VoIP is far from dead!

LG-Nortel IP Phone 8540Image via WikipediaReading Jon Arnolds post on TMC , reminds me that in the VoIP service industry for the last few years we are used to hearing 2 voices at the end of each year.

The first voice with the superficial view is always there to tell us how VoIP is dying and hey look Vonage the voip poster boy is almost bankrupt. Then you have what I call the smart people like my friends and fellow bloggers, Andy Abramson, Jon Arnold, Ken Camp, Thomas Howe and others who realize that VoIP is all about unlimited functionality and not at all about cheap calls!

With that horizon in sight, the news is that VoIP is just beginning. Businesses are only starting to understand what they can do by integrating their communications with their business processes. At the end of the day it is all bits and bytes – so why not?

At the Flat Planet Phone Company (where my salary comes from) it is amazing how many projects are coming together. Business people are starting to get it!

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Blog Upgrade with Elance – Part 2

Category:Wikipedians who use WordPressImage via WikipediaAfter receiving 20 proposals, I am trying to narrow them down to a more manageable 4-5. First thing is to cut out those who answered with a canned “We can do all that you requested.” I am much more inclined to work with those who asked probing questions to better understand what my needs are.

These questions have actually assisted me in reaching a better definition of the project. Some of the bidders have also made suggestions such as integrating our web site www.flatplanetphone.com and this blog with the same look and feel. One went even as far as proposing to cancel our existing site and to put the site and the blog together on a wordpress platform. Both suggestions are definitely worth considering.

What do you think?

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VoIP Success 2008: Benefits Consultant Group

The Boston Consulting GroupImage via Wikipedia

This report from VoIP News, is typical of what I have been seeing lately. How long will companies pay $50-100k for expensive Avaya and Cisco when they can get similar hosted solutions for a small fraction of that ?!?

Besides the price a hosted solution gives you flexibility that you will never get inhouse.  Benefits like continuous upgrades, unlimited expansion puts a hosted solution on a level above the competition. Will Avaya go the way of Nortel?

 

This fall, with the economic downturn in full affect and BCG’s customers concerned about their investments, customers were able to connect instantly with their agents, no matter where they were. The agents appreciated that their VoIP lines could transfer to their cell phones or to an available agent so customers could reach them anytime, which made customers more comfortable. This type of activity could then be tracked in real-time call center reports as well, and therefore, BCG could staff appropriately.  This activity tracking was not possible with their old system.

The management team also appreciated the use of the real-time call center supervisory report and management tools so they could monitor activity as it occurred.  They were able to integrate the reports into a more meaningful way than before, capturing real-time data where previously the same type of data had to be manually tabulated and reviewed.  With another hardware-based solution, this type of reporting system would have cost them $30-50K; however, using Alteva’s integrated solution, the service for 50 users was only $2500.

VoIP News » Blog Archive » VoIP Success 2008: Benefits Consultant Group, Dec 2008

 

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Updating my blog with Elance

Image representing Elance as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseNow that I have decided to renew my blogging activities, the time has come to give a new face to the blog. At the same time I want to make sure that all the needed plugins will work as advertised.

Based on recommendations from Tim Ferris (The 4 hour work week), I an checking out elance.com. I am so amazed with Elance, that am going to keep my readers updated on my project. For those of you who are unaware of Elance, it is the ebay of web professionals. Elance works similar to ebay. You post your project, qualified professionals then bid on it. Just like ebay you can read the feedback they received from previous work and compare offers.

So far I have received 17 bids on my project with an average offer of around $100. Amazing. I will keep you updated.

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Mumbai terrorists’ most powerful weapon: Not VoIP phones

A number of my fellow bloggers wrote recently that the Mumbai terrorists used VoIP technology and how that complicated things for the local security forces.

Well, it ain’t true. As one comment explained on Preston Gralla’s post –

I live in India, and I can tell you from first hand knowledge that there are no data services fast enough to support clear VoIP transmissions over cellular phones. That is to say, no 3G. Only GPRS and Edge. There are also very few WiFi Hotspots designed for public use. The CST Station has one, the Taj would very well have dozens. But I assume that the power was out when the Commandos were storming the building. Satellite internet access may be possible. I saw in one of the pictures posted on the internet that they are using Thuraiya Sat phones. A simple net search shows that its a UAE based company and one of their models also acts like a modem, but they would still have needed line of sight with the sat, or installed repeaters inside the hotel. Very unlikely that they would have been using wireless VoIP in India.

A look at the original NYT article confirms this observation. The ones who were using VoIP were the handlers in Pakistan. They probably had a IP connection and then made calls out thru one of the many SIP providers who then passed on the call to the PSTN

Such a communications method is hard to track live, but it does leave, like any IP communications, a trail which the investigators are now following.

VoIP for the SMB – Better late than never!

Hosted VoIP telephony has experienced another year of steady growth, as the small business market continues to be the sweet spot with most deployments in the 20-to-50 seat range, reports In-Stat.
Hosted VoIP will continue to experience dynamic growth over the next few years, with projected revenues exceeding $2 billion by 2010, the high-tech market research firm said.

When I read this quote 2 years ago, I believed that Instat was right on the money, and Hosted IP PBX services for the SMB market such as what our company offers would be very successful. Although it was slow at the beginning, the last few weeks have proved them right.

I am not sure what is the exact driver, but we have seen a sharp spike in inquiries from resellers interested in selling our hosted pbx service in the last 2 months. Most of the potential resellers are providers of traditional SMB phones systems such as Panasonic. Others are installers of computer systems who are looking for additional services to sell. For both, The Flat Planet Phone Company service is an interesting addition to their existing offerings.

In a nutshell, we provide a platform which enables you to set up your own Phone Company in less than an hour and immediately start selling. For the whole spiel go to our website!

For me it is really exciting to see an idea sprout into a money making service. Flat Planet is a win-win proposition for the both the business owner and reseller. For me it is a great feeling to sell something that is both profitable and beneficial for all involved. Nothing makes me happier than showing a new reseller how to set up his own phone service. Well, let me qualify that — Nothing in my business life….
After all there is a life after work :-)