Getting Wired

Businesses in new buildings might consider IP convergence as a way of reducing construction costs. Routing all systems through an IP interface means you don't need a separate telephone system, reducing the cost of wiring. But it might be wise to include one dedicated phone line for the building in case the IP system suffers a failure.

Benefits of IP Convergence

While companies take many considerations into account when looking at IP convergence strategies, there are two major factors to focus upon. The first is cost. By consolidating all of your services (phones, data, video, etc.) into one platform, you've only one account to maintain. Several companies offer IP convergence packages specifically designed to reduce a company's operational costs.

The second consideration is that all your traditionally discrete services will be lumped together into one delivery system. This comes with its own set of pros and cons. On the positive side, you only have to maintain one network. You don't require the services of multiple technicians to keep your various systems online and functional -- everything uses the same basic network.

That's also a downside. A single network also means a single point of failure. If for some reason that network should go down, a company would lose all functionality. The phones would no longer work, security camera feeds would be inaccessible and any other functions built into the system would no longer respond.

Another benefit is that IP convergence allows companies to create a more mobile workforce. Employees can access corporate functions through the company's network, often by using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN helps maintain corporate security by separating business traffic from other Internet traffic. Remote employees can use the Internet to access everything from corporate files to voicemail messages.

Since IP systems are interoperable and modifiable, they're flexible and adaptive. As new functions and features become available through technological advancements, companies and organizations can incorporate them into their existing systems without the need for new infrastructure.