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All Roads Lead to VoIP

You should consider VoIP only if you are moving to a new building or have to upgrade anyway. Look at the ROI and TCO of the phone system as well as possible data network upgrades. A VoIP system user interface simplifies administration. All vendors will be concentrating future development on VoIP-based products that make apps like unified messaging, presence and call-center management easier.

Cisco now dominates the VoIP market, but if you look at the enterprise voice market as a whole, Cisco owns only a few percentage points. Avaya and Nortel, which together control the U.S. enterprise voice market, both offer VoIP and seem to provide better support for standards like SIP. I would not buy a phone system that wasn't completely standards-based. Cisco doesn't support SIP, though I've heard that it plans to shortly. Then there's Alcatel, which has a great system that includes SIP support, and many others at the lower end like Mitel, Interactive Intelligence and Zultys.

While your skepticism about VoIP is warranted, the move toward VoIP is inevitable.

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