The biggest buzz in the industry right now is CLOUD. IAAS, HAAS, SAAS, Virtualization, and so much more. That sprouted Cloud Communications. There is even a Cloud Communications Alliance.
What is Cloud Communications? It is Hosted PBX.
Even IVR in the Cloud offered by ifbyphone and XO are just PBX functions delivered from the gear in the data center.
Where does Cloud Comm really take off? When you have "rich calling" as Ringio calls it.
“By tapping into the cloud for customer data, we bring everything that’s important about the caller to the top of your mind – in real time,” he said. “As you take or make a call, you can draw upon the collective notes of everyone in your organization who has dealt with this person. This helps you to connect with customers much more efficiently, professionally and meaningfully than SMBs typically are able to do.”
Report after report says that Hosted PBX sales are climbing. Connected Planet says the opportunity for Hosted PBX is now. "There is currently a window of opportunity in North America for hosted PBX services. There are enough clear signs of enterprises of all sizes actively interested in hosted voice services. There is a challenge, however: Large operators haven’t put enough marketing weight behind the services, and enterprises find it painful to engage with them."
"The sweet spot for HPBX/IP Centrex services has always been the 20-30 employee business or site."
Another report by AMI-partners finds that the number of U.S. Home-based businesses (HBBs) using VoIP technology has increased by 48% in 2009. Most of that is due to the triple-play bundles sponsored by the Duopoly (ATT, VZ, TWC, BHN, etc).
One problem is that there are over 1000 VoIP Providers running loose in the marketplace. Not good becuase most of them half-ass it and suck at implementation (a problem that CLEC's have as well). In one case, I read the messages that the CTO of an CCA company posts on forums and it makes me wonder WTH are you doing over there? How about some best practices? How about hiring someone familiar with telecom? How about some security?
Those will be the differentiators.
A blogger wrote yesterday: How fast do you have to run to escape a bear? Only faster than the slowest guy! Stop running the same pace as everyone else. Pick up your pace. Pick a path and start running.