Service providers here say they can't afford to be consigned to the role of merely delivering bandwidth. Vonage Holdings Corp., for example, rides in on the broadband provider's network to deliver VOIP services. The broadband provider, however, delivers dumb bandwidth at a price that it can't get away with raising. One Cleveland-based ISP executive even went so far as to describe Vonage as “parasitic.”
So how are things faring between the parasites and their hosts? In a roundabout answer, we present some final bits and bobs from the VON show:
Many of these solutions, such as Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Communicator 2005 and Nortel’s Converged Multimedia Services (CMS) solution are being built for the enterprise, which some apparently believe to be VOIP’s beachhead to wider acceptance by the consumer market. Microsoft and Nortel are developing multimedia front ends that combine voicemail, IM, and IP voice in a tightly integrated package for businesses. These products typically involve partnerships between the supplier of the front-end applications (Microsoft, AOL, Nortel), an IP PBX supplier such as Alcatel’s Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc., and a softswitch provider such as Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS).
“When we are doing an IP Centrex bid, sometimes we may bring Sylantro in as a partner, and in another circumstance we may be partnering with BroadSoft Inc. and competing against Sylantro Systems Corp."
Camarena says the open standards and interoperability with which many VOIP network elements are now built allows carriers to buy tailor-fit, multi-vendor solutions. The “lead” vendor, he says, often supplies products but also acts as a systems integrator, bringing in various partners that contribute specific functionality.
Rock band Heart played the big VON bash on Wednesday night, news that had many scrambling to their rock-n-roll history books to see whether the band is now on its ninth or tenth comeback tour. Truth is, it doesn't matter. Heart rocked pretty hard, despite the fact they never wore as much hairspray as Poison, and never wore quite as much makeup as KISS.
— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading