This Red Herring piece takes a look at Jajah, a service provider that is trying to move VoIP from the consumer to the business sector. While Jajah isn't as well known as Vonage, Internet phone services from various cable companies or eBay's Skype, its profile is rapidly rising.
The most interesting theme of the story is VoIP's pliability. The main news is that Jajah's VoIP functionality will be used in Joyent collaboration services. That certainly suggests flexibility. However, use of the Jajah platform in an even more flexible manner is expected soon from Logitech. The company plans to use Jajah to communicate with people in nations without 800 numbers. The customer will click on a "request for help" button and a Jajah representative subsequently will call, all using the Jajah system.
These are interesting times for VoIP. The story dutifully points out that VoIP received a body blow earlier this month when Verizon won a patent infringement suit against Vonage. However, the author doesn't mention that cable's VoIP initiatives got a boost when the Federal Communications Commission ruled that telephone companies in rural areas must cooperate with carriers to whom a cable operator wholesales.
In any case, the Logitech initiative is a great example of the flexibility of VoIP. We often think of VoIP as a challenge to the traditional telephone network when they directly compete. That certainly is true. IP technology, however, allows VoIP to be leveraged as a support tool for other applications far more easily than traditional telephone networks. Two other examples of this are the rationale behind eBay's Skype acquisition (though the deal may not be working out as planned) and the use of VoIP in IP videoconferencing.