The reasons for the unstoppable success of digital communication are innumerable. This includes the development and integration potential of SIP-based telecommunications tools and thus their cost-effectiveness, the proven usefulness of modern IP terminals for “New Work” models and the protection of calls. These factors underpin the relevance of IP phones in the business environment.
There’s a reason VoIP is still on the rise: it’s an inexpensive yet effective tool for improving internal and external corporate communications. But does this perception also apply to IP phones in times of hybrid working?
Integrate. It is now a given that IP telephony meets the requirements of modern company communication through higher scalability and significant cost reductions. VoIP has evolved enormously since its inception and can be easily integrated into other emerging technology trends such as 5G, IoT and many more. This development and integration potential is one of the pillars of the current global success of IP telephony.
The significant surge in digitization in recent years has also led to the growing acceptance of modern telecommunications services and platforms. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the latest forecasts from Research & Markets continue to forecast rapid growth for the global market for VoIP services to over 102 billion US dollars by 2026: Even more, conservative companies that were among the early adopters feel the need to bet on new telecommunications solutions. The latter is based on open standards and offers closer integration with the existing infrastructure and the ERP/CRM systems. And this while simultaneously expanding the application scenarios to home and remote workers.
Therefore, many companies should consider replacing previous TC solutions with more efficient UCC platforms in the 2023 ICT budget. Especially now, hybrid working has become an integral part of the working culture. However, experience has shown that investing in a new UCC solution only pays off to a limited extent in the form of increased, location-independent productivity, if the IP end devices used are not renewed at the same time: Only modern IP telephones that are kept up to date with firmware updates can guarantee this the highest level of support for the UCC functions, which may have been decisive for the purchase. But that’s not all: three other factors underpin the relevance of IP phones for business use.
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1. IP Endpoints: So Much More Than Just Phones
With the advent of Voice over IP in the late 1990s, IP PBX systems were designed along the paradigms of traditional PBXs. Consequently, mostly closed systems for on-premise operation with exclusive use of technique and telephones from one house. This lack of flexibility led to high costs if one wanted to change the system’s configuration, use new services, or need additional connections.
Today, such solutions have become virtually unthinkable: VoIP systems can be scaled at any time and, thanks to the embedded open standards, can be used for other usage scenarios: APIs can be used to expand the VoIP system and the telephones with simple updates. So there is no need to spend time or money upgrading hardware. This is even less true for software-based telephony platforms, which are increasingly hosted in the cloud due to cost efficiency. They open up even more options for corporate customers when selecting the provider, the telecommunications solution and – last but not least – the IP end devices.
Suddenly, other criteria such as audio quality, robustness, functionality or design are relevant for telephones. Only then does the cost factor come into play, based on the range of functions a company needs: Modern IP telephones can, for example, act as a control center for office automation, as part of the intercom and video surveillance system or as a fire alarm system or as the basis for it Monitoring of objects and people. This diversity still emphatically proves the cost-effectiveness of IP end devices today.
2. More Advantageous Than Ever
If IP telephones and the selected platform are interoperable, remote configuration of the devices via auto-provisioning is also possible. As a result, the telephones in the office or the home office can be put into operation directly by the employee via “Plug & Play,” or the IT manager from the head office can also carry out due updates. This means a significant saving of time and money for everyone involved.
IP telephones prove to be even more economical thanks to the hot desking function. It doesn’t matter which branch or location of the company the employee is in: When logging on to any phone, all the tasks and settings defined for this person are available. The same naturally also applies in the home office: Remote workers access the shared address books, information about the present status of colleagues and all the features that characterize business phones (e.g. DND) via the IP telephone, which is ideally registered with the switchboard via VPN, group call and automatic call forwarding according to specific criteria), back seamlessly.
Suppose the telephone is part of the intercom system. In that case, the employee can, for example, activate the barrier of the car park from home, tell the entire cleaning crew which rooms need to be cleaned at the touch of a button, receive alarms (man down, object position and movement, etc.) and react accordingly. These services demonstrate the tangible contribution of IP phones to business efficiency. Mapping similar functionalities via an IP phone client for smartphones is very complicated.
3. Secured Communication
Communication and productivity go hand in hand. Experience from the most challenging phases of the pandemic has shown how important the availability of suitable communication end devices is for maintaining productivity. One of the essential features of the latest IP phones is the built-in security mechanisms. They only allow specific devices access to the switchboard and vice versa, randomize the port through which calls are made and contain encryption mechanisms for all voice traffic. In the case of European manufacturers, the data protection guidelines valid in the EU and the respective countries are also considered “by design.” This makes it much more difficult for cybercriminals to record conversations over IP phones than over smartphones or conventional in-house telephones.
In addition, premium manufacturers of IP terminals and accessories regularly offer free firmware updates, which on the one hand add additional features to the functional equipment of the phones and on the other hand close possible security gaps or exploits. As a result, companies can be confident that they are using state-of-the-art devices in terms of security.
There are countless reasons for the unstoppable success of digital communication. But the playing field is now divided between those who use professional solutions and devices for this and those who don’t, even between early adopters and procrastinators. The game of the future in IP telephony is between those who see this technology as just another way to continue doing established things and those who benefit from these technologies by using them to transform their business processes to think in a completely new way.
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