First, you must decide how many telephone lines you will install on your telephone system. Let’s say you need ten telephone lines for your total business operation. These ten lines may include one fax line, one modem line, one credit card machine line, and seven voice lines. Unless you intend to integrate the three ancillary lines on your phone system, you only need to consider the seven lines needed for voice communication. You will be looking for a phone system to accommodate seven incoming telephone lines. Of course, this does not provide any room to grow. You should consider how many telephone lines you think you might need in the next four to six years and choose a system to accommodate this growth.
You must now decide how many telephone extension sets you will be using on your telephone system. It is time to do some counting. You might imagine a simple floor plan in your mind and begin counting telephones. Don’t forget the lobby phone and the kitchen phone. Think about modems, fax machines, credit card machines, cordless phones, etc. Your multiline phones must be counted separately from these single line phones and devices. Don’t make this too complicated. You just need to know how many multiline phones you need and how many single line phones including single line devices you need.
Voice mail ports must be considered in this calculation also. If you are going to be purchasing a Panasonic voice mail system with four ports you will need to include two more extension ports for the voice mail system. Panasonic digital telephone systems have a way of combining a digital telephone port with an analog single line device port that only takes up one extension circuit for two voice mail ports. This is why a four port voice mail system only requires two extension circuits on the Panasonic telephone system. So, if you need 16 multiline telephone extensions with a four port voice mail system, you will need a system that will handle at least 18 telephone extension ports. As long as your single line device count is less than your multiline telephone count you are alright because of the combining of digital and single line circuits. Of course this does not provide any room to grow. You should consider how many multiline telephone extension sets you think you might need in the next four to six years and choose a system based on this information.
Voice Mail Voice mail systems offer tremendous flexibility to any situation. The automated attendant does the work of a receptionist without the associated challenges. This automated attendant receptionist doesn’t need to be paid, never gets sick, doesn’t need maternity leave, never takes time off, doesn’t sleep, never complains, never has a bad day, and never takes a message incorrectly. It used to be that everyone hated calling a business to hear an automated attendant answer. Times have changed. People have begun to actually prefer automated attendants. People can transfer themselves much quicker with an automated attendant. Even when a caller reaches the voice mail of a particular person instead of reaching that particular person they know that their message is being taken down precisely and that even their emotion is being transmitted to the called party when they listen to their message.
Port capacity is the most important factor in choosing a voice mail system, and the call processing load determines the number of ports needed. If you use the automated attendant during the day and have a normal call load I would suggest a 50 percent ratio of ports to the lines coming into your system. If you do not use the automated attendant feature during the day and only use your voice mail system to take messages, I would suggest a 25 to 33 percent ratio of ports to the lines coming into your system. So if you have eight incoming lines and use the automated attendant feature during the day, I would suggest the eight port voice mail system. If you an eight incoming lines and do not use the automated attendant feature during the day, I would suggest starting with a two port voice mail system. The KX-TVS50 is the smallest two port voice mail system perfect for a small office, home office application. The KX-TVS 75 is a two port voice mail system with an eight hour message storage capacity. The KX –TVS100 comes out of the box ready as a two port voice mail system and can expand to a four port system with the addition of the KX-TVS102 card. The KX– TVS 200 comes out of the boxes with threes open slots with no ports. The KX – TVS 102 card with two ports, or the KX–TVS 204 card with four ports can be inserted into the three slots as needed to bring the system up to 12 ports.
How many telephone lines do you want caller ID to appear on? The Panasonic 816 and 1232 systems offer caller ID cards that support four telephone lines. The Panasonic digital 308 system allows only one caller ID card that will cover all three lines. You may install as many KX-TD193 cards on your digital 816 or 1232 system as is necessary to give you caller ID for up to every line. Don’t forget that you will need to subscribe to the caller ID service with your local phone company. (If you would like caller ID to appear on a single line telephone device, as well as your LCD display telephones, and if you are installing an 816 or a 1232, you would want to remember the KX-TD 171 card. This is an eight extension expansion card that would accommodate one single line telephone device with a caller ID display. More on that card later.)
Door Boxes & Door Openers
How many door boxes do you need in your operation? Door boxes with door locks provide security for your building. The door box adapter for either the Panasonic digital 816 system or the digital 1232 system has the capability to add two door boxes with two door openers to the system. The Panasonic digital 308 system has the door box adapter built into the system. It provides for one door box with one door opener. If you need the double cabinet Panasonic digital 1232 system you may need to include a box adapter on each system for a total of two door box adapters with four door box and four door opening capability.
Direct Inward Dialing (DID)
What other needs does your business operation have? Direct Inward Dialing allows each of your extensions to have an affordable dedicated line. The limitation is that only one incoming call can take place at a time on these special lines and the 1232 system can only handle four of these lines and the special KX-TD185 card. So four simultaneous conversations are capable when using this card. Of course you can make and take as many calls as you want on your other eight lines. The DID line card processes up to 100 phone numbers each of which are programmed to route calls to a specific extension. Only one DID card can be installed on a system. If you have a double cabinet 1232 one can be installed on each cabinet for a total of eight DID lines and 16 normal telephone lines.
Remote Programming of System
There is a way for a technician to dial into your telephone system and remotely program your telephone system. This is accomplished with the remote administration card. I would suggest the KX-TD 197 card to allow the technician to program at the faster speed. This is only available on the 816 and 1232 systems.
Direct Inward Station Access (DISA)
Panasonic has manufactured a special card that accomplishes direct inward station access. This card allows you to dial into your telephone system, listen to one or two greetings and divert calls to extensions or back out on another telephone line. This card would not be necessary if you purchased voice mail. Voice mail would be far more versatile because it allows you to create mailboxes for each extension, department, interview situation, etc.. The direct inward station access card actually costs more than the smallest voice mail system so I feel a little bit ridiculous even bringing this card up.
Hotel/Motel & MLW for Single Line Telephones (MLW Single Line Telephone)
If you are buying a telephone system for a hotel or other hospitality situation, you may be considering installing single line telephones in your hotel rooms. If you install voice mail for the convenience of your patrons, you may wish to install message waiting lamps on these telephones so that your visitors can see they have a message and access their voice mail directly. This is also very convenient for people calling in who wish to leave messages for people staying with you. The message waiting lamps on your single line telephones may only be lit by a special module manufactured specifically to light message waiting lamps on single line telephones. These modules may be added to as needed and will light up to 16 single line telephone message waiting lamps per unit. You can add as many units as needed to handle all your single line telephones. If you use multiline phones in your rooms, you do not need this special unit as the multiline phones already have a message waiting lamp and the system already has provisions to light them.
The Panasonic systems all have a program that can be activated on a per station basis that allows you to use headsets effortlessly. No cradle adapter is needed. To answer a call all you do is press the speaker key and to hang up you simply do the same. Your phone still remains in service for every feature including intercom and you can switch back to a handset with the press of a button.