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January 11, 2010

Are VoIP HD phone systems ready for market?

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by Brian Turner

We’ve seen KT Networks, iNum and other companies offer HD VoIP.

HD VoIP is one of the more recent developments in the VoIP market, and in theory, the specs make this a product to watch.

Looking at Audiocodes for HD VoIP it can only look attractive - free or low cost voice over internet calls to even better rival traditional VoIP services.

The question is, are companies really ready for HD VoIP? More specifically, have the issues that have plagued VoIP so far been satisfactorily addressed? Even though there remains a healthy market for any range of a VoIP phone system, it’s still seen as a cheap alternative to traditional telephony - not a quality option.

You’d think otherwise with the range of HD VoIP services being hurried out for mobile phones, and no doubt it’ll become a wider option as VoIP is increasingly pushed on consumers.

The problem is, the B2C consumer market is very different to the B2B business market - consumers want cheap, and while business may want cheap to some degree, business needs quality.

And so far it’s debatable as to whether VoIP delivers.

While that statement may bring forth howls of rage from the pro-VoIP camp, it remains a fact that VoIP is highly dependent as a service on network providers. Unfortunately, many ISP’s are very much driven by consumer demands, and the result remains that drop-outs and similar can be a general fact of using VoIP services.

So if that’s the case, then does HD VoIP have a real role to play?

Certainly it does, but maybe not so much in B2B markets, as much as general consumer markets - especially when connected to multimedia services. While people make think of VoIP primarily as just for phone calls, the potential is already showing for use supporting music and video video - especially in the mobile phone market.

What we’re therefore seeing is the potential evolution of VoIP - from simply a way of getting cheap phone calls, to becoming an integrated multimedia service support in its own right.

While providers will necessarily talk up the benefits of HD VoIP for consumers, perhaps the real issue isn’t clear calls - free of crackle - in the first place. Instead, VoIP itself may well be evolving into a service provision that goes beyond its original vision. Certainly it would not be the first technology to do so.

Story link: Are VoIP HD phone systems ready for market?

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