Just another VoIP Day

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Mondays are typically bad – a ton of email, dozens of press releases and well annoying phone calls. Today was no different except that most of press releases/info coming my way were related to VoIP in some way or the other. I thought it would make sense to just simply do a round-up of it all, for none of them merit more than a quick read.

* Forrester Research released a study today that consumers remain reluctant to adopt VoIP technologies: The survey found that only 13% of consumers were “interested or very interested” in VoIP technology. Interest only goes up when they are convinced of the cost savings associated with VoIP, according to the survey. Folks at Zoom think if consumers could make free IP-to-IP calls and pay for VoIP services as they go, rather than pay a monthly fee, they  might be more interested.  What do you think guys?
* Rivermine Software, which makes telecom management software for corporations has released a VoIP implementation kit.
* Sonus says WebEX is going to use its VoIP products to build out WebEx MediaTone Network. Now all voice calls on the WebEx system will happen over IP.
* Trinity Convergence, has released VeriCall Edge 2.0 V2IP software platform, which makes it easy to develop products for VoIp without special DSP chips.
* Vocal Technologies has released two products – more reference designs that allow equipment makers to build VoIP ATA at $6.00 Unit Cost and Full Motion IP Videophone ATA Design at $30.00 per unit cost. This could lead to falling prices and spur the demand for VoIP.
* Level3’s decision to put the kibosh on its 3(Tone) service means big opportunity for two startup rivals, Volo Communications Inc. and Nuvio Corp., as they try and grab some of Level 3’s customers by offering alternative services.
* Normally pithy Light Reading comes up with the doozy of the day: IP Centrex platform vendor has plans to go public as it ramps up its customer base and approaches profitability. Don’t most all start-ups do that?

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David Churbuck

Consumer reluctance on VoIP is, I think, due to a few things.
1. Early VoIP solutions from the 90s were horrible, proprietary, and about as rewarding as PC-based videoteleconferencing.
2. Switching costs. Inertia is difficult thing to break. Some segment of the population will switch broadband providers or long-distance carriers are the mere whiff of a savings or some frequent flier mileage. Not for most.
3. Features. Your average Joe needs to see a compelling feature set, other than cost, to drive the cross-over. VoIP has lots of compelling office applications, but no one is marketing any “must-have” residential features.
4. Perceived horsepower. VoIP is considered processor intensive. If the perception — valid or not — persists that one must have a beefy box to drive VoIP, the way Videotel solutions needed lots of horsepower ten years ago, then people won’t switch. (That said, I watched my son upgrade a PC just to be able to play Half-Life2). People can tolerate jerky video, but their ears won’t tolerate crummy audio and bad audio goes back to point 1.

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