Five Things You Need to Know About VoIP
The top five things you might not be aware of, but should know when it comes to VoIP.
Things go from new to standard to antiquated quickly in the world of modern telecommunications. VoIP still seems like a newcomer; however, it now is part of the established telecom infrastructure. Indeed, it arguably is the predominant telephony platform.
But uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. While a couple of reports suggest that days are good for the VoIP infrastructure, there is at least one cloud - a potentially significant one - on the horizon coming from even newer technologies.
First, VoIP's good news. TechNavio says the global carrier VoIP market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6 percent in the period from last year to 2015. Information is sparse in the release, but it does say that a potential challenge to that healthy growth will be the transition from traditional VoIP to IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) equipment, which the organization apparently classifies as discrete.
Infonetics identifies IMS and VoIP individually, but sees them as close enough to report on them together. The release says that the market for the two categories was up in the fourth quarter of last year, but notes that such an increase is typical for the end of the year. The more important comparison is against the year-ago quarter. That measure was down 2 percent, the release said. That downturn may be temporary, however, as the IMS and session border controller (SBC) markets grow large enough to overcome the declines in legacy product sales.
It's fair to say that the news from those reports is mostly good. The sobering note was sounded by Standard & Poor's. It is a bit indirect. The cable industry, without a doubt, is the main purveyor of VoIP in the United States. An industry strategy is to bundle video, VoIP voice and data. The approach is to offer a good deal on the three services. Taking services a la carte is proportionally more expensive. Splitting services between the local telephone and cable companies is cumbersome and not generally done.
The bundling strategy has served cable operators well and has been embraced by telephone companies. The problem is that the over-the-top (OTT) IP video approach is sawing off one leg of the three-leg bundle. Simultaneously, bargain-basement voice alternatives are threatening a second leg - especially if more of the subscriber base has already moved from service provider to OTT video and is not as tightly linked to the cable or phone company. Says the FierceEnterpriseCommunications story on the Standard and Poor's study:
S&P said it expects growth in the cable VoIP sector to hit a wall and see considerable fall off in months to come, possibly reflecting the decade-long erosion of revenue that telcos have seen in their landline business. The losses, S&P said, will be driven by newer technology options--everything from low-cost VoIP and Skype to services like, you guessed it, wireless.
It may not be as dire as the story suggests. The cable and telco folks are savvy and will adjust their approaches. It is, however, a sign that things are constantly in flux. VoIP now is part of the establishment - an establishment that just a decade ago it helped to overturn.