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What Was the Most Significant Development in Communications Technology in the Last Decade?

“Fiber. Using light to pass traffic made the entire network infinitely scalable, fast and redundant. The speeds that can be brought to a customer multiplied exponentially. Faster speeds mean more applications, which in turn provides for more possibilities.”

— Geoffrey Shepstone, President, Telecom Brokerage Inc.

“The blossoming of graphical interfaces on the Internet. Remember the days of UNIX-based commands to do e-mail and sending/receiving files? Graphical UIs made the Internet accessible for billions of people.”

— Steve Hilton, Enterprise Research, Analysys Mason

“The most significant development in communications technology would be the rapid adoption of IP — not just in our business life, but throughout our entire life. Just look at the IP-enabled devices that exist today: cell phones, cameras, refrigerators, cars, etc. As you peel back the layers behind this ‘onion,’ you have MPLS, 4G and SIP which are all important contributors as well.”

— Brad Miehl, President & CEO, MicroCorp Inc.

“VoIP and SIP, without a doubt. It has changed the way we work, where we work and the entire pricing structure of the industry.”

— Bill Leutzinger, President, TelecomMedic

“Again, we have two contenders. One is fiber. While not as widespread as it will be soon, it has already opened up a huge new vista of services and possibilities with the enormous amount of data it can easily carry at an effective price structure.

The second is VoIP. I don’t mean Vonage and the like, but the protocol itself. Voice became part of the WAN for multisite customers to communicate internally. This significantly increased bandwidth required for WANs and was definitely a catalyst for bigger, better and more affordable bandwidth. Additionally, as a protocol, it allowed regional CLECs to grow way beyond their previous borders. Data was always relatively easier to push a further distance as was even long-distance services. The local carrier switch was the biggest issue. You needed a heavy concentration of customers in a small geographic area to roll out a complete product. VoIP allowed carriers to reach so much further with their voice and integrated voice and data circuits by extending the reach of the local switch technology. Additionally, larger and more dynamic integrated services became possible.”

— Zachary Schechter, President, ZCS Enterprises

“SIP — it will change the landscape more than any one thing in the past as it will eliminate the carrier side and will become the transport of choice. It will allow companies to abandon the local long-distance billing as there will be no need for this service.

— Dale Stein, Co-founder, TAG National

“Internet-based telephony or voice over Internet protocol. VoIP opened up a new means of communicating by voice which has siphoned users away from conventional telephony.”

— Thomas K. Crowe, Partner, Law Offices of Thomas K. Crowe, P.C.

“The biggest IT trends fall under the broad umbrella of technology services delivered via the managed services model. Companies delivering managed IT services weathered the economic storm better than most during the 2008-09 economic recession. From the customer perspective, reliance on outside vendors for technology service continues to grow at the small businesses, mid-sized company and large enterprise levels. Here are two examples of how managed services are re-shaping the IT landscape.

  • The growth of cloud computing has allowed even the smallest organization to access enterprise-class technology with minimal up-front costs and easy scalability. Cloud computing allows a large number of networked computers to share an IT infrastructure. That eliminates the constraints of relying only on local or remote computers. It’s also financially attractive to many organizations. They can reduce their in-house IT infrastructure investment costs and use Web-hosted services, paying only for what they use.
  • Virtualization is another technology trend that changed the IT landscape in 2009. Again, it is a solution that allows a company to save money through reduced IT infrastructure costs and streamlined IT management. The use of virtual servers and virtual desktops lets you host multiple operating systems and multiple applications locally and in remote locations, freeing you from physical or geographical limitations. A virtual infrastructure can often result in a higher availability of resources, better desktop management, increased security and improved disaster recovery processes.”

— Todd Thibodeaux, President and CEO, CompTIA

“There have been seemingly countless enhancements to services brought about by technological innovation, though as I look at the changes, I believe that the most significant development enhancing opportunity within the channel is IP communication. IP technology clearly allows for dramatic opportunity across all of the telecom industry. The carrier field has become greatly expanded as we move away from legacy technology and networks and this creates tremendous growth opportunity within the channel as customers need to be educated and converted to a product that is able to dynamically accommodate their voice and data needs at extremely effective cost levels. Since there is technology education needed on the part of many SMBs, your role as agents becomes more critically valuable and important to customers than it ever has been. Managed strategically, I have no doubt that this technology enhancement can provide nearly exponential growth opportunities for those channel partners who choose to make this a priority.”

— Brian Twomey, President, TNCI

“VoIP is the most significant technological development as it’s changed voice from a metered product to an application served over data.”

— Adam Edwards, President, Telarus Inc.

“Mobility, because it has completely changed the way we communicate (for example, telecommuting and mobile workforce explosive growth, operator services and payphones have literally disappeared). Latency in double digits due to 4G and packet vs. circuit switching now allows apps like voice and video that previously were not possible on 3G to be possible on 4G. The efficiency of mobile communication is extremely high (contacts, calendar, e-mail, texting, Web OS, etc. all at your fingertips and are all now relational databases). A good example of how truly significant this development was is that consumers no longer even order a phone line as a result.”

— Vince Bradley, CEO, World Telecom Group

“In the last decade, the advancement in wireless technology and the explosion in use of wireless technology has been the most significant development in communications industry. Ten years ago, the ownership and use of wireless phones was small. Compare that to the use of wireless technology in all forms today.”

— Philip Josephson, Founder, the Law Office of Philip Josephson

“I believe the answer to this is VoIP because no longer is voice a service we provide but an application that is no different than the services we provide on a software for service basis. Hence, it has changed the way we all do business and, more importantly, how we go to market with our products now and in the future.”

— Dan DiOrio, President, Telco Pro USA Inc.

“IP-based services.”

— Benjamin W. Bronston, Partner, Nowalsky, Bronston & Gothard, APLLC

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