Posted in Cloud Computing, Cloud Management

Hurricane Clouds – Cloud Communications

A while ago, I was at a technology expo and had the pleasure of having a very animated conversation with the Google Cloud Infrastructure team.  One of the things we discussed was a practical application of the Cloud as it pertains to Telecommunications.  Now, you would ask me, but what on Earth does Telecom have to do with The Cloud?  One is phone equipment installed in your office, the other, I imagine, is a server farm in a bunker somewhere under a mountain?


Now, imagine this…

You are a New York City hedge fund broker, and you’re looking to upgrade to a new phone system.  What are some of the fears and pain points you are concerned with at the moment?

Having dealt with hedge fund brokers and knowing how demanding their schedule is, I imagine the fears and pain points to be as follows:

  • Fear of being without phone service.
  • Fear of being without phone service for even one second!

This kind of sums it up.  Without phones, their business grinds to a screeching halt, or even worse, plummets into the abyss of major losses.  So, how can a telephone system calm the broker’s fears, and what does The Cloud have to do with it?

Let’s dig a little deeper into the fears listed above and explore what the broker really wants.  On a high level, he wants his phone to work ALL the time.  What does that mean?  In order to understand this, we need to understand what can go wrong.  Here are a few scenarios:

• The phone system crashes – ouch!
• The phone lines go down – double ouch!!
• The phone breaks.
• Power goes out – for a whole week!
• Internet goes out.
• Hurricane.
• Tornado.
• Earthquake.
• Atom bomb.

You get the picture.  Regardless of any and all of the situations listed above, this broker still requires his (or her) phone service to be completely operational!  Now, you will ask me, seriously!  How can a person’s phone work without phone lines?  Or when it’s broken?  Or when there is no power for a week?  Or during an earthquake – or an atom bomb explosion?!?

The answer is, Yes!  It is possible, and the hedge fund broker requires this level of service!  But how?!?

Now you’re starting to understand why I was so excited when I spoke with Google.  Let’s roll over the scenario again.  A hedge fund broker in New York City decides to purchase a new phone system for his business.  The primary requirement is that the business should continue to function despite any and all external happenings.  So, how does a phone system facilitate business continuity during a disaster?

There is where the versatile cloud based solution enters the picture.For starters, let’s take a few simple scenarios (before we get to the atom bomb explosion):

  • Scenario 1:There is a raging hurricane outside and the roads are not passable. People just can’t get to the office.  So far, all utilities are intact.  We have power, phone service, and internet access.  We just can’t physically get to the office.  With the always included  Mobility package, you can take home a phone, plug it into your broadband internet connection, and have it connect to the office via the cloud.  Congratulations!  You now have an office phone, at home!  With this, you can calmly handle all your responsibilities as a hedge fund broker, from the comfort of your home.  Let the storm rage on!
  • Scenario 2:The hurricane just took a turn for the worse.The wind is howling! The rain is coming down hard!  Trees are being uprooted and tossed around like children’s toys.  Then, finally, the unthinkable happens.  The office loses power!  Fortunately, your phones are connected to the cloud, and your cloud provider’s data center is outside the storm area.  Or even if it is in the storm area, the data center’s power is backed up by batteries.  When the batteries get drained, the motor generator kicks in.  The broker is able to continue making phone calls from the comfort of his home, with peace of mind.
  • Scenario 3: It’s a quiet, sunny day.  Everyone is in the office, and life is great.  Some kid is flying a drone outside the office.  You think it may be a bit too close for comfort, but you have other things to do than to concern yourself with what’s going on outside.  All of a sudden, BOOM!!  That is not a good sign.  The drone crashes into the wall and rips down your electirc wires!  The lights go out!  Fortunately, your ITprovider set you up with a battery backup for your network equipment.The lights may be out; however, calls are still coming in and out, and business is still progressing as if nothing happened.

So far, so good.  Let’s take this a little further now.  Let’s revisit the hurricane scenario.  The winds have increased in intensity.  The rain is coming down even more forcefully.  Suddenly, the internet at your cloud provider’s data center goes out!  With no internet at the data center, how are you going to connect your remote phone and continue making calls?  Business must continue… at all costs!  What is a broker to do?

Do you remember my meeting with Google?  This is the scenario I presented to them, and this is why I was so excited when speaking with them.  Cloud providers, don’t just operate out of a single data center, for this reason.  If something were to happen to that single data center, they’d go out of business faster than the kid crashing the out of control drone.  Established cloud providers operate out of multiple, geographically dispersed data centers, for redundancy and resilliency.  Should an entire data center lose power or internet, there are many more data centers across the country and around the world to pick up the slack and keep your business going.

Let’s head back to the hurricane.  The Internet at your cloud provider’s data center just went down.  Fortunately, you deployed a resilient cloud based solution.  When your phone is not able to connect to its data center, it will automatically register onto the next available data center in the cloud.  Your extension and voicemail will come back to life!

Even the kid with the wobbly drone can’t take out your phone service.  Your phone service has now kicked into overdrive!

You are so excited that your phone is working, despite nature’s best effort to thwart your business, that you fail to notice a scuffle break out between your dog and cat.  Your dog is chasing the cat around the house, when the doorbell rings.  You get up to answer the door.  It’s your brand new piano, being delivered… in a hurricane!  After all, New York is the city that never sleeps.  It keeps on going, no matter what.  Just like your business.  As they are bringing the piano into your office (hey, a guy needs his music!), several things happen, all of them simultaneously.  The dog chases the cat onto your desk, the cat knocks your cloud phone off your desk, the piano mover trips on your phone, and drops your piano… right onyour phone!   A loud CRUNCH is heard, and time stops for a moment… until your cellphone rings.  It’s the million dollar client from London whose call you were waiting for all day.  Thankfully, you have enabled mobile twinning for your extension.  This feature pairs or twins your mobile phone to your desk phone, enabling you to receive all your business calls directly onto your mobile phone.  Your business is able to continue, even without an office phone!


My question for you is, what are you doing in your business to enable you to continue doing business no matter what happens?  I’d love to hear from you, please leave us a comment.

A little bit about SimiPlex.  We create simple solutions for all your telephony problems. Our goal is to ensure you have the best experience possible, while ensuring security, reliability, and excellent customer service. Above all, we work hard for you as well as providing affordable solutions. Check us out today!


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