Meet the Team: James Johnson

3D man w: beerJames Johnson

I have worked in the tech industry since high school starting with building my first personal PC to creating a online business while in college to working with numerous ISP’s and telco providers.  I have worked in customer service for about ten years now and will be entering my sixth year at VOIPo in 2015.  I’m a recently married homeowner living just outside of city limits which has opened up a wide array of possibilities from gardening, composting, chickens, goats, etc.  My current hobbies are computers, gaming(both digital and board games are still cool), home-brewing, carpentry, and gardening. This year I intend to get into robotics through some of the Arduino boards with the hope that I can learn to automate some of my other hobbies to free up time.  I am an avid Internet reader and love learning new things.

What is your contribution at VOIPO?

As a support supervisor I handle escalations from our Tier 1 group, work directly with our resellers and PBX beta users, monitor and coach existing staff members as well as train newly hired team members, and help in maintaining / parsing our systems to the best of my ability ensuring operations continue running smoothly.

What motivates you?

Above anything else family and friends motivate me the most.  They’ve always been there for me and I rely on them more then anything else.

Your 5 dream Jeopardy categories?

“name that IPA”

“what’s Chris G. wearing today”

“Wear are my pants??”

“Is this my hotel room?”

“Y U Lie(inside jokes remain
inside)”.

 

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Cuba and Telecommunications

An interesting article by Jose Fernandez and Eric Lorber in the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs discusses the future of the telecom sector in an embargo-free Cuba. Whether you agree or disagree with the decision to end the embargo, most can find gratification knowing that many more people will have broadband access.

 

Cuba has one of the lowest levels of Internet penetration in the world. According to the International Telecommunication Union, only 25 percent of Cubans have access to the Web, and those connections are slow and often monitored by the government. Meanwhile, Cuban telecom penetration rates are the lowest in Latin America: ETECSA, Cuba’s sole telephone company, serves only 18 percent of Cubans—a lower percentage than war-torn Afghanistan. Increasing Internet access will have economic and political benefits for the Cuban people, as Internet connectivity can drive long-term economic development by facilitating efficient information distribution, lowering transaction costs, and reducing barriers to entry for entrepreneurs. According to the World Bank, there is a 1.3 percent rise in economic growth for every ten-percentage-point increase in a country’s high-speed Internet connections.

. . .

For the development of the telecommunications sector to have the intended effect of bringing Cubans information from the outside world, and for U.S. companies to become involved, Cubans will need the kind of Internet access that the government will be loath to grant. But unlike in the past, Havana will no longer have the U.S. embargo to blame.

 

Read the full article here.

Cheers,

Dan B.

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Meet the Team: Clay Gorman and John D.

3d character Working on computerClay Gorman

Born and raised in Orange County, CA, I enjoy things related to music, movies, and electronics. I am an Eagle Scout and enjoy working in teams, helping others grow, and learning new skills. Technology is my biggest passion and am fortunate enough to have made a career out of it.

What is your contribution at VOIPO?

I assist the CTO in technical matters in Tier 3. I work closely with technical staff to develop the VOIPO product line
and create new ones. I am involved with web development as well.

What motivates you?

Solving problems and using technology to do it.

Your 5 dream Jeopardy categories?

Arnold Movies

Car Parts

World History

Television

Historic Names

 

 

3D man with headsetJohn D.

I am twenty-two, one of the youngest here at VOIPo. My hobbies include reading, writing, and building computers from spare parts. My favorite thing to do at the end of the day is relax with a book in one hand, and a movie in the other.

What is your contribution at VOIPO?

I provide technical support for clients, as well as processing of both inbound and outbound shipments of our devices. I’m currently the go-to-guy for our beta Wireless bridge adapter.

What motivates you?

Constant self-improvement.

Your 5 dream Jeopardy categories?

Stephen King novels

Computer parts

cat breeds

obscure drink flavors

Jeopardy Categories

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Net Neutrality … Explained

Internet NeutralityThere’s been a lot of news recently surrounding the idea of net neutrality and what it could mean for the internet providers involved. It’s also important to note that if congress doesn’t act, there could very well be some costs passed on to the consumer as well. This piece on CNN.com does a nice job of explaining the ongoing debate in simplified terms.

 

Generally speaking, when folks talk about neutrality, they’re referring to the ideas that led to a set of rules the Federal Communications Commission approved in 2010. The point of the rules was to keep the companies that hold the keys to the Web from playing favorites.

The “open Internet” rules prevent Internet service providers from blocking or “unreasonably discriminating” against any legal website or other piece of online content.

The philosophy behind it all, preached vociferously by Web activists, is that, in 2014, Internet access is a human right. Denying access, even in part, or giving preferential treatment to one user over another, violates that right, they say.

Click here to read the entire article from CNN.com.

Cheers,

Dan B.

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5 Ways to Save Money in 2015

How many of you went to the gym this week? If you’re a regular gym-goer, then you probably saw a lot of unfamiliar faces. People who joined a gym with grand plans of getting back those washboard abs have already made their first financial mistake of the new year.

 

calendar marking1. Don’t join a gym unless you’re serious

Gyms sell memberships with the expectation that less than 20% of members will exercise on a consistent basis. According to statisticbrain.com, the average gym membership costs $55 per month.

Trying to get in better shape is a noble goal, but maybe joining a fancy gym isn’t the answer. Try running outside or buying some weights for use at home before committing to an annual contract. If you do need to join a gym, then at the very least try to find a local gym that allows you to cancel if those abs aren’t coming in.

It’s not only gyms. Many of us have other unused memberships or subscriptions that we waste money on. Re-evauluate your monthly costs and only keep what you actually use on a consistent basis.

 

2. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

The average consumer spends more than $20 per week, or $1,092 annually on coffee, according to a workonomix survey. The younger generations are spending significantly more than their parents, which is a good sign if you’re Starbucks.

A new Keurig might not be cheap, but brewing coffee at home will save you hundreds over the course of the year.

 

wok stir fry3. Improve your cooking skills

Dining out can be a nice break from cleaning dishes after a long day, but not going out just a couple nights a month can make a difference.

Drinking a couple beers at home rather than at a bar can also save you significant money over the long run. The average consumer spends $1,270 annually on beer. Cutting down on the amount you drink is all well and good, but having a beer at home instead of at a bar may be the easier commitment.

 

4. Get rid of cable

You might think you need cable for your own entertainment, or maybe for the entertainment of your family. Truth is, you can watch more and more shows on Netflix and Amazon video for a fraction of the cost, which was detailed in Why Service Bundling is a Thing of the Past.

 

House budget5. Design a budget

This may be last on the list, but it is probably the most important for sound financial health. Not having a plan for your money is like coaching a football game without calling a single play. It leads to chaos and bad decision making. A gameplay for your money is the first step to being financially comfortable. You don’t need to detail how you will spend every penny for the upcoming month, but a general idea of how much money you can afford to spend and how much you want to save will help cut out the wasteful spending habits.

Websites like Mint.com make it easier then ever to track your spending and create a customized budget. After using Mint for a couple of months, you can see for yourself just how much you are spending on coffee and food.

 

 

This list is obviously easier said than done, just like committing to a workout schedule, but the rewards are well worth it. Make this the year you get back in shape financially. Free yourself from debt and keep more of that paycheck to do the things you really enjoy.

 

Cheers,

Dan Brady

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Why Service Bundling is a Thing of the Past

Media technologies conceptReed Hastings, the CEO of NetFlix, recently predicted that broadcast TV will be dead by year 2030. Companies like NetFlix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu are the industry leaders of this trend of streaming on-demand services.

If we no longer need to pay for cable, then I guess it’s time we do away completely with our service bundle. Whether you have a variation of triple-play or double-play, bundling your cable, internet, and home phone no longer makes financial sense.

The first disrupter to the status quo was the introduction of VoIP, which has significantly reduced the costs of the average household phone bill. In 2013, the average household spent $30 per month on their home phone. Consumers who use VoIP services rather than the traditional landline can get plans as low as $6 per month, and have access to a larger array of features. While their are significant savings to be had, VoIP alone doesn’t seem to be the straw that will break the camels back in the service bundling world.

nielsendata2
Data from Nielsen

The second disrupter to the status quo has come in the form of streaming services and paying only for what you watch, or À La Carte. Just last month, CBS became the first cable network to join the likes of NetFlix and Hulu. HBO has also announced plans to offer streaming access to their content, ushering in a new age in the entertainment industry. Reed Hastings could be proven correct as more networks are destined to venture into this new distribution channel.

NetFlix costs current members $7.99 per month, and new members will have to pay $8.99 per month. This is a steal compared to normal cable bills, which can run well over $50 per month, but is NetFlix enough? If not, you can add CBS streaming for an additional $5.99 per month, or add HBO (the price hasn’t been announced yet). More options are sure to come into the market over the next few years, and finding shows and movies to stream will become ever more simple.

The biggest question in this new world of À La Carte is the lucrative contracts between networks and sports leagues. CBS has announced they will not offer NFL games as part of their stand-alone streaming service, which last year drew 108 million viewers during the super bowl. It is estimated that an ESPN standalone service would have to price arohappy male friends with vuvuzela watching sportsund $30 per month to maintain the revenue they see through bundling. While the sports dilemma is a major issue, CBS has confidence that the NFL games will be streaming in the near future.

The third and last frontier of service bundling, is probably also the most important. Household internet service must be both speedy enough to stream whatever it is you want to stream, and reliable enough not to fail on you and thus disrupt your VoIP service.

Service providers may be upset to see all of their customers doing away with the bundle, so the least you could do for them is stick with their internet offering. Households today are becoming more and more reliable on the internet, like LG’s new smart fridge, so maybe investing in a high speed internet isn’t the worst idea.

 

Cheers,

Dan Brady

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Nomorobo

Man shouting on the phoneBack in July, VOIPO officially partnered with Nomorobo, the promising new service that blocks robocalls and telemarketers. Winner of the FTC Robocall Challenge, Nomorobo is currently the best service of its kind on the market. According to their website, the cloud-based service has blocked close to 13 million robocalls to date.

 

The service utilizes simultaneous ring to detect known robocallers on the Nomorobo server and block that call from ringing your home phone. To the frustration of telemarketers, Nomorobo’s large database of blacklisted numbers is continuously growing as more telemarketers and robocalls are detected.  Their system detects new robocallers if their server identifies the same number placing multiple calls simultaneously. At the same time, the service still allows important automated calls, such as weather advisory warnings and school closings, to go through to your phone.

 

Even if you have signed up with the Do Not Call registry, you are more likely than not still receiving unwanted calls. While Nomorobo isn’t bulletproof, it’s pretty darn close.

 

“Nomorobo is dedicated to eradicating the problem of robocalls once and for all,” said Nomorobo Founder, Aaron Foss. “By partnering with VOIPO, we are able to vastly expand our network of users. VOIPO’s customers will now be able to enjoy the protection of Nomorobo right from their account control panel. It couldn’t be easier for them to keep their phone line safe from spammers, scammers and frauds.”

 

These spammers, scammers and frauds make up for hundreds of millions of dollars in theft every year. The FTC is doing their part to protect consumers, and this includes helping to spread the awareness of innovative companies like Nomorobo.

 

Cheers,

Dan Brady

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Hello, Irvine! Our new office

 After 3 years in Newport Beach, the VOIPO headquarters has officially relocated to a new office at 16411 Scientific Way in Irvine, CA. The feeling is bittersweet for some, as the old office was like that favorite childhood stuffed animal that was hard to let go of even after it lost both arms.

10662093_10152642927698173_4975390066478393404_o

The new space, with a more professional and team-oriented atmosphere, will be our new home for the foreseeable future. We hope to grow into this building as our support team expands to handle our growing customer base and we seek to extend support hours.

 

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As always, the growth of VOIPO is not possible without our customers and we continue to thank you through our commitment to superior customer support and unparalleled VoIP features. 


Cheers,

Dan Brady

 

 

 

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Broadband for Everyone

VOIPO relies heavily on the general populations access to broadband. In places like the United States and Canada, this is not an issue, but for less developed nations broadband is much more scarce. A report from the World Bank tells the story on just how critical broadband access can be both in the United States and in the rest of the world. The report is a few years old but the importance is just as prevalent today.

here are some snippets for you in case you don’t have time to read the full report.

 

In 2005, productivity improvements because of the use of mobile broadband solutions across the U.S. health care industry were estimated to be worth $6.9 billion.

. . .

nextgeneration broadband has the potential to contribute $500 billion to GDP in the United States and from $300 billion to $400 billion in Europe, and was likened to water and electricity as the “next great utility”

. . .

Broadband enables economic integration and encourages greater international competition in sectors and jobs that were previously uncontested.

. . .

Broadband is a significant technological development, providing users with fast, always-on access to new services, applications, and content. Much of the research on the relationship between broadband adoption and its economic impacts has been in the form of qualitative arguments, anecdotes, and limited case studies. Formal empirical studies have focused on developed countries, and firm- and community level studies in those countries confirm the high potential economic gains from broadband—including higher productivity, lower costs, new economic opportunities, job creation, innovation, and increased trade and exports.

 

Read the full report here.

 

 

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VOIPO Named to Inc. 5000

Inc5000 starburstEvery year around this time, Inc. Magazine releases their annual list of the 5000 fastest growing private companies in the US. For the second straight year, the top spot went to Fuhu, the creator of an Android tablet for kids. Their 3 year growth rate was an astonishing 158,957%.

 

Over 3,000 companies on the list are multi-year honorees, but this is not the case for VOIPO, who was named to the list for the first time. The VoIP service provider placed number 1,320 on the list, with an impressive 3 year growth rate of 325%. Founded in 2006, VOIPO has been gaining popularity with consumers, most of which are residential users. This success is expected to continue as the company keeps up with demand and seeks new avenues of growth.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 2.23.58 PM
Times Square on September 4, 2014

 

The IT services industry ranks third from 2010-2013 in job creation, behind security and human resources. New York City claimed the title for the metro area with the most companies appearing on the list, with 399. Following New York were Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Chicago, in that order.

 

Other statistics about the list showed that 86% of the employees are male, and that 83% are white. While that certainly is not representative of the greater population, it is an improvement from prior years.

 

Click here to see the full list of companies on this years list. The report also profiles the personality traits of the top CEOs.

 

Cheers,

Dan B.

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