VoIP-Pal Terminates Big Apple Agreement, Hints About New Product

 By Sharla Sikes

VoIP-PAL.com, a telecommunications products, announced the termination of an agreement between it and Big Apple Consulting USA.

“We have had many inquiries asking us if we have an investor relations firm working with us,” said Richard Kipping, chief executive officer of VoIP-PAL.com. “So to clarify, we thought we should announce that VoIP-PAL.com, Inc. suspended its agreement with BigApple Consulting USA on October 17, 2007 for a three-month period pending clarification on certain matters relating to the agreement. After an internal review we decided to terminate the agreement.”

VoIP-PAL and WorldTel Xchange Inc. announced an alliance in April. The two companies will be jointly marketing an “exciting new product” through VoIP-PAL’s Niche Sales Channel, according to a news release.

Steve Lipman, pesident of WorldTel Xchange, Inc., said, “The combination of VoIP-PAL’s relationship with the Airline Points Program and WorldTel’s new ‘1ButtontoWiFi’ patented cellular/VoIP 1-touch technology will have a tremendous impact with consumers that have accumulated thousands of unused miles.”

The new product aims to capture the “untapped market of 3.2 billion cell phones worldwide,” and is purported to turn any cell phone, PDA or Smartphone—including the iPhone—into a WiFi phone.

VoIP-PAL.com offers local and long distance voice over IP phone services for both retail and business customers, as well as turnkey solutions through its Partners for the Loyalty Transactional platform, according to officials.

MarketPulse Launched for Traders

By Sharla Sikes

BT announced the release of its MarketPulse product, designed specifically for delivering VoIP service to the trading room on the Radianz Shared Market Infrastructure.

BT MarketPulse integrates data, voice and other multimedia applications in open session initiation protocol. Users can coordinate point-to-point connections used to deliver calls to the trading room. Continue reading MarketPulse Launched for Traders

Fonality and Dell Form Partnership

By Sharla Sikes

Big-time computer manufacturer Dell formed a partnership with Fonality that will bring Fonality VoIP to Dell’s business customers.

Dell is looking to capitalize on that trend, and chose Fonality and its Asterisk opensource telephony package. Fonality’s product is “easy to use” and “directly installable,” making it a good choice for PC behemoth Dell to include in its small and medium business packages. Continue reading Fonality and Dell Form Partnership

Is VoIP the Answer for the Average Consumer?

By Sharla Sikes

If VoIP isn’t the average consumer’s first choice for telephone service, it may pick up even more speed in the near future. While VoIP user numbers are growing steadily, it’s more popular with small businesses.

911 service continues to make potential VoIP users leery; stories of misrouted emergency calls have made recent headlines. With new FCC www.fcc.gov regulations that require providers to offer Enhanced 911, however, that stigma may quickly fade.

Anyone who’s ever read their phone bill closely for traditional phone services may remember feeling surprise and annoyance—or shock and rage, depending on their personality—at the multitude of fees and charges that inflate the bill to nearly double what the actual service costs. Add to that the fact that voicemail, caller ID and other features cost extra, but are usually included in the package price of VoIP, and it’s clear why land lines are quickly becoming obsolete. Continue reading Is VoIP the Answer for the Average Consumer?

VoIP’s Biggest Roadblocks

By Sharla Sikes

It’s hard to argue that VoIP use is growing worldwide. Lower costs attract customers across the market, but appear especially attractive to businesses. While growth figures  appear impressive, there’s more to the story.

Less than half of all businesses use VoIP, and numbers are even lower among small businesses. VoIP industry predictions look for huge growth figures in the next three years, but in order for those to become a reality, there are some hurdles that face the industry. Continue reading VoIP’s Biggest Roadblocks

Use your Computer to make Cheap Long-Distance Telephone Calls

What is ‘VoIP’?

