Jim Carlini is wrong.
To be honest, I never thought I'd start my blogging career on such a negative note, but there it is.
In Jim's recent article on ePrairie.com, he takes VoIP and its cheerleaders to task for overhyping the technology.
He claims that, "In certain applications, VoIP just isn't the way to go. Period."
I'm not quite sure I know what those apps are. In fact VoIP would enable many more applications than it might possibly hinder. Think Unified Communications, ad hoc conferencing, and the like.
I also take issue with Jim's assertion regarding VoIP and the reliabilty issue. While it's true that VoIP deployments that were not designed for full feature redundancy and survivability can be affected by a power outage, this is no differnet than how circuit switched telecom can be affected by a backhoe accidentally digging up a fiber bundle.
If you want a fully redundant, reliable, four-or-five nines uptime VoIP system, you can have one -- you just have to pay for overengineering the solution. It's true that that adds to the total cost of the deployment, but like the old adage, you gotta pay if you wanna play.
Studies have shown that over a five or 10-year ROI period, VoIP systems generally win out over traditional systems on cost.
Note: it might be more expensive in the short term to compare VoIP to circuit switched... It may in some situations necessitate major capital expenditure, but in the end the whole world is moving to IP --failure to invest in the future will only spell doom.
As for deriving revenue while giving the voice awy for "free" there are many ways to skin that cat. VoIP may be free, but only if you consider a flat monthly rate "free." The add-on apps such as voice-mail, directory assistance, caller-ID, dial by name, etc... those are the things VoIP service providers can charge for and make money off of. (Not to mention the apps noone's even thought of yet.) Look at today's cell phone model: 40 bucks gets you 400 minutes, basic voice mail, and a few other things. If you want to add certain apps, like text messaging or enhanced billing, that's extra.
Now the part that's going to get me in trouble. Regulation. I'm of the opinion that VoIP should remain UNREGULATED for now. UNTAXED, and UN-MESSED WITH. But that's for now. I'd be guilty of having my head in the sand if I thought VoIP would remain unregulated forever. But frankly, the government gets its share off ABSOLUTLEY EVERY OTHER PRODUCT/SERVICE out there. In the end, VoIP will be ensnared too. But this is a whole 'nother discussion. Some forms of VoIP should and will remain free of regulation. Some won't.
It's simple really. VoIP is here. It's maturing, and it's going to replace and become the status quo. There's no arguing. Not a single circuit-switch vendor is digging in their heels. Just the opposite, they're all offering transitional products en route to an all-IP telephony stable of solutions. Nortel, Lucent, Alcatel, Siemens... they're all on board. And the service providers they serve are on board as well. It's just a matter of time.