Voice communications, while technically still data communications, refers more to the applications that use voice as the method to communicate. Voice applications include cellular and regular telephones, public address systems and paging or intercom systems. Any of these voice communication applications require connectivity to a communications network. The connectivity may be by physical cable connection, either fibre optic or copper or the connection may be made wirelessly. Regardless of the application or the method of network connectivity certain design protocols are implemented to maximize the performance of the chosen application. The decision on which voice application might be appropriate for a particular purpose depends on three things.
There are several business considerations in determining the suitability of any given choice. These include the need for scalability, reliability, availability of local equipment and the availability of local service personnel in the event of required emergency service or scheduled maintenance. Locally available equipment that is only serviced by technicians that are 8 hours away or more may not be a good choice
One may need to address a wide range of circumstances. Is equipment going to be used in a harsh environment? If so, a “hardened” device may be required. Does the chosen system have to integrate with existing equipment or protocols of a larger existing enterprise? This may not be possible in all cases. If VoIP technology is used, does there need to be an analogue emergency backup system?
Is the choice of technology restricted in terms of budget, cash flow or return on investment or other business criteria? Is the asset to be purchased a capital asset, subject to depreciation or is it considered an operating expense. According to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) what deductions are permissible? Other cost implications include the required cabling network, maintenance and overhead costs such as training.
For each of these considerations there may be multiple vendors who may have an advantage over another. The decision may be further complicated in deciding whether to have a digital platform or analogue platform or a hybrid of the two. Each equipment manufacturer and delivery platform has inherent advantages and disadvantages.
Prior to choosing a voice communications technology and supplier for your business it is helpful to do a comparison chart for a number of potential vendors indicating pros and cons of each supplier and platform type. For example, VoIP technology would score well on scalability but will be more costly than traditional analogue/PBX technology for cabling infrastructure as fibre optic cabling will be required. The criteria for the comparisons may be weighted depending on what factors are most important to your business.