Vendor Profile: Alston Tascom

Alston Corporation started by building billing and test systems for the telephone companies in the mid-sixties. Then in the late 1970s, AT&T contracted with Alston to build a telephone answering system that they could install in their central offices. The system was built; however, the business portion of the deal fell through, so Alston had a system with no customers. Alston decided to sell the system direct, and Tascom’s first system was installed in 1980. It was a thirty-two-seat redundant system, and for many years Tascom dominated the large system market. Tascom was the system most everyone wanted, the Cadillac of the industry.

Today Tascom’s largest deployment is over one hundred seats, very different from that first system. Here’s a brief story from those early days: Remember when (before TSA checks) you could walk (or run) onto an airplane as they were closing the door . . . and your carry-on just had to fit somewhere on the airplane . . . and before the Internet, when data was transmitted over the telephone lines? Back then, one of our thirty-two-seat Tascom system’s main programming was corrupted. Engineering figured out the issues and dialed (over a telephone line) into the system to upload a new program. The engineers also needed someone on-site to complete the repair. One of their techs volunteered to go the next morning, and as a backup, was given a five-megabit disk drive platter (the size of a large pizza) with all the programs on it. The flight was from Ontario, California, to Seattle, Washington. The tech rented a car, drove to the client’s location, and was on-site before the upload, which was started the previous day, finished. Wow, has Tascom and its technology changed!

Telemessaging systems are at the heart of the Information Age and will remain an intricate part of information distribution for small businesses for many years to come.

Today’s Tascom systems are a marvel, light years from the systems that helped start the Information Age. All Tascom systems are a seamless design of Microsoft™ SQL database and Asterisk softswitch and have the following feature tools in common: HTTP and native SIP connections for all system communication (trunk, operator, and internal), HIPAA compliance, monitoring of operators to train and improve the caller’s experience, and client web to enable customers to manage their own accounts to the degree you allow, such as managing their own on call schedule.

Tascom’s top of the line ADAM (Alston Developed Asterisk Machine) is a full-featured premises-based system. One of the special things about ADAM is that the communication is accomplished through HTTP, which makes configuration easy because the stations communicate to a web server. Wallboard apps are web accessible, making it easy to see what ADAM is doing. ADAM in its purest software configuration has only a LAN connection. Virtually everything is possible because it is all programmable.

Tascom-express, also a premise-based system, is for telemessaging services with a smaller client base that still want to provide top-tier service at prices that are affordable to small businesses. Tascom-Express, offering up to eight seats, has most everything as ADAM, with some space and size limitations.

Tascom’s hosted system installed its first two customers in 2006 and continues to service numerous businesses in multiple states on a truly shared hosted platform. The hosted system is much like a large office building that leases out office space to businesses. In this case the flexible Tascom hosted platform leases system space to telemessaging businesses. The space is measured by the number of operator seats or workstations wanted.

The hosted system has most of the same features as the premise-based ADAM or Tascom-express system, with a few restrictions that Tascom personnel perform for clients due to access security. This is a true hosted platform: Users do not buy a system. This follows the same model as most other hosting industries, whereby the cost of the system is far less than a system purchase. Tascom adds users to the hosted system and is able to spread the cost of software, hardware, facilities, SIP ports, and technical expertise, so that the individual cost is reduced to each user.

Tascom’s new cloud system is also a hosted system located in Tascom’s computer center and designed for larger businesses. Clients on the cloud have decided that they are much better managing their telemessaging business than managing a system, so more of their resources can be dedicated to their business. In the cloud system, each business has its own complete system. This is a proprietary system exclusively for clients with special customer needs. Although they share the facility and technical expertise, they do not share software, hardware, or SIP ports. Businesses on Tascom’s cloud system tend to be larger businesses that require greater access or special requirements not available on the hosted system.

When you are looking for a telemessaging system, look at Tascom.

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About Peter DeHaan

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan shares his passion for life and faith through words. Peter DeHaan’s website (http://peterdehaan.com) contains information and links to his blogs, newsletter, and social media pages. Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., (http://peterdehaanpublishing.com) the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine and AnswerStat, and editor of Article Weekly.