SPECIAL REPORT: IP Telephony
Get Your IP Telephony Here
GSA's Networx contract is delivering on the IP Telephony promises of AT&T, Sprint, Qwest, Verizon and L3.
While it is great that VoIP,IPt Telephony and Unified Communications technologies are readily available, they still have to get into the hands of users.
That's where far-ranging contracts such as Networx Enterprise and Universal are going to play a large role over the next decade as agencies look to these contracts to procure key IP based services including:
*Premises-Based IP VPN
*Network-Based IP VPN
*Voice over IP Transport
*Content Delivery Networks
*IP Video Transport
*Layer 2 VPN
*Find Me, Follow Me Routing
*IP Telephony Management (Subscriber or Administrator)
*LDAP Directory Integration
*Selective Call Acceptance
*Additional Subscriber Voice Service Features
* Automatic Callback
* Phone Lists Group
*Printable Group Directory
*Calling Line ID Blocking
*Additional Administrator Voice Service Features
*Calling Group ID Delivery
*Calling Plans (Outgoing)
*Configurable Extension Dialing
*Configurable Feature Code Prefix/Feature Codes
*Call Capacity Management
*Enhanced Outgoing Calling Plan
*Group Resource Inventory Reporting
*Advanced voice applications such as Contact centers, where organizations can drive customer satisfaction and business revenues;
*Unified messaging, which includes voice mail/email integration and find me/follow me capabilities
*Advanced collaborative applications such as Instant messaging, presence, and highly-scalable audio conferencing capabilities.
*Solutions built on open architectures and industry standards like Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) which provides the most flexibility to connect to the third-party applications the business requires.
*Integration of entire IP telephony suite with collaboration/business applications on a single system.
Networx contractors can help you build a solution that enables your IT staff to focus on busines initiatives, rather than deployment and maintenance; and you will implement a highly-scalable solution that can easily grow with your needs.
Query The Experts
So, when buying IP Telephony, here are some things to bring up to your carrier and SI?
*Are there ways to get secure, network-based IP voice communications without the costly capital expenditures associated with Public Branch Exchange (PBX) or voice platform upgrades? Do I really need to buy an IP PBX?
* Can I reuse most of my organization's existing Telephony Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and wiring?
*Can I choose my pace of migration to a full IP-based telephony solution, or do I have to do it all at one time?
*What kind of capital and operational investments must I make? How can I build this into my infrastructure upgrades?
*What kind of productivity gains can I expect to see? Do I get the benefits of fixed mobile convergence?
*Can I prioritize class of service and assign time-sensitive IP voice packets and prioritize them over non real-time-sensitive services?
*Can I get consolidated management and control from any Internet connection?
*Can I get a flexible and scalable contract model? Can I get a pay-as-you-go model, versus up-front capital commitment?
*How often do you do IT refresh? How many customers are you supporting today running VoIP and IP Telephony applications? How many customers are you supporting today doing Cloud Computing?
*What is the makeup of your team? How long have you been running a converged network?
*What constitutes social media? How are you supporting that? What's your vision? What's your technology road map? Tell me where you are going to be in five years in terms of deploying and building off unified communications? Where are you going to be in five years with the Internet?
*How are you going to deploy these features? You need to be talking more about the future versus saying how are you going to support this today.
*What types of business continuity and disaster recovery solutions to you provide?
* How do you stand behind your performance based metrics?
Extend Consistent Communications
IP Telephony solutions are also an integral part of Unified Communications, which unify voice, video, data, and mobile applications on fixed and mobile networks enabling users to easily communicate in any workspace using any media, device, or operating system.
According to network equipment provider Cisco “using the network as the platform, IP telephony solutions help organizations of all sizes realize greater security, resilience, and scalability in addition to the inherent benefits of using a converged network for transport and interconnection. They allow you to take advantage of your LAN and WAN and improve employee agility and productivity through
integration with innovative third-party applications.”
IP Telephony expert Robert T. Flood of Pingtone Communications said in a TechTarget report that companies are using are using IP Telephony equipment and software to efficiently upgrade existing telephone
systems, develop their own advanced communications services, and to more easily integrate telephone network with company information systems.
According to Flood, IP telephony technology has become a reliable communication option that has well-established standardized communication protocol. IP Telephony systems have many low cost devices and software application development tools available compared to proprietary telephone systems and services.
IP Telephony provides a way for you to extend consistent communications services to all your employees in their workspaces, whether they are in main campus locations, at branch offices, working remotely, or are mobile.
The use of IP Telephony products and software allows companies to cost-effectively upgrade and eventually replace existing (legacy) telephone systems with more cost effective and easy to use telephone equipment said Flood. Because IP Telephony systems commonly use standardized protocols, this allows end-users and system administrators to have more control and even develop communication services (such as smart voice mail) that have been traditionally been unchangeable and limited.
IP Telephony commonly uses text-based protocol (similar to web HTML) and this allows for relatively easy development and integration with existing company information systems to produce new revenue producing services (such as integrating telephone and order processing systems).
Not all IP Telephony systems and services are the same. There are cost and quality tradeoffs along with common problem areas and risks. There are many ways IP Telephony systems can reduce telecommunication costs along with the ability to create new revenue producing services according to Flood.