Delivering for Customers and Community: ImOn Communications and the 2008 Cedar Rapids Flood

When the river crested at 31.12 feet on June 13, 2008, ImOn Communications – a company only in business for 14 months at the time – was prepared.
ImOn's look back at the flood of 2008

Patrice Carroll, CEO of ImOn, directed an evacuation plan for the company and its employees, and ImOn’s engineering team did some strategic sandbagging.  As a result:

  • ImOn’s Customer Care center never went down.  The team relocated to ImOn’s warehouse location on the SW side of Cedar Rapids immediately and the phones were switched over with no downtime.
  • ImOn employees only missed one day of work – the day of the crest – and were back at work Friday at ImOn’s warehouse, with full service first thing Monday morning.
  • Of ImOn’s three hub locations that took on water, the company only lost one.  The other two were up and active again within weeks.


repair 2
Delivering for Customers and Community

ImOn’s compassion and community spirit – both elements of the ImOn brand today – set them apart as industry leaders immediately following the flood.  Specifically:

  • Even though it is an industry norm to charge customers for damaged equipment such as cable boxes and modems, ImOn told customers impacted by the flood that if they returned their equipment, whether damaged or not, there would be no charges. Other providers in the area did not initially make this offer to their customers, but were ultimately forced to follow ImOn’s lead.
  • ImOn set up tents in flood-impacted areas, distributed bottled water, and allowed customers to return their equipment in their neighborhood rather than having to find ImOn’s temporary location.
  • When impacted customers called to cancel their service, ImOn suspended their accounts instead, which allowed them to maintain their same email address throughout the crisis and afterward.  They also assisted phone customers by hard forwarding their lines to cell phone numbers when requested.


Repair 1
Connecting Businesses Throughout Cedar Rapids

Ten years ago, ImOn Communications was primarily a residential provider with few business customers.  Yet, the company helped many major businesses get back up and connected within weeks of the flood. Randy Schoon, manager of the outside plant (OSP) and engineering, had the OK straight from Ms. Carroll to “do whatever it takes” to get businesses back up and running.  The company didn’t even think about billing these businesses for weeks, some for months, even up to a year after the emergency was over.

This is when ImOn Communications demonstrated their ability to serve larger businesses. Many of these same organizations are among ImOn’s 1200+ business customers today.

Randy and his team worked 18 hour days, 6 days a week for the first few months after the flood.  Among the businesses and organizations ImOn helped get reconnected are:

  • Mercy Hospital
  • Involta
  • Linn County Sherrif’s Office
  • Linn County offices
  • Pierson’s Flower Shop
  • United Fire Group
  • Armstrong Development
  • Great America Financial Services

Summer Sanity: Ideas to Keep Your Kids Entertained All Summer.

mother using digital tablet ignoring bored daughter bored image

It’s that time of year again, stores are replacing the backpacks and notebooks with flip flops and sunscreen. But soon, all of the excitement at the beginning of summer break will soon be replaced with the dreaded sounds of “I’m bored” and “There’s nothing to do.”  ImOn wants to help relieve some of your stress this summer by providing you with a few family friendly activities to keep your kids entertained all summer long.

  • Area Parks and Trails
    You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete or nature buff to enjoy a little fresh air outside. Spend some time outdoors with your family enjoying nature at one of the many parks the area has to offer! Click here for a list of some of the favorite parks and trails in the area.
  • Summer Camps
    Summer is the perfect time for kids to play, learn, and discover!  Luckily, the Cedar Rapids area has many summer camps to help your kids do just that, no matter what their interests are!  Here are links to many of the area summer camps.

  • Let’s Get Wet!
    Check out this list of Cedar Rapids area splash pads, pools, and beaches to help your kids stay cool and entertained this summer! Also, visit the Pinicon Ridge Park Watercraft Concession where you can rent canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats for some family fun on the water.
  • Meet Me at the Market
    Want to get the family moving after a long day of sitting inside and watching TV or playing video games? Check out Meet Me at the Market every Thursday evening at NewBo City Market. This FREE, family friendly event offers a group walk, run, bike ride, dance, and yoga.
  • Area Museums
    Where can you find the world’s most complete Masonic library, Asian armor, the gravesite of a lion, or a stained-glass window designed by Grant Wood? The answers to these questions and more can be found in the many museums around the area. Your kids can learn about art, history, and culture while they explore the local museums. Plus, many of the museums are indoors and air conditioned, a great solution for those hot or rainy summer days.
  • Take part in the FREE, family-friendly entertainment at the Klopfenstein Amphitheater at Lowe Park in Marion. From live music, movies, yoga, and story time, there is something for everyone all summer long. Click here for the full schedule.
  • CRBT Movies on the River Bank
    Experience moonlight, movies, food, and family fun under the stars in downtown Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust has a free movie and kids’ activities at the McGrath Amphitheatre once a month throughout the summer. Check out the full schedule here.
  • Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Enjoy a day out in the sun, or a night under the stars, while watching America’s favorite past time and your favorite hometown team. The Cedar Rapids Kernels play games all summer long and have plenty of ways to keep the family entertained. There are promotions available throughout the summer including fireworks after Saturday night games and “Kids Eat Free” on Sundays.
  • Farmer’s Markets
    Browse through an array of fresh produce, flowers, meats, wines, and artisan gifts at the area’s farmer’s markets. And while you are there, stop by the ImOn booth to see the latest promotions, giveaways, and events.

Cedar Rapids Farmer’s Market

Marion Farmer’s Market

Hiawatha Farmer’s Market

  • Area summer events
    Fill your calendar this summer with all of the different events that the Cedar Rapids area has to offer! And while you are out enjoying all of these fun events, remember that ImOn offers free public Wi-Fi the following locations: Downtown Cedar Rapids, McGrath Amphitheatre, NewBo City Market, Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, Iowa City Ped Mall, and all Hiawatha city parks.

 

ImOn Earns National Independent Operator of the Year Award

cable-fax-award

ImOn Communications, which provides Internet, cable TV and telephone services to residential and business customers in Eastern Iowa, has been named Independent Operator of the Year by Cablefax Magazine.

“We are excited and honored by this national recognition –it is due to the passion, integrity and commitment of each of our 100+ employees,” said Patrice Carroll, CEO of ImOn.

Cablefax’s annual Independent Cable Operator of the Year Award recognizes one company whose operating excellence has made a real difference for its business and customers over the last year. Cablefax considers a number of factors, including technology innovation, customer service, and financial success, for this prestigious award.

“The criteria for this award matches closely with ImOn’s strategic focus – to provide high quality services through continued investment in our broadband network, to put our customers first in every way, and to give back to the communities we serve,” added  Ms. Carroll.

ImOn plans to celebrate with employees in the upcoming weeks at a thank you event for all who have worked so hard to achieve this honor.

“Companies and executives featured in our 2018 Top Ops magazine and celebrated at our June 5 gala share a laser-like focus on the customer,” said Cablefax Publisher Michael Grebb. “They work tirelessly to exceed expectations every day, all while embracing unprecedented change and disruption in ways that leverage new business models and strategies.”

Cablefax is the most trusted brand in the industry, providing cable, broadband and TV content executives with original and insightful coverage of the latest industry news and strategic initiatives. Cablefax offerings include a wide range of resources for industry professionals, including Cablefax Daily, Cablefax: The Magazine, the Cablefax Leaders Retreat, awards programs and networking events. For more information, visit http://www.cablefax.com.

Is Cloud Storage a Safe Bet for Businesses?

Cloud computing concept on a digital tablet

The cloud offers a way to store, retrieve and backup your data online. Its benefits are numerous:

  • It frees up your devices, so you can access files like pictures, word docs, music and more without having to worry about running out of space on your hard drive or server.
  • It allows users to access data remotely (say if an employee need access to files on their work computer at home).
  • Data syncs to the cloud automatically, so there’s no annoying wait or lost productivity at work.
  • And it creates a backup in case anything should happen to the device you’re using. After all, who’s never accidentally dropped their phone or spilled coffee on their laptop?

Chances are you’re using the cloud whether you know it or not. If you’ve ever shared files with colleagues on DropBox or created a Google Doc—you’re already accessing the cloud.

For the most part, cloud storage has made life easier at home and at work, but a few major scares like last year’s Verizon data leak left people wondering how safe this technology really is.

So—can cloud storage really help your business, or is it more trouble than it’s worth?


The Benefits
Cloud storage is certainly not without risk, but considering the alternative, it can still be a safer bet, especially for small businesses who don’t have the resources and staff to maintain and secure data on a local network.

One of the biggest reasons cloud storage can be a safer for businesses is redundancy. In a local network, if something happens to your server—whether your data is stolen, your equipment crashes, or a natural disaster like a flood causes it to fail—you’ll lose all the data that’s not backed up. But when you use the cloud, your data is backed up on multiple servers across multiple locations, so there’s always an accessible copy you can fall back on.

And remember, as our technology evolves, the devices and equipment we’re using will need to keep up. By using the cloud, you let the companies who are already at the forefront of innovation handle the necessary upgrades for you.


The Risks
Yes—breaches happen on the cloud. But they also happen to local networks too. And for small companies that don’t have the expertise and means to handle them, the results can be devastating.

Because large cloud companies have a lot of pressure to secure their customers data—and because the fallback for not doing so can tarnish their reputation indefinitely—they invest heavily in preventing these attacks as best as they can and have plans in place to address them as swiftly and effectively as possible.


The Verdict
Is cloud computing 100% safe? No. Like any other system, it has its vulnerabilities. But it also has significant upshots that outweigh the negatives. And one thing is clear—it’s where we’re heading. Back in 2015, more than 90 percent of US businesses were already using the cloud in some way, according to a survey from RightScale. Moving forward, we’re likely to see a much wider adoption of this technology and as that happens, we’ll become more comfortable—and less fearful—of using it.

If you would like more information about ImOn Communications and the services we provide, visit www.ImOn.net.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog (or any of its hyperlinks) is published in good faith and is for general informational purposes only. ImOnInsider.com does not make any warranties about the completeness or accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information found on this website is strictly at your own risk. ImOn Communications is not liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with use of our website (ImOnInsider.com).

ImOn Announces Residential Fiber-to-the-Home Service Expansion into Bowman Woods Neighborhood

ImOn is coming to your neighborhoodImOn Communications today announced it is bringing fiber optic-enabled Internet, cable TV and phone service to the Bowman Woods neighborhood of Cedar Rapids and Marion, Iowa. ImOn’s advanced technology brings a direct fiber connection to homes and businesses allowing more robust bandwidth speeds, clearer picture quality and enhanced voice service. Fiber also ensures customers will be less likely to experience any down time or connection issues compared to a traditional cable modem connection.

“ImOn is very excited to bring a superior Internet, cable TV and phone experience to residents of the Bowman Woods neighborhoods. We are particularly pleased to provide the local community with choice: the choice of a truly local provider, the choice to have access to the most advanced technology, and the choice to experience the highest level of customer service” said Adrian Kesler, ImOn’s new Vice President and General Manager of the Cedar Rapids Residential Market. “We provide fiber Internet directly to the home, which allows family members to simultaneously use their favorite devices and unlimited HD streaming without worrying about buffering or down time. Fiber-to-the-home is the only technology that will deliver enough bandwidth and reliability to meet our customers’ demands for the next decade.”

ImOn Service TruckImOn’s expansion into the Bowman Woods area will occur in phases. The initial phase is in the Southeast portion of Bowman Woods, where the company is currently building the network and preparing to install their first customers in the May-June timeframe. “Once we have completed this first area, we will continue to build and install in phases until we are up and running throughout all of Bowman Woods,” said Mr. Kesler.  During this build phase, residents will have the opportunity to take advantage of special pre-sale offers to lock in discounted pricing when they commit to ImOn’s service.

ImOn was recognized for the 7th time in 2017 as the Best Local Internet Service Provider by the readers of the Corridor Business Journal. Besides providing great Internet, Cable TV, and Phone services as well as unmatched local-based customer service, ImOn also believes in supporting and investing in the communities they serve.  Since 2014, ImOn has provided free community Wi-Fi service in downtown Cedar Rapids, at the McGrath Amphitheatre, Newbo City Market, various parks in Hiawatha, the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena and the Iowa City Ped Mall.

“We’re a company of people who derive genuine satisfaction from taking care of our customers and communities,” said Mr. Kesler.

If you would like more information about ImOn Communications and the services we provide, visit www.ImOn.net.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog (or any of its hyperlinks) is published in good faith and is for general informational purposes only. ImOnInsider.com does not make any warranties about the completeness or accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information found on this website is strictly at your own risk. ImOn Communications is not liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with use of our website (ImOnInsider.com).

Catch the Madness on Your Schedule

What all the tournament basketball games anywhere you are with ImOn Watch TV Everywhere

They don’t call it March Madness for nothing.

The first dizzying rounds of the yearly NCAA Tournament feel like a non-stop blur. Game after game, you watch in suspense as your bracket either succeeds triumphantly or fails miserably. And with the constant blitz of excitement, amusement and frustration, normal life fades into the background as the madness sets in.

Unfortunately, you can’t put the rest of your life on pause whenever the next game starts—and you can only take so many sick days before your boss catches on. Chances are you’ll need to miss a game or two (or four… or five…), but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

Thankfully, there’s always a way to watch the game, no matter the scenario you find yourself in:

When you can’t make it home on time…

If you’ve got an ImOn Cable TV subscription, you automatically get access to ImOn’s Watch TV Everywhere, our streaming platform that lets you watch live programming from channels you already subscribe to, including the NCAA March Madness channel.

All you need is an Internet connection and a mobile device, tablet, or computer, and you can watch the games from anywhere at any time—like right now.

Find out what channels are included in your TV Everywhere package here.

 When you’ve got to prioritize…

One TV households know the feeling: you want to watch the tournament, but someone else insists on watching their favorite show or a different game. Thankfully, no one needs to battle it out or make any ultimatums. Slingshot DVR lets you watch and record programs simultaneously so everyone can be happy. (It also comes in handy when the game runs into overtime and you don’t want to miss the start of the next one.)

When you actually get a chance to watch the game from home…

2018 NCAA Championship games air March 13-31 on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. Here are the channel listings:

ImOn TV, Standard Definition Channels

TBS – 061

CBS – 002

TNT – 057

truTV – 072


ImOn TV, High Definition Channels

TBS – 861

CBS – 802

TNT – 857

truTV – 872

ImOn Launching Free Wi-Fi Service in Iowa City Ped Mall

ImOn Communications now offering free public wi-fi in the Iowa City Ped Mall Image
ImOn Communications announced today that it is launching a free Wi-Fi service in the Iowa City Ped Mall. The network will cover the Ped Mall area between S. Clinton Street and S. Linn Street. This project is a joint venture between ImOn Communications and the Iowa City Downtown District.

“ImOn’s ability to upgrade our current system and deliver lighting fast speeds is really critical to Downtown vibrancy,” stated Nancy Bird, Executive Director of the Iowa City Downtown District. “Their support of the Ped Mall free public Wi-Fi will give a huge lift to our local employee and student base who enjoys working outside on beautiful days, as well as those looking to connect for special cultural events.”

The ImOn free Ped Mall Wi-Fi network is a commercial grade, state-of-the-art network, which utilizes a series of access points located throughout the Ped Mall area that are connected to ImOn’s high-speed 10 gigabit fiber network. The network will also use advanced technology that has the ability to adapt and optimize based on environmental factors, along with using a 5GHz centric approach, to provide increased reliability and better coverage in the Ped Mall area.

“ImOn Communications is proud to partner with the Iowa City Downtown District to bring free, ultra-fast Wi-Fi service to the visitors of the Iowa City Ped Mall,” said Greg Crosby, VP/GM of the Iowa City/Coralville Business Market.  “This is an excellent example of how partnerships can be formed to provide valuable services to our community.  With thousands of people visiting the Ped Mall each year, having reliable, high-speed Internet will only add to the patron’s overall experience.”

The new ImOn free public Ped Mall Wi-Fi network will be able to handle hundreds of simultaneous users, and will be covered by 24/7/365 local support. The general public will receive 2 hours of free access daily to the Wi-Fi network, while ImOn Internet customers will have unlimited daily access.

ImOn has partnered with Ovation Networks of Cedar Rapids for the installation and maintenance of the Iowa City Ped Mall Wi-Fi network.

ImOn also offers free public Wi-Fi service in downtown Cedar Rapids, McGrath Amphitheatre, NewBo City Market, Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, and all public parks in Hiawatha.

If you would like more information about ImOn Communications and the services we provide, visit www.ImOn.net.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog (or any of its hyperlinks) is published in good faith and is for general informational purposes only. ImOnInsider.com does not make any warranties about the completeness or accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information found on this website is strictly at your own risk. ImOn Communications is not liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with use of our website (ImOnInsider.com).

5 Tips to Protect Your Electronic Devices from the Cold

Tips for protecting your electronics from the winter coldLast week we shared with you some of the problems that can occur when your electronic devices are exposed to the cold weather.  Now that you know what can happen, here are a few tips to help protect your technology and keep it safe in the cold.

  • The cold temperatures will drain your battery faster, so always make sure your devices are fully charged. You should also keep a charger, charging cables, or alternate power supply on-hand in case your batter does die.
  • When you head out into the cold, keep your electronic devices in a pocket close to your body if possible. This will help protect it from the snow or other precipitation. Your body heat will also help to keep your devices warm and lessen the effects of the cold.  If you must take your devices out, limit their use and exposure to the direct cold.
  • Freezing temperatures can make the screens on your phone, computer, or tablet more likely to break, so makes sure your devices have a protective case. Look for heavy duty, waterproof cases for your phones and tablets. There are also some cases that offer thermal protection to help keep your devices warm. For laptops, get a case that’s well-insulated and well-padded.
  • Don’t leave devices in your car overnight or for long periods of time in cold weather. This could permanently damage some of their components.
  • When you go inside, let your devices warm up before you turn them on. Your devices should be at room temperatures before you boot them up.

Winter and Your Technology

Thermometer with technology devices in snow
It’s no surprise that overheating can effect and damage your smartphones, tablet, and laptops. But, did you know that the dropping temperatures outside can take a toll on them as well?

All smartphones, tablets, and laptops have been designed to work within safe temperatures ranges. Below is a chart showing just some of these safe ranges.

Device

Safe Temperature Range

iPhones, iPads, iPods

32°F to 95°F

Samsung smartphones

-4°F to 122°F

Most Laptops

50°F to 95°F

Most TVs

50°F to 104°F

These temperatures refer to both the optimal usage temperate or outside environment and the temperature of the device itself.  When your devices are submitted or used in temperatures outside of this safe ranges, you may experience a few problems.

Here are just a few of the problems you may experience on chilly days.

  • Battery Drain: This is probably one of the most common side effects of the cold weather. When cold, device batteries can drain faster than normal. According to BatteryUniversity.com it’s because the cold slows the electrical current in your devices’ battery causing the capacity to diminish. The good thing is that these problems are only temporary and the battery should behave normally when the device is warmed up.
  • Screen Issues: In cold temperatures, LCD displays on smartphones and tablets can become slow to respond. You may experience delayed touchscreen reactions and smudging or ghosting of images. Also, the cold weather makes the screen panel more ridged, which will make it more likely to shatter if dropped.  If your screen already is cracked, the cold weather can make it work. Just like a cracked car windshield, the cold will cause the cracks to expand and break more.
  • Internal Component Damage: Many devices contain delicate electronic parts that cannot withstand extremely cold temperatures. Some components can become more brittle and crack in the cold, or condensation could form causing them to short circuit. Some devices also have difficulty reading SIM cards, using disk drives, or executing any number of processing operations. Hard drives and disk drives are also susceptible to the cold. According to Userbytes.com, many drives use lubricant to keep them spinning at a designated speed. In cold temperatures, the lubricant can thicken or harden, making them unable to spin at the appropriate speed. This can cause boot-up failures and further damage a device.
  • Liquid condensation: Just like when your glasses fog over when you come inside from the cold, the same thing can happen to your devices. The condensation can occur inside your device or underneath your display screen. This could cause sensitive electrical components to short circuit or cause corrosion on different parts.

As you can see cold temperatures can take a toll on your devices during the winter months. Coming up in 2 weeks, we will share with you ways to protect your electronics from the cold.  So stay tuned!   If you would like more information about ImOn Communications and the services we provide, visit www.ImOn.net.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog (or any of its hyperlinks) is published in good faith and is for general informational purposes only. ImOnInsider.com does not make any warranties about the completeness or accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information found on this website is strictly at your own risk. ImOn Communications is not liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with use of our website (ImOnInsider.com).

ImOn Communications Announces Launch of Business Services in Dubuque

City of Dubuque picture with ImOn business services logoImOn Communications, a leading provider of data and communications services to residents and businesses in Eastern Iowa, announced the expansion of its fiber optic network to Dubuque, Iowa, and the start of its fiber-to-the-business offerings in the area. In the coming months, Dubuque businesses will have access to scalable and redundant high-performance Internet and Advanced Voice Services delivered over fiber optics to help improve operations. ImOn has collaborated with the Public/Private partnership efforts of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation and the City of Dubuque in accelerating the buildout and expansion of a 100% commercial fiber network throughout the city.

ImOn’s dedicated 10-gigabit fiber business network will provide companies in Dubuque with access to a comprehensive portfolio of advanced communications services to help them improve productivity and drive their business into the future. ImOn’s high-speed fiber optic network provides customers with broadband speeds of up to 10Gbps (10,000Mbps), along with point-to-point data transport and a full suite of voice services, including SIP trunking and Hosted PBX.

“Dubuque has reinvented itself as a dynamic and growing community. We believe the scalability and reliability of ImOn’s fiber network will help to provide a competitive advantage for Dubuque businesses of all sizes as they operate on a national and even international scope. We are excited to expand into the Dubuque community and look forward to collaborating with local businesses to solve their current connectivity needs and help them prepare for future growth,” said Patrice Carroll, President and CEO of ImOn Communications.

ImOn Communications also announced that Justin Stinson has been hired as Vice-President and General Manager for the Business Market for ImOn Communications in Dubuque. Mr. Stinson will oversee all day-to-day operations of the ImOn Office in downtown Dubuque.

Justin joins ImOn Communications with more than 10 years of industry experience. His strong background in leadership and industry knowledge will help to drive ImOn’s expansion into the Dubuque area. Prior to joining ImOn Communications, Justin worked as a Regional Sales Director and General Manager for Frontier Communications in Kennewick, WA, and LaGrande, OR. Prior to that he worked for Comcast Corporation in Spokane, WA. While at Frontier and Comcast, Justin helped grow residential and commercial revenue, accelerated business development, improved operational and network efficiencies, and increased subscriber retention.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the ImOn family and the Dubuque community. This is an exciting time for the company and I am especially excited about representing a company that has a reputation for being a leader in telecommunications as it expands in Eastern Iowa. Dubuque truly is an all-American city and I can’t wait to do our part in helping them continue in their revitalization,” said Justin.

ImOn Communications expects to activate its first Dubuque business customer by May and is now taking sales orders throughout much of Dubuque. Companies in Dubuque who are interested in getting ImOn Business Internet, data, and phone service may call 866-699-8800 or visit www.ImOn.net/Dubuque to get more information.

ImOn is also looking for qualified business sales representatives and network technicians to join the ImOn team in Dubuque. For more information about available positions, please visit www.ImOn.net/careers.