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August 15, 2011

VoIP Equipment Leader VoIP Supply Readies for ITEXPO

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor

As the countdown to the upcoming ITEXPO West 2011 conference in Austin, Texas, continues, TMC’s (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani sat down with VoIP equipment leader VoIP Supply to hear about how the market has evolved over the last few years and how trends like cloud, social media and HTML5 are affecting the VoIP equipment space.

VoIP Supply is North America’s leading supplier of VoIP equipment. The company is gearing up for ITEXPO, an event that is touted as the largest communications and technology event of the year. 

“I’ll be addressing the benefits of unified communications for businesses,” VoIP Supply’s Chief Marketing Officer Garrett Smith told Tehrani in a recent interview about why the company is attending ITEXPO. “Most organizations used to think of IP based communications as a way to save money, but today it’s really more about what IP/unified communications can enable from an efficiency and productivity standpoint. Properly integrating and deploying unified communications is still a hurdle for some, but the potential benefits that come from leveraging it definitely justify the costs.”

Smith noted that the VoIP equipment space has been pretty unmarked by change over the last few years, as few “truly differentiated products” have been hitting the streets. Despite the static market, however, the VoIP equipment area has seen a rise in demand for mobility solutions within the office which makes wireless and DECT based solutions very attractive to businesses of all sizes.

“The rise in popularity is tied to what I like to call the ‘cell phone effect’ in which users now must have a connection at their side for fear of missing out on something,” Smith said.

Check out the full interview below:

What do you see as the next disruptive force in technology and how will it impact your market or business?

The biggest disruptive force to the telecommunications equipment market has to be hosted and cloud- based communication services. With global economic uncertainty, capital expenses, such as a telephone system, will be highly scrutinized by organizations, making hosted and cloud offerings even more desirable as they require less upfront expense. That said all those hosted and cloud service customers still need desktop phones, so it is not all doom and gloom.

How has the acceptance and adoption of the cloud model influenced your development cycle and process?

We don’t make any specific products, so the cloud model has not influenced our development cycle, but it has changed the way we evaluate product lines, merchandize and approach telephone system sales. For example we bolstered our service provider fulfillment and provisioning services, VoIP Fulfillment by VoIP Supply, as a result of the growing popularity and acceptance of the cloud model since we knew service providers would eventually outgrow their existing supply chain operations and need a large, specialized partner to assist them going forward.

What is the most common request you are seeing from your customers? How is your company addressing these demands?

The most common request we are seeing from customers today is cost savings and fast ROI. Organizations are being highly cautious and are scrutinizing every penny they spend. As a result, organizations are once again becoming increasingly cost sensitive and critical of the ROI period. Due to this VoIP Supply has increased our Net term and leasing offerings, in order to ensure that every organization can afford to migrate to VoIP.

How is the continued growth of social media changing service and product development strategies?

Organizations today have access to almost unlimited feedback in near real-time. This has allowed product development cycles to be highly iterative and quick in nature; to the benefit of the organization and the end product users.

Will Google+ become bigger than Facebook and Twitter? Why or why not?

It depends on how you define “bigger.” I like to think of social networks a bit like social clubs; there is no one size fits all and people will naturally gravitate to what best suits their needs and interests. I suspect that Google (News - Alert) will be bigger than Facebook with the tech crowd, but do I expect to see my grandparents on Google+ any time soon? No. To that end, I see Facebook being the dominant social network for the forseeable future, followed by LinkedIn (News - Alert), with Google+ and Twitter fighting out for those that are much more “plugged-in.”

As businesses continue their move toward virtual workforces, how are you meeting the need for increased mobility? 

What barriers are keeping others from adopting mobile strategies? At VoIP Supply, we are meeting the need for virtual workforces and increased mobility through enabling organizations to leverage technology such as web and video conferencing. Through our relationships with companies such as Polycom and Cisco (News - Alert) WebEx, VoIP Supply is actively deploying these solutions within organizations so that they can enable their remote offices and work forces with the necessary tools to be successful.

How do you see the mobile operating system war (iPhone (News - Alert) vs. Android vs. RIM vs. WM7) playing out?

I’m going to lean towards my user experience, friends and state, that when it’s all said and done the iOS will be the best mobile platform, however, it may not be the most widely adopted since it only runs on Apple hardware (who has never been one to offer low cost hardware, which will hinder adoption growth). The most widely adopted will likely be Android, but I certainly don’t think it will be the “best.”

Is HTML5 the game changer many predict it will be?

It has the capability to improve the user experience for developers and end users, however, its absolute adoption seems to still be far off in the distance and as a result it’s tough for me to say.

What are you most looking forward to at ITEXPO West  in Austin? What do you see as being the biggest trends at the show?

What I’m looking forward to most is getting a chance to network and sit down with vendors, partners and customers. Face to face has always been the most effective way to “get things done” and ITEXPO provides the perfect venue for that! In terms of trends at the show, I am sure you are going to see more talk about mobile VoIP services and ancillary communications technologies, such as video conferencing and IP paging.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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