More on the VoIP Developer Show

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Rich Tehrani
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More on the VoIP Developer Show

One of the more interesting statements I head at the VoIP Developer show was from Michael Stanford, Director, VoIP Strategy, Digital Enterprise Group at Intel who said "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.

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 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.

What amazed me most about the keynote was how many people were asking about WiMAX after Stanford finished. This is not surprising as right around the same time as the show, Vonage announced they are working with a company called
TowerStream to deploy VoIPoWiMAX (this is a brand new acronym I just made up!).

Other interesting happenings at the show was my panel on HMP that I shared with David Duffet who heads up Aculab Academy, Alan Percy, Director of Business Development, AudioCodes, Amir Zmora, VP Marketing & Product Management, Surf Communication Solutions, Greg Pisano, Market Development Manager for Carrier Enhanced Services, Brooktrout Technologies and Daniel LeCour, Vice President of Business Development, Envox Worldwide.

We had a tremendous amount of expertise up on stage and what struck me as the panel proceeded is how complex it is to make a decision as to whether to use host media processing or use boards in your applications. The one real obvious point I came away with is that HMP is a great solution for small-scale projects but there are almost no service provider solutions that are better served with an HMP solution.

If you have a medium scale application you really need to do some intricate calculations to figure out which solution is most cost effective. Interestingly the panelists kept throwing around Moore's law and used it as an argument to justify going HMP. I countered that DSPs also evolve according to Moore's law. The panel agreed and actually said a common problem they see in the market is that users don't realize that Moore's Law also applies to DSPs.

David Duffet made sure the audience was well-aware of what he coined as Duffet's Law which says that the faster processors get the more that is demanded of them. As an example he mentioned that some service providers in South America are running VoIP on low quality lines and as such now need the DSPs to do extremely intensive echo-cancellation.

Speaking of having more demands on your server, it seemed unanimous that when you deal with video, the HMP solution gets expensive fast. By the time you factor in licenses for the OS and space in a cage, the costs add up quite quickly.

Mark Spencer the founder of Digium and creator the Asterisk open-source PBX spoke to a standing room only crowd and fielded a bunch of questions about the Asterisk platform. One of the more entertaining aspects of his talk was a snippet of code Mark showed that was written by a friend. The code was aimed at eliminating contact with an ex-girlfriend and it basically connected calls from the ex-girlfriend's cell phone to her home phone and vice-versa. This apparently resonated with crowd based on the laughter from the audience.

I later heard a story from someone else who had found out their spouse was beginning to develop a relationship with someone else who we will call Pat for the purpose of this article and subsequently they programmed their home-PBX (it amazes me how many people have PBXs in their houses these days) to do the following. Regardless of who called, whether the spouse called Pat or Pat called the spouse, the calls were rerouted to an extension on the PBX that never picked up. Apparently this solution helped end the relationship. I tell you these VoIP developers are very creative. If you could prepackage some of these solutions there is no telling how much money can be made.

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