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Editors' Notebook
June 2003

Greg Galitzine

That Old Familiar Feeling


Things must be getting better. All of a sudden, my phone is ringing off the hook with PR reps imploring me to meet with their clients, and my e-mail inbox is jammed with requests to participate in briefings, and of course offers to purchase products that will, among other things, help me STOP LOSING MY HAIR! (Go figure�) But the fact of the matter is, the IP telephony industry is indeed showing signs of life all over the place. Starting with our last Internet Telephony� Conference and EXPO (February 2003), right through press time for this article, the activity level has been reaching heights I haven�t seen in several years. As someone on the front lines, I can only imagine that this level of interest in talking to an editor is a good sign for our industry. I�m telling you, it�s that old familiar feeling, back again. Next thing you know, we�ll be seeing live bands and booth giveaways at tradeshows before too long! Ok, ok� one step at a time� Anyway, here�s the skinny on but a couple of things that I�ve been hearing, and some of the folks that I�ve recently met with.


Inter-Tel (www.inter-tel.com) recently dropped by our office to discuss their Inter-Tel Managed Services Initiative, a go-to-market strategy that comprises technology solutions, as well as a comprehensive financial strategy to evaluate a business� return on overall communications investment. The Managed Services Initiative provides an enterprise with end-to-end business communications solutions including equipment, carrier services, planning and provisioning consultation, and the ability to add emerging technologies when it makes business sense.

�For over 30 years, Inter-Tel has been known for its ability to understand the needs of the marketplace and deliver reliable, robust products and applications that helped address these challenges,� said Craig W. Rauchle, COO for Inter-Tel. �Our Managed Services Initiative boldly builds upon this heritage by delivering end-to-end business communications solutions that will help our customers in terms of administration, technology, and economics. MSI lets the enterprise take the guesswork out of planning, building, and supporting a communications infrastructure, and allows customers to focus on what they do best -- managing their individual businesses.�

Now, it�s my belief that we�ve moved beyond talking about IP telephony technology for technology�s sake. We�ve entered a time in which the most important elements of a sales pitch to prospective buyers are things like return on investment (ROI), total cost of ownership (TCO), and perhaps most importantly: What will this technology do for my business? With rare capital being restrained by old-world concepts such as prudence, due diligence, and a thorough examination of the business case for each and every transaction, Inter-Tel�s focus on the overall business environment affecting their small and medium-sized customers is a welcome sight indeed.

�Inter-Tel�s Managed Services Initiative is a forward-thinking program that, from a customer perspective, significantly simplifies the process of acquiring technology,� summed Mr. Rauchle. �We genuinely think MSI will change the way enterprise looks at business communications.�

To further sum up, Inter-Tel�s Managed Service Initiative:

� Offers expansive business-specific applications;
� Leverages convergence and emerging technologies;
� Provides migration path and investment protection; and
� Enables customers to focus on their core business.

I expect we�ll see similar strategies popping up all over the place soon.

International VoIP Council
Billing itself as the VoIP industry�s first association and activist organization, the International VoIP Council was launched with the goal of serving as the unified, worldwide voice for VoIP within the business, consumer, and technology communities. Founded by CommuniTech President and CEO, Neal Shact, the Council has brought together a number of the industry�s best-known companies in a cohesive effort to further VoIP.

According to Shact, �The last two years has been an acid test. The industry has worked very hard to deliver high-quality products and services that help lower operating costs The mission of the Council is to get that message out and educate the public on the many benefits that VoIP delivers. Over the past few years, organizations that have implemented VoIP are seeing substantial ROI; this technology is deployed at a lower cost, with more benefits than traditional communications solutions� The bottom line -- VoIP is mature and is ready for prime time.�

The Council has an extensive agenda. According to the organization�s Web site (www.voipcouncil.org) the Council plans to:

� Implement an aggressive media and analyst outreach program promoting the value of VoIP, leveraging specific case studies and examples of �real world� business solutions.
� Provide a conduit for members to develop strategic partnerships and key business relationships within the industry.
� Provide an educational forum for the business community to learn more about VoIP; host �brown bag� lunches in cities nationwide that feature noted industry experts, and other highly credible speakers who can deliver factual information.
� Provide company references to SOHO organizations and large enterprises looking to cut telecommunications costs, as well as to consumers looking for better connections at half the price of traditional voice networks.

In addition to Communitech, International VoIP Council members include: bConvergent, Deltathree, DiamondWare, Dialpad, Gordon & Glickson, Hitnet, Interactive Intelligence, Kancharla, Net6, PBX.net, Pingtel, Swissvoice, and Sylantro. For information on joining the Council, please contact Chris Ganjani at CommuniTech at 847-439-4333, or [email protected].

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