Ford Commits to VoIP

Ford Motor Co. will transfer 50,000 employees at 110 facilities to Voice over IP (VoIP) calling -- a ringing endorsement for the emerging technology's performance and reliability.

 By Colin C. Haley
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SBC Communications will design, install and manage the project using IP phones and network equipment from Cisco Systems. Network consultants from Callisma, which SBC recently acquired, will play a large role in the project.

The VoIP deployment will take place over three years and impact Ford's headquarters and other facilities in southeast Michigan.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. But in addition to any profit from the installation and service, the Ford contract could serve as an effective case study for SBC and Cisco to present to other large corporations that may have misgivings about VoIP.

"We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with Ford in this groundbreaking IP telephony deployment," Ray Wilkins, group president of SBC marketing and sales, said in a statement.

Ford is expected to save money over its traditional phone system in several areas in addition to the decrease in long-distance bills. The company also expects system maintenance to decline by shifting voice and data onto a single IP network.

Also, IP telephony service makes handling employee moves more efficient, because businesses can scale up or down without calling vendors or ordering new cards.

VoIP has been gaining momentum in the last 18 months, but primarily in the consumer market. Businesses have been more cautious because of concerns over the quality of service. Early VoIP service experienced problems with the clarity of the signal, as well as delays in transmission -- obstacles enterprises were not willing to endure.

In addition to improvements in the service, the FCC has indicated it will take a hands-off approach when it comes to imposing fees on VoIP service.

This story appear courtesy of internetnews.com.

This article was originally published on Sep 21, 2004
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