By By Andrew Davies, Development Manager, Citel UK (www.citel.com/uk)

IP telephony is a well-established technology. Companies can see clear cost savings, they are convinced that IP telephony can fit into their growth strategy, and the business case for the migration to VoIP is sound.

But many businesses are not yet migrating to VoIP – why not?
A common objection to moving to VoIP is the value of a company’s existing infrastructure. Whether it deployed a new PBX eight months ago or eight years ago, there is still value in much of the existing infrastructure. Most enterprises are unwilling to simply throw away handsets and wiring in a migration to VoIP.

New IP handsets are just the beginning of the cost and complexity that enterprises face when migrating to a hosted or premise-based IP PBX. New cabling, new local area network (LAN) infrastructure, retraining, and business disruption can double or triple the per-station costs of a VoIP installation beyond the handset cost. In fact, according to a Gartner Research report, an estimated $20.6 billion will be wasted on IP screen phones over five years.

Finally, user adoption can be a major barrier and source of complexity. Businesses need to factor in the time and cost of training their staff to cope with new handsets, and the inefficiencies when the staff inevitably forgets how to use the VoIP equipment. We’re all familiar with new gadgets where only the most basic functions are used because the other features are seen as too complex – IP telephones are no exception.

So, how can companies get all the benefits of VoIP, but keep their costs under control? How can they avoid the expense and disruption of a "rip and replace" migration?

One solution is the Citel Portico™ Telephone VoIP Adapter (TVA™). This enables businesses to move to VoIP, while still using the telephones and wiring infrastructure they already have in place. The phone handsets can be digital (PBX), P phone (Centrex), or analogue – all are supported. Advanced VoIP features including IVR and simultaneous ring are delivered to the handset, while features requiring a larger screen are accessed through a browser window.

Whether the enterprise is migrating to a hosted IP platform through a service provider or managing their own IP PBX on their premises, the TVA simplifies the migration process, and is transparent to most users. Legacy PBX telephones become new “endpoints” on the IP network, so it is unnecessary to replace them.

For some companies in older buildings, recabling is impractical, which would stop them moving to VoIP without the TVA. By enabling them to re-use existing telephone wiring, it may be the only way they can get the benefits of VoIP.

The economics of the TVA are compelling, so organisations can justify migration to IP telephony even in the middle of the traditional PBX "buy cycle". Cost-savings, productivity enhancements, additional functionality, and converged applications are all within reach.

After a fast, simple migration, enterprises on hosted or premise-based VoIP achieve:

Reduced monthly telecom operating expenses through centralized voice mail, IP network utilization, and the elimination of PBX and/or key systems across the enterprise.

Increased productivity through centralization, or even outsourcing, of voice network management combined with enterprise-wide distribution of features and applications.

Seamless migration to a unified communications platform.