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October 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 10
On Rad’s Radar

The Dumb Pipe Problem

At ITEXPO (News - Alert) West, both panels that I moderated were non-VOIP. That’s different. One was on using APIs to create Web applications. The other was on CDN (Content Delivery Networks). But, since returning from Los Angeles, I have gotten back to pondering VoIP and the Channel. XO and Level3 lean more on VARs for business than Agents now. Agents still don’t understand SIP Trunking, VoIP, MPLS and some other technologies.

Voice is just another application riding IP. Net-heads get this, but Bell-heads don’t. They still think in terms of minutes equaling revenue. One of their biggest dilemmas is that content and apps are becoming more important than the pipe. They sell Broadband, Internet Access, the pipe. Carriers don’t want to be relegated to plumbers just maintaining dumb pipe. (The wholesale IP backbone market has not shown a profitable picture.) So, the carriers keep ratcheting down the hatches on the walled gardens and move their model over to cellular, hoping to stave off the dumb pipe model. Agents have a similar issue.


Do you want to be the Dumb Pipe Guy?

With Cloud Computing, Software-as-a-Service, API, XML, M2M and the like being used by more businesses every day, you can either sell the dumb pipe (cellular, EV-DO, 4G, DSL) or you can get involved in what I call Layer 7 or deeper sales. Figure out ways to make the business more efficient, productive, mobile, redundant, etc. That equals sales faster than you can say, “Can I see your Phone (News - Alert) Bill?”

Circling back to my ITEXPO sessions, CDN, in fact, is one way to add value to the dumb pipe for the carrier. When you optimize the network for real-time traffic (like video), you can charge more. What can you do to optimize the network for small businesses? How can you take the technology out of the business owner’s day so that he has a solution instead of a piece of tech that he has to worry about? IT

Peter Radizeski is head of RAD-INFO (News - Alert), Inc., a consulting agency specializing in the telecom industry.

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