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Unified Communications Attracting CIOs to Business VoIP Services

Untitled Document CIOs around the world have taken a shine to unified communications. Though the catch phrase means different things in different contexts, its message is the same: CIOs can save money while increasing productivity by consolidating many of their core communications tools. As vendors compete to provide elegant interfaces and data transfer solutions that help professionals manage their inboxes, the heart of an effective communications strategy lies in the ability to funnel business VoIP phone calls and Internet data through a single Internet connection.

Bundling Business VoIP and Data Service Can Save Money
For the past few decades, communications systems at most companies required a tangle of wires and a host of vendors. A local phone company provided a trunk line for voice communications into a company office, while a PBX specialist handled the cables running to each workstation. As the Internet became essential, data providers piped in bandwidth through another connection. After adding up the legal, accounting, and maintenance costs of wiring up an office, most companies were already too shell-shocked to complain about long distance charges billed by yet another vendor.

Today, business VoIP services streamline voice communications. By migrating from older voice and data connections to the latest high-speed hookups, companies need only maintain a single network of interchangeable cables. VoIP services route calls directly to employees at their desks or via their computers, reducing the need for dedicated wiring to workstations. As unified communications vendors offer simplified voicemail and e-mail management tools, productivity rises while the total cost of ownership for a hybrid data network goes down.

One Big Pipe for Business VoIP and Data Often Requires Special Attention
As companies enjoy the convenience of maintaining just one data connection, unified communications vendors have discovered opportunities to add even more value for their clients. Managed service providers handle the burden of directing business VoIP calls to the right phones while coordinating other inbound and outbound data. While some managed service providers are third-party vendors with unique business solutions, many unified communications vendors also act as MSPs for small to medium-sized businesses.

Relying on an MSP allows CIOs to shift the attention of their IT staffs to hardware and software maintenance instead of troubleshooting issues with VoIP services. For many business VoIP customers, MSPs handle call traffic using offsite servers. This strategy increases security and reliability of business VoIP calls while reducing the in-house network footprint to a small selection of routers and handsets.

Preparing for Business VoIP Services Without Wires
According to industry analysts, unified communications vendors plan to make business VoIP and data even more ubiquitous with the adoption of new wireless standards. andquot;LTEandquot; and andquot;4Gandquot; wireless systems allow providers to beam unprecedented amounts of data over the air. Using these new standards, MSPs can integrate business VoIP calls into a companys wireless communications mix without sacrificing call quality or signal reach. With enough bandwidth to synchronize voice, data, and even video, business VoIP calls can take on a new dimension of effectiveness.

Unlike previous generations of VoIP services that required expensive equipment upgrades, many unified communications vendors have focused on adding value to existing equipment wherever possible. As vendors compete on both price and value, CIOs can look forward to reducing the size and cost of their communications infrastructure.

Sources
InfoWorld
IT Business Edge
Network World



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