Business communications thatare dynamic, blended, multimedia, mobile, efficient, intuitive, reflecting the changing nature of the business stage itself.

The PC and telephone sit side by side on the desk, but in many organizations, the networks that serve them couldn’t be farther apart. A traditional telephony network serves the telephone and fax machine. A newer Internet protocol (IP) network connects the PC or laptop to the company intranet and the Internet.

If it sounds like a costly and inefficient proposition to buy, install, troubleshoot and maintain completely separate networks—well, it is. Forward-thinking organizations have been quick to take advantage of IP to unify all the many ways the business communicates—voice, data and video/multimedia—onto one cost-effective network.

The Business Advantages of IP and Virtual Communications

Running business applications on a converged voice-and-data network streamlines the architecture, optimizes use of available bandwidth, reduces costs and enables powerful new services, such as “call follow-me,” unified communications and number portability—blending the many ways people communicate in a dynamic workplace.

Consider some possibilities:

  • A call to your office number could ring at your desk phone, then your cell phone, then remote office, etc., until it finds you wherever you are, at home or on the road
  • From an airport, a hotel room, a Wi-Fi hot spot or anywhere, you could change these forwarding instructions as you change locations or form temporary project teams
  • You could collaborate with distant colleagues, customers or suppliers using shared Web browsing, desktop collaboration and videoconferencing, all linked to your email and voice mail
  • You could log in to use your personal communications features, message stores, contact lists, preferences, etc. from any desktop or mobile IP phone, which doesn’t even have to be a telephone
  • A company could publish local telephone numbers for the various geographic locations it serves, yet handle all those calls in one location
  • Branch offices and telecommuters can enjoy all the convenience and productivity features of the main office communication system, just as though they were in the office

IP makes business communications more powerful and productive than ever, even as business is conducted far outside the reach of the enterprise network—and even when the “office” is an airplane seat today, a hotel room tomorrow, and a WiFi hot spot the next day.

Get the advantages of virtual communications for your organization Going IP streamlines a company’s overall communications architecture. You can converge services from two separate networks into one network— one that has relatively simple requirements.

Here are the typical elements:

A PBX with a SIP-enabled trunk side. Toshiba PBX systems with a Voice over IP (VoIP) interface card—from the Strata CIX40 for small businesses to the Strata CIX1200 for large enterprises—natively support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks for connecting to a service provider’s IP network. A Toshiba Strata Media Application Server (MAS) or MicroMAS supports advanced applications such as unified messaging, auto-attendant, interactive voice response, automatic call distribution, videoconferencing and more. The applications are already on the server; just activate the ones you want by software license. IP telephones or PCs. Full-featured IP phones that look and feel like traditional telephones are widely available. For example, Toshiba’s IP5000-series telephones include all the features and functionality of our digital telephones, enabling users to have the best of traditional telephone features in an IP telephone. A PC or laptop can be equipped with Toshiba SoftIPT® software to serve as an IP soft phone.

These devices connect directly into a standard computer network port. There’s no need for the old telephone jack and separate telephone wiring. Since the IP phones identify themselves to the network, adding or moving extensions is as simple as unplugging from one port and plugging into another.

An Internet telephony service provider (ITSP) or SIP trunking provider. With the rapid growth in VoIP for external business communications, these service providers are easy to find, especially in metropolitan markets. The ITSP provides any integrated access device, such as a Cisco router, that may be necessary to connect the trunk to the PBX. A local area network (LAN) that supports quality voice. If your organization’s internal network is engineered for the appropriate levels of delay, jitter and data loss, it will deliver expected levels of speech quality to users without compromising performance for other critical business applications.

With IP, business communications can be dynamic, blended, multimedia, mobile, efficient, intuitive—reflecting the changing nature of the business stage itself. Geographic limitations dissolve. Teams collaborate across counties or continents. Connectivity follows people instead of tethering them. And as prices for just about everything are spiraling up, your network and communications bills can go down.

The transition doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Toshiba technologies enable you to adopt IP in stages. Traditional digital and new VoIP services can operate side by side on the same Strata CIX system. As you add new stations and prove the business case, you can grow the IP side of the network as you go.

Find out how your organization can take advantage of IP to create a personalized, virtual communications system—one that matches the dynamic nature of your business environment.