Andy makes some valid points as he ponders the world of SIP without Microsoft. It would seem to me that with many of the service providers bailing out of the softphone services business that maybe the market is either already saturated or that the offers in the market are still not seamless enough for the average user to get excited about it.
From my own experience I know that getting people to strap on headsets or talk into a laptop is not only confusing for the user but even when you get them there the quality usually isn’t that great or predictable, regardless of the softphone you are using. Sometimes this has more to do with the connection and bandwidth and less to do with the softphone. At any rate, I think softphones have a future but they need to be invisible to the user and QOS (Quality of Service) must be addressed.
I think the boys at Microsoft might agree as they get ready to roll SIP Trunking for their new Response Point SIP-enabled SMB PBX. Response Point is probably the best SMB PBX I have had the opportunity to install, configure and play with recently. Btw, the customer I installed this for is loving it.
So, is Microsoft throwing in the towel on the VoIP front? No, I don’t think so. They are likely focusing on what they know best, bundling software with hardware to fill a niche. Response Point is a great example of that.
I remember having a conversation with Andy months ago and even though he did not come right out and say it then, it's clear now what he might have been eluding to.
I have fond memories of the early days of VON. Xten (now Counterpath) got a head start via the Free World Dialup community and Jeff was always there doing what he could to help out my tiny little startup.
Over the years the show grew at a colossal rate and small companies like mine were soon dwarfed by the monsters of VON. I understand why, it's just too bad it happened that way.
Andy swears that eComm is different but I am not at all convinced.
The format of these shows could use an overhaul. Where is the "Real Tools You Can Use Today for Building a Real Business" conference? Everyday business owners need something more interesting and useful that appeals to them in order to get something out of it that actually matters.
On a different note, there were a couple of posts around this alleged Pulvermedia exodus referring to the over-hyped VoIP industry and how there is no money to be made. Some of it is certainly true, too much marketing not enough substance. For others it's exactly the opposite. Lypp for instance is doing quit well.
Almost anyone who makes a call overseas these days is certain to be using VoIP in one fashion or another. We can thank Jeff Pulver and VON for making VoIP something that people wanted to be involved in. Jeff and his hard working crew, lead by Carl Ford, have done a great job bringing VoIP to the center stage over the years! Carl, if you are reading this, go do something great!
VoIP is telephony. Telephony is an extension of the most natural means of human communication, the human voice. Which is why you will not stop hearing about advancements and/or newly developed voice offerings for some time to come. Besides, we can't stop until I get my !@#$% Star Trek communicator 🙂
I happen to agree with Andy on just about everything in that post, but I do have some comments that potentially relate more to the Canadian market.
It's true that mobile costs are going down for users in the US but the opposite is true for mobile users in Canada. Here, the mobile carriers are not facing the same level of competition as the carriers in the US. Local overages and long distance usage is still at a premium and not one carrier offers an unlimited North American-wide calling plan, at least that I am aware of or has been published. Also, the iPhone is not being offered in Canada at all, so one would have to hack it to get it to work, which means a loss in some functionality along with the other side-effects.
This actually presents a larger opportunity then some may realize for middleware VoIP service providers / developers and not just for iPhone but for any Smartphone. In the next post, I will explain myself a little better and go into some detail about what some companies like Lypp are doing about it.