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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Rush to VoIP

Following other once-nascent technologies along the
technology adoption curve, enterprise deployments of VoIP
technology have steadily grown in their number and scale for
several years.
VoIP, which emerged in its most rudimentary
form in the mid-1990s, has now matured into a mission-critical,
wide-scale voice communications solution for companies
around the world. Across sectors as varied as finance,
manufacturing and healthcare, industry leaders are embracing
VoIP, such as:

• Boeing commiting to install 150,000 IP phones

• Ford Motor Company announcing a 50,000-phone VoIP
network

• Bank of America announcing a 180,000-phone VoIP
installation.

The business objective is clear: to reduce costs and enhance
revenue opportunities through strategic use of technology
advancements such as VoIP, which digitizes voice or video
signals and sends them as packets through the same network
channels as data.

Migration from traditional telephony to VoIP
is expected to continue expanding significantly because it can
deliver substantial financial benefits including:

• Reduced infrastructure cost, since data and voice traffic
can exist on one infrastructure, not two.

• Reduced staffing and management needs from consolidated
infrastructures.

• Lower corporate telephone bills, as calls are routed
through the corporate Internet instead of through external
providers.



Beyond cost savings: VoIP is a platform for future applications.

Although early adoption of VoIP has been driven by cost savings, it is increasingly being chosen by forward-thinking companies as the robust foundation for future applications.

These companies intend to leverage VoIP as a means to integrate voice, video and other data applications, illustrated by examples including:

• Unified messaging, which ties together voicemail, fax, email and instant messaging
systems, enhances user productivity and responsiveness through capabilities including:

o “Find Me/Notify Me” functionality that tracks down the user and delivers messages
via desktop phone, cellular phone, pager, email, etc.

o Desktop application integration that allows users to receive voice and fax messages
through email clients

o Speech access mobility support that gives mobile employees hands-free access
to desktop tools such as Microsoft Outlook and key communications capabilities
(dialing, conferencing) through simple speech commands.

• Mobility applications that bring together cellular, wireless LAN and VoIP technologies to provide seamless roaming between enterprise and cellular networks.

These solutions support contiguous voice and data service to users across enterprise networks, public cellular networks and public Wi-Fi hotspots. Using Wi-Fi technology inside the enterprise and cellular telephony elsewhere, the mobility applications supports seamless VoIP communications across the various networks, allowing office phones to be used at the desk as well as away from the desk, on- and off-campus.


• Contact center: VoIP-based contact center solutions allow distributed call centers to function as a virtual, global resource by flattening and consolidating contact center infrastructure, removing expensive network charges and running many locations
from one centralized set of applications.

Home agents, satellite locations, outsourced resources and resident experts can then be easily added as extensions to the same contact center, maintaining centralized management and decision-making.

VoIP technology also enables sophisticated skills-based routing capabilities; for example, if all agents in Paris are busy, an inquiry can be routed to Dublin to be handled by a French-speaking agent — completely transparent to the customer.

Incoming calls can now be intelligently distributed between sites, based on each center’s call load, substantially reducing wait times.
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