VoIP (define -
alert)-enabled telecommunications will be widely adopted among South African corporations during this New Year 2005. This was concluded by analysts who conducted VoIP in SA 2005, a survey provided by the country's independent technology research organization World Wide Worx.
More than half the organizations interviewed during the survey plan to use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) this yeartopping a third of that already using the technology. According to the survey, VoIP was still an emerging technology in 2004, with 31 percent of surveyed corporations having implemented it.
These results suggest the emergence of a highly competitive market, and huge need for education around options, applications, implementation strategies and cost-benefit issues, explained World Wide Worx.
"We interviewed technical decision-makers at 100 South African corporations about their adoption and expectations of VoIP and least-cost routingone of the key application areas for VoIP," said MD and co-author of the report Arthur Goldstuck.
Telecom analyst and co-author of the report John Joslin said: "The next decade is expected to witness a rapid transformation of the global communication system from basic telephony to a multimedia broadband network with voice, data, video, photos, instant messaging, TV, radio and collaboration on a seamless interconnected wireline, wireless, mobile and satellite network-based on Internet protocols."
Analysts revealed that VoIP will significantly enhance the already mature arena of less cost routing (LCR), used by businesses to route outgoing phone calls via the most cost-effective channel. The survey also found that LCR was already deployed extensively in 2004, and will approach saturation in 2005.
Half of the corporations interviewed employed more than 1,000 people. They were also asked to rate the impact of emerging technologies over the next five years, with most rating VoIP as having a far greater impact than the likes of third generation (3G) technologyintroduced in December by Vodacom locally, and WiMax.
Oddly, most corporations surveyed preferred Telkom when asked which VoIP and LCR services providers they would most likely use. Telkom has been seen as facing the greatest threat from VoIP, however, it was the second most commonly named preferred provider of the technology.
"Mobile networks will probably be the biggest beneficiaries of all, but in a more subtle and long-term context," Joslin added. For now, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) plans hearings on telecom sector regulations this month before finalizing amendments.
He said the sector had taken the Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri's deregulation announcement "at face value, meaning Icasa should give effect to her intentions via amendments to existing laws, regulations and licenses in such a way that the sector is further liberalized rather than more tightly controlled," he added.
Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at