Mobile HD Voice Better for Business, but International Mobile HD Voice in Early Stages of Development

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile HD voice is likely to benefit your business: both parties can hear each other more clearly and experiments prove call length increases with HD voice
  • HD voice codecs will be the norm in voice-over-LTE deployments
  • Your mobile device must support Wideband Adaptive Multi Rate (W-AMR) technology  to conduct HD voice calls

HD voice is delivered using wide-band audio, which results in far more natural sounding conversation. Consider a multi-lingual global business environment, with wheeling and dealing taking place over traditional crackly narrow-band, and it’s reasonable to assume that your sales force, technical support teams, and customer support would benefit from more articulate conversations with customers that are on their mobile handsets. Enterprise users that have IP telephony solutions in place are familiar with landline HD voice for internal or branch-to-branch calls, with multiple vendors supporting wide-band voice plus better audio components in their handsets, including for example Cisco, Avaya and Polycom; while UC hubs such as MS Lync also support HD voice. However, the reach of HD voice is limited to what’s going on the other end – namely if the call terminates on a traditional PSTN and regular handset, the call is not going to be in full HD! Continue reading “Mobile HD Voice Better for Business, but International Mobile HD Voice in Early Stages of Development”

Superstorm Sandy Reinforces the Need for Business Continuity Planning

Cindy Whelan
Cindy Whelan

Summary Bullets:

  • The arrival of yet another devastating storm reinforces the need for business continuity features.
  • Business customers need to have a clear understanding of their carrier’s internal architecture for redundancy; they should also take secondary steps for further assurance of continuity.

In my August 28 blog, “UCaaS Can Be a Lifesaver in a Disaster,” I discussed the need for customers to have a clear understanding of their service providers’ business continuity features.  When I wrote that article, nobody had any idea that a storm on the scale of Sandy, which ravaged the Mid-Atlantic seaboard, was on the horizon.  Of course, the first and most important thing in these situations is the protection of family and loved ones.  This was a storm like nothing else in recent history in the region, leaving devastation in its wake. Continue reading “Superstorm Sandy Reinforces the Need for Business Continuity Planning”

Will Recent Telecom Mergers be a Boon to Enterprises?

C. Whelan
C. Whelan

Summary Bullets:

  • Service provider consolidation should be good for business customers as providers compete to develop compelling services.
  • Businesses should proceed with caution if their providers are moving into new service areas.

2011 was a merger-heavy year that also included Windstream’s acquisition of PAETEC, CenturyLink’s purchase of Qwest and Savvis, EarthLink’s purchase of One Communications and Time Warner Cable’s purchase of NaviSite.  While each carrier had its own reasons for making its acquisition – increasing size and footprint, and improving financial conditions were two big drivers – these carriers are all interested in moving upmarket, whether to win mid-size businesses or larger enterprises.  Enhancing business services and building up the customer base to support this transition were key elements behind these transactions.  In many cases, the acquirers were strong in mass market (i.e., residential and very small business) services, a tough market that can have high levels of churn and pricing pressure. Carriers are looking at increased use of mobile devices in the workplace and interest in cloud-based service models as the way to move away from commodity offers to business services, creating a revenue stream with strong growth potential.  Windstream and CenturyLink are both moving from their rural local exchange carrier (LEC) roots to be national communications providers. Their respective acquisitions add business customers and services, including hosting, managed services and cloud service options. Similarly, Time Warner Cable’s NaviSite purchase added advanced services that are in demand from larger businesses. EarthLink acquired New Edge Networks in 2006: In 2010-2011 the carrier “took it up a notch”, making a string of purchases (One Communications, Deltacom and STS Telecom) to expand the reach and depth of its network footprint, and to develop managed IT services for multi-site businesses and distributed enterprises. Continue reading “Will Recent Telecom Mergers be a Boon to Enterprises?”

Microsoft and Skype Threaten Service Providers, but Regulators Will Be Watching

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:         

  • Microsoft has yet to show that it knows how to make the most out of the opportunities from its acquisition of Skype.
  • Microsoft has the potential to take voice revenue and customers from service providers, but regulators will be watching.

Microsoft’s $8.5 billion dollar acquisition of Skype has added a threatening new dimension to the software giant’s role in the communications market.  On the surface, the decision seems natural for a vendor that has strongly promoted software-based IP telephony as a better alternative to PBXs.  Services such as FMC and UC are proving effective as hosted solutions and showing a natural affinity for cloud-based delivery, which suggests that Microsoft is on to a winner.  The obvious model is for Microsoft to embed Skype into Lync/Office 365, and even potentially into future iterations of its desktop/laptop and mobile Windows operating systems.  Other vendors (e.g., BT’s Onevoice Anywhere solution) have demonstrated the cost-saving potential of driving voice calls over the corporate VPN via WiFi either through a softphone or a SIP client on a smartphone.  Microsoft could use Skype In/Skype Out to handle PSTN interconnection and keep all calls between Skype clients off the PSTN.  Skype can assign phone numbers and simultaneous call volume; Microsoft software can distribute basic calling or complex IP PBX functions (via Office365) throughout the organisation.  Office 365’s popularity among businesses as a solution attracts numerous carriers globally, including the majority of European incumbents and mobile operators such as Vodafone.  Skype will also strengthen Microsoft’s capability to offer voice- and video-enabled messaging and collaboration applications to business customers.

Continue reading “Microsoft and Skype Threaten Service Providers, but Regulators Will Be Watching”