On Tuesday in London I chaired a technical workshop focussing on High Definition Voice. The event, run by the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA), was generously sponsored by Cisco and Broadsoft and who also provided some working demos together with ITSPA member YeaLink.
Around 40 or so people from the industry held a very informative discussion. Clearly the vendor community is getting there with support for HD voice. The service provider world has yet to catch up really and in particular the connections to the PSTN are not by and large there yet.
After the discussion I felt that HD voice was inevitable in the long term driven byconsumers desire for the fixed line word to emulate the move to HD in mobile! In the short term the real opportunity for it would be for internal on-net corporate markets, maybe focussing on conferencing.
One comment from the floor was that customers were looking to squeeze more channels down the same line and not fewer which his the likely outcome of using wideband codecs. Also service provider equipment is likely to be able to handle fewer channels of HD voice due to the added processing load of the codec which potentially adds to the cost.
I can see the attraction though. The better HD experience has been shown to keep people talking longer – 50% more per call apparently according to Skype. There’s money there. I’m going to see if we can get some sort of UK interoperability activity going on this.
At the same workshop ITSPA launched its new VoIP Directory. This is a VoIP database unique to the UK and EU where providers can list their services for free. It is open to all of the industry and consumers can then visit the site to compare VoIP services http://directory.itspa.org.uk.
They have already had 40 companies register in 2 weeks with 160 posts. So what? you might say but this directory is targeted specifically at the UK so it should provide more relevant material for this market than a generic global site
Bit of ITSPA blurb:
ITSPA Chairman Eli Katz said: “ITSPA has responded to the increasing diversity of products and services entering the VoIP market, by creating a place for customers to find their ideal VoIP product or service. The aim is to develop the Directory so that it becomes a first port of call for both businesses and individuals. The continued switchover to IP communications will continue to gather pace over the next few years and the Directory will help provide suitable guidance for those looking for alternative services”.
The Directory was developed as part of ITSPA’s ongoing efforts to enhance consumer understanding and follows on from the launch of the ITSPA Quality Mark in December 2008. A number of ITSPA members have now signed up for the ITSPA Quality Mark (including Timico), which has been supported by Ofcom as positive step forward in championing industry best practice. An FAQ section within the Directory and the ITSPA website has also been developed. The aim is to help provide further information for consumers wishing to choose a VoIP service and also for service providers to develop and improve their own customer service.
Eli Katz said: “ITSPA is proud of all the work it has undertaken to drive up standards in the industry and we will continue to find new ways to help both consumers and the industry navigate the VoIP market.”