An assortment of information, discussions,events, news and views on VoIP Services.

Monday, December 22, 2008

India Calling Now Easy With VoIP Network

Calling to India has become very simple with the introduction of VoIP technology. It is possible for people to discard traditional means of connectivity and stay tuned to the latest facility of calling offered by Voice Over IP. There is no reason why people should not benefit from this system. It just takes people to register themselves with service providers. Then it becomes possible for people to avail the services provided by the websites that cater to providing VoIP service. This is what helps to forward calls and make stunning leaps on the communication front.

The technology can connect people to distant places of the world. Thus calls to India or any other country can be easily forwarded. Moreover, the technology comes with other options such as messaging and sharing files. So, calling India or other countries has become very fascinating. A caller can see the end-user on the screen of his computer. This further helps to build the intimacy between people. Users feel delighted to make use of other options such as 3 way calling that allows people to undertake conference calls with others. Thus it can be seen the huge response of people from the entire world to avail this latest method of telephony. Resellers of VoIP have further made it easy for people to access the services of the system. It is now possible for a person who is living at a remote part of the world to connect with VoIP network due to the presence of resellers. Thus the VoIP calling plans to India has seen a tremendous response.

Expenses involved with this system of calling are also very low in comparison to other methods of telephony. So, people avail this system just to make sure that they connect with others at low cost. The technology has made cheap VoIP calls to Inida and other nations possible. The billing procedure of this technology is also very simple. It is found that online billing methods are introduced for people to conveniently pay off their bills. The users are also regularly updated by emails that give details of their monthly expenditure. So, monthly expenditures are kept within the control of users.

Information about the various websites that offer VoIP calls to India is available on the Internet. So, it is possible for people to actually stay ahead in life by accessing services from the various websites. The users feel delighted to know about the technology and the boon that it offers to clients all over the world. There are several such websites that are being launched in recent times. So, finding one is not at all a problem. People can easily register themselves with the various sites by providing their email address and phone number. This personal information is required for receiving 'customer service' that is provided by the service providers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

VoIP Calls to Pakistan for Unlimited Calling

With the coming of VoIP technology, forwarding calls to people has become easy as never before. Now users can easily make calls to international clients. It is being increasingly realised by people that the technology is an alternative means for communication.

This technology is introduced in every region of the world with the aid of websites. VoIP call rates have also been slashed and websites even go to the extent of providing free service. The users of the technology find it incredible to make use of this telephony service, free of cost. Another amazing thing is the lateral growth of these websites all over the world. People can access them from any region and keep themselves connected with this amazing connectivity option.

People living at any place find it possible on their part to forward calls to distant places. It can be to any country. VoIP calls to Pakistan for example can be easily made free of cost on the websites catering to this communication service. While making a call, users can also send messages and share files with others. Thus by doing so bonds are made stronger and people can easily exchange feelings with each other. Thus VoIP serves as a platform where people can make good use of the free communication service.

It is not just cheap VoIP calls to Pakistan, that makes VoIP so fascinating. Its usage lies in overcoming the drawbacks of traditional methods of telephony. People are more fascinated to find that they can make use of the technology from any region of the world. The websites catering to VoIP networks can be accessed from a mobile or a personal computer, no matter, wherever a person is located. Thus it is actually possible for people to avail all facilities of this technology. Moreover, the VoIP call rates, show tremendous variations. Some of these websites do ask for a minimum call charge while the majority of them offer free services. This free service is possible as the technology is completely digital and does not make use of long drawn wires that make the entire affair expensive. As voice is transferred in packet forms, users find it possible for them to share videos and images with others.

