The Wall Street Journal reports that SBC Communications will build an Internet phone service for 50,000 Ford Motor Co. employees in 110 locations, making it one of the largest such contracts ever. This is one of the largest corporate VoIP deployments, and hopefully this will meet more success than past deployments including the infamous Merrill Lynch deployment, where the Wall Streeters ripped out their Cisco gear in frustration. SBC will be using Cisco gear, which makes me wonder about how successful this is going to be. Previous experiments have not been that successful, and lets just leave it at that.
Wall Street Journal says that this deal is a sign that “large businesses are increasingly interested in upgrading their telephone systems to state-of-the-art Internet calling technology, even though the Internet-calling market for businesses is still nascent.” I had a meeting with some executives from BellSouth, who said and i quote, “there is more smoke than fire” in the enterprise market place. Earlier I had posted a column on why IP-PBX and enterprise VoIP were going to see a slow deployment. The Journal also reports that Verizon is going to rollout a quasi-unified messaging product dubbed “Iobi that will allow consumers to route phone calls, store caller ID phone numbers on contact lists and forward voice mails via e-mail by way of their PC.”