Social Security Goes VoIP

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Social Security Goes VoIP

The Social Security Administration is going VoIP and a big way. We're talking 1,600 locations! Assuming at least 30 people per location, that's 48,000 employees and IP phones. 48,000 employees just to manage Social Security? With computer automation, direct deposit, and other automation, the SSA shouldn't need more than 1,000 employees. Heck, outsource to an American call center if you have to manage lots of inbound calls. It's no wonder Social Security is going bankrupt. (Update: Found that the SSA actually has 65,000 employees.)

In any event, according to FedTech Magazine, the Social Security Administration has "facilities ranging from large sites that house thousands of employees in major cities to five-person mini-offices attached to rural post offices 100 miles or more from the nearest SSA technology support center." The articles explains the TCO nightmare of moving someone’s phone from one room to another, troubleshooting a bad line or adding new features that sometimes required miles of travel by support personnel.

The SSA had to deal with the usual VoIP suspects, including: dealing with packet latency and ensuring uptime, safeguarding 911 and 411 services agencywide, and readying users to take advantage of the new services. They're spending $300 million over 10 years to go VoIP. $300 million? I think my social security check just went down $100/month.  Well, they do say VoIP will help reduce costs over the long haul, so here's hoping that VoIP will rescue my future social security check.

Hmmm... The SSA chose Nortel, a Canadian company, over an American company such as Cisco or Avaya, but I won't start waving the American flag here claiming our tax dollars should go to American companies. American flag Nope not me. In all seriousness, Nortel makes good VoIP products and I'm sure Cisco and the others had an equal opportunity to bid for the project. Free market capitalism and all that jazz.

$300 million, huh? Wonder how much Nortel gets of that pie? Might be time to buy some Nortel stock.

Oh, and here's to hoping that VoIP will save the day with its cost-cutting attributes resulting in the saving of social security. Two cheers for VoIP! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!

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