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Norlight eNewsletter Article

It's Prime VoIP Time

Voice over IP (VoIP) has been hyped since the 90's as the next big thing. But getting past the hype and fully integrated into the enterprise hasn't happened quite yet. Many, however, feel that this is changing.

Major carriers, including Norlight, have jumped into the VoIP game with services ranging from simple VoIP over corporate LAN and WAN's to converged services that offer a variety of features.

"You're seeing accelerated interest in VoIP for a couple reasons," said Mike Ulicki, Norlight's vice president and chief technology officer. "First, many providers, including Norlight, are coming out with better offerings that include more features and can save organizations money. Second, IT departments that have held their budgets back for the past couple of years are beginning to look at the larger initiatives like VoIP implementation."

The VoIP Advantage

The features included with VoIP packages can vary from vendor to vendor, but one of the more desirable is unified messaging. Combining VoIP with unified messaging, you can use a Web-based portal that collects all of your messages - be it e-mail, voice mail, or faxes. This allows you to store voice mails in a format similar to e-mail, as well as forward voice mails to other users like an e-mail. You would also be able to access your messages from the Web, your e-mail software, your IP phone, or your mobile phone.

In addition to the end-user benefits, VoIP holds numerous advantages for your organization. The fact that your phone system will now run over your IP network is advantageous because you only have one network to maintain. This could allow you to consolidate your voice staff with your IT staff, thus saving the organization personnel costs. Also, VoIP is mobile. When a user moves, their phone extension will go with them, saving time and avoiding the lost productivity needed to reconfigure your PBX.

Bringing Wi-Fi into the Picture

Another buzz that is circulating is VoIP over Wi-Fi. This combination hasn't become widespread, but in industries where employees are constantly on the move, the marriage of these two hot technologies has begun to be adopted.

Like a scene from Star Trek, users of Vocera's Communication Badge can press a button, say a person's name, and be connected to them instantly for hands-free communication. This technology is VoIP running over a Wi-Fi network, and has been adopted mostly by health care organizations.

VoIP in the enterprise hasn't quite reached that final frontier yet, but it could just be a matter of time. As more and more organizations adopt the technology, many see unified messaging and Star Trek-like communications as the future of telephony.