Industry Research Featured Article
June 13, 2007
Survey: Unified Communications and IP Telephony Driving Voice and Data Network Upgrades
According to a recent Nortel (News - Alert) survey of 464 members of the International Nortel Networks User Association (INNUA), the increased productivity and simplicity of unified communications (UC) and IP Telephony (IPT) are driving businesses to upgrade their existing voice and data networks.
Productivity gains and the proliferation of devices are considered the main drivers for moving to unified communications. Respondents also indicated that the migration was a significant driver in upgrading their enterprise data network.
This tremendous increase in devices is seen as a growing challenge for today’s businesses as 69 percent revealed that the management of multiple communications devices is a top issue. At the same time, 53 percent highlighted the challenge of providing access to critical information from multiple locations and devices.
Respondents indicated that unified communications were seen as being able to address these issues. In fact, 53 percent of respondents said improved productivity was a key driver for the move to UC, 37 percent noted improved collaboration capabilities and 37 percent emphasized the ability to access critical information anywhere from any device.
The integration of voice and communications into business processes consistent with unified communications and Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA) approaches was considered appealing to 84 percent of respondents. Another 67 percent indicated that this integration enhanced productivity by streamlining processes.
“IP telephony is a stepping stone for enterprises as they transform towards a true unified communications environment that increases productivity through anywhere, anytime access to critical business information,” said Victor Bohnert, executive director, INNUA, in a statement. “As businesses continue to aggressively migrate to VoIP, they see unified communications as a way to manage the proliferation of devices and their increasingly mobile workforce to create a business advantage.”
Over the past three years there has been a 40 percent increase in IP telephony deployment. In fact, 67 percent of respondents reported that they have already partially or fully deployed IP telephony in their enterprise, with 75 percent planning additional investments in IPT. Only 7 percent indicated that they currently had no plans to move to IP telephony.
The move to IPT is also considered a significant driver for data network upgrades among INNUA members. In fact, one in two said that they upgraded some portion of their data network when moving to IPT. Upgrades to LAN equipment that provided Power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities were involved in 80 percent of these upgrades.
PoE enables the electrical requirements of VoIP phones to be provided through the network’s Ethernet cables. Only 37 percent of respondents indicated that data upgrades involved new routers that could better handle the performance requirements of supporting VoIP traffic.
Communications remain a vital element in successful business processes, but they can also represent a significant drain on resources when not properly managed. What’s more, these organizations are also demanding more mobile solutions. Vendors that are taking a proactive approach to the demands of these companies will see tremendous growth, while those only reacting will struggle for competitive advantage.
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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.