Shaping the Future of Communications

By Outsourcing Center, Kathleen Goolsby, Senior Writer

Shaping the Future of Communications

New Developments in Vo-IP and Satellite

The phenomenal success of Windows’ NetMeeting, instant messaging technologies and distance learning formats prove that effective business meetings no longer require face-to-face communication. But, in many cases, the technology has not delivered the high quality or features that customers need (especially if disparate business units are involved); and it requires bandwidth not currently available in many locations. VoiceTech, the most advanced voice-over-IP system available today, addresses those challenges.

“VoiceTech is delivered over satellite and allows us to do telephone-quality voice conferencing and messaging over low bandwidth networks in a way that no one else can do,” states Tom Gilmore, president and CEO of Omega Systems, Inc. As the strategic partner of VoiceTech, Omega has been granted exclusive rights of distributorship and integration of VoiceTech solutions for the U.S. government.

With mobility and security requirements that are far more stringent than those of corporate America, the IT architecture for the U.S. government and military must be designed to thrive in a different type of networked world. Omega was founded by U.S. military veterans who desired to address government and military needs with cost-effective, innovative architecture for enterprise IT systems. Leveraging its in-depth knowledge of architectural deficiencies in the communications area, Omega then partnered with EchoSat Communications Group to deliver commercial solutions for some of those challenges.

Ripples in the Pond

Gilmore says VoiceTech and Omega’s satellite and wireless solutions enable disparate enterprises to be brought together for communications very quickly without making modifications to their IT systems. “We have a server that we drop onto our customer’s network, and we tie right into their gateways,” he explains. It enables the customer to use VoiceTech, regardless of the network architecture they already have.

Like a pebble tossed into a pond, causing ripples to extend much further than the initial splash from the pebble, VoiceTech’s features designed for government customers have extensive applications with significant return on investment for the corporate world. The same solution integrating VoiceTech into a military eCruiting process, for example, can be leveraged for customer relationship management (CRM).

Someone interested in joining the military can go to a Web site and click on a button to talk with a local recruiter, which would initiate a VoiceTech conference online, allowing the recruiter to talk directly with a recruit. Using Omega’s PushBrowser feature, the recruiter then can push content into the recruit’s browser as the two are talking. It eliminates some of the privacy concerns that occur with filling out information on Web sites. “There’s an advantage to talking to someone while you are filling out the form. The recruiter helps the recruit through the process, and the recruit knows where the form is going,” Gilmore says.

Using that same solution in a CRM process, the customer service representative can talk to a customer through a Web site and push catalog or other content to the caller’s browser, answering questions visually and audibly. Distance learning (eLearning) is another “natural” use for this technology.

Think of the savings from economies of scale that can be achieved by using these solutions to disseminate information to corporate executives or employees. According to Gilmore, VoiceTech is superior to other systems in that it provides telephone quality and supports up to 120 simultaneous participants in a conference. A regional manager could, for instance, handle weekly meetings simultaneously with 120 franchise managers and push recent sales data or other content out to them.

VoiceTech enables conference participation from a variety of communications devices — cell phones, PDAs, and even radio users, as well as Internet connections. Features for online-presence notification and video are currently under development to further enhance VoiceTech solutions.

The turnkey solution takes about 90 days to roll out, depending on which modules a customer selects (which determines how many servers will be placed onto the enterprise network). The license fee is inexpensive, and the technology is easy to maintain.

From Meat and Potatoes to Gourmet

Although satellite technologies are Omega’s meat and potatoes — its core expertise — the company is implementing a wide variety of unique solutions applicable to both the government and private industry.

One such solution provides a meshed, high-speed satellite network with voice, video and data with no reliance on a public switch network.

Another is being rolled out through the League of Cities, enabling cities to leverage each other to obtain resources. As Gilmore explains, if one city needs to buy two police cars, 10 cities can get a better deal on 20 police cars. The economies of scale allow the League of Cities to offer the Omega/EchoSat high-speed, wireless Internet access to rural areas at a lower cost. In doing so, they also roll out the connectivity to municipal government agencies (such as the police and fire departments and other city agencies) at a lower cost.

A battlefield solution that provides global satellite capability for tactical units, allowing them to go anywhere in the world and establish high-speed voice, video and data communications, is now being applied to an international corporation seeking a more cost-effective video teleconferencing system for its 150 locations around the world.

Don’t Get Left Behind

Focused on providing solutions for its customers, Omega Systems knows that neither the government nor corporate entities facing globalization and increasing competition has the time or resources to wait for new technologies to be invented, tested and tweaked.

“We recognize that we need to be able to satisfy our customers’ requirements and needs today,” says Gilmore. “So part of our strategy is to use existing, proven technology in our solutions.” The company uses best-of-breed technologies from a variety of specific niche areas and puts them together to create a low-cost, customized, holistic solution that addresses customers’ communications needs.

“With that in mind, we are positioned for flexibility in meeting our customers’ requirements today and tomorrow,” states Gilmore. “We develop systems in a modular design so that, as technology advances, we can unplug one module and plug in something new so that our customers keep abreast of advancing technologies.”

Lessons from the Outsourcing Journal:

  • When a supplier achieves economies of scale with more customers, its solution can be delivered to each customer at a lower cost.
  • Significant return on investment can be achieved when technology developed for one industry or marketplace is customized for another marketplace.
  • When considering a solution using new technologies, buyers must realize that the solution may become outdated as the technology evolves. Choose a supplier that uses existing, proven niche technologies that are put together in a holistic, modular design for flexibility.

About the Author: Ben Trowbridge is an accomplished Outsourcing Consultant with extensive experience in outsourcing and managed services. As a former EY Partner and CEO of Alsbridge, he built successful practices in Transformational Outsourcing, Managed services provider, strategic sourcing, BPO, Cybersecurity Managed Services, and IT Outsourcing. Throughout his career, Ben has advised a broad range of clients on outsourcing and global business services strategy and transactions. As the current CEO of the Outsourcing Center, he provides invaluable insights and guidance to buyers and managed services executives. Contact him at [email protected].

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