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Takeaways from the ITEXPO

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

TMC president, Rich Tehrani, gives us an in-depth analysis of their recent Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. While other attendees were unwilling or unable to blog during the conference, Rich moblogged several times a day, providing photos, anecdotes, and videos of the event. This was made possible due to his handy XV6700 and some of Tom's scripting magic.

I'll excerpt some of the points I found particularly interesting. For the rest, read Rich's article.
One of the best parts about ITEXPO is getting to speak with so many thought leaders in the space. One such example is Michael Khalilian, Chairman of the IMS Forum, with whom I had an interesting conversation. While onstage in a panel on VoIP Service, Michael mentioned the need for consolidation in the VoIP space. He says some providers in the triple-play space are ‘gunning’ for the VoIP market and have considered giving away voice to customers who purchase broadband and certain types of programming. The goal here would be to wipe out pure-play VoIP providers so the market clears up a bit.

In Michael’s opinion, the best defense against such moves is pure scale. He advocates VoIP providers banding together as soon as possible so they are in a position to fend off threats from larger providers.
So the major carriers feel threatened by VoIP providers, and they want to take them out. How will they do it? By undercutting the newcomers! Thus, the consumer wins again, at least for the short term. Will this diabolical scheme actually work? Sadly, it just might.
The one concern here is that carriers are spending billions of dollars on technology - they need to be more certain of the ROI of these investments. “What are the money-making applications?” they rightly ask. As an industry we need to make sure we answer these questions to keep service providers investing and reaping the rewards from these investments.
Which killer-apps could VoIP hook up with? Gizmo Project is betting on the social networking craze. Online gaming has incorporated voice long ago. So what's next? With Click-to-Call, we now have some interesting options:

Tech support comes to mind. For instance, while surfing a website, or from within your application, you could click the "Call For Help" button and be connected with a live support specialist. Distance learning is another concept that requires voice. These applications are out there. It's up to the VoIP providers to hook them up with their services and start generating revenue beyond the per-minute charges.


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