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How to handle Robo Calls April 25, 2016

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in CLEC catagory, Wireless catagory.
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What is a Robocall?
A robocall is an automatic, computer-generated phone call made to your phone number (mobile or landline) from a solicitor. Illegal robocalls range in variety from dangerous phishing scams, to unsolicited (and annoying) sales calls. But keep in mind that some robocalls are legal, and can include important doctor appointment reminders, surveys, school closing announcements and political campaign calls.

Why Am I Getting So Many Robocalls?
Easy to acquire technologies use software, computers and the Internet to make thousands (even millions) of cheap calls with global range. In fact, many illegal robocalls originate from overseas. Similar technologies make it easy for scammers to “spoof” a phone number so it looks like you are being called by a legitimate number like your neighbor or even the IRS. Robocalls can be quickly set up and illegal scammers work hard to avoid detection.

How Should I Handle Robocalls/Phone Scams?
On the next page, we have provided a list of Do’s and Don’ts for dealing with robocalls, along with a sampling of tools you can use to block such calls. Keep in mind, the type of voice service you subscribe to, such as a wireless provider or through your local cable company, will dictate the types of robocall blocking tools available to you. Caregivers and elders should be especially alert to scamming robocalls since this group is often the most vulnerable.

What Tools Can I use to Stop Robocalls?
The National Do Not Call Registry found at https://www.donotcall.gov/ gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.

The Federal Trade Commission also has some helpful information about robocalls in general [https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0259-robocalls], as well as ways to avoid becoming the victim of a scam [https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams]. If you are a subscriber to a wireless service, the Wireless Association has a sampling of robocall blocking tools here [http://www.ctia.org/your-wireless-life/consumer-tips/blocking-robocalls].

Below are some tips of what to do and not do and some helpful mobile applications, provider and third party solutions.

Robocall Do’s
 Do contact your voice provider to inquire about available tools.
 Do register with the FTC’s Do-Not-Call list AND file complaints.
 Do educate yourself about available tools.

Robocall Don’ts
 Don’t answer calls with an unfamiliar caller ID.
 Don’t press 1 or 2 to get removed rom their list (it won’t work).
 Don’t engage.
 Don’t give personal information.
 Don’t give financial information.

 

A Sampling of Tools for Blocking for your wireless devices

Android Apps
 Legal Call Blocker Free
 Call Blocker Free
 Safe Call Blocker (black list)
 Call Control – Call Blocker
 Call Filter
 My CallBot Caller ID
 Caller ID, Block Calls & Texts
 Calls Blacklist – Call Blocker
 Mr. Number
 Root Call Blocker Pro
 Truecaller- Caller ID & Block
 Whitepages Caller ID

iOS Apps
 Airtel Call Manager
 Call Bliss
 Call Mute
 Call Manager for Do Not Disturb
 Detector App
 Truecaller: Number Search & Block
 Robokiller
 Whitepages ID
 Sync.ME
 Reverd Free Spam Call

Blackberry Apps
 Advanced Call Blocker
 Block Unwanted Calls
 Call Block
 Call Blocker
 Ultimate Call Blocker
 Call Blocker Free
 Call Control Blacklist
 Junk Call Blocker
 SMS Blocker

Windows Apps
 Advanced Blocker
 Best Spam Killer
 BlackBaller
 Call Blocker
 Easy Reject
 Truecaller
 Call+SMS Filter

I hope this is helpful to everyone out there. While I have tried a lot of the tools listed, the simple blocking app built into your Android seems to work best for me. If you use Apple I strongly suggest getting one of the add on apps.

 

Joe Buck, NCE

Good Leaders Don’t Ignore Their Personal Lives December 15, 2015

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Job Opportunities.
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Good leaders put aside their own needs for the good of the organization — but that doesn’t mean they completely sacrifice their personal lives. Leaders who subjugate their need for exercise, sleep, and recreation eventually succumb to brownout: the graduated loss of energy, focus, and passion.

Brownout is often imperceptible to outsiders, but it affects a significant percentage of the executive population. Today’s superstar leaders supplement their commitment to others with an equally important commitment to themselves. Whether it’s promising you’ll stick to your exercise routine, enjoy hobbies, eat dinner with your family, or reflect on what’s important to you, putting aside time for yourself makes you a better, more fully realized version of yourself.

Start by making one small but meaningful promise to yourself — and keep it. If you’re successful, try another promise. It shouldn’t take long for the performance benefits to be obvious.

Now to just listen to my own advice….

Joe

Verizon Wireless is rolling out Wi-Fi calling in December, starting with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge December 14, 2015

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Wireless catagory.
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Verizon is the last of the nationwide carriers to offer Wi-Fi calling, and is saying that the capability will come to its iOS devices early next year. Verizon customers will activate the feature by downloading and installing a software update and then by activating the carrier’s advanced calling feature. The service will support both voice and video calls, and Verizon says it will seamlessly transfer users to Wi-Fi when they leave a 4G coverage area.

I guess better late than never. Many start-ups have been doing this for a few years, and the big competitor’s have been doing this for a year themselves.

Verizon and AT&T deploy 100,000 new small cells but challenges remain. December 10, 2015

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Wireless catagory.
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All four nationwide carriers are set to invest in small cells and distributed antenna systems next year, with the two largest carriers leading the way. The total market is estimated to increase 5x by 2020.

Analyis’ expect to see Verizon Wireless deploy roughly 60,000 new nodes in the months ahead, and AT&T Mobility may add up to 40,000. Sprint is seen as the wild card however analysis’ believes Sprint will eventually come forward with a significant small cell investment. Once the other carriers show their hands, expect to see T-Mobile US to also make a move in small cells.

So far, small cells have been a tough nut for carriers to crack. Finding available real estate just where a cell is needed can be hard, and even if the right real estate is available, power and backhaul may not be. But carriers need to densify their networks to guarantee consistent user experiences. If one carrier leads the way, the others are likely to follow suit in an effort to keep customers from switching.

Verizon is the thought leader in small cells,analusus’ noting that the carrier is in the process of deploying 4,000 small cells already. Some of these small cells are very similar to outdoor DAS nodes as they are connected by fiber to a centralized baseband unit. Verizon Wireless and Crown Castle, two of the most active deployers to date, often refer to outdoor DAS nodes as small cells.

Carriers need partners like Crown Castle and Vertical Bridge to help finance small cells and DAS. Wi-Fi is the big unknown that gives some investors pause. For some odd reason everyone thinks Wi-Fi is the great disruptor.

The odd reason could be voice over Wi-Fi, which makes Wi-Fi a strong competitor to cellular in-building as long as it is reliable and easy to find. All four of the nationwide carriers either offer or plan to offer voice over Wi-Fi in the near future. While DAS providers work hard to bring all four nationwide carriers onto their systems, Wi-Fi inherently supports the devices of all the carriers.

Distributed network services

Analysis’ predict indoor DNS will grow to 12,000 locations and 133,000 nodes by 2020. Indoor will continue to outpace outdoor through 2017.

Estimates are that 270,000 total nodes are needed indoors and outdoors to support the demand for U.S. mobile data growth. That’s a much faster growth trajectory than when the tower industry was in its heyday.

Tower companies are well positioned to help the carriers build out these networks, in part because of their experience with site acquisition. A lot of real estate needs to be acquired, right of way needs to be secured, and a lot of property owners are going to have their doors knocked on.

 

Joe

Krispy Kreme bakes up mobile innovation with bar code made of glaze December 9, 2015

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Wireless catagory.
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Krispy Kreme is bringing bar codes to life with a scannable mobile video that users can show at a store for a discount, exhibiting the possibilities for combining video and mobile to drive bricks-and-mortar activations.

The doughnut bakery chain is driving sales through the video coupon, which lives on YouTube, while also making a lasting impression on consumers through its unique call-to-action. The video features the glazing process of the doughnuts in which the streams of  icing make up the digital bar code.

“The importance of the scan code mobile push for Krispy Kreme, is that you do not have to bring a coupon in for the offer, you only need to bring your mobile, Using your device to show the video for the offer greatly reduces touch points required to redeem an offer like this, making it easier on the customer.

Icing on the cake
On Dec. 12 customers can visit Krispy Kreme to redeem their mobile video coupon on the date dubbed as Day of the Dozens.

Mobile users must present the image or video of the glazing machine, creating the digital bar code. The store employee will be able to physically scan the bar code for the customer to receive a discount.

The doughnut retailer is sharing the video coupon on its social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter, and is encouraging discussion surrounding the campaign with the hashtag #DayoftheDozens.

The campaign is combining a series of insightful tactics to best drive sales. Krispy Kreme is highly aware that its manufacturing process is captivating to fans, and engages them while also inciting a craving for the doughnuts.

With many consumers having their devices already with them, a mobile coupon makes in-store redemption easy for most, as they will not have to go out of their way for a piece of paper to ensure their discount.

In-store visitors on Dec. 12 will also receive a second Glazed Dozen free with a purchase of one dozen.

Now that’s using mobile apps and marketing…

Joe

FCC Releases $16 Million for Rural Broadband Experiments Funding November 23, 2015

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in CLEC catagory.
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In its latest release of funding for rural broadband experiments, the FCC awarded $16 million to four carriers for rural broadband deployments in territories previously served by price cap carriers. The $16 million will bring broadband service to 2,451 census blocks across five states, reports the FCC.

A total of $16,138,691.71 was awarded to Skybeam, LLC; Daktel Communications, LLC; Federated Telephone Cooperative; and Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative. These winners were provisionally selected previously, but were required to provide at least one acceptable irrevocable stand-by letter of credit and a bankruptcy code opinion letter from legal counsel. Having met these requirements, the FCC released the funding through the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

Skybeam is an affiliate of fixed wireless provider Rise Broadband, who has been quite active in the rural broadband experiment program. Federated and Paul Bunyan are Minnesota based rural telcos, and Daktel is a rural telco based in North Dakota.

Rural Broadband Experiments Funding
The funding is part of the $100 million rural broadband experiments funding program, announced back in 2014. The program aims to fund experiments for providing broadband in rural territories, and results from these experiments will help shape the overall Connect America Fund  (CAF) program.

The goal behind this experimental program is to identify efficient methods for delivering broadband and the funding to support it, to rural markets where larger price cap carriers (large tier 1 and 2 telcos) choose not to serve. The CAF is providing funding for rural broadband, but gives price cap carriers the option of rejecting funding for certain rural markets.

There will be a reverse auction to provide funding to other carriers who want to come in and fill the rural broadband void left from these price cap carrier rejection decisions. Rural broadband experiments funding like this awarded $16 million aims to help the FCC better define the rules for awarding future coverage under the CAF plan.

States Battle FCC over States Rights to build Boadband networks after Preemption November 20, 2015

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in CLEC catagory.
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Add the governors of Tennessee and South Carolina and attorneys general from Alabama and Tennessee to the list of those siding with state legislators (and cable operators) in opposing the FCC’s preemption of laws limiting municipal broadband buildouts, which has become a battle over states’ rights.

That came in letters to the House Communications Subcommittee Republican and Democratic leadership in advance of an FCC oversight hearing scheduled for Dec. 17.

The FCC earlier this year preempted state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina, prompting lawsuits from those states in the Sixth Circuit court of Appeals. A majority of attorneys general had asked the FCC not to preempt.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley told the legislators she strongly opposed the FCC’s “federal overreach” into her state’s business; ditto Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, who asked the Congress to step in to Protect states rights; Tennessee AG Herbert Slattery added that the FCC did not have the authority to “circumvent” stat law; and Alabama AG Luther Strange, whose office joined a brief to the Sixth Circuit opposing preemption, sent a copy of the brief in his letter to committee leaders.

The FCC majority said in preempting the state laws that the agency had the power and the duty to step in when states were limiting broadband buildouts. The commission confirmed it did not have the power to overturn state laws preventing municipal broadband buildouts, but if those states allows such networks, the FCC can pre-empt laws that would limit them.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has tabbed those laws as the handiwork of incumbent Internet service providers trying to prevent competition.

The FCC is justifying the move under its Sec. 706 authority to regulate if it concludes that advanced telecommunications is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner, which it has concluded in its recent reports to Congress on the state of high-speed broadband. “We read section 706 to permit the commission to preempt state laws that primarily serve to regulate competition in the broadband market,” the order states.

The order points out that the FCC has taken other pre-emption actions to further competition, including state laws on deployment of wireless facilities or restrictions on competitive cable franchises.

Mistakes to Avoid When Taking Over a Team November 19, 2015

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Job Opportunities.
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Taking over as the leader of a team is daunting. Your team members are used to how their previous leader liked to do things, and adjusting their habits can be a challenge. The team’s response to your new processes or style can make you feel a little like the evil stepmother who’s stepped into their formerly happy lives. Your team was once someone else’s team. They’ve developed habits in response to the preferences of the previous leader. But it’s important to avoid the most common mistakes that new leaders make when trying to ease the transition:

  • Being a friend rather than a leader. Investing too much energy in befriending the team can confuse the power relationship. Most teams want clear, confident leadership.
  • Expressing frustration with the quality of the team. What team members are good at is a reflection of what the previous leader expected of them. If your expectations are different, you need to help the team make that shift.
  • Attempting to force trust too quickly. Until team members have had time to see how you handle uncomfortable topics too much candor will do more harm than good. Let trust build over time.
  • Share your story and your owner’s manual. Team members will appreciate you sharing your backstory and helping them understand the evolution of your preferences and idiosyncrasies.

