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IBM Warms up to VoIP

IBM is positioning itself for IP Telephony with a new group of services to help customers migrate telephone systems to Internet Protocol networks.

The new Network Consulting, Integration and Deployment Services group was formed to help customers plan and migrate their current enterprise telephone systems to a single network using Internet Protocol (IP), IBM said.

Voice-over-IP applications have been steadily gaining use in with businesses, especially those installing networking equipment for the first or launching major upgrades.

IBM's pitch is to work with service providers to help businesses looking to integrate their voice with IP networking systems so that an IP network can handle voice communications and voicemail, e-mail, fax, call center applications, personal assistance tools and teleconferencing.

Other applications that can be built into IP networks are Unified Messaging (UM), IP-based Customer Relationship Management (IPCRM) and IP-based Contact Centers (IPCC).

The new service offered by Big Blue is also part of its overall on demand strategy of building and hosting applications so that clients can use what they need on a utility-basis. The same is true with its new IP telephony services group, which also offers network operation and management services, including security, performance, problem, configuration, change, capacity, and end-to-end application management. The services are served up over a number of wireless and wireline networks, server and workstation platforms, IBM said.

"Improvements in IP telephony technology are compelling customers to evaluate converging their voice and data networks to achieve cost savings, increase manageability and reap the benefits of IP-enabled applications," said Colleen Rafferty, vice president, IBM Networking Services.

She said IBM is in the process of integrating voice and data across its own global infrastructure. IBM also said the new IP telephony and voice over IP consulting and integration services can help organizations save up to 30 percent on network costs by lowering network management, bandwidth and application integration costs.