Phones Plus, Inc.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Phones Plus Helps Customers Combat Recession with Advanced Technology

SMBs Leverage Solutions Designed to

Enhance Productivity and Profits

NEW BERLIN, WI - July 27,

2011 - Phones Plus, Inc., a leading

unified communications provider,

announced today that the company

is proactively protecting its

customers from antiquated

technology and providing them

with a competitive advantage in

their marketplace. By providing

extensive technical training to the

staff, Phones Plus has been able to

leverage the superior knowledge of

its workforce to detect and protect

its customers from aging

technology, all the while increasing

their profitability and providing

their customers with a competitive


The latest technology that

Phones Plus has introduced to its

customers is Session Initiation

Protocol (SIP). The advent of SIP

has expanded the limits of

traditional telephony and has

enabled many business owners to

experience the benefits of

sophisticated IP Telephony. The

driving factor behind SIP is that the

technology cuts many redundant

costs associated with traditional

telephony systems. Additionally,

businesses are also attracted to SIP

because of the ease in which it

expands an organization’s overall

capabilities. For example, SIP

Trunking provides significant

improvements in call quality for IP

based telephony by dedicating a

separate “channel” to handle the

traffic. SIP Trunking also supports

multiple forms of communication

including video and instant

messaging so businesses can reach

out to customers through a myriad

of mediums. Phones Plus’

salespeople are technological

experts who consistently research

developing technologies, like SIP,

and bring them to customers in

order to enhance their profitability

and increase their competitive


“By transitioning a number of

our telecommunications customers

from antiquated TDM, PBX and

Key Systems to more refined IP

Telephony systems we’ve chopped

many of our customers phone bills

in half,” states Thomas Sodemann,

Vice President of Phones Plus. “We

viewed this program as an

investment in our customers’

future. Basically, the bet we made

was that if our staff was constantly

examining and testing out new

technology, eventually we’d find

something that we could bring to

our customers before their

competitors even knew what was

on the horizon. Nothing makes us

happier than to see our customers

utilizing our technology to leave

their competitors in the dust.”

Phones Plus is also associated

with Technology Assurance Group

(TAG) which is an international

organization that collectively

represents approximately $350

million in products and services in

the unified communications

industry. Dale Stein, Partner of

TAG, comments “Phones Plus has

always been an innovator. We’re

thrilled to hear that their new

program has been a success and

we’re pleased to be associated with

a thought-leader in their prestigious

business community.”


Since 1981, Phones Plus has

committed to establishing lasting

business relationships with our

clients. Phones Plus offers

innovative voice, video, and data

networking solutions that increase

our clients’ profitability and gives

them a competitive advantage in

their marketplace.

Phones Plus recognizes the

critical need for a communications

company that combines leading

technology with top-quality service

and support.

Our mission is to provide

exceptional value through managed

services that eliminate

technological obsolescence, ensure

a fixed cost for our business

partners, and maximize the profits,

productivity, image, and

competitive advantage of those

partners. Highly trained and

motivated professionals give you

measurable results.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Undiscovered Errors on 80 Percent of Phone Bills

A report by the Gartner Group shows that the vast majority of companies have errors on their phone bills that are costing them thousands each year because they do not report the mistakes and ask for a refund. The mistakes are happening on local, long-distance, conferencing, data, Internet, wireless, cellular and other communications services.

A report by the Gartner Group shows that 80 percent of phone bills from businesses have errors that are never found or reported.

Nearly every business shows the cost of telecommunications as one of their five highest business expenses. Salaries and benefits are one of the only greater costs. Phone bills are usually confusing, full of acronyms, making it difficult for companies to determine if there are errors.

It is common for companies to crunch their numbers assuring their business runs like a well oiled machine. However, according to Vice President Tom Sodemann “Many of our customers don’t realize that they have too many trunks, are spending last year’s prices on broadband, and last year’s prices on long distance. In addition to the report stating that 80% of all bills have errors on them, we frequently find large savings in the connectivity.

On occasion we find errors on past bills and get a complete refund, but it takes a trained eye to spot the mistakes.”

Tom Sodemann says “Our goal is to be able to save our customers enough money so they have zero out of pocket costs for service calls, partner programs, and new equipment. When we can essentially give someone technology and services at no cost, we feel like we accomplished our goal.”

Research indicates it is not just a matter of finding the mistakes. The phone companies are reluctant to give back money, so it usually takes a professional to negotiate the rebates.

Customers of TAG Members win because they do not have to waste time figuring out what errors have been made, and they do not need to spend more time learning how to report the errors and negotiate for a refund. TAG Members do it all for them because they value their customers, recognizing that without happy customers you might as well close your doors.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Storm Season is Upon Us - Are You Ready?

Lightning Safety Tips

Before Lightning Strikes

•Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for sounds of thunder.

•If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to a safe shelter immediately.

•Monitor weather forecasts.

When a Storm Approaches

•Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed.

•Avoid telephone lines, metal pipes, the telephone and electrical appliances.

•Avoid taking a shower or a bath or running water for any other purpose.

•Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can over load the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.

•Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering in your home.

If Caught Outside

•If you are in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees.

•If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find the nearest shelter immediately.

•Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not prone to flooding.

•Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible.

After the Storm Passes

•Stay away from storm-damaged areas.

•Listen to the radio for information and instructions.

If Someone is Struck by Lightning

•People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.

•Call 9-1-1 immediately.

•The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Check for burns in both places.

•Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.
All of the health and safety tips listed above are good to know and a great way to keep yourself and your family safe this summer in case of stormy weather...  Are you doing anything to protect the technology your business uses every day in case of lightning, flooding, strong winds, damaging hail, etc?  Chances are good you may not have ever given it a second thought - you know that sometimes your phone lines go down, but that shouldn't affect your phone system, Right???
Wrong.  In a severe storm, you run the risk of losing a big chunk of your technology investment along with customers when they can't reach you after the storm.  Protect your investment with Disaster Recovery, Hosted On-Site Phone Systems (whcih provide full coverage of your equipment - including acts of GOD) and lightning protection.  Don't leave your business vulnerable as we enter the sometimes stormy summer months.  Contact Phones Plus today to learn more about some great solutions to summer storms and all the damage they can do.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Unified Communications Set to Explode in 2011

New Berlin, WI --- May 26, 2011 --- Phones Plus, Inc., a leading unified communications provider, announced expectations of heavy industry growth for the coming year during an interview with Technology Assurance Group (TAG), an international organization of unified communication companies spread throughout the United States and Canada. The TAG organization monitors sales, financial performance and other economic indicators among technology providers. “It’s exciting to see that small to mid-sized businesses (SMB’s) are ramping up acquisition of the latest technology across the country and that even some of the toughest pockets of the nation are beginning to show signs of strong growth,” stated Thomas Sodemann, Vice President of Phones Plus. Several factors are contributing to the turnaround and technology is driving the next bull market. Historically, technology has proven itself to be one of the first sectors to pull the economy out of a recessionary period and business owners are investing heavily in disruptive technologies that cut costs and improve employee productivity.

One of the most influential and recent technological breakthroughs in business communications is Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). In simple terms, SIP supports any form of real-time communication regardless of whether the content is voice, video, instant- messaging, or a collaboration application. Additionally, SIP enables users to inform others of their status, their availability, and how they can be contacted before a communication is even initiated. “Sip is reinventing the way we communicate and out customers now have an upper hand on their competition,” commented Sodemann. Another powerful technology making its way into the SMB marketplace is Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Hosted VoIP serves the needs of entrepreneurs and enterprises alike, by delivering powerful features such as improved call quality, valuable disaster recovery tools, and applications designed specifically for telecommuters and remote workers. Included in the system are advanced features such as unified messaging, automatic call distribution, auto attendant, call recording, call flow reporting as well as traditional telephony features. A growing trend among business owners is to outsource the management of their IT networks with managed IT services. Consequently, this is stimulating the economy since these services are designed specifically to assist companies in maintaining and supporting their network and IT infrastructure. Types of services may include remote network monitoring and reporting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, firewall monitoring, intrusion detection, patch assessment and vulnerability scanning, preventative tasks, disaster recovery, data backup ad regular performance analysis. “Today’s marketplace demands excellence from all areas of a business and several of the products and services we provide are enabling our customers to increase their profitability and gain a competitive advantage,” stated Mr. Sodemann “Competition may be fierce, but we rest easy knowing that our customers can react more quickly and with greater efficiency than their competitors.”

Thomas Sodemann was interviewed by TAG regarding his views on the future of technology because he is well-known in the industry, possesses substantial technical expertise and has built a strong reputation in his community. Dale Johnson, President of TAG added, “Thomas has always been able to peer around the corner and see what’s coming so he can help his customers take advantage of what’s on the horizon. His organization expends a tremendous amount of effort to reside on the leading edge of technology but he does it simply because it is the right thing to do. We are proud to be associated with a technology futurist like Thomas.”

ABOUT TAG (Technology Assurance Group)

TAG is a national organization of leading independently owned telecommunications companies. TAG provides its members with the competitive advantage necessary to achieve a dominant position in their marketplace. Members benefit from programs including strategic partnerships with communication solution providers, best business and management practices, and advanced sales training programs. TAG’s mission is to leverage its members’ combined economic power, to increase their sales and profit margins, and to bring advanced technology to the marketplace. For more information on TAG, please call 858-673-5800 or visit

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lunch and Learn in May, 2011

Hello everyone and happy spring (kind of).  I wanted to share some news that I am very excited about for the month of May...  We are hosting a lunch and learn on May 5, 2011 right here in Brookfield at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center.  That is not the exciting part though, the part that I am excited about is the topic - it is a new product called Phybridge and I think it is going to change the face of IP telephony in a big way. 
The basic idea behind Phybridge is that it will allow for easier, faster and more seamless transitions to IP technology from a legacy phone system.  A lot of larger accounts are interested in IP technology, but are not interested in running thousands of feet of CAT5 cable to take advantage of that technology.  This is the answer to that problem - Phybridge essentially works like a kind of converter that allows CAT3 cable to be converted into a CAT5 cable in a couple of very easy steps.
Anyone who has worked with IP technology would also tell you that the IT guy's NIGHTMARE is trying to make data and voice work together on the same network.  It is a recipe for disaster at times and a minor irritation in some other cases - the problem is that you don't know in advnace if you are going to be the disaster or have a system that works flawlessly without a network assessment and possibly some costly upgrades.  Again, Phybridge is the answer - this product allows you to keep the data and voice networks totally separate so your IT guy can relax and worry about what he is best at - data, while Phones Plus handles the rest.
Bottom line is that this could be an amazing tool for a wide vairety of businesses and is the easiest method of deploying IP technology without a major disruption to your work week.  This lunch and learn is (as always) a free learning opportunity Phones Plus is extending to our customers, their guests and the community at large - best part is, lunch is on us!  Come on out, learn about a great new technology and enjoy some lunch, just remember to RSVP soon - space is limited and it is filling up FAST.
Thank you very much and I look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


NEW BERLIN, WI – March 28, 2011 – Phones Plus, Inc., an industry leader in unified communications, announced today that the company is providing its customers with Virtual Hosted Office systems designed to help small to midsized businesses take advantage of the latest in cloud-based technologies.

Cloud-based technologies are not only part of the future of technology, they have become an integral part of the present. Virtual Hosted Office systems provide secured access to company data and applications from anywhere in the world and small to mid-sized businesses are deploying this technology in order to remain competitive in today’s economic environment. The driving forces behind this growth are increased profitability and enhanced IT infrastructure security.

“Many small to mid-sized businesses have absolutely no need for on-site servers, and they can just as easily be hosted in the cloud for a fraction of the cost. Additionally, Virtual Hosted Office systems are continuously updated which provides dramatic cost savings over purchasing and repurchasing servers, comments Thomas Sodemann, Vice President of Phones Plus, Inc.. “Furthermore, these systems provide all hardware and operating system upgrades necessary for proper server upkeep, which translates into reduced costs for business owners.”

Virtual Hosted Office systems also bring an element of enhanced IT security to SMBs. Since systems are hosted off-site in multiple, excessively secure, “disaster-proof”, 24x7x365 monitored, “bunker-style” facilities, companies are able to operate with much greater levels of security. In fact, Virtual Hosted Office Solutions are compliant with all HIPPA regulations, Sarbanes-Oxley and other security regulation laws as well.

Cloud-based technologies have revolutionized the way today’s businesses function, and companies like Phones Plus, Inc. are adding value to their customers by introducing advanced technologies like Virtual Hosted Office systems.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Phones Plus, Inc. Increases Customer Profitability in a Down Economy with the Latest

February 28, 2011 – Phones Plus, Inc., an industry leader in unified communications, announced today that the company is relentlessly educating its customers on the latest technologies designed to increase their profitability and enhance employee productivity, particularly in these tough economic times. The technologies that Phones Plus is focusing on helps companies do more with less. While the economic whiplash has sent many companies back to the starting block, others are capitalizing on these types of advancements to better position themselves for recovery. The financial gurus may try to convince business owners that a dreaded double-dip is imminent, but for the technologically adept, an uptrend is more likely. Phones Plus is paving the way by introducing businesses to leading edge technologies that drive profitability, now.

“We understand that the economy has mounted tremendous pressure on our customers to be more productive, with fewer resources at their disposal. We believe that it is our responsibility to proactively search and deploy solutions that drive our customers’ profitability and provide them with a competitive advantage. It’s up to us to make sure that our customers have technology that enables them to do more with less,” stated Vice President, Thomas Sodemann.

One of the ways that Phones Plus is boosting customer profitability is through an application called presence management. This application eliminates the guessing game of knowing where people are and what they’re doing, and allows individuals to indicate their status (in a meeting, “back at 2pm,” at lunch, “send calls to my cell”, etc.) and promises “you’ll never miss a call again.” By increasing the speed of communication, more opportunities can be seized; more current customers can be satisfied, and more profits can make it to the bottom line.

Similarly, Phones Plus is utilizing call recording technology in order to help organizations increase employee productivity. According to Dr. Jon Anton from Purdue University, “On average, employees answer the phone 19% faster, spend 29% less time on the phone and do after-call work three times faster when they know they’re being recorded.” Remarkably, many business owners have not adopted call recording technologies. Phones Plus, Inc. is looking to “bridge the gap” by educating their customers on solutions aimed to help small to mid-sized businesses come out on top.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Technology Assurance Group Invites Thomas Sodemann, Vice President of Phones Plus,

Industry Leader to Lend His Expertise and Years of Experience to U.S. and Canada’s Top Technology Providers at TAG’s Annual Convention
NEW BERLIN, WI — January 30, 2011 — Phones Plus, Inc., an industry leader in unified communications, announced today that Technology Assurance Group (TAG), an international organization of leading independently owned unified communications  companies representing over $350 million in annual sales, invited Thomas Sodemann, Vice President of Phones Plus, Inc., to present on the latest technologies impacting small to mid-sized businesses (SMB) at the 11th Annual TAG Convention. Mr. Sodemann will share his extensive industry expertise and company’s experiences with top technology providers located throughout the United States and Canada. TAG’s 2011 Annual Convention will be held on March 16th – 18th in San Antonio, Texas.

With the growth of cloud-based technologies, the theme of the 2011 annual Convention is “Find Your Silver Lining in the Cloud.” SMBs have begun to fully understand the true value of cloud technologies and the market is set to explode. According to predictions by IDC Research, “By 2014, sales of cloud computing products or services will generate almost $56 billion in annual revenues.” The expansion of cloud technologies will not only have a profound impact on the technology sector, but this growth will transform the manner in which SMBs conduct business across all industries. Sodemann will share his views on the future of cloud technologies, virtualization, hosted solutions, and managed services with other industry professionals. As a well-respected business leader in the industry, many of his peers will gain valuable insight on where the cloud is taking businesses.

“We’ve always placed the utmost importance on being on the leading edge of technology which is why we spend so much time and energy educating our employees,” commented Sodemann. “When we truly understand where our industry is headed, it makes it much easier to increase our customers’ profitability and give them a competitive advantage. An ancillary benefit to running our organization in this manner is that we are able to share our experiences with our colleagues at events like the TAG Convention.”

“The TAG Convention brings the brightest minds and most innovative thinkers in our industry together to share best practices, learn from one another and plan for a successful future,” stated Brian Suerth, EVP and Partner of Technology Assurance Group. “We are honored to have Vice President Sodemann at our event, and we all look forward to learning from him.”


Technology Assurance Group, LLC (TAG) is an international organization of leading independently owned unified communications companies. TAG provides its members with the competitive advantages necessary to achieve a dominant position in their marketplace. Members benefit from programs including strategic partnerships with communication solution providers, best businessand management practices, and advanced sales training programs. TAG’s mission is to increase its Members' sales and profits through education and to ease their introduction of new technology tothe marketplace by leveraging their combined intellect and purchasing power. For more information on TAG, please call 858-673-5800 or visit

Thursday, January 6, 2011



December 22, 2010 — The Internet has proven itself to be one of the most powerful tools known to man. It has completely transformed the way we interact, the way we learn, and the way that we do business with each other. However, with such a robust tool at our fingertips we’ve become so infatuated with technology that we no longer question whether or not it’s actually making us more productive. We can access anything we want, at any time, from any place, but is that actually a good thing?

According to most SMBs, the answer is “it depends.” Allowing open Internet access to any and all technology can reduce productivity, expose the network to security threats, jam up bandwidth, deteriorate the quality of service in IP based applications and slow down critical programs that are running the business. However, most organizations are finding the “happy medium” through Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs). Also known as policies of utilization, these are simply a set of rules and procedures by which all employees must adhere to when interacting with technology. By now large companies are expected in utilize AUPs, and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are beginning to see the value in establishing a set of policies in their own right.

One topic that AUPs cover revolves around what software employees should be able to access during work. One suggested policy is that employees should be able to access whatever software they need in order to become more productive, as long as they receive approval from the IT department. This is one of the safest policies to have in place, but it is also one of the most time-consuming to enforce. One way to get around this obstacle is to utilize a Technology Advisor, who can recommend specific programs and applications to use, and which to avoid. Unless you’re working with an abundance of IT resources, many companies are looking to outsource these sorts of mundane procedures to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) at a much lower cost. Business owners are usually thrilled with these sorts of changes because their employees can now spend less time performing brainless Microsoft Office installations, and more time working on their primary objectives.

The Internet is another key area that needs to be regulated because SMBs need to make sure that they’re not exposing themselves to security breaches. According to, “70% of Internet porn traffic occurs between the hours of 9am and 5pm.” Aside from its vulgar nature, this sort of content is plagued with all sorts of dangerous viruses, spyware and malware. Now as much as we want to plug our ears and shout “La-lala, I can’t hear you” this is a reality and needs to be dealt with.

SMBs can examine a few different steps to start to get back on track. Firstly, the obvious sites need to be blocked; this means anything that contains obscene, hateful, pornographic, unlawful, violent or illegal materials. Secondly, sites that require large amounts of streaming data, (ex: sites that stream television, videos or music) need to be monitored all the way down to the appliance and the system needs to automatically dump users off these sites if network performance is threatened. Similar capabilities should be required for social networking sites like and as they are detrimental to productivity and are huge distractions.

While many SMBs may be quick to blanket-ban all of these sites, there are consequences that may result in decreased morale. Imagine how frustrating it would be to be denied access to your online banking at work. Consider how helpful music can be for creative professionals, while how much morale could be improved by allowing employees to watch their favorite online television shows at work, provided that it was during the lunch hour of course. Other employees could benefit from having the freedom to learn from educational sites and heighten their expertise. All of these enhance the value of every employee and drive productivity and a positive company culture. While constant monitoring is non-negotiable, most of these types of issues can be easily resolved through compromise.

The key in establishing a successful policy is creating one that is complete, efficient and moves with the development of new technology. At the end of the day its purpose is to safeguard the company from risks and propel the company forward to a brighter, more profitable future.