Other Benefits of VOIP
"We wanted to converge voice communications and leverage the data network," said Bailey, explaining that the VOIP system also gave administrators a Web interface which they could use to manage the system from any physical location using VPN access. Other benefits include better call reporting, delivery of applications to IP phones, and the ability to view voice messages in Microsoft Outlook.Now Cool Blue Interactive pays $525 per month for its service, which replaces POTS (plain old telephone service) and DSL services, which Simmons called expensive, unreliable and slow in uploading big files. He pegged his monthly savings at $200. The next step, Simmons said, is integrating fax and e-mail communications, implementing secure backup and deploying mobile services from Cbeyond. Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, initiated a forklift upgrade of its campus network in 2002, installing 10,000 fiber optic Gigabit Ethernet drops to dormitory rooms, classrooms and other locations to create a VOIP-enabled campus, said Lev Gonick, CIO of Case Western Reserve. Now at Case Western Reserve, he said, intracampus calls cost almost nothing. And the university is aggregating long-distance calls to drive down costs. In June, 2003, the university helped form a consortium called OneCleveland to provide Gigabit Ethernet connectivity among the regions non-profit institutions. "It makes the entities more productive and allows them to collaborate," said Golnick. Eventually, One Cleveland intends to connect 3,000 community entities and a total of 50,000 seats. Customer contact centers have also cut costs and improved performance by adopting VOIP technology. Bill Peters, vice president of reservation services at Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, opted to use Sprints Echopass call center service along with call center operators who work from their homes. Echopass, which is VOIP-enabled and based on Microsoft technology, combines voice calls with e-mail and chat functions for call agents. The result: 35 percent savings over Outriggers previous call center budget and Outrigger avoided the use of offshore outsourcing providers. Peters said he is looking to add more VOIP-enable functions, including e-learning systems to train employees. Sovran Self Storage was stuck with aging, unreliable technology, high cost of ownership, and difficult administration tasks, said Randy Hillman, customer care manager of Sovran Self Storage in Buffalo, N.Y. Like Thiele Kaolin, Sovran Self Storage also needed a better disaster recovery system. The company implemented a VOIP system from ShoreTel, at a savings of $20,000 per year. Joseph Roark, associate architect at Ford Motor Company has not yet implemented a VOIP-based call center system, but said the day is coming when Ford will make such a move. He has examined existing IP-based contact center technology, but could not find a system that will be able to record both voice calls as well as data traffic between the agents and customers. He also said he needs a completely delay-free system, so that customers dont hang up in the belief that a telemarketer is calling. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.
Another user, Bo Simmons, founder and president of Cool Blue Interactive, an Atlanta-based Web design firm, called on Cbeyond, an Atlanta-based managed service provider that delivers integrated voice, mobile and broadband Internet services to small businesses.