VoIP Madhouse!

If there is a single word I have heard over and over today about ITEXPO is that the show is a madhouse. There is a frenzy of buying activity on the floor and it extends into the meeting rooms and the hallways. It is organized pandemonium and mass quantities of ATAs are being purchased in front of my eyes along with DSP resource boards and just about everything else from session border controllers to softswitches and IP PBXs.

I cannot think of anything that would make this show better. The traffic is amazing as evidenced by the photos on the ITEXPO home page.

This is the largest gathering of VoIP buyers in the world and I can confidently say this is the one place you need to be if you are in the VoIP space. It is amazing to me how much momentum there is in the Los Angeles convention center at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo.

I am seeing lots of international attendance at the show from countries like Australia, Africa, New Zealand and Asia. There is just a mass of humanity we are so excited to be the host of this event.

The general themes of this show are that we are really just at the start of something grand. VoIP 2.0 is here. It is incredible to me how many speakers echoed this sentiment. We have amazing opportunities ahead of us as an industry. We need to stop focusing on saving money and instead talk about productivity and new services. That is where’s tomorrow’s fortunes are to be made.

I have also heard over and over how regulation needs to be reduced. Politicians worldwide need to realize we are dealing with a different animal in VoIP. The old test “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a duck” doesn’t work anymore and even Chairman Powell mentioned today that perhaps it is a swan. IP changes everything. The need to regulate VoIP cannot in my opinion be any greater than the need to regulate Hotmail or IM. We are talking about packets here. IP communications.

Powell suggests we have a 12 page document or so regulating IP communications and we don’t need to rewrite the telecom act as this would involve too much politics and would drag on.

Carly Fiorina echoed this sentiment saying that we need a baseline of regulation to protect consumers from fraud but from there, it is obvious that the speed of innovation will always be ahead of regulation. Even if the perfect regulation is ever passed it becomes obsolete immediately.

Amazingly Commissioner Susan Kennedy of the California PUC agreed with all of this as well.

Perhaps the regulators who don’t agree just didn’t come to the show.

Other themes of the show that service providers will start regionalizing their services. Meaning we will see service providers selling telephone numbers from other countries in ethnic US communities and elsewhere. This concept is the biggest threat to Vonage and others as it virally marketed and makes sense for those people keeping in touch with friends and relatives in other countries.

Where will VoIP 2.0 go from here? The show is halfway through and I will keep you posted whenever I hear anything else newsworthy. Hope to see you here today or tomorrow.


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