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In the CEO Spotlight section in Internet Telephony, we recognize the outstanding work performed by exemplary companies. Each month we bring you the opinions of the heads of companies leading the Internet telephony industry now and helping to shape the future of the industry. This month, we spoke with MY IP Telephone CEO, Faramarz Mahdavi. (news - alerts).


GG: What is My IP Telephones mission?

FM: We cant really speak about My IP Telephone without also mentioning My IP University. While My IP Telephone provides IP PBX and VoIP solutions and services, My IP University provides IP PBX and VoIP education and training. Therefore, our mission is to educate and empower our customers. The two organizations work hand-in-hand to provide education beginning with the pre-sales stage so customers can make a confident, educated, decision on what solutions to purchase, teach them to install their own system if they desire, and show them how to maintain and support their system so they are less dependent on a vendor.

GG: What is your vision for My IP Telephone and how is the company positioned in the next-generation telecom market?

FM: We operate on the premise that an IP PBX (define - news -alerts) is just another node on the network, really no different than an E-mail system, firewall, or router. Terms like next-generation often portray an image of mystery, risk, or technological challenge of sorts. Our vision is that IP communication is actually simple and we are extremely well positioned to deliver the proper training, support, and equipment to give power, confidence, and sense of comfort to our customers. I should also add that we carefully scrutinize the products and solutions that we represent to ensure that they are, in fact, simple to use and maintain.

GG: Now that it appears that growth and opportunity are the trends in the VoIP industry, what possible hurdles do you see that might upset this momentum?

FM: I think only bad user experiences would upset the momentum. There are a lot of VoIP players out there today. Its confusing for customers and the intense competition among solution providers is likely to introduce issues with untested technology, prematurely released products, improperly implemented solutions, etc. We in the VoIP industry are truly our own worst enemy when it comes to ruining the progress of this technology. However, I can say that I am very impressed with the products that are in the market today. If I had to assess the current condition of the market, I would say the technology is solid and manufacturers are delivering on their claims that they provide excellent products. Unfortunately, some of the issues customers experience are a result of bad planning and implementation rather than product limitation or failure.

GG: What are some of the technology areas where My IP Telephone is increasingly focusing, and why are these areas important to the future of your company?

FM: You should keep in mind that we are not an innovation company. We dont develop products and we dont play in the bleeding edge. We take a very practical business approach, as opposed to a bells and whistles technology approach. What we see today, and will see in the near future, is a communications convergence. But, the convergence I am referring is not just voice and data on the same network, but rather a convergence of communications combined with business applications. More and more companies are utilizing phone, e-mail, and fax along with Instant Messaging and presence. Today, all of that can be tightly integrated to CRM systems, Web sites, ERP, etc. This is important to our future because, as the technology matures, we become more involved in application integration.

GG: Describe your view of the future of the IP telephony industry.

FM: I dont consider myself much of a technology visionary. However, it seems quite obvious to me, in the very near future, IP Telephone will not be the dominant force in the market, but rather an element of an overall communications industry. We need to start talking about IP Communications rather than just telephony. Take the Zultys system, for example. If you view it merely as a phone system with voicemail, you are not seeing the whole picture. The Zultys solution profoundly changes the way a company communicates and it goes far beyond dial tone and voicemail. IT

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