WebRTC, Unified Communications and VoIP Quality

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

WebRTC, Unified Communications and VoIP Quality

These were the three subjects that I discussed while at IT Expo in Miami to fairly well attended sessions. We shared our new ANPI logo for the first time as well and received great accolades. It has been a very busy show. In reverse order:

  • VoIP Quality – the session was a direction for improving VoIP. We reached a quick consensus that HD Voice should be the next step but we face a couple of issues.
    • As phone subscribers switch from landline to wireless phones, support for HD voice does not necessarily improve. Although AT&T and Verizon have announced HD Voice, only T-Mobile can currently deliver HD voice over mobile devices. And even when AT&T and Verizon join the party, HD voice will only work between subscribers on the same network.
    • VoIP calls face a similar problem. If two IP service providers have a peering agreement, then HD voice can be supported across the two networks. However, if the call is to terminate to the PSTN or non-peered networks, then HD voice calls will fallback to narrow band voice.
  • Unified Communications – a fair amount of time was spent defining UC. The ANPI definition includes, hosted IP PBX functionality, Unified Messaging (voice messages to email, IM), Presence, Collaboration (audio, web and video conferencing, desktop sharing, white boarding), and integrated mobility with presence across BYOD. The issues keeping us away from UC are:
    • Defining basic platforms and finding integrated ancillary applications to achieve a best-of-breed solutions
    • Defining video for SMBs that is effective and at a price point attractive to the market
    • Getting the necessary broadband speeds with QoS that can support UC for SOHOs, SMBs and, in some cases, enterprises
  • WebRTC – clearly this session had the strongest opinions ranging from “game changing, disruptive and SIP killer” to “new, interesting and remains to be seen” (I am in the latter group). WebRTC is an exciting new capability allowing browser-to-browser communication of audio, video and data. Because it is essentially a developer kit, it can become just about anything someone thinks up. But that is the rub. Will the expected innovation find a receptive market? And, no, SIP is not going to be replaced anytime soon. Just as we all believe the PSTN needs to be retired, until it is gone, it drives or influences what telephony related technologies we can deploy.

If my next conference, Rural Telephone Industry Meeting and Expo (RTIME), is exciting as this one, I’ll have blog subjects for a month. RTIME begins on Super Bowl Sunday but I will be here Monday.  See you then!

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