The Great VoIP Migration: Where Are We,Where Are We Going?

Is the VoIP migration just beginning or well on its way? And, if youre not already packing your bags, is it too late?

This session will provide perspective on the progress of the migration to VoIP and the challenges service providers have faced in making that migration.

David Dyas, director of VoIP services at Mpower Communications, will put VoIP in perspective, looking at where the industry was three years ago, when hosted VoIP services were predicted to take off, to the last year, when the priority turned out to be SIP trunking, as well as what the future might hold in applications and new services. I come from a service provider perspective, and [will discuss] what we have seen in clients and their desires and the PBXs they are looking for, he said.

Skip Lane, president & CEO, Direct Line Communications, will speak from the service providers perspective in dealing with end users. Direct Line works with medium businesses, with 20-to-400 employees, how it differs from the SOHO market and the trials and tribulations of worknig with that sector.

These are typical T1 customers with multiple locations around country, said Lane. We provide VoIP plus broadband access, e-mail hosting, Web and audio conferencing and, in the second quarter, a backup service. Direct Line can provide originating services in 245 cities, a range that necessitated working with a nationwide IT services company. Direct Line found that it could be a challenge to find the right partner, and went through two IT services firms before finding the right one. The partner now stages all the installations, bringing in and installing IP phones for

Direct Lines IP trunking and hosted PBX services, so it can work with existing PBXs or provide a completely hosted service.

Lane also will discuss the tough lessons the company has learned about agents and how to use them to sell its products. Direct Line now sells its service on a per-seat, per-month basis with no upfront costs for customers and the cost of phones figured into the monthly fee. At the end of the contract, which is flexible, the customer owns the phones. So we are not looking for agents that understand data, that are system integrators or are interconnects, those that are IBM, Dell or Cisco VARs, said Lane. They understand the service better and get it, and are not afraid of the technology.

Gregory O. Welch, CEO of Global Touch Telecom Inc. (Booth 406), will discuss how VoIP technology can support quick and easy development of tailor-made applications for end customers, describing how how applications are driving VoIP and how VoIP providers can offer even ad hoc applications to their customers.

For example, for Sony Pictures, Global Touch Telecom set up a toll-free promotion number for the film, “When a Stranger Calls,” in just a few hours. The call featured a recording of a scary character making threats. Sony first had approached the local incumbent, which asked for expensive setup charges and wanted the studio to make a long-term commitment for services. Global Touch telecom, by contrast, told the studio, Give us a couple of hours to set up the number, and it was done. Is it possible to create similar applications for any end customer, giving resellers the ability to tailor services for each end user.

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