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Avoiding the hype with telephony

Voice applications are moving away from circuit-switched technology toward IP technology. How can I avoid the hype when developing telephony strategies?
The best way to avoid being carried away by the hype surrounding any technology is to conduct some up front research. First, you need to understand what the technology can do for you and second, you should verify that it has already been successful for others looking to solve the same problem.

In addition to these basics, there are additional factors to keep in mind that relate to the specific technology. In the case of migrating to IP technology for voice, you'll need to understand the primary reason you're investigating a move, are you looking to deploy new applications, or simply replace a circuit switched system for the same functionality. It is critical to ensure that you will not lose any features you already have, and will continue to need in your future communications system. Some have gotten caught up in the "cool" factor of VOIP only to realize later that they've lost key functionality because it didn't transfer. Consider the total solution - will you go all IP or is a PSTN/IP gateway required? Determine if you'll replace all of your applications (voicemail, call center, etc.) or only certain ones. You may need to build funding into your plan for connectors to legacy systems that will remain in use.

Most importantly, obtain references of people who have used the solution in consideration, and analyze the costs and benefits of this as a long term investment.

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