Business users are implementing elements of convergence, even though many of them do not know what convergence is.
Systems integrator Omnetica, which defines convergence as the coming together of voice, data and video networks on a single IP infrastructure, carried out a survey in which 94 per cent of customers claimed to have implemented at least one of the eight elements of convergence.
The elements are: IP voice trunking, IP telephony, contact centres, conferencing over IP, workforce mobilisation, storage on IP, integrating networking and middleware.
However, Fausto Amoroso, vice-president of marketing at Omnetica, said 41 per cent did not know what convergence is. "It seems companies are going towards convergence in a piecemeal manner, rather than taking a strategic approach," he said.
Alex Black, strategy director at Omnetica, said: "Enterprises need to work out what they need to do long-term, not short-term. It's not a case of doing it all at once, either. You can eat the convergence elephant slice by slice."
Pim Bilderbeek, vice-president of telecommunications and network research at IDC, agreed that customer awareness seems low.
"We did a survey of WAN managers last year," Bilderbeek said. "A fifth did not know any benefits of IP telephony. Only a fifth were able to describe value-added elements such as conferencing and messaging."
Omnetica also found 46 per cent of respondents wanted to mobilise staff in the next year.
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