VoIP experts predict 2007 innovations

TechTarget readers and experts offer their predictions for the year in VoIP.

How will the VoIP and networking markets evolve during 2007? Resident SearchVoIP.com experts Carrie Higbie and Juan Pablo Pazos, and our site members, put their cards on the table about the 2007 VoIP market.

Carrie Higbie, SearchVoIP.com's Planning for VoIP expert, is betting that 2007 will bring increased uptake of diversified IP services and a stronger push toward network convergence and managed services.

"In the VoIP market, I think we will see more in the way of managed services globally, such as MPLS, managed VPNs, etc.," she said. "Someone will begin to try to assemble a directory of IP phones and users. Availability of better and faster circuits will begin to show up globally."

A surge in new products utilizing the benefits of IP also factored into Higbie's expectations for the rest of this year. "The new Wi-FI/VoIP/cellular phones will take off, but I think some cities will utilize A rather than B/G frequencies because of saturation issues," she said. "Products will continue to incorporate video and other services. I also think that collaboration will begin to creep more and more into VoIP systems as a productivity savings.

"Cisco has just released an amazing Telepresence product that makes you feel that you are truly in the same room with someone who is not at your location," Higbie said. "Products like these are going to continue to allow companies savings on airfares, while providing great avenues for better reaction times for customer service."

Higbie also said that she anticipates that more enterprises will implement other IP features. "I think that the lines will continue to be consumed and routers will continue to be upgraded. I think the central offices in the U.S. will continue to take advantage of newer capabilities, including Ethernet to the home and higher-speed services."

Juan Pablo Pazos, our resident Network Convergence expert, has similar expectations for 2007, saying that end users should expect a lot more out of their cell phones in the next year. Here are Juan Pablo's Top 7 "Best Bets" for 2007:

  1. 2007 will be the first year when we will see pervasive Wi-Fi and cell phone integration. For example, initiating a call in your office and walking out with the IP phone and continuing the conversation from the car or walking in the street without interruptions.
  2. Converged applications, such as messaging to the cell phone based on geographic location, will help to reduce the cost of cell phone plans. Advertisers will assume part of the cost. For example, you could be walking in a mall and receive a text message with the promos happening that day or even that same hour!
  3. We will see integration of IP phones and cell phones in one simple ergonomic device.
  4. Flat-rate international long-distance plans will become very popular.
  5. Peer-to-peer (P2P) videoconferencing will be embedded in the browser.
  6. WiMax will boost broadband access in emerging economies, making VoIP the norm rather than the exception.
  7. We will see convergence of IPTV and IP telephony at the CPE level.

SearchNetworking.com editor Amy Kucharik offered her Top 3 predictions for the new year.

  1. Network designers get smarter about traffic. People catch on to the idea that buying more bandwidth is not a cure-all and instead look to WAN optimization techniques for greater efficiency.
  2. Mobile devices are a security risk. Stolen smartphones and laptops cost companies not only the device itself but the potential leakage of sensitive information -- so enterprises begin to enforce better mobile security policies and encryption.
  3. VoIP and unified communications (UC) force network integration. Network pros must be increasingly comfortable with technology -- and staff -- that reaches beyond the scope of routers and LANs.

Site members also shared their insights, rounding out user expectations for this year. Member Anil Macwan said, "Network performance and optimization are key to network operations. As technologies evolve and converge, performance and optimization will continue to be driving forces." Macwan sees VoIP and UC taking a lead networking role. Site member Aiden Dolan predicts that 2007 will see more convergence, both in IP telephony and in content networking.

Stuart Fawcett and Satnarine David Ramjit, site members who are also predicting the rise of UC, say that IP and UC's features -- such as videoconferencing and videoconferencing over IM -- will be high up on the agendas of many enterprises, though bandwidth and security concerns will continue to be important considerations before implementation.


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