The final day of the 2005 VoIP Developer conference began with keynotes from Michael Stanford, Director, VoIP Strategy, Digital Enterprise Group at Intel and Mark Spencer, President of Digium, which at first glanced may seem an unlikely pair to share a single stage. However beyond the first assumption, it’s clear that both speakers represent equally innovative companies, and that both play an increasingly critical role in future development of VoIP.
Michael Stanford’s presentation, Trends in VoIP Development, was a detailed look into the current and future events shaping our industry.
Stanford began by saying that the VoIP revolution marches on. In 2005 VoIP phones crossed over in terms of new sales. This means that as many VoIP phones are being sold today as TDM phones into new deployments. This of course does not mean there are already more VoIP phones deployed, but simply that the rate of new deployments is tilted in favor of the newer technology. As a matter of reference, according to the keynote speaker, Avaya claims to have crossed over in 2004.
“VoIP is old news,” said Stanford. “Long Live SoIP, or Services over IP.” He went on to explain that VoIP is merely the first drop in the coming deluge, the first significant application over IP, and that we have already moved beyond simply seeking to offer cheap minutes.
Continuing to identify trends, Stanford spoke of how open networks, open source, and standard environments all come together to accelerate innovation. Still he cautioned, “regulation continues to be a wild card, and perhaps even the primary determinant of where voice technology will go.”
Stanford fashioned a timeline of significant VoIP events of the past year.
In February, the FCC ruled that Internet-based VoIP is an unregulated information service. In that month BT also launched their service Fusion. In March BEA launched their WebLogic communications platform, which takes a familiar development environment and puts it on top of IMS so developers can create innovative communications applications. IBM too offers something similar. In May, the FCC issued its E911 warning requirement for VoIP. In June, Microsoft launched its Communicator 2005, and recently in July the Japanese government was noted as urging the end of PSTN by 2007, essentially in response to an ITU initiative to determine the next-generation network by 2008. If
Stanford offered a veritable laundry list of promising numbers from a variety of research analysts. Cell phone lines are far outstripping fixed lines globally. Dual mode shipments are slated to grow beyond 100 million units shipped by 2010. Data-capable phones will overtake voice-only phones by 2008. (Today’s conventional wisdom dictates that virtually all cell phones will be smart phones soon, yet there is starting to be some pushback from the cell phone industry. People want simplicity, and perhaps the increasing amount of services may stall sales.)
Broadband subscriptions are growing, with an expected 300 million broadband users globally expected by 2008. To keep up with service evolution and advent of IPTV, as well as other applications, we will need 10MB+ by 2008.
Stanford told the audience that while VoIP demands the highest QoS of the expected applications, it requires perhaps the least bandwidth. “Once you are provisioned for VoIP,” he said, “you can add other applications simply by adding more bandwidth.”
Stanford mentioned that WiMAX field trials have begun with over 100 trials being conducted globally today. He expects to see notebook integration by next year, and the first WiMAX phones and mobile network rollout by 2008. By 2008-10 we should see global network rollout.
Stanford wrapped up his presentation by reminding everyone that VoIP is the beachhead to services over IP, and that the technologies underlying VoIP (RTP, SIP QoS, IMS…) support more than just voice. VoIP is the baseline feature that opens the door to new services such as wideband audio, video, IM, push to talk, presence, document sharing, rich collaboration, and the further rapid innovation of new features and service combinations.
The opportunity, according to Stanford, is New Services and New applications. SoIP. Services over IP. Any access connects you to any service. Opportunities abound for developers.
“VoIP has enormous power to change the way we work,” he said.