Friday, January 9, 2009

What is Driving Convergence

A recent study by IDC finds that cost savings will drive the transition to hosted VoIP and VoIP trunking over the next couple of years.

"Essentially, the problem is that in many cases there is no current “problem” to fix. The “problem” essentially can be created, though. If a potential customer finds out that they are “overpaying” by quite some amount for their voice and broadband access services, that becomes a problem. "

The article even mentions services provided by Junction Networks, a BitWare approved provider of VoIP trunking services for Asterisk.

For those interested in the background, convergence is simply the transmission of voice and data across a single media. Traditionally, voice was transmitted across voice lines, or phone lines. This service is often referred to by telecommunications geeks as the Plain Old Telephone System or POTS. In the early 90's phone companies began offering a new type of network service know as the Integrated Services Digital Network or ISDN. ISDN came in two flavors, 128kb BRI and 1.5mb PRI. The great thing about ISDN was that it was the first technology to use channels for both voice and data.

In modern terms convergence is the transmission of voice, data, video, and anything else you can imagine across a data network -- either the Internet or a private network. Some great examples of convergence are the cable company providing broadband Internet, television, and phone service over cable; AT&T U-verse that sends television, phone, and Internet over DSL; and hosted voice services such as Vonage.

So, all this convergence stuff is really great, but how does that save a business money?

There are several methods available to achieve cost savings from converged technologies. In fact, for a new phone system there really is no other way to go from an ROI and feature benefit's perspective. For existing phone systems it really depends on the situation. However, generally speaking converged networks are less expensive to maintain, do not require multiple networks within a single building (i.e. a telephone network and separate data network), and offer features such a using the Internet to interconnect multiple phone systems, thereby bypassing the phone company (free phone calls between sites, woo hoo!).

Do you even like your current phone company?

Other advantages, such as least cost routing can also be leveraged. Having an IP capable phone system that can select traditional circuits for free local calls or cheaper IP trunks for international calling adds up to big bucks when the phone bills arrive. Using the provider that gives the best rate for a given calling scenario puts the power back into the customer's hands to negotiate a route that is most cost effective while putting pressure back on the phone companies to offer competitive rates.

If your business is intersted in a free phone bill analysis to determin if it is currently paying too much for voice services we would love to hear from you. Just drop us a note at sales@bitwaretech.com and someone will contact you shortly.

Sources:
http://www.ipbusinessmag.com/departments.php?department_id=7&article_id=481

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