What does it take to run a successful VoIP services company? That depends on a number of factors, including what type of customer is sought. If the goal is to establish a loyal consumer clientele, diversification is key.
“Successful VoIP businesses are driven by other services the company offers, and by services that align with customers' perceived needs – not by the VoIP business alone,” said Report Linker in a recently released report on the future of consumer VoIP.
Today, Report Linker noted, the biggest VoIP providers are ostensibly run-of-the-mill telecom companies. This means smaller providers must innovate and take the role of pioneers whose marketing strategy doesn’t rely only on offering the lowest price, since that’s a game they can’t win.
If there is such a thing as a winning formula for VoIP service providers, it would probably look something like this, according to Report Linker’s research:
--Quickly leverage success by building your own network
--Diversify with variety of services geared toward niche market segments
--Establish your base clientele in a regulated, non-Communist market
--Take the time to customize services for your customers
--Hedge your bets by taking a risk on offering services in emerging markets
--Invest in the rapidly growing mobile VoIP services market
That last point may well prove to be especially important. Mobile handsets have matured into stand-alone platforms for converged communications, and any VoIP services company that isn’t keeping pace with the trend will soon be left in the dust.
“The rapidly growing number of mobile smartphones creates opportunities to integrate voice interaction into a wide range of applications, as well as creating opportunities for other types of intelligent, converged appliances – reinventing the home phone, for example,” Report Linker said. “Amazon's Kindle e-book shows the opportunity for mobile communications-equipped ‘appliances’ at mass-market prices.”
All the hype over mobile VoIP doesn’t mean, though, that providers should ignore established wisdoms about IP based communications. It remains true, for example, that differentiation should be grounded in the provider’s core network. And, competing with the big guys will always be a challenge.
“Telecoms have more natural advantages in the VoIP business than incumbency,” Report Linker noted. “They understand consumer expectations, and the migration to all-IP networks allows them to leverage network consolidation.”
Mae Kowalke is a TMCnet contributor. She is Manager of Stories at Neundorfer, Inc., a cleantech company in Northeast Ohio. She has more than 10 years experience in journalism, marketing and communications, and has a passion for new tech gadgets. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard