VoIP slow off the mark

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Australia lags behind Europe and the US in its uptake of VoIP services, according to attendees at a recent VoIP roundtable discussion.

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Australia lags behind Europe and the US in its uptake of VoIP services and there is still a lot of end user confusion about the benefits of the technology, according to attendees at a recent VoIP roundtable discussion.

Robert Beck, business development director at integrator CallTime Solutions, said VoIP vendors had been pushing their own ‘proprietary’ technology and only now are introducing more open VoIP platforms through standards such as the session initiation protocol (SIP).

“I think there’s a lot of confusion –- it’s been a vendor-driven industry in this country. We’ve had clients referred to us that have tried to deploy VoIP and it’s been a disaster,” he said.

He agreed that vendors had been pushing their own barrows. “They’ve been selling it [VoIP] on some premises that are alright but not enough to get a business case up,” he said.

Beck quoted recent Gartner figures that suggested 85 percent of companies adopting VoIP are not ready for it. “Based on our experience at CallTime, I’d say that is absolutely factual,” he said.

A common problem was that companies deploying VoIP were not doing a good enough job of analysing traffic on their conventional data network to ascertain whether the network could handle the load if VoIP was deployed.

Erik Rudin, solutions specialist for the ANZ Southern Region at systems and security management software provider NetIQ, added that organisations should do a “readiness assessment” by sending voice traffic over their network. “The complexity has changed from a single PBX box to a multi-tier distributed system. You’re introducing things like [Microsoft] Active Directory, a database, [Microsoft] Exchange and video,” he said.

“As vendors enhance the technology with all these features and functions, it may introduce some [network] management questions,” he said.

CallTime’s Beck said companies should plan so they “know what’s there in the infrastructure”.

CallTime’s Beck said the integrator had been called out to around four or five VoIP “clean up jobs” and was gaining some credibility in the VoIP “planning stakes”. VoIP sold as a managed service was less than 20 percent of CallTime’s business at the moment but would be “half our business”.

Australia had the infrastructure in place to deliver good VoIP services and it was consumer operators such as Skype and engin that were leading the charge, driving market awareness.
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