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September 17, 2008
September 17, 2008

8x8 Data Casts Public Internet as Valuable Foundation of Business VoIP

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

Moments ago, Bryan Martin (News - Alert) hooked an Internet telephony crowd in a way that few executives ever have: He told a VoIP joke.

In fact, the chairman and chief executive officer of 8x8 (News - Alert) Inc. – a Santa Clara, California-based provider of Packet8 business, mobile and residential broadband communications services – kicked off his keynote address, “Enterprise Communications and the Public Internet,” with a pair of VoIP jokes.
The second one went like this: “Did you guys hear the one about the drug dealer that was setting up his auto attendant? He had an outgoing message that said, ‘If you’re calling to buy marijuana, press the ‘hash’ key.”
A standing-room only crowd of more than 200 VoIP professionals, IT insiders and journalists – gathered in the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center for the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo – chuckled, and then bore down for an entertaining presentation that was serious in its subject.
Hours after breaking big industry news – that 8x8’s Packet8 VoIP service, through a free hardware box, is now integrated with Microsoft Response Point, the software giant’s SIP-based IP-PBX for SMBs – Martin raised this pressing question: Is the public Internet capable and ready to carry business class voice services?
The answer, according to 8x8’s data, Martin said: Yes, for about 85 percent of the company’s subscribers.
Unveiling statistical data collected from 100,000 customers – a figure that encompassed 16.7 million residential and business calls – Martin said that 84 percent of respondents considered their phone calls “toll quality or better.”
About 9 percent said they had at least one call that was “cell quality or better,” Martin said – meaning they experienced a momentary hiccup of packet loss – and nearly 7 percent said they had at least one call that was “not acceptable quality,” which would mean unacceptable for business use, which relies heavily on clear communications (as does personal use, as evidenced by AT&T Cingular’s (News - Alert) “dropped call” ads).
“The conclusion from this data is that the public Internet appears to be ready for real-time business communications about 85 percent of the sampled customers,” Martin said. “Fifteen percent of the self-installed customer locations are going to require some tweaking or improvements to have business quality voice on each and every call. What this means, in my opinion, is that every person out there, every business, every consumer, should be able to get access to business quality voice – 85 percent are going to have to do nothing to get that access. And 15 percent of customers are going to have to do a little work. So, I would say that data, given the advantages you get with the public Internet side outweighs a little bit of headache we have to do for the 15 percent.”
Martin then said that the industry has made great strides in making it easier to train SMBs to use VoIP systems – a natural segue to the company’s landmark Microsoft (News - Alert) Response Point partnership announcement.
For Martin, combining his company’s VoIP phone service with Microsoft’s Response Point small business phone system will bring features such as reliable E-911 services and free international calls among service subscribers to a fertile market.
Martin said during today’s earlier announcement that the combined solution will allow small businesses, regardless of their location or network configuration, to reduce monthly phone costs with VoIP. With the Packet8-supported ResponsePoint system, every company should be able to move from high-priced, complex and inadequate telephone systems to IP telephony, Martin said.
Features of the Packet8 VoIP Phone Service Include: inbound and outbound calling; toll-free numbers; direct inward dialing; enhanced E-911; compliance with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act; caller ID; national directory listing; online billing and account management; and on-site installation.
The company says it has 12,000 business customers.
In his blog entry that covered the news of the 8x8-Microsoft pact, TMC President and ITEXPO Chairman Rich Tehrani said Martin’s company is now cemented as a premiere SMB IP communications provider.
“The company was smart to focus on the SMB market years back when it became clear the consumer VoIP market was hard to make money in, Tehrani said. “In addition, 8x8 has done a great job marketing these past years. For Microsoft, this agreement is a big deal because the Response Point product is still relatively unknown in the communications market and Microsoft has been very successful with their VoIP As You Are campaign, but they haven’t necessarily branded the Response Point product as well as they could.”
8x8 Inc. 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´┐Żs articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan


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