Is IP telephony for you?

Thinking of replacing the PBX? Is Internet telephony a pragmatic technology investment for a 30-man company?

Q. My company will be shifting to a new location, and we are contemplating replacing our PBX phone system with voice over IP. Is it advisable for a small company like ours, which has less than 30 people?

A. The simple answer is yes.

In most cases, companies save money when entering a new office location by deploying IP telephony instead of a PBX.

The cost savings are largely due to the need for less physical wiring in the new office and less space occupied in the IT closets.

But here are some questions to ask before you take that step:

  • Do the employees of the company rely heavily on data communications, such as e-mail, Internet research, and instant messaging with partners and customers?
  • Do the employees of the company operate or should they operate in a mobile environment? Do they use laptops? Are they on the road often? Do they share desks? Do they or should they work from home sometimes?
  • Are there employees in the office that do not have a PC?
  • Is the business expected to grow significantly in the next few years?

If you answer yes to some or all of these questions, then you are a good candidate for IP communications in your business. The good news is it is easy to get started.

Today you can purchase a solution from a company like Cisco Systems that will enable all of your data, and voice communications from the same device with reliable and secure connectivity. You can use your phone to connect your PC to the internet or you can take advantage of a wireless local area network to increase the mobility of people in the office. You can even add video services along with your voice calls.

We continue to enhance the capabilities of these solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, and see more and more of these companies taking the step toward changing the way they communicate using IP.

Our expert: Gary Coman, head of IP communications, Asia-Pacific, Cisco Systems.

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