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Leveraging IP Communications to Enhance Business

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
comms

Technological developments have such a powerful impact on society and have often been the catalysts for major global changes.

Such is the allure of digital communications in almost any major industry, revolutionizing the way businesses are operating, resulting in higher efficiencies, lowered total costs and increased profits. The possibilities of increased broadband capacities as well as more efficient wireless digital communication facilities have prompted new and existing businesses to explore the benefits of moving towards digital communications, particularly in the realm of IP communications.

This trend holds true in the Asia Pacific, where studies made by experts from Frost and Sullivan indicated that companies spent over 56 percent of their total expenditures on IP -based enterprise telephony solutions. This is due largely to the increasing need for collaboration and conferencing with offshore or remote branches. Aside from that, more enterprises in this region have a steadily growing mobile workforce, which would require constant communication through e-mail or telephony through mobile means.

On top of that, there is a growing trend within Asia Pacific companies towards a unification or convergence in their communication solutions. Convergence between desktop and telephony facilities as well as other communication infrastructure within these enterprises is only made possible through the use of digital IP communications. Communications have also grown complex, evolving from text-based or voice communications, to the use of multimedia.

A white paper by China Telecom Americas indicates that the need for convergence in IP communications to enhance businesses is much more evident in China, with Internet users growing at a staggering annual rate of more than 40 percent. This rate has grown so rapid that there were over 300 million Internet users in China in 2009, which made up more than 40 percent of total Internet users worldwide. Studies also show that among these users, more than 117 million are mobile Internet subscribers. This trend is true not only for the continually booming business community, but also among Chinese bloggers, gamers, shoppers and social networkers.

These figures go to show how technologically driven the Chinese as well as the rest of the Asia Pacific region are. As the industrial and economic landscape in the region continue to evolve, businesses should continue to learn more how they can leverage these technological advances particularly in the area of IP communications. A continued shift into this paradigm would eventually reface the social, economic and business outlook in this region in the years to come.

Latest Advancements in IP Communications in Asia

The continuing paradigm shift towards convergence and the use of IP communications should be taken advantage of by businesses in the Asia Pacific region as a move to enhance the way they operate, communicate with suppliers, partners and customers, and the way they provide and deliver their products or services. Companies should learn to leverage these advances in technology to improve not only their productivity, but their overall business operations as well.

Several businesses in the region have already benefited much from convergence and the use of advancements in IP communications. These applications transverse all industries and are not bounded by their geographical locations. The following describes some of these success stories enjoyed by several companies in the Asia Pacific region as well as some news and trends that clearly show this paradigm shift in action.

 

  • Several airlines have already implemented online infrastructures that allow passengers to check-in for their flights from anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection. The resulting benefit is a reduced need to additional personnel and staff to man counters and customer service points. On top of that, IP communication services provide real time and up-to-date status to clients even on their mobile devices – increasing customer satisfaction and reducing time-consuming and resource-intensive inquiries.
  • The use of multimedia capabilities through IP communications have made it possible for Quality Assurance and Engineering teams on the factory floor to take accurate and up-to-date information and video, which can be immediately sent to managers anywhere in the world. In such arrangements, critical decisions can be made more accurately without further delays or costly downtime to operations.
  • Companies save considerable amounts of money from more cost effective IP communication solutions, reducing capital expenditures as well as significant operational expenses.

 

Major corporations like Tata Communications are expanding their global networks, upgrading their supply capacity across these networks with its continually growing Telepresence Exchange Services. The company has expanded its global reach not only in the Asia Pacific region, but also in the Gulf and Eurasia sectors.

BPO s and Contact Centers in countries like the Philippines are continuing to enjoy the benefits of leveraging IP communications in their core businesses, particularly with the launching of VoiceOne’s fully functional IP communications services offering top-of-the-line VoIP services and other enterprise solutions that this industry needs.

The business world has seen how the leading business communications provider Avaya Inc. has partnered with Samsung Electronics to develop and market various IP -related products for telecommunications. This move proved successful as more and more customers from the region and anywhere else opted to choose IP -based services and telephony solutions for their businesses.

How Can Businesses Leverage IP Communication Technologies

A white paper from Aspect shows that businesses planning to migrate and leverage IP communications to improve and enhance their core businesses need to determine the proper infrastructure that would cater to their business needs. Certain stages need to be carefully studied and taken into consideration to determine an efficient strategy that would make their transition as successful as possible to produce the best results for their business. These include the following key phases:

 

  • Multi-Channel Capability – aside from VoIP calls, IP communications can also involve other Web-based contact avenues, particularly e-mail, Web-chat and Web call back. Businesses should carefully study whether these key features would integrate well with their core businesses or would just be hindrances to growth. If used properly in a Customer Relationship Management context, businesses can leverage these features well and improve customer services and relationships with key clients as well as prospective customers.
  • Extending Geographic Capability – As businesses continue to grow as seen in the Asia Pacific marketplace, it would be inevitable for remote or even offshore locations to be established to cater to the growing customer and business needs. The ability to communicate beyond geographical borders would be critical and important at this stage, as main offices need to be in constant touch with remote offices and locations, as well as with mobile staff.
  • IP -Based Contact Centers -- An intrinsic part of growing businesses is increased communications with customers, partners and suppliers. In this regard, maintaining contact centers, either through the company’s own IP -PBX system or through hosted VoIP services, would be an added advantage to increase customer satisfaction and improved businesses.
  • Mobile VoIP Capabilities -- Global businesses are leveraging on the features and capabilities of mobile VoIP services for continued customerto- agent communications. Advances in this area have resulted in better VoIP communication quality, which is critical in customer-focused businesses and organizations. With further advancements in VoIP services such as VoIP over 3G, mobile communications would be far better than ever.

 

Upcoming Trends that Asian Business Should Watch Out For

The growing popularity and increasing reliance of Asian businesses on VoIP communications have prompted providers with even better systems with new features and capabilities that would take IP communications to the next level. Such systems would be more cost effective in the long run and would ease the burden on the corporate budget as well as a significantly reduced cost of operations.

Global investments in the Chinese market as well as the Asia Pacific continue to flourish with tremendous growth, even in a currently unstable economy across the globe. Companies from North and South America as well as a variety of other entities from Europe and even Asia continue influx into the region to establish their presence. It is important though that these companies leverage convergence in their IP communications for a more successful venture or undertaking in the region.

The establishment and deployment of IP -based NGNs or Next Generation Networks just shows the global trend of IP communications as the mainstream telecommunications infrastructure. Aside from that, the growing public clamor for wider broadband capabilities as well as more efficient mobile capabilities should be taken into account when establishing telecommunications facilities that only IP communications can provide. Such direction will provide new and emerging businesses an alternative and effective cost model that would eventually enhance their core businesses.

Every business, from small enterprises to large conglomerations, is striving to enhance their core competencies for better customer communications that would play a significant part in growth. Leveraging IP communications to enhance the business in this area is a cost effective strategy that would bring out the desired results and expectations that the business needs to take it to the next level and in preparation for the future.

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