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End of standalone IP telephony? Hogwash!

New Telephony’s Kelly Teal writes:

VoIP clearly has moved into the mainstream, but 2007 marked a year of high-profile stumbles that appear to signal the end of standalone IP telephony.

The rest of the article talks about the stumbles of Vonage, SunRocket and Ebay / Skype, concluding with this quote from Infonetics Research analyst Stéphane Téral:

Overall, 2007 set the stage for big changes in the VoIP industry. VoIP is no longer an adventure, an opportunity for startups, says Téral. “It’s a serious telephony business taken over by giant telcos. … You can’t stay pure-play forever.”

I, for one, am not buying that VoIP is not longer an opportunity for startups.  Granted, the business of being an IP replacement for the telco is a bad one (but who didn’t know that?), but we’ve barely started to scratch the surface of what’s possible in IP.  So the big guys will run the networks… who cares?

  1. Equipment costs have fallen to the point where anyone can start a VoIP company, building virtually any kind of application.  Moore’s Law is wreaking havoc on the telco equipment suppliers. It’s benefiting anyone in the business of building software for those networks.
  2. Peering arrangements and interconnects between telcos and the VoIP networks have made it possible for applications to be built that piggy back on whatever carrier network that subscribers are attached to.
  3. The web has now reached into telephone networks, allowing innovative mashups to be created. 

2008 will mean huge opportunities for startups.  They just won’t be the opportunities that Stéphane Téral writes about.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Ike Elliott January 3, 2008, 7:31 am

    Great post, Alec, and it got me thinking about why several bloggers and reporters are openly speculating on the end of VoIP innovation. I think that now that we are crossing the chasm to the mainstream market, many assume that the time for innovation is at an end. Not so! Innovation continues, even though the technology has matured to the point where mainstream markets can be addressed. More on my blog at http://ikeelliott.typepad.com/telecosm/2008/01/vo

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