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September 17, 2008
September 17, 2008

AudioCodes: Business VoIP Needs Simpler, More Collaborative Environment to Grow

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

ITEXPO (News - Alert), Los Angeles - Internet telephony is poised to become a widely deployed technology among SMBs, highly profitable for vendors and service providers – yet the professionals behind VoIP systems must collaborate in order for their products to make money, an expert told more than 200 participants in the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo today.

During a keynote speech in the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall, Sharone Ben-Levi (News - Alert), vice president of marketing for enterprise enhanced services at AudioCodes Ltd. – an Israel-based VoIP product provider with offices throughout the United States – said that it’s time for Internet telephony to evolve from a visionary’s idea to a pragmatist’s business success.
During “Practicality in VoIP Deployments: From Concepts to Profits,” Ben-Levi said that VoIP is now a preferred platform that offers features beyond TDM.
“The numbers say that 50 percent or more of what is now being sold on the market is Voice over IP,” Ben-Levi said, by way of listing phenomena which prove that the VoIP market is now mature.
There are several market indicators of the technology’s maturity. There are fewer and fewer large vendors of VoIP, for example, Ben-Levi said. Also, there is mainstream distribution of the technology, and consolidation of session border controls being folded into telephony solutions.
Yet the market is being held back.
First, there are too many separate elements – a trend that’s preventing interoperability, he said.
“It’s a constant battle with many, many elements in the network to try to keep updated with interoperability,” he said.
Also, VoIP at the moment has too many separate management tools, Ben-Levi said, challenging security models and painful integration and troubleshooting problems.
Another barrier to the widespread deployment of business VoIP is complex cabling, he said, along with the problem of its hardware taking up too much space, and having too many vendors.
“So, you’ve got the sales guy coming to visit the IP manager or the R&D group of the service provider,” he said. “He has different service level agreements. He has different pricing structures. You need to sign agreements with him, then the lead times of the product and after a while, after you get comfortable and have set up the relationship, then the guy is moving on, so here you get someone else.”
The answer, for Ben-Levi, is a type of “convergence.”
Expressing a sentiment that recalled a memorable keynote address from yesterday – when Skype’s (News - Alert) John Christensen said his company merely “closed a loop” when it brought together IM, voice and video to create its product – Ben-Levi said that VoIP now needs to simplify.
Here’s Ben-Levi’s formula for making business VoIP profitable: fewer boxes, less complexity, easier installments and fewer vendors.
“The main message over here is it should be operationally scalable deployment,” Ben-Levi said. “The operational side of the VoIP deployment is currently really hurting.”
Examples of solutions include MSBGs, which combine features into a single unit, such as routing and switching, security, telephony and access.
In order to move from concepts to profit, he said, the VoIP world must focus on simplification.
“We have to keep installations simple, and relationships simple, and everything very tightly integrated, so we can go and approach mass-market deployment,” he said. “Industry-wide collaboration is very important.”
AudioCodes (News - Alert) Ltd. is a platinum sponsor of Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year.  ITEXPO (News - Alert) will take place in Los Angeles, California, September 16-18, 2008, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss.  Don’t wait.  Register now!

Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan


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