Is Quality Voice-over-IP Ready For Prime Time?
We have been hearing about Voice Over IP being a just-around-the-corner technology for quite some time now, but we have hardly seen or heard about any new major technology provider promoting any relevant new offering in this area.
Major Web conferencing providers like WebEx, Placeware and many other "enterprise" conferencing providers still rely mostly on the effective use of old-fashioned traditional telephone-based conferencing solutions, claiming much greater reliability, better sound quality and solid acceptance throughout the corporate market.
As true as the above is for US-based companies, as much less valid is it for the enormous number of organizations, companies and professionals working outside of the North American continent.
Providing Web conferencing facilities while forcing users to utilize a separate and unintegrated technology at very expensive long-distance rates seems to be a strategy that is not going to work effectively for long.
As US-based Web conferencing vendors have more recently taken on seriously the job of marketing to international customers, the issue of having to force such clients to dial into overseas numbers or requiring them to pay hefty telephone bills to support such international promotional efforts is becoming a thorny problem that cannot be ignored.
Telephone-based Web conferencing is here to stay only for a limited time indeed.
New technology solutions and some highly effective implementations are already available to the end user, demonstrating how well Voice-over-IP has recently evolved and how effective it has become when properly implemented.
The interest for effective Voice-over-IP solutions is so high that it will be extremely hard for major "enterprise" players to resist the vigor and insistence with which professionals, and small to medium companies will press them in order to develop, test and integrate quality VoIP solutions into their systems.
The most effective force in this historical transition from telephone-based communications to IP-based ones comes from a new breed of Web conferencing providers, mostly made up by young, innovative, slim and very aggressive (marketing-wise) small companies bringing about highly innovative technological solutions.
Some of the most interesting, very cost-effective solutions, already available on the market, are listed here:
VCOM Central http://www.itigroup.com
90% of the above listed companies utilize one unique technological solution that allows them to have a solid Voice-over-IP solution unparalled by competitors and unavailable in expensive "enterprise" systems.
Most, if not all, of the above solutions cost less than USD $ 50 per month for unlimited meetings (5 to 30 participants depending on the product used).
I have personally tested and tried out this new technology very extensively and I must say that it is indeed very effective as it provides as-good-as or better-than telephone quality sound.
If you are wondering about the bandwidth requirements of this Voice-over-IP technology I have good news for you. As hard to believe as it may sound to you, I have utilized this technology with a connection as slow as 14.4 Kbps. Audio quality remained indeed excellent.
I have been able to obtain a "complimentary" conferencing room with active Voice-over-IP capabilities from Voxwire (http://www.voxwire.com) to provide you with the ability to try out for yourself how reliable are my above claims.
To access this Voxwire complimentary demonstration room please click here.
Use as Screen name your first name. While you will have no access to the advanced moderator functions (send file, co-browsing, etc.) you can fully test out the VoIP technology.
Just head off to the above link and invite a remote colleague of yours to do the same from a distant location.
Make sure you both have a properly working headset (microphone + headphone) and you are ready to engage in multi-party audio conferences at the cost of a local call.
To talk you only need to keep pressing the left Control key on your keyboard while you speak.
Forget the audio quality of Yahoo Messenger
Net2Phone (http://www.net2phone.com/ )
or Dialpad (http://www.dialpad.com/).
Compared to these, the solutions I am describing are light-years ahead in terms of audio quality and reliability.
Can it truly be?
How come we have not heard about this before?
The technology I have been referring has been around for just a bit more than 2 years or so. It has been refined and improved over the course of many months of testing and actual usage and it is being used by over 350.000 users around the world.
The reason why you have not heard about this technology before, is due to the fact that most of the companies that have been initially marketing these tools were all utilizing a direct marketing approach where every buyer becomes an authorized agent able to resell to others in a profitable MLM (multi-level marketing) commission-based scheme. Such approach made for a very swift but altogether "silent" marketing, just like it happens for products sold door-to-door.
Now, new vendors have entered the market and have adopted this technology as their flagship product to create an e-conferencing killer app. Voxwire, for example, provides the technology both to end users, without requiring them to enter an MLM scheme, and to small and medium-sized companies who want to either adopt the technology in house, or are interested in starting a business in this area by reselling the service themselves.
The interesting aspect is that this technology can be easily integrated into existing products creating absolutely powerful synergies. I wonder indeed why the likes of WebEx, Placeware, Centra or Groove don't go out and buy altogether this great technology for themselves.
It is that Good.
N.B.: I have no commercial relationship or interest in any of the companies mentioned above. I do not resell or get commissions for the promotion of their products.
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