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City Integrates Communications
Place: Grimes, Iowa
The City of Grimes, in the heart of Iowa, is a small community with a big vision for urban growth. The challenge was to attract businesses and a broader population to an area where connectivity was patchy and an effective technology infrastructure did not exist.
Through constituent consultation the City identified a primary need for high speed Internet. After deciding that designing a fiber installation was difficult and costly on their own they partnered with Mediacom Business and implemented a scalable broadband solution that local businesses could connect to.
Now that the City of Grimes is connected through fiber they are able to:
As a developing community Grimes realized the importance of hard wired broadband infrastructure in their plan to grow and flourish, and partnering with Mediacom Business allowed them to install the right solution that accommodates both current and future needs.
About The City of Grimes
Founded in 1881, incorporated in 1894, and named for James W. Grimes, former senator and third governor of the state of Iowa, Grimes today offers a friendly Midwestern atmosphere and a sense of community. Located at the northwest threshold of the Des Moines Metropolitan region, Grimes enjoys easy access to the amenities of metropolitan life while maintaining all the advantages of a small hometown.
Young Auto Parts (NAPA Auto Parts)
Place: Red Oak, Iowa
Customer: Young Auto Parts
Young Auto Parts is one of 6,100 NAPA Auto Parts stores across America. Famous for their huge range of 422,000 parts available through their unique inventory system, NAPA Auto Parts always helps you find the exact part that you need.
Jud Young at Young Auto Parts was very happy with Mediacom Business and the services that they provided to help him save money and grow his business. Since dealing with Mediacom Business he has been able to:
About Young Auto Parts (NAPA Auto Parts)
There are over 6,100 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide. Its 64 strategically located distribution centers serving all 50 states and with over 422,000 quality parts and accessories for automotive and industrial applications — the most extensive inventory in the industry. NAPA Auto Parts Classification — a unique inventory control system that helps customers find the exact part that they need.
About Red Oak, IA
Red Oak derives its name from Red Oak Creek which flows through the community and was noted for the red oaks on its banks. In 1869 the community was officially founded when the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (called the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad at the time) arrived. The community was named Red Oak Junction by the railroad on March 20, 1876. The junction was a line off the main Chicago to Council Bluffs, Iowa line that went to Nebraska City, Nebraska and on to Lincoln, Nebraska. Today the junction serves as a museum celebrating the community's significant military heritage.
DES Employment Group
Place: Bettendorf, Iowa
Customer: DES Employment Group
Local Account Executive: Brent Nelson
DES Employment Group was the original brainchild of its two founders in 1999 and initially focused on providing general labor and the light industrial sector. After becoming a recognized brand in the state of Iowa, DES now has offices nationwide that pride themselves on quality customer service and placements and covers a multitude of employment subdivisions.
When their office in Bettendorf needed to move to new premises, they engaged the services of Mediacom Business and found that they:
About DES Staffing Services, Inc.
DES Staffing Services, Inc., established in 1999, began as a 2 person operation by focusing on quality and client satisfaction as its top priorities. Beginning with a focus in the general labor and light industrial sector, DES worked its way to the top of the competition within the state of Iowa.
DES is a diversified staffing solution for all types of businesses, including clerical, professional, IT and medical. DES has developed a franchise system that allows staffing professionals or business investors to own or operate their own staffing and employment business.
About Bettendorf, IA
Bettendorf is a city in Scott County, Iowa, United States. It is the fifteenth largest city in the U.S. state of Iowa and the fourth largest city in the "Quad Cities" with a population of 33,217. Bettendorf is one of the Quad Cities, along with neighboring Davenport and the Illinois cities of Moline, East Moline and Rock Island. The Quad Cities has a population estimate of 382,630. In 2011, Bettendorf was named America's 95th Best Town by CNNMoney.
United Country –Lowe Realty Expands its Market Reach
Place: Greenfield, Missouri
Customer: United Country – Lowe Realty
United Country specializes in real estate in the small towns and cities located in the rural areas of America. Rodney and Nancy Lowe run the franchise in Greenfield, where gracious living is the prevailing way of life.
The area is a delicate balance of old fashioned living and modern convenience and when the Lowes met Tara from Mediacom Business they decided that they could increase their business growth and boost their customer service by updating their systems.
United Country – Lowe Realty was extremely happy with Mediacom Business because of:
About United Country
Established in 1925, United Country is the only national franchise system specializing in real estate throughout the small towns and cities of rural America. Nearly 90 years of unique experience and programs for selling dream properties like vacation homes, small city and town residential, and many more lifestyle properties.
About Greenfield, MO
Greenfield is a city in Dade County, Missouri with a population of 1,371 and is the county seat of Dade County. The Greenfield square is lined with buildings built in the 1880s out of bricks made in the Greenfield Brickyard. The Opera House, which opened in 1888, is known as the "Jewel of the Square" and is still used for the summer productions of the Dade County Community Theater.
Brewton City Schools in rural Alabama (pop. 5,498) needed to upgrade its broadband access for students, teachers and administrators – understanding it was essential to provide the type of educational platform that would put their students ahead of the curve.
"Providing high-speed Internet for students is very similar to providing water and electricity in the classroom," notes Lynn D. Smith, Superintendent of Brewton City Schools. "It’s critical nowadays."
The district turned to Mediacom Business, who provided the school with the broadband connectivity and scalability via a robust fiber network. This reliable fiber backbone was essential to conduct the latest in e-learning curriculum, online testing and more so for the centralization of student records/grades. This bandwidth allows the administration to access this data simultaneously and instantaneously - right down to knowing where a student is at any given moment or watching 30 security cameras on an iPad.
Bret Dehoff, technology coordinator for Brewton City Schools, oversees a team of 2, maintaining 650 devices in 3 schools. His plate is full so he needs to rely on a provider who has the expertise to manage and monitor the network his school’s connection runs over. Still, "there isn’t enough time in the day to maintain everything," Dehoff explains. When there is an issue, "Mediacom is out there fixing it and I’m not down for 3 weeks," he continues. Even Superintendent Smith echoes Dehoff’s sentiment. "My job is to oversee schools, it’s not to have our fiber repaired," says Smith.
Mediacom Business cut the school’s broadband bill in half from their previous provider, which means that Dehoff can now purchase additional devices – that is huge for an education budget the district’s size.
On Friday, July 11, 2014 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a plan to phase out funding for antiquated technologies, like pagers and dial-up phone service, under a program known as E-rate and to redirect $2 billion to boost wireless Internet connectivity in U.S. schools and libraries over the next two years. As an accredited Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) service provider, Mediacom Business has the experience, expertise and certifications to support the FCC’s new plan via our fiber network. The broadband conversation couldn’t be more important for schools right now.
"Connectivity allows rural areas most affected by poverty to access opportunities that they would not otherwise have," explains Vanessa Shelburne, 7th Grade Science Teacher at Brewton Middle School.
"We couldn't do any e-learning, distance learning or virtual field trips without fiber," explains Dehoff.
"Our goal is to meet the needs of each child individually, and that is a very large goal," notes Anne Lambert, principal of Brewton Elementary. Lambert discusses how Internet technologies allow for each child to learn at his or her own pace so that there is no more ‘teaching to the middle.’
Indeed, Mediacom Business, by providing cost-effective fiber solutions to Brewton City Schools, is allowing for each child to receive a proper education.
"You have to have a way to access that great world of information, and bring it to all," advocates Lambert.
Today's farmers can harness the power of the Internet to do all the things they need to do to put food on our tables. But what if they could do more? What if the coverage area extended to the far reaching communities of America's Heartland? During the 2014 Connect Iowa Broadband Summit in Ankeny, Iowa, Dan Templin, SVP of Mediacom Business, announced an initiative with the leading agriculture machinery company, Deere & Company, (John Deere) that would bring high-speed broadband access to Iowa farms.
Mediacom Business and John Deere are looking to close the gap between farming operations that currently have a reliable broadband internet and those that severely lack connectivity. According to a Mediacom Business press release on June 16, 2014, Templin and John Deere asked the Federal Communication Commission for $800,000 in funding to enable Mediacom Buisness to "deliver the broadband services agribusinesses require."
The Mediacom Business team is deeply rooted in these areas and committed to empowering the underserved communities in Iowa through its Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions™ Initiative and continuing work with broadband associations like Connect Iowa. Additionally, Mediacom Business’ fiber network would allow for machine to machine communication where farmers and those operating in the field can receive and upload data to their tablets in real time, helping them find customers faster or alerting business partners to production or delivery issues as they occur.
Thanks to sensors installed in equipment, and broadband connectivity powered by Mediacom Business, John Deere would be able to locate tractors that are in need of repair or service within hours -- alerting the farmer or agribusiness manager that equipment should be stopped before further damage -- and more expensive repairs -- could result.
Rural areas have historically been perceived to not be high data transfer zones, but in the age of the Internet of Things, farmers and agribusiness need connectivity more than ever, as production cycles shorten and the time to market reduces. The ability to transfer crop and harvest information in real time can affect commodity pricing, which is all the more reason that these underserved areas receive the level of broadband service that Mediacom Business fiber network is poised to provide.
Mediacom Business was the premier sponsor of the second annual 2014 Connect Iowa Broadband Summit, which united community leaders, state and local government officials, and professionals from the education, agriculture, and healthcare sectors from across the state to discuss the expansion, adoption and use of broadband in Iowa.
This event also provided an opportunity for attendees to observe the impact that programs like Connect Iowa, Connect American Fund, and Digital Job Creation have made in creating partnerships that ensure Iowanians meet the growing expectations of a connected lifestyle and not be left on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Amy Kuhler, Program Manager for Connect Iowa, welcomed the excited crowd and pointed attention to this year’s themes: public safety needs, federal initiatives, digital job creation, and innovative uses in agriculture and healthcare. Kuhler also stressed that one of the goals at this year’s summit would be to not just simply quote figures but rather educate those in attendance about some of broadband’s most relevant innovations.
Staying consistent with Connect Iowa’s theme, Creating Better Economic and Life Opportunities by Expanding Access, Adoption, and Use of Broadband, Keynote speaker Mark Lewellen, Manager of Spectrum Advocacy at John Deere, spoke directly to the importance of a pervasive broadband infrastructure powered by providers such as Mediacom Business, which allows Iowa’s agriculture industry to compete in a global digital economy.
SVP of Mediacom Business, Dan Templin spoke on a panel addressing community-enabled broadband expansion. Alongside key Iowa communities such as the City of Grimes, Pella and Bettendorf, city leaders spoke about how they are helping to encourage broadband infrastructure expansion. From creating partnerships and leveraging existing infrastructure, to solving issues in underserved areas, attendees learned how community leaders are working with broadband providers to help identify and fill service needs.
Templin spoke at length about Mediacom Business’ relationship with the City of Grimes and building fiber to key areas of development in this fast growing city. Keeping an open dialogue with the City of Grimes allows for this type of expansion that furthers economic development and pushes broadband further in rural America that is critical in order for businesses to compete on a national level.
There was also much discussion about the use of broadband in the healthcare industry, in addition to current legislation initiatives. Watch the live stream from the 2014 Connect Iowa Broadband Summit to see how Mediacom Business, Connect Iowa, local agencies, and community leaders plan to move from conversation to action.
Results from the latest FCC speed test are in, and for the third year in a row, Mediacom's Internet service consistently outperformed DSL
Mediacom is proud to take its place among the leaders in the telecommunications industry, and has an unflinching commitment to create best-in-class services to its customers.
In fact, the FCC has ranked Mediacom among the top four wireline ISPs nationally.
This 2014 Measuring Broadband America Report on Fixed Broadband contains the most recent data collected from ISPs as part of the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America program.
The FCC found that customers subscribing to Mediacom’s Internet service during peak hours were, on average, actually receiving 107% of advertised speeds.
This program is an ongoing, rigorous, nationwide study of consumer broadband performance in the United States. It measures the network performance delivered to a representative set of the population and service tier demographics across the country. The Report focuses on four ISP delivery technologies—DSL, cable, fiber, and satellite – and examines offerings from 14 of the largest broadband providers, which collectively account for over 80 percent of U.S. residential broadband connections.
According to the agency’s findings, DSL consistently underperformed and achieved less than advertised speeds.
The report’s sample population is drawn from thousands of volunteers. The thousands of American consumers who volunteered their time to help improve a federal agency's intent on measuring broadband speeds – with an eye towards improving the overall broadband experience for all subscribers – is telling of the fervor and commitment to the digital experience upon which we all rely on a daily basis.
This is the fourth report published by the FCC, in efforts to fulfill the agency’s goal of continuing to evolve the speeds and quality of service at which broadband access is commonly available to the American public.
The FCC is encouraged that many stakeholders have found this ongoing measurement study valuable, and that certain ISPs have adopted the methodology, developed their own internal broadband performance testing programs, and made improvements to their ongoing disclosures to consumers.
In this blog, we offer ways your small business can use the Cloud to keep your sensitive information safe and out of the hands of hackers.
If you aren’t convinced of the importance of protecting your business information in the Cloud, look at a list of some of the high-profile companies that were recently hit by hackers. JPMorgan Chase, Target, Home Depot and Sony have all been the targets of hackers in the past year or so. According to FBI Director James Comey, “There are two kinds of big companies in the United States. There are those who’ve been hacked…and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked.”
Of course, small businesses are also potentially vulnerable to hack attacks. While your small business isn’t as big as Target, the data you are storing there is still valuable to you, your employees and your customers. Here are a few tips on ways to minimize the danger of your valuable information falling in the hands of hackers and other nefarious types:
Back up your data. Even though your company’s information is stored in the Cloud, experts advise you to manually back it up on a hard disk or a thumb drive. This will also allow you to access files if your Internet connection is interrupted.
Be smart with your passwords. This is probably the most crucial way you can proactively protect your small business data in the Cloud. Create complex, original passwords for every one of your accounts. Experts say the best passwords contain lowercase and capitalized letters, special characters and numbers. You should also make sure you and your employees change passwords at regular intervals, usually every few months. There is password management software available to help with the daunting task of remembering all those complex passwords. They include Dashlane 3, Password Genie 4.4 and LastPass 3.0 Premium.
Stay on top of software upgrades. It’s easy to take software upgrades for granted. Doing so can leave your business vulnerable to hackers, so make sure you download security updates on a regular basis and use security programs to safeguard your data.
Protect yourself with anti-virus programs. This will help guard against viruses and malware. Make sure you upgrade them on a regular basis. Some of the best-reviewed programs include Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus and McAfee AntiVirus Plus.
Consider encrypting your information. This is especially important when dealing with sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and other personal data of customers. While most cloud storage companies provide encryption and decryption, double-check to make sure they are part of your contracted services.
Carefully choose your cloud storage company. Pick a provider that limits file access to carefully vetted employees, and make sure you only share documents that contain no confidential or essential information.
Be picky about what information you put in the Cloud. For example, experts advise against the common practice of using Social Security numbers to identify customers. Pick another method, with less chance for putting sensitive data at risk in case your business ever falls prey to hackers.
