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VoPI vs. VoIP: Two Letters Make All of the Difference

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November 10, 2009

VoPI vs. VoIP: Two Letters Make All of the Difference

By TMCnet Special Guest
Chris Harris, iCore chief technology officer and executive vice president

It may seem like a typo, but it completely transforms Internet-based telecommunications: Voice over Private Internet, or “VoPI,” solves a lot of problems inherent in Voice over Internet Protocol, or “VoIP.”
VoPI, the foundation of Virginia telecommunications company iCore, uses VoIP technology in a managed setting: iCore uses its own private, point-to-point circuits to carry its customer’s voice and data. The advantages of using VoPI rather than VoIP are many.  

VoIP traditionally uses the public Internet for voice and data, giving users and providers less security and control, lending to the point that VoPI is a more secure service then VoIP. Denial of service attacks and other hacking can affect VoIP quality of service. Call flooding and call hijacking can as well. Hackers with packet sniffers and other tools can monitor where calls are coming from and going to. At the ISP level, they can even eavesdrop on calls.
Because iCore’s customers’ traffic travels on iCore’s own secure network none of those threats to security or quality are factors. And using a private network has other benefits as well.
Take call quality for an example, on the mean opinion score, or “MOS,” the number used by the telecommunications industry to evaluate call quality, plain old telephone service, or “POTS,” averages 4.2 on a scale of 1-5. ICore’s quality averages 4.49. While VoIP suffers from latency, jitter and packet loss — all factors which affect voice quality — VoPI has far fewer issues which degrade quality. At 50 msec. of jitter you start to see call quality issues. iCore monitors jitter in real time, and typically averages 2-12 msec.
In every customer satisfaction survey we do, our clients rank call quality as the most important factor in using iCore. They consistently say our voice quality is better than a traditional telephone line. We use our in-house developed compression-decompression algorithm, or “CODEC,” to keep our quality constant.
What’s also better than a traditional PBX (News - Alert) phone system is this: iCore’s VoPI gives customers more voice and data features at a lower cost, with technology that is virtually infinitely scalable.
iCore’s clients also know that because iCore uses technology from industry leader Cisco (News - Alert), there’s no danger that proprietary technology will make life difficult in the future.
More capabilities, less IT.
iCore’s system offloads much of the drudgery of day-to-day telecommunications management from an organization’s IT staff, freeing technical staff to handle projects they find more interesting. More importantly, end users can change their own phone configurations without involving IT administrators. iCore offers enterprise-class network monitoring for its clients, ensuring, for example, that CPU utilization on routers and switches never comes close to the saturation point. Clients still have the option to monitor their own systems in-house as well, and can choose which duties are managed by iCore and which are managed internally.
When issues arise, iCore acts as the company’s tech support, offering users three ways to report a problem, ask a question or receive any other type of assistance: with live chat, by opening a trouble ticket on line, or by calling.
Besides acting as the telecommunications tech support resource for both end users and technicians, iCore also becomes a company’s de facto telecommunications manager and developer. iCore seamlessly upgrades software and firmware when Cisco releases updates or iCore improves a capability. In addition, when customers request new capabilities iCore often has already developed those capabilities for another client and can deploy them rapidly. If not, iCore will often take on the role of developer, sometimes in conjunction with Cisco.
What end users most notice besides call quality is how much more productive they can be with VoPI. iCore can tie together an end user’s desk telephone, cell phone, desktop PC, laptop and smart phone. Calls can be seamlessly transferred from a desk phone to a cell phone as a client is walking out the door. Additionally, information can automatically flow between devices and activities to CRM tools, such as, as well as to and from Microsoft (News - Alert) Outlook and Exchange.
Customers with headsets can even use their laptops as softphones, making and receiving calls using WiFi (News - Alert). Your desk can go anywhere right along with you.
Disaster Recovery, Simplified.
The greatest issue for an organization is how to remain operational, or become operational as quickly as possible, in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. Administrators of in-house systems have no choice: that system must be restored before users can resume normal operations.
Not so with VoPI. When disaster strikes, employees can work from virtually anywhere outside the office, including home. Cell phones, smart phones or laptops can be configured in seconds to act like a user’s desk phone. Online information, from a Microsoft Exchange server, for example, can be accessed from anywhere as well. With online calendars and CRM tools, employees can continue making sales calls, managing projects and doing almost everything they would do in the office, even when the office can’t be used.
Employees can even use an enhanced Find Me Follow Me feature. Unlike traditional Find Me Follow Me, or even Google Voice, iCore’s version doesn’t roll over a call to the next device when a device isn’t answered. That is, it doesn’t ring the office phone, then the cell phone, then the home phone. Instead, iCore’s system rings every device chosen by the user simultaneously. As soon as one is answered, the others stop ringing. There’s no delay. Callers won’t even know you picked up on your home phone, or your cell phone, or a Bluetooth headset while you’re sitting in front of your laptop.
Cell phone users have an additional benefit: when on iCore’s network, cell phone minutes aren’t being used. PDA and smart phone users can have their voicemails saved as WAV (News - Alert) files, so those voicemails can be retrieved without using cell phone minutes or even going through the cell phone company’s system. As with any other file, voicemails as WAV files can then be sent to or from desktops, laptops, smart phones and PDAs.
Size doesn’t matter.
Unlike a PBX or in-house VoIP-based system, iCore’s VoPI is infinitely scalable. When clients add employees or locations, the network goes with them. Clients do not need to purchase additional servers, switches, routers or any other equipment. New capabilities, such as audio or video conferencing, can be added at any time.
That’s what you can do when you’re managing your own private network. You’re not dependent on anyone else’s technology or priorities. You don’t have to suffer because they’re not treating your packets as a high priority.
Our customers’ packets are the only packets our system carries. Our customers aren’t top priority: they’re the only priority.

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