Editor's Notes

Where It's At

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  June 01, 2011

Despite economic challenges, the communications industry continues to move forward on a number of fronts, including HD voice and SIP trunking; and growth in the social networking arena continues at an unprecedented pace, making funds more easily accessible to companies in this camp.

HD voice is expected to grow significantly over the next three years, says Doug Mohney, editor in chief of HD Voice News and a TMCnet contributor. Already, he says, tier 1 service providers including Cincinnati Bell, Comcast (News - Alert), France Telecom, and Verizon are leveraging the technology. Meanwhile, 17 mobile carriers have announced plans for or introduced HD voice in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

"Anyone involved in telephony who is not tracking HD voice better wake up fast," says Mohney. "Verizon Business (News - Alert) is going to make HD voice and video announcements in the coming weeks and Verizon Wireless will deliver HD voice in 2012 when they turn on VoLTE. Comcast is a good bet for the first tier 1 voice provider to deploy residential wideband service if they can get the right CPE out of its suppliers."

Comcast could launch HD Voice trials as early as this year, he adds.

But what happens with tier 1 SIP peering will play a key role in the future of HD voice, Mohney continues.

"The biggest single headache for HD voice – and video for that matter – is the need for tier 1 SIP peering," says Mohney, who created the research report "HD Voice 2011: Critical Mass," which can be purchased at http://www.tmcnet.com/voip/ip-communications/. "It’s a Layer 8 and 9 problem, money and politics, not technology. We don’t need more stinking technology, we need service providers to wake up and start making arrangements before the FCC and Congress decides to ‘fix things’ themselves. “

Meanwhile, Diane Myers of Infonetics Research says that SIP trunking had a breakout year with 143 percent revenue growth in 2010. SIP trunking and hosted UC telephony are the two fastest growing areas in the VoIP space, Infonetics reports.

"The VoIP service market weathered the economic turmoil of the last couple of years, and, with increasing customer adoption, reached $49.8 billion in 2010 (compared to $34.8 billion in 2008),” she adds. “While the residential services segment remains the largest of the market at 69 percent of total revenue, business VoIP services are growing at faster rates.”

Residential VoIP subscribership continues to climb, with an increase of 19 percent last year, meaning 157 million worldwide subscribers. The leaders in residential VoIP are NTT, Comcast and France Telecom (News - Alert), in that order, according to Infonetics Research.

The firm forecasts the business and residential/SOHO VoIP services market – which saw 20 percent growth for IP Centrex and hosted UC services last year ­– will reach $74.5 billion in 2015 and that managed IP PBX (News - Alert) business VoIP service revenue will more than double from 2010 to 2015.

As for social networking, everybody knows this area is hot. But perhaps not everybody understands just exactly how hot it is.

A recent New York Times article quotes Ben Horowitz, a co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, saying this: “There’s never been a company ever that has grown as fast as Groupon or Facebook (News - Alert), because no one could reach such a big audience so quickly.”

He goes on to say that “the ability to build a company that gets to $1 billion in revenues in less than two years is unprecedented.”

Another key communications trend has come into play to enable that, he adds. And that is cloud computing.

As Horowitz notes, the availability of cloud computing is allowing a whole new generation of businesses to enter the marketplace without high upfront and ongoing communications costs. That enables businesses to get out there with very small budgets to show what they can do in an effort to win early adopters and the hearts and minds of the investment community.

The New York Times piece goes on to report: “In the post-recession environment, young entrepreneurs are finding relatively easy access to capital, as venture capitalists open their wallets wider and a new crop of angel investors move in. Venture capital investments rose 19 percent, to $21.8 billion in 2010 – the first annual increase since the downturn, according to the National Venture Capital Association. The number of angel investors, meanwhile, surged 22 percent to 727 last year, according to data from research firm CB Insights.”

Edited by Rich Steeves