Will VOIP survive in 2012?

Without trying to state the obvious, VOIP has undergone a lot of changes and threats in the last 18months. However, will it survice beyond 2012?

My answer is "yes" but not in the shape we are familiar with.

Mobile VOIP, the new kid on the block, has chewed into a lot of market space where "traditional" VOIP used to enjoy its market share. Now "fixed" VOIP services seem to be feeling the same pain that fixed network providers felt when Smart Devices showed up out of nowhere. Quickly reducing costs/minute on calls equating to very little margins that soon may shrink to zero and large looming threat of web-based offerings (the likes of Facebook, Google, etc) that now are playing in a space that was once a service provider domain.
It all adds up to the fact that VOIP companies (if not already) need to start looking forward and adapting their business models accordingly.

Mobile VOIP is a shining example of this.

VOIP and providing rich media communications on Smart Devices (I dont call them mobile phones anymore, sorry!) is the now of the future. Unless your business is thinking about how to take its share of this market then your company is going to be faced with an ever-shrinking bottom line until eventually VOIP is offered as a FREE  add-on, value-added service bundled into other services. That leaves your VOIP-based business where exactly? You guessed it, out in the cold.

VOIP as such will be amalgamated into the 100,000's of Apps that can be downloaded onto your Smart Device. Love it or hate it, thats the future for VOIP.

3CX Named a 2011 CRN Emerging Technology Vendor

The international telecommunications developer of Windows-based PBX software, 3CX recently announced its selection by Everything Channel as a 2011 CRN Emerging Technology Vendor. The annual list features innovative vendors who not only deliver easy to use technology, but can generate the high margins solution providers require. 3CX has been added to the list due to its robust product, 3CX Phone System.

3CX Phone System for Windows drew praise for providing a high-value, low-cost VoIP IP PBX solution that’s software-based and provides unified communications. 3CX Phone System is easy to manage and works with any SIP IP phones as it works with the Open SIP Standard. 3CX runs on a standard Windows computer and you can virtualize it. It is far less expensive to purchase and expand compared to proprietary phone systems. For instance, adds and moves can be done in seconds with the 3CX web interface. There’s no need for separate wiring as it is an IP-based PBX and all phones use the existing computer network.

3CX saves businesses money on their telephone administration costs as it works seamlessly with leading VoIP providers and allows users to make and receive calls via Skype. It improves employees’ productivity with desktop call control presence. 3CX delivers mobility to employees by allowing them to work from home via remote extensions.

The 3CX Channel Program is open to all IT and telecoms solutions providers and gives an excellent opportunity for resellers to leverage their Windows skills so as to tap into a completely new market. 3CX Partners generate profitable recurring income as they resell 3CX products and their own services to existing customers, whilst also targeting new customers. The roll-out involves software / hardware sales and provides the opportunity for consultancy.

Benefits of the 3CX Partner Program include access to free products and technology. Numerous free partner training events held worldwide each year and direct access to the 3CX Support Team assists 3CX Partners so that they can, in turn, assist their customers.

“Enabling customers with the tools and strategies to solve real business problems has always been a priority to solution providers. The market has grown increasingly competitive over the years; so too has the demand for innovative, channel-friendly technologies.” said Kelley Damore, VP, Editorial Director, Everything Channel. “From the cloud to semantic technology, this year’s list of Emerging Technology Vendors highlights the emphasis on innovation and ease of use that has been the hallmark of any successful channel offering.”

The vendors that make up the CRN Emerging Technology Vendor list were founded in 2005 or later, have revenue under $1 billion and have an active U.S. channel strategy.

“We are proud to have been included in this year’s CRN Emerging Technology Vendor list. 3CX continues to lead the market for Windows based IP PBX solutions. Companies are switching to 3CX Phone System as it allows them to make huge savings on their monthly telecoms bills and provides rich features.” said Nick Galea, 3CX CEO. “3CX is a 100% channel company, providing an excellent opportunity for IT specialists to resell a high-value, low-cost PBX solution, as well as bundle in hardware and consultancy services to their existing and new customers. 3CX provides all the tools needed for our channel partners to be successful.”

Security, Stability, and Interoperability Issues on VoIP Implementation

Now we have accepted that VoIP is no longer just a phone service, it has become feature rich as it merges with computer configurations. The VoIP's existence has changed considerably over the last few years, coupled with the availability of broadband connection to the Internet, plus leaps in multimedia technology in which virtual operations with remote sites becomes more enhanced, makes VoIP service a viable alternative to traditional communication offerings.

Cost savings is not the only driving force for VoIP implementations, enterprises have to consider some business aspects that VoIP can bring about. VoIP creates potentials for applications that could not have been done before. Collaboration, integration, and interactivity between employees and applications are one of the several business benefits that enterprises can derive from VoIP adoption. Nevertheless, amid euphoria of VoIP technology, there are three important aspects to look at before a company goes VoIP. In the following paragraphs I will summarize the aspect of security, stability, and interoperability that play a key role in the successful implementation of VoIP.

1. Security

VoIP implementations may expose new security risks and challenges that somehow become greater concern than quality and cost-efficiency among vendors and users. VoIP networks are vulnerable to all the same security risks as traditional IP data networks, including:

  • Denial of Service (DoS), viruses, worms,
  • Toll fraud and unauthorized access,
  • Spoofing, and port scanning.

It is recommended that organizations should adopt a layered, defense-in-depth security strategy to address the issue with the increasing proliferation of new Internet-borne attacks and malicious activities in recent years. In this architecture, the network is segmented into secure zones protected by layers of firewall, intrusion prevention, and other security services. This strategy allows the organizations to logically split and secure voice and data networks in front of individual voice and data components and between interactive points in the network.

2. Stability

One of the main issues of VoIP is the amount of bandwidth required for each call. There must be adequate bandwidth reserved and the quality of the link must be well maintained throughout each call to ensure the users are not affected. As the very nature of VoIP call is real-time, any disruption during the call would be easily noticeable and unacceptable. The two issues that enterprises usually have to deal with here are bandwidth and quality of service (QoS).

VoIP calls need a data transmission speed of 64kb/s to produce the quality of voice comparable to that of a normal telephone call. That 64kb/s channel needs to remain open and unaffected for the duration of the call. Theoretically, VoIP installations would not allow such a huge bandwidth to be allocated for VoIP alone. Therefore, there needs to be a compression taking place to compact the voice data into a considerable size before it gets transmitted over a packet switching network. G.723 codec that is incorporated in VoIP standard protocol H.232 can take a 64kb/s stream of data and squash it down to a mere 5.5kb/s or so. Generally, for VoIP to work reliably over WAN links, there has to be low jitter, low packet loss, a considerably high-speed connection between the endpoints, and less than 200ms delay.

3. Interoperability

Compatibility between VoIP equipment from different vendors is a very important aspect to boost the use of VoIP products. Without standardized quality of service mechanisms businesses would need to buy all the equipment and the QoS server from the same manufacturer. The VoIP world seems to be divided between many vendors with reluctance to establish interoperability and some who are trying to be end-to-end supplier but at the same time worried about interoperability. The protocols used in VoIP communication are still considered fairly complex in comparison to most of the other protocols involved in Internet applications. SIP (Session Initiation Protocol - a signaling protocol for Internet conferencing, telephony, events notification, and instant messaging), that is regarded as simple and elegant the other protocols, is still not efficient.

On the bright side, however, SIP is approaching status as an IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) standard, after several years of work. With the recent version, it has achieved a greater amount of stability and changes are becoming smaller and smaller. Phone switch companies such as Nortel have recently begun supporting SIP, and now the manufacturers of handsets and related devices will soon ramp up their support. Motorola, Avaya, and Proxim have made collaboration on the creation and deployment of IP telephony solutions that will deliver new extents of communication mobility and network connectivity.

Finally, with these three VoIP aspects covered, businesses will be able to maximize their investment by applying it as the backbone of internal communication such as phone conversation, videoconferencing, instant messaging, faxing, etc. Another area that will widely make use of VoIP is call centers, in which Web contacts, virtual operations with outsourcers overseas, and remote sites, such as home agents, all could improve the customer experience. New VoIP applications that we have not thought about may also come into existence as the services generates more business and profits for companies.

VOIP solutions For Business

VOIP Solutions VoIP?

VOIP have helped customers save up to 80% on their phone bills by moving to one of the Business VoIP solutions at voip-solutions.org

voip-solutions.org has partnerships with most of the major Business VoIP service providers in the industry. This lets us provide you prompt and FREE quotes for all of your Business VoIP phone service needs. Basically request a FREE business VoIP quote using the above short form and they will tailor VoIP service quotes based on your location and needs.
Now let us highlight why Business VoIP has become so popular, in particular the Tiny Office/Home Office (SOHO) and Tiny to Medium sized Business (SMB) segment. They will show you the VoIP business case below and highlight some typical VoIP method configurations you will notice for each of the business segments.

Looking for an On-premise IP PBX phone method (larger businesses normally), they can help.
Looking for Audio, Video or Web Conferencing, let us help with our Conferencing section.
Looking for SIP Trunking, let us help with our SIP Trunking section.
Looking for Business VoIP Hardware, let us help with our VoIP equipment section.

VoIP Business Case Study
Historicallyin the past, businesses have used the Public Switched Phone Network (PSTN) for their business phone needs which is fundamentally a circuit switched network. With this technique a phone call fundamentally takes control of the phone line for the whole period of the call. This is not a very efficient or cost effective way to make calls. In addition the PSTN is a heavily regulated network so taxes are charged on every phone call.
The migration to VoIP business phone solutions has been speedy over the last few years. There's numerous advantages to VoIP know-how over the traditional circuit switched technique. For example:

•No circuit switched Private Branch eXchange (PBX) is necessary. This is a large & very pricey piece of equipment used by larger companies to connect their internal phone lines to the PSTN. The capital expenditure & operating costs necessary for a PBX can be substantial. With business VoIP all that is necessary is Broadband Web Access as well as a router to route each packet based call to the world wide web. The business VoIP service provider is then responsible for bridging the calls from the world wide web to their location, whether that be to another VoIP phone user or the PSTN. This is often known as a hosted VoIP, hosted PBX, virtual PBX or IP PBX solution. All of the know-how for handling your calls resides at the business VoIP service provider. You can access & modify your VoIP features (e.g. adding numbers, forwarding calls etc) basically by accessing a secure web-site run by your business VoIP service provider.

•Business VoIP is a digital packet based technique. Therefore numerous Web phone calls can be made simultaneously & can be sent over the same Local Area Network (LAN) that is used for your computer information needs. This is a very cost effective way to make phone calls.

•The voice packets travel over the world wide web in lieu of the PSTN. The world wide web is not heavily regulated like the PSTN so calls are so cheap to make that plenty of business designs basically charge a every month fee & that covers all of your calls irrespective of their location.

•Many larger businesses have multiple locations some of which may be in the next state, others could be on the other side of the world. Usually these locations are connected to a company wide information network (Wide Area Network for example). With a Business VoIP technique, extension dialing is such that the location is irrelevant. An worker in Seattle can call a colleague in London through a simple 4 digit extension & at no cost. This is because the call is sent over the company's network on the world wide web than through traditional long distance calling. This feature alone can be very beautiful to businesses wishing to save money on their phone bills.

•With Business VoIP comes a large array of features. Get online fax, regular fax & voice mail by e-mail or with a web browser. Conference calling. Caller ID. Call forwarding. Going away on business - take your IP phone or Analog Phone Adapter (ATA) with you & your number goes with you or configure your phone to call-forward. Plenty of more features thrown in as standard.

•All phone & information administration can be handled by one Information Services (IS) department. This can save a business a substantial amount of money.

•Business VoIP dramatically simplifies portability & installation. Assuming your IP phone or ATA is configured for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), you can move your phone anywhere & still keep the same phone number since it will get an IP address dynamically. This is like moving your laptop computer & still being able to log in to your network. It is estimated that it can cost hundreds of dollars to move a phone in a regular circuit switched network due to labor costs & the cost of reconfiguring the PBX. These costs are not incurred in a Business VoIP technique since the IP network does not care about your location.