VoIP Is Just The Beginning, Industry Panel Says - InformationWeek
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VoIP Is Just The Beginning, Industry Panel Says

More advanced IP services will incude dual-mode phone handsets, which will seamlessly roam between cellular, Wi-Fi and WiMax, or other fixed-wireless broadband networks.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Intel’s Michael Stanford thinks voice is just “the first drop in the deluge” of applications for IP-enabled networks. And Digium’s Mark Spencer has an interesting toolkit for building IP telephony apps.

Perhaps that’s why the two were paired in the morning keynote session Thursday at the VoIP Developer Conference here, to spell out some of the ways developers, resellers and corporate users might take advantage of the power of IP-based networking.

As director of Intel’s VoIP strategy group, Stanford’s comments to the couple hundred attendees were definitely future-looking, particularly in the area of VoIP and other services over wireless broadband. One huge market about to emerge, Stanford said, is that of dual-mode phone handsets, which will seamlessly roam between cellular, Wi-Fi and WiMAX or other fixed-wireless broadband networks.

“The writing’s on the wall for wireline voice,” Stanford said, prediciting that within 3 to 5 years, cellular services will “totally dominate” voice traffic. As for VoIP, Stanford sees it as “just the baseline feature” of advanced IP networks. “Services over IP is the huge thing,” he said, mentioning videoconferencing, interactive television and converged voice and data applications as potential new market ideas. “It’s gold rush time for developers.”

Spencer, whose company Digium is the commercial outlet for the open-source IP PBX platform Asterisk, said the Linux-based Asterisk offers VoIP developers a launching pad for any number of vertically targeted IP telephony apps. Asterisk, according to Spencer, supports all conventional phone traffic protocols, and can act as a “black box” to merge all types of voice and data traffic in a heterogenous network.

“Intel says services is a big market, and Digium is a way to get there,” Spencer said. Resellers in particular might find Asterisk and Digium attractive, Spencer said, since it could allow them a cost-effective way to add custom features to basic call-center application functionality and reap higher margins than by just reselling off-the-shelf applications and hardware.

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