We recently consulted with a prospect regarding their aging Nortel phone system. They realized they needed to upgrade, they were aware of the technological advances since they installed the (used) Nortel PBX over 10 years ago, but there were many areas in which they were either mistaken or misinformed. First they were afraid that their ‘network problems’ would hamper a VoIP implementation. Second, they were expecting a savings on their international long distance bill “because their calls would be going out over the internet”.
On the first issue they were partly correct: if you add IP telephones to a LAN or WAN with excessive latency, jitter, or packet loss, calls will drop, you will experience poor voice quality and/or a network failure. The problem is, they didn’t NEED to add IP telephones to their LAN. And, after we analyzed the network, we found the problem was the “Fribble Effect”. Ever try and quickly suck one of Friendly’s thick, frosty shakes through a tiny straw? What happens? You get a headache. This customer’s 1.5 meg T1 circuit was handling requests from over a 100 users on a (perfectly functioning, btw) 100x LAN. They needed more bandwidth from their carrier. But they didn’t need IP phones. It would have added cost and complexity for an already overtaxed IT Department (consisting of 1 person). As for the ‘reduced long distance bills’ scenario…well salespeople just need to step up and tell their prospects the truth. In this case FIVE vendors failed to disclose that the potential customers’ (mis)perception was simply not true! Never afraid of being the sunk at the garden party we told the prospect they needed more bandwidth, they didn’t need to worry about their LAN, we COULD save them money on long distance (but not in the manner they thought), AND we were going to improve their operations and reduce costs by implementing VoIP.
We proposed digital telephones (still one of the most reliable business technologies available) with Unified Communications for Business (UCB) and won the trust – and the business- of what will be a valued business partner for many years to come.
Check out this link – I thought this NEC Product manager hit the nail on the head. http://youtube/M9_Y0bCqybc
It seems not a day goes by that we don’t get a call from a business saying they “need a VoIP system”. First, we ask them why they THINK they need need a VoIP system, which inevitably leads to asking them “Exactly what do you think a VoIP system is?” Some reply “Voice over the Internet”, some reply “Free phone calls”, and, occasionally, the honest, “I don’t know”. Truth is, most business people don’t know what VoIP is. The acronym stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it’s the last word that is the most important. Voice Over Internet is like teaching pigs to sing: it inevitably doesn’t work, (and you end up with a frustrated pig to boot).
You see, the Internet doesn’t have the same routing rules as a private network, and thus your voice call has the same priority as Jimmy from down the street watching a hysterical YouTube video of a water skiing squirrel. And that, friends, is not good for business.
Voice Over Internet PROTOCOL is a different matter, however. For many years now phone systems have digitized conversations (converted analog signal to 0’s and 1’s) . Today by digitizing them in the same manner as other data traffic such as emails, web sessions, etc. (Internet Protocol), we’re able to use the same switching, routing, infrastructure, etc as existing data networks. And THAT is provides benefits to most businesses. First, it makes it easy to deploy phones and systems in remote locations. Second, whenever you move a phone, it finds the control unit and retains it’s identity, usually with no visit to the wiring closet. And third, by treating voice as another application, it will ‘play nice’ with other computers on your network, making it easier to integrate with company databases, programs like Outlook and more.
Do YOU NEED VoIP? While there are certainly some benefits, there are benefits to using digital phones also. They are more reliable, they are self-powered, and they will not compete for bandwidth on your LAN. There’s also the cost factor, as sometimes you need new cabling, data switches and more to deploy IP. You can still enjoy many of the benefits of a VoIP phone system without using IP phones in your office. When in doubt, ask someone who isn’t drinking “VoIP Kool-Aid”, and hopefully you’ll get an unbiased, educated answer.