Details about this calling service can be gained from the internet. Users can easily get the necessary information about the websites and their services from the internet. People who are desirous to access the VoIP network, simply have to register themselves with the websites. Then it becomes possible for everyone to avail every facility as provided by the VoIP network. It starts from communication to uploading of files, images and videos. There is no possibility of any quality loss in voice with this system of telephony.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

VoIP Calls: Ensure the Quality of Local and International Calls

With the introduction of the digital technology of VoIP, it has become possible for people to forward calls to distant places, irrespective of where a person is located. The technology is supreme and features latest facilities that assure seamless connectivity. It is really fascinating to connect with this new form of telephony. Cheap VoIP calls make it possible for people to connect with others at extremely low calling cost.

The user-friendly nature of the technology is extremely beneficial. People can learn using this method of telephony very easily. The user-friendly nature of the technology is what draws attention of people. Users of all age groups can connect with this new method of telephony to distant places of the world.

The technology is no longer restricted to computers. The websites that cater to provide this service can be accessed on mobile phones too. Thus mobile VoIP calls are looked upon as the ultimate means to stay connected at low calling cost even while the caller is on a move. The charges on VoIP calls are very nominal. It is found that the VoIP call rates allow people to avail cheap form of connectivity.

The reasons why it is being applauded in the world is that the facility of VoIP calling has seen its reach even at remote places of the world. So, people can easily connect with this method from any place of the world. While forwarding calls, the users can also share files with people and send messages. All these are done at the same calling rate. It is possible for people to make cheap VoIP calls and stay connected with others.

The billing methods in case of VoIP are also made online. So, people can actually make payments of bills without having to personally visit offices. Users feel good about the process as they can easily remit their bills from any place of the world. So, people can stay connected with this method of telephony from any place very easily.

It is mandatory for a person to get himself registered with a website that offers VoIP services. The registration process is also simple and it just takes a few steps to complete the entire process of registration. Having completed the registration process, people can connect with others and forward cheap VoIP calls.

Information about the websites that cater to provide VoIP calling service is available on the Internet. People can subscribe to any website and start accessing the telephony services of Voice over IP. The technology being digital comes with a number of features that are not found in the traditional method of telephony. Facilities such as Three-way calling, Call waiting, Return call and Repeat dial reassure the superiority of this method of telephony. Then there is also the facility of sharing videos, images and other such files with the caller. People can also see the person to whom the call is being forwarded on ones computer screen.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

UC : Too hard to swallow for SMBs

Unified Communications are clearly being touted as the next big thing to happen in the world of telecommunications, and why not. When you have a combination of various modes of communication like e-mail, voice mail, instant messaging etc. and names like Cisco, Avaya and the mighty Microsoft associated with this upcoming technology, it is bound to make a huge impact. However, a recent study by indicates that the current situation is contrary to what many might believe. According to the report, 69% small and medium scale companies gave a thumbs down when asked 'Have you heard of the term Unified Communications?' While this might not come as a surprise, considering that maybe UC has not found its roots among SMBs, what does come as a rude shock is the fact that when the term Unified Communications was explained to these companies, nearly three-fourths gave an affirmative response regarding familiarity with the technologies involved.

The next observation is that traditional features like voice and e-mail are clearly on top priority when these companies were asked which features they consider to be a part of UC. Strangely, features like presence (knowing who is available online) and integration of communication solutions with desktop applications have found few takers, with slightly more than half of the SMBs considering it a part of Unified Communications. It is a certain fact to be noted that while desktop integration is of utmost importance to smoothen-out the operations of the entire process, knowing online process is certainly a benefit, since managers would instantly know if somebody is available for assigning fresh tasks or matters of higher priority.

The next question dealt with how important the respondents felt each feature was to Unified Communications. While 81% respondents felt that VoIP must be a part of UC, only 53% felt that it is essential for the same, hence highlighting the fact that SMBs necessarily do not find every aspect of the technology of their use, with the highest preference going to Voicemail yet again. On the cost front too, 66% agree that maintaining a traditional communications system is better than deploying a new UC as far as expenses are concerned. Similarly, more than half believe that SMBs should not implement UC until their products become more seasoned. Many companies also feel that their current communication systems are working fine, and fail to see the advantages Unified Communications can bring to their business.

