Putting VoIP Services to the Test

What: Voice over Internet Protocol trial

Who: The Social Security Administration

Where: At 40 of the agency's 1,400 sites nationwide

When: Now

How: The agency is testing Cisco and Nortel IP telephony phones and switches along with VoIP services from AT&T and MCI. The trials involve call center/computer telephony integration applications, including call transfers between sites.

Why: With an aging phone system, a telecommunications contract that expires in 2008 and the coming baby boom bulge, which will strain infrastructure, the SSA needs to modernize its telephony. Today, the agency fields 60 million calls a year.

A twist: In the meantime, the SSA is improving its legacy system by enabling the uniform use of screen pop-ups and adding speech-enabled voice response units. Ironically, the upgrades pose a threat to the trials, because some key constituents don't see a compelling reason to evaluate the new technology now. --Linda Tucci

Source: Forrester Research Inc.

This was first published in August 2005

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