Thursday, May 04, 2006

Is VoIP Ready For Prime Time?

Much has been written about Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (or VoIP). Many of these phones are now in use, but the question remains is VoIP practical for your business?
According to TIA’s TechTrends, VoIP usage is growing dramatically. The number of VoIP access lines grew from 3.8 million in 2003 to nearly 10 million in 2005. By 2008, TIA estimates some 26 million VoIP lines will be in use.
According to Scott Lewis, co-owner of St. Louis-based Winning Technologies, a national IT consulting firm, portability is a great benefit of VoIP. You don’t necessarily need to be in the office to receive your phone call since calls can be forwarded anywhere you have access to a computer. A VoIP system keeps you and your employees connected anywhere you may be—at home, on the road, or even stationed at the beach with a laptop.
In all, Lewis said VoIP offers a great group of benefits:
* The ability to return calls with a single click from web-based call logs.
* A single number to receive calls or faxes anywhere.
* Unified messaging for voice mail, electronic faxes and email.
* Easy assignment of various service classes to different users.
* Web-based call monitoring applications.
* Point-and-click conference setup.
* Categorization of contacts by group to prioritize and control calls.
* Convergence of voice and web collaboration reducing maintenance costs.

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