Re: VOIPity VOIP VOIP
"What happens to your phones when your power goes out?"
You put UPS on anything critical. Your average 48-port PoE switch will stay up for a good hour off a run-of-the-mill UPS, and if you have high-end switches they can run off DC sources and even failover/redundant power.
Sure, analog phones do stay up but that's because BT put battery backups / external supplies into their cabinets for you. They are not guaranteed by any means and I imagine they've cut back a lot on them in the modern era. If you want redundant power, supply the system with redundant power. If you want backup power, supply the system with backup power. You're already paying BT to do so, you've just brought it in-house.
The cost savings alone allow you to do this for any serious deployment anyway. And precisely how much business are you going to do if your customers can ring you but you can't make a sale because all the PC's are down too anyway? Nowadays landlines staying up is only a business issue, not a life-critical issue - if you're going to lose business if the phones go down, ask BT what guarantees they will provide you on the external line (hint: few).
At least with VoIP you can move the whole outfit - with phone numbers, softphones, SIP connections, etc. to the other end of the country with one click.
"What about when you loose your PS in your VOIP switch?"
"When your IOS update for your media gateway goes south?"
You have redundant gateways for that business-critical system, no? And tell me what you'd do if your old phone system went south before?
"Or when a user sets their BYO phone to the gateway's IP?"
Your network switches kick in and deny it? But, hey, what's an unauthenticated user doing being able to tinker with IP settings and then plug in random devices anyway? And if they have, that's what disciplinary procedures and IT acceptable usage policies are for. What if they set their PC to be the main gateway IP? Same thing.
"There are also a lot of hidden yearly costs with licenses and the price differences from one tier to the next can be steep."
"Do you have a team of people always available to reset your users voice-mail pins?"
Did you have that on the alternative systems?
"If you out-source the install and setup, how much are they going to charge you to add one more phone later, for adding a new area-code rule, another telco trunk?"
How much would BT charge you? And adding a phone is more than just buying a phone anyway. You have network capacity to think about, licensing, setup, etc.
There are arguments for and against VoIP, but many of them are just a push from BT doing this stuff for you (or putting it in their exchanges/cabinets and charging you) to you handling it in-house. If you don't want to handle in-house, outsource to a remote softphone provider who'll worry about all this for you.
I work in schools and they are now almost exclusively VoIP. The cost of running all the old junk and the presence of network cabling and leased lines everywhere just means you're paying twice. Literally, in my last school we started with one phone and by the end of the year, we'd moved every extension but one (a confidence-inspiring analog line for 999 calls) to VoIP. Then we looked into SIP for outside connections as we had a leased line already.
The next school I worked in - same. Next-to-no VoIP when I arrived, almost exclusively VoIP now and once our leased line is installed, onto SIP. According to our telephony suppliers, that's a pretty normal path to follow nowadays. Sure, it's not "perfect" but the cost savings alone in not having to pay a guy for running a bit of cheap copper around the walls following the network cable that's already there anyway soon recoups that.
If you want independent systems, have them. But people still move to VoIP because the advantages are all there too. Personally, I'm about to buy a VoIP router for my house - when you consider that I need a new wireless router anyway, the VoIP feature is £50 on the price, I have it all wired, I don't have active BT lines in the house anywhere, but I do have networking everywhere, and I can set up the same in my girlfriend's family home abroad so we can have "free" calls to them, it's a no-brainer. Hell, I can already powerline-network out to the shed - just slap a £20 sip handset out there. It's cheaper and more reliable than DECT! And I don't have to buy some fabulous PBX to do things like put calls on hold, filter them, send them to other handsets, have multiple phone numbers and lines, etc.