Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT


Convergence clears the way for cost-savings, new apps

18 May 2005 Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

The shift towards Internet Protocol (IP) as a protocol for the transmission of voice as well as data is likely to clear the way for companies to deploy a host of applications that will allow them to save money and boost productivity.

That is the word from Mark Taylor, managing director at independent cellular service provider, Nashua Mobile. He says that IP-enabled PABXs will dominate the market for telephony solutions within the next five years as organisations of all sizes rush to take advantage of the cost-savings they can achieve by using their IP networks for voice traffic where it makes sense, as in communications between branch offices.

However, convergence between the worlds of voice and data is not just about saving money on infrastructure and maintenance: it also opens up access to a host of new applications that allow users to access business critical information while on the move from a variety of devices.

"It is important to bear in mind that voice traffic carried using the Internet protocol need not necessarily travel across the Internet," says Taylor. Companies can use virtual private networks or their own wide area network infrastructure to carry voice traffic with better quality of service, manageability, security and reliability than they can expect from the public Internet, he notes.

"Apart from making significant cost-savings on long-distance and international phone calls, companies can now converge voice, video and data traffic on a single network that is cheaper to install and maintain than separate telephone and IP networks," he says.

Taylor says that mobile and fixed-line services are also starting to converge as rapidly as the worlds of voice and data. This trend will also eventually help companies to save money and take advantage of a host of exciting new services and applications.

Says Taylor: "Such applications include 'one number, one phone' capabilities where enterprises can give each employee a single phone and a single number that they use wherever they are. The cellular handset becomes an effective extension to the PABX that the user has in his pocket wherever he is."

Companies such as Ericsson have already deployed such solutions. The Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer claims that it is saving 30% a month or more in telephony costs per user as a result of easier maintenance, lower call costs (as a result of a predictable packaged cellular and fixed-line service offered by its operator) and infrastructure rationalisation.

Productivity gains and customer service improvements are also significant since customers and other callers can reach employees with a single phone call, saving the effort of returning missed calls, says Taylor.

"In South Africa, fixed-line and mobile operators will need to start co-operating more closely with each other for such services to become a reality. However, they are all likely to start looking for ways to add more value and lock their customers in as the effects of market deregulation start to be felt more keenly," says Taylor.





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