Make wireless network security a priority. Wireless networks are becoming increasingly popular targets for hackers. To stop them in their tracks, protect both your Wi-Fi and router access with robust passwords and use your router’s strongest encryption standard. You should also consider disabling the SSID broadcasting function on your wireless router to keep your networks hidden from would-be hackers.
Protect sensitive credit card information. If your small business accepts credit cards, you should look into using the EMV payment system. EMV derives its name from its founders, Europay, MasterCard and Visa, and utilizes sophisticated technology to protect credit card information. EMV uses microchips embedded in credit cards to safeguard cardholder data. Currently, the liability for fraudulent credit card usage falls on credit unions and banks. That is set to change this October 1, when new regulations take effect making small businesses liable for unauthorized charges. This means if your small business doesn’t accept EMV cards, you have only a few months to do so, or you could end up paying later. Several companies sell EMV card readers for small businesses, including squareup.com/emv, frontlineprocessing.com/services/emv/ and cardinalcommerce.com.
Marketing Director for Mediacom Business, Kristi Salmon, speaks with Light Reading about her company’s plans to drive fiber networks deeper into rural areas to support the move to agribusiness. “We offer a high-capacity broadband network that offers the scalability and bandwidth these areas need,” said Salmon.
The cable provider is committed to bringing fiber-based services, to support advanced platforms such as John Deere’s machine to machine (M2M) technology for agriculture and farming businesses throughout these underserved, non-traditional areas. Access to these kinds of services and applications allows agribusinesses to take full advantage of the new opportunities and improved efficiencies in food production, irrigation, and management and monitoring.
Some of the key ideas discussed were:
· New and emerging opportunities in ‘agribusiness’
· Pilot programs to bring John Deere’s M2M technology to Iowa
· Using Gigabit for city economic development & growth
Watch the full interview on Lightreading.com to learn more about Mediacom Business’s ongoing efforts to provide reliable Gigabit+ connectivity to businesses in rural America. “Mediacom Business is a true carrier and a player in this space.” said Salmon.
About Light Reading
Light Reading (www.LightReading.com) combines its research-led online communities and targeted events portfolio to help those in the global communications industry make informed decisions. LightReading.com is the ultimate source for telecom analysis for more than 350,000 subscribers each month, leading the media sector in terms of traffic, content, and reputation. Light Reading produces targeted communications events and focused one-day conferences each year for cable, mobile, and wireline executives across five continents.
Imagine having to travel 4-5 hours away from home simply to access essential medical facilities for tests, treatment or to care for a loved one. This used to be the challenging situation for residents of Carbondale and surrounding rural areas in Southern Illinois - that was until high capacity broadband via Mediacom Business’ fiber network became available.
Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH), the major health provider in the area, connects 3 hospitals, 21 clinics and 3,400 staff. Powered by Mediacom Business’ fiber network, the centralization of data and connectivity between locations has allowed for a level of communication that has propelled the level of healthcare SIH is providing.
With a connected system designed to accommodate current and future needs, Southern Illinois Healthcare can now:
With a flexible network that is scalable, reliable and secure, Southern Illinois Healthcare is now in a position to effectively service the community while connecting with the rest of the world to ensure that they are providing the most up to date healthcare services. This is possible because of the robust fiber connection provided by Mediacom Business.
About Southern Illinois Healthcare
Southern Illinois Healthcare is a not-for-profit integrated health system with over 3,400 employees. It comprises over twenty facilities, including three inpatient hospitals, two clinics, two physician office buildings, an urgent care and dedicated centers that include neuro, cancer, heart, sleep and rehabilitation.
About Carbondale, Illinois
Carbondale is a city in Jackson County, Illinois, United States, within the Southern Illinois region informally known as "Little Egypt". The city is 96 miles (154 km) southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest. Carbondale is the home of the main campus of Southern Illinois University. The city has a population of 25,902, and it is the state's 20th-most-populated city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area
Do I need a website if I have social media?
So you’ve got fans of your Facebook page and a bunch of Twitter followers, you may even have people connecting with you on LinkedIn. With the rise and importance of social media for a business these days, you may think that having a website would overpower your social presence or that a website isn’t worth it if you’ve got good things happening on social media. Do you really need a website if you’ve got social media?
The answer is YES!
While social media is great for attracting current or new customers, your website is the first impression many customers will see about your business. In some cases, customers may discover your social presence because of your website. Social media is a great place to communicate with your customers, no doubt, but it’s your website that gives you the credibility they want when viewing your company.
How does a website help?
Websites are still an important factor for businesses. Many customers will often find a favorite company on social media because of links or buttons that proclaim the fact. Websites can also deliver an importance to customers by –
Establishing credibility for your company
Providing your company’s core values
Showcasing your company’s products and services
Giving customers confidence about doing business with you
The case for a website
Websites don’t need to be static anymore. Thanks to new technology, websites can be responsive, meaning they can be viewed not only on computers, but on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. As with social media, websites can be viewed while on the go, allowing for potential customers to view your company and its services while they may be on the way to your offices.
Your company’s website can display a wealth of information that can’t be adequately done through social media. For instance, customers can view or order products from your site if you have a shopping cart page; Amazon’s mobile app is a good example of a customer being able to view and then order a product from their phone.
Customers can also save your website to their browser for future viewing; with some browsers, they can bookmark your site on their phone and then return home to check it on their computers. The very aspect of social media makes it near impossible to save a page and expect it to still be there for the next five minutes.
Having both a social media presence and a website can help your business thrive and make a profit by engaging customers through both platforms. Customers have a positive first impression, while also feeling satisfied in knowing they have multiple ways in which to communicate with you.
Explore the practical differences between DSL and Cable high speed Internet in this whitepaper, written for business decision-makers. We compared the benefits and challenges of Cable and DSL technology in four key areas: speed, distance, consistency, and availability. Both DSL and Cable will deliver broadband connectivity, but which one is the best option for your business? We believe our solutions – which are built upon the cable industry’s exclusive DOCSIS 3.0 technology – will better position any size business.
In today’s fast paced environment, small and medium-sized businesses need reliable and powerful broadband options that offer both flexibility and affordability. When DSL and Cable high speed Internet capabilities are compared, the choice becomes evident:
Planning for the future as well as delivering speeds today that enable fast operations and technical innovation is essential. As technology changes, so do the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, and infrastructure must be flexible to meet the needs of this ever changing market. When the deliverability of both DSL and Cable high speed Internet is examined, it is Cable that clearly comes out ahead with the ability to give businesses what they need now and in the future.
The Cloud offers your small business several strategic advantages that can help it grow and prosper. In this blog, we offer you real-world tips on making smart decisions when it comes to getting started in the Cloud.
There is a lot of talk these days about small businesses and cloud computing. Before you decide to have your small business utilize the Cloud, let’s start with the basics. Simply put, cloud computing is storing and accessing your business data over the Internet instead of the traditional method of using your computer’s hard drive. As long as you and your employees have an online connection, you can work anytime, anywhere as long as you have a web-enabled device such as a tablet or smartphone.
Once you’ve decided your small business should use the Cloud, you have a variety of cloud apps to choose from, including several that are small business-friendly. They include Mozy, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Carbonite and CrashPlan. When deciding which cloud back-up to use, there are plenty of questions to ask about your individual business. How many employees do you have? How big is your business and how much information do you need to back-up and store? What kind of CRM system do you have in place and how do you manage it? What is your company’s five-year plan? Where do you see yourself in the long-term? What will your cloud needs be in the years to come?
When you’re choosing a cloud service, make sure you consider the future needs of your business. Choose one that will be able to meet the needs of your business now and down the road. Once you have made a “big picture” evaluation of your business, do your homework – shop around among the cloud apps out there, asking specific questions about what each one can offer your business.
Here are some tips from small business experts on making the transition to cloud-based computing:
Don’t go at it alone. Trust at least one other person in your company to help you make this important decision. While the call is ultimately yours to make, it’s important to have input you can trust. After all, your employees will be using the Cloud on a daily basis to conduct business.
Don’t overdo it out of the gate. Working with the Cloud is different than traditional ways of conducting business. Realize that it is bound to affect your regular business processes. You should start small – consider having two or three employees work together on a Google Docs file. Plan on at least a few hours to acclimate your team to this new way of working and know there will be a learning curve, especially for those employees who may be averse to change. Once your team feels more comfortable with this different style of working, you can start expanding the cloud services you utilize.
Understand what you’re signing yourself up for. Before you sign an agreement with a cloud service, read it carefully. Make sure you’re getting the level of service your company needs, that you can live with the provider’s policies on things such as privacy and early termination and that all the elements you’ve been promised are in writing. You don’t want any surprises down the road.
Be sure you’re able to export your information in standard formats. Make sure you use formats used by Excel, Word and other programs used by your business. That will make it easy for you to back up and access your data in-house or easily move it to another cloud service later, if you decide to do so.
Consider encryption. Cloud experts say one of the best ways to protect sensitive business information is to use data encryption. You can do this with Data Loss Prevention Tools (DLPs), which monitor data leakage and facilitate the secure transmission of information to and from the Cloud.
Look at open-source Cloud services. They encourage third-party developers to develop features that will make your cloud-based experience more relevant to your business.
Consider ways to save money without sacrificing utility. For example, some small businesses use Google Docs spreadsheets as a basic CRM system, rather than paying for a CRM cloud service.
To avoid buyer’s remorse, shop around. You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, and you shouldn’t choose a cloud service without testing it out first. Since most services offer potential buyers a free trial, this one seems like a real no-brainer.
Make sure your employees can use the cloud on their cellphones and mobile devices. Since so much work is done out of the office these days, this is a crucial consideration. You might want to offer special training on using the Cloud outside the office.
Embrace the future – don’t fear change. Of course, moving your business to the Cloud is a big move, but plenty of other companies have taken the plunge (most likely at least one of your competitors) and with higher-than-ever levels of security, now is a great time for your small business to make the transition as well.
Phishing – the attempt to get financial or other confidential information from a person or business online – has been around for years and it doesn’t look as if scammers intend on stopping anytime soon. In February 2015, authorities announced that, over the past two years, a cybergang called Carbanak used phishing techniques to steal more than $1 billion from banks, e-payment systems and financial institutions in 30 countries around the world.
It appears Carbanak used spear phishing techniques to make off with all that money. Spear phishing uses emails that appear to come from an individual or business the targeted person knows, rather than generic messages (such as those addressed to “Dear Sir or Madam”) that scammers have been using for years.
This was the state of phishing and malicious attacks back in 2015, with security experts predicting 2016 would be the worst yet for businesses. Then we entered 2017.
With the recent attacks of ransomware - like WannaCry and Petya - businesses are becoming increasingly targeted by hackers. Back in 2015, Malwarebytes spokesman Adam Kujawa predicted that future phishing attacks would target a wider range of employees, such as those with access to potentially lucrative data, such as a firm’s customer accounts.
Think your employees are too savvy to fall for what looks like an obvious scam? IBM researchers discovered that businesses are seeing more and more malicious email, with a 4x increase of spam in 2016 alone, and email is still the number one method of delivering malware. During the summer, Google experienced a major phishing attack against their Google Doc users.
Cyber experts say that businesses need to be vigilant to prevent phishing attacks. Here are ways to protect your organization and customer information:
To learn more about keeping your business safe from spear phishing attacks, log on to https://www.staysafeonline.org
Choosing a telephone system for a small business used to be a simple proposition, because there really wasn’t much to choose from. All phones were pretty much the same. As it has for so many aspects of our lives, digital technology has changed all that. Now, when it comes to picking a telephone system, small businesses aren’t restricted to traditional telephones and managed voice solutions has become a preferred alternative. In this blog we compare managed voice services with traditional telephones and list some of the advantages of switching to this newer technology.
First, let’s look at the basic differences between old-fashioned analog and digital telephone systems. Analog phones (the traditional landline) use standard copper wire and what are called plain old telephone service (POTS) phones. Compare that to the latest technology, digital phones. They are used by businesses for managed voice services. A digital PBX (private branch exchange, a switching system that allows a large number of telephones in a business to be connected) is designed with a proprietary bus structure that allows for the addition of various features and capabilities that aren’t available for use with analog phones.
For small businesses, managed voice services offer innumerable advantages over POTS phones. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology can increase the productivity of a small business by allowing its employees to seamlessly multi-task. It allows businesses to integrate software programs – such as email and remote conferencing – over the Internet. An employee can conduct business with a client while simultaneously using other applications, including the Internet. Using VoIP, employees can hold conversations anywhere there is an Internet connection, meaning they aren’t tied down to being at a desk in the office anymore. As an added benefit, outgoing calls display your company’s number on caller ID, rather than an employee’s personal phone number. Employees can check incoming calls no matter where they are. With VoIP, the world truly is your office.
As you can gather from its name, managed voice services truly let you manage your calls more efficiently. For example, with a virtual receptionist you’re not paying a person to answer and route calls – cutting your payroll costs and increasing productivity.
Gone are the days of poor call sound quality. VoIP technology has evolved to provide voice clarity that is indistinguishable from traditional telephones.
Here are some of the other advantages to small businesses that replace analog phones with a managed voice system:
Nestled in the growing populous of downtown Des Moines, the Iowa Events Center is host to both entertainment and business, both regionally and nationally. The opening of the Veterans Memorial Auditorium welcomed Elvis Presley and was the center stage for the famous ‘bat-head’ incident from rocker Ozzy Osbourne. The center is also host for many business conferences, allowing for access to the downtown scenery, restaurants, and hotels the city has to offer.
The venue was challenged with so many different events going on, sometimes at the same time, and allocating bandwidth to each while still conducting its own day to day operations and communications. Event requests for Internet speeds would be ‘guestimated’ in hopes it would be enough without the flexibility to make changes the day of the event. This left them with constant issues of employees and clients being kicked off the network or maxing out the connection and then trying to explain what happened in the aftermath.
After turning to Mediacom Business’ Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions, the Iowa Events Center is now able to:
As our 2016 presidential race is underway, the Iowa Event Center is looking forward to being able to cater to the influx of people, speakers, and events, knowing that the partnership with Mediacom Business will provide the high capacity broadband these caliber of events will require and expect.
About the Iowa Events Center
Consisting of four different venue areas – the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, the Polk County Convention Complex, the Hy-Vee Hall, and the Wells Fargo Arena – plays hosts to a variety of different performing acts and conferences. Located in downtown Des Moines, the center has played host to such things as music concerts, Comic Con, and sporting events.
About Des Moines, Iowa
The capital and most populated city in the state, the city was named after the Des Moines River and has been listed as the best place for business and the wealthiest city in America. It’s one of the important cities during the US presidential elections as it’s the first location for primary caucuses.
No one can deny that over the past quarter-century, the Internet has changed the way we conduct business. For those located in the largest Metro areas like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, it’s a given that high-speed, reliable broadband service will be available. In fact, they expect it.
As you know, broadband is a critical component to the success of any business. It’s what has made the world a much smaller place by way of competition allowing businesses to not only reach nationally, but globally for that matter. Fiber-optic solutions for data and voice are providing the pathway to push big data, connect multiple locations and enable users to access information simultaneously no matter where they are. It’s simply the fastest technology available to date. Gigabit is such a buzz word right now – essentially it means the speed by which billions of bits of data are delivered over a fiber optic network. It’s a superfast connection, transmitting data at the speed of light.
