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While conventional telecommunication networks have permitted us to traverse distance and time related barriers, the novel multimedia realm is continually allowing the world to include vital physical cues within information stream, introducing physical reality into the sphere of electronic communications. Every day, brilliant minds are coming up with new devices and mechanisms of handling communication, consequently triumphing over the challenges of distance and time. Over the recent past, the term “telecommunication” has navigated across systems such that it has eventually become part of human beings’ daily lexicon, despite its definition’s elusiveness.
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Telecommunication has over the years moved from being just a simple means of linking people to a “way of life.” Ranging from transacting businesses, socializing, teaching, healing, entertaining, protecting, and working, telecommunication has become the center-pole for life, communication efficiency is much better than it was some decades ago; thanks to the immense revolution of telecommunication (Goleniewski, 2001). Two decades ago (1980s and 1990s), the focus of Telecommunication and Information Technology (IT) industry was to reengineer systems in retail, manufacturing, financial services and governments in the endeavor to reduce cost and enhance competitiveness through speeding communications. However, the revolution of telecommunication technology has integrated the consumers’ needs, through transformation of all the aspects of communication and information (Goleniewski, 2001).
According to Deloitte (2007), the telecommunication, since its inception more than a hundred years ago, has been experiencing constant reinvention, innovation and growth. The usage of internet in many developed nations has covered the greater percentage of the population as it continues to cover a significant population in developing nations. From 20 years ago, the technology revolution has led to the widespread use of mobile phones. Deloitte argues that mobile phones, once exclusively for the rich and with very limited features, have become available to all people with diversified features such as television, cameras, internet, and video just to mention but a few. Telecommunication revolution has led to increased demand such that ISPs is struggling to keep-up with the demand.
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Revolution has facilitated to the growing list of application of telecommunication. Video calling, downloaded music, and social networking are some of the new network dependent applications that have emerged with the revolution of telecommunication (Deloitte, 2007).
Convergence is defined as the tendency for dissimilar technological system to develop /evolve towards executing similar tasks. Separate technologies like voice, data and video can share resources interacting with each other and synergistically creating novel efficiencies. “Savings can often be realized by converting all connections to the outside world at a site to IP, and then combining those IP streams into one access pipe, with appropriate QoS tags for each packet. This is commonly referred to as “convergence” (Fowler, 2003, p. 28). A good example of emerging technology that is characterized by convergence is Voice over Internet Protocol
Jekins (2006) has argued that multi-level convergent media that surrounds the world today facilitates to the continuous reforming of communication and information modes, adapting to the technological demands. Convergence has led to the change in the way people generate, consume, interact with others and learn. Through convergence telecommunication information technology and computing have been linked via the internet increasing the range of communication tools and services and triggering the emergence of digital media space. The 20th century telecommunication revolution has led to digital communication, which has made it possible for individuals and organizations to deliver video, audio, and text materials via the same wireless fiber optic cables.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
VoIP is an emerging technology that encompasses communication protocols and transmission technologies for multimedia sessions and voice communications. The technology involves communication via internet rather than the conventional communication via public switched telephone networks (PSTN). VoIP systems use session control protocols in controlling the teardown and set-up of calls and audio codec that encode speech consequently allowing transmission through an IP networks as a digital audio through an audio stream (Fowler, 2003).
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Pros and Cons of employing VoIP
Every decision maker should endeavor to know why he/she should install the new technology as opposed to the old one. Installation of VoIP is accompanied by several advantages, which should trigger consideration of its adoption.
Save Money: The lower equipment cost, maintenance cost, administrative cost, and lower monthly recurring cost are among the deep-seated reasons as to why our cooperation should employ VoIP (Lindsay, n.d). Furthermore, the technology is bound to increase productivity, consequently reducing the initial establishment cost. However, the promise is relatively difficult to verify; as a new technology, most of the promises are based on predictions.
Preparation for the Future: It is always advantageous to be prepared for the future. The early adopter of any given technology sometimes benefits from the early integration of the technology and training of the staff, consequently providing quite an important competitive edge. Nevertheless, the early adoption can cause a company to suffer unforeseen technological implications, jeopardizing the future of the organization, in risks known as the cutting edge, or bleeding edge (Fowler, 2003).
Improvement of Productivity: Simplified provision: Telecommunication installation entails physical installation, and monitoring of interface equipment, inside cabling, switching equipment and outside cabling for service delivery. VoIP is promising to facilitate reduction of number of switches and physical cables which should be laid.
More Rapid Provisioning: VoIP allows the use of some of existing cables, hence lowering the installation cost. The current cables require just some modification to fit the requirements of VoIP.
Easier Management: Unlike in the traditional system where managers are forced to coordinate data from different manifold sources, convergence in VoIP combines multiple networks and systems into one set of cables easing telecommunication services’ management.
Presentation of company’s image: Any company should endeavor to improve its public image and instill confidence on its clientele. Companies that continue to use the old technology are likely to loose its customers to more competitive companies using more current technologies. However, the organization that rushes into adoption of a new technology such as VoIP is likely to suffer the uncertainties of a new technology (Lindsay, n.d).
Some other disadvantages that an organization is likely to suffer from the new technology includes: Cultural clash, regulatory uncertainties, immature protocols resulting from compatibilities challenges, security, unproven reliability and need for directories for integrating multiple locations (Fowler, 2003).
As observed, Voice over Internet Protocol is an emerging technology that is yet to be adopted by many organizations. Considering the various advantages and opportunities surrounding the technology, I would rather that our corporation adopts it consequently taking the competitive edge. Almost all the limitations mentioned in this report are unverified; they emerge from fears of uncertainties. But employment of the technology in phases would safe the company from a major hit if the uncertainties are valid.
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