Setting up a small office for everything electronic. By small I mean three people. My old man’s trying to start a new company with his old partners before they get too old mostly to see if they still got it (the good run they had with their old company stopped running good). My job, compensated in the form of future consideration, is to set up communication for three men with roughly, pretty roughly, the same technological capabilities they’d grown accustomed having. Starting from scratch, just have a room, tables, some power outlets and an apparent POTS jack to work with.

I have to do this as dirt cheaply as possible as not only are they not getting paid they’re paying to keep this thing mission afloat. This is New York City, so the two games in town for some of this is Verizon and Time Warner. Need to move ASAP as they are already paying rent.
On the wish list, all must-have except for television:

1) Three line PBX so they can get three calls on one number simultaneously
2) Landline (IE not Google Voice number going to their cells) phones to wire into whatever that setup is
3) Broadband
4) Basic cable, a television, Google TV w/ video conferencing
5) One sturdy b&w HP laserjet, scanner, low-end computers, screens
6) Google Apps Premier outfit, simple website

They already have Blackberries. The computers, printer, scanner and software I’ll figure out in addition to making sure everyone knows how to use the systems, in particular getting everyone happy with Google Apps, which I’m good at.
Does that sound like everything these men, other than random crap like power strips, will need from me, in order to make it through the first day without leaving early because I forgot something, in addition obviously to my teaching them how to do everything once I’ve managed to set up everything? Is that more or less a list of things they need to spend money on in order to be fully outfitted technologically to typical business things?

Second, the phone issue. I may be mistaken but it sounds like IP PBX is what I want. But first I have to have Internet which I’ll probably either secure, along with television if feasible, from Time Warner or Verizon. And that’s complicated because both companies still need to decide how to answer this question and get back to me: Can three men doing business stuff in the same room in which they do not sleep get residential packages? Can’t seem to get an answer for that. Should I just lie to them and say it’s a residence if I don’t need 5x5mpbs not including television for $200 versus $75 for a package I’m using at home right now? Are Time Warner and Verizon really the only two options in Manhattan?

Back to the IP PBX, that’s something I either have to figure out, set up and maintain myself remotely with Asterisk, or get someone to host it. Who can I turn to for that? Someone that comes up first on Google? Could use a recommendation on that one especially. Throughput wise, if I could only get DSL from Verizon for whatever reason with a 768 upload cap, is that enough for the three of them to be on three VoIP calls while their computers poll their inboxes or do we need more juice? How about mixing in a video conference activity, possible on 70KB/s up? Or are we in the megabit range.

For the television, Google TV and video conferencing, which way should I swing it, conventional television, let’s say 32", with the Logitech set-top box plus the camera or one of those Sony models, namely the 32" with Google TV built in for $800 from Best Buy and the $150 Logitech camera? Which makes more sense both dollar wise, simplicity wise and keyboard-goodness-wise? Have any of you had occasion to try Google TV video conferencing and have some thoughts to share about the experience?

Google Apps, the website, the printer and the computers I’ve got under control, just those questions and also again if I’m missing any key component. In exchange for your advice I will articulate my gratitude articulately, offering more cute puppy pictures if you’d like. And by dropping advice here you’re turning this thread into a resource for other people in the same or partially similar situation who happen to stumble in on the action, so you can try to feel good about that too, particularly if you don’t really care for me. Don’t make me put a bounty on it this time, pretty strapped.

Doug Simmons

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Biographical info.. hmm. I have a history of not being able to strike the balance between what is “safe” to put into these forms and what is, in my mind at least, funny. Can’t do it.

1 COMMENT

  1. I definitely say lie to them, only thing is if they want the account run under a federal tax number they would have to put it on a business name and then Verizon would know its for business and make you go with the business plan. But for 125 dollar savings monthly you might as well put it under a personal name and not worry about writing it off.

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