So where does that leave smaller, rural communities that make up much of America? Well, Mediacom has invested more than $1 billion over the past four years to operate, expand, and upgrade its robust broadband infrastructure that serves businesses in some 1,500 communities across 22 states.
We live in a technology driven world. People want and need to be connected no matter where they are – just look at the explosion of social media. How many devices do you have surrounding you right now? It extends to the business community as well, schools utilizing distance learning where students in rural America can learn a new language from a teacher in Germany. Hospitals are conducting telemedicine and a patient can get first rate care in their home town without having to drive 2 ½ hours to the nearest university hospital. Businesses are talking about the “Cloud” to create efficiencies and go paperless. Here’s the catch...to use those applications or advanced technology platforms, you need a broadband highway to get there. The technology is fascinating but without a strong broadband connection the applications are useless. Enter Mediacom Business.
On every City’s list of priorities to drive economic development – broadband via fiber should be right at the top. Any developing community probably has come to that same conclusion. The City of Grimes, IA is one of those forward –thinking communities. Their conversation with providers has been to give them as much fiber as possible, Grimes wants to work in order to put the infrastructure in place that will help drive growth in the community and the customer base of the provider. They know that managing and monitoring a network of that stature is no small feat – any city can build fiber, that’s the easy part. But by working together, Grimes feels we all win at the end of the day. See more in our Real Customer Stories Series: City of Grimes, Iowa at http://www.mediacombusiness.com/discover-grimes
Through Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business, the days of your business being defined by its physical location are gone. Having this type of high capacity broadband access allows businesses to thrive in today’s climate but easily positions them for the scalability needed for future demands.
The way our children learn is changing. Thanks to the power of the Internet, schools are utilizing innovative digital technologies to provide jobs and information, connecting both teachers and students to each other.
In 1996, the FCC established the E-rate program to help the nation’s schools and libraries connect with broadband; that year only 14% of the nation’s K-12 schools had access to the Internet. Today, just about every school and library are able to connect and get online. This program has expanded to include the popularity of Wi-Fi networks, while focusing on those areas that have an urgent need to move away from their legacy technology to modern connectivity, ensuring that millions of students are able to access the Internet.
The rise of technology
It’s estimated that over 10 million students and teachers will be connected to the Internet within the next year, increasing the rate of those who had previously been unable to get online. A report done on students in 2014 showed that 89% of high school students and 73% of middle school students had access to a smartphone, while another 66% of students within both groups had access to a laptop.
Many of these students use their devices to access class information, taking tests, or watching teacher created videos; some schools are supplying students with tablets or laptops to help in this endeavor. However, with so many students, teachers, and administrators using these devices, at the same time, schools and libraries need to have sufficient bandwidth in order to keep everyone online without maxing out the connection.
The Mediacom Business advantage
Mediacom Business has been a leader in providing high capacity broadband in rural America using our proprietary fiber optic network. With our Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions, Mediacom Business is helping to deliver the bandwidth that administrators, teachers, and students need in order to keep their schools on the cutting edge of curriculum without breaking the budget.
The use of laptops, tablets and other electronic applications in schools continues to rise. Programs like E-learning, distance learning, district-wide online testing and video on demand curriculum, among others, have created a greater need for high capacity bandwidth. Mediacom Business is already delivering Gigabit+ capacity to many of the schools and libraries in the nearly 1,500 communities it serves.
We’re a USAC registered provider, with experience, expertise, and certifications to support any and all educational facilities that want to begin E-rate initiatives. Our experienced engineers monitor the network, making sure that your school is operating at peak performance and your students can access a world of information.
Technology has transformed the way we run our business, especially when it comes to running those required office meetings. If you’ve ever organized a business meeting, you know what a chore it can be – especially if people who need to attend are in a different city, state or even country.
Using apps like GoToMeeting, Webex, Mikogo.com, Skype and Skype for Business allows you to collaborate effectively in real time with several people, whether they are scattered across town or across continents.
There are several advantages using web conferencing for your business -
There’s more to effective webconferencing than choosing the right equipment and software. You need to make sure you understand what it takes to use that technology in the most effective manner possible, ensuring you’ll reap the benefits webconferencing offers.
Some tips to consider:
If you’re lacking in the bandwidth department in order to utilize these types of tools, contact Mediacom Business who can offer an affordable Business Internet package so you have the capacity your business needs. Click here for more information.
More and more small businesses are using managed voice services. In this blog, we discuss some of the advantages they offer to businesses that make the switch.
For years, small businesses used analog phones, traditional telephones that use landlines with copper wiring to transmit calls (otherwise known as plain old telephone service, or POTS) to connect with other phones over the public switched telephone network, or PSTN. This was almost by default, as no real alternatives existed. That changed in 2004, with the widescale introduction of voice over IP (VoIP) technology, which is used to make and receive calls over an IP network, such as the Internet. Managed voice services use digital, rather than analog, technology and they have the capacity to transform small businesses.
Managed voice service offer small businesses advantages that can make their day-to-day operations run more smoothly, streamline business practices, increase productivity and cut costs.
Your employees will be invigorated and more productive knowing the latest technology is backing them up whether they’re working in the office, at home or on the road. Your customers will be happier knowing they’ll always be able to reach the right person in your business who can help them, when they need it.
These are just a few ways in which making the switch from analog phones to a managed voice system can transform your business.
Nestled on the shores of Pensacola, Florida sits the National Flight Academy, a premier STEM Academy housed within a simulated aircraft carrier. The academy helps kids prepare and experience real world scenarios using science, technology, engineering, and math, spending five days onboard the carrier, using real mission parameters in order to put these STEM skills to use.
Educationally, the NFA needed to ensure that their students would be able to not only connect to each other, but get the real time information needed in order to participate in the course. Onboard, the air carrier houses four Smartboard Tables so that students are able to calculate their mission headings, while also being able to simulate riding in the X-12 Triad. With this need for superior, reliable, and secure broadband connections, the NFA turned to Mediacom Business.
With our Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions, the NFA is able to power their technology platforms, with the multimedia interactive and immersive experiences needed to help teach and create a learning environment. With this equipment, students can do the following:
The NFA is now completely paperless, relying on cloud technology with a reliable fiber backbone from Mediacom Business that delivers service without any trouble or interruption in their daily operations. As the NFA continues to grow, Mediacom Business will be able to easily scale their broadband services to meet the technology demands of an innovative learning institution.
About the National Flight Academy
Taking place on board the world’s largest simulated aircraft carrier, the National Flight Academy is a targeted program for 7th to 12th graders to inspire their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Students live on a multi-story, 102,000 square foot facility surrounded by advanced technology, flight simulators, and virtual reality games for an exciting and immersive learning experience.
About Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is set within the western part of the Florida panhandle, with a population of over 51,000. A sea port on Pensacola Bay, the city is the site for the Naval Air Station, which is the home base for the Blue Angels flight demonstration team. It is also home to the National Naval Aviation Museum and has been called, “the cradle of Naval Aviation”.
More and more small businesses are migrating to the cloud to help reduce expenses and increase productivity. It’s estimated that by the end of this decade, 80% of small businesses will be on the cloud, doubling the percentage of just a few years ago.
If you’re thinking about migrating your business to the cloud, there are several advantages you should consider:
Costs are lower. Cloud computing is an easy way to save on expenses, by getting more out of your hardware. Using the cloud increases the value of physical server space, which means businesses can accomplish more with what they have, seeing lower power costs as well as decreased maintenance and support costs.
Collaboration is increased. Using the cloud allows your employees to work together more efficiently, as they write, edit and upload documents. Management can access, track and oversee the progress of individual employees and work groups and can limit what employees can access.
Flexibility is enhanced. The cloud allows both management and employees to break away from the confines of the office. Authorized users can access files, documents and information on their computer or other devices (laptop, smartphone or tablet.) Your business no longer needs to be tied down to the old “9 to 5” mentality, while employee creativity and productivity are enhanced.
Integration is encouraged. Working in the cloud opens up new possibilities for integration with cloud-based providers that provide HR, accounting and marketing services. This frees up the time and resources of small business owners, allowing them to concentrate on increasing their revenues and sales.
If your business is new to the cloud, here are some ways you can use this transformative technology to organize information and manage your time and expenses better.
To learn more about the broadband highway that can take your business to the cloud, click here to reach a local Mediacom Business Account Executive.
Cloud services are extremely popular as file storage and syncing alternatives allow for people to bring their files on the go, no matter where they are. This can be a smart choice for small businesses, with employees who may sometimes work at home or need to collaborate with employees who work at the office.
The cloud isn’t the scary beast that many businesses think it is, where files disappear into the ether only to reappear at some other destination. Basically, your files are being kept on servers maintained by a cloud provider, which you can then access from a program or an app from your other devices.
There are of course a variety of different cloud apps that you could use to access files from anywhere. Here are the top four that you can consider as a small business.
Price: free/$9.99 a month or $99 a year
Access: website, desktop, mobile
Dropbox is a popular choice for not only personal use, but businesses as well. As with many of these cloud applications, Dropbox gives you the option of using their website to view or upload files or using the desktop client or mobile app. All basic accounts start with 2GB of free space; upgrading to either $9.99 provides 1TB of storage. Businesses can get as much storage as needed for $15 a user each month.
Depending on the amount of storage you need, you could use the free or paid version; regardless, the same log on can be used with any device on which you install the app.
Price: free/$1.99 or $9.99 a month
Access: website, desktop, mobile
If your business is using mostly Google products or their apps, Google Drive may work best for your business. All users who have at least a Gmail account already have access to the 15GB for free. As with Dropbox, if you want more storage, you can scale up to 100GB for $1.99 or 1TB for $9.99; again, depending on how many files you need to store, 100GB for $2.00 a month is an option.
Google Drive also has the ability to view and upload files from the website, with the added benefit of being able to edit them using Google Docs, as well as downloading the app for both computers and mobile. You can also now send email files from Drive right from Gmail as well as download any attachments you receive to your Drive account.
Price: free, as part of Windows
Access: website, desktop, mobile
A lot has been said about Microsoft and Windows, especially in light of the changes the company has been undergoing for the last few years. Formerly known as SkyDrive (and Live Mesh prior to that), OneDrive is a new cloud app from Microsoft that now comes with the latest versions of Windows operating system, like the recent release of Windows 10.
Like Google, if your company is running on the newer versions of Windows, OneDrive is already installed on your computer and running, with access to the website. In the past, that was as far as you could get, but thanks to new CEO Satya Nadella, you can now get many of the standard Office programs for your smartphone or tablet, for free.
Price: free/price depending on users
Access: website, desktop, mobile
Box is another popular choice for cloud applications, though of the list, Box is geared towards business use. Price is determined by how many employees are using the system, it’s free for one user, offering up 10GB of space and 250MB for file sizes. If that seems like too little storage compared to the other large offerings at free, Box again makes it up by the amount of users that you have in a company.
For 10 users, you can get 100GB and 2GB for file sizes for $5 per user ($50/month), with the most popular being the business for content collaboration and user management.
The big difference with Box versus the others is the ability for admin management, which for the others is usually handled by the user and not say, a network or IT admin.
These are just four cloud applications that you can consider for your small business, making it easier for employees to access the same data, simultaneously no matter where they are – another means of connectivity.
Every day businesses are using app-centric programs in order to get their work done, be it email, web conferencing, CRMs, or video conferencing. These daily activities and technologies are essential and even crucial to ensuring that business can be conducted across cities, states, and other countries, if necessary. It’s also a part of the ever–growing technologies that set the pace for business sustainability and innovation.
But while running these daily apps is a benefit for business, it also often presents the biggest of hurdles, especially if you don’t have the bandwidth necessary to power each and every one. Today, new apps are appearing on business' networks and while some are required to perform the job, others are not, in turn clogging up and slowing down the network. Some of these apps are downloaded onto employee desktops; others are on their mobile devices. Have you ever wondered why every day at 2 p.m. your browser windows paint the screen slowly or the network feels slow? As your employee base becomes younger and more “web savvy,” they listen to Internet radio and stream videos; the appearance of Web Real-Time Communications and more video conferencing on top of streaming are putting a strain on your network’s performance and may be maxing out the connection.
Take for example a small business based art studio with 12 full time employees; the table below showcases examples of the bandwidth needed to power basic business applications on the network for these 12 users.
Mediacom Businesses helps small businesses identify what their day to day operations require in terms of bandwidth so service isn’t latent. We also have the delivery mechanism whether that be HFC or fiber to handle all your technology needs. Different applications warrant different blends of capacity and Mediacom Business can effectively scale their services to manage those requirements and monetize your network performance.
What are the pressures to improve network performance?
Businesses can adapt to meet the high speed connectivity needs of their network – the choice is there with Mediacom Business. It’s important that businesses have a broadband platform that allows for flexibility to scale their Internet needs – as the business climate is always changing and there are a plethora of technologies being introduced each day that can further fuel your business. Which are right for your business? And more importantly which are the applications that foster business growth and create new opportunities. Mediacom Business can be the broadband highway to power each and every application – efficiently, fast and securely.
Businesses need robust bandwidth to drive capacity for video, speed for responsive cloud services, scalability for “Big Data”, and server reliability for workers both in-house and those remote. With advancements in modern technology, productivity and collaboration, even when mobile, are easier than ever. Day to day functions that run on the network such as file sharing, data transfer, video conferencing, HD streaming, mobile devices (BYOD), backups, and virus protection to name a few, all affect the amount of bandwidth each business needs. This will also fluctuate based on the number of employees engaged at any given time, something to consider so your business doesn’t “max out” bandwidth and wonder why data service may be latent.
How much bandwidth does my company really need? Answering this question requires you to take a look at the several key factors that impact your speed and bandwidth requirements and assess your current usage levels for each. The core activities, functions, and technology applications that require an Internet connection, how many employees you have, and how many devices in use will all affect speed and performance. The table below showcases an SMB hospitality business with 50 employees and the amount of bandwidth that is required in terms of upload and download speeds. Looking at each distinctive task, it doesn’t seem like a large amount of speed would be required, however collectively, it ramps up the overall requirement:
The amount of bandwidth a business needs will change from year to year as it grows and introduces more bandwidth heavy platforms. As a result, organizations need to think about both short and long term goals when deciding.
A lot of businesses think they aren’t a “big enough” operation to need fiber data and voice solutions but the beauty of Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business is the element of scalability. Once connected to the Mediacom Business “fiber pipe”, turning up bandwidth as your business advances into other platforms is turn-key and seamless. It doesn’t require additional construction or down time. Having that type of agility has pushed many businesses to take a second look at fiber solutions.
Mediacom Business has an array of high-capacity broadband packages to fit business’ needs: whether your business is simply using a credit card machine or conducting e-commerce to moving into desktop virtualization. Our data delivery methods are fast and reliable – it’s simply a matter of matching usage to bandwidth. Let us help you accomplish the most important thing of all: developing a solid plan for future growth. Preparing for future growth will ensure that the business you're running is more successful and capable of adapting to market changes. If you’d like to learn more about Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions and what it can do for your business, click here to contact one of our local Account Executives today.
The internet is the lifeblood of a business, enabling e-commerce, online research, customer interaction, data flow, sharing of files and much more. Connectivity fuels all of these operations and there are many technology delivery methods. But which technology is most superior, and more importantly, which method is going to drive business growth and allow you to venture into advanced platforms that can really sustain your business? We’ll unpack many internet delivery services and highlight the benefits that will serve your business best.
Unfortunately, it’s quite common to see businesses with insufficient internet connectivity. As we’ve discussed earlier in this series, knowing what’s appropriate can be difficult and in some instances businesses may feel their data service is latent when, in fact, they simply don’t have enough bandwidth to power their day to day operations and are simply maxing out their connection. How much bandwidth you need depends on what you are doing, and how many people are doing it. Below is a crash course on the various types of internet bandwidth delivery methods used today.
Problems: Available speeds are below the 50 Mbps threshold. The delivery method requires a shorter distance so data transfer is impacted by subscriber distance from the company’s central office. Therefore, performance degrades markedly and may not be available at all. Distance and peak usage hours on the network will affect service, so consistency will be an issue. DSL is limited in rural areas, so availability and high costs could be an issue as well.
Benefits: High-speed cable is not only able to deliver that 50 Mbps benchmark, but has gone far beyond it. Leveraging DOCSIS 3.0, top-tier cable providers are providing 100 Mbps service today, and speeds reaching 250 Mbps are expected in the near future. High-speed cable is not distance sensitive. Cable-based services have delivered 102 percent of advertised speeds. High-speed cable internet doesn’t degrade over distance and runs over the same infrastructure that brings cable TV to both densely and sparsely populated areas; it is available to a far wider customer base; in cities and rural areas alike.
Cable’s roadmap is ambitious and far-reaching, intended to take speed and reach well beyond what next-generation DSL will offer – the forthcoming DOCSIS 3.1 – is expected to turbocharge bandwidth even more, bringing speeds of 500 Mbps to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) to a coverage area far and wide.
Problems: To achieve any real level of high capacity broadband, users have to purchase multiple T1s which, in the end, can be extremely cost extensive.
The fiber-optic path to the internet is many times faster than even the highest-speed copper internet connections. During periods of high demand for internet access, your business should not notice the internet slowing down. With Mediacom Business’ Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions, businesses can experience high-capacity broadband at speeds from 1 Gig to 10 Gig+ that outperform DSL and T1 delivery methods. Think of it as a business’ own private lane on the highway of broadband.
Benefits: Signal strength does not degrade as quickly over distance. Bandwidth availability is significantly higher, and speed does not decrease as high demands are put on the network. Fiber-optic internet eliminates many latency issues as it is extremely reliable and robust. It is secure, as the only way to penetrate fiber-optic internet is to physically cut the fibers, which will cause the signal to disappear. Fiber-optic internet increases your company's protection against cybercrime, is resistant to interference and is a major cost save since productivity issues attributed to slow or unreliable internet disappear with fiber. Cloud access, from customer relationship management (CRM) tools to data storage, is an important business tool for apps, hosting, and more. 82% of organizations are now using the cloud in some capacity. The speed and bandwidth capabilities of fiber internet mean faster access to your data and applications stored in the cloud. The delivery method is also scalable and bandwidth changes are easy to turn-up as needs change.
Research by Sandisk indicates that slow internet connections cost employees "one week per year of productivity." While the time your teams spend waiting on slow internet can seem minor, it adds up significantly over time. Your internet connectivity should never inhibit productivity. It should be a tool that supports your employees' desire to work productively.
Below is a chart of the most common internet technologies:
|Fiber||optical fiber||100 Mbps to 1000 Mbps|
|Cable||coax cable||512 Kbps to 100 Mbps|
|DSL/ADSL||twisted pair phone line||128 Kbps to 8 Mbps|
|T1||twisted pair, coax or optical fiber||1.544 Mbps|
|Dial-up||regular phone line||
2400 bps to 56 Kbps
Internet speeds are measured in Mbps, or megabits per second. These are related to but different than megabytes, a file size measurement which you are probably familiar with. A bit is 1/8th of a Byte, therefore if you have a 1 Mbps connection, it will take (in theory) 8 seconds to transfer a 1 MB file. This measurement refers to the speed as well as the bandwidth. Think of it as a multi-lane highway, in which you can only go so fast, and the easiest way to get more stuff from one place to another is to add more lanes. That is essentially what increasing your bandwidth does.
A decade ago, most small- and medium-size businesses could get by with an internet connection of 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps). But with today’s usage, the benchmark is closer to 50 Mbps – and very soon, it will reach 100 Mbps. Businesses that don’t have that kind of bandwidth will find themselves unable to fully leverage trends like the cloud and remote access. And to be sure, if they don’t, the competition will. Spending on public IT cloud services – including applications, servers, and storage – is expected to grow from $47.4 billion in 2013 to more than $107 billion in 2017, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Not surprisingly, many business internet customers are already reporting that their bandwidth requirements are increasing by nearly 25 percent each year.
Upload & Download Speeds
Another point to be aware of is upload versus download speeds; in most cases these will not be the same. Internet speeds are typically listed in download x upload, i.e. 3 X .384 – typical DSL speed, meaning 3 Mbps download and .384 Mbps (384 Kilobytes per second) upload. Usually you will have more download than upload speed, but some higher capacity options like fiber optic cable or the older T1 and T3 technologies will give you a symmetrical throughput (same upload and download speed).
Accounting for the Future
As the projections show, networks are increasingly requiring more capacity and 1 Gbps networks are where things are headed. You also need to plan for growth.
Some considerations for IT leaders:
Nielsen’s Law of Internet Bandwidth states that internet usage doubles every 12 months. If you need 10 Mbps of bandwidth service right now, next year you’ll probably need 20 Mbps. With IP traffic in North America predicted to reach 49.7 exabytes per month by 2019 (that’s one billion gigabytes), now is the time to evaluate your organization’s bandwidth needs and ensure that your broadband delivery method is able to support business growth.
An increase in bandwidth or making the switch to gigabit internet, allows employees to increase productivity and overall profitability within your organization.
The May 2015 Cisco Visual Networking Index predicted that, by 2019, 80% of consumer internet traffic will be video. Additionally, the growing use of 4K and 8K video will create an even greater demand for bandwidth. Video is one of the most used internet applications today, especially among millennials and in virtual education settings. The need to grease the wheels and hasten video based apps and services has created a demand over the last few years for faster, more reliable internet. The infiltration of gigabit internet to fill this need is affecting the future of organizations in a very positive way.
The infographic below showcases the importance of video based communication today:
Businesses still want face to face interactions and thanks to video communication, that possibility is a reality, especially for businesses with multiple locations. As shown by the image above, most professionals want to have these face to face interactions with colleagues, customers, students, and teachers. Understanding the bandwidth needs of your organization will enable you to maintain the ubiquitous, high-quality connectivity required to support user communications, applications, as well as up/downloads across your location. For colleges and universities, keeping up with student demand and providing enough bandwidth can be challenging, coupled with having knowledgeable staff on hand.
Virtual classrooms and online-learning has grown immensely popular over the last decade, as shown in this infographic:
How Gigabit is Bringing Back the Video Star
Gigabit level broadband capacity provides immediate access to remote servers and cloud based computing services, allowing businesses to be twice as productive. All aspects of a business, ranging from higher-quality videoconferencing, customer service and product development to management and operations benefit from this high-speed internet service. Collaboration between geographically separated workers, students, and teachers is much more in demand and widespread, so this is an obvious plus for organizations that need to facilitate this. Some of the benefits of implementing gigabit internet at your organization include:
Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business will satisfy the bandwidth intensive needs of organizations that rely heavily upon video based communications and services, and with noticeably better performance at all times and affordable pricing. Gigabit represents the next generation of high-speed internet. Learn more in our next series: “Is My Business Ready for Gigabit Internet?”
Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2014-2019 White Paper
High Latency vs Low Bandwidth – Impact on Web Performance
2015 Measuring Broadband America Fixed Broadband Report
What speeds do I need for Skype, Netflix, etc.
The speed of the office network has the power to make or break productivity. This is extremely vital when it comes to the bandwidth dedicated to your digital voice communications. Most organizations today utilize both web and video based conferencing applications in order to stay in contact with employees, especially those in remote offices. The applications most relied upon by businesses include:
Understanding digital voice usage
In recent years, voice communication services with multi-media capabilities have gained popularity and workplace use. As mentioned, these voice apps can be used to connect with employees, customers, and other locations, however require adequate bandwidth to sustain them. The chart below showcases examples of these requirements:
Average Use HD
|dependent on app|
Does my office need more bandwidth?
With the prediction that IP traffic in North America will reach 49.7 exabytes per month by 2019, now is the time to make the switch to a bandwidth solution that is capable of supporting where your business growth is headed. Without robust broadband connectivity, businesses can fall behind the curve and struggle with productivity. One of the cost-effective solutions for bandwidth needs in the workplace is gigabit internet. Gone are the days where fiber was the top tier product no business could afford. Because of the investment companies like Mediacom Business have made to deep root their network in rural communities like yours, high-capacity broadband is at a business’ fingertips. Not only is it faster, at 1000 megabytes per second (1 GBPS), but it is designed to handle multiple users, applications, software and data loads, all at the same time. This allows businesses to compete on par with any other business, nationally, or globally, for that matter.
An increase in bandwidth through switching to gigabit internet will allow your employees to focus less on controlling the applications they are using and more on completing their workloads in less time. The benefits of increasing productivity allow for growth across your organization, and increased connectivity across multiple offices and traveling employees. As we’ve said before, “Having this type of high capacity broadband access allows businesses to thrive in today’s climate”.
To access more of our bandwidth related insights, click here.
Upgrade to Gigabit Networking for Better Performance
How Much Data Does Skype Use?
How Much Bandwidth is Enough?
Cisco WebEx Network Bandwidth White Paper
The Zettabyte Era—Trends and Analysis
As the digital world continues to expand, so does the demand to connect, whether that’s to devices or each other. For cable providers, DOCSIS technology has become a solution that not only meets the demands of businesses today but is built for the requirements we know tomorrow will bring.
What is DOCSIS?
DOCSIS is the acronym for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. Businesses receive their broadband connection via cable modems. It’s a technology investment that takes connectivity well beyond what phone companies have been traditionally providing businesses. And while DOCSIS may seem like a foreign term in the business world, it’s important to understand the technology behind the broadband path you choose for your business. Different iterations and standards of DOCSIS have been configured as the technology evolves; DOCSIS 3.1 is the latest on the horizon, where the speed capability able to be achieved will be revolutionary to what businesses have been used to from cable providers.
DOCSIS Speed Table
For small to medium sized businesses, when looking at DOCSIS vs. DSL technology, there are important differences to point out. DSL transmits data but is based on technology developed for voice, while high-speed internet delivered by cable companies was specifically developed to transmit data. And the key areas where the differences are evident include the following: Speed. DOCSIS speeds have not only been able to deliver the 50 Mbps benchmark of DSL but have gone far beyond it. And with DOCSIS 3.1, Gigabit speeds will be the standard of capacity. Distance. By running a data connection over that which carries a voice call, does not fare as well. If businesses are located more than a few miles from the phone company’s central office, performance will start to degrade. So while the technology is good for calling a client – it may not work so well for sending them large files or sharing cloud-based data. Consistency. The truest indicator of this factor is when internet traffic is at its peak and the stress on the network is at its highest. The FCC frequently tests this by way of speeds advertised and speeds delivered. In a 2015 study, the FCC noted “some DSL broadband ISPs’ actual download speed falls substantially short of their advertised download speed; the gap between their consistent download speed and advertised download speed is even greater.” Availability. The distance limitations of DSL mean that for a large percentage of a phone company’s footprint, the service will not be available, especially so in rural areas. Since high-speed cable Internet doesn’t degrade over distance, and runs over the same infrastructure that brings cable TV to both densely and sparsely populated areas, it is available to a far wider customer base; especially through the investment Mediacom Business has made in its rural 22-state footprint.
How DOCSIS and Gigabit Work Together
Few internet providers outside of Mediacom Business can deliver the high-capacity speeds of Gigabit and beyond, simply put because this technology is not readily available in rural areas. The network infrastructure Mediacom Business has made in these areas was a proprietary investment having the foresight of where technology could take businesses. And now with DOCSIS, cable providers are on the cusp of offering these same speeds quickly and easily, with a nearly 100x increase in the average data rate. The current version of DOCSIS is 25% more efficient than earlier versions. This makes DOCSIS a good fit for businesses who need the ability to host clear video streaming, video conferencing, VoIP and other business applications without delays and drops.
For our customers in rural communities, not only does this technology provide businesses with access to high speed internet, but it also means that they are able to connect faster and easier, as DOCSIS 3.1 over HFC hopes to go upwards of 100 Gbps in the future. Plus it allows these businesses to compete on a national or global level because they have the broadband needed to create a competitive edge.
DOCSIS 3.1 Enables Rapid Deployment of Gigabit Broadband
Cox, Mediacom Plot Broadband Speed Increases, as DOCSIS 3.1 Rebranded as Gigasphere
FCC 2015 Measuring Broadband America. Fixed Broadband Report.
Think back to 1993, people were talking about an “information superhighway” that would change the world. The internet. Few grasped what it really was and how we could see our lives wrapped around it. Three years later Google would be born and following suit, all other products and companies joined the bandwagon to commercialize the internet. Now it’s hard to imagine life without the internet and our country has truly become a “connected economy”. It’s the way business is done and how products are moved. The emergence of blockchain technologies seems awfully reminiscent to the birth of the internet. It’s caught the attention of the “big four” audit firms and some believe it may be the way to redefine trust in financial institutions after many consumers have been victims of hacks and ransomware incidents. One reason for that is the entire chain is continually self-updating; hackers would have to breach all computers that contain the ledger in one instance to steal funds or data.
Originally used for the crypto-currency Bitcoin, the technology has far reaching potential for uses in other areas - security being one of those. Its original use was to track transactions in a secure, trustworthy, and transparent way; that ability has obviously attracted other industries, such as finance and healthcare, who have been targets of increasing malicious cyber-attacks. In this article from The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, learn the basics of blockchain and how it could potentially push a new revolution in applications.
Technology is one component of securing information. But a business’ broadband connection is really the first step. Having a secure and reliable data backbone, particularly when using the public internet is a critical concern for any business. Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions provides a private path that is highly reliable and boasts 99.9999%* reliability. Any information-sharing system is only as credible as the connection that fuels it. Speed and efficiency are attractive qualities to any business sector but especially those in the financial industry as ledgers and ledgers of transactions have to be moved in a timely manner. With a strong fiber internet connection, lifecycles of trades and such can go from days to minutes. Now we see a rise in banks starting to formulate their own version of cryptocurrency, similar to bitcoin, designed to run on the banks own private blockchain. This means the replicated ledger of transactions sits behind the closed walls of the bank, centralized and guarded. And the frontline protector is going to be the bandwidth provider. Mediacom Business’ Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions is the latest and greatest delivery mechanism of bandwidth that future proofs financial institutions so they can dive head first into advancements like blockchain technology.
Businesses need technology to be successful, yet often times challenges, constraints, or misunderstanding can keep businesses from getting the latest technology benefits. In this very relevant article by the Columbia Business Times in Missouri, author Matt McDermott looks at 5 big technology mistakes businesses make and how to avoid them.
“Investing in the past.” This one jumps out because it is a reality for a lot of businesses who may not even know it and simply get comfortable in their approach because it’s “just the way we’ve always done things.” Antiquated technology isn’t going to propel a business forward; in fact, it may hinder it. Data transfer lag, bottlenecks on the network, operations timing out all can be because your business doesn’t have enough bandwidth but also because the broadband technology used can’t support your agenda. Mediacom has made deep investments in their network infrastructure to provide the latest and greatest broadband technology. Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions utilizes fiber-optic technology that pushes data at the speed of light but just as important is the capacity it provides. It affords businesses the ability to complete their everyday tasks like email, customer transactions and being online but the “fiber pipe” can support the technologies that allow businesses to innovate. And while the investment may be made upfront, this technology means your business is in it for the long haul. It doesn’t require the maintenance and hardware that businesses might be plagued with today. Turning up additional bandwidth is simple. Reliability and security are the icing on the cake when it comes to Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions. Your data is precious and your business’ ability to safeguard customer’s personal information will make or break your business. Dedicated Internet Access gives your business its own private lane on the broadband highway to the public internet.
The cable industry has made great strides in evolving their exclusive DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) modem-based technology. The latest iteration of 3.1 is capable of reaching 1 Gbps speeds. If your business isn’t a candidate for fiber-optic broadband, there are options to get the bandwidth capacity you need. Our blog “The Story of DOCSIS: Made for Today’s Businesses” unpacks this delivery method’s benefits. The technology you use is only as strong as the broadband behind it.
Technology is disrupting the financial services industry. The increase in online banking, along with financial companies like PayPal, is completely changing the way people approach traditional banking. Technology is upending workflow and processes in the financial services industry. Tasks once handled with paper money, bulky computers, and human interaction are now being completed entirely on digital interfaces. Given how pervasive financial services are across the globe, the disruption opportunity for fintech startups is massive.
Almost every type of financial activity is being re-imagined. Meanwhile, many institutions are left trying to solve the puzzle presented by the fintech revolution: How can they benefit from the rise of digital, and how can they avoid obsolescence?
The Future of Fintech is Here
The concept of fintech has been around for a few years, but it was only in 2015 that it seemed to take off:
Financial institutions are acquiring a new breed of customers, in part to millennials, who are always connected and looking for more mobile experiences. In fact, 92% of millennials today make banking choices based upon what digital services are offered, instead of other perks and offerings. Many believe they will not need a physical bank in the future.
Many banks and financial businesses are stumped on how to approach this new and unfamiliar customer. In its research, Accenture discovered that legacy technology and trying to deploy new technology were just some of the challenges faced when trying to address customer needs. The chart below demonstrates strategies that financial institutions put in place for digital innovation, with 68% admitting they had fragmented strategies for encountering fintech. More importantly, they felt that the time it took to put these technologies in place was hindering their value, or didn’t provide value once implemented.
The foundation for most of these technologies is bandwidth and ensuring that financial offices are able to provide that, both online and in store. Below is an outline of the most used fintech services:
EY’s adoption survey concluded that 43.4% of customers adopt fintech solutions because it is simple and easy to set up, and that the new breed of customer will demand anytime, anyplace, and tailored experiences via mobile and internet access within the next ten years.
Gigabit+ Capacity Laying the Ground for Fintech Platforms
With these new technological innovations, financial institutions are going to need a considerable amount of bandwidth and speed to even operate on these platforms. And in order to give their customers and partners the confidence that they can play in this space, it is critical that the connection is secure and private. This is one of the reasons many financial institutions have moved to Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions – having a strong fiber backbone allows them to complete day to day operations and pass information via cloud based data portals as well as provide customers with the applications to interface with their institutions without lag time and long waits.
Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business provides the new future of high speed, with 1 to 10 gigabit per second transfer rates that are able to handle everything your business could throw at it. Gigabit speeds can meet the demands of these new digital first customers as they go from desktop to smartphone to connected kiosk within your financial institution. This ensures both customers and employees are able to access and retrieve information without interruptions; regardless of what’s going on.
Contact us to learn more about Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions and how it can transform your “fintech” business.
Sizing the Fintech Opportunity
The Fintech Industry Explained – The Trends Disrupting the World of Financial Technology
Financial Institutions Need Faster Bandwidth for Security, Business Continuity, Data Transfer
Microsoft Enterprise - Optimizing the Customer Experience
As technology continues to expand and grow, the lines of traditional learning evolve into the digital transformation. New methods for educators to collaborate and communicate, while students discover new ways in which to learn are being created and recreated over time. Online courses, also known as eLearning or virtual classrooms have changed the way students learn. Students of all ages and backgrounds are able to learn and interact with professors and fellow students outside their own campus.
Whether teachers are trying to access online curriculum, streaming education live cameras from YouTube or students are simply using the internet…all can put a strain on the school network. The evolution in learning and teaching, coupled with the rise of mobile devices, leaves many education facilities across the country scrambling for ways to not only embrace new technologies, but support them, and stay ahead of the curve. Online testing requirements must sustain every student online at the same time. That is a heavy amount of broadband weight given the school’s normal day–to-day operations.
Broadband use doesn’t stop with students, but is an imperative tool for administration too. Centralization and privacy of student records is critical, along with the ability to access that data from any area in the school district at any given time. Furthermore, in today’s world, many schools are advancing into security cameras where footage can be accessed via tablets at a moment's notice – so a school is always aware of where a student is.
The new way to learn
In recent years, "digital" has been the growing trend in the education sector, however education providers often are not sure how it works or how to get started. OnlineCollege.org produced an infographic which details some of the benefits through technology, highlighting some key statistics below:
As you can see from the above, $7 billion dollars was being spent on textbooks that were 7 to 10 years old. Technology was shown to improve school budgets between $250 to $1,000 per student, per year. A PBS LearningMedia survey stated that 74% of teachers said using classroom technology helps to motivate students to learn. Technology is a part of our lives – a 2014 Pew Research study found the following:
Various sources have also cited that children will often use or own their own mobile device.
What these figures indicate is that technology has become a boon when it comes to communication, collaboration, and even education.
Fast forward to 2016 and the newest report from the Babson Survey Research Group, its 13th year surveying the rising growth of online education in the US, found that the number of students that were taking online courses grew to 5.8 million, a trend that has been consistent for the last 13 years; 28% of college students are enrolled in at least one online course for their semester.
What schools need to consider
Due to the influx of percentages, education facilities have started to implement plans to include or increase their use of technology, however they may not be considering the bandwidth required for educators and students. In a 2012 interview, CEO and founder of the San Francisco nonprofit Education Superhighway, Evan Marwell, stated that while 97% of schools did indeed have broadband access, they were using the same speed of a typical household. The problem with this scenario is that a typical residence supports up to 4 people on a network, while a campus needs to support 400 or more students, teachers, and faculty.
The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, established guidelines in 2014 on what a typical campus network should encompass: a connection speed of at least 100 Mbps per 1,000 students was considered a short term solution, while 1 Gigabit per second was the minimum for a long term solution. This means that campuses, both in large cities and rural areas, need to be looking at the future of the internet in order to keep the pace with the growing penetration of mobile devices and learning techniques.
This is where Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business changes the education landscape. This evolution of high-speed internet has the capability to connect all locations in a campus, accessing the same data in real time. And with this level of capacity, schools can utilize all the advanced education platforms described above, while not maxing out the campus’ connection and doing so with superior speed. Broadband gives teachers the space to evolve their classrooms and reach new levels of education that were never possible prior.
Brewton City Schools in rural Alabama is just one of our customers within the education sector that we provide data fiber solutions to, enabling their rural campuses to connect well outside the city lines and offer their students another level of education. Brewton City Schools was not only able to achieve an internet solution on par with a larger suburban campus, and ensure their students have the advantage of technology to facilitate learning but saved money while doing so.
Report: One in Four Students Enrolled in Online Courses
5 Positive Effects Technology has on Teaching & Learning
Growing Wireless – Quick Facts
Technology in Education: An Overview
Report Card: Mediacom Business Fosters Advancement in Brewton City Schools, Alabama
Two digital transformation developments within the healthcare industry are the convergence of telemedicine and telehealth. While the two are often grouped together under the same umbrella, they are actually two different ideas based on the same concept. Telehealth is different from telemedicine because it refers to a broader scope of remote healthcare services than telemedicine. While telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services, such as provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education, in addition to clinical services.
The focus on creating digital transparency within healthcare has been in the works for years, with the United States creating a conversion bill in 2009 to help healthcare move to electronic medical and health records. The infographic below, done by the global field organization experts at Pristine, showcases the growth of telemedicine, with the section below showing the quality outcomes:
The full infographic represents the use of technology to provide services to patients in other locations, like video consultations, remote blood pressure monitoring, ECG, staff and doctor training and medical education, administration meetings, and more. As seen in the infographic, 91% of health outcomes were good or even better using telehealth, while 64% of Americans would be willing to visit with their doctor via video. Related technologies also include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.
Other points of telehealth growth include:
78.4% of healthcare offices were using EMR/EHR systems in 2013
89% of healthcare executives expect telemedicine to transform the US healthcare system within a decade
The global market for telemedicine is expected to grow from $11.6 billion (in 2011) to $27.3 billion (in 2016)
Why healthcare facilities need more bandwidth
Healthcare facilities and hospitals are increasingly looking to adopt these new technologies available to them. This requires IT administrators to both examine and take their current network into consideration. Electronic medical records, especially those used alongside ePrescriptions and online medical registries, rely heavily on a fast, reliable and secure broadband connection. Depending on the number of staff, hospitals could need up to 100 Mbps just to support their EMR/HER equipment. This does not take into account other equipment, such as X-ray machines, MRIs, and ultrasounds, all relying upon high quality digital video.
An additional factor that comes into play is mobile connectivity. From smartphones to laptops to tablets, the rise in mobility and mobile devices has increased the ability for doctors and patients to communicate, participate, and diagnose at the drop of a dime. Healthcare facilities today must ensure that their bandwidth is capable of handling all of these elements on a daily, if not hourly basis.
Solutions like Mediacom Business' Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions have the ability to handle any and everything thrown at it, from large files, record transference, videos, and more, all at increased speeds. The advancements in healthcare technology are fascinating but without a robust high-capacity broadband connection, they are useless. Gigabit+ internet delivers speeds between 1 billion and 10 billion bits of data, covering both downstream and upstream, and using light wave technology through fiber optic cabling. Other added benefits include reliable and secure dedicated private networks, which helps to ensure information is kept private and in the hands of those who need it, especially needed in the healthcare industry
An example of a healthcare facility using our bandwidth services is Southern Illinois Healthcare. SIH is a major healthcare provider in the city of Carbondale and surrounding rural areas. Healthcare providers in rural areas, like SIH, benefit the most from our flexible and robust bandwidth services. Our service supports their use of telemedicine and enables their medical staff to connect with patients, who might not be able to make the 4 to 5-hour drive to the closest major city outside of Carbondale, IL. SIH is one of the thousands of customers that Mediacom Business serves, ensuring they can utilize the latest technologies to match their large city counterparts via our powerful fiber network to better serve patients.
Fast Stats – Electronic Medical Records/Electronic Health Records
HITECH and Meaningful Use – How is the US Implementing Electronic Medical Records?
Southern Illinois Healthcare Advances into Telemedicine
Imagine the office of the future without broadband constraints. It’s booming with technology advancements because when you don’t have to worry about limits on your bandwidth network, possibilities are endless. Innovation can run wild and productivity can soar when businesses have access to fast, reliable and scalable Business Internet. That’s the investment Mediacom Business has made in our broadband network.
In this article from Healthcare IT News, we explore the 12 defining issues that exist in the healthcare industry this year. In order to boost efficiencies across function – bandwidth will be a key factor to doing so. And it’s a mixed bag of needs, complexities of government regulations and compliance, backing up data and integration of artificial intelligence (A.I.) – one of the most bandwidth intensive applications we’re seeing on the forefront of technology births. But we know that technology has the capabilities to diagnose quicker and more accurately in life-saving scenarios. Time is of the essence in these situations and having access to critical data points in a matter of seconds determines the outcome.
Electronic medical records, in an effort go paperless and push data to the cloud, has truly provided a centralized place to store private data. And access from any hospital or clinic within a healthcare conglomerate makes data sharing instantaneous. Medical records require a great deal of bandwidth to transfer between doctors or patients. The complexity alone adding in the privacy requirements to do so, it’s critical that the broadband backbone of any hospital utilize the latest and greatest technology. Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business, with capacity up to 10 Gigabit and beyond, provides the data pipe that ultimately has no restrictions. The throughput exists to venture into any of the areas mentioned in this article without the worry of strain on the network.
Artificial Intelligence is a growing trend for healthcare executives with three-quarters of healthcare executives planning to invest in this initiative over the next 3 years. The University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center uses the IBM technology, Watson, to help diagnose patients. CBS’ 60 Minutes profiled the hospital’s use cases and the analysis found that not only did Watson’s recommendations match 99% of what the doctor’s had diagnosed, but in 30% of the patients, Watson found an additional treatment method that the doctor’s hadn’t. A.I. capabilities are so vast for healthcare as the amount of data you can feed the software to diagnose is incredible. For the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, they trained Watson with 25 million published medical records that took “him” about a week to access and store. Technology powered by broadband is the key to innovation on this level.
We live in a technology driven world, with many of us wanting and needing to be connected at every turn, to every device, and so on. Technology has afforded us the means of innovation and advancement, from healthcare to communication to our everyday business. It is in business that technology has enabled us to garner the best of tech, helping to promote and produce goods and services.
This is certainly true when it comes to agribusiness, where revenues and technology are based within agriculture. Many agribusinesses are in heartlands and farming lands across the US and the growth of technology has given these farmers the ability to do more with their “business”.
In the past, farmers relied on weather and seasons to calculate the best times to harvest or plant crops. Now, farmers are using technology to help them make the best possible decisions when it comes to growing and managing one or even multiple locations. Some of the new agribusiness technologies include:
These technologies, as well as upcoming trends for agribusiness, are giving farmers a new way to farm, produce, and grow their business. But as with the weather and seasons of the past, these technologies need reliability and speed.
Covering the Rural Community
While broadband has been growing in urban communities and cities, it’s been slow within rural towns. An earlier report from the National Broadband Map showed that only 55% of those in rural areas have broadband access compared to 94% in urban areas. This divide is usually because many telecom providers target and install lines within high population density areas.
Mediacom Business knows that for businesses, especially in our rural communities, the need for available and reliable internet is critical. For agribusinesses, this is especially so, as the new technology depends on having fast speeds and a reliable connection to properly and effectively manage their crops and land. As incubator spaces and innovation centers continually emerge, precision agriculture is a hot topic among these startups. Using satellite imagery to help farmers better manage their crops – a high capacity fiber pipe is critical for transmitting data and imagery of this magnitude. In Mediacom Business’ latest partnership with the Missouri Innovation Center in Columbia, MO, we see this as a key development in their growth efforts.
Our high speed internet service is not only capable of handling these new tools, but we pride ourselves on being one of the few telecom providers that have deep rooted our high-capacity broadband network into rural communities – giving these areas the same level of internet access one would expect in any major metropolitan area. And we keep on going in an effort to put gigabit internet speeds within immediate reach of more local businesses in our 1,500 communities.
Part of Mediacom’s broader plan is to invest $1 billion over the next 3 years to, among other projects, upgrade and expand its national broadband network to ensure that we are bringing high speed internet to our rural communities. Having also partnered with John Deere in the past to bridge the gap between reliable connectivity and farming operations, this next level technology is only as good as the robust broadband connection behind it.
Municipalities and the Broadband Networks to Power Them
It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without the internet. For some of us, we do remember a time when we couldn’t access information in minutes or waited for the dial up tone to complete before we could get connected. Our new digital age has provided us the means to better communicate with others and has created more efficient productivity.
Businesses rely on technology to reach both customers and partners, enabling employees to work both in-house and remotely, and allowing for usage of next-level business applications to run faster and do more. But while many urban communities have access to all levels of internet speeds, some rural ones may not have the same luxury.
Municipalities and Broadband
Municipalities, urban administrative divisions of self-governing jurisdictions, are usually located on the outskirts of larger populations. These municipalities, because of their locations, may not be able to access the level of broadband that drives growth and progress. Lack of reliable internet access can be detrimental to attracting businesses, and residents for that matter, reducing the ability for economic development to flourish. Generations Y & Z expect to be connected, they grew up on the internet – so in an effort to help recruit businesses, cities need to attract and retain young professionals for the community to grow. Broadband is a key way to appeal to younger generations who want these high capacity speeds and are used to daily integration with technology.
Data from the National Broadband Map show that rural areas do have access to broadband, however their speeds have been shown to be 30 times slower than the national average. 75% of rural areas have access to connections of at least 10 Mbps versus 98% of those in urban areas, while only 61% of rural areas have access to 25 Mbps speeds compared to 94% of urban areas.
In terms of internet providers that are available, only a small percentage of rural areas have access to at least three providers versus the diversity of the urban population.
Helping Towns All Over the Country to Become Fiber Cities
How can rural areas advance the way their urban counterparts are? The simple way is to provide them with the same access to high-speed internet, with the same speeds – or better – in order to be more agile, productive, and efficient. Broadband access makes the world a much smaller place, leveling the playing field for competition because it eliminates geographic boundaries. That’s why Mediacom Business has made the investment in the rural communities that we serve to bring the same level of internet access that one would expect in the largest of metropolitan areas. Our fiber-optic broadband infrastructure capable of internet speeds of 10 Gigabit and beyond is the same technology found in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. And with our most recent announcement that Mediacom’s broader plan is to invest $1 billion over the next 3 years to, among other projects, upgrade and expand its national broadband network – this means our broadband network will be further deep rooted into our rural communities that span 22 states.
This commitment to our communities has had a positive economic impact, especially in key verticals like healthcare, education and finance. As these community anchors venture into advanced platforms like telemedicine or e-learning curriculum – it enables residents to stay local and consume local versus traveling hours to a larger city. Within the state of Iowa, our fiber optic network leverages Gigabit+ level broadband to 323 communities, making Iowa the first Gigabit state in the nation. Our rural communities and municipalities now have the access to high-speed broadband that they may not have had with other providers who were not willing to make the investment.
Providing municipalities with this level of high-speed internet transforms businesses and their communities into progressive hubs of economic developments. The City of Grimes in Iowa, one of the fastest growing areas in the Des Moines Metro, understands how essential fiber-optic broadband is to any developing community. They strive to work with Mediacom Business and like providers to put the infrastructure in place to drive growth into the community. Businesses want to be in communities where the quality of life is high so they can attract quality employees. The Mid-West has become a hot bed for incubator spaces so startups can flourish and the region can be known for more than just cornfields – that success and sustainability comes from having adequate broadband access.
Historically, fiber broadband solutions seemed like a luxury product that businesses couldn’t afford. The latest and greatest broadband delivery method was scarce and in order to wire a property there were exorbitant construction costs businesses didn’t want to take on.
But for providers like Mediacom Business, who make it their business to deep root their fiber network into underserved areas in rural America – using fiber optics for data and voice solutions is more of a reality for businesses than ever before. And this is true for businesses outside of traditional enterprise-level verticals like education, healthcare and governments. More and more, our connected economy demands new technologies on a daily basis to advance business development and productivity. And the trick to power them all is having the most reliable and powerful internet connection without bringing the rest of their business dealings to a lagging halt. Welcome to the power of fiber.
In this blog we will explore Gigabit broadband capacity and the many benefits this level of technology delivers. When IT leaders find their networks bursting at the seams, suffering capacity issues and maxing out their connection, they know it’s time for an overhaul of their network infrastructure. I always say the red flag should be raised when a business brings a new innovative application that will help push the company to the next level of innovation but the broadband capacity can’t handle the usage. Moving to fiber-optic connectivity can seem daunting but my guess is that once an IT director or business owner does the deep dive – the investment is well worth it in the long run.
Before we get into defining Gigabit and its advantages over counterpart delivery methods in the market, let’s talk a little bit about our customers who are using Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions. We serve businesses of all sizes and cater to a number of industries including those that are community anchor institutions. Our customers and their IT leaders come to us seeking scalable bandwidth as they see the increased usage over the years. Questions like “I see us needing X but I know in 5 years we’ll be well over Y.” And the great part about fiber is the scalability it offers. Any business knows what you need today in terms of broadband, is not going to be the bandwidth you need tomorrow so using a delivery method where you can just “turn up” additional bandwidth means not having to drive up equipment and construction costs every time there is a request for increased broadband. Some of the key issues that have plagued our IT leaders tend to fall under the following categories:
Defining Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions
Fiber-optic solutions for data and voice are providing the pathway to push big data, connect multiple locations and enable users to access information simultaneously no matter where they are located. It’s simply the fastest transfer of data technology available to date. Gigabit is the buzz word right now in the technology space – essentially it means the speed by which 1 billion bits of data per seconds are delivered. It’s a superfast connection, transmitting data at the speed of light. That ultra-high speed is maintained both downstream and upstream, something that is hard to come by with other internet service providers. Mediacom Business Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions is distributed using light wave technology through a fiber-optic cable to deliver superior data, voice and video capabilities. It's exceptionally secure and reliable because it runs on a dedicated, private fiber-optic network, not the open public internet. Think of it as your own lane on the “broadband highway”.
Benefits of Gigabit
The most immediate benefit is the astonishing speed. Emails, large files, record transfers, web pages, videos and internet phone services move instantaneously, seamlessly and reliably. There's no more video buffering, no more spinning wheels on your computer screen, no more tapping your fingers anxiously while you wait for your files to send. Large amounts of data can easily move across the network and traffic is much better profiled. For those businesses adopting and investing in the cloud, Gigabit level internet provides immediate access to the platform. Lower latency and more efficient IT management are additional perks. The infographic below touches on some of these aspects:
Mediacom Business has 20 + years and a wealth of in-house expertise managing and monitoring our fiber network. We serve over 1,500 communities throughout the country and have invested billions of dollars to build a nationwide fiber optic infrastructure to deliver a wide array of advanced data and voice solutions. Creating a robust and secure network is part art and part science and we are well versed in both. Building fiber is the easy part but maintaining a network of this stature is a whole other story. This is a common oversight for a lot of cities who look to build their own network.
Through Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business, the days of your business being defined by its physical location are gone. Having this type of high capacity broadband access allows businesses to thrive in today’s climate but easily positions them for the scalability needed for future demands. It makes the world a much smaller place to do business in.
Back in 2013, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made waves when she banned the company's popular telecommuting policy in order to boost work productivity. Following her company's decision, Aetna, Bank of America, IBM and others also called back in their remote employees. But not everyone has followed suit with these popular companies, especially businesses in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Telecommuting is an important aspect for these businesses - several employees live and work in other counties or states and aren't able or willing to move. As Lynn Manternach, President of MindFire Communications states "What we do is so 'people-based' and we need the best talent. Sometimes the best talent is not in the same city where we have our office. You don't walk away from the talent."
In this article, discover why telecommuting is still alive and well for many businesses, especially for our customers. The one thread that keeps remote employees connected is bandwidth. Whether the team is on a teleconference call or a WebEx of data needs to be shared simultaneously, broadband is fueling those operations so productivity never stops moving.
Does your business have remote employees or the need to connect multiple sites? Make sure your business has enough bandwidth for all locations to access data in real time. Mediacom Business offers that link with internet speeds up to 1 Gig and beyond.
A critical goal for every school is how to keep their students ahead of the learning curve and give them access to the most beneficial learning tools to best prepare them for what lies ahead. Broadband is allowing for a next-level flavor of learning that is transforming traditional learning to a digital classroom. For students at Buffalo Elementary, virtual reality programs are allowing children to explore the depths of the solar system - traveling far beyond the city limits of Davenport, Iowa.
This next generation standard science curriculum of virtual reality (VR) aligns children with the digital medium they are so used to and therefore peeking their interest. And even better, the program is promoting focus. The use of VR helps to remove classroom distractions, while taking students on a journey to the area of study within a realistic environment. This is incredibly beneficial for rural communities who may not be able to transport or finance physical field trips for their students and school. Read about this impressive endeavor in this article from the Quad City Times.
Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions is providing the broadband capacity to power trail-blazing applications like VR and fueling the digital classroom. Learn more about this new education evolution in our Industry Insights blog series spotlight on Education.
In 2017, to have a successful business, part of your strategic plan should incorporate social media. No longer just a hobby for the younger generation, having a profile on a popular social platform is essential to not only attracting new customers, but keeping the ones you already have.
Patrons who post positive testimonials about your business can give your business validity. Word of mouth referrals can be very powerful and fuel business activity alone. A good reputation goes a long way and means everything. Social platforms allow you to have a constant flow of communication with both your acquisition universe as well as customers. And the content does not always have to be sales driven; in fact, it shouldn't be. If users feel they are always trying to be sold to - the message starts to fall on deaf ears. The key to using these platforms is to show customers that you are a trusted resource in your business vertical. Provide helpful information, post industry updates your customers would want to know about - become a voice in your space so users keep coming back to your pages. But that is only half the battle. All roads lead to your website. Assume your website is the final stop before a potential customer makes a buying decision. And know that in this digital age, users are going to do their homework so your website should be a place offering resources that can easily be navigated. In this article from The Southern Business Journal in Illinois, we find tips for how businesses are utilizing social and digital media to their advantage.
But what if you already have a social media profile? That takes the place of having a website, right? Don't be so sure. Check out our blog on this discussion topic.
The rise in video popularity isn’t just regulated to mobile channels or devices. Video use within businesses is expected to continue to increase moving into 2019, as the percentages below translate:
The anticipated percentages highlight the ongoing and growing importance of video in the marketplace. Web conferencing, virtual/online curriculum in schools and tele-health services are all built upon video served via broadband. This technology has changed the way we effectively communicate with those around us, especially ones that are remote. Businesses of every sector at one point rely on video in order to collaborate with a perspective client, partner, customer, or colleague.
Video, Video, Everywhere
Video isn’t just useful for conducting meetings with internal and remote employees, 66% of higher education institutions also use video for remote students. Hospitals and healthcare facilities are taking the first steps into telemedicine, where physicians and patients are able to connect visually through video for consultations and even diagnosing symptoms; they are also using video to help educate others in their field.
Video allows the user to convey more emotion than an email, text message, or even a phone call, however assuming the current bandwidth solution is capable of supporting quality video will be a business’ first priority.
Video Needs Bandwidth
With all of the growing use cases for video, broadband networks need to be able to handle the amount of video that’s being utilized – and for these cutting-edge applications, the need is heavy. Businesses, especially ones outside the entertainment or consumer based industries, may have a tendency to underestimate the value or real use for video within their organization, and therefore not plan well enough for bandwidth to support this platform and other emerging technologies. Web conferences and video lectures, for example, at standard definition of viewing would need about 36 Gbps a month, while high definition grows to a usage of 156 Gbps a month on a network.
When you factor in multiple employees accessing and watching these lectures, either for training or education, spikes in bandwidth usage will occur. This coupled with day-to-day activities, such as email, web browsing, VoIP, cloud services and the like – can cause the experience of the dreaded bottle necked, slow network, halting productivity and effectively business itself. But this is not to be confused with the quality of your broadband provider; you simply may not have enough bandwidth to support the functions you are using, therefore causing the lag. The chart below shows the broadband levels needed to support video conferencing or screen sharing which is becoming the preferred method of taking “meetings” with business clients/prospects.
Time is a precious commodity in business. A downloaded replay would take only seconds to retrieve using Gigabit level fiber internet speeds versus the several minutes to hours it would take to access data with antiquated technology. When that's the case, wait time mounts when multiple employees are trying to access video material on a server at the same time and task completion is delayed.
Why Businesses Should Consider Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions
Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions offer businesses the opportunity to venture into new technologies – often ones that are critical to success. Using advanced platforms and applications can take your organization to that next level of innovation. But businesses need broadband capacity in order to do so and the fiber “pipe” delivers that space to utilize many different forms of data retrieval without maxing out the connection. It affords users to be online at the same time, accessing the same data. Gone is the worry of how many people are utilizing video on a daily basis. Streaming, downloads, and uploads won’t impede with cloud backups, regardless of the time of day or how many employees are in the office.
Take for example a school district in the Midwest who is a Mediacom Business customer. One of the district’s elementary school sites loved watching the daily process of a very popular live eagle cam. With all the classrooms wanting to play the content online at YouTube at the same time, the overload of usage completely disabled the data network. Not only did it block each classroom from viewing the eagle cam, but it prohibited other users from downloading online curriculum. The school's IT Director realized the need for more bandwidth to be split between these levels of usage, realizing even YouTube had its place as an important piece of the student’s learning process.
To find out how Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business can deliver the scalable broadband capacity your business needs to support video platforms, click here for a free consultation.
Over 200,000 computers in 150 countries were affected by the WannaCry ransomware attack and it took nearly two weeks for others to bounce back after the Petya attack. As a business, concerns about being a victim of ransomware, a hacking attack that holds your computer hostage until you pay a ransom, is legitimate. This type of malicious software from cryptovirology, threatens to publish the victim's data or perpetually block access to it unless the ransom is paid.
The popular USA Network show, "Mr. Robot", follows a group of hackers that manage to disrupt a large corporation and society with a hack. This not only cripples the company, but also the society which heavily relies on the corporation's technologies. So what can this show teach businesses about cybersecurity? A lot. For instance, many data breaches and attacks come from within a company itself - in most cases, because employees aren't careful with their passwords, install malicious programs, or don't understand the company security policy and surf websites that can open the company's server up as a target to attack. As such was the case in "Mr. Robot". In this blog from the Columbia Business Times in Missouri, see how this TV show shines a light on cybersecurity lessons every business should be attentive to.
Along with ransomware attacks, another attack method businesses should be wary of is Phishing. And yes, it is still an issue in 2017. Click here to learn how to keep your proprietary data, as well as your customer's personal information, safe with secure and reliable broadband connections from Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions.
Technology helps to connect businesses to customers and partners but now many companies are examining how technology can connect them to employees. Especially in the field of Technology, startups and the like, the talent pool is small. Silicon Valley is very competitive so companies have been forced to reevaluate how they find professional and motivated people. To execute a strategic plan these cutting edge companies realize they need a solid core team that have the skillset to propel the company forward. Companies are now looking beyond the city limits for this talent and realizing, with the help of technology, there are no geographical boundaries to finding the right employees. Tech giants like IBM, Bunchball, and others are looking to hire outside of their state of origin for talent.
Quality of life is more important than ever to employees, and uprooting families is not an option for many. But the advancements in applications like video conferencing and virtual technology, allow for teams to work together simultaneously. Collaboration is fostered with the use of these platforms and it really doesn’t matter in the end where the employee sits. But in order to run these types of programs, there needs to be a very strong broadband backbone to keep these connections running in real time. Without the right of amount of bandwidth to power these practices, communication on all levels will come to a halt. Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business is delivering the connectivity businesses need to bring together all company locations. With advanced custom services like Transparent LAN, companies can seamlessly connect point-to-point and multi-point Ethernet networks together no matter where they are. All employees are able to work off the same server, accessing and sharing data in a matter of seconds.
This concept of remote working has paid off, allowing residents and students to work for key tech companies without having to leave family and friends, something many have done in order to achieve their dream job. In this article from USA Today, explore the reasons why telecommuting was the right answer for these businesses and employees.
The Pokémon Go phenomenon utilized Augmented Reality (AR) and brought some of the biggest retail chains to the table to participate - ones that you probably would have never associated with the Pokémon brand. But the element of Augmented Reality and the technology behind it fascinated businesses as yet another touchpoint to market to consumers. AR superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, in most cases via a mobile device, thus providing a composite view.
Within the same spectrum of technology, Virtual Reality (VR) is based on the diametrically opposite concept. It immerses real people into a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly very real or physical way. Historically known in the world of gaming, AR and VR are now being seen as valuable tools for businesses to enhance interaction with customers and their own employees.
Content and engagement is always the goal toward generating revenue or keeping employee morale high. Businesses can use both AR and VR for many applications and programs, including training, conferencing, and remote work. Coupled with Augmented Reality, the Virtual Reality market could hit $150 billion dollars in revenue in 2020, with $30 billion belonging to VR alone. More than 12 million VR headsets will be sold in 2017 and is expected to reach $407.51 million dollars by 2018.
VR Has Come a Long Way
It may surprise some younger businesses, but Virtual Reality has been around for over twenty-five years. Getting its start in 1991, VR looked to be the future of technology, but in those days, the vehicle just wasn’t up to par for the challenge yet. Processing power, screen resolutions, and more all lacked the power, and bandwidth, we’re used to today. So the idea of VR seemed to disappear until a Kickstarter campaign brought about the Oculus Rift, which was soon purchased by Facebook, making VR a viable business topic today.
These new advances open up new worlds, so to speak – VR can bring us closer to visiting places that were once outside of our reach. A good example of this is the use of VR in education. Many schools are looking at VR to help provide students the ability to travel throughout the universe, immersing them in new learning environments to further their education engagement.
Buffalo Elementary in Davenport, Iowa is one such school who has recently become the first school in the country to incorporate VR into the Next Generation Standards Science Curriculum.
But it’s not just schools that benefit from VR. Businesses can also use VR/AR for a variety of reasons that evoke intellectual engagement and emotional connections.
With so many opportunities to use VR & AR, businesses should also take stock of how these technologies work within their own networks and the heavy need for bandwidth to power them.
Why Bandwidth is So Important
In 2016, telecom equipment manufacturing company Arris predicted that more and more consumers and businesses will want and need even more bandwidth to run applications like this. The CTO estimated that a virtual reality video game, running at 720p might require 50 Mbps, with a 4K VR game going up to 500 Mbps.
This might seem like a lot of broadband speed, but considering that even at a low resolution, a 360 degree experience would still need at least 25 Mbps for streaming and HD resolutions going upwards of 80-100 Mbps.
What most experts believe is that as VR and AR continue to grab headlines and interest, the need for faster bandwidth is paramount. Luckily, if your business is considering using VR, then Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions is the next step your business should take. Speed is an incredibly important component for VR and fiber-optic delivery is the latest in broadband technology capable of providing some of the fastest speeds within the industry.
Mediacom Business’ fiber “pipe” is highly secure and scalable – the symmetrical data throughput, both down-stream and up-stream, is there to support innovative technologies like this and allows businesses to integrate this usage within everyday operations.
VR and AR are still growing for both business and consumers; it’s a technology that can and will create a tremendous amount of opportunities in many industries – from education to finance - the capabilities are wide open. Will your business be taking advantage of Virtual or Augmented Reality and do you have the broadband path to get there?
Faster speeds, better reliability, secure connections to the public internet and the ability for a business to do more and go further. These are just some of the benefits of using fiber-optic broadband for your business. Columbia, Missouri is one of the many areas over our 22-state footprint that has access to fiber technology for data, voice and video services. Our customers who utilize Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions are creating transformational experiences for their business and opening up the door to innovation. The fiber "pipe" provides the capacity that allows a business to increase productivity. Bandwidth can be allocated for different uses within the business itself. Think of all of the weight that can sit on a broadband network - email use, video plays, data accessed on a server by many employees. That doesn't take into consideration the advanced platforms that truly propel a business forward: cloud services, virtual reality, teleconferencing, VOIP services, Wi-Fi access for patrons and the like that require a significant amount of bandwidth to operate.
Thanks to providers like Mediacom Business who are expanding their broadband network and fiber coverage and making the coveted delivery method of fiber more affordable, this technology is now readily accessible to businesses in rural America. This technology delivers astonishing speeds of 10 Gig and beyond – so businesses experience the difference right off the bat.
But what may be the biggest benefit of businesses having access to high-capacity broadband is the heavy contribution it lends to the economic development of the city itself. Businesses are able to compete regardless of geographical boundaries and cities have the ability to retain/attract businesses - because broadband, like electricity, is one of the key components to the start of any business. In this article from the Columbia Business Times in Missouri, discover how fiber can be the gateway to a better business.
Move over Silicon Valley, the Silicon Prairie is making its way on the digital scene. No longer seen as a fly over area, cities like Des Moines are playing a part in the technological revolution in this country. One of the ways to level that playing field of competition is broadband. You can’t innovate without having the necessary bandwidth to power technology. New technology ideas are only as strong as the broadband behind them.
The co-founder of AOL, Steve Case, is pushing for this kind of development in the heart of America, acknowledging that these cities can be the center for innovation with the help of successful startups and tech ventures. Incubator spaces are popping up all over the Midwest as a hub for new ideas and emerging technologies.
Last year Mediacom embarked on a 3-year, $1 billion plan to, among other projects, upgrade and expand our national fiber network. It’s these types of investments that are going to put a spotlight on places like Des Moines as a very competitive place to land a business. Cities will be able to offer startups and the like, the type of broadband capacity that those in large metropolitan areas have simply come to expect. Rural America now has the tools to play in that space.
Mediacom Business has worked with technology hubs like the Missouri Innovation Center in Columbia, MO and the TechWorks Campus for their Startup Weekend in Waterloo, IA to provide the broadband necessary for these entrepreneurs to turn their innovative ideas into a reality. And the broadband need is heavy, while our Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions platform is pumping speeds of 1 Gig and beyond to maintain the connections needed for these research and development projects.
Check out the conversation the Des Moines Register in Iowa had with this Fortune 500 powerhouse.
More and more businesses are turning to managed solutions in the cloud to host and monitor their business data infrastructure. A study from CompTIA shows that managed services were ranked as the leading generator of revenue in the last year. Together with the continued growth of cloud applications, managed services can give businesses the bandwidth they need to handle additional operations that will increase productivity.
What can managed cloud solutions do for your business? And if you’re heading down that path, why should your business consider fiber-optic broadband to power them?
Working in the Clouds
Managed cloud services provide skilled resources to augment the current in-house functionalities and IT infrastructures using the cloud. There are many tasks that businesses can move to managed cloud services, including:
For many businesses, especially those that may not have a large or even dedicated IT staff, having a solution help manage these crucial components allows a business to move full steam ahead as it were. And because these solutions are managed within the cloud, it means that these services have continuous uptime access, along with faster responses when things might go wrong.
A few benefits of managed cloud solutions are:
While the above seems like a simple answer to several business challenges, being able to deliver these capabilities is paramount. Despite being in the cloud, businesses still need to be sure they are able to meet managed cloud services’ data transfer requirements.
Why Managed Cloud Services Need Bandwidth
In our series, Does Your Business Have Enough Bandwidth?, we looked at the many applications and platforms that businesses use on a daily basis that can slow down the entire office, causing bottlenecks at the worst of times. Yes, while your files and documents might be sitting pretty within the cloud, it takes bandwidth in order to reach them; if several employees are trying to access files from your cloud service, while several others are using a VoIP phone system, while another set is in the midst of a web conference, the network might slow down considerably, causing calls to drop or hiccup.
A few years ago, Cisco’s Global Cloud Index report (for 2012-2017) forecasted that 69% of all data center traffic would come from cloud usage in 2017, up from the 46% of traffic in 2012; 17% of that traffic would come from users using it for web surfing, video streaming, collaboration, and connected devices. 2014 was the first year where the majority of business workloads were in the cloud – 51% versus the 49% that were in traditional IT spaces.
That’s a lot of bandwidth usage, not just for managed cloud services to run, but for employees to continue to use their programs without hindrance.
Why Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions is the Key
Fiber solutions are proving to be the mechanism to push big data, power multiple location connections, and drive simultaneous access to information. Fiber-optic broadband, especially Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business, delivers a super-fast and reliable connection transferring data at the speed of light. While speed is an obvious reason for using Gigabit level internet, when talking about managed cloud solutions, capacity is another driving force for using this platform of broadband delivery. Having access to symmetrical speeds both for upload and download activity is paramount as a business is retrieving information from the cloud. Speed and capacity work together in this instance so employees won’t experience lag time nor will the managed cloud solutions have any difficulty in maintaining and managing your infrastructure without disrupting the core business.
Fiber-optic broadband can carry more data throughput than any technology before it, and it’s more durable in that it’s laid in the ground so it’s not affected by the elements. Mediacom Business continues to lead the charge in rural America as one of the providers who are set on deep-rooting fiber in their service areas so businesses can have the same broadband access as those in large metropolitan areas. This drives competition outside local geographical boundaries but also allows a business to take advantage of advanced platforms like managed services – the types of technology that are going to take businesses to that next level of innovation.
The face of small business has changed. Instead of a brick and mortar storefront, many of today's small businesses do business from home, a co-working space or even a local coffee shop. Broadband technology has afforded businesses to stay connected no matter where they are, and therefore business can be done 24/7. Strong data and voice services allow them to be extremely mobile and agile in our every-changing business environment. In this article from the Ames Tribune in Ames, Iowa, we take a look at how small businesses are facing 5 big changes.
Businesses being connected can be exemplified in many applications. Take for instance, a business website and social platforms which can be the “face” of the business. In some instances, it’s the first interaction a customer has to the business and we know first impressions mean everything. But more importantly, it erases the restrictions of just doing business on Main Street. Small businesses can attract a loyal following and network of referrals by offering customers relevant content that validates they are a trusted resource in their business space. The vehicle to being able to accomplish this is through a data backbone that drives utilization of these platforms. A broadband connection needs to be able to handle the sheer volume of uploading/downloading content to promote a business and the ability to interface with customers (mobile chat, Skype, GoToMeetings, etc.). Being mobile isn’t just about interaction with customers - it consists of fulfilling a business’ own marketing service needs and other support materials.
Technology is the driving force for how mobile a business can be. Broadband will power the multiple devices a business needs to work from and also pave the pathway for advanced voice services. Managed Voice Solutions allow for small businesses to capitalize on big business features. Business owners can’t act as receptionists, so the ability to route calls to different devices, etc. gives owners the flexibility they need.
Many small businesses have moved operations to the cloud. Gone is the need for a huge staff, particularly IT, and “back office” operations and other automated tasks can be hosted in the cloud making it extremely convenient for a business owner. But again, being able to stay connected to all of these mentioned technologies to make business owner’s lives easier is backed by the broadband they use. Speed, reliability and capacity are the mix of broadband ingredients that allow a business to never stop moving.
Imagine the modern farm. A few cows eating grass, crops lining another field, chickens in a pen and an eye in the sky overlooking it all. Welcome to the farm the inclusion of drones, small flying planes that can scan an area with precision that's controlled by the farmer who may be sitting comfortably on his porch. Of all the technological changes in the agribusiness sector, the use of drones is one that is very much anticipated. There are plenty of reasons why drones can be a big help to farmers, however the learning curve to using this advanced technology could inhibit some from adaption. Either way, this is another changing face of the way technology has impacted rural communities. In this article from the Des Moines Register, farmers in Iowa discuss their feelings on having a bird's eye view of their land.
The Midwest is known for being a subject matter expert on agriculture. But lately the term agribusiness has redefined what it means to be a farmer and how one manages his crops. The use of technology has given these businessmen a new insight into how to care for crops, forecast elements and find ways to yield the best production they possibly can along with data to analyze these processes.
In the Des Moines Register article, we also see a use of drones to capture a better view of the farm that traditionally was only able to be done on foot. The ability for farmers to be more efficient and strategic is right at their fingertips, not to mention the time saved by using this level of technology.
These images and videos are bandwidth extensive. The sheer upload/download and transferring of those files requires fast and reliable bandwidth. Technology demands powerful broadband and new technology ideas are only as strong as the broadband behind them. The notion of Silicon Prairie is becoming a reality. With an increased number of hubs and incubator locations, startups are emerging and Iowa is poised to be a hotbed of innovation. This movement includes revolutionizing how agribusiness takes place, especially when it comes to machine-to-machine communication. In our Industry Insights blog: Agribusiness – Farm Forward and the New Evolution of this Emerging Vertical, we dive deep into this notion and the advancements happening on the farm.
Being able to utilize technologies of this nature will determine if places in rural America will be a viable player in the new wave of technology innovation. Mediacom’s $1B investment in the communities it serves to upgrade and expand its broadband infrastructure will surely be a launching off point for businesses that want to transform the way they do business by way of technology. Broadband is a key player to fuel what the Midwest is intellectually known for and extending that intelligence far beyond the farm lines. Adequate broadband access keeps businesses local, but the internet also allows for competition on a state, national, and global stage. More importantly, it provides businesses the opportunity to find good talent. This combination of ability is vital to the economic development of any community.
The Consumer Electronics Show, CES, is the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. Held in Las Vegas, this is where every sort of gadget maker unveils the newest giant TVs, wearable electronics and digitally connected cars. But the goal of those touring the floor is to check out the latest technology and figure out how these new gadgets and devices will help them reach consumers.
In this article from the Ames Tribune in Iowa, we look at 5 of the rising trends showcased at this year's show this past January. Among them are virtual reality/augmented reality, smart cities, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence and smart speaker applications.
From a business standpoint, how could each technology push the envelope on innovation? Technology can dictate how fast a business operates. The importance behind the notion of where they operate is erased, affording a business with the agility to have zero boundaries in this connected economy of ours. But the most critical ingredient to unleashing the power and reach of most of these technologies is broadband. The power to compete drives a business’ sustainability. Technology and broadband go hand in hand to keep businesses connected on every level.
We see our Mediacom Business customers using some of these fascinating technologies today. Virtual reality is making a comeback from the early 90s in helping students in Davenport, IA explore new worlds through innovative science curriculum. Manufacturing companies can simulate training exercises to help fix machinery. Use cases go far beyond just meetings with remote partners and employees.
In addition, cryptocurrency is causing frenzy within financial institutions to start their own blockchain technology as to not get left behind in the rise of bitcoin. Artificial intelligence and smart cities could be instrumental for municipalities to find ways to further economic development and better implement emergency systems and the like. Mediacom continually invests in the communities we serve to provide access to the latest broadband technology that can carry the use of these bandwidth-intensive applications. The same level of service one would come to expect in the largest metropolitan areas.
CRMs, video collaboration and streaming, cloud computing and analytic programs – these are some of the daily applications businesses are using to meet the demands of the connected economy. As technology continues to open new doors to innovation, these programs get more sophisticated and require more bandwidth. And the need to be able to do more and do it faster is a priority for all businesses. Accessing and moving data in a matter of seconds is not a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity. Faster bandwidth determines how a business can consume these applications. Without high-capacity broadband a business can not reap the benefits the technology was intended for.
Your business’ broadband delivery method matters. Antiquated technologies will leave you waiting for files to upload/download and there is a definite cap on the speed you can achieve. Mediacom Business built a broadband infrastructure that delivers 1 Gigabit speeds to businesses of all sizes. With reliable, fast business internet, bandwidth is never a bottleneck to productivity.
Nielsen's “Law of Internet Bandwidth” states that a high-end users' connection speed grows by 50% per year. This "observation" has held true for over 30 years and continues to drive innovation and investment for business. Well-connected companies should begin to assume that this "law" will hold true for them and that HD video conferencing, virtual reality tools, cloud computing and data capabilities will increase their bandwidth needs 50% per year.
With a movement towards remote employees, businesses need to support the infrastructure with fast internet, so collaboration can flourish. Technology can make us feel like we are in the room with each other and build a highly relational experience in the same manner (if not better!) as if we were face-to-face. Connectivity is instrumental in promoting that type of work environment. High-capacity bandwidth promotes workplace collaboration. Colleagues can work for hours a day on the same piece of data while in different states. Many believe working virtually in this manner can increase the amount of work produced by employees in the same building.
The Need for Speed
Bandwidth speed is a crucial part of your network. When your internet speeds are slow, you lose more than just load time:
Reduced productivity – a study by Sandisk from 2013 showed users lost a full working week every year because of slow internet connections. When time is taken out of an employee’s day waiting for files to upload or download, that’s time they are unable to be productive. This reduction can lead to decreased morale and worse, disengagement.
Lost profits – when your employees aren’t productive, your business loses revenue for that period of time. But this can also happen on the customer facing side as well – if your business offers services to customers that rely on your internet connection, your customer’s perception of your ability will not fare well if that connection keeps them from reaching a destination.
Unreachable cloud – many businesses have turned to use cloud services and resources to better optimize their organizations; in fact, 87% of businesses use the cloud. CRMs, backup and recovery services, collaboration sites, POS systems, and more are now accessible via the cloud. However, with a slow connection, trying to connect to these services can be difficult.
Consider your cloud environment – employees view, download, or upload files for collaboration, review, edits, etc. The cloud can be a great avenue to foster innovation within a business, making it easier to retrieve, save, and backup files. But the path to the cloud requires speed to access data, especially when multiple users are working within this method.
We unpack some of the applications and programs that can cause bottlenecks on the network in our Does Your Business Have Enough Bandwidth? blog series.
What can your business do with Gigabit level internet speeds?
We already know slow internet speed is a game stopper for businesses. But what type of boost does your business need? Is 1 Gigabit capacity too much speed? Not at all.
Small businesses benefit from faster and more reliable internet speeds. Instead of long wait times, users can easily retrieve any file or video needed in a matter of seconds. Mediacom Business is helping businesses usher in a new revolution of data speeds, the type of speeds that help businesses in rural America lead the growing digital world. Our new business internet menu of 60, 100, 300 Mbps and 1 Gigabit speeds provides a better direction for your business. As a technology company we know we need to evolve as well because the business world moves fast. When a business has higher levels of broadband, there are less restrictions on the applications or online programs they can venture into.
Found a program that can better push productivity or manage your accounts receivable? Those require bandwidth and when businesses have adequate speed levels it doesn’t stifle your normal every day operations of hosting your website e-commerce or employees accessing their email. No one likes hiccups or buffering – and when these interruptions happen its time to revisit your bandwidth speed.
Businesses are changing to meet the demands of employees and customers; Mediacom Business has made sure we are doing the same and increasing speed levels across the board so that the businesses in our areas can not only meet the demand today but will be well situated for those that tomorrow bring.
I recently was on a business trip for an entire week. My email can pile up into the hundreds on any given day. After spending days offsite, my evenings were planned to catch up on work, so it didn’t pile up upon my return. The internet service in my hotel was so poor, that my inbox stayed in “updating inbox” mode for hours. I had to leave my computer on overnight, so my inbox would refresh from the day before. Not the best way to conduct business while on the road, and no matter how nice my hotel room, the fact I couldn’t get fast and reliable broadband service left me with a poor perception of the hotel brand. We know in business, perception is everything. And this day in age, we all expect to be connected 24/7 – its simply required.
But what’s on the horizon for the hospitality industry goes far beyond Wi-Fi service. Amenities are no longer just a gym, pool or mini-bar in your hotel room. Imagine arriving at a hotel and having the front desk know who you are when you walk in. When you go to your room, it's set up exactly the way you'd like - the temperature is comfortable and there's fresh coffee; when you head down to dinner, the restaurant already knows if you have any allergies. The future of hospitality lies in the guest experience, where personalization will lead to better outcomes for both guests and the hotels. Just like “Smart Homes” hotel guests can enjoy “Smart Rooms” where you can customize your experience. The internet of things (IoT) becomes a priority by translating the Smart Home experience into the hospitality world. An app on your smartphone can help you adjust room lighting, temperature and TV channels. The next iteration will venture into voice activation technology vs. using your phone, as we all know the popularity of devices like Amazon Echo and Apple’s Siri.
Connective technology will soon be an industry standard, guests complete the check-in process before they arrive, unlock the room with a mobile key and even text the staff for requests. Local experience will be a top priority as well – offering guests incentives to local attractions or merely an activity map of recommendations. Our current tech-savvy generation may even influence hotel design as the movement toward shared workspace and hubs are flourishing. Instead of being hauled up in your room, hotels can offer shared spaces to do your work.
The plate is very full for the hospitality industry; in addition to the day-to-day operational components, that include crisis management and cyber security, data and analytics are critical to creating customer profiles that lead to loyalty and retention measures. Tracking guest habits, interests and preferences, as well as reason for travel, booking date, date of last stay and much more help to formulate strategies that generate revenue streams. Gigabit+ internet access provides the capacity to fuel all the above. Having the pipe for both internal operations staff and guest expectations is a 2-pronged approach that requires significant broadband. Being able to allocate bandwidth for both is essential vs. trying not to max capacity and holding back one group or the other.
Hotel Management goes on to list 7 hospitality trends, showcasing how this year may be the year where technology blazes a path for hotels.
The internet has transformed the way small businesses operate, communicate with employees and interact with customers. It's an important tool for achieving strategic goals, improving competitiveness and efficiency, reaching customers and interacting with vendors. High-speed broadband is as essential to businesses as other utilities such as water, sewer or electricity. And in turn, broadband reliability becomes paramount for a business. Because as we all know, without it, a business can be brought to a standstill.
Changes in the way companies are working– and the tools they are using – have created the need for high-speed connections to services and individuals off-site. Video conferencing is helping businesses cut travel costs. Mobile devices – with easy links to work related content – are enabling more employees to be more productive, from any location. All these applications have one factor in common: they require bandwidth. And plenty of it. Businesses that don’t have this kind of bandwidth will find themselves unable to fully leverage trends like the cloud and remote access.
And while price will always be a major consideration for a small business, business owners should also become familiar with the broadband technology delivery method - weighing the pros and cons of mechanisms like DSL vs. Cable. Historically, rural areas only had access to an, at best, DSL connection. But because of the investment Mediacom has made in its service areas, we have a built an infrastructure that matches any major metropolitan area, achieving speeds of Gigabit and beyond. That is so crucial for businesses that exist in America’s “Heartland” because it erases geographic boundaries of competition. And while the internet has made the world a much smaller place – small businesses can now have a place at the table in our digital economy.
Gigabit level internet service gives small businesses the room to power all applications that require internet capacity. When a business tries to run too many operations over a low speed connection, delivered by antiquated technology – bottlenecks occur, and the result is latency and waiting. DSL may transmit data, but it is based on a technology developed for voice: traditional twisted pair copper wires. Cable high-speed internet, on the other hand, was developed specifically to transmit data. DOCSIS is a global standard that enables the addition of high-speed data transfer to the existing hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure used by Cable providers. For Mediacom, the latest iteration of DOCSIS 3.1 put 1 Gigabit speeds in the hands of all service areas and put Mediacom at the top of the list for providers who could extend those speeds to all customers. It's a driving force to the company’s commitment that no matter where you live, your business deserves best-in-class Business Internet.
Many factors play a part in reliability and the broadband delivery method a business chooses:
Speed ~ in rural America, DSL has limitations on the speed it can achieve. While 100 Mbps isn’t fully deployed, 40 Mbps seems to be the standard offering among this delivery tier. Cable now boasts an astounding 1 Gig speed tier to meet the demand of small businesses – and continues to widen the speed gap.
Distance ~ while voice calls can be carried over small distances, running data over DSL degrades the performance as service moves farther and farther from a phone company’s central office. Since Cable high-speed is designed from the ground up, it is not distance sensitive.
Consistency ~ with so much of a company’s operations depending on fast, reliable internet access, consistency is crucial, particularly during peak usage hours. Explore the Federal Communications Commission “Measuring Broadband America” program which stated in 2016 that DSL fell short in delivering the speeds it advertised while most of the major Cable broadband providers that were tested, actual download speeds were 100% of advertised speeds if not better.
Availability ~ the distance limitations of DSL mean that for a large percentage of a phone company’s footprint, the service will not be available. Since high-speed Cable internet doesn’t degrade over distance and runs over the same infrastructure that brings Cable TV to both densely and sparsely populated areas, it is available to a far wider customer base; in cities and rural areas alike.
What can your business do with Gigabit level internet speeds?
Imagine a day in the office and a Webex conference call gets disconnected or a video presentation continually buffers throughout, with constant stops and starts. Frustrating, right?
And it’s not just video conferences that suffer from slow or unreliable connections. If your team works with cloud applications or web-based programs, disconnections mean even longer wait times to retrieve or send important documents. This can also affect a simple credit card machine transaction – resulting in long lines and frustrated customers. When this occurs, your daily routine is compromised – but it doesn’t have to be. Businesses of all sizes are transforming due to the power of Gigabit level internet. The ability to harness massive amounts of data allows a business to be more agile and adapt to the ever-changing business landscape.
Both from a commercial and residential standpoint, we are inundated with information, and a business needs to be able to handle a growing influx of communication tools and programs. And it’s important to consider the roadmap for the future. Broadband technology should meet a business’ current bandwidth needs, but it should be positioned to meet tomorrow’s needs, as well. With Cable high-speed internet with tiers up to 1 Gigabit, businesses get a network built for the next century – not built around the last one.
Mediacom Business has upped the ante by increasing Business Internet speed levels across the board – 6x faster than our speed tiers prior. Why? Because we know and understand the technology revolution happening around us and we have the tools to fuel the part your business plays.
Municipalities face the same challenges, if not more, than business owners. They have budgets to manage, scrutinized as it includes public tax-payer dollars, critical emergency communications and more. So how do towns and cities become good stewards of their funding while trying to reach the strategic goal of every growing area to drive economic development?
The notion of Smart Cities has erupted to use different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. And what can drive the evolution of this new technology is a synergistic private/public partnership between the city and the broadband provider who already has deep rooted infrastructure that can carry the data stream that is necessary to effectively operate this level of innovation.
There is such a large influx of data circulating our population every day. What if your hometown could use that data to reduce energy consumption and pollution, make transportation more efficient, and lure affluent tenants? These are all key ingredients to attracting and retaining businesses and in turn the employees who work for them. Sensing and monitoring public activity accurately and frequently could be the path to get there.
And while there is always an “app for that” – imagine one for your hometown...a mobile app that can alert you of traffic patterns, where an open parking spot may be or when the snowplow hits your neighborhood during a big storm.
And the goal for most growing cities is sustainability. How will they keep up with lure of large metropolitan areas? How do they attract the digitally driven generations to raise families and work in their city? Quality of life is crucial to reaching these goals.
Steve Case, co-founder of AOL predicts that we’re at the dawn of the next technological revolution unlike anything we’ve seen before—the Third Wave of the internet— that will transform the economy and the way we live our lives.
The first wave saw AOL and other companies lay the foundation for consumers to connect to the internet. The second wave saw companies like Google and Facebook build on top of the internet to create search and social networking capabilities, while apps like Snapchat and Instagram leverage the smartphone revolution. Now, Case argues, we’re entering the Third Wave: a period in which entrepreneurs will vastly transform major “real world” sectors like health, education, transportation, energy, and food—and in the process change the way we live our daily lives. But success in the Third Wave will require a different skill set. And this is dependent upon how cities/towns are going to reinvent themselves to become relevant to the digital economy that we now live in. At the core of that is infrastructure. Infrastructure doesn’t only mean roads and electricity anymore; it includes broadband, the driver to powering this level of innovation and offering the platform for cities to thrive.
The broadband delivery mechanism is just as important as the technology itself being used. The world is going to run on very bandwidth intensive requirements, and cable companies have built a network that can more than handle the workload. 100% fiber-optic solutions are the latest and greatest delivery method for internet services. The fiber pipe is limitless when it comes to capacity, offering multi-site connectivity that cities who utilize the Smart City model will need.
Techrepublic unpacks what a Smart City is and how by 2050 60% of the population will live in cities.