Why You Should Take The VoIP Plunge --- Now

If you're still on the fence about VoIP, there are several reasons that you may want to consider to take the plunge. Telecom experts provide several reasons why it's time

January 9, 2006

4 Min Read
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If you're still on the fence about VoIP, there are several reasons that you may want to consider to take the plunge. Telecom experts provide several reasons why it's time to get on the VoIP bandwagon.

Todd Landry, director of marketing for Sphere Communications, Lincolnshire, Ill., a company that provides IP-PBX systems sees the following as the most compelling reasons for adding VoIP:

VoIP makes it easier and more cost effective to deploy additional technologiesPBX and interactive voice response units and other technologies can be added and administered from a central location rather than adding separate systems at separate physical locations. This a lower initial cost, as well as easier administration and maintenance going forward. For example, if you want to change a feature on a VoIP-related application, you need to make it only one time on a central system, rather than making it several times on several different systems (like PBXs) throughout the organization.

Additionally, many newer systems such as PBXs IVRs, etc., that are designed for VoIP are backwards-compatible with traditional telecom systems. Many of the largest announced VoIP deployments, such as the Bank of America (a three-year deployment of 180,00 Cisco IP phones began a year ago), are adding VoIP while keeping many of their traditional telecommunications systems.

No need for telecom specialistsWith PBX and other traditional telecommunications systems, you often need to keep someone on staff who has telecommunications expertise or have to hire that expertise on an as-needed basis. Since VoIP is a IP/computer-based solution rather than a telecommunications technology, usually you can use the same people that handle computer systems to handle VoIP issues. So there's no need to hire separate telecommunications expertise.Much of the administration of VoIP-related resources are simple enough to be handled by a receptionist or administrative assistant without the need for a technician of any kind, Landry adds. Even someone who's never seen an IP-PBX before can learn how to use some of the functionality in just a few minutes. That isn't true of traditional telecom equipment.

Increased flexibility for expansionWith VoIP, the phones can be plugged in to any computer on the local area network and the user's phone number goes with him. In a more traditional setting, telecom wires and equipment need to be moved to keep the same phone number.

More desk spaceWith VoIP and a softphone, there's no need to have a traditional telephone and a computer screen at a person's desk. Quentin Orr, director of the entertainment and media practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York, adds these VoIP benefits:

Better return for investment in bandwidthIf a company is already using cable, DSL, T-1 lines or other broadband communications, the addition of VoIP can be added with no erosion of system performance, unless the company close to maximizing its bandwidth usage.

Best impression with workforceCompanies are seeing a more tech savvy, more demanding workforce than a few years ago. These workers want to be with the companies using the latest technologies, like VoIP because they want the advantages of the latest technologies.Technology has improvedA few years ago latency and voice quality were significant problems with VoIP. Though occasional calls can still be lost and there can be sporadic quality issues, those problems probably happen less using VoIP than cellular communications. If a firm tried VoIP a few years ago and dropped it due to the technology issues at the time, they will find those issues largely solved today. And improvements are continuing.

Better return on new technology investmentsIf a company's telecom equipment is near the end of its useful life, VoIP technologies offer more potential returns than traditional telecom technologies, Orr says. However, he adds that companies who added new traditional systems a couple of years ago, when VoIP was still largely unproven, probably still have enough remaining useful life in that equipment that they shouldn't scrap it for VoIP.

Mobile worker benefitsStephen Beamish, director of marketing and global solutions for Mitel, Ottawa, Canada, sees VoIP's flexibility for mobile users as the most compelling reason to add the technology. With softphones available from Mitel and several other providers, mobile workers with access to a broadband connection can use their laptops as phones, enabling the user to easily access computer-based information including VoIP mailboxes, corporate applications, etc., while talking to a customer or the home office.

The more a company relies on mobile communications, the more a conversion to VoIP for remote workers can save on toll charges.

This is particularly true of international calls, Beamish and Orr add. So a company with international offices can quickly see a return on its investment by investing in VoIP, with some installations showing payback in six months or less, according to a few sources.0

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