By Alok Saboo on May 4th, 2009
For all that VoIP has to offer, it is unfortunate that the penetration of VoIP is relatively low. One of the primary reasons for this low adoption is the complexity surrounding VoIP. An informal survey quickly revealed that most consumers still think of VoIP as a geeky topic. The fact that products like international calling cards, access numbers based VoIP calling, etc. are witnessing most of the action is a testimony to the fact that consumers are lapping up products that are simple to use and does not require them to change their habits drastically.
This is the biggest bottleneck in the residential VoIP space, where consumers dread the thoughts of configuring their routers and continue to pay residential VoIP companies a fortune every month (although lower than the traditional phone companies). This presents a huge untapped opportunity. Let me elaborate on how device manufacturers like Linksys, D-Link, etc. and the VoIP service providers can exploit this opportunity and also present a great value proposition to the consumers.
The problem essentially is the configuration of the VoIP hardware to the service provider. If this can be automated, consumers will be more willing to adopt VoIP. The hardware providers need to provide standard interface to their device settings and the VoIP providers need to use it so that their SIP settings can be easily configured. I recently came across Zoom Telephonics that provides VoIP hardware and other networking products. They have an interesting offering, wherein, they can remotely configure the VoIP hardware for any service providers. I am surprised why the other providers did not think of something like this. Imagine this, the consumer now buys the VoIP hardware and then installs and application that automatically configures the hardware to work with the selected VoIP provider. Isn’t that how things are supposed to work?
This is a request to all the VoIP providers and hardware manufacturers to do their consumers a little favor and give this a serious thought. I would request the readers to spread the word so that the voice reaches far and loud…