Enterprise-level VoIP solutions can be had in two specific types: The hybrid IP-PBX types that can support both IP and TDM communications, and pure IP solutions, sometimes called softswitches. The latter kind has many advantages of starting a fresh, and not being "bolted on" to another technology — to include such things as greater manageability, ease of deployment, greater value, and standards-based designs that ease integration into IT processes and applications.
Eventually, the hybrid approach will be as out of favor as POTS are today. As of right now, IP-PBXs are still going strong, due in large part to the basic economics of business. Many organizations see that it still makes financial sense to preserve existing investments in TDM equipment. It's the hybrid approach that allows them to do that very thing. The obsolescence of the hybrid equipment, therefore, is a ways down the road.
Should you go with a pure IP solution or a merged, hybrid one? Let's compare some equipment and see.
The Pure IP Solution
Quickly gaining ground in business today is the Pure IP kind of telephone. It's capable of sharing capabilities throughout your organization, no matter how large it is By avoiding long-distance charges between your branches, it also helps you to save money.
Easy to Use
Many pure IP communications systems are very easy to use, since they match the way your employees already use the phone. This makes their use very intuitive. The phones typically come with a large LCD display that offers straightforward controls and instructions, along with buttons that can be individually programmed by each user.
Some Money Saving Features
Since IP based systems represent the latest generation in communications they can also offer a greater savings in price, due simply to better manufacturing methods, better design, and smarter products. Here are some of the ways that this sort of equipment can increase your enterprise's profitability:
- Connect smoothly to any number of top-speed digital services
- Use VoIP technology to minimize long-distance charges
- Route calls automatically to the least expensive carrier
- Restrict or profile access to long-distance calls
- Allows you to make better management decisions and simplifies billing, by enabling you to evaluate call patterns
Built with an Eye to the Future
IP based phone systems are built with an eye on the future, and their later expandability. Anyone who purchases them will see them lasting a long time, thereby getting a phenomenal return on their investment. One of the key reasons for this is that many manufacturers of IP phone systems create their equipment and allow the buyer to reuse crucial components when they upgrade to larger systems.
The Merged Solution
The more common solution in use today, these servers typically offer many applications on one server platform: voicemail, centralized system administration, call processing, and many others. Optional applications are also available, such as audio and video conferencing, unified messaging, and Unified Communications client applications. These applications typically run on a single piece of hardware so as to minimize purchasing and ongoing maintenance costs.
These sort of merged phone solutions offer the advantage of fine control over the features you want to use. If you want to use IVR but not centralized system administration, you can do that; you can pick and choose from all the features offered by the system, both standard and optional. These include audio and video conferencing, web collaboration, use of unified communications clients, and easy, flexible processing of voicemail.
Staying Productive While Mobile
Many merged phone servers will seamlessly bridge the gap between your in-house employees and those on the road. Thus, with the correct applications, it's possible to ensure everyone has the functionality they need to work at peak efficiency.
Michelle Patterson helps companies understand and adopt new technologies in all aspects of their operations. She is currently working on new communication technologies that are promising a paradigm shift. Take a look at this post that Michelle contributed to our blog a few months ago: Complete Cloud Phone System; Worth it?
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