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No Love For the Small Medium VoIP Service Provider!

Today’s announcement by NetGear of the release of the DG834GV, an all-in-one integrated voice gateway featuring ADSL2+ modem, router, and wireless router available only through Australian Internet Telephony and Broadband provider egin got me thinking about the lack of love mass market product vendors are showing small-medium service providers as it relates to VoIP products. Currently, many mass market vendors (Motorola, VTech, Netgear to name a few) are only producing products that are enabled with a larger VoIP Service providers service. In other words, no one can use the device unless they are using it with XYZ’s service and no other small to medium providers have the ability to offer it to their customers.

Now this tell me a few things:

  1. Mass Market product vendors do not understand the present state of the market, the future of the market, and the impact of small-medium service providers on the market (current, future).
  2. Mass Market product vendors do not understand the technology in the own device well enough to support more then “one customer” for the device. I say this because having hundreds or thousands of service providers using your device(s) exponetually increases the number of possible scenarios/problems they might need to support.
  3. Mass Market vendors such as Linksys, D-Link, and Cisco have made booth the large and small-medium providers a priority through a variety of programs and have become the vendors of choice for the small-medium provider (with Linksys in the lead)

It is amazing that with all of the smart folks these huge companies employ there is not one within their respective organization that would champion the idea of selling to the small-medium provider (either directly or in-directly through a VAR/VAD). It is a dis-service to the hundreds of thousands of VoIP consumers and hundreds of VoIP prodviders that they do not have the same access to the innovative new products that are afforded to the large players. Maybe if more of the mass market product vendors looked to go to market with an “open” version of every device they sell (similar to Linksys, Cisco, D-Link) there would be even further growth in the VoIP industry. (Let’s face it, the mass market wants products from companies they have heard of. With the technology being rather alien to most, a brand name product offers them some comfort.)

Anyone out there reading this work for one of the mass market guys willing to comment on why there is little focus on the small-medium VoIP Service Provider and the markets they serve?

I would be interested in your thoughts on this…

IP EVO XING – This Years Slickest Product

Have you seen this yet?

IP EVO’s XING has to be the slickest VoIP product to come out this year. Everything about the XING is slick; it’s deisgn, features, and functionality. This product will not only further add to the unique Skype user experience, but will also serve as a great conversation piece among users. This is a great example of functional product design creating “BUZZ.”

What is so special about the DLink DPH-540 WiFi VoIP Phone?

Not Much. DLink’s offical anouncement of their “new” WiFi phone has created some industry buzz which puzzles me as the DPH-540 is nothing more then an Axxcess G-1000 WiFi Phone in a different shell.

Looks like D-Link elected to purchase existing technology rather then build it internally. Industry gorilla’s Cisco and Linksys employ this strategy almost religiously and it is normally extremely successful. Unfortunately for DLink, the release of the Axxcess G-1000 over a year ago to the open market resulted in less then stellar customer reviews and sales were poor.

I am not overly convinced that changing the name and the color of the device will result in any better of an outcome this time around.

Good luck DLink!

PhoneGnome’s Free On Net Calling Numbers, Surprising?

Andy Abramson wrote a post today highlighting the usuage statistics for PhoneGnome,a VoIP, PSTN, and Peer-to-Peer service aggregator. Andy found it surprising that PhoneGnome users were making 16% of their calls between each other. While this is no doubt a sign that free on net calling is a feature customers will use, I am not as amazed by those numbers. Not that it is a bad percentage, but for a service that’s main selling point is the ability to make free on net calls, i expected that the percentage of free on net calls would be higher.

What does amaze me about these numbers is that it adds further validity to the business model that many VoIP Service providers (Skype, etc.) are using. These numbers support the premise that free on net calling is attracting new customers, but in reality their usage of this feature is low (which in turns makes the ROI on the proposition high). Customers are primarily using, and in most cases paying for, premium features such as VoIP to VoIP and VoIP to PSTN calls. Looks like Dave Beckemeyer and the guys over at Skype are on to something, huh?

ClearOne’s Chat 50 Vs. Polycom’s C100S Communicator – The Battle for USB Speakerphone Supremecy

Over the past six weeks a fury of press releases, articles, and reviews have come out about ClearOne’s Chat 50 USB Speakerphone and Polycom’s C100S Communicator. What intrigue’s me the most is that each company has taken a different approach in the marketing of their product. Polycom has choosen to marry their device to Skype (although it still works with other SIP based softphone clients, although without the integrated features), while ClearOne has choosen the middle road and built a device that works with most SIP based softphone clients. With both USB speakerphones having price tags well over $100 USD, it is evident that both are targeting the mobile professional. On the surface it would seem that the Chat50 would have the most success in this marketplace, but given Skype’s new strategy centered around the mobile business professional, it looks like the Communicator could have the edge especially if Polycom went to market with an “non-Skype” version of the Communicator.

Who do you think has the upper hand? Is it Polycom or ClearOne? Or might it be another USB Speakerphone vendor like MVOX?

Let’s hear it!

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