The smartphone industry is an exciting one to watch as it has dominated both the consumer and business markets. According to Michael Machonkin of GLOBALINX, the iPhone (News - Alert) will be the top pick for consumers, while Blackberry will continue to be the smartphone of choice in the business market. Perhaps the most exciting emergence for 2010, however, will be those products that enable the digital home.
If this country were to elect Machonkin as president one day, we would likely see policies much different than that of the Obama administration, as well as a lightening of taxes on voice and push for more WiFi areas. In an interview with TMC (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani, printed in full below, Machonkin shares his views on the benefits of wideband voice and how companies can enjoy the elimination of penalties that tend to be inherent in conventional PSTN.
Machonkin – whose company is exhbiting at ITEXPO East 2010 in Miami from Jan. 20 to 22 – is definitely excited about VoIP and expects that it will continue to enjoy strong growth in the coming years. Video will become more integrated into the mainstream. On the commercial side, hosted and trunking services will share the market equally. As for his outrageous prediction for 2010? Imagine the acquisition of Vonage (News - Alert).
Their exchange follows.
Rich Tehrani: Smartphones continue to rise, find their ways into offices and homes alike. Who will dominate that market and why?
(pictured left): I believe Apple will continue to innovate with its iPhone. They were the front runner and hold a lot of market share, but I think Blackberry will continue to dominate the business market. Additionally, I think Android (News - Alert)-based smartphones will have a serious face-off with the iPhone and Blackberry in the coming years because of the open source architecture that allows developers to create applications faster.
RT: We hear more and more about high-definition voice features in IP communications products and services. What is going to drive wideband audio and HD VoIP into the mainstream market? How long will it take?
MM: HD (high-definition) voice, also known as wideband voice, is gaining a lot of attention these days. And for good reason: The audio technology, which lets IP phones send a far broader range of sounds over VoIP connections than traditional phones can over PSTN circuits, vastly increases the clarity of voice calls. That can benefit businesses and individuals in tangible ways. The main benefits of HD voice lie simply in eliminating such penalties caused by the limitations of conventional PSTN voice.
Long calls, especially conference calls with multiple speakers with different accents, become less tiring and thus more productive. These benefits will certainly drive HD VoIP into the mainstream, which will also require customers and service providers to upgrade their equipment to become HD compatible. Despite the fact that many IP phones are now HD capable, I think HD on-net calling will proliferate starting in 2010, but it would still take a few more years to have widely used HD VoIP services that encompass calls over PSTN.
RT: What’s the most innovative product that’s going to hit the market in 2010, from a company other than your own?
MM: I think that products that enable digital home will continue to dominate the Consumer Electronics marketplace in 2010, especially those that will improve home networking via existing home wiring (power line and cable), as well as those that will eliminate wires/cables between different CE components. IP-based content services, such as IPTV and media streaming, will become very popular in 2010. Finally, I think smartphones with wireless router functions that allow multiple Wi-Fi enabled devices to connect to the Internet via the phone’s wireless router function will be the most innovative product to hit the market in 2010.
RT: We entered 2009 in a recession and now we’re seeing signs of the economy picking up. How did the slow economy affect demand for your products and services and what are you anticipating in 2010?
MM: We didn’t really see our demand tail off but we have seen our churn increase due to non payment. With a big residential customer base, we definitely have seen how the economy has impacted that segment of our business. We are expecting to grow again in 2010 with more contributions coming from our wholesale business and commercial business units.
RT: President Barack Obama has been in office for nearly a year. What has surprised you, whether a pleasant surprise or disappointment, about his presidency, policies and administration?
MM: I’m not a fan of any of his policies and his administration. I’ll leave it at that.
RT: If you were president of the United States, what tech-friendly policies would you enact?
MM: I would lighten up on the taxes on voice. It’s ridiculous the fees and charges that we are forced to pass on to our customers. I would also drive for more free Wi-Fi areas in the United States. I think the whole telecom/Internet industry needs to be overhauled to promote “open access,” instead of having a few giants control the industries and ignore customer interests.
RT: What are some of the areas of market growth in the next few years?
MM: Since we are a VoIP provider we see the convergence of mobile and VoIP to be exciting for us. More customers will be able to take advantage of low cost calling and very robust features from just about anywhere. Video will also continue to become more main stream and widely accepted. In the commercial segments, I think hosted and trunking services will share the market equally.
RT: I understand you are exhibiting Jan. 20 to 22 at ITEXPO East 2010 in Miami. What will you show there? Describe the companies or people who should come to your exhibit.
MM: We are exhibiting to attract new wholesale customers and/or agents. We offer a very robust wholesale channel whereby we can provide a turnkey solution for companies to leverage our network and expertise to build their brand and sell a host of their own VoIP solutions. We also have attractive offerings for customers who already may have their own switch but need assistance with 911, DIDs or IP origination or termination.
RT: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions? How do they justify the expense to management?
MM: Well, there are a number but a few of them are: We have been in business since 2001, so you know you are dealing with a credible company who has some staying power. We have made the Inc.500 list the last 4 consecutive years, an accomplishment that we are very proud of. We also have recently deployed the BroadWorks platform. Our customers can be confident they are on a world class platform. With a 170 employees, we are quickly growing into a mid size company poised to take on the challenges of the future.
For our direct customers, there isn’t much to justify. We save them money and give them more features than their previous provider.
For our wholesale customers, we enable them to get into the VoIP business for very little upfront cost and provide them with a system and support team who are outstanding at what they do.
RT: Please give me one outrageous prediction pertaining to our markets for 2010.
MM: Vonage will be acquired.
To find out more about GLOBALINX, visit the company at ITEXPO East 2010. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Visit GLOBALINX in booth #726. Don’t wait. Register now.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan