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IP Phones - Shifting VoIP Demands in 2014
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December 23, 2013
Shifting VoIP Demands in 2014
By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The VoIP market is growing, and changing as it does so. The VoIP solutions that satisfied customers five years ago are not those that will win business in 2014. Those in the VoIP industry need to make sure they are adjusting their offerings to meet demands.

In particular, IP PBX resellers, legacy system vendors and networking professionals need to make sure they are adjusting to keep up with current telephony demands. With so much opportunity for profit, the industry certainly has a lot of competition. Failure to meet shifting consumer demands comes at a high price.

There are five areas that businesses need to keep in mind: software-based PBX (News - Alert), the state of IP phones, gateway technology, SIP trunking, and paging and access controls.

The days are numbered for hardware-based, on-site PBX systems. With the rise of virtualization and software-based solutions, the modern PBX is one that is entirely software-based—and increasingly not only software-based, but also based in the cloud. Any business VoIP offering needs to recognize this shift and have one or more solutions in place.

Second, IP handsets have definitely 2.0. Desk phones that plug into a company’s Ethernet network are no longer enough. IP phones, taking a cue from the smartphone revolution, now must come with a rich feature set and increasingly handle “presence” well. This is an area of opportunity for vendors, as state of the art IP phones deliver more than just a desktop presence to VoIP unlike their predecessors. There’s a lot of sales opportunity.

With the move to VoIP and software-based solutions, there’s also a large need for reliable gateways that integrate well both with software-based PBX systems and also play nice both with legacy equipment and carrier networks. Support becomes a crucial element for such gateways, and a defining feature.

Of course, cost is always one of the value propositions for VoIP. Increasingly, customers are realizing that SIP trunking can help reduce costs by providing least-cost routing of telephone calls. This is an area of the VoIP market to watch, and it is important to understand SIP trunking and have offerings when customers come looking for it. And they will.

Understanding the paging and access control requirements of different venues also is something that is increasingly demanded by customers, so this area should not be ignored.

Several VoIP solutions providers are getting together during ITEXPO East in Miami this January to help ensure that these customer demands are being met. Yealink (News - Alert), 888VoIP, 3CX, CybeData, Patton and nexVortex will deliver free workshops at ITEXPO (News - Alert) that address these areas.

VoIP businesses are in a good position given the dramatic shift in telephony technology that is taking place. But if they don’t stay up on current demands, they could find themselves left out of the party.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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