A single theme has permeated the most recent INTERNET
TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO so far this year. That theme is growth. I have
seen growth in various sectors of the market since we launched this show
six years ago, but this time it is different. In the past, growth in one
segment didn�t translate into growth in other parts of the VoIP space.
For example, the growth of the CLEC market in 99-2000
meant a flood of service providers to this show in those years. At the
time the common �wisdom� was that service providers would be providing all
telecom services and the enterprise had less reason to purchase VoIP
solutions themselves. We saw tremendous growth in the service provider
sector and slower growth in the enterprise attendance.
This time it is different� Situated in Miami, this
event is drawing people from around the globe. Every session on the first
day was standing room only and many of the sessions were closed off due to
overcrowding. We frankly never expected this type of traffic and we
further weren�t expecting it to span across all segments. The first SIP
session of the show had nearly 100 attendees; our service provider
roundtable was standing room only. Over 400 people signed up for
conferences in total over three days.
The major U.S.-based service providers have their
purchasing teams here while the cable companies and hundreds of
international service providers, some established and some like E-Teknoloji,
are establishing themselves as VoIP service providers in Turkey where the
market just recently opened up. The South American service provider market
is no different. Torrid growth permeates the entire continent as well as
the Caribbean. Representatives of virtually every country are in
attendance. We should rename this event the UN of VoIP.
The enterprise market is no slouch and the developers
are here in force as well. Literally, every sector we target is here in
record numbers and the hotel is overflowing. Thanks to many of you,
Internet Telephony is now firmly entrenched as the largest VoIP show in
the world, attracting qualified attendees with real buying power.
Penny Shaffer, VP of AT&T Global Services, delivered
a truly engaging presentation yesterday talking about the future of IP
telephony and the next generation of devices and services we can expect.
This marks the first time that AT&T has participated in this event in a
major way� This certainly bodes will for the market.
Perhaps the bravest major speaker of all was Mun-Yuen
Leong, the CTO of Avaya, who showed WiFi telephony (on a Pocket PC PDA no
less) in action and how remote workers can truly take advantage of IP
telephony in a way that allows them to not miss important calls. The
audience and I were impressed. I mention "brave" because live demos are
often fraught with last minute problems and things always work well until
the audience gets there. Sure enough, the GSM and WiFi networks are
working great. Aruba Wireless gets the credit for the WiFi delivery by the
way. Interestingly, contact centers were mentioned throughout the major
presentations. Mr. Leong, for example, mentioned that reservation agents
in airports are often idle and would make ideal agents who can have IP
telephony calls piped to them when they are available.
Our TMC University, IP PBX Certification session was
maxed out as well. Over 70 people were in this room when I peeked my head
in a few times. I have received pretty great comments about this session.
The exhibit hall opens in a few hours and
registration numbers have already exceeded 3,000. By the way, so far, 90
percent of our attendees tell us this is their first time attending this
show! Miami traditionally has the most walk-up traffic of any city we have
done a show in and we are preparing for the onslaught of new buyers into
our industry. Thanks to all of you for making this the most well attended
show in the space.
For many of you in the VoIP market in the last few
years, it has indeed been a grueling time. I can say that this show is the
first sign that things have turned around. We are running on all cylinders
now. The momentum, energy and excitement of this conference is bound to
turn into many sold products and services in the next few days. IP
telephony is today�s telephony� Anything else in now legacy. It is a good
time to be in VoIP.
Please talk back to me in
Rich Tehrani is TMC's president. He welcomes your comments.
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