According to a new report released by AT&T in association with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), voice over IP (VoIP) technology has leapt to the top of the corporate networking agenda after a decade of proving itself. "The question is no longer if but when VoIP will become the new standard for voice traffic," AT&T senior vice president of Internet Telephony Cathy Martine said in a statement.
With many of VoIP's performance, security and reliability issues being solved, the historic barriers to the technology's wide adoption have begun to fall, claims the study, "Voice over IP Comes of Age." The EIU surveyed more than 250 senior executives and found that 43% were either using or planning to implement VoIP within the next two years, while a further 18% expected to deploy the technology in the long term.
Executives' interest in the technology is driven both by the perceived cost savings in network consolidation and by the wide range of possible IP telephony services and applications. While an overwhelming 87% of respondents cited telecommunications cost savings as an important factor in the decision to implement VoIP, an equally impressive 71% were motivated by the ability to deploy advanced IP telephony features.
For all of its promise, however, Martine warns that VoIP is not merely an application that companies can simply install on top of their existing network and telecommunications infrastructures. "You can't flip a switch overnight and introduce VoIP across an enterprise," she said in a statement. "The migration to VoIP is evolutionary. Companies first want to get to know the technology, ensure its reliability and quality, and better understand their employees' acceptance of it."
AT&T's VoIP Global Remote Worker pilot project is a part of that process, and in a parallel announcement, the telecommunications giant announced that it had signed 23 multi-national companies to participate in the trial. The Global Remote Worker project is piloting a VoIP solution that AT&T expects will be available early next year.