After spending a couple of days last week at the IT Expo in Fort Lauderdale, I am wondering if we should ask Microsoft to step in and save the VoIP industry.
In my opinion, the most exciting area in the VoIP industry today is – Voice Peering. At the conference I had the privilege to hear insights from a number of leaders in the field such as Natan Tiefenbrun of Xconnect, Hunter Newby of Telx, Kevin Fleming of Digium and Jon Arnold of Jon Arnold Associates.
What is Voice Peering and what is so exciting about it? In it’s most basic form VP enables VoIP servers to speak directly to each other therefore sending calls between them over IP and bypassing the PSTN completely. Some VP services emphasize the cost savings and some the QoS improvement that results from the direct IP connection.
These benefits are great. However we have only begun to scratch the edges of age of Voice Peering. Sure it is nice to save a little money while improving quality, but termination costs in the major countries are so low, that the benefits are negligible. What really excites me is the opportunities for services some of which we haven t even though of yet! Just think about it, once I know that I am communicating on an IP network end to end, there is no limit to the applications that we can add to our communications. Presence, Video conferencing, Intelligent call handling etc. can be rolled out network wide, the potential is practically unlimited!What is holding us up? The lack of standards of course! There is SIP, H.323, MGCP, and many different codecs. Not to mention proprietary systems such as Skype. Those of us with a little gray hair might be reminded of the operating systems in the early PC era. At the time ( early 80’s) there were numerous operating systems, DR-DOS, CP/M, G-DOS to name a few. CP/M was very popular, but try to take a disk from a CP/M disk of one manufacturer and read it on another manufacturers computer – you probably couldn’t…. Along came Microsoft and IBM with the their MS/DOS and PC/DOS and changed the world – enabling compatibility and portability. You could take a Wordstar (remember them?) document from one computer and read it on another. Microsoft and IBM opened the industry to competition and the rest of course is history.So where are we today? Sure we have SIP, which may be our MS-DOS, but we don’t have the IBM/Microsoft who are pushing it. If we don’t want to wait 20-30 years to standardize there has to a telecom”Microsoft”.
Maybe Microsoft or IBM will again take the role, but others such as HP, Cisco, Sun could also join in. I would love to hear your comments.