Over the past year and a half, major carriers such as AT&T and Verizon have feverishly rolled out managed services. While these providers are interested in getting a slice of the hosted voice-over-IP and managed customer-premises-equipment, or CPE, markets, the number of businesses interested in deploying these services hasn't grown substantially in the past few years.
"Service providers want a piece of enterprise VoIP and CPE spending," says Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst of enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research Inc. "They don't want to just provide a dumb pipe to the network, so that's why they're rolling out these services," Machowinski says.
Businesses have several choices in how they deploy voice over IP. They can implement it using in-house resources, a hosted VoIP service provider, or managed CPE services. Many businesses want to stay in operational control of their voice-over- IP networks. This is the main reason why they aren't signing up with services providers, Machowinski says.
Companies also are concerned with the operational costs associated with managed and hosted services. While up-front costs for hosted or managed services usually are low, monthly fees that services providers charge can run more than in-house deployment of voice over IP.
Ensuring the security of voice-over-IP networks also is a concern. "Businesses are becoming aware of the security implications of putting voice on a data network because, when voice traffic becomes data traffic, there are many threats it's being exposed to," Machowinski says. "VoIP isn't going to happen overnight, but there's going to be a long-term migration" to it.
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Service Spending What has your company spent on hosted IP-voice and managed-CPE services?
Spending on hosted IP-voice services rose 58% between 2003 and 2005, according to Infonetics Research estimates, from an average of $157,607 in 2003 to $249,103 last year. Expenditures attributed to managed CPE services have rose even more--an average increase of about 129%, climbing from $84,889 in 2003 to $194,056 in 2005.
Features, Please How do you use IP-voice services?
Companies are going above and beyond in providing personnel with adequate phone service. Of the companies with IP-voice operations that Infonetics Research surveyed, few limit service to basic voice features. Across the 240 sites, only 12% report offering just basic service. Most companies, 88%, add enhanced features to meet workers' needs.
Decision Drivers Which factors drove your company to deploy IP-voice services?
Predominately, businesses are supporting voice over IP because of its manageability. Operational costs, flexibility, and scalability also are major deployment drivers. Every company already owns functioning telecommunications services and data-management systems. But the need to consolidate voice and data is behind the adoption of VoIP at slightly more than half of companies that Infonetics Research interviewed.
Rollout Hurdles Which factors drove your company not to deploy IP-voice services?
While voice over IP appears to be a viable telecommunications option, it's important to understand its capabilities and limitations. The technology is forcing companies to take stock of their infrastructure. Cost concerns remain a barrier to more pervasive use of VoIP. However, of 362 companies surveyed by Infonetics Research with no plans to deploy IP voice, 41% say the reason is because their current phone system is good enough.
5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.