Prompted by the growth of the VoIP services industry and the increased voice quality that is now being delivered, AudioCodes (News - Alert) earlier this week took a bold step towards driving even higher quality IP-based voice communications by announcing its HD VOIP initiative. AudioCodes believes the market is mature enough to make the jump to high fidelity voice.
In fact, the enterprise IP phone market is expected to quadruple, from $2.1 billion in 2007 to $8.4 billion in 2011, with some 63 million endpoints being shipped by that time, according the Synergy (News - Alert) Research Group.
“We’ve seen an opportunity, where the market has finally reached an inflection point where enough of the service provider and enterprise infrastructure is pure IP-based,” Alan Percy, director of market development at AudioCodes, told TMC (News - Alert). “We can finally step beyond the limitations of the PSTN when it comes to voice quality.”
The first step was to develop to enabling technology that will allow service providers and enterprises to introduce HD VOIP into their IP networks to deliver increased clarity, greater intelligibility, and richer
sound. But, to benefit from high definition voice communications, users must have endpoints that include the appropriate wideband technology, which not what AudioCodes has traditionally been known for — until now.
In a move perhaps even more bold than its addition of HD VOIP to its existing product line, AudioCodes is now looking to further drive that solution by introducing its own line of IP phones — all of which come standard with its HD VOIP technology. No other phone manufacturer can make that claim. In addition to promoting the adoption of higher quality VoIP, the move will also extend AudioCodes' reach into the enterprise space.
While some may question the decision to enter an already crowded space, AudioCodes has advantages not enjoyed by most other players. First and foremost, it owns the DSPs that enable the higher quality, which means it can provide its HD VOIP-enabled handsets at a price point comparable to other high-end non-HD devices.
With its proven gateway and media server products, AudioCodes has gone through extensive interoperability testing with other network equipment manufacturers, which it can now leverage to deliver compatible phones. The phones are designed to be interoperable with other systems, including initial plans to certify with the major softswitch vendors, like BroadSoft, Sylantro, and Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert).
“Because we already have gateway certification with those vendors, and because our phones can easily emulate our gateways, the testing we’ve done and the certification we have achieved with our gateways provide us a tremendous head start on certifying the phones,” explained Percy.
The addition of IP phones is a natural extension of AudioCodes’ existing product line, and will allow it to deliver an end-to-end solution for its customers, in line with its campaign to offer businesses to leverage new technologies to extend the useful life of their existing equipment. Its gateways play a critical role in achieving that goal, and its phones will provide instant compatibility, easing deployment and simplifying management while improving voice communications.
The AudioCodes 300HD Series includes three models: The 310 HD entry level phone with a basic display and interface; the 320HD premium endpoint with a larger screen, and the 350HD executive phone with a color LCD screen. All three models are based on AudioCodes newly announced VoIPerfect software, and include the most commonly used wideband codecs and enhanced security and voice quality features. They are also PoE (Power over Ethernet) capable.
Initially, AudioCodes will target hosted service providers and OEM customers, which together represent the biggest opportunity for bringing the new endpoints to market quickly. For AudioCodes, the idea is about leveraging its own technology to deliver reliable, high quality voice products to its customers, which those customers are then able to deploy easily.
As Percy explains, the market has reached a tipping point, with IP communications overtaking traditional telephony, and the next step is the jump to high fidelity. A few other manufacturers are already marketing similar products, and for Percy, that is a sign that the time is right and market is ripe.
The advantage AudioCodes has over its competitors in the HD voice space is its ability to leverage its gateway line to create effectively a one-stop shopping solution, which comes with inherent compatibility and reliability that others find hard to match. The addition of IP phones to its product line clearly echoes Percy’s conclusive remark: “We’re putting our stake in the market and making a concerted strategic effort to invest in high definition voice.”
For more on high fidelity voice communication and HD VOIP, be sure to join AudioCodes on November 18 for an exciting live Webinar, called “HD VOIP – The Next Sound Barrier?”
Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Managing Editor of TMCnet, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to nearly 3,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Erik Linask