Using Cisco IP phones inside a Company
Cisco IP phones are important to a business as they help in making work easier by combining the organization’s voice and data systems, to reach the employees from any location within the organization. This improves communication. One advantage of the cisco IP phones is that they are cost effective on long distance charges and they have the capability of allowing calls to be transferred to any person at any given location. At the same time, employees working in remote areas can be dialed through the secured VPN (virtual private networking connections that are available within the same network. One fact that distinguishes the cisco IP phones from others is that they provide adaptability options that enables them to collaborate other networks, a condition not present in the traditional communication devices. There exists various types of cisco phones that can be used in a business setup. Each of the type has distinct features and advantages. The purchase decision by a business is influenced by the need and the intended use of the phone.
With the importance of IP phones increasing, this paper will analyze the use of Cisco IP phones within an organization, through the identification of various advantages and disadvantages of its application within a business or company, the various Cisco IP phones available, some of the companies that have embraced the technology, as well as how the phone can improve business performance.
Types of cisco IP phones
There are various types of IP phones available to support and enhance business communication. The Cisco IP series available include cisco 6900 series, 7900, 8900, 3900, 7800, 8800, and 9900 series, among others (Cisco, n.d). All these phones series have different features to support the small and larger enterprises. Benefits of some of the series to the business are discussed below.
8900 phone series
The 8900 phone series helps a business to increase and encourage collaborations thus improving the company’s efficiency (Cisco, 2008). The phone is implemented without increasing the company’s operating expenses. It provides a multimedia experience and supports the XML applications which helps in addressing business processes in new ways as it boosts productivity (Cisco, 2008). Some of the advantages of this series include high quality multimedia communication, user friendly designs, enhanced viewing options as well as greater choices and convenience.
8800 phone series
This series is important to an organization that values its employees and would like to increase their responsiveness. They have additional programming and a customizable line with feature keys to help one share lines and speed dial. With this type of a phone, an individual is able to dial a given person and talk over the phone.
This series enables the user to share information with others who are using smartphones. With it, one is able to import contacts and call history via Bluetooth from a tablet irrespective of the operating system being used by the smartphone or tablet. It can also move audio path of an active voice of a smartphone.
Advantages and disadvantages
Whether a business has 3 employees or in excess of a 1000, cisco IP phones can help such a business to increase its productivity through linking data, video and voice together to enhance mobility and access to information faster and effectively. The IP networks helps a company to offer better service, enable e-working, while at the same time improve collaboration among other benefits. Some of the advantages that Cisco IP Phones brings to small and large businesses include the following.
Improved customer contact
The modern businesses are operating on technological platforms. This being the case, a business or a company can liaise with the customers using various means including phone, fax messages, emails and /or click to chart options. This option is available on the Cisco IP phones and communication can be made by a customers to request for orders or by the company to request for payments or informing the client of new products available.
Advanced mobility services
By using the IP wireless phones, an individual within and outside of an organization is able to access the performance and the ongoing of a company. Data from the warehouse, conference room, the shop floor area can be accessedfrom the phone with ease, provided there is a broadband internet connections. What happens, is that the teleworkers who are connected to the corporate networks are able to keep their telephone services in the same manner as their office desk would. Those workers who frequently move can use the Cisco features including Wifi’s and soft phones to maintain a full telephony at any given time.This would be especially important if an organization requires frequent real-time information from the employees. It therefore holds that depending on the location of an employee, the reachability of the person is greatly enhanced through a single number at the office.
Linking the office phones and the communication system to an IP network, one would be able to undertake various communication options including video conferencing, phone calls, and web conferencing through a single easy to use interface (Cisco systems, 2005).
Reduced costs and increased productivity
The use of IP phones helps a company in reducing costs on phone charges. The use of voice and data networks simplifies the installation and the management of the network, thus leading to a reduction ofmaintenance and installation costs (Cisco Systems, 2005). The aspect of a unified text messaging enables reduced time to be used when managing the texts. At the same time, the voice, video and web conferencing helps a company in cutting costs involved in travelling costs and time.
Enhanced security and contact center
The cisco phones have the capability of encrypting voice media as well as signals and performing device authentication without adding components to the device or redesigning the system to ensure compliance. It therefore offers a secure and a reliable unified communication environment where a company can communicate confidential information to its employees without leaking the information to other networks without the company’s authorizations.
Conferencing services and personal communicator client
The conferencing services are very vital in an organization as they improve service delivery. Through the conferencing services, training and development services can be carried out without minding the location of the employee. Through teleconferencing, collaboration between employees and the management isenhanced, thus helping in reducing the time needed to communicate and the process inefficiencies in situations where the processes are globally distributed. The cisco phone technology offers options for scheduled conferences as well as ad-hoc web and video conference services where the proceedings could be recorded and be sent to other users who could not have made it to the conference through emails. Example of teleconference from BlueJeans. (n.d). Cisco TelePresence Video & Microsoft Lync
This simplifies instructional means and ensures that the company employees in totality can be reached at or communicated to even though they are unavailable for teleconference.