Simply put, VoIP refers to the carriage of voice signals over the Internet. PC to Phone VoIP refers to using your ‘Internet-connected’ computer to make calls to conventional telephones around the world. Whereas traditional telephone calls take place over fixed line ‘circuit switched’ networks, VoIP calls are routed through the Internet using a far more efficient method known as ‘packet switching’. Whilst carrying voice data more efficiently via the Internet is a benefit, the main advantage that VoIP has is one of cost. For example, a typical PC to Phone VoIP call to a telephone in the United States from anywhere in the world generally runs at just a few cents per minute. Keep in mind, the clarity/quality of PC to Phone calls is usually as good and in many cases better than that of a comparable Phone to Phone call. Continue reading Use your Computer to make Cheap Long-Distance Telephone Calls

VoIP 101: Voice over IP for Beginners

For those who have never heard about the potential of VoIP, be prepared to radically change the way you think about your current long-distance calling plan. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is very simply, a method for taking ordinary analog audio signals and turning them into digital signals that can be sent over the Internet. Continue reading VoIP 101: Voice over IP for Beginners

VoIP Vendors Have SMBs in Their Sight Lines

SMBs are primarily interested in the business case VoIP can offer — they want lower total cost of ownership and better system management. Providers, however, are still trying to sell SMBs on features and functions.

“In terms of new VoIP products, this is definitely the year of the small business,” John Macario, president of Savatar, told CRM Buyer.

Macario has attended several VON Conference and Expos — the voice-data industry’s primary trade show — over the years. At this year’s show, now drawing to a close, he says he heard the words “SMB” and “VoIP” in the same sentence more often than at the three previous shows combined.

SMBs have emerged as an important end-user constituency for VoIP technology, Macario contends.


Awareness but not Understanding

Indeed, a number of companies introduced VoIP products specifically designed for the SMB at the VON show. Even prior to this event, though, it was becoming clear that vendors were targeting this space.

Over the past few months, AT&T (NYSE: T), Avaya (NYSE: AV), Lucent, Broadsoft and Sprint (NYSE: S) have all introduced initiatives targeting this end of the market.

That’s the good news. The bad is that vendors still do not seem to understand SMBs — at least, not judging from their product pitches, according to a recently released survey by Savatar.

Savatar polled 560 SMB executives. The vast majority of those who had deployed a VoIP system thought it met or exceeded expectations — but not for the reasons VoIP providers have been touting.

SMBs are primarily interested in the business case VoIP can offer — they want lower total cost of ownership and better system management. Providers, however, are still trying to sell SMBs on features and functions.

Also, Savatar said, not all SMBs are current on the providers and the services that are offered. “Companies that want to sell into this market need to concentrate on education as well as product development if they want to see it take off.”

For instance, of those survey respondents that have not deployed VoIP, 55 percent expected its cost to be “about the same” or “worse,” while 56 percent echoed that sentiment regarding features. These numbers jump significantly for system management (74 percent) and migration (77 percent) issues.

“Are vendors getting the message across about the economic advantages VoIP can bring? The answer is patently no,” Savatar said.

On Display

Products on display at the VON trade show, many of which emphasized cost structures favorable to SMBs, suggest some vendors are starting to catch on.

Switchvox SMB, for instance, emphasized its low price — US$2,495 — for its new IP PBX product. Another vendor, Allworx, highlighted how small businesses with high call volumes can avoid purchasing expensive attendant hardware with its new Call Assistant software application.

Most vendors could not resist showing off new features and functions. Another SMB VoIP offering on display was Whaleback Systems’ new mobile application.

Then there is Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), the world’s most ubiquitous small business application provider. At the show, Blake Irving, corporate vice president of the MSN Communication Services and Member Platform group, detailed the company’s VoIP strategy for Windows Live in a keynote speech.

“Our mission with Windows Live is to deepen people’s relationships with whomever and whatever matters most to them,” Irving said. “We will get there by working closely with the whole ecosystem of telecommunications, Internet  services and hardware manufacturing partners to build a complete presence- and contact-centric communications experience.”