So there are oodles of threads on here talking about various providers of VOIP, PBX, etc, but I have been tasked with a simple question.
Why do we need to replace our existing system with a VOIP?
So without talking about vendors or different types Im just trying to put together a case for why we should invest in a new solution:
This is what i have so far but could use more please:
VOIP will use our existing network, wherever there is a data port (as long as it is POE) you can plug in a VOIP Phone
Voicemail, Caller ID, conferencing, forwarding (which our current system can do but not on all exensions)
Userswill have more ways to stay connected - By using "presence" technology, you'll be able to see if the users are available and how to get in touch with them
With unified communications (part of VOIP technology), easy to work remotely from any place with an Internet connection, and have access to the phone system (make a local sydney - sydney call from the USA by using the VOIP over VPN)
What else is there.
Well you have outlined the main reasons above but unless there is a need to replace phone system due to age/lack of function there is not much other justification IMHO.
I was fairly lucky in my last place that the old system was installed in 1996 which we replaced in March!
I think the point I'd hang on is this whole "Need to replace our current system" thing. If you don't have a pressing business case for unified comms, presence or shared cabling infrastructure, etc. then you probably don't have a need to replace your current system with a VOIP system.
However, if your current phone system is shagged and needs replacing with something anyway, then I think it certainly makes sense to replace it with a modern system that enables all the nice features that an integrated VOIP system makes possible.
Extra one for you: most smartphones have a SIP client available that allows your mobile phone to connect to the local network as a local extension (presuming you allow the phone onto your WiFi).
The other thing to look at is a hybrid system, there is the possibility of getting a compatible system with your existing one or a simply upgrading your existing one so that it supports both. I know that I was not able to get the whole VoIP thing done at one school as they were quite tied to their old digital system and with NZ price premiums the IP phones were way more expencive so out new system is of the old digital type to support out old digital phones but has modules so that we can simply put a VoIP bridge/gateway in there and integrate the wole lot together allowing the best of both worlds.
I think you got most of the main points across, there is also the phone anywhere internally over wireless aspect as well as phone from home/remote worker off sick kind of schenaro where you can tie in a smartphone app to your system as an extention. Lync does this quite nicely and a VoIP gateway in your PBX may allow for this kind of integration. You can even get external bridges that would tie into say four native lines on the existing old PBX and allow these lines to be accessed via a voip solution like Lync or even use exchange as voicemail (expencive) by putting redirects in your PBX to the IP extentions instead of a voicemail box.
There are tonnes of options, its just a case of figuring out what you want to do and why then working towards a good solution to handle it.
money isnt really a sticking point to be honest its just ourcurrent system short circuits every time there is an electrcial storm and we are looking to replace it completely. I have simply been asked why to go to a VOIP solution (which would mean we would need to replace lots of old non-poe switches with POE ones at an added expense) rather than just a non VOIP.
I really hate how its not possible to edit a post in this place, but I will add the following points to my original post:
Client available for smartphones
It is future-proof and it is cutting edge technology
Once I have provided a valid arguement that VOIP is the way to go I will then be looking at providers etc but my inclination as an EES house is to go with a full Lync PBX solution
You don't have to replace switches. When i implemented voip I only put in POE switches where there was a good reason to do so. For example in the music block where there was 1 phone I didn't see the point in spending the extra few hundred £ buying a poe over non-poe switch i just plugged the phone in using a ac adapter
Also calling costs can be a lot cheaper if you route via a voip provider. I get 0.9p/min to landlines and 7.5p/min to mobiles but more importantly I'm charged per second. This is savings on top of not needing all those ISDN30 lines from BT too (my VoIP provider is PAYG). Furthermore, if you are a multisite school your site to site calls wont cost you anything.
thanks Geoff i had already included the fact that costs of calls will be cheaper but the intra-site free calls is a valid point which i have added.
What I am really looking for is a 'wow' factor.
What would a sales person pitch to promote VOIP that would make someone want it? All ive really heard so far is a 'only go to it if you really need to replace your existing system' which to me isnt very pro-voip
I want to be pushing boundaries and forward thinking and have a good visionary bursar but there needs to be proper justification to splash the cash..
what about manageability? day to day running? etc
If you are considering Lync, it is sooooo much more than a VoIP system. The presence and collaboration it brings to all your staff are worthwhile on their own. It is then a logical step to use Lync as a PBX replacement and use the one system for IM,presence, collaboration and voice.
Yep step 1 is to prove why a VOIP solution is the way to go and then step 2 will be to present the other options for providers of PBX systems of which Lync is my favored option for your reasons
To be honest, @glennda pointing out that we are not going to have to spend circa 20 grand on additional switches is probably the winner here.
@Ric_ what hardware phones are compatible with Lync and is there an AC adapter available can you confirm?
It's not usually a case of an "ac adapter"... use POE Injectors... they run in line on the cat5 cable and are compatible with practically all VOIP devices which require POE.
@RabbieBurns - The enterprise voice (dialling outside) part of Lync is a killer feature but it is maybe 20% of the product. Under your EES, Lync is pennies to license so implement it without enterprise voice and you will have the following:
* PC-PC voice/video
* Shared whiteboards
* Desktop sharing - a killer support feature!
At that point, people will find it a lot easier to see the benefit of enterprise voice... no more second system to store their voicemail (it will appear in Outlook for them) and they will have click-to-call. Your receptionists will love the Attendant Console too. Depending upon deployment size, hardware requirements aren't huge either so it would basically be the cost of a few handsets and a voice gateway.
In my last place I installed Polycom CX300 USB handsets for people who didn't hotdesk. The receptionists also got wireless headsets (Plantronics CS50 USB I think). For 'common area' phones I used Snom 300 handsets. The gateway was a VegaStream Europa - I wouldn't recommend that.
Where I now work (with Domino), we are part way through an epic Lync deployment. Most of our users just have a Plantronics Blackwire USB headset which suits them fine. Some people have Polycom CX600 handsets and the receptionists have Jabra wireless headsets. We also use Snom MeetingPoint conference phones and I think there's some Polycom CX500 handsets in the states.
For quality handsets check out Microsoft Lync qualified products* - Yes the Polycom ones have very pretty screens but the build quality is terrible in comparison. There's a list of qualified devices at Phones and Devices Qualified for Microsoft Lync - AFAIK all either come with or have optional PSUs. PoE injectors are cheap though and a lot tidier.
For a PSTN gateway, we are using Asterisk boxes with Digium line cards. These work really well!
We're looking into it for reduced call costs over X years and redundancy. Designing it so VOIP is the preferred transport with failover to analogue (and vice versa).
We can also handle a lot more incoming and outgoing calls.
And (apart from digital handsets), we're reusing the analogue phones.
@Ric_ I reckon I've already covered those points in my proposal as advantages, not sure if ive added them above but thanks...
what happens to a usb handset if the pc is shut down ? does it jsut go to voicemail?
how does QoS work for a usb phone that just shares the network connection with its host (guessing here)
regarding a pstn gateway the cost of implenting a FOSS option like asterick Vs the hardware lync box it is favourable to go down the lync option