Personal communicator client on the other hand offers video phones and instant messaging among other services to voicemail and right of entry to the web conferencing services. All these commands are directed from a unit PC/laptop. The advantage of this service to a business is that, it can initiate a voice conversation, uplift it to a video or web conferencing session, thus making it possible to share documents and other presentation. It can also invite more people to the conference by only clicking a single button on the client. It therefore enhances productivity within an organization since multiple functionality can be undertaken within a single click.
Disadvantages of the IP phones
Like any other phone technology, IP phones have drawbacks which leads to their minimal usage or acceptance amongitsusers. Some of these drawbacks include their cost and dependability on internet connection and electricity. It should be noted that some of the IP phones have a lot of features for the end users to choose from. This is both an advantage as well as a drawback as it may lead to confusion on the feature to use in a given application.
One of the greatest challenge with IP phones in business is the fact that they heavily rely on internet connection. In case of internet breakdown, there will no possibility of using the phone system. At the same time, the quality of the content and connection depends on the internet. This implies that the computer system must have an updated and stable connection to ensure excellent calls.
In comparison with the traditional phones, the cost is quite exorbitant. This may lead to many companies and people shying away from buying them and opting to use the traditional phones which are much cheaper. This fact does not render the IP phones bad, rather, it has to be noted that the advantages of the phones have become known to many and thus increasing their demand. The net result of this is that their prices have declined, making them quite affordable and to a great extent cheaper than the modern smartphones. This fact is therefore not a major obstacles to business.
Virus encroachment and hacking
Though in very little magnitude, the telephony system is sometimes affected by viruses which may lead to destruction of company information. At the same time, hacking into the company’s information may compromise the information kept by the company to hackers.
Since electricity has to be present to enable usage of the IP phones, this remedy renders the phones to be expensive. Extra costs ought to be paid to meet the additional power usage. In case of blackouts, it would be difficult to use the equipment, thereby making them a bad choice for business use since backup power supply must be available. This fact does not render the IP phones bad, nor does the power cost exceed its advantages, but for the purpose of this study, power can be a real distractor of IP hones.
Though there are minimal experiences by companies on the drawbacks of the IP phones, little has been reported as potential risk to a business. Nevertheless, remedies ought to be sought to address the disadvantages. Power seems to be the major drawback since the system is electricity dependent. To overcome this element, additional power backup should be installed to serve the system during power loss and blackouts. At the same time, proper securing measures should be putin place to ensure that viruses and hacking is reduced as it has the potential of affecting the business performance. The organization should also ensure that there is reliable internet connection to enhance quality in communication.
Companies that have embraced the technology
The telepresence provided by Cisco IP phones cannot be underestimated. Many companies both local and international have been using the phones to improve on their video technology within their organizations. Some of these companies include staples, AT&T Cos as well as Cabela (Cisco, 2009). Cisco announced that it was working with top retailers too help in the transformation of their business through video applications. As well as video analytics. It is indicated that companies are turning to technology in an attempt to reduce costs and increase efficiencies, thereby improving productivity, profitability, and customer experiences. Staples Company uses telepresence for easier employees’ collaboration and to ease acquisition (Douaihy, 2010, 02). Staples has deployed the use of “in person” meetings, so that it could streamline its internal communications throughout its business empire globally. At the same time, the company has been using the Tele-Presence to ease integration of the associates and processes after it acquired corporate express company (Walsh, 2007).
Cisco telepresence works in companies available from BlueJeans. (n.d). Cisco TelePresence Video & Microsoft Lync
AT&T companies have been using the Cisco Tele-presence platform to manage their business globally. The Cisco Tele-Presenseenables video connectivity and has the multipoint capability, thereby allowing the retailers to meet customers and partners in various locations globally through the video conferencing (Szigeti, McMenamy, Saville &Glowacki, 2009). It is also possible to schedule multipoint intercompany calls easily.
The comprehensive portfoliosof the Cisco IP phones has the capability of providing company leading endpoint solutions. These endpoints are beneficial to all organizations, whether small, medium or big companies. These endpoints supports single and multiline options that helps a business to communicate in all environments from the low to the most active settings. At the same time, the different endpoints ranging from the basic to those that are fully featured helps an organization to enjoy the collaboration options when meeting corporate objectives without straining the company’s budget. The support for video communication helps an organization in reducing the travel costs, while at the same time accelerates decision making process. This is true especially because the decision can be made in a virtual meeting, passed and implemented without waiting for the physical appearance of the key decision makers. Cisco portfolios have the ability of supporting mobile devices and therefore can be integrated to phones that use the cisco intelligent proximity. This enables an individual within a company to communicate with other users within the network. This being the case, it is imminent that a company can benefit greatly if the Cisco IP phones are embraced within an organization. Its implementation would help in the improvement of exceptional communication as well as collaboration within the various department within an organization. The disadvantages of the IP phones which include costs, power dependency, hacking possibility and internet dependence are outdone by the benefits which the phones derive to a company. The company should therefore decide on the work that a given IP phone is intended for and then chose one of the phone that possesses the said features. This is so because phones are designed for various uses and platforms.
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