Survey: VOIP Moves
by Jim Metzler
Published July 2002
For a while, it looked as if voice over IP (VOIP) technologies were headed down the well-trodden technology path of being more hype than reality. As PSTN rates have continued to drop, some wondered whether VOIP equipment—routers, PBXs, servers and phones—would ever take hold.
In the last year, however, and despite the economic downturn, more organizations have been implementing VOIP systems, and are putting ever-increasing amounts of traffic over them. Moreover, both the experiences of the early adopters and the expectations of companies planning to install VOIP have begun to broaden.
These are the high-level findings of a survey conducted last spring by Ashton, Metzler & Associates in conjunction with Key3Media, bolstered by the experience of several of Ashton, Metzler's recent clients. All of the respondents were pre-qualified Networld+Interop attendees, subscribers to Business Communications Review or attendees at BCR's VoiceCon2002 Conference.
Early VOIP adopters responded primarily to its cost-cutting benefits, and these remain strong in today's market. But as VOIP products continue to mature and alternative technologies die off, users are finding additional reasons to justify deployment, notably voice feature/functions and, to a lesser extent, integrated applications. Senior management also is taking a more active role in deciding to deploy VOIP.
The VOIP marketplace has a ways to go before it can be considered fully mature due to longstanding unresolved issues with QOS. Apart from QOS and equipment interoperability, however, the major issues that currently limit VOIP deployment have little to do with technology.
Although VOIP is not yet a mainstream method for carrying enterprise voice traffic, it clearly is headed in that direction. In the future, we predict a growing divergence of the issues and trends surrounding the trunk-side "VOIP" function—i.e., the carrying of voice traffic across an IP network—versus "IP telephony," referring to those IP-PBXs and IP-enabled PBXs which supply line-side feature/functions. It will also be interesting to assess the relative impact of IP-Centrex services, which will borrow their trunk-side characteristics from VOIP gateways and routers, and their line-side feature/functions from IP telephony systems.
About the author:
Jim Metzler, vice president of Ashton, Metzler & Associates, a consulting firm that focuses on leveraging technology and talent.
Related Paper: VoIP Implementation: Who’s Doing It, and Why
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