VanBelkum Company History
A Tradition of Voice and Data Excellence
VanBelkum has been providing quality service since 1959.
2010 - As technical philosophies shift towards thin-client applications, hosted services, and cloud computing, VanBelkum continues to lead the way in the telephony world. Affiliated with Atlanta-based Intorrent, VanBelkum benefits from the collective strength of a national group of VoIP resellers. Being in at the ground floor has also kept VanBelkum in the position of leading support and training efforts. The result is an affordable telephone system designed for small-to-medium sized businesses that takes advantage of existing infrastructure investment.
2009 - Improvements in speech recognition technology continue to be substantiated by the number of users worldwide. Within health care, HL7 messaging is the common link to automatically move speech recognized text into a patient record, because just adding voice-to-text software doesn’t improve the work flow enough for frequently overbooked providers. The combination of WinScribe dictation and Nuance Dragon provides the option for either front-end or back-end speech recognition providing more options for more users.
2008 - VTS celebrates 10 years with consistently high percentages of customer and employee retention. Several team members have been with VTS since the beginning, appreciating the stability of employment in a very uncertain economy. The customers have benefited from the consistency and high-quality team producing high-quality reports.
2007 - VanBelkum expanded its product offering for Public Safety, Child Advocacy, and organizations by adding the iRecord product line for interview recording.
2006 - VanBelkum expanded its call recording product offering by becoming NICE Systems reseller. NICE Systems acquired Dictaphone’s call recording products allowing VanBelkum to become an authorized service provider for existing Dictaphone call recording systems.
2005 - VanBelkum partnered with Intorrent to provide a fully SIP (open standards voice over IP protocol) based communication system. VanBelkum also became a certified Polycom reseller of VoIP telephones. This unique combination allows customers the most “open” system on the market and the ability to have a true server-based network telephone system.
2003 - After decades of promise, speech recognition was finally reliable and VanBelkum’s solutions were installed and adding efficiencies for medical and financial organizations. Today it is offered in multiple methods to fit the technology and workflow of the customer.
2002 - VanBelkum moved from providing proprietary dictation systems to non-proprietary, open standards based dictation applications developed by WinScribe, a New Zealand based development company. This open standards systems remains easy to install, use, maintain, and has become a platform for the future of VanBelkum customers.
As VTS grew, so did the need for greater technology, so they joined the Apexx Transcription alliance for a hosted, integrated voice & text workflow solution.
2001 - In order to better service the “telephony space”, VanBelkum added ESI’s innovative “All-In-One” Digital Phone System. ESI continues to offer a suite of features within a single, integrated telephone system.
Throughout the 90′s - VanBelkum responded to customers by providing Network-based Dictation and Transcription Systems by Lanier. A decade later, many of these systems are still in use.
As the new century approached, dictation was migrating from micro-cassettes to digital recording as VanBelkum introduced Olympus digital handheld recorders to the market.
1998 - VanBelkum Transcription Services (VTS) was formed as a result of listening to its customers. With the technology experience of dictation and transcription systems, and the Internet technology knowledge of BizGroup, VanBelkum was uniquely positioned to provide a high quality transcription service to its customers. Today, VTS provides transcription services to dozens of hospitals and specialty clinics.
1998 - The corporate office building of VanBelkum Voice & Data, located just north of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan was donated to the City of Grand Rapids for use as the VanBelkum Branch of the Kent District Library. The business relocated to a new location in the Cascade area, just east of Grand Rapids.
1997 - Mercom, Windows NT based communication recording product added to the VanBelkum product portfolio. VanBelkum installs and services Mercom customers throughout Michigan.
1995 - BizGroup was formed to provide high-speed dedicated Internet access for the West Michigan business market. BizGroup also provided consulting and software development using Internet technologies including an eCommerce/extranet solution for Teleco’s national dealer network. BizGroup services and use of technology helped its customers connect workers, clients, and vendors together. BizGroup was also instrumental in making the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service (MLS) available via a website for its members and clients. In the late 90′s, BizGroup was also one of the first companies to offer a hosted (ASP – application service provider) transcription software solution using the CareFlowNet software.
1991 - VanBelkum expanded its telephone division by acquiring Charles Services, Inc., a telephone Interconnect company located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In the same year VanBelkum became a member of Teleco, the largest Toshiba telephone distribution organization in the United States. Teleco’s products included network-based voicemail and messaging systems, and VanBelkum became one of the leading integrators of these systems.
Early 90′s - VanBelkum expanded its recording product line by entering the Voice Logging recorder industry in partnership with Lanier/MagnaSync. The first recorders used reel-to-reel technology, then analog VHS tape recorder, and then to digital recording on multiple types of recording media such as DAT tape, Optical Disk, DVD and Hard Disks. VanBelkum was one of the first companies in the United States to offer VHS tape based systems from TEAC which provided an alternative to the more expensive reel-to-reel systems. These mission-critical solutions have been installed in Public Safety, Financial and Call Centers by VanBelkum since 1991.
1990 - VanBelkum added the Active Voice Repartee voicemail system to the product portfolio. VanBelkum installed these PC-based voicemail systems with over 15 different brands of PBX/Centrex switches.
Late 80′s – Before the 80’s came to a close, VanBelkum became an authorized distributor for Michigan Bell (Ameritech, SBC, now AT&T) to provide telephone lines and Centrex services. Shortly thereafter, VanBelkum was a leading Five-Star Ameritech distributor for voice, data, and long distance products and specialized in connecting businesses and organizations with multiple sites or work at home requirements for networking.
Mid 80′s - Lanier expanded into the emerging market of business telephones as a result of the AT&T breakup. This enabled the VanBelkum Telecom Division to provide solutions to expanded business markets.
With this growth in the 1980′s, VanBelkum developed its own accounting software to run the business. The advanced features and reliability of this software caught the attention of an Ernst & Young accountant who recommended VanBelkum sell this to other businesses. With a team of developers and support staff, VanBelkum proceeded to install the modular “VFI Accounting” software package in over 100 businesses in Michigan.
Early 80′s - As the 80’s progressed, so did word processing technology as Letter Perfect, Samna, and other IBM PC based software programs were introduced. VanBelkum progressed by marketing and servicing personal computers and networks for business related software including Novell and Lotus 1-2-3.
Late 70′s - Lanier had introduced word processing systems. VanBelkum installed one of the first “Shared” (networked) word processing systems in the country at Gerber Products in Fremont, Michigan. Contributing to VanBelkum’s early success with word processing systems was an installation at Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan valued at nearly a million dollars. These and other customers were serviced from offices in Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Kalamazoo, and Traverse City, Michigan.
1971 - VanBelkum & Faulkner, Inc. became the exclusive distributor for Lanier Business Products for Michigan. Lanier’s dictation products were known for their excellent quality and durability as expected by hospitals, law firms, courts, and other businesses.
1959 - Founder Nick VanBelkum and his partner Ken Faulkner started the business providing dictation equipment and services to customers throughout Michigan. The original dictation equipment used wax cylinders, plastic disks and magnetic belts as the recording media and included brands like Edison, Gray, Nyematic, and Stenocord.