Financial sector leading the way in IP telephony uptake

Source: SAS Group

A survey of IT decision makers at top UK businesses conducted by the SAS Group, an international provider of IP-based network and communication infrastructure services, has revealed that the financial sector is well ahead of other UK industries when it comes to adopting IP telephony (IPT) technology.

The SAS Group's research shows that 94 percent of financial companies already have an IPT solution in place or are investigating the technology, compared to a UK average of 80 percent. In addition, 69 percent of finance organisations also plan to implement unified communications (UC) within the next 12 months.

However, the survey also reveals that 63 percent of finance companies are still using Internet based VPNs which do not support quality of service (QoS). This is despite the fact that QoS is the only way to guarantee the performance of voice, video, and mission critical data applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Not only is it vital to prioritise IPT and UC traffic at the installation stage, the SAS Group also advises firms to monitor and maintain QoS as the network evolves and more applications are added. Failure to do so will inevitably result in voice quality degradation and even application failure. To avoid these problems, and to fully utilise IPT and UC for both home-based and mobile workers, financial companies should look to upgrade to a secure private network which supports QoS, and will therefore also enable presence and extension mobility.

"It is interesting to see that financial organisations are wise to the benefits of IPT, as they don't tend to be early adopters of technology," said Charles Davis, CEO of the SAS Group. "However, it is vital for these businesses to ensure their underlying networks are up to the job from the outset. Further, failure to properly maintain QoS can have serious repercussions for IPT and unified communications. The addition of just one poorly configured device can obliterate the QoS of an entire network, and put critical applications like voice out of action. The financial sector clearly has some work to do to ensure it is properly utilising these technologies to their full potential."

Overlooking QoS is particularly detrimental to businesses with large numbers of mobile workers, as running voice over wireless and mobile networks can be problematic. In the financial sector, 63 percent of companies have more than 200 mobile staff - 80 percent of these have upwards of 1,000.

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