Business VoIP, Barcodes, Social CRM and More

Top of Mind

Business VoIP, Barcodes, Social CRM and More

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  August 10, 2010

I couldn’t decide on just one subject for this issue’s letter, so this column will be a grab bag of sorts this time around.

First, it would be remiss of me not to mention the North America Business VoIP Services Leadership Matrix recently released by our friends at Infonetics Research (News - Alert).

The report says there are now more than 100 service providers offering business VoIP services in North America, with many that have fewer than 10,000 IP Centrex subscribers of IP lines or trunks. And it names the top IP connectivity service providers as AT&T, Cbeyond, and Verizon (News - Alert) Business.

"This year the top ten providers in both the IP Centrex and business IP connectivity markets represent a broad mix of incumbents, cable operators, and competitive service providers,” says Diane Myers, directing analyst for service provider VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research. “This cross-section of providers offers a good set of options for businesses looking at voice over IP services. Service providers hoping to succeed in this fast-growing market, particularly with hosted PBX (News - Alert), need to know that the most critical factors for success are financial stability, proven experience in hosted PBX deployments, and quality service and support. At this stage in this market, the fundamentals are much more important than the bells and whistles, especially when going after larger enterprises."

On an entirely separate note, there are some fun and interesting developments on the social networking front that seem worthy of note.One is the intersection between barcodes, smartphones and social media.

As I discuss in the feature article “The Big Mo is in Mobile Advertising” later in this issue, everybody from upstart Stickybits, which just got a $1.6 million infusion, to relative old timers like Verizon, are talking up the idea of using barcodes to promote and share information about products and experiences.

Speaking of social media, have you heard about NBC’s new Fan It initiative?

The network in mid May launched Fan It, which invites viewers to earn points that can redeemed for rewards by discussing NBC shows on Facebook, MySpace (News - Alert), MyNBC or Twitter. Rewards range from NBC merchandise and sweepstakes entries to tickets and props from popular NBC series.

While we’re on the subject of social media, I’d like to invite you to attend "The Social Customer Summit" at the upcoming ITEXPO West 2010, Oct. 4 through 6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The largest buzz in the call/contact center space recently has been about how to incorporate social media into the way companies communicate with their customers and prospects. The Social Customer Summit will delve deeply into how companies can take advantage of social media in providing customer service, updating customers and keeping in touch with prospects.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi