DECT Phones Taking Digital Communication to a New Level!

DECT phones are attached to one single base station and usually with a single handset that you can take around the small are (most DECT phones have range up to 300 meter) and it will function smoothly without a cord. A few of the DECT phones also allow more than one cordless handsets to be used in different rooms or section of your office or home.

The Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications technology originated in the Europe and was meant to cater to the ever increasing need of workplaces to have several phone lines and the added advantage of intercom facilities within these lines. And the ever occurring need to have cordless extensions allowing people that much mobility and flexibility. Of course, you can have quite a number of people connected with each other with such a single DECT phone.

In lay man’s language, it can be said that DECT refers to the digital communication standards that allows for the creation of cordless phone systems. In Europe, Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology basically replaced the earlier used cordless phone standards 900 MHz CT1 and CT. With passing time, DECT phones have become entrenched in countries outside of Europe. Now, most countries including Australia, several other countries in Asia have adopted the Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications technology. Here North America is a significant exception as the earlier digital communication technologies are still the norm. This mainly due to USA having a different set of digital frequency range.

Elsewhere, DECT is more than entrenched with countries like India, Australia, Singapore, etc easily adopting it and even making further enhancements on the same. So you have DECT being expanded to suit not just small offices, enterprises and homes but also large businesses. This has been possible basically because of the successful merger of DECT with EPBX systems.

There are obviously some positive features of using the DECT phones. Besides the obvious one of being able to use cordless phones within a specified area. These include the fact that you can have several lines fed from a single phone line. DECT is found to be ideal in congested office or domestic areas where several lines and radio waves and Wi-Fi are bound to clash with the phone waves.

I Have Seen the Future of PR – Integrated Digital Communications

The continuing explosion of content creation tools in cyberspace has me feeling both nostalgic and prophetic these days. It’s an odd combination, I grant you, but hear me out. I suspect many of you are seeing the same thing and are having the same experiences.

Way back in the bad old days of the 1980s, when hair was big and glam metal was bigger, aspiring young communicators and marketers began learning a new discipline: Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC. While practitioners have tried to sex up the definition of IMC in recent years to include social media, cell phones, the Internet, etc., the fact remains that when it was conceived, IMC contemplated one-way communication, primarily through advertising or direct mail, supported by a limited interpretation of public relations and a smattering of point of purchase or other marketing disciplines that barely resemble their descendants (such as guerrilla marketing or street marketing).

When IMC was conceived, MTV was in its infancy, CNN was still a toddler and Fox News hadn’t even been sketched out by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. The three over-the-air networks still ruled the marketing roost and the idea that an audience would talk back to someone practicing IMC with a response other than “Yes, yes, I will buy your product!” was a concept beyond imagining. Ah, the good old days. (Most of my nostalgia is directed at bands such as Queen or Poison, and not at one-way marketing).

As we prepare to enter the second decade of the 21st century, it’s time to retire Integrated Marketing Communications along with the bad hair and hair bands. Social media tools have changed the game. It’s all about the conversation now.

It’s time for a new paradigm, one I call Integrated Digital Communications. Like its predecessor, IDC contemplates the seamless use of a variety of tools to achieve communication or marketing objectives. The difference is that it’s a different world that demands different tools. For example, no one calls it “direct mail” any more, and fewer and fewer marketers use it. We have hundreds of cable channels with smaller audiences and thousands of cell phones with small screens and iPods and PDAs and netbooks and web cams and on and on.

In the place of printed phone books, direct mail postcards, or a limited selection of one-way, bombastic network ad vehicles, this exploding universe of social media tools, when used best, really do support each other. They are best when they are integrated – Twitter twinned with Facebook or LinkedIn driving traffic to a company’s HR page or, YouTube video to a contest, or in my business, the plethora of SEO-optimized press release wires driving traffic to a company web site, a YouTube video, or any one of these vehicles and vice versa.

The common denominator for all of these social media tools is that they crave content by the bucket load, and not just any content – the kind that drives the conversation. This is what PR, and PR practitioners, have been doing for decades.

In this new universe, PR is the only discipline properly equipped to create, deliver and manage content in the new social media universe.

They call it public relations because it’s about relationships. Forget spin and all that other crap wannabe practitioners and charlatans peddle at the bottom of the PR food chain. True public relations begins with conversations, which can lead to deeper dialogue, which can lead to long-term relationships.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter or YouTube or whatever other social media tool you might name, it’s about creating community, and that’s built through relationships. This is what public relations does better than any other communication or marketing discipline.

So what’s the next step for public relations and integrated digital communications? The content gap, if anything, is only yawning wider. In my experience, I find more and more often that clients “get” the social media concept as an engine in their public relations efforts and they are asking us to help.

How will this shift toward communities of conversation affect the overall communication or marketing world? The battle is on. Ad shops are buying social media shops. “Interactive” shops are becoming social media shops. Direct mail has become direct marketing, and guess what, direct marketing is a form of social media!

None of these disciplines, whatever they may call themselves, understand conversations. They are pipe people, technologists rather than communicators, or they are communicators in love with one-way bombast.

So as the fight to rename or reclaim traditional marketing territory moves into cyberspace, the demand for content grows. And as the demand for content that feeds conversation grows, so does the need for public relations and public relations practitioners who understand Integrated Digital Communications. Welcome to the brave new world. May the best conversationalists win!

Does Digital Communication Have Its Own MIND?

While there has been an ever increasing usage of various methods of digital communications, it is important for every leader to realize and understand that there are certain inherent dangers and the need for essential caveats. When these methods are used properly, they can be an effective and meaningful component in a leader’s skill set, but when they are either overly/ exclusively relied upon, or used haphazardly or without understanding needs or ramifications, they can create certain dangers and issues. We need to recognize that there is something I refer to as the MIND of digital communications: the risk of misunderstanding or being misconstrued; the often impersonal nature of these vehicles; the potential for false negative interpretations; and that lack and are devoid of two – way give and take (or real communication). Everyone utilizing digital communications (which includes things such as a website, social media, email, texts, etc.) must fully comprehend that communication requires parties speaking to, not at, each other!

1. Why are written words so often misconstrued and/ or misunderstood? The way we phrase things varies from individual to individual, especially from regional area to other areas, etc. In addition, there is far more to communicating than merely using words, but rather includes factors such as facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, etc. What may be written and meant as a sense of humor is often misconstrued by others!

2. What joins, motivates, inspires, and unites various members and constituents of any group or organization, is what is often referred to as the personal touch. However, the risk of overlying on digital methods is that it is impersonal by nature, and is followed more by certain groups, heritages, cultures, age group members, etc., than it is by others. Abandoning the older but more conventional methods of communicating often turns off those that more heavily rely on, and feel comfortable with, these age – old methods.

3. When we rely on getting our message across in this way, there is often the risk that others will put their own “spin” on what they see and read, which often may be significantly different than what is meant or intended. These negative interpretations often create a counterproductive environment, rather than the intended and hoped for, positive and unifying feeling.

4. True communication invariably depends on two – way give and take. While there are ways to create some degree of give and take with these methods, far too often, groups do not consider this need when they create their programs. Those that are devoid of interaction restrict their potential and effectiveness. Some areas that may be used to enhance the interactive abilities include: permitting, monitoring and responding to comments, questions, etc.; creating a live chat component; interspersing video, questions and answers, etc.

Leaders must understand that digital methods of communicating are here to stay, and will only become more prevalent in days and years to come. However, they should be focused, planned, and used in conjunction with face to face, more personal campaigns.

History of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

Before the coming of age of ISDN, original analogy telecommunication services, also known as Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) were the only source of telecommunication worldwide. POTS was the originally acronymic for Post Office Telephone Service/System but changed when post offices stopped offering telephone services. POTS comprised mainly of copper wires which linked the subscriber’s home to the central switch office. This form of telecommunication had its limitations. Long distance calls had to be routed through operators and switchboards which made them highly unreliable and time consuming. There was also the issue of static inference known as line noise which disturbed communication.

In the 1960s, the telecommunication industry began working on converting its analogue systems to transmit ‘packets’ of digitized data by digital switching. The United Nations’ International Telephone and Telegraph Consultative Committee (CCITT, French acronym), now known as International Telecommunications Union Telecommunications (ITU-T) actively pushed and encouraged the research for Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) by starting a movement to recommend and provide standards for international digitization of the telecommunication services. This was initiated in 1984.

Two major US networks, Northern Telecomm and AT&T took the first steps towards implementing ISDN, but it did not interoperate with existing equipments and software available to telecommunication networks, this led to a setback for ISDN worldwide. By 1990, due to a world wide effort, National ISDN 1 (NI-1) was made compatible with existing proprietary equipments for telecommunication services, this way people did not need to switch brand or buy software for the network. This set the standards and procedure for future digital telecommunication technology to be used by everyone.

ISDN has resulted in better voice quality and Internet access due to its packet-switch connection. With ISDN, voice and data are carried by a bearer channel (B channel) with a bandwidth of 64 kb/s, sometimes 56 kb/s as opposed to telephone line which carry 52 kb/s. A data channel (D channel) is used for controlling network services and signalling to construct, break connections and carry data over the bearer channels. This carries a bandwidth of 16 kb/s or 64 kb/s.

There are two services offered by ISDN. This is known as the BRI and PRI. BRI – Basic Rate Interface consists of two 64 kb/s bearer channels and one 16 kb/s data channel, totaling 144 kb/s; as the name implies, BRI usually has enough bandwidth for individual users. PRI – Primary Rate Interface is used for clients that require greater bandwidth. It usually comprised of 23 64 kb/s B channels and one 64 kb/s D channel, totaling 1.536 Mb/s. Sometimes, the PRI service can have 30 B channels and one D channel for a total of 1.984 Mb/s.

For now, the future of ISDN lies with Broadband ISDN (BISDN). This entails transferring data, voice and video all at the same time using fibre optic telephone line which can carry data rates from 155 Mb/s to 622 Mb/s and beyond. This is a major topic for research and development.