By Lawrence Reaves
VOIP, or Voice over IP, is internet telephony but, it goes a great deal further than simply being able to make a phone call. The initial attraction for businesses with a VOIP system is that they so cheap – it is not unusual to see a cost reduction in excess of 50%, and the typical payback period is between 4 and 9 months. It is so simple to implement and easy to achieve huge operating cost savings for little capital expenditure, that the market is now being fuelled by larger companies adopting the technology as well as SMB’s who have previously led the way.
Deploying VOIP has no user barriers because over 100 million Americans are already using VOIP residential services; these are frequently tied into cable, internet and telephone bundles running over fiber. Business adoption is usually predicated on achieving substantial cost savings; however this quickly changes after adoption for many companies.
The initial advantages of VOIP do not just include cost savings; one huge benefit of running communications over your company network is that you start to free communications from the employee’s desk. Communications start to go mobile and this does not simply mean a cell phone – with a mobile wireless connection, the entire business communications tool set becomes available to staff wherever they are located, not just in the office.
VOIP provides for a feature-rich, communication experience with call waiting, voicemail, call forwarding and many other features which are either expensive or absent from traditional PBX telephony systems.
Moving on from the initial benefits of adopting VOIP, once the cost savings and other benefits are experienced, users themselves start to push for wider exploitation of the technology. Instant messaging and video communications are familiar to many Americans through their home computing infrastructure, even children are getting in on the act. IM and video are infiltrating the business sector, and some observers consider video communication to be one of the fastest growing and most important forms of business communication of the very near future.
As the need to improve business productivity and profitability continues, so does the exploitation of business communications. The typical C-level executive will use 5 or more communication devices and the typical employee will use at least 3 (desk phone, cell phone and email). One issue is how to leverage the benefits of a unified communications approach (frequently referred to as UC). A UC approach is made possible by moving telephony services off the traditional PBX exchange and onto the IP network.
Video communications become eminently feasible over an IP network, because the data used to make the call is exactly what the network is currently being used to transport anyway. The technology has also dramatically improved, such that picture resolution and call quality is crystal clear – there are no latency issues which gave a grainy resolution, start/stop juddering or lengthy pauses in the call. Now staff can engage in a face-to-face meeting without leaving their offices, and file sharing and work collaboration is simplified using the IP network.
Imagine a time when even your most mobile workers can simply take all the business communications tools provided at the office with them, wherever they are in the world. That time is now with a VOIP telephony system.
About the Author: Lawrence Reaves is a strong believer in aa href=”http://www.planittech.com” rel=’nofollow’>Washington DC IT services such as Washington DC enterprise storage and aa href=”http://www.planittech.com/virtualization.html” rel=’nofollow’>Washington DC virtualization. For these services, Lawrence recommends PLANIT Technology Group, a aa href=”http://www.planittech.com/Citrix.html?tab=3″ rel=’nofollow’>Citrix technology partner. PLANIT Technology Group can be found online at: PLANITTech.com .
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