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The Survivor's Guide to 2004: Converged Voice, Video and Data

As a result, many companies are hedging their digital-convergence bets. Movement toward a converged IP network for voice, video, and data will remain limited though 2006, according to Meta Group. Two reasons cited are a lack of demonstrable ROI and management tools. Sure, whenever you back a new technology, there's a danger that the benefits won't outweigh the burdens. All bets involve risks, but if you recognize and manage those risks you can reduce the potential for loss.

2004 Survivor's Guide:

• Introduction

• Business Strategy

• Security

• Network and Systems


• Mobile & Wireless

• Converged Voice, Video
  and Data
• Storage and Services

• Infrastructure

• Business Applications

• Special Report: That Was
  Now, This is Then

The key factor to consider is what's at stake if you don't converge: You'll continue to manage and support disparate technologies to generate and communicate enterprise content. And you'll not only have to manage and maintain separate voice, video and data networks, you'll also have to create content in multiple formats to deliver to employees, clients and partners.

Speaking of costs, convergence can save you money on network connections. Most enterprises have an IP network infrastructure with leased lines--T1 or T3--to connect branch offices and distribute multimedia content. A T1 may cost $900 per month or more, depending on location, according to the TIA 2003 Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast. Most enterprises also support a PBX or lease a Centrex system for analog access. Then there's the price of videoconferencing equipment and a monthly lease for video transmission over ISDN. Setting up an ISDN line for videoconferencing carries a high installation cost--$500 to $800. And if it's a long-distance line, monthly service charges can range from $60 to $150 per month. Add in expenditures for postage and couriers, and you'll see it costs a bundle to communicate and distribute information. Enterprises that achieve such communication cheaply and efficiently while maintaining high-quality content are going to come out ahead in sales and revenue.

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