Essex County Council has announced the inclusion of internet protocol (IP) telephony and business VoIP (voice over internet protocol) systems as part of a proposed new state of the art communications infrastructure for its range of services.
The planned £81m development is intended to eventually connect not only the council’s own administration buildings, but also libraries, educational establishments, and providers of essential emergency services in the county.
Among the benefits cited by the council of deploying business VoIP and IP telephony, are integrated voice telephony, data communications provision, and video conferencing facilities.
The council has also revealed its intention for the new infrastructure to help secure the benefits of unified communications (UC) – whereby users are furnished with a single terminal capable of receiving a range of communications from multiple sources.
Overall, it is widely expected that the new infrastructure will help increase operational efficiency and service quality, while at the same time assist in lowering operational expenses – a goal summed up by Essex County Council’s chief information officer, David Wilde:
“For Essex and the users of this network, it is about getting more for less; providing a better service at a significantly reduced cost.”
This philosophy of improving communications facilities whilst saving on communications-related running costs, has been a key theme of many other recent enterprise and organisational network adaptations involving the deployment of IP telephony and business VoIP.
The trend however has not only been participated in by large organisations and business such as Essex County Council – it is also increasingly being seen among many small to medium businesses (SMEs).
The trend has been further facilitated by the provision of low-cost host IP telephony services offered by key third party business VoIP provider and VoIP reseller firms.
These latter firms have generally also been able to offer full technical support as part of their overall service package.