VoIP offers cooler features to make the enterprise more efficient (read profitable)
In the early days of VoIP, detractors derided VoIP for its apparent lack of features (call forwarding, last call returned, etc). The Lucent 5ESS Class 5 switch was supposed to offer 3,500 features. That sounds like a big number, but the majority of those features pertain to assisting the telephone company in managing the switch, not offering cool services to the customer. A Bear Stearns report estimated the average residential customer used 4 or 5 calling features and a corporate power user might use a dozen. So what happens with the other 3, 988 features? What’s up with that?
Fast forward to 2005. VoIP infrastructure is focused on a device called the feature server. The big deal about the feature server is not the big number of arcane features for the service provider, but the fact that the SUBSCRIBER can select the features they want to use and use them via a web portal on their PC. Contrast that with the mind-numbing access device-the telephone handset and its 12-digit (0-9 plus # and *) keypad interface.
A very simple example of this VoIP feature set is forwarding one’s calls from the landline phone number to a cell phone. With the VoIP feature server, this is accomplished with a few clicks of the mouse and the call forwarding executes immediately. With the landline phone, the subscriber can call their phone company and request this service. The subscriber is on hold for 30 minutes with customer service, the work order can be generated by customer service for a stiff fee and the work order will be executed in a matter of weeks. Want to reverse the process? The same rules apply. Advantage: VoIP!
Frank Ohrtman has many years experience in VoIP and wireless applications. Mr. Ohrtman learned to perform in-depth research and write succinct analyses during his years as a Navy Intelligence Officer (1981-1991) where he specialized in electronic intelligence and electronic warfare. He is a veteran of U.S. Navy actions in Lebanon (awarded Navy Expeditionary Medal), Grenada, Libya (awarded Joint Service Commendation Medal) and the Gulf War (awarded National Defense Service Medal).
His career in VoIP began with selling VoIP gateway switches for Netrix Corporation to long distance bypass carriers. He went on to promote softswitch solutions for Lucent Technologies (Qwest Account Manager) and Vsys (Western Region Sales Manager). Mr. Ohrtman is the author of Softswitch: Architecture for Voice over IP, a number one bestseller on USTA Bookstore’s bestseller list, Wi-Fi Handbook: Building 802.11b Wireless Networks, and Voice over 802.11. He holds a Master of Science degree in Telecommunications from Colorado University College of Engineering (master’s thesis: “Softswitch As Class 4 Replacement—A Disruptive Technology”), a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Boston University and a BA, Political Science from University of Iowa. Mr. Ohrtman lives in Denver, CO where he is the president of Softswitch Consulting (http://www.softswitchconsulting.com) 720-839-4063.