Virtually every business sector is beginning to implement VoIP as part of their communication solution. In large environments, making use of regular phones lines simply isn’t a viable option when compared to internet telephony. Businesses that have already made the transition are often bewildered at the expansive options and lowered costs that become available after these solutions are implemented.
If your organization is using a cloud based infrastructure, whether on site or a hosted solution, the choice to implement VoIP is a no brainer. Setting up a virtual controller to handle VoIP is generally a fairly straightforward task for networking professionals. Some friends from out of the area have done just so with their start-up cloud infrastructure. I spoke with Nick Epson from Cloud PC who gave a little insight about their new project.
“We’re in the process of building up the server cluster in our first cabinet,” Epson explained in regards to the Cloud PC cloud provisioning at the data center, Data Reality. “The plan is to eventually port our existing clients to this infrastructure once we have all the pieces of the puzzle in place. Right now it’s just a matter of procuring a few more fiber channels for the control heads then everything will be ready to move the rest of clients to our cloud where VoIP will a major component to many of the companies’ virtual networks.”
“Right now, one of our largest contracts has an onsite private cloud which we support,” added Epson. “The three node cluster runs VMware, specifically vSphere, which hosts VMs that run the business’s corrugator software, Kiwi, and hosts other apps as well. Their phones and desktops are all run into a network panel that routes it to one of three Cisco ProCurve switches which are directed to the server. The phones are all managed through Cisco Unified Communications Manager, making it very easy to manage their communication network, especially since they only use voice. When Martell finishes running fiber out to the plant, everything will likely be ported to our system which is SIP enabled so they will be able to use VoIP entirely for all their communication needs as the business really won’t need the T1 when everything is said and done.”
Not all businesses are turning to a hosted solution as many are provisioning their existing system to make full use of their VoIP system. For the moment, a well observed dichotomy is visible for most every industry. Like any major overhaul for business, a wide variety of influences are contributing factors to decision making processes. It is becoming a very practical solution for educational institutions to begin implementing VoIP for communication needs. This industry adopts solutions just the same as other business sectors; some build their own solution as others adopt hosted models.
Adding to the list of educational institutions making use of a hosted VoIP solution for communication is Iowa State University. In a recent interview with InformationWeek, an ISU admin for IT and interim CIO, Jim Davis, provided insight about the switch to a hosted communication system powered by the school’s ISP, Internet2.
First and foremost, the switch is very lucrative compared to the old system used by the school for communication. The new VoIP system will save the school approximately $600 K per year. Though Internet2 traditionally provides internet connectivity, the company is partnered with other solution providers that enhance the power of the VoIP implementation. Through Aastra and Level 3 Communications the network is enhanced with services geared towards IP telephony. Aastra is an IP telecom provider that hosts a wide array of hosted UC services while Level 3 Communications enables SIP trunking. The ISU campus that formerly made use of some 8,000 traditional phone lines are now consolidated to a solution that improves the efficiency by utilizing VoIP and further providing other perks from messaging to telepresence. It’s mostly geared toward administration but public phones located in dormitories will also be on the network as well that students utilize when necessary, rather than traditional phone lines.
The company DFT Communications is another provider of internet services helping schools to improve connections through VoIP based solutions. Associates at the company recently completed curriculum through Avaya that will assist them in meeting the needs of the Dunkirk School System in New York. The school corporation formerly made use of a Nortel phone system and PBX connected to the PSTN.
This solution allows the Dunkirk school system to connect their legacy phones to the newly implemented VoIP host. By leveraging the use of ATA adapters, the school system is able to avoid the overhead associated with purchasing new Ethernet phones. If not for the interoperability provided by the Avaya system, the school would have been required to replace about 400 handsets which could have cost close to $80,000.
It’s only a matter of time before VoIP becomes the standard form of telephony, not just in urbanized regions of the US, but across the world. As remotely located businesses begin to connect to improve data infrastructures, like fiber networks, VoIP will probably become as common as the television.