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March 2009 | Volume 12/ Number 3
The Zippy Files

At ITEXPO East: 2009 Where Did We Go Right?

By now, everybody and their brother (and sister) has heard of the resounding success of our ITEXPO (News - Alert) East 2009 held recently in Miami: The spike in attendance, the standing-room-only conference sessions, the companies shouting from the rooftops about how they matched or exceeded their sales lead quotas, and so on.

Given the ongoing collapse of the world economy in general and the U.S. economy in particular, what happened? As they say in the climactic moment of the movie, The Producers, “Where did we go right?”

The answer, surprisingly, can be found collectively in the terrifying reports of unemployment, zero lending, production rollbacks and home foreclosures. It has served as a wakeup call to those organizations that knew how IP communications could save them money and boost productivity, but were reticent to transform their communications infrastructure because things were currently “good enough”. Well folks, we’re now partying as if it were 1930, and things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Former fence-sitters are now taking the IP plunge and desperately scrambling to adopt anything they think can help them. As a result, TMC (News - Alert), the “last man standing” in the specialized world of IP and unified communications (thanks in no small part to its colossal competitors having mismanaged themselves out of existence some time ago) has reaped the reaped the rewards of sheer survival.




Services galore vs. MSBG “God boxes”

The urge to do more with less resulted in the Three Great Mantras heard at the show: Flexibility, Scalability, and Cost Effectiveness, not necessarily in that order. (“Easy to Use” got an Honorable Mention.) The show pitted many new daring services with a boatload of do-everything “god boxes”, all of which claim to eliminate the need for half a dozen or more servers and/or appliances at the prime segment of the market, Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs).

One amazing device I saw loaded with an incredible amount of functionality was the Connecto Wireless Office Communicator from ITS Telecom (News - Alert) (www.its-tel.com). It’s truly an office-in-a-box, or, as they now say, an MSBG (Multi-Services Business Gateway). We gave it a Best-of-Show Innovation Award. The Connecto combines an embedded IP PBX (News - Alert), data router, and FMC (Fixed-Mobile-Convergence) gateway with WiFi (g and n) access points. It’s a single unified IP environment that provides seamless handover of voice and data between VoIP, PSTN, WiFi (News - Alert), and cellular networks. Yes, amazingly, it allows direct cellular-to-cellular calls for either GSM or CDMK phones within its range, that bypass billing on the mobile networks. And it has PBX functionality, voicemail, music-on-hold, fax (T30, T38), an auto attendant and unified messaging, seamless connectivity to all types of phone extensions, LAN networking with advanced firewall and QoS, and high-speed Internet access. You can use UMTS, HSxPA or EVDO for 3G mobile data access. Aside from handling data and Internet streams via the cellular network, it also deftly deals with broadband connectivity via other interfaces, DSL, Cable, WiMAX (News - Alert) and the PSTN.

But then there were great services too in abundance at ITEXPO, and even services for service providers, such the DalCom Telecom Group’s (www.dalcomtelecom.com) Dalcom Matrix. Let’s say you’re a service provider and you just want a billing system. You contact DalCom Telecom, make some arrangements, and boom, in a couple of weeks (instead of six months) you’ve got a billing system that works with your infrastructure but has been set up and is handled by DalCom. DalCom Matrix can offer these services to companies/individuals: SIP Registration, Billing, Domestic Origination (DID), Domestic Termination, International Origination (DID), International Termination, Internet Faxing, SIP Trunking, Voicemail, and Web Portals for end-users and resellers.

It’s suddenly an exciting time for IP. But if the economy doesn’t turn around by the end of 2009, 2010 will be the Year the Doo-Doo Hit the Fan. IT

Richard Grigonis (News - Alert) is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.

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