THERE has been a marked increase in local activity in the Voice over Internet Protocol market as VoIP business models emerge in the US, Europe and Japan.
Several new office developments have incorporated IP telephony systems, while some local software developers have created third-party offerings to tap in to the predicted surge in demand for VoIP.
Cisco WA State manager Stuart Hoare said there were currently 20 Cisco IP telephony sites in Perth.
Mr Hoare said Cisco’s clients in Perth ranged from sites of just 20 telephones to as many as 2,000 across a broad range of industry and government organisations including Woodside, CSC and the City of Melville.
WA Business News understands that the VoIP project at Woodside’s new St George’s Terrace premises is a joint project by PIVoD Technology, which supplied the software, and Alphawest, which supplied the hardware.
Mr Hoare said Cisco’s Perth office had experienced an increase in requests regarding IP telephony in the past 12 months indicating the growing acceptance of VoIP technology.
“The cost of IP telephony has come down dramatically,” he said. “As the standards evolve we’ll see more and more of this.
“The technology is proven, it’s not bleeding edge like it used to be.
“What we are starting to see now is government tenders requesting VoIP expertise.”
Companies considering an IP telephony system might include a greenfield building project, such as Woodside’s new home in St Georges Terrace or CSC’s Subiaco development, or an organisation that was upgrading, maintaining or replacing its PABX system.
Mr Hoare said the benefits of an IP telephony system were its mobility and flexibility.
“It’s far more of an employee service,” he said. “We can integrate a lot more things with the IP telephony. You can integrate the phone system into your directory.
“You can use a soft phone – that acts like a real telephone, for example if an employee wants to work from home.”
Mr Hoare said issues experienced in previous years with networks’ inability to handle VoIP technology were gradually being ironed out as the technology gained increased market acceptance.
“I haven’t seen a downside with IP telephony, because you build the network to mitigate that [network issues],” he told WA Business News.
Mr Hoare said a basic IP telephony system included “the phone, the software that sits on a network, and the gateway that connects to Telstra services”.
A raft of third-party applications had been built to integrate into Cisco’s current system, he said.
Two such systems have been developed by Perth-based multimedia specialist PIVoD and Cortec Systems.
“Off the back of a major project we are about to launch our latest technology, SymPhonE technology, which uses Cisco’s IP telephony system to control all aspects of meeting rooms, video conferencing suites and presentation rooms,” PIVoD executive director Phillip Jenkins said.
“This [SymPhonE] significantly enhances Cisco’s offering by using the IP infrastructure which utilises PIVoD’s media platform to manage all aspects of typical media system including air-conditioning, lighting and security all over the standard IP infrastructure.”
Mr Jenkins said PIVoD was confident SymPhonE would be readily accepted in the marketplace as VoIP became more widely utilised.
“It [VoIP] is only now gaining a level of maturity because previously the economics of it weren’t viable,” he said.
Cortec Systems is another Perth-based firm that, having recently won the backing of three major venture capital firms, was in the process of marketing its VoIP solution in the US. Cortec Systems vice-president business development, Steve Telburn, said his company’s FreewayQoS addressed two of the major problems associated with VoIP, including quality of service and the expertise required to establish a VoIP network.
“The fundamental thing is that data networks were not designed to handle voice, so there are a number of problems, including quality of service,” Mr Tilburn said. “Our product guarantees that quality of service.”
Further, he said FreewayQoS automated network operations that otherwise would require particular staff expertise.
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