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January 04, 2010

Patience Key for IP Communication Space Developments: IP Fax Provider, ITEXPO Speaker

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor

With constant technological advancements happening in the communications technology industry, it’s no wonder that more and more businesses are paying closer attention to high-definition voice features in IP communications products and services. While the possibilities may be exciting, it takes time to develop the right specifications to meet companies needs, according to a Montreal, Canada-based provider of advanced fax server solutions for IP networks.

“With any new technology to be introduced to the market with any significant footprint, one needs to appreciate both the required changes in the core networking infrastructure and end point devices,” John Nikolopoulos, director, marketing and product management, Sagem-Interstar, an IP fax solutions provider, told TMC (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani in an interview, printed in full below. “Core networking infrastructure upgrades always drive toward five- to 10-year upgrade cycles.”
Yet, given the time element, Nikolopoulos doesn’t predict much happening in the space for several years.
During their back and forth, Nikolopoulos also told Tehrani that mobility will offer “interesting opportunities” in the coming years. What’s more, industry observers will want to focus on M2M and SIP-enabled applications as those markets will likely be key growth areas this year, he said.
The full exchange follows.
Rich Tehrani: Smartphones continue to rise, find their ways into offices and homes alike. Who will dominate that market and why?
John Nikolopoulos (pictured below): Apple and RIM will continue to dominate the market with Nokia (News - Alert) following their lead. Look out for some potential disruption in the market with Google’s Android offering. 

RT: We hear more and more about high-definition voice features in IP communications products and services. What is going to drive wideband audio and HD VoIP into the mainstream market? How long will it take?
JN: With any new technology to be introduced to the market with any significant footprint, one needs to appreciate both the required changes in the core networking infrastructure and end point devices. Core networking infrastructure upgrades always drive toward five to 10-year upgrade cycles. Hence, I do not see much happening on this front for at least several years.
RT: What’s the most innovative product that’s going to hit the market in 2010, from a company other than your own?
JN: I am particularly intrigued by trends on the social media ecosystem front; as such, the commercialization of Google Wave opens the door to some rather compelling competitive dynamics, particularly with respect to gorillas like Facebook (News - Alert).
RT: We entered 2009 in a recession and now we’re seeing signs of the economy picking up. How did the slow economy affect demand for your products and services and what are you anticipating in 2010?
Despite a challenging macroeconomic global environment, Sagem (News - Alert)-Interstar results exceeded corporate expectations with substantial year over year revenue growth and market share gains in the dynamic FoIP server software segment. For seven straight years, we have been leading the global FoIP server software segment which we essentially established in 2002 with the launch of our innovative and patented XMediusFAX FoIP server software platform. In 2010, we expect to continue growing faster than the industry average and take advantage of favorable emerging competitive dynamics.
RT: President Barack Obama has been in office for nearly a year. What has surprised you, whether a pleasant surprise or disappointment, about his presidency, policies and administration?
JN: President Obama has shown significant leadership on the international front (e.g., rapprochement with the Muslim/Arab world, showing respect to key partners, etc.). On the domestic front, the economy is certainly moving in the right direction although it remains to be seen how effective some of his policies (e.g., healthcare and financial system reforms) will play out in the coming years.
RT: If you were president of the United States, what tech-friendly policies would you enact?
JN: I would focus on green-friendly technologies (software solutions, solid state LED lighting, mobility application optimization, solar and wind power, etc) and support accelerated broadband and smart grid deployments.
RT: What are some of the areas of market growth in the next few years?
JN: Anything to do with mobility will offer some rather interesting opportunities in the coming
years. The ratification of 802.11n is a potential game changer in some applications (.e.g, impact on WiMAX (News - Alert)). M2M is another key growth area as are SIP-enabled applications.
RT: I understand you are speaking during ITEXPO East 2010 in Miami, to be held Jan. 20 to 22. Talk to us about your session or sessions. Who should attend and why?
JN: A Sagem-Interstar rep will be speaking as part of a panel discussion on IP faxing. The discussion will address both business and technology related issues thus broadening the appeal for potential attendees. Key topics such as SIP, virtualization, and T.38 will be discussed from differing perspectives (e.g., ISV, customer, system integrator).
RT: Please give me one outrageous prediction pertaining to our markets for 2010.
JN: I am not sure what constitutes “outrageous,” however, I am always watching out for what Google is up to next and its associated impact on other established players (e.g., Cisco, Microsoft, etc.) and their strategies.

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering business communications Her areas of focus include conferencing, SIP, Fax over IP, unified communications and telepresence. Amy also writes about education and healthcare technology, overseeing production of e-Newsletters on those topics as well as communications solutions and UC. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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