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Differentiate! Technology Solutions That Make a Difference in Business and Human Lives

By Kevin Nethercott


New Orleans was flooded by the hurricane waters of Katrina. Thousands were killed by the rushing waves of an Asian tsunami.

The world is grimly aware of the need for advanced emergency warning methods. Theres hardly a need to argue our traditional technology systems are ill equipped to provide us with enough life saving notification.

Now imagine an IP communications system tied to a buoy out at sea. The system can detect tsunami waves, estimate a zone of impact and call people in the region with instructions on how to quickly and safely evacuate. Such a tsunami warning application would certainly be helpful in detecting a catastrophe early enough to save countless lives.

At the individual level, imagine a hospital software solution that monitors a patients health status and upon detecting a crisis, can instantly alert the nearest relevant doctor based on the patients unique status and needs.

Such applications are not a stretch of the imagination. Voice-enabled applications and services are delivering on the long standing promise to truly change the way companies, governments, and humans interact. Furthermore, these solutions are giving service providers, solution providers and ISVs the ability to differentiate themselves from the competition by delivering such solutions.

Customizable Services at the Micro Level
Thanks to new hosted telephony products that are industry standards-based, Web service-oriented and powered by inexpensive Intel-based servers, pioneering service providers and ISVs can quickly and affordably build voice-enabled software and services that only existed in the conceptual realm just a year ago. Furthermore, the flexible development capabilities these solutions provide allow service providers to address very specific customer needs.

Hosted IP telephony service providers can customize services based on a given communitys needs and easily add new value services as opportunities present themselves. Young communities can enjoy VoIP services tailored to the needs of families with children, linking playgrounds and swimming pools with the living room at home. Mature communities can be served by community voice and messaging applications that bring seniors together with neighbors, family and the bridge club at the community clubhouse or recreation center.

Even system integrators and resellers are recognizing that they can even host telephony services themselves as a profitable extension of their businesses. By leveraging existing customer bases, proven technical competencies, small capital investments and low operating expenses, any telecom reseller can become a hosted VoIP services wholesaler serving organizations of every description. Such a business could open up new and lucrative revenue streams for these companies.

The ease with which the latest affordable, flexible VoIP solutions can be implemented and the degree of innovation they allow for service providers makes it realistic to envision a future where voice is a functionality within a variety of solutions rather than a stand-alone service, and where each solution provider competes not on price, but on the value their services deliver.

Innovative Developers Keep Productivity in Mind
By creating unique voice applications and integrating VoIP capabilities into familiar business applications, developers are building applications as diverse in nature as their imaginations are wide open.

For example, dental patients can be contacted by voice-enabled calendaring software to book and confirm appointments. If a client is unable to make an appointment, the software can check against the calendar and then dial from a client waiting list, rebooking the vacated opening. This process virtually ensures that the dentists chair is never empty a comfort to dentists for whom vacancies can cost as much as $1,500/ hour.

IP telephony applications are enabling customers waiting in line at busy bank branches to use kiosk stations on site to be intelligently matched up to available tellers via an audio or visual interface. These tellers are not in the same branch they could be across town. This ensures maximum efficiency and productivity from bank employees and significantly increases customer satisfaction.

CRM companies can differentiate themselves by integrating voice into their applications. These capabilities improve productivity by raising the number of calls made by each salesperson from 50 to a shocking 150 per day. Even more shocking, a CRM VoIP implementation that would have taken months to complete a year ago now takes a matter of weeks.

Whether developing VoIP applications for emergency warning systems, or delivering hosted services offerings through a variety of resellers, the remarkable flexibility now provided by next generation IP telephony development platforms give businesses the ability to not only better compete, but further innovate and thrive in rapidly evolving marketplaces that demand differentiation. For these businesses, the mantra differentiate or die is less a threat than a call to action and a future of possibilities. IT

Kevin Nethercott is Founder, President, and COO of LignUp. For more information, please visit the company online at (news - alerts).

If you are interested in purchasing reprints of this article (in either print or PDF format), please visit Reprint Management Services online at or contact a representative via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 800-290-5460.


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