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Convergence promises high-capacity, affordable, streamlined voice data and video transmission for all. Telecommunications expert Annabel Dodd provides an overview of the current convergence landscape.

What Is convergence?

Convergence is more than the transmission of voice, data, and video over packet- or cell-based data networks. Convergence consists of the following:

  • Converged connections of customer sites to one network on trunks capable of carrying all types of traffic, including voice, video, data, and images

  • Affordable high-capacity fiber-optic links directly to enterprises in metropolitan areas for voice, private line, and data traffic so that customers don't need to invest in costly equipment upgrades when they grow or increase the amount of telecommunications traffic that they send or receive

  • Streamlined installation and maintenance of IP telephone systems that merge information technology, telecommunications, and data communications on corporate LANs

  • Unified platforms for sending, receiving, and managing email, facsimile, and voicemail messages

  • Uniform call center management and handling of converged incoming voice calls, chats, email messages, and Web-based document sharing

Convergence has the potential to do the following:

  • Dramatically increase the efficiency of our public networks

  • Lower the cost of access to high-speed networks

  • Decrease the cost of communications within enterprises

  • Make direct fiber-optic connectivity affordable to small and medium-sized businesses

  • Simplify the process of linking corporate databases and call center services

  • Increase e-commerce sales by improving Web-based customer service

  • Provide mobile, branch office, and remote employees all the functionality of employees at corporate headquarters

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