What makes it so easy to follow a great leader… May 19, 2015

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Job Opportunities.
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I would follow him anywhere. That was the response from a friend when we were talking about how much they enjoyed their job. They have worked with this person for several years and have a great rapport. We talked about how their boss is easy to work with, which is a primary reason for their success and job satisfaction.

So how easy are you to follow? As a leader I’d like to think I am, but of course, the only real opinion that matters is that of my team members. So what makes a person a good leader or easy to follow? I think the answers are pretty straight forward and common sense, but often not common practice because our own personality quirks and baggage get in the way.

Here is a recognized list of common sense leadership practices considered characteristics of leaders who are easy to follow:

Be nice – It’s kind of sad this has to be called out but it does. Too many leaders are jerks. They let power go to their heads. Don’t do that,  just be nice. Smile every once in a while. Say please and thank you. Ask people how their day is going. It doesn’t cost you a dime to be nice and you’ll be amazed at how much more engaged and productive your team will be if you treat them nicely.

Don’t expect everyone to be like you – This can be challenging, particularly for leaders who have personalities that favor perfectionism. It’s great to have high expectations for yourself, that’s probably what helped you rise to a leadership position. It’s good to have high expectations for your staff as well, but remember, they may not do things exactly the way you would. Give people the freedom to be who they are and leverage their strengths to help them achieve their goals and those of the team.

Show a sense of humor & make work fun – Making work fun and showing a sense of humor is a hallmark of leaders who are easy to follow. Create a sense of camaraderie within the team and keep the mood light when times get tough. Showing a sense of humor and laughing at yourself once in a while shows your vulnerability and authenticity. That’s what draws people to you, not away from you.

Treat people with respect and create an environment of trust and safety – It’s the leader’s job to foster an environment of trust and safety that allow team members to unleash their power and potential for the good of themselves and the organization.

Give people your time – The greatest gift you can give your people is a few minutes of your time. Leaders like to say they have an open door policy, but is that really the case with you? Does everyone on your team know without a doubt that they can meet with you regarding any topic?

Solicit and incorporate people’s ideas – Many leaders are great at asking for ideas but only a few actually do anything with them. One of the quickest ways to alienate your team members is to tell them you want to hear their ideas and are open to feedback, but not actually do anything with it when it’s shared with you.

Empower people – Good leaders establish the boundaries of the playing field for their team members, make sure everyone is clear on the rules and objectives, and then let them play the game. They don’t micromanage and dictate how the work should be done.

Recognize and reward good performance – Leaders who are easy to follow are experts at finding people doing something right. They take the time to acknowledge the good performance of their team members and to celebrate their (and the team’s) success. People crave hearing positive feedback about their hard work.

Maintain perspective on the most important priorities in life – Work is important but life is more important. Easy to follow leaders maintain the proper perspective about what’s most important in life. These kind of leaders understand they have to lead the whole person, not just the worker who shows up to do a job every day. Kids get sick, employees have personal challenges, life happens….good leaders understand this and are sensitive to the needs of their team members.

Leadership doesn’t have to complicated. A little common sense principles will help us be successful leaders, if only we can get out of our own way.

Sharing Financials Helps Employees Make Smarter Decisions December 31, 2014

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Social Media.
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Frontline employees are responsible for keeping customers happy. But when people focus on delivering great customer service, they can forget that the business has to make money too.

Should I schedule yet another service visit? Should I forgive this bounced-check fee? Should I honor that expired warranty?

If you’re going to ask frontline workers to make these difficult decisions, teach them about key financial indicators so they’ll know the costs. Think about creating a daily or weekly dashboard showing relevant customer-feedback scores and comments, along with key financial numbers – variance to budget, cost per customer, etc. Employees will learn to track the short-term tradeoffs and will naturally try to keep costs under control. This can also help in the long term. If they schedule extra service visits, for example, or regularly honor those expired warrantees, the costs of service may rise. But there will be a payoff in greater customer loyalty.

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