The survey clearly indicates the need for a modified UC system which is also less expensive than the present systems, and also built to suit the requirements of small and medium businesses. Hosted systems are also an option, particularly for startups that may want to invest in a proper UC system of their own once they have that kind of capital. It is now high time for UC providers to consider SMBs also as an active part of their market and turn their attention towards developing applications on a smaller scale also. Generating more awareness about the entire process as a whole is equally important, since without the lack of proper input, any kind of change is always resisted.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

RBOCs continue to have lower customer base as VoIP scales newer heights

The spread of VoIP across the United States is certainly on a high these days. Accroding to data released by TeleGeography's US VoIP Research Service, the three US Regional Bell operating Companies (RBOC's), namely AT&T, Verizon and Qwest have lost 17.3 million residential subscribers between Q1 2005 and Q1 2008, while cable companies and VoIP service providers have increased their user base by 14.5 million.

While VoIP has certainly been one of the major adversaries of landline companies, it is cable operators who have actually stolen the show this time around (For more info, check out my blog on Comcast) with their Triple Play programmes that include voice video and internet services, hence the reason that cable companies account for 80% of US IP telephony numbers. RBOCs on the other hand are continuously suffering losses. The example of Qwest is a most appropriate one. Reportedly, the company has lost 195,000 customers and about $83 million in the first quarter of 2008. While Verizon and AT&T have begun to work on their providing their own range of offerings based on the Triple Play model, Qwest apparently is not doing anything to prevent the situation from arising again.

Even when we shift our focus from VoIP, cellphones too have had a significant impact on the so-called 'extinction', if you will, of landlines in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control,(Yes, it's true. Even I was shocked to see such stats revelad by something as wierd as the CDC!) at least 16 percent of US households have one or more cellphones, but no landlines.

Assessing the situation at a closer level, it is very clear to see why such a shift in telephony subscription is taking place. While landline telephones do, and would always continue to, have an edge over VoIP telephony due to a few technical knick-knacks, VoIP does prove to be indispensible in case of long distance calls. Applications such as Skype and Globe7 have indeed been very succesful in the last 3-4 years. Further, the triple play program being offered by cable companies is obviously very lucrative, since it combines internet access along with voice and video services. While the existence of landlines can nither be negated nor avoided, RBOCs have to come up with something fast if they are to remain a dominant force in the telecom sector.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vonage’s resurgence with the return of JC

Vonage has recently undergone a flurry of changes in its marketing and operational strategy, according to the IP telephony company’s returning CEO, Jeffrey Citron (who is also, quite incidentally, the founder of the company). While stepping back into the shoes of the chief executive officer (he had left in February, 2006), Citron has admitted to observing that Vonage had somehow lost its way amid fighting lawsuits and the everlasting ambition to expand its business.
Citron is no stranger to the world of independent ventures. In 1992, he discovered the revolutionary Island ICN system, which allowed shareholders to trade shares by entering buy and sell orders into a single database, which he sold in 2002 for $503 million. Besides that, he founded an online brokerage firm, Datek Online, which was sold for $1.3 Billion, also in 2002. Although he got into an illegal trading dispute with the SEC which was settled after paying a fine of $22.5 million, I’m sure there are a lot of similar, and bigger things, to talk about in the world of entrepreneurship. After investing more than $50 million of his own money into Vonage, and bearing witness to its dwindling stock (below 89 percent from its IPO of $17 when in decided to allow public shareholding in 2006), it is quite obvious that he is concerned for his brainchild.
To begin with, the immediate issue at hand is most definitely Vonage’s failure to handle its customer base. While its subscriber base nearly doubled to 2.2 million in 2006 from 1.3 million in 2005, Vonage did not take any steps to enhance its customer service systems. This ultimately resulted in frustrated clients and cancellations, which were extremely expensive, costing upto $40 to some clients. Next on the list is Vonage’s ad-campaign, which was having both an inflated budget and ineffectiveness. Despite the budget jumping from $56 million in 2004 to $365 million in 2006, the focus was still on expanding its customer base, which again, left little room for upgrades in the interface to make Vonage’s service better. While starting off on the rehabilitation task, Mr. Citron has been actively involved in developing new software to make the customer service more reliable. There is also a better grip on the marketing budget for 2007, estimated to be somewhere close to $284 million. Apart from the lawsuits that were worth $239 million, Vonage is now gearing up for the next step. It’s rolling out new products, including an international long-distance calling plan.
While on one hand big plans are being made, investors are clearly not too keen, probably scared of the fact that now cable providers are also pulling their socks to actively enter the VoIP domain. In Canada and the USA, cable operators have made a significant impact with an array of services which apparently, Vonage can’t match. While the Mr. Citron is quite confident that both cable providers as well as Vonage can survive simultaneously in the market, the stats tell a different story. According to Convergence Consulting, Canada had about 150,000 VoIP residential phone customers till the end of 2007, half of which belonged to Vonage. However, Canadian cable operators clearly outnumbering Vonage with an estimated figure of 2.4 million residential users, with the latter’s figures not even close.
So that’s the whole story in a nutshell. On one side you have an entirely pumped-up CEO who has a couple of big success stories to be the reason for his confidence, and on the other side there is a market that has clearly no faith on the once-popular VoIP service provider. It is often seen that owners are always optimistic about their product, it is always left for time to take its own due course. Hopefully, Vonage would come up to the same level as it was before it started going down in 2006.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

VoIP popularity index : Not quite upto the mark

We have all witnessed the phenomenal rise of VoIP from being a relatively lesser known technology to being the new voice of telecommunication (quite literally). However, it is a general observation that VoIP still hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations of industry experts, and has not been able to outgrow normal telephony, which still reigns as the preferred medium of communication, inspite of mobile phones and computers being used extensively all throughout the world. Below are a few points that have been responsible for this lag in the reach of one of the most influential technologies of the 20th (and the 21st) century, as reported by tmcnet.

Bad marketing
Business houses have always been top on the priority list of a majority of VoIP providers. While players like Skype do acknowledge the benefit of selling their services to individual households, many others are still marketing theirs effectively to organizations only, in order to obtain fat contracts and even fatter bank balances. Result : the quintessential household user is often unaware of the technology and has to stick to normal telephony.

Industry situation
There are many players in the industry but very few are considered to be upto the mark. SunRocket shut down early last year, leaving its customers out in the cold; Skype, the most prominent player, is being sold to Google; Vonage, another big player, is having trouble with customer relations. With so many problems regularly cropping up, it comes as no surprise that VoIP is seem as an unreliable service, thanks to its wavering industry condition.

Mobile broadband
The concept of mobile broadband and smartphones is relatively new, and one of the major attractions of VoIP is the fact that it makes calling from a computer to a cell-phone considerably cheap.

Confusing plans
Analyzing a calling plan by a VoIP provider often requires an IQ of 150. there are so many fine prints related to how many lines you are using, which location are you calling from, which location are you calling to, the features you are using, and so on. If VoIP companies could figure out a way to simplify their calling plans (which, I don’t think, is a big thing), they might be able to attract more individual consumers.

VoIP security
I have written a blog post specifically on the above. This most definitely is a growing area of concern, although more so for organizations, but nevertheless proves to be a deterrent in attracting customers.

Call quality
There is an omnipresent thought reigning in the telecom market that VoIP users have to sacrifice somewhat on the voice quality, which nullifies its utility as a low-cost communication medium. While this was true until early last year, VoIP providers have now got a grip on the technology, and the voice quality is now at par with your normal telephone or mobile.

Lack of attention and information
There is a dearth of awareness regarding VoIP, and part of the blame goes to the media, since they have not given it prior attention in their crusade for the welfare of the society, as they would like to call it.

All the above issues, if addressed properly, would most definitely remove quite a few bottlenecks for the VoIP industry, and would allow it to realize its true potential.