Ready or Not, Storm Season is Here ~ Don’t Take Your Communications For Granted

The 2012 Hurricane season kicked off on Friday, June 1st with forecasters calling for 10 to 16 named storms and five to nine hurricanes. Besides the tremendous loss of life and disruption to everyday lives, natural disasters are immediately followed by an almost total loss of the ability to communicate with the outside world.

The breakdown of essential communications is one of the most widely shared characteristics of all disasters. Avatel understands that reliable, instantaneous communication is integral to the success of any small to mid-size business, especially during a disaster.

In the old days, if the power failed during a major storm or disaster, there was a good chance you could still use the phone. That’s because your phone system was powered by electrical current coming over analog lines from the phone company’s central office. Because of that, you could always get dial tone.

But today, many businesses use digital, not analog, lines. Also, even if a business is using an analog line, the communications devices and switches at the business may still require their own power. If you connect ANY device that needs its own power, you introduce a point of failure so that when power is lost to the switch, connected telephones no longer receive a dial tone.

With a solution such as the Avaya IP Office, an organization can effectively keep its communications network (including phones and voicemail) operating during an outage or emergency situation — helping to sustain business continuity and minimize the impact of interruptions.

Avaya IP Office Solution

The Avaya IP Office can automatically connect a phone to an analog trunk, even if power to the system fails. You can connect an analog phone using the Phone 8 expansion card. To connect the incoming trunks, an Analog Trunk Module (ATM) is affixed as a daughter card on the Phone 8 expansion card. With this configuration, the trunk is connected to the phone so calls can be made on the local exchange line.

Remember, analog trunks are powered from the central office, which has extensive backup capabilities and, in any case, may not be affected by the local power outage; so transferring the power received from the central office directly to the phone connected to the communications switch is all that is necessary to maintain emergency phone service.

This approach ensures that calls can still be made and received, which is extremely important during disasters, when emergency calls may be necessary. Once power is restored, the communications switch and connected phones continue to work as before.

Other features of the Avaya IP Office designed to keep you in business include:

Teleworker Solution: Get complete communications from another location by connecting via an IP desk phone over a virtual private network (VPN) or via a laptop using the one-X® Portal. This is a great option for when employees cannot get into the office for any reason.

Avaya one-X® Portal

Multi-site Network: If you have multiple offices and one goes down, you can still keep all your communications up and running by using the Small Community Network capability, which is a standard feature of IP Office. Using IP links, you can connect a network of branch offices and ensure that extensions and features stay up and running at all of them. You can even designate which locations are “back-ups” for others, so the level of resiliency can be quite robust.

 IP Office in a Small Community Network of two locations

For any business interruption, every minute of downtime costs a business more than the material damages incurred, it can also cost them the confidence of those who depend on that business. This includes employees, customers, suppliers and other business partners.

Contact an Avatel representative to discuss today’s communication technology and a sound crisis communication plan at 866.835.2062. Natural disasters need not become business disasters for your company, we can help.

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP

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