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IPCC Feature Article

March 17, 2006

VoIP and Application Integration

Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief


One of the trends I have been seeing in the market is increased communications integration into Microsoft (News - Alert) applications such as Outlook and Internet Explorer. The goal being to allow communications to be initiated while you are in the applications you use most often. Broadsoft has such a toolbar and they have recently upgraded it allowing increased functionality. In addition Broadsoft customers who are generally service providers can allow their customers to customize the toolbar with things like intranet links or a corporate logo.

On a similar note -- I recently met up with Brian Ross from Pika Technologies and we were talking about Vonage (News - Alert) and Brian explained that if Vonage had a toolbar that allowed call control from the desktop it would make the service that much better. He is right. Integrating communications into our applications is a natural evolution of the communications market.

On a larger scale, initiatives like SOA will help enterprise customers integrate communications into even more applications allowing more flexible interaction. For example it would be great for a lawyer to have a telephony toolbar in Microsoft Word. Perhaps a receptionist at a Dentists office could have the toolbar integrated into the application that allows scheduling of patient visits.

I am not predicting the death of the phone any time soon mind you but I must say that there is a tremendous amount to be gained by clicking on a phone number on the web and initiating a phone call.

When you think about it, many mobile devices already have integration between applications and telephony. We just need our desktops applications to catch up.

Remember, the true promise of VoIP is not just about saving money-- it is that it has made telecom hot again. What this has done for the market is bring in lots of very smart people and also lots of money. The next few years will see more and more innovation, making corporations and people more productive than ever. This will be VoIP's legacy on the world.
 
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Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor in Chief at TMC. In addition he is the Chairman of the world’s best attended VoIP event, Internet Telephony Conference & Expo.

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