Replacing an old phone system with VoIP


    The business communications landscape is much different today than it was in the past, as decision-makers now have a variety of technologies and platforms to choose from. Firms were traditionally only offered a plain old telephone system (POTS) that experienced frequent outages and other problems that would impair operations. This is not necessarily the case today.

    The emergence of IP technologies and mobile devices has opened new doors for executives, giving them the unique opportunity to replace an old phone system with something more sophisticated, flexible and useful. In most cases, companies today use VoIP for business calls, as this technology can meet a number of long-term corporate demands.

    A recent TechTarget report highlighted how companies are migrating away from public switched telephone network (PSTN) connections and embracing VoIP for its functionality and ability to support a growing remote workforce. Although not every organization will immediately embrace this transformation, they soon may not be able to avoid it, as service providers change their business models and, ultimately, the solutions they provide.

    "The use of the POTS infrastructure [has] plummeted in the last decade … as [customers] switch to VoIP alternatives, wireless services and other forms of digital communications," telecom expert Bob Quinn told TechTarget.

    Understanding the demand for VoIP

    The IT landscape is inherently susceptible to change, as technologies continue to mature and evolve to meet the requirements of users. This means the metamorphosis of the business phone system was inevitable, as VoIP was the next link in the evolutionary chain.

    Unlike traditional communication platforms, a VoIP service is scalable and easy to manage, TechTarget noted. This makes it easier for small companies to compete with large enterprises without impairing budgets or jeopardizing the need to meet other mission-critical objectives.

    "[Business customers] are realizing that VoIP is not a different technology, it's just the evolution of the telephone," telecommunications expert Jim Murphy said, according to TechTarget. "If companies want to achieve certain business goals, they have to move to VoIP because their traditional phone service is not going to be able to provide new functionality - like mobility."

    The growing potential for VoIP

    While cost savings is often cited as the top reason for making the transition to a business VoIP system, the ability to reduce expenses is not the only driver behind the technology's adoption. In fact, the rapidly expanding workforce is one of the biggest contributors to replacing an old phone network, as traditional offerings cannot keep disparate corporate branches and departments connected.

    A report by TechNavio noted that the enterprise VoIP market in North America is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of roughly 15 percent between 2010 and 2014. This increase will largely be driven by the ongoing demand to leverage an integrated collaborative system that can be used across multiple locations.

    In the past, employees were forced to physically travel to the office every day in order to conduct business. Now that cloud computing and mobility have been incorporated into the business setting, individuals are able to work remotely on a regular basis. While this provides workers with more flexible schedules, it also raises concerns about connectivity and providing people with access to mission-critical resources even when they work from home or on the road. By adopting a VoIP system, decision-makers do not need to worry about staying in contact with disparate employees, as the platform can be set up to support mobile devices and other platforms.

    In the coming years, VoIP will continue to replace POTS networks because of the rapidly evolving requirements of the private sector.