Just about everything is inter-connected in our modern world of technology. Not that long ago, however, many tools used in business today used to be stand-alone entities. These included such things as your phone system, your video surveillance camera system and even your cell phone (when it was just a phone). Now many phone systems use VoIP technology, thus are connected to your internal data network. Likewise, modern surveillance cameras are IP-based, so connect by Ethernet cable to your computer network. Cell phones, of course now have a data component and connect to your computer network to gain Internet access as well as accessing cloud-based applications such as email and OneDrive, etc. Taking things even a step further, the term “Internet of Things (IoT)” refers to the myriad of devices that can now be Internet-connected, for remote control and monitoring purposes. Think of devices in a Smart Home: thermostats, alarm systems, doorbell cameras, personal assistants (Alexa, Google), light bulbs, garage doors, door locks and more.
Get Advice Before Signing on the Dotted Line
When it comes to upgrading or adding new technology tools for your business, it is critically important to understand whether those tools or devices will require a connection to your computer network and/or the Internet. If so, the time to involve your IT people is before signing on the dotted line. New devices connecting to your network can have a major impact on the performance of your local network and/or your Internet connection. Our typical experience is that vendors of phone systems, cameras systems etc., don’t consider these impacts. They install, collect their fees and they’re gone. A discussion with your IT experts will identify additional network requirements that may need to be included in the overall project. Perhaps you need to separate data and voice traffic on different Internet connections. Perhaps your Server doesn’t have enough resources to accommodate the new software application that will need to be installed.
Avoid Unbudgeted Costs
We have, many times over the years, had clients complain about their network or Internet performance being slow, only to discover, to our surprise, that they just had a new phone system installed or perhaps added a new 10-camera video surveillance system. By not involving us in the early planning stages, they may now be faced with additional, unbudgeted costs in order to correct the issues the new installation has created.
So next time you’re planning to add new devices or software that could have any connection to your computer network, we urge you to involve your IT experts from the beginning. They may even be able to suggest products to consider. Just don’t keep them in the dark!
If you’re planning such a project and would like some advice, give us a call.