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IP Telephony--Why You Should Care

Cost savings make IP telephony inevitable for businesses.

Cost savings make IP telephony inevitable for businesses.

IP telephony is the hot new thing. It's prominent in the news, around IT circles, in TV commercials and even at IBM. So, what's the big deal and why should you care? I asked myself the same question about eight months ago when all the hype surrounding this new technology demanded my attention.

IP telephony is sometimes called voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Internet telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband--it really doesn't matter which acronym you choose. According to Wikipedia, each of these acronyms boils down to "the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network."

What I learned in my research is that IP telephony is inevitable. Why is this true? Because of the cost savings. Today, many companies maintain dual networks--one for data and one for voice. The companies that have adopted IP telephony using a single network that carries both voice and data have discovered significant cost savings. They're already set up with high bandwidth networks to ensure mission-critical data is delivered at incredible speeds. Why not add the lightweight costs of voice to these existing networks?

The IBM Solution

I've seen at the Fall 2006 COMMON and Lotusphere 2007 conferences that IBM has placed a significant investment into an IP telephony solution for the IBM* System i* platform, provided by a company called 3Com. If you're new to 3Com, the three "coms" represent the convergence of communications, computers and compatibility.

We know the System i platform stands for "integration." When I think of the 3Com IP Telephony solution for the System i platform, I'm reminded of a quote from Kelly Schmotzer, former lead marketer for Lotus* Domino* on the System i platform. She said of Domino on the System i platform, "There are things that only those few hundred thousand lucky, happy, contented, satisfied AS/400*-iSeries* customers know and feel every day, and that many other server owners only dream of. That misunderstood thing is called integration."

3Com's IP Telephony solution is all about integration. The solution brings together voice and data in one easy-to-use interface. The 3Com IP Telephony solution integrates with Lotus Domino to provide a unified communication experience for end users--allowing users to access their e-mail, voice mail and faxes from one central place, their Lotus Notes* in-box. With the flexibility provided by Domino, this means users can employ Lotus Notes, a Web browser or their PDA or mobile phone to manage all of their messages.

Kim Greene is the owner of Kim Greene Consulting Inc. and an IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems—IBM i edition technical editor. Kim can be reached at kim@kimgreene.com.


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