Given the benefits of VoIP
and video conferencing, twice the number of companies'
plans to invest in convergence this year
Converged networks enable enterprises
to transmit data, voice and video over the same network,
the end result being cost savings.
That's why companies
in almost all verticals are increasing investment in
Convergence this year. Overall, investment in Convergence
will double this year compared to last year. In the
last one year just 8 percent invested in this area,
but during 2003-2004, 15 percent plan to invest in Convergence.
companies have been the prime investors in Convergence,
small and medium companies are showing increasing interest.
is a great cost-saver. It allows you to use many services
through your existing data network infrastructure.
You can make
voice calls (phone calls), transmit video images (conduct
video conferences), and transport the usual applications
data through your LAN and WAN. It also accounts for
optimal utilization of unused bandwidth in your network.
IDBI Bank uses IP phones for communication between its
nationwide offices, and has saved Rs 5 Lakh in a particular
month on phone bills. Outgoing call centers use VoIP
to call clients in USA and Europe—all at a fraction
of the cost required for making calls over PSTN.
considers the two most popular Convergence applications—VoIP
With the help
of converged networks, companies can make effective
use of VoIP technology to make voice calls over the
data network. The use of VoIP dramatically reduces communication
costs, and enforces the use of aspects like QoS, bandwidth
prioritization, and monitoring in a network.
44 percent have
already invested in VoIP and 54 percent plan to do so
this year. The cost benefit will be easily realized
by those who have a high number of users (and a high
volume of calls). One-third (32 percent) of the respondents
say they have 100+ users for VoIP calls. 37 percent
said it's used by 10 - 50 users. And 11 percent said
51 - 100 users make VoIP calls.
also use Video Conferencing (VC), which is considered
the 'next-best thing to being there.' VC is a good way
to save time and cost on travel. And it allows interactive
sessions, whiteboards, and notes-sharing, all designed
to make it seem like a real meeting.
38 percent companies
use video conferencing facilities and 41 percent plan
to invest in this area this year. Video conferencing
is effectively used for one-to-one
communications or for video conferencing between small
groups. 47 percent said video conferencing is used between
two users, for one-to-one communications. 20 percent
say video conferencing is used for 3 - 5 users. And
13 percent said groups of more than 10 use video conferencing.
have realized the various benefits presented by convergent
networks, and are planning to implement VoIP or video
conferencing. However, the budget allocated for convergence
isn't showing any exceptional growth.
Since most of
the existing networks are IP-based, it doesn't require
a massive investment to adapt it for VoIP or video.
However, equipment such as routers and gateways will
need to be upgraded/replaced to enable the network for
voice or video. This will require a modest investment
and it's up to top management to consider this. Cost
should not be an inhibitor when adapting existing networks,
after all one needs QoS.
- 8 percent of the 300 companies that were
surveyed already use a converged infrastructure.
- 44 percent already use VoIP, and 38 percent
use video conferencing solutions.
- Average 52 users in a company with convergence
use VoIP. 32 percent companies have enabled
more than 100 personnel on VoIP.
- 15 percent of the companies plan to invest
in convergence architectures in 2003-2004.
- Out of these, 54 percent want to invest in
VoIP and 41 percent in VC.
- Not to be taken aback by the myths surrounding
converged networks and applications like VoIP
and Video Conferencing (VC).
- Companies that have medium and high amounts
of intra-office communication should consider
VoIP as a measure to cut interoffice communication
- Video conferencing will be necessary, only
if enterprise operations require it. However,
it may be necessary to upgrade your networks
for better throughput and faster response time.
Bank has diverted all voice calls between its
offices and branches nationwide through its data
network using VoIP technology.
Like any progressive enterprise, IDBI Bank was
looking at ways to cut costs. It realized that
one efficient way to reduce costs was to utilize
existing data networks for carrying voice traffic.
Says Neeraj B. Bhai, CTO, IDBI Bank, "In
an organization communication costs comprise a
rather big chunk of expense and we had to devise
ways to minimize it. It was also noticed that
the bandwidth in the nationwide WAN was not being
fully utilized. This was mainly because the WAN
had been built beyond current requirements to
support redundancy. And since there was bandwidth
available we decided to put it to further use."
By deploying VoIP technology in the existing
WAN infrastructure the company was able to save
a substantial amount. Says Neeraj, "Deployment
started in September 2001 and the VoIP setup was
functional by February 2002. By June 2002, the
bank had saved Rs 5 Lakh."
ROI on VoIP
The bank's in-house IT team has developed a software
which keeps track of savings made from using the
IP Phones. It collects information from the call
manager regarding call duration and compares it
with the pulse rates of MTNL and other service
providers. This enables the bank to calculate
the returns in real time.
Utilization of additional bandwidth
The bank's network had been built with capacity
for very high traffic since its inception. It
typically uses 64K links between the locations
and has not installed more than two IP phones
at each location. Each IP phone uses 11.2 Kbps
bandwidth, so the two phones put together do not
use more than 22.4 Kbps. The network is also monitored
at each link. If bandwidth utilization crosses
60 percent, excess capacity is added to the link.