The ITSP Polycom Problem

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

The ITSP Polycom Problem

I was at the Dali Museum to see the Andy Warhol exhibit. Great piece of history, btw. The Dali rotates the art, so it was my first time seeing this painting called Telephone in a dish with three grilled sardines. It got me thinking of a couple of things.


One, ITSP (VoIP providers) don't have a Polycom problem. For all of the encroachment of Snom, Yealink, Grandstream, et al, the providers are experiencing any pain with Polycom or Cisco phones. Sure there are some gaps, like cordless and a better conference phone, but overall there isn't a problem.

This lack of a Polycom Problem for ITSP's is a problem for the other handset manufacturers though.

It isn't a price point problem either, because low end Cisco and Polycom cost about $115 (maybe a little less on the grey market). A $99 phone isn't magic. Unless the price point is $50 so that the phones can be given away, there isn't going to be much movement away from the existing two vendors.

The other point is the capital. Leasing the phones for the customers or giving them away to win deals is a big CAPEX issue. That would be a place to make headway.

This leads me to point two: ITSP's are handset distributors - mainly because they want to be.

Despite all the talk of mobile and softphones, the ITSPs have not really embraced that approach. Do you know any ITSP that is offering up softphones only? Tablets instead of handsets? That recognize that a share of the enterprise is mobile only? Yeah, me either.

So the ITSP ends up as a handset distributor instead of concentrating solely on delivering business changing communications.

Speaking of that, here is a side story.

When an office has a key system and migrates to Hosted PBX to emulate that key system, they don't gain any functionality. In fact, the migration will cause some confusion because the handsets aren't the same as the key desk phones and the softkeys are unmarked (and in some cases not programmed to perform key functions). So the customer gets a replacement that is less and more than what they had before. The ITSP hasn't really provided business value but did sell some phones. This is what you have to be careful of.

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