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Six Things You Need to Know About VoIP

Do you think you know VoIP? Think again. There are plenty of myths and misunderstandings about the technology making the rounds. To help separate the truth from facts, we contacted more than 30 experts, and asked them to dispel the most common myths, and give you the straight truth. Here's what they told us.

Is VoIP just about voice?

The clear consensus of our experts is that the future of VoIP is more about a broad, new landscape that brings messaging, services, and apps to the desktop than simply about voice. Phil Edholm, VP of network architecture for Nortel Networks' Optical Ethernet and Enterprise Product Portfolio business units, suggests that an appropriate term for this converged networking is IP Multimedia.

Like other experts, Doug Fink, VP of IP communications for Calence, notes that SIP and presence likely will lead the way, with multichannel requests such as email and the Web looking more and more like real-time requests. Greg Welch, president and CEO of GlobalTouch Telecom, points to VoIP services and applications that listen to an e-mail on a handheld device or forwards voicemail as an email attachment. Telephone, fax, e-mail, and video conferencing no longer are fixed to locations. "Click a contact in Outlook or say a name to locate that person no matter where or on what device," adds Welch.

Jon Doyle of CommuniGate Systems chimes in with the convergence charge: "Call my email address? The long-term view is for users to have one data and voice address for all [IP-based] interactions." Meanwhile, Ray Prescott, CEO of VoxBox World Telecom, says that PDAs soon will have the same functionality as cellular in a WiFi hot spot through VoIP.

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