In this episode of PodMD, Rob Horn from 1Cloud Voice & Data will be discussing the topic of the telco requirements for the set-up of a new medical practice, including the key points for phone and internet set-up, the type of equipment used, setup in a older premises, IT services partnering and more.
This podcast is brought to you by 1Cloud Voice & Data. 1Cloud Voice & Data is a retail Telecommunications Service Provider specialising in the supply, management, billing and support of business telecommunications services to business clients across Australia. 1Cloud seeks to provide customised solutions that meets with their business customers initial telecommunication needs, whilst also taking into consideration their potential future growth and operational changes.
You can get in touch with 1Cloud Voice & Data via their website.
Please note this is a machine generated transcription and may contain some errors.
*As always, all in this PODMD podcast is intended for health professionals and the comments are of a general nature. Information given is not intended as specific medical advice pertaining to any given patient. If you have a clinical issue with one of your patients please seek appropriate advice from a colleague with expertise in the area.
Today I’d like to welcome to the PodMD studio Rob Horn from 1Cloud Voice & Data.
1Cloud Voice & Data is a retail Telecommunications Service Provider specialising in the supply, management, billing and support of business telecommunications services to business clients across Australia. 1Cloud seeks to provide customised solutions that meets with their business customers initial telecommunication needs, whilst also taking into consideration their potential future growth and operational changes.
Rob is the Service Delivery Manager at 1Cloud, and in that role he helps to oversee the project management and provisioning of new business services for their clients.
Today we’ll be discussing the teleco requirements for a new practice setup.
*The information provided within this podcast is general in nature, and 1Cloud recommends speaking with a business telecommunications specialist regarding your own specific needs and requirements. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of 1Cloud Voice & Data, not PodMD.
Rob, thanks for talking with us on PodMD today.
Rob: Thank you for having me
The topic of today’s discussion is the Telco requirements for the setup of a new practice.
Rob, can you describe for our listeners what some of the key points are for when they are considering business phone and internet services for their new practice.
Rob: Yes certainly Peter, some of the main points that we feel need to be given consideration early in the planning process are:
– Numbers, both phone and fax, whether that is new or existing numbers.
– Your office telephony equipment.
– The Internet type /suitability/ availability & installation lead time.
– The internal premises infrastructure compatibility.
– Early design of internal infrastructure to meet your needs.
– IT partnering.
What tips do you have around phone and fax numbers set up?
Rob: Phone and fax numbers are now all virtual, and are no longer attached or associated with a physical copper phone line that needs to be connected to a premises, which is what we have been used to in the past. Therefore, one of the advantages is that new numbers can be quickly and easily provisioned up for a practice, prior to the new practice opening. This allows for the marketing (web site, stationery etc.) to be worked on ahead of time, and the calls can be temporarily redirected to another number in the interim.
Similarly, if the practice was wanting to setup a new 1300 number, these are also virtual services and can be provisioned up rather quickly by most telco service providers.
If the practice has existing phone numbers and is relocating to a new premises, then early consideration as to what telephony technology type will be used at the new premises is recommended. It may also require Number Porting, if you are moving services to a new provider, and that can normally take anywhere between 2-12 weeks to complete, depending on the numbers involved and the service providers in question.
So Rob, how does the office telephony equipment currently in use today, differ from what we have been used to using in the past years?
Rob: The telephony equipment used, has to be compatible with the available carrier network technology infrastructure at that time. For example, throughout the majority of Australia, the old copper landline was made redundant with the government’s roll-out of the NBN network over the past several years. In fact, the only locations where a copper landline can still operate, is in regional and remote areas that are service via NBN Fixed Wireless or NBN Satellite internet technologies.
Therefore, for the most part, older onsite business PBX Phone Systems have also become obsolete if they are unable to be upgraded to make use of the current technologies. Those older systems had the physical copper telephone lines coming from the street, into the premises and connecting into the phone system itself. And the desktop telephone handsets would then be cabled back to that same onsite phone system using older internal cabling and wall socket infrastructure.
As people have been gradually discovering, the rollout of the NBN has meant a shift to IP Telephony, or VoIP for another term. That is, the telephony voice service is now carried over an underlying internet service. In basic terms, the voice call is broken down and sent as data packets over the internet from one party to the other party’s end, where it is reassembled and you hear the conversation as per normal. Needless to say, that the type and quality of the internet connection, along with the internal equipment, that is, the IP phone handsets, switches, routers, and even cabling, now plays a vital role in the overall customer experience.
One of the biggest shifts seen in the telco industry, is the adoption of cloud based, or hosted, PBX phone systems. This effectively removes the need for an onsite PBX system equipment, and allows IP Phone handsets to utilise the same cloud PBX phone system, regardless of where they may be located. Therefore, you can easily have several practice locations, or even remote staff, working from the same phone system, which can help reduce costs and create greater work efficiencies.
Internet technologies have also changed over recent years, so what are some of the basic considerations for practitioners when setting up their new practice?
Rob: That’s correct Peter, we have seen some improvements in the internet technologies and available network infrastructure in recent years, meaning there may be various options available to better suit the practice requirements.
Whilst the cheaper standard, non-business grade form of NBN internet service may be suitable for some smaller practices, that may not always be the case. Several years ago most businesses required more download bandwidth than upload bandwidth on their internet connection, however that has since changed. Where many businesses now use cloud based applications, remote data backups, IP telephony, conduct Zoom meetings etc. over a single internet connection, the upload bandwidth, latency and data throughput rate is now as equally important.
Therefore, conducting an early assessment of factors such as how many staff there will be at the premises, what applications are to be used and how, whether there will be cloud server access, security cameras, music and video streaming requirements, will essentially dictate what internet technology would be best suited to those needs. This is something that should be discussed together with both your telco service provider and IT provider.
At the same time, there should be discussions around possible options and solutions for internet redundancy, for when the primary internet service happens to go offline. This is now more important than ever given our reliance on being constantly connected for both computers, IP phones and other devices within the practice. Your telco service provider should then be able to confirm for you what the estimated installation lead-time and onsite requirements will be, in order to have the required internet service, or services, installed and ready for when you open. Some service types, business grade fibre for example, can take up to 55+ business days to have installed.
We also know that not all older premises have necessarily been setup to cater for these newer technologies, and of course new premise fit outs need to be done properly as well. What are some of the requirements in this area?
Rob: Yes, we often find that businesses move into new premises that were originally cabled up many years ago for the technologies of that time. That may include 2 or 4 wire cabling phone points that suited the older analogue and digital phone handsets that connected back to an onsite PBX phone system. Unfortunately, that cabling type is incompatible with the latest IP Phone handsets and equipment that utilise the Cat5e/Cat6 network cabling and data points, in the same way computer devices do.
Another problem can be faulty or incorrectly wired data points or broken cabling within the premises, which can lead to devices behaving erratically on the internal network, creating problems and frustration for the end users.
Prior to moving into a premises, and early on in the planning stages of the fit-out of a new premises, the client should engage with their Telco service provider and IT provider. They can assist with doing an initial site survey and then confirm things such as…
– Where does the existing telecommunications infrastructure enter the building, and will any relocation of MDF Frames, or re-cabling works be required.
– Where will be the best position for the Comms Data Rack to be installed, and what size rack is needed to house all of the required equipment.
– Where will the staff workstations, phones, printer/scanners be located within the premises and what structured data cabling, including and how many data points, patch panels and general power outlets will be required.
– Will ceiling or wall mounted Wireless Access Points be required for better Wifi coverage and access throughout the premises.
You have mentioned IT Services partnering, how does that relate to the setting up of a new practice?
Rob: As you may have now gathered from our early discussions, there is now a cross-over between the Telco services (phone and internet) and the end customer’s internal IT services. By that we mean, no longer are the phone equipment and landline services completely separate from your internet service and internal networking equipment and setup.
Therefore we believe it is important that there is a good working relationship and understanding between the Telco service provider providing the internet and IP telephony services, and the end customer’s IT support provider. This ensures that should any problems arise, there can be open and timely communications between these two parties to ensure these can be resolved without the need for the end customer or their staff possibly being stuck in the middle.
Working with technology unfortunately means that despite all best endeavours, there will inevitably be times when equipment and or services have an unexpected failure or outage, and having a responsive an amicable relationship with your Telco and IT providers can ensure all parties are working towards a common goal.
Thank you for your time here today in the PodMD studio. To sum up for us, could you please identify the three key take home messages from today’s podcast on the telco requirements for a new practice setup.
Rob: 1. Plan Early – as this will ensure you have the right services and equipment that meets your current and possible future needs, and can avoids excess or surprise costs.
2. Choose telephone and internet services wisely – that can cater for your exact requirements and future growth – remember that the cheapest does not always mean it will provide for the best experience. Ask if the solution can be customised for your specific needs.
3. Engage with both your Telco and IT providers – to ensure that they have your best interests and requirements in mind. Again, we advise doing this early in your planning stage.
Thanks again for your time and the insight’s you’ve provided.
Rob: Thank you