IP Communications: Looking ahead to 2011 and beyond.

By Adam Stone | Dec 30, 2010 | Print this Page
http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/unified_communications/IP-Communications-Looking-ahead-to-2011-and-beyond-3918866.htm

IntelePeer executives have a high-level vantage point. The company provides a cloud-based, hosted communications infrastructure to carriers, service providers and enterprises. The company’s SuperRegistry allows routing of calls among trusted service providers and VoIP communities. IntelePeer’s hosted software development platform, IntelePeer AppworX, helps enterprises to develop communications-enabled applications.

In others words, lots of fingers in lots of telecommunications pies.

That breadth of activity gives IntelePeer a meaningful vantage point from which to look out over the VoIP scene. With that in mind, we asked Vice President of Product Management Charles Studt and General Manager of the Enterprise Business Unit Margaret Norton to assess the end-of-year landscape. Here’s what they had to say.

Enter the cloud
In the days before the midterm elections a client asked IntelePeer to mount a new, spur of the moment electoral push. In the past it would have been unthinkable to pull off such a campaign on short notice. In this case, IntelePeer got the telecom end in place almost immediately.

Such practical demonstrations of scalability throughout the industry are helping drive interest in the cloud. "The cloud communications services market is really starting to take off," Norton said.

Another sign of acceptance comes in the form of service providers adopting cloud infrastructure. "It’s a validation of the transformation in the industry," Norton said. "It is really challenging to completely shift an industry to a new technology, and with the involvement of the service providers, we are seeing a cooperative approach that is very much helping this overall transformation in the telecom industry."

Emergence of UC (I)
As unified communications has emerged in the marketplace in the past year, the mindset of the end user also has begun to evolve. "There is this growing notion that it is more than just technology to save cost," Studt said. "There seems to be a true realization that unified communications is really an enabler to improve productivity, to leverage multi-modal communications to collaborate in real time."

With that realization comes acceptance. "Everyone we talk to is either actively rolling out or trialing or piloting or at least having a UC strategy as part of their overall corporate communications infrastructure," Studt said.

Emergence of UC (II)
Even as UC takes center stage, a new challenge is arising in its implementation: Call it, roughly, federation.

Picture a single enterprise running multiple UC solutions. Or imagine an acquisition scenario in which the two parties have taken different approaches to UC. "Tying that all together becomes a pretty big challenge for the enterprise," Studt said.

Now extend the challenge outside the gates, as enterprise users look to leverage the advantages of UC in their relationships with vendors and customers.

Right now there is no good way to connect all the pieces into an interoperable whole. Two flavors of Cisco call manager may play nicely together, for example, but UC products from different vendors won’t make such as easy connection.

The challenge for the coming year will be to automate connections among multiple players on the UC field.

Going global
The growing embrace of SIP trunking is not limited to U.S. companies. In the coming year IntelePeer expects Postal, Telegraph and Telephone (PTT) players from abroad to take an increasing interest in this arena.

"We are certainly seeing international PTTs start to take a closer look at their U.S. strategy," Norton said. Many see SIP trunking as a key element in that strategy. The question on the table: How best to leverage that solution?

"If I am an international PTT and I have sites in the U.S., how am I going to support their SIP trunking needs? They are starting to look at partnering with service providers in the U.S. who have SIP trunking capabilities, and they would private label those services. It’s still their brand, it’s still their service, but they might look to a partner to provide the actual capability."

Such partnerships would allow the PTT players to deliver a broader range of services, while retaining their brand visibility.

Go to page 2: Among the giants