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September 09, 2010

The Capabilities and Cost Benefits of VoIP: ITEXPO West Speaker

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Social media has certainly taken the lead in the marketing focus, yet not all companies are experiencing the same results. According to Steve Safley, President of, LLC, an online strategy has been deployed within his company, yet real sales results have yet to emerge. Safley recently took part in a TMCnet interview in anticipation of the upcoming ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2010 event. When asked about widespread HD voice deployments in 2011, Safley noted we first need to see support for that codec among the VoIP carrier community.

Safley is interested in whether or not mobile providers like Verizon (News - Alert) can keep up with network demands of mobile conferencing and he believes Android will eventually emerge as the winning wireless operating system. As far as wireless networks replacing the wired environment, Safley does not believe this will happen as the enterprise is still concerned with security and wireless environments invite too much risk.

And, while Safley does admit that his business is a cloud-based type company, he believes the “cloud” is more hype than it is a service. When asked about net neutrality, Safley is all for it as he believes the market should decide who is right when it comes to providing services. Safley is participating in the ITEXPO West event and is featuring a session on VoIP applications. He will highlight the fact that VoIP can enable hosted, SIP trunking, global call forwarding, global calling card, pinless authentication, SMS and more at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems.

The entire conversation follows below:

How is your company leveraging the growth of social media to enhance your own business?

We have an online strategy deployed for our company but to date we have not seen any real sales results from venues like Twitter.   This is an area we will evaluate further in 2011.

Nearly every phone manufacturer is now incorporating support for wideband codecs.  Will we finally see widespread HD voice deployments in 2011?

Not sure. First, we need to see support for that codec among the VoIP carrier community. We support G.722 in our network today. Second, we need to make sure the manufacturer’s handsets can work with other manufacturer’s handsets. Third, there needs to be adequate bandwidth from the end user locations that want to use HD voice. Once these items occur, then we will see a greater uptick in that occurs

What are your thoughts on the viability of mobile video chat or conferencing?

Video chat might be something for consumers and such, given the overwhelming success of venues like Facebook (News - Alert) and YouTube. It will be interesting to see if mobile providers like Verizon can manage the demands placed on their network to support this usage. As far as conferencing is concerned, I’m not sure video conferencing from a mobile device is the next “killer app”. Companies have been trying to sell video since the 1980’s with minimal success. 

Which wireless operating system (Android, iOS4, Microsoft (News - Alert), etc.) will see the greatest success over the next three years?  Why?

Well, personally I use an Android phone from Motorola on Verizon’s network and have been very pleased with that. As long as the legal issues surrounding patent infringement don’t get in the way, then I think Android will become the dominant OS if for no other reason than Google (News - Alert) is making their OS available to any mobile provider who wants it. There are also thousands of applications being written to Android because those applications can be sold to a larger market than say, iPhone which is limited to its relationship with AT&T in this country and the shortcomings of AT&T’s wireless network availability.

Some have suggested wireless networking will soon replace wired networks in the enterprise.  Do you agree? Why or why not?

I do not agree. Wireless always seems to catch on with consumers first and foremost and then moves up the food chain from SMB à Enterprise. Security is the big concern in the Enterprise. Even with WEP keys and such to limit access to networks, there still are a lot of security issues that many corporations need to address before opening up wireless access.

What impact has the growth of cloud-based services had on your business?

As a provider of private label hosted VoIP services, we are a cloud-based company of sorts, I guess. All the hoopla over the use of the word “cloud” seems more like hype than it is new service.  

If you had the opportunity to decide the Net neutrality debate, how would you rule?

I would vote for net neutrality. The market always decides who’s right when it comes to providing services and I have seen firsthand what happens when internet providers discriminate against their competitors for the sake of their own services. 

You are exhibiting at ITEXPO West 2010.  What is the most exciting thing attendees will see at your booth?

VoIP applications. Our resellers keep coming up with new and improved ways to use VoIP services to leverage the cost advantages. Be it traditional hosted, sip trunking, Global call forwarding, Global calling card, pinless authentication , SMS and other uses, VoIP is easier to do those things at a fraction of the cost. 

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