It seems as though the term ‘IP convergence’ has been bouncing around for years. And in fact it has – but it is only in the recent past that enterprises have begun to realise the full potential and benefits of a converged infrastructure.
Because the industry has been talking about convergence for so long, the benefits of a converged voice and data infrastructure should be well known. But that doesn’t mean the path to reaching harmony between the two mediums on a single network has been an easy one for businesses to follow.
A number of historical issues have become major obstacles and have ultimately delayed the uptake of voice and data convergence. One of the greatest and most obvious headaches is that of integrating the voice and data units of an organisation or enterprise – two divisions of the company that have traditionally led very separate lives. If this initial obstacle is overcome, you then have to face the fact that actually running high quality and very reliable voice services over data is quite difficult.
But with recent developments in technology and a more mature approach to its implementation, the benefits have been seen to far outweigh the obstacles in a converged business infrastructure, delivering reduced infrastructure costs, reduced communications charges, and reduced administrative expenditure, as well as the deployment of enhanced services.
Although voice over IP (VoIP) has been thrust into the limelight by the runaway success of Skype in recent years, players in the business arena have been working with the technology for much longer – and the uptake of the technology is gathering pace.
“The conversion to VoIP is the dominant factor in the enterprise voice market over the next several years,” said Steve Raab, director of IP Telephony Research for Dell'Oro Group in a recent report.
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