Vendors say apps drive VoIP demand but users motivated by long-distance costs

For example, IP networks allow unified communications and the integration of customer relationship management software.Long-distance rates in North America are supposedly low enough that the cost savings available over an IP network does not, in itself, justify the expense of installing VoIP.

But despite the vendors’ emphasis on applications, long-distance costs still seems to be the major reason companies with branch offices and home workers are moving to voice over IP.

Take travel agency Navigant International (which is now doing business as Carlson Wagonlit, its new parent company) as an example. Employees working either from home or from a client’s office can now use voice over IP and so far, the company’s return on investment has been $200,000. The company was also able to shut down an office in Toronto because it moved enough employees into their homes (please see Travel agency saves $200K by giving employees voice over IP, page 19).

Cost is not the only factor, according to Steve Raab at the Dell’Oro Group (please see News Briefs, page 10). There is also the ability to add instant messaging and video services and to access large databases over an IP network. The ability to add more applications has not been lost on major vendors like Microsoft Corp., which has announced plans to partner with Nortel and Siemens, and to release more unified messaging and collaboration products for VoIP users.

What’s interesting is for Carlson Wagonlit, the reduction in telecom costs alone was enough to justify the investment in voice over IP, even though North America has some of the lowest long-distance rates in the world. Is long-distance savings still the major reason most companies invest in VoIP? Let us know your opinion, at [email protected]

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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