Cost saving is tops for VoIP - and it works
The biggest driver for VoIP today is cost saving, with teleworking and employee mobility close behind, according to a survey carried out by analyst company Ovum on behalf of Imago Communications, organiser of the recent VoIP for Business show. Of the organisations contacted for the study, 69 percent cite saving money and 61 percent say they want VoIP to enable mobile and remote working.

Perhaps more significantly, 75 percent of the respondents who have already deployed VoIP say that it was successful and has met all or most of their objectives. However, nearly half add that they still don't fully understand the business benefits that VoIP could offer, and two-thirds say that the interoperability of different suppliers' equipment is still a major worry.

SIP on a Blackberry
Blackberry users will gain access to IP telephony and other desktop phone services once Avaya and RIM (Research in Motion) finish testing a SIP client. The software allows a Blackberry 7270 handset to connect to an Avaya IP comms server via a wireless LAN; the Blackberry can then work as a office phone, making use of features such as call transfer and forwarding.

The idea is to make a Blackberry more useful in the office, as well as out on the road. The two companies say thay they will go on to use SIP, which is an underlying standard for all sorts of collaborative communications, to dynamically link the Blackberry's native business applications with Avaya's other comms services, such as presence awareness. This will make staff more available and effective, the companies claim.

Testing for IP telephony
The two biggest issues facing people when they deploy IP telephony are whether their system can cope, and voice quality, says comms integrator Affiniti. The company has therefore come up with a pre-deployment assessment service that uses VoIP test and management software from NetIQ, plus a managed IP telephony service based on either Cisco or Nortel hardware.

Affiniti, which is part of Kingston Communications, claims that its assessment service can highlight a range of potential problems, such as areas where the network could overload, and equipment that will need replacing. The service generates both management and technical reports, with both short and long term recommendations.

The company adds that it can also provide converged IP networks as a managed service, either on private WANs or its own national broadband network. As well as IP telephony and data, these converged networks can support applications such as unified messaging.