This article originally appeared in the January issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.
I recently presented at the 2011 US Telecom (News - Alert) Voice Innovation Conference on the topic, “The Premise Network.” While it might not sound so interesting, the premise network is undergoing a great deal of change because work is not just a place to go anymore, it’s a state of mind.
The talk was mostly about the future of the premise network, but I also needed to level set on what a typical premise enterprise network might look like. In my estimation, typical means there is likely still a traditional TDM network (but only because it’s there and exists and the IT department doesn’t want to remove it) and there is a VoIP network as well. Undoubtedly, on most enterprise networks, VoIP is either the lead communication network overall by now, or at least a major piece of it.
Today, advanced networks, including mobile networks, are impacting the definition of the premise, so this typical concept is evolving rapidly. More and more people are connecting to the enterprise network via mobile devices, even on mobile devices that IT people wish they wouldn’t connect with. Additionally, fast IP networks enable applications to be hosted outside the premise, but serve the premise nonetheless. In other words, cloud computing is having a huge impact on the enterprise or CPE network. Advanced networks enable the premise to be expanded, and the definition becomes fuzzy, so it’s no longer premise per se, it’s more of a corporate network. This is not really a new concept since for years VPNs have been enabling the enterprise network to shift out to cover whatever is IP connected. But that was for data type of applications. Now it’s happening for all the traditional enterprise communication applications.
Cloud is also now entering the realm of telephony, and not just for CRM or for storage. I’ve been looking into this and from what I can tell, PBX (News - Alert) lines should be about 25 percent hosted/cloud by 2015, and UC applications should be a little under 10 percent. In other words, this is happening, but it’s also still in the early stages.
So, given all this, what kinds of applications might attach themselves to this kind of new CPE network? First, we see some movement of so-called non-essential apps to the cloud. A typical example is fax. Fax is still utilized today, but not in the same volume as 10 years ago. Nonetheless, it’s still important to companies, but the IT departments may not want to support it. As such, it becomes a great candidate to move off premise to the cloud.
Given these are IP networks, high-definition voice apps will surely pop up. HD voice uses wideband codecs to reproduce the human voice more accurately. The result is significantly more natural speech, and some early users liken it to being in the same room as the person on the other end of the phone. HD voice codecs are used in software/IP based unified communication hubs such as Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync, and they are making their way to some mobile networks as well, so we will hear more and more about HD voice in the new CPE.
Conferencing is also a key application. Many companies use an external conferencing company already. We are also seeing that new enterprise productivity apps, such as videoconferencing, would be good for the cloud and are currently being implemented that way. Other examples of new enterprise apps include video-enabled IVRs, social networking and mobile advertising. You might find social networking surprising, but social networking is important to many businesses, especially businesses that market to consumers. These types of applications were not really possible 10 years ago, but they are being implemented now.
In short, the definition of CPE has radically changed due to fast networks and mobile devices. It’s no longer a simple brick-and-mortar definition. It’s all moving to cloud-based applications, even for telephony. HD voice is now being heard, and video is entering the picture as well – there are a great deal of possibilities for the future premise network.
Jim Machi is senior vice president of marketing at Dialogic (News - Alert) Inc. (www.dialogic.com).
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Edited by Tammy Wolf