VoIP Is Taking Off

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
Peter
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

VoIP Is Taking Off

The financial activity in the ITSP sector that I am seeing leads me to believe that the ITSP sector is taking off.
Although there have been analysts who think that IP Lines will slow down, I have to think that in the economic reality we are facing, the distributed workforce, the tele-worker, and the mobility of employees, more and more lines will move to VoIP. For cost savings as well as productivity reasons. 

If lines do slow down it will be due to the following reasons:
  • layoffs - less employees = less lines needed
  • mobility means less landlines needed
  • email, social networks, IM/chat, texting is replacing phone calls.
  • over all trend for less phone calls.
There are so many reasons for small and medium businesses (and self-employed persons) to migrate to VoIP that I don't see it being stagnant for long. 

Who to go with?
The one issue is the share number of VoIP Providers (with little differentiation) makes the decision difficult for the business owner. 

Premise versus Hosted
The premise hardware guys are selling their gear as if it was hosted at your site. Many business owners aren't familiar with having such a significant communication service outsourced (off property). It's a strange concept to wrap your head around. Plus there may be changes like cabling and handsets that go with the move that represents too much change for the business owner in today's hectic marketplace.

Blinking Light Syndrome
For productivity to be affected positively at the office by VoIP, the way workers answer and use the phone might have to change. Call park being the biggest one. (But some providers have this solved). Still change is tough.

VoIP Providers Themselves
Many of the people selling VoIP pitch the cost savings. Wrong! There will be changes, so it needs to start with a conversation about how the business operates and uses the current phone system. It takes longer but it is the best approach. Looking at the bill and shaving points off it hasn't been highly successful for CLEC's, who have spent billions to make millions. 

The other side of the ITSP coin is the unclear marketing message. So many companies in the VOIP space do not have an elevator pitch, a positioning statement, or a dumbed-down way of explaining what they do/provide. It makes it hard to market.

And lastly the confusion over what an ITSP is. Here in Tampa I have listened as one ITSP knocks another. That doesn't help at all, especially when the sales person doing it has clue none anyway. The ocean has to be raised witha discussion about why buying Voice over FiOS is not as advantageous for the business owner as Hosted PBX. 

Case studies like Forbes' article will certainly help sell more lines.

When selling VoIP, the conversation should be about productivity, reliability, and security not cost savings. In a poll, VZB "was the surprise top finisher in Infonetics Research's first North America Business VoIP Services Leadership Matrix in both IP Centrex (hosted IP services) and IP connectivity, Infonetics said today."  Main factor: reliability and financial security of VZ. NGT, 8x8, and Cbeyond were next in the poll. "Comcast is moving up fast on hosted VoIP (IP Centrex) services." ITSP need to get a move on.


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