Science & Technology
5 Key Factors to Understand When Selecting a Cloud Voice Provider PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Midland Communications   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 15:58

Leader in Unified Communications Educates Customers on Importance of Choosing the Right Cloud Voice Solution for Your Business

DAVENPORT, IA - July 31, 2014 - Midland Communications, a leader in unified communications, announced today that the company has collected and documented the five telltale signs to look out for when selecting a cloud voice provider. With the appeal of enhanced office productivity and increased profitability, it's no surprise that this technology has taken off. As the benefits of cloud voice continue to stack up, many small and mid-sized businesses are wondering how to choose the right solution. Midland Communications outlines the five most important aspects to consider when evaluating cloud voice.


Strong, Local Presence in the Business Community: Even before you consider the solution selecting the right company to install and service cloud technology is the first step. One of the most important factors to look for is a technology company that operates in the same area that you do. They have a foundational understanding of the market that you are in, they understand the culture, and can administer customer service very quickly. When your partner has a presence in your community you can instantly make changes and interact directly in case any issues ever come up. Inexperienced remote providers can often hide in the Internet abyss, so they don't have to deal with installation problems. Focus on finding a partner that is always willing to meet face-to-face and generate solutions to problems as they arise.


Understand the 3 Critical Factors to Successful Installation: Businesses need to make sure that they are working with a technology company who is well educated in the technical side of a transaction. The 3 most important factors are Quality of Service, a Proper Router and POE Switches. Installing a communications system without paying attention to these aspects can instantly jeopardize performance and call clarity. This is where inexperienced companies cause the infamous jitter, latency and lack of redundancy that annoy many of today's users. When an inexperienced provider sells a boxed, "plug and play" solution, the system usually will not work properly. Without properly assessing the network and reorganizing it so everything is streamlined, users experience a messy network with lots of dropped calls in the short-term, and expensive re-installs in the long-term. More experienced providers understand the complexity and can actually streamline this intricate web of information to deliver better performing cloud voice technology and in some cases, reduce turn their phone system into a profit center.


Offering a Premium/Low-Price Model. The problem here is that low-cost solutions usually do nothing for the business in the long-term, as they lack scalability. Business owners are usually prone to purchasing barebones systems, but in the long-term these end up being much more expensive, due to the shoddy foundation that low-price systems usually offer. As the business starts to scale, more features become necessary and communication infrastructure grows in complexity. Usually the low-price solutions are limited in their functionality, which means that as the business grows and demands more from their communications infrastructure, they won't be able to get this functionality. Simply put, these limitations usually lead to patchwork solutions that can't stand the test of time. Look for providers who assess your business needs in the long-term and refuse to take the quick cash to eventually leave you with a magnified problem later.


Negotiation Power with the Carrier. Some of the best features of phone systems require successful integration with telecommunication carriers. Local providers have the ability to port numbers, allocate proper bandwidth and probe the network to determine whether the carrier can support the bandwidth demands you will be placing on them. This is another reason why only local providers are best suited for business interactions.


Long-Term Contracts. Plainly put, only deal with companies that don't require long-term contracts. The fundamental reality of a long-term contract is that it favors an underperforming provider. This misaligns incentives and shifts the transaction in favor of the provider rather than the needs of the customer. Deal with a company that has enough faith in their ability to serve their customers so well that they propose a month-to-month, cancel-anytime agreement. This will eliminate a lot of providers from the equation but does wonders to ensure that your provider's incentives are aligned with your best interests. Most companies that get caught in those contracts find that they are virtually unbreakable. If you see a long-term contract, run.


By focusing on these criteria, businesses can ensure that they are working with only the best providers, who will leave them with a more powerful, robust and efficient network to run their business.

ABOUT MIDLAND COMMUNICATIONS

Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit www.midlandcom.com.

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Governor Quinn Announces Completion of Cutting Edge Broadband Network PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Monday, 04 August 2014 08:06

*** UPDATED ***

$100 Million Illinois Century Network Construction Brings Ultra-Fast Access to Communities Across 55 Counties

NORMAL – Governor Pat Quinn today announced the completion of a nearly $100 million, four-year project to install more than 1,000 new miles of high-speed fiber-optic broadband infrastructure across 55 Illinois counties. Supported by the Governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! construction program, the project created nearly 700 jobs expanding access to high-speed broadband services for schools, libraries, hospitals and internet providers throughout Illinois. The network is part of the Governor’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“High-speed internet access is a proven economic engine,” Governor Quinn said. “This expansion of Illinois’ broadband backbone will create jobs and drive economic growth for generations to come.”

“Investing in technology strengthens our public education system,” Illinois State University Board Chairman Rocky Donahue said. “I want to thank Governor Quinn for his vision, leadership and partnership with ISU on this project.”

To finish the project, engineers, equipment operators, technicians, splicers, laborers and electricians worked together to bury more than 1,000 miles of new fiber optic cable, and “light up” about 750 miles of existing “dark” fiber. All told, about 1,800 miles of fiber-optic cable are now in use across Illinois because of this project.

The new network directly connects approximately 400 anchor institutions, including community colleges, universities, libraries, health facilities, K-12 schools and public safety agencies. Local internet providers can connect to the network to extend Internet service into communities with few or nonexistent high-speed options.

Students throughout the state are already benefiting from faster access to online learning tools made available through the ICN investment.

“Our Internet speed is 25 times faster than before, with plenty of room for future growth,” Iroquois West Community Unit School District #10 Information Technology Director Brian Eggemeyer said. “The ICN’s increased capacity will have a positive impact on every student in our district for years to come.”

