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The Evolution of the Voice Over IP Marketplace

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 15, 2017 10:18:00 AM

Now that we have a little longevity to the VoIP for business Marketplace, we can see that the market has evolved quickly with traditional market maturation undertones.  What may have been a surprise to us all is how quickly businesses moved to the new technology, as voice over IP installations are the preferred solution when compared to the old analog phone technology.  Even more surprising was how slow to respond were the traditional large telecommunication companies.  They have effectively ceded the business phone service market to VoIP providers, relegating themselves to wholesale roles.  Let's take a view of how this market has evolved.Evolution of VoIP.jpg

sipVine, a Kansas City-based voice over IP provider, has been operating since 2005, essentially bearing witness to this evolution.  "We knew we were on to something, but we were even surprised at the pace of overall adoption of the technology by businesses large and small," shares Robert Conner, sipVine's CEO.  "What has been very clear are the four stages of market evolution that can be identified over the years." 

Early Adoption Stage - As with any new technology, you have your early adopters.  Fueled by a vision of the technological impacts to their business, these early adopters embraced the technology for what it was and what it could be.  This went from "wow, we can process phone calls over the internet" to "look at these great new features that can actually improve our communication practices."

Later in the early adoption stage were the businesses looking to save money over their current analog service.  Telecommunication firms were not responding to the price advantages VoIP providers were delivering, leaving the door open for a great amount of savings to be delivered.  The cost and flexibility of a hosted VoIP system was so much better than purchasing an on-site system that many companies were seeing a full return on their investment in under a year. 

There were challenges during the early adoption years, namely voice quality and bandwidth availability.  At sipVine, we were able to develop technology to solve the voice quality concern, but the industry was not getting a good reputation from providers who did not provide such a solution.  The answer always was "increase bandwidth", which wasn't necessarily the right answer or easily accomplished.  T-1's and DSL circuits were the options available, although some alternative providers (like cable) were making inroads into the bandwidth challenge.

My_Phone_System_Crashed.jpgThe "My Phone System is Failing" Stage - Even as businesses were embracing the new technology and finding ways to save money, the early adoption years basically covered the same time frame as the economic recession.  Many businesses simply were not in a position to invest in new technology, even if there was a quick return on the investment.  Infrastructure expenditures were deferred and phone systems were put on life support.  As recessionary pressure eased, the industry experienced a wave of new customers that were very ready to replace their outdated or failing phone systems.

This is also the stage where many businesses were seeing their peers or competitors experience positive results by moving to a VoIP system and they were ready to make the change themselves.  This was the time of the greatest growth of the VoIP industry and the technology was clearly on the move to pass analog installations in the business community.  National VoIP providers and some regional/local providers were at the forefront of technological advancements to the product capabilities and provided a new level of customer service when compared to the traditional communications firms.  Businesses flocked to these alternatives in droves.

The Last Staw Stage -  As with any market, there are always late adopters.  These were the folks in the earlier stages that would say, "my phone system works, why change?"  Or, "I've been with XX&X for years, and I'm loyal."  Several things happened to these businesses later in the game.  Either their phone system became too expensive to support or they may have gone through a location move and it would be more expensive to move the phone system than to go with a hosted VoIP platform.  Or, they became tired of their loyalty to the phone company being rewarded with rate increases or outsourced/off-shored customer service that lacked any resemblance of service.  There were many, many examples and references of businesses that had made the move years earlier, and they drew upon that success and made the move themselves to voice over IP.

Full_Service_vs_Self_Service_VoIP.jpgThis stage was also marked by a proliferation of bandwidth availability.  In markets like Kansas City where Google Fiber entered and disrupted the market, businesses had more choices for bandwidth, especially as the cable and telco providers responded to the competition.  Bandwidth availability of 100 mb/sec to 1 gigabit per second became available and affordable.  Not only did this provide another big boost to the VoIP providers, it allowed businesses to move more and more of their IT infrastructure to the cloud. 

Let the Cream Rise Stage - Throughout the first three stages, most of the "wins" by VoIP companies were at the expense of the traditional telcos or cable companies providing analog service.  This current stage of the market is marked by many wins coming at the expense of other VoIP providers.  VoIP providers who have continued to add to their functionality, better customized the experience for their customers, or who have created a customer service model that differentiates them above the other VoIP providers are continuing to experience good growth during this current stage of a very mature market.

There are still businesses who are switching to voice over IP for the first time.  For those businesses, there are a few tips to be mindful of as they select their provider:

  • Choosing_a_Hosted_VoIP_Provider.jpgSelect a provider who can provide a number of references and those references can speak to the level of customer service delivered.
  • The provider should be able to customize the solution to meet your needs.  VoIP platforms are very adaptable.  Some providers, however, make this the responsibility of the customer to deploy and program their phones.  Good providers do this for the customer, as they have the expertise and experience across a number of market segments and are in a better position to do the programming.
  • Look for a provider who does not require term contracts and offers only high quality VoIP phones that are not locked down to their service.  There are many VoIP phone manufacturers, but not all phones can be reused on another VoIP company's platform.  At sipVine, we only sell Cisco or Polycom phones because they rarely break down and they are commonly used by other providers.  Of course, our service level is high enough that customers rarely leave, but we believe strongly in providing such flexibility to the customer.

Following these tips will help ensure that you are finding a provider who has already risen to the top.  This will keep you away from further disruption by needing to switch again later.  You should experience fantastic benefits by moving to VoIP which you can guarantee by selecting the right provider!

Tags: Technology in Business, VoIP Trends in Business

VoIP Should Adapt to Your Organization

Posted by Mark Greim on Dec 30, 2013 10:58:00 AM

voip adapts to officeNew technology brings a lot of pluses to