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Publisher's Outlook
July 2004

Rich Tehrani

The VoIP Opportunity


Since 1999-2000, the technology market has had zero money-making opportunities. We thought WiFi would be the exception but there is no money here. The equipment side has zero margins and the service side is suffering as evidenced by the recent failing of Cometa Networks.

The only shining stars in all of technology (not counting biotech or nanotech), where there are growth and profits to be made are two subsets of telecom. The first is VoIP. The number of new entrants in the space is amazing. The opportunity is huge. To a lesser extent the speech recognition market holds much promise but less revenue.VC dollars are pouring into the VoIP market. Here are some reasons why I believe this trend will continue:

Consumer Adoption and Understanding of VoIP
When my high-school friends tell me about VoIP in the supermarket, you know that the technology has reached mainstream. Soon consumers will not accept anything but VoIP.

Service Provider Adoption of VoIP
AT&T CallVantage is so good that cable companies, CLECs, and everyone else is scrambling to keep up. Competition in the service provider market will be fierce because the opportunity is to enable every person in the world to make VoIP calls regardless of the network they are on.

Enterprise Adoption of VoIP
Every corporation knows that anything that doesn�t support VoIP is legacy. No one is even developing legacy products anymore. To not deploy IP telephony is to be uncompetitive.

The Wireless Opportunity
WiFi and WiMAX are great but to make any money with either, you need telephony. WiFi telephony and WiMAX telephony will generate real revenue for tomorrow�s service providers.

A bump in the road may come from the SIP protocol�s lack of security. This bump will in turn create more opportunity for you, the hard-working, Pepsi drinking, potato chip munching developer.

There are countless other ways to profit from VoIP. Develop wireless devices allowing consumers and enterprise users to stay connected wherever WiFi or WiMAX exist. Develop video kiosks allowing companies to have virtual agents anywhere. To elaborate on this, allow your customers to reduce costs at airport terminals� Have video-based agents on call 24x7. Enable ATM machines to have access to video-based agents.

Develop applications for IP PBXs. Do you know that Avaya, Inter-Tel, and others are looking for developers to augment their systems? Develop a legal or financial vertical application. The same goes for hosted systems. Develop a hotel-based application for hosted platforms. Linux telephony, a huge opportunity� Develop apps to augment open source telephony.

The opportunities are countless and the market is ready. For the first time, government, service provider, consumer, and enterprise customers are buying VoIP products in big numbers. Now is the time to develop a product in the VoIP space and take advantage of the tsunami that is the VoIP market.


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