The project was funded by a $62 million competitive award from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which was made possible by a $24 million commitment from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and nearly $10 million in other university, local and private resources.

The 55 Illinois counties included in the new broadband network are Adams, Bond, Brown, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Cook, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Fulton, Grundy, Iroquois, Jasper, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, Lawrence, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Peoria, Piatt, Pike, Richland, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Tazewell, Vermilion, Will and Woodford.

The project was coordinated by the Illinois Broadband Opportunity Partnership (IBOP), a statewide consortium of public and private sector partners organized by Governor Quinn and led by Illinois State University’s Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network (CIRBN) and the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).

Governor Quinn has invested more than $71 million in broadband infrastructure throughout the state as part of his Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. This investment has leveraged more than $250 million in additional federal and private funding. Through these projects, more than 3,000 miles of fiber optic cable have been installed across Illinois.

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Free Viewing of the Stars at Night PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Quad Cities Astronomical Society   
Thursday, 31 July 2014 09:07
Join The Quad Cities Astronomical Society and Davenport Parks and Recreation for a public family viewing of the stars!

Participants can see the celestial sights through the QCAS and member telescopes.

This program is free.

The weather pattern is likely to stay the same for the remainder of the week, which means, clouds in the afternoon, but clearing in the evening. The Moon will be a pretty crescent shape, that night, which makes for some very nice views of craters as seen through telescopes.

Where & When
8991 N Division St
Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 2
At Dusk (approximately 8:00pm)

 
Moline Public Library Awarded Illinois Secretary of State Project Next Generation Grant PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Jan LaRoche   
Friday, 25 July 2014 15:12

The Moline Public Library, 3210 - 41st Street, Moline, IL  has been awarded an $18,316 grant to connect tweens and teens with technology. The money is part of $289,310 in 2015 Project Next Generation (PNG) grants awarded by Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White.

Moline, among 21 libraries in the state to receive the grants, will use the money to host technology programs throughout the school year, including computer game design, moviemaking, Lego Robotics, and graphic novel design. The Library is seeking instructors for these programs from local teachers and professionals. The grant will also allow the Library to offer after-school programming to junior high and high school students during early-out Wednesdays.

Project Next Generation is the statewide mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Project mentors work with young students at public libraries to develop technological skills and guide them in exploring life skills like effective communication, goal-setting and conflict resolution.

Grants are awarded to public libraries serving culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations. This is the Moline Public Library's first year to be awarded a PNG grant.

For further information, please contact the library at 309-524-2470 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Please visit the library’s website for program dates and times www.molinelibrary.com.


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Iowa’s Johnson County Board of Supervisors First in Nation to Welcome Driverless Car Operations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Eric Hanson   
Friday, 25 July 2014 13:19
(Iowa City, Iowa) - The Johnson County, Iowa, Board of Supervisors today approved a proclamation encourage autonomous vehicle testing as a public safety and economic development initiative.

The proclamation passed unanimously on a 5-0 vote.

“When you consider what’s already available, such as hands-free parking, this technology is utterly amazing,” said Janelle Retting, Johnson County Supervisor.  “I’m excited that Johnson County can be on the forefront of testing, innovation, and safety, providing jobs and opportunities for our citizens.”

The Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) Group has made autonomous vehicle testing a priority since March and has already met with industry leaders at the Automated Vehicle Symposium in San Francisco last week.

According to Mark Nolte, ICAD Group President, autonomous vehicle testing technology needs two things to advance, real road time and simulated testing, and Eastern Iowa is the ideal spot.  “We offer ready connection to the University of Iowa with its depth of research in Human Factors, Driving Simulation and V2V systems, as well as the National Advanced Driving Simulator,” said Nolte.  “And now the public sector has stepped up to declare that our roads can be made available to advance public safety and gain more consumer adoption.”

ICAD Group continues to set meetings with companies and organizations from the Automated Vehicle Symposium and is working on establishing dates with local city councils for future proclamations.

The Johnson County proclamation reads as follows:

PROCLAMATION
ENCOURAGING AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE TESTING AS A
PUBLIC SAFETY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE

WHEREAS, the next technological transformation that will profoundly affect our lives will be the introduction of passenger and freight automobiles operating with autonomous functionality.  These vehicles have the potential to one day eliminate traffic fatalities caused by human error and distraction.  Furthermore, intelligent vehicles will reduce congestion, emissions and the need for costly additions of lanes to busy roadways; and

WHEREAS, the University of Iowa and its related research endeavors, most notably, The National Advanced Driving Simulator and the Public Policy Center, have been at the forefront of advancing innovations in vehicle-to-vehicle communications, sensor technology, human factors, artificial intelligence, and public policy issues critical to the success of this transformational change; and

WHEREAS, many companies in our region have been successfully pioneering similar vehicle systems in the agricultural, aerospace and related fields, and there exists a cluster of software and technology companies whose development can be encouraged by supportive communities; and

WHEREAS, it is our stated goal to engage in strategic economic development initiatives that will create high-paying employment opportunities to strengthen our overall economy and provide benefit to all citizens.  We realize that those communities and states that are first to embrace this life-saving and transformational technological advancement will stand to gain the most potential economic benefit.

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that we, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, do hereby proclaim that Johnson County welcomes the testing and operation of intelligent vehicles on the streets and roads over which we have jurisdiction in accordance with applicable law, as a means to encourage the advancement of this technology and to create economic benefit, and will, if necessary, work collaboratively with other jurisdictions in Johnson County to address any issues that arise in order to best protect the safety of our citizens.

Signed this 24th day of July, 2014, in Johnson County, Iowa

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