Summing up from VoiceCon Spring 2007

We spent the final day of the Expo part of the show doing tons more demos of our software, and zipping around to all the other exhibitors, checking out their wares, and scoring some freebees for the kids back home.

Some thoughts:

  • Microsoft is really entering the VoIP market. They’ve clearly identified this as a major source of revenue for themselves, and are demoing a pretty solid solution. But, not perfect. The phones they’re using do demo their stuff are really cheap USB phones. Sure, they have a handset and speakerphone, but these are not business quality phones by any means. At a time when most phone manufacturers are adding hi-fi audio, these phone sets just don’t cut it. Also, their system is good for basic business use, but the larger manufacturers have been spending years adding needed features for hotels and businesses that really take advantage of the telephony platform – from things like sophisticated voicemail features for hotels (clear your voicemail when you check out) to things like twinned cellular phones that cleanly handle a call being answered on the cellular. Also, your phone system is dead when your server or your PC is dead. This is really a show-stopper for anyone with some real-world experience with Microsoft’s product line. Microsoft is certainly a force we’ll all have to deal with, but they aren’t there yet for anything but the 3-10 user office.
  • I was really surprised at the offerings from Cisco, Avaya and Nortel. From the point of view of the services we can provide on a phone (full, sophisticated, web applications) – the competitors offerings are terrible. Many of them rely on a Citrix backend – you need to set up and install a full Citrix server to use it. And the applications you can develop can only use plain HTML. So, forget any of the cool live presence applications we’ve developed. You are stuck with static content on the phone. And, all three have terrible displays – very small, hard to read, very difficult to format content for, and they have very few push-buttons – so it’s terrible for navigation. Really the dark ages. If you are interested in any sort of interesting content on your phone, forget about Cisco, Avaya and Nortel. Go with Mitel.
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