We were discussing VoIP strategy today. Timico supplies a mix of hosted VoIP and in-premises equipment based on what is best for the specific customer need. In looking at PBXs it occurred to me that there should be a standard platform that will run anyone’s PBX software just like it is in the PC world.
Then I realised that this is where the world has been for some time now and that platform is actually the PC. With the advent of SIP trunks replacing the need for analogue or ISDN line cards all you need is a PC running a PBX software application plugged into your network somewhere (or at one of our datacentres).
I’m sorry if this is stating the blooming obvious to most of you but the fact is it has crept up on us to the point that most PBXs are now really just PCs and the vendors are trying to exit the hardeware game. No longer do you need the specialised modules that handle conversion of IP traffic to outmoded devices and services.
The vision that came with SIP when I first started working with the protocol almost ten years ago has finally come to fruition. You can now buy an off the shelf piece of hardware (ie the PC), run a wide variety of PBXs on it – take your pick, the choice is yours – and choose from hundreds of different handset types at all sorts of price points and feature sets.
The problem now is that actually at the moment this choice still introduces a level of complexity to the game that will take some time to go away. It still doesn’t make sense for a service provider such as Timico to offer a huge range of PBXs and handsets to our business customers.
When they go wrong, and this they are certainly going to do, you out there running your businesses and concentrating on what you do best need us to come and fix the problem. Or at least to send a replacement PDQ so that you can get on with life. Nobody can do this if they have a hundred telephone handsets in their product range.
I’ll keep you posted on my exploration through different handsets and solutions. It is where I started in this game and is a fun part of the job.