by Brian Turner
January 12, 2005
VoIP Service providers must be extremely sensitive to the perceptions of their customers, because a decision to change ser-vice can be precipitated from such negative perceptions as:
When a user perceives unacceptable instantaneous quality, the user is likely to terminate the call prematurely.
If a user perceives overall poor quality after completing a call, there is likely to be a harboring of residual dissatisfaction.
If service providers achieve quality by over provisioning their networks, the resulting high costs undermine the user’s perception of value, despite excel-lent voice quality.
However, since a perception is of little use to a VoIP Service provider unless it can be measured in some way, the industry has developed a numerical representation of voice quality called Mean Opinion Score (MOS). MOS ratings on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent) are derived by soliciting perceptions from groups of real people to test messages.
Businesses with extensive overseas contacts or high call volumes will benefit the most from VOIP Service. But many international companies and call centers have been reluctant to dive in because of significant previous investments in circuit-switched platforms. And then there’s the issue of transmission quality.
During periods of high network congestion and limited bandwidth, digital packets are often dropped, making for poor call quality and lost connections. But if you’re using VoIP Service over internal data lines (such as your intranet), bandwidth is more predictable and you should experience less data loss. Intranet users can also use more sophisticated VoIP Service programs that support full-duplex, real-time voice communications.
Another reasonable complaint of VoIP Service is that when fully adopted, what happens when your network goes down? No computer. No phone. Unfortunately, this is a hazard you have to live with for now.
But then there are the undeniable advantages. Given that VoIP Service circumvents long-distance tolls, calls will typically cost from a few pennies per minute to nothing at all. Aside from this cost savings, the dream is to have the ability to collaborate with multiple people on projects without worrying about the different applications required in VoIP Service.
You won’t have to call each other on the phone and e-mail each other revisions back and forth; you’ll simply sit down at your workstation and collaborate on projects as if co-workers and clients are seated directly in front of you.
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