The opening day at TMC’s VoIP Developer show opened with a bang — well the show technically hasn’t started but Avaya is hosting a Developer Connection Day as part of the conference and I am in the room now listening to Zeus Kerravala, the Vice President of Enabling technologies from the Yankee Group give a very uplifting opening presentation about the opportunities afforded by the VoIP market.
Using a frank style that seemed to resonate with the audience, Kerravala went on to educate the attendees about the opportunities in IP Communications.
"We are at the beginning of the market – where the PC was in 1982," he said. He continued, "Imagine asking a person before 1982 what they would want to do with a PC. They wouldn’t be able to tell you. This is also the case with VoIP."
He further went on to tell the audience that shows like this are where the excitement lies — this is where the new things in the market get thought of and how they get developed. He prefers such focused events to broader-based industry trade shows.
One other point made by Kerravala is that many corporations are deploying VoIP as they realize IP is the only way they will be able to tie together the various collaboration tools on the market.
Zeus also said that we are seeing a transition similar to the time when mainframes were replaced by PCs. First we put PCs on people’s desks and they emulated mainframe terminals. The reliability wasn’t so good. Over time software developers came out with applications allowing the PCs to do more and more. Eventually the transition grew allowing the PC to take more and more share from mainframes.
At one point Zeus explained to the audience the low hanging fruit in this market consists of softphones, call centers and the convergence of VoIP and mobile devices. He believes focusing on TCO is a bad idea. You should be focusing on ROI. He was referring to the plummeting cost of long distance rates — he advises not hooking your cart to the low cost VoIP horse.
An example of a great application is higher education where he gave an example of a company who developed a softphone that did messaging and music sharing. He went on to say you could tie in educational tools as well. And as Zeus pointed out, today’s students seem to have lots to spend these days.
Zeus went on to say that when he goes to a hotel and plugs in his laptop he gets a single option — connect to the internet or not. He stated, what about all the other services you could sell the weary business traveler such as a dedicated phone number for all hotel stays or dining services? He sees hospitality as an area with room for growth.
He exclaimed "The long term winners in VoIP will be the companies with the best applications and best development program." I have been saying this for many years and I obviously agree. He continued that Avaya’s DevConnect program is the best one out there today. The best ISVs will see there is a large market and figure out which partners o pick.
He concluded by saying VoIP applications will do for telephony what PCs did for computing. If you look historically, there are few technologies that increase people’s spend levels. PCs and Mobile phone are examples of technologies that did this. He sees applications doing this for VoIP as well.
The VoIP Developer conference officially kicks off tomorrow morning and if this first seminar is any indication, we can expect a tremendous amount of excitement and IP Communications innovation this week.