Outlook 2013: IP Communications

By Khali Henderson and Kelly Teal Comments
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"Once customers get comfortable with VoIP, channels can move them along the path to UC, where they can take full advantage of multimedia, real-time communications in an integrated environment. This also gives the channel a more solid entree into the emerging opportunities for video and mobility."
—J Arnold & Associates' Jon Arnold

"The convergence of telecom and cloud services brings a huge opportunity to provide a single customer portal that manages and monitors every IP communications service on one easy-to-use platform."
—MegaPath's Dan Foster

Channel Challenges. With any emerging opportunity come challenges. With IP communications, partners face several. For one, there is the temptation to focus only on cost savings, hastening commoditization of IP services. Meanwhile, VoIP and SIP still have technical challenges, namely around interoperability between provider and edge devices, making education and careful supplier selection key. The level of expertise required is only expected to ratchet up as IP communications grow more complex and require a more managed approach. As partner models evolve to address IP-based environments, competition — between previously separate telecom and IT channels — will increase.

"Current channels, now more accurately defined as MSPs, must form ongoing business relationships with customers and vendors, and offer the continuous support that demanding businesses require."
—Momentum Telecom's Alan Creighton

"While manufacturers have worked very hard to make their products easier to install and operate, the knowledge required by the channel partner has increased significantly."
—Novus' Chris Meehan

"VoIP is quickly become a commodity-like category, requiring greater research and understanding of product and provider differences."
—Broadvox's Chris Gellos

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