provide just this type of virtual in-call assistant. In the contact center of the next few years, it will be commonplace.

The contact center of the future will anticipate a customer’s inquiry and predict what they’ll want to talk about. It will even provide appropriate support throughout the interaction, all thanks to artificial intelligence (AI).

First American Business in Action

Coronavirus Support

When things get tough our team gets going.   The Coronavirus has impacted virtually everyone everywhere.   Last Month one our very own Resource Coordinators (affectionately known as “the Mask Lady”) proactively sprang into action and started to make protective face masks for people in need and even sending some to our own team members and technicians.   She is leading this effort for the First American Business team and has made over 500 masks so far!

fab-in-action

 

These masks are making a difference at several local Houston hospitals!

Expanded Team

Business continues to grow for First American Business in both the Enterprise and the Government side.   As a result, in the first Quarter of 2020 we brought on 4 new people.

  • Engineers (Tier 3): Sean Poppell, Wayne Page
  • Solution Architects: Hugh Simpson
  • Payroll Administration: Julie Potter

This greatly enhances our support capabilities on Avaya, Nortel, Cisco and Ribbon products.

LAB Build Out

Our lab is now complete!

  • We have made significant investments obtaining and building a formal LAB. The Lab is based in Tampa and contains Avaya CM 6.3, 7.1, 8, Avaya IPO, Nortel CS1K, Cisco, and Ribbon in the near future to name a few. This will allow our engineers to fully recreate issues and test solution prior to moving them into production.
  • We have several projects where staging hardware is a component. Our new lab allows us to test designed solutions; Simulate issues while troubleshooting and provide hands-on training of new software as it becomes available

Remote Workers

remote-workers

Dealing with the Coronavirus

Things have changed in the business world, and our communities, due to the global pandemic that none of us could have foreseen.   People talk about a “new normal” but we will need to see how the virus plays out over time.   The one thing we do know for sure is that in the short term there is an immediate impact to all of us, and how we address that we believe is critical.

Some of the immediate impacts include:

How are Telecom vendors replying?

Work from Home – It is estimated that 50% of all jobs in American can be done remotely.   Of those currently 45% offer some limited form of work from home.   Many companies provide secure remote VPNs that allow employees to log in and work remote 1 day per week for example.   Some companies like First American Business allow all its employees to work remote full time.   Teleworking first started in the late 90’s and has expanded every year since.

Due to the Coronavirus, major corporations who never had a policy are now forced to shut their office buildings and quickly set up remote working.   Education facilities including grade schools have set up and are conducting remote learning.  Teachers around the country are developing lesion plans and teaching over video!   Imagine… this was not even contemplated in February of this year.

How are Telecom vendors replying?

Collaboration Tools (voice, video, chat)

Due to the C-19 virus, the major telecom companies are rolling out free or reduced collaboration and work-from-home solutions.  Examples:

  • Cisco:   Free Webex worldwide for 90 days
  • Ring Central:  Free (limited) UC collaboration
  • Avaya:   Free Spaces (collaboration) and Contact Center work from home licenses.
  • Ribbon (Kandy): Enabling customer’s workforce with Work@home.  Free and secure video conferencing and collaboration tools.

Virtually all suppliers in the Telecom space have risen to the challenge and are offering their products and services to companies and governments for free.   Now, many of these offers are limited – such as 90 days and have a cap on license volumes but they are there and available now.   The telecom industry has jumped into motion to address the collaboration needs of corporate America.

First American Response

  • We support our clients 7×24 for complete remote offers.
  • First American Business offers cloud-based voice services that we can turn up in days. For example, we now have over 60 end users (4 sites) on our cloud offer today with our customer Hello Destination.
  • We handle implementation and on-going support including working with our customer’s existing carriers and suppliers.

100% of our staff has remained in place during this global pandemic.   We remotely access our customer’s networks to trouble shoot and resolve issues.  We can avoid air travel because we have a nationwide network of over 800 technicians in the field that we can deploy locally if needed.

In short, we are fully operational and supporting our customers every day!

President’s Piece

pres-piece

Spring 2020!

It was the spring of last year that our newsletter featured information about our 10 years anniversary.   It’s hard to believe we have now reached the year 1 milestone of our second decade!

Things have changed in the business world, and our communities, due to the global pandemic that none of us could have foreseen.   People talk about a “new normal” but we will need to see how the virus plays out over time.   The one thing we do know for sure is that in the short term there is an immediate impact to all of us, and how we address that we believe is critical.

At the family of First American Businesses, we have a high priority placed on the health and safety of our staff.   Thankfully we have had a work-at-home policy in place for years so all of our employees are equipped to log into systems, trouble shoot problems and resolve issues remotely.  We have a full suite of Microsoft collaboration tools that make communicating internally and with clients relatively easy.

We are in full operations mode and continue to work at full speed through these trying times.   Due to travel restrictions our nationwide field services team of 800 technicians is in place so our customer’s continue to support their projects without flying to a remote location.

We truly appreciate our great customers and we are here to help!

Trade Shows

Early this year we attended the Avaya Engage User Group.   Enterprise Connect unfortunately was canceled for March and has been rescheduled for August in San Francisco which conflicts with another engagement of ours so unfortunately we will not be attending this year.   We are still hopeful to be able to attend the Ribbon Sales conference later this spring,

We normally have a First American Business team retreat in Clearwater Florida each spring and bring in our entire team but have decided to delay that until the fall.

Ticketing System

The new First American Business Ticketing System Is up and fully functioning.   This system has made a big improvement in how we open tickets, dispatch remote field resources and pay vendors. This new ticking system will allow our customers to more easily open and track a ticket with us.   Internally it will allow us to update and report key metrics to allow improvements in our delivery.

This new tool is an investment in our overall team’s productivity.   Tool enhancements like the new FAB Ticking System have allowed us to grow efficiently.

Staff Expansion

At First American Business we continue to attract top talent.  We have expanded our Tier III engineering team with both Avaya Certified engineers in Contact Center and UC and have even expanded our Nortel Tier III team.   This is the largest our engineering team has been since business started 11 years ago!

Thanks to you, our customers– we look forward to supporting you in 2020 and for many years to come!

Sincerely,
Mark

Owner, Managing Partner
mark.morningstar@firstamericanbusiness.com