Zoom Technologies

I spoke with Terry Manning, VP of Sales & Marketing at Zoom Technologies for a while at the last ITEXPO and I was intrigued by the discussion. I asked Terry to follow up with an e-mail so I can share some of his points in my blog. There are some great thoughts here and I think this hybrid solution Zoom offers makes sense for many situations – especially where 911 is a concern.

Here is the e-mail and article on the product:

This morning the Internet Telephony news reminded me that I owe you a follow up on a discussion we had at the most recent Internet Telephony show. At that time, I asked you why the industry persisted in trying to convert users as opposed to migrating them to VoIP. The standard consumer offering is a flat rate program rather than a usage based program. Consumers are encouraged to switch their phone number to a VoIP service and abandon the PSTN service. Given what we know about the market, that makes very little sense.

The Level 3 study Internet Telephony reported on this morning joins a number of other studies that show the general populace doesn’t know about VoIP.

Those who do know about VoIP have real reservations about using VoIP as a replacement for the PSTN. In all candor, the consumer’s reluctance is well founded.

There are issues with 911, power fail over, reliability and call quality. We should expect consumers to be justified in their reluctance to switch from an established and reliable phone number to a new technology.

This is particularly true in the U.S., where conventional phone rates are the lowest in the world. As you probably know, Consumer Reports magazine looked at VoIP and told consumers not to give up their PSTN line.

Now consider the FCC’s E911 directive and the measures being taken by ITSPs to address the FCC mandate. There are a lot of misguided companies pursuing complex solutions to a simple problem. Just use the PSTN line.

The plain truth is that about 45 percent of broadband lines in the United States are ADSL lines. Those lines nearly always have a PSTN line provided with the broadband service at no additional charge. That is also true in nearly every other country. Other VoIP prospects are using cable and generally also have a PSTN line. In nearly every case, consumers will be far easier to sell if they are asked to migrate to VoIP rather than make a cold turkey switch.

Consumers can be offered all benefit and no negatives. VoIP can let them continue with their PSTN service and receive all PSTN benefits while also gaining a rich set of new capabilities: a free second phone line, far lower long distance rates, a very rich set of extra features at little extra cost.

We can give consumers so much and there is no reason to ask them give up anything.

And the VoIP services are not likely to lose revenue. Devices like Zoom’s gateways and the new Zoom 5801 ATA can be set to use VoIP services as the default. If a VoIP service plan is usage based, the revenue will be there while the consumers will be introduced to VoIP in a very non-threatening manner.

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