Unified Communications (VoIP)

IP-based communications is no longer a leading edge concept. It is considered mainstream technology, and organizations are capitalizing on the open standards of IP to manage voice, data, and video traffic over secure, reliable, converged networks. Don’t be fooled by the generic label of Voice over IP (VoIP). VoIP is about running voice on a data network.

The result? Dramatic cost savings, more responsive customer service, and new and innovative applications of technology that set companies apart from their competitors. It is not a matter of if your organization will move toward IP communications tools such as IP phones and Unified Communications. It’s a matter of when. The business case is too compelling to ignore.

Case Study: Unified Communications Unites Law Firm’s Offices

Please contact us to learn how Unified Communications from Keller Schroeder can deliver bottom line benefits for your organization.

What is IP communications?

IP stands for “Internet Protocol”, a standard originally developed to link disparate networks, a key factor in the development and growth of the Internet. Today, IP communications do include Internet solutions, but many IP-based technologies do not use the Internet at all. For example, IP phones, or Voice-over-IP (VoIP) solutions, most often do not run over the Internet. Far more pervasive are the IP-based tools and applications running on local (LAN) and wide area (WAN) company networks.Yesterday’s technology required separate networks for voice (proprietary phone systems), data (company networks, email, etc.), and video (videoconferencing, cable TV feeds, etc.) IP communications facilitates the convergence of voice, data, and video applications, all on one network speaking a standard communications language.

What is the business case for IP communications?

Cost Savings

  • The most common and tangible way to demonstrate the benefits of IP communications today is through cost savings. Dramatic financial results are being achieved on several fronts.
    • Reduced toll charges: By combining disparate PBX’s and connecting branch offices over a single network, internal long-distance calls that were previously connected over the public telephone network can be carried over the internal network at no cost.
    • Lower communication line costs: By dynamically allocating capacity for voice, data, and video traffic over the network, it may be possible to consolidate unused T1 channels previously assigned to voice or data only. Companies may also be able to eliminate redundant, expensive leased lines that interconnect PBX and voicemail systems.
    • Reduced hardware costs: IP-based solutions use open standards versus expensive proprietary equipment. And, by deploying centralized call processing systems in headquarters or regional offices, less overlapping hardware expense is incurred at subsidiary locations.
    • Elimination of costly PBX reprogramming: Moves, adds, and changes are not required with Cisco’s IP phone systems. Employees simply take their phones to their new location, plug into an Ethernet jack, and they are connected with the same extension number and phone features. As long as they can locate a network connection, no involvement by IT staff or phone carriers is required.
    • Lower desktop wiring costs: Connecting a PC and an IP phone on the same Ethernet port can reduce wiring expense for new construction or remodeling by up to 50 percent per desktop.
    • More productive network management: A converged network is simpler to manage, allowing telecom and networking staff to handle greater volumes of activity and growth with fewer resources.

Improved Customer Service

  • With a consolidated IP-based phone system, call transfers can be simplified, and “hang up and call this number” scenarios may be eliminated.
  • IP-based voice and videoconferencing, and other rich-media collaboration tools, are becoming much more mainstream, affordable, and easily deployed. Companies whose employees travel regularly, or are dispersed among varying locations, can connect key customers on a real-time basis with employees who have specialized skills or expertise.
  • IP-based call center solutions offer unprecedented flexibility for call routing and load balancing across the converged network, reducing call waiting times and increasing the number of calls handled during peak periods.
  • IP-based IVR (interactive voice response) solutions offer improved, XML-based integration with enterprise applications, yielding real-time access to the information most needed by customers.

Innovative Business Solutions

  • Applications may be developed and delivered via IP phone systems where PCs are not available, or where easy, one-button access via the phone is desirable.
  • IP-based video solutions offer centralized administration and distribution of TV or video presentations, with content customized for particular communities, customers, or company sites.
  • Secure wireless environments work seamlessly with IP communications, allowing unencumbered voice access to key sales and customer service representatives. This same secure wireless environment can also provide segmented access to networks or the Internet for select customers or approved visitors.