By Shane Chorley
There is no doubt that converged networks are no longer the things of fiction, or speculation in the ICT market. Lowered costs to connect, as well as more pervasive and freely available high speed broadband are two critical contributors to this move to a single network for voice and data.
But it is not only businesses that are seeing the benefits of a converged network. End users are amongst the most prolific adopters of converged network infrastructure, but very few of them know it.
Why now? What is different about the ICT, connectivity and broadband infrastructure today, versus five years ago, when we first heard of converged networks?
For the first time in our telecommunications history, the elusive last mile is no longer an obstacle for broadband services. We are lighting up homes and businesses without the incumbent, and the next two years promise to be get even better.
While much has been written about network convergence, and the limitations of applications and services, this is being bolstered by cloud services and solutions that fit neatly into the technology stack.
For many – the converged network is as real as the devices that we are already using. In our homes, or workplace.
How you may ask? By their very design and evolution of their purpose. Our handsets and devices, and the converged services available, be it voice on Whatsapp and Google Talk, the ability to use Skype for instant messaging, voice and video calls. Combined with the traditional data services offered by these applications showcase a converged network in every transaction.
So, with the issues of the last mile resolved, increased availability of high speed internet, and an infrastructure that makes it a reality, what is holding business back? For many organisations, it is the established, and more traditionally oriented IT department. And for the most part, these IT departments are reluctant to abandon their separate voice and data networks, citing cost, security, quality and IT complexity as potential inhibitors.
Converged networks have come with a growth in consolidated, and in fact, converged providers and vendors. The advantage of selecting a vendor that offers not only networking solutions, but also cloud services and applications is reduced costs and complexity, but more importantly a partner that understands your IT and technology requirements throughout your businesses growth.
More importantly, if selected carefully, a single vendor means a watertight service level agreement (SLA) that best meets the deliverables and outputs required for driving cost efficiencies, always uptime and quality of service.
It is clear that converged networks not only provide a platform for voice and data connectivity, but increasingly the services and applications that make businesses tick.
- Shane Chorley is an executive head: carrier and connectivity at Vox Telecom