VoIP: Cheap calls, untapped features

07 January 2008

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is set to take off in 2008,
according to analysts at IDC. It has already been implemented or is
being rolled out by 31% of companies in Canada. Another 35% expect to
do so within the next 18 months. The technology, which sends voice
signals over a network in the same way as Internet traffic, carries
potential cost benefits for firms currently paying heavy long-distance
fees. Calling regional offices across the country or elsewhere in the
world can incur heavy per-minute charges, whereas sending data to the
other side of the world costs the same as sending it across the street.

services enable users to use their existing phones with VoIP, by
installing equipment that translates voice calls to the Internet
Protocol used for relaying Internet traffic. An alternative is to use
an IP phone -- a smarter version of traditional phones, designed to
take advantage of VoIP's features. Nortel recently released a series of
IP phones targeting small businesses, which are designed to replace
existing handsets. The IP Phone 1200 series comes in three models for
office workers with light, moderate and high levels of call activity.
They are designed to be used with Nortel's BCM50, a hardware appliance
that serves as a contact centre to manage VoIP calling for up to 50
users. Nortel launched version 3.0 of this product with the IP 1200
series. The latest version of the BCM50 has new features such as "meet
me" audio-conferencing capabilities for up to 18 users.

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