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2003 Survivor's Guide to Digital Convergence

This will be the year to come to grips with network delay, jitter and packet loss, implementing network QoS and applying content-delivery technologies.

CTI (computer-telephony integration) equipment also came into more widespread use as enterprises invested in call-center technology to attract and retain customers in 2002; that category is projected to rise by 13 percent per year (CAGR) from 2001 to 2005. And as more employees work remotely over wireless and broadband technologies, such as cable and DSL, digital convergence will bring them all the benefits of the office while they're on the road or at home (see "U.S. Broadband Services").

Unified messaging solutions also continue to grow, with a projected 32 percent CAGR from 2001 to 2005--further evidence of this category's viability.

Not all enterprises have found the reasons for convergence compelling enough to warrant purchasing new equipment to replace older, but working, equipment in the near term. Enterprises with PBXs and videoconferencing systems in production may not find a sufficient incentive to migrate these services to their IP networks in 2003. Your systems may still have features you've never seen. And they may still be depreciating in value. Replacing them and writing them off would not sit well on your bottom line. But if you need to replace legacy equipment, if merger takes your enterprise beyond the maximum limits of support, or if you're relocating to a new building, you must invest in technology with IP support.

Whether your enterprise is on the road toward convergence or still in the planning stage, you need some assurances that converged voice and video applications over IP will benefit customers and employees and not burden them with long delays and intermittent network outages. When convergence happens, your IP network must be ready.

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