A number of frightening headlines about the telecom industry have appeared during this economic downturn, but many less eye-grabbing news items have been lost in the shuffle, an official with a Montreal-based provider of multimedia and signaling technologies and platforms told TMCnet in a recent interview.
According to James Rafferty (News - Alert), product line director of integrated media gateways at Dialogic Corporation, his company is seeing exciting new applications and approaches as “customers continue their progress toward adapting IP-based technologies for voice networks and solutions.”
Rafferty – whose company helps customers and partners provide innovative IP, wireless, and video solutions – is speaking during a session at ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2009, to be held Sept. 1 to 3 in Los Angeles, in a talk titled “Is VoIP Dead? Where Do We Stand?”
“Anybody who wants an update on Voice over IP should attend,” Rafferty told TMC CEO Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) in an interview, printed in full below. “This could include attendees from enterprises and service providers as well as the vendor community, plus press and analysts.”
Their full exchange follows.
Rich Tehrani: What has the economic crisis taught you, and how has it changed your customers?
James Rafferty (pictured left): I’m once again reminded that progress is not always in a straight line, even for a growth market like Voice over IP. Our customers have continued to work closely with us, but are carefully assessing the launch of new projects based on opportunities to either reduce costs or provide new revenue generating services.
RT: How is this down economy affecting your decisions to reinvest in your company or market, if at all? Where will you invest?
JR: In this economic climate, we continue to invest in our products, but take a very hard look at the underlying business cases for individual customers and the related markets. We have also evaluated the Voice over IP market as a whole and have looked for opportunities to leverage our existing core competencies in high growth markets such as IP to IP border elements.
We are also focusing on mobile video as a growth area for us. The 3G networks enable larger bandwidth, which means video over the mobile phone, and mobile internet applications that you can get to from your mobile phone become more feasible. Since Dialogic has sold into the mobile Value Added Service solution space for many years, adding video is a natural evolution.
RT: What’s the strongest segment in the communications industry?
JR: Mobile services continue to grow at a solid rate and data services over mobile are growing faster than voice.
RT: With the rise of smartphones and netbooks, many wireless technologies, such as WiFi (News - Alert), appear to be poised for rapid growth. For example, we’re seeing more and more airlines add in-flight WiFi. In general, how widespread should WiFi be, in your view?
JR: I’d personally like to see WiFi almost everywhere at least as an option. I just took a road trip that took me through much of the eastern United States and noticed that most budget hotels now offer WiFi on a complimentary basis and advertise that fact on their billboards the way they used to advertise cable TV. I believe WiFi will compete with other internet access methods such as mobile data services.
RT: Which nation or region of the world will present the largest opportunity for your company in 2009/10?
JR: We continue to see opportunities through the world, but the mix of needed technologies and solutions varies by region. For example, connecting to incumbent SS7 networks is very important for launching Voice over IP services in Europe. By contrast, the leadership in mobile video is tending to come from the Asia Pacific region.
RT: In what ways is President Barack Obama helping or hindering the technology markets? What more can he do?
JR: In my view, the president has helped technology markets by advocating investments in vital infrastructure, which it is now understood includes a much wider penetration of broadband in the United States than we have seen to date. I hope that he will continue to advocate that the US take a leadership position in developing and deploying the best technologies.
RT: What device or devices do you use, and what do you wish you used?
JR: My mobile devices are a Blackberry and an iPod. I like what I’ve seen of the iPhone, but would generally be inclined to keep my business applications like email separate from other applications like playing music.
RT: What has the iPhone 3G taught us? I know it’s very new, but what about the Palm Pre? What are we learning from the smartphones based on the open source Google Android (News - Alert) platform?
JR: The iPhone 3G has underlined the market’s voracious appetite for more bandwidth and I expect the drive toward having mobile devices that can use expanded bandwidth will continue. The importance of the Google Android is in providing a more open approach to application support which can help to break down some of the walled gardens which currently dominate the mobile ecosystem.
RT: I understand you are speaking during ITEXPO West, to be held Sept. 1 to 3 in Los Angeles. Describe your talk and tell us what companies or people should attend.
JR: I’ll be talking on the topic of “Is VoIP Dead? Where do we Stand?” There have been a number of scary headlines about the telecommunications industry that have appeared during this downturn. I’ll be talking about those, but also note some of the news items on the upside that may have been lost in the shuffle. I’ll wrap up by reviewing some of the exciting new applications and approaches we are seeing as customers continue their progress toward adapting IP-based technologies for voice networks and solutions. Anybody who wants an update on Voice over IP should attend. This could include attendees from enterprises and service providers as well as the vendor community, plus press and analysts.
RT: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions? How do they justify the expense to management?
JR: Dialogic has a track record for providing outstanding enabling technology which has evolved over time to include not only board products, but also purpose-built appliances such as media gateways and software-based products such as media servers. Our customers want to build solutions that will be cost effective and help generate additional revenues. But they also rely on Dialogic to provide guidance on the latest new technologies, such as mobile video. In a highly competitive marketplace, we provide extra value which includes helping customers get to the market faster and providing top notch technical support during their deployment cycles.
Learn more about Dialogic Corporation at ITEXPO West — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO West will take place in Los Angeles, Sept. 1 to 3, 2009, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Don’t wait. Register now.
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan