The Check is in the Mail. This Won't Hurt a Bit. We're from the Government and We're Here to Help You.
There are enough ancient myths about VoIP to require at least two web pages. So, we've started another.
Heard some of your own? We'll address them. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost savings alone would not necessarily justify moving to a new technology. VoIP is relevant because it merges voice with other functions. An example is "click to call" on a web page. Another is automatic file retrieval based on your customers' incoming calling line identification (or "screen pops" in the vernacular).
With voice and data convergence, you can set up one central phone number and use skills/time zone/geography based routing to direct calls to the appropriate party based on caller ID or auto attendant choices. You save employees' time and improve the customer experience.
Epygi's Quadro can combine your voice messages, e-mail and faxes into one in-box on your PC and alert you remotely with a text message. With text-to-speech software that exists today, you could conceivably listen to email on your phone.
Fact: Because it's more a computer application than a traditional voice model, components of the best VoIP network typically self-configure and can be easily programmed via graphical user interface on an adminstrative computer.
It's true that piecing together disparate parts to create a voice network can be a nightmare. Instead, specify certified compatible hardware that works with analog or IP phones (see Epygi). Your IT advisor can evaluate your network's readiness, help you install a robust network, and program your system for the applications your business needs.
Sure, you can spend a lot of money doing a complete "forklift" or total replacement of your current system and installation of a PBX created for a large company. The phone sets alone will consume your budget.
IP telephony, however, can deliver real savings and innovative features by employing compact yet sophisticated devices designed specifically for small to medium business and priced affordably. (See Epygi Quadro). Even larger organizations can avoid an all-at-once capital expenditure by transitioning an existing PBX to VoIP with smart gateway appliances (See Epygi Quadro E1-T1) and connect teleworkers to that PBX via the Internet (see Epygi Quadro 2X).
Naturally, there are hardware and applications vendors that will lock you into a pricey upgrade program. Instead, look for suppliers that will keep you informed of changes, make firmware updates and revise software versions as a part of their service. Some hardware will even ping the manufacturer and update firmware automatically (see Epygi Quadro).
Fact: There is some truth to the rumor. With open systems and established protocols, developing a merely "functional" IP application doesn't cost much. Unfortunately this has created some low barriers to entry and ambiguous standards in the marketplace. An established brand, however, is not the best criterion.
As you plan for VoIP implementation in your company, shop carefully and get the facts. Early in personal computer adoption, the IT manager "couldn't get fired for buying IBM." Some probably should have been as companies like Compaq and Dell produced equivalent technology and delivered it more efficiently and at a lower margin.
Has the manufacturer been around since the nineties? Did a qualified team of highly educated and experienced voice and network engineers develop the hardware and software applications? Have the company's products been tested and proven in real implementations worldwide? Have the products been cross-certified by makers of compatible network equipment? Have the trade publications given them awards for innovation and reliability?
Conclusion: You can find overpriced duds built by major manufacturers and you can find gems crafted by names you've never heard, and vice versa. Collaborate with your IT advisor and do your homework before you sign up.
Unlike the complex proprietary PBX installations of the recent past, a VoIP communication network is modular by definition. The IP PBX, routers, gateways and even telephones are components of a data network. Instead of expensive port cards and new switches or key systems for every company location, the distributed IP model can be constructed almost entirely of comparatively inexpensive gateways and appliances (see Epygi Quadro) in small economical bites.