TELECOMMUNICATIONS: IP Telephony Evolution Promises One Person, One Phone
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Are the desktop phones in your office looking a little ragged around the edges? Don’t bother buying new ones, says Vox Orion MD Jacques du Toit – they could be obsolete within months.
“The growth of IP telephony means the need for desktop phones is disappearing,” says Du Toit. “Now it’s one person, one phone: your mobile phone can be the only phone you ever need.”
Du Toit says intelligent IP PBX technology can recognize smartphones when they come into the office, automatically routing calls over internal data networks rather than via cellular operators. “This also means the mobile phone can now become a time and attendance management device,” he says.
The transformation of voice telephony into yet another data stream has many other potential benefits, he says. “You can build any other kind of data on top of the voice stream: Video, pictures, multimedia or document files,” he says.
Video will be one of the biggest game changers, Du Toit predicts. “Video conferencing is already having a big impact on our own operations at Vox Orion. Because we don’t have the expense of flying people around the country, each discussion can involve more team members. Everybody has the whole story from the start, without needing to rely on minutes and reportbacks. We’re getting much better information flow and things happen more quickly.”
What has made video-conferencing a viable alternative at last, adds Du Toit, is partially the ever-decreasing real cost of bandwidth. “We’re getting far more for the same price than we did a couple of years ago,” he says. “Our government has said they want to decrease bandwidth prices by 15% a year, so data will keep on getting cheaper. That means we can get smart with presence management, unified communications, computer-telephony integration and other specialized applications.”
Presence management is particularly exciting, says Du Toit. “With the new IP PBXs like our Vox Verto product, you have the intelligence in a single platform to find people wherever they are, when you need them. This is particularly important when you need to pull a team together in a crisis: You could have people in three different offices, in the airport and on the golf course, and get them together in a collaborative environment within minutes.”
With all the intelligence built into the software rather than hardware which becomes obsolete almost as soon as it’s installed, the PBX can become a powerful business and productivity tool, says Du Toit. “If all you want is call routing and voicemail, that’s all you need to switch on,” he says. “If you’d like your voicemail forwarded to email, call recording or timestamped voice recording for legal purposes, you can switch those on whenever you want at short notice.”
Best of all, there is no extra cost associated with extra services. “With Vox Verto there are only two classes of licence – basic and advanced,” he says. “Customers pay per extension, not according to the number of services they are using. This means even the smallest company can enjoy all the same technology as the largest enterprises.
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