Voice over IP, or VoIP as it's affectionately known, offers a great deal more flexibility than a classical phone system. Despite VoIP's advantages, IT managers shouldn't underestimate the cost or complexity of setting up such a system.
Cesare Tizi, ZDNet Australia's CIO of the year for 2007, is straight forward about his opinion of it: "I love VoIP", he said.
Tizi notes a myriad of advantages. One less socket on all computers, the ability to digitise voicemail messages, reduction of costs and finally, "whatever office I was in, one button and I could make that phone my phone."
Of course with any new technology, there is always a gap between what happens in theory and what happens in practice. Tizi claims that "unless it's a particularly high-quality system that is well installed and well configured, with more than enough bandwidth across all the connections, quality suffers."
When using the VoIP system to deal with customers, quality is a major issue, he said. Taking the example of a call centre, the implementation of VoIP might mean a huge reduction in costs. However the loss of quality is always a gamble. Tizi warns that "to get the reliability and the functionality in a call centre can be quite challenging."