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January 2010 | Volume 13 / Number 1
Publisher’s Outlook

Ear to the Ground

AT ITEXPO (News - Alert) this month in Miami, the communications and technology markets will come together, and approximately 8,000 decision makers, thought leaders and purchasers of products and services will gather to network, find new products and solutions and get a bead on where the markets are heading for the rest of the year. With a strong international audience, the event will be a single location where you can better understand global buying trends and, more importantly, opportunities.

To help you get a sense of some of the participants at the event, I interviewed a number of them and am happy to give you a roundup of what many in the industry think about 2010 and beyond.

For example, Cliff Rees, founder, CEO and president of XCast (News - Alert) Labs Inc., expects easy-to-use and stable SIP dialers for smartphones will be a big hit this year.

When asked about HD voice, Jeff Szczepanski, co-founder, vice president and CTO of Allworx (News - Alert), a subsidiary of PAETEC Holding Corp., explains that voice quality actually has decreased this past decade. He lauds the idea and concept of HD but wonders what customers are willing to pay and thinks there may need to be a killer app of some sort to get HD voice to reach its true potential.

Aastra (News - Alert) has become a larger and larger player in the IP communications market, and it is worth taking this into account as you hear growth area predictions from Tim Whittington, senior vice president and general manager of Aastra USA. “Social media and other collaboration tools will continue to grow; however, enterprises will opt for in-house, secure solutions,” he says. “For example, microblogging can be very useful within an organization to give quick status updates on projects, problem resolution, what people are working on, etc., but that’s not the type of information you would want blasted on Twitter.” He continues: “The same applies to desktop video. Desktop video will be more affordable and displace many of the low-quality, free solutions available today.”

TMC (News - Alert) columnist Doug Mohney will be participating in the show as a moderator and his thoughts on the markets are pretty interesting. He predicts Verizon will beat up AT&T some more in 2010 with more ads touting the even better Verizon Wireless network, which will leverage LTE (News - Alert).

He also is bullish on HD voice. Here are some more salient points Mohney makes on the topic:

Verizon (News - Alert) Business has nearly 5,000 Polycom HD phones in operation in its headquarters and says it expects to find “early adopters” among its customer base in 2010, with “general availability” of the capability in 2011.

So, net-net is that we’ll see more businesses setting up HD voice, getting hosted HD voice services in 2010, and most importantly asking for HD voice on bid packages. More water into the glass.

Meanwhile, Gregory Giagnocavo, CEO of CarrierCloud, predicts that in 2010 it will be more the norm to utilize the mobile device for Skype-In and -Out, and more calls to and from mobile devices will be VoIP.

Joel Maloff (News - Alert) of Maloff NetResults, a TMC partner and a participant in ITEXPO, has a surprising prediction about the future. He predicts Google will merge with another company.

And Joe Schiavone, director of sales for FreedomVOICE (News - Alert), has a bullish prediction about 2010 – that hosted VoIP will grow by leaps and bounds. “It grew by 21 percent during 2009, and we were in a very difficult recession. Now that things are turning around to some extent, we expect there to be even more growth,” he says.

Indeed. Although the global economy has seen major problems this past year or so, the fundamentals of many parts of the communications market are sounder now than ever. SIP trunking, backhaul, mobility, broadband, M2M, smart grid, open source, cloud computing and virtualization are just a few areas expected to experience nice growth levels for the foreseeable future.

If you are a service provider, you need to be at ITEXPO to make sense of the massive convergence taking place in markets. If you are a reseller, developer or corporate buyer, you have to be at the show to keep up with all the technology, such as new developments in unified communications and collaboration, which are literally transforming business.

We have done our absolute best to have the most important aspects of technology covered in this year’s ITEXPO. I hope to see you Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami. IT

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