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VoIP Predictions for 2007

VoIP News cites top ten predictions in the VoIP industry for 2007. These predictions are taken from all around the blogosphere and tech industry news sites. Mostly, the predictions relate to how VoIP will further strengthen its hold on consumers (business and personal alike) as a service of choice, on top of, or as an alternative to traditional telephony. Here are some highlights.

1. Jon Arnold thinks cable companies will continue to dominate, but some independent providers–such as Vonage–will survive. This is in terms of consumer-oriented VoIP services. For one, cable companies have the advantage, already having their foot in the door. They who already service consumers at their residences as ISPs have an advantage in offering value-added services at little added cost. Arnold also thinks vendors will continue to consolidate this year.

2. VoIP watch thinks the FCC will start seeing VoIP as a telephony service rather than a value added service, according to VoIP watch. With this, restrictions and rules applying to telephone companies are likely to be enforced. One of these is E911, which I think is just reasonable. Emergency services have always been a problem seen with VoIP systems, especially since you can be anywhere in the world and use the same number and service–hence being difficult to track down. VoIP watch also predicts that the Gizmo project will be acquired.

3. Ted Wallingford of Signal-to-Noise predicts that providers that offer pure VoIP services will move on to provide more consolidated services, like TalkPlus and GrandCentral, which offer integration between VoIP and other telephony systems (TalkPlus enables regular mobile phone users to call Skype users via their own Skype names, for instance, and not via SkypeIn). Wallingford also predicts increased uptake of VoIP as part of customer-service systems for enterprises and publishers, particularly with ubiquitous “call me” links or buttons on websites, for instance.

4. Ken Camp of Digital Common Sense predicts that companies that have relevance engines will be on the rise–these are systems that work like presence indicators, but also tell users other relevant information like who their contacts are in conference/meeting with. Camp also predicts radical changes in how phone handsets are to be designed–perhaps this would be due to the increasing proliferation of data that phones are able to transmit these days.

5. Mark Evans predicts that security in VoIP and its applications will be taken more seriously, especially with the increased uptake of VoIP systems by enterprises.

6. MobileCrunch thinks that the sheer number of new users signing up for Skype every day, particularly from China, can be defined as a “disruption.” Of course, with Skype’s peer-to-peer model, this might not necessarily pose a problem in terms of capacity.

Whatever the predictions are, the common denominator seems to be the increased rate of adoption of VoIP, whether for consumers or enterprises. This is certainly good news to those banking on various VoIP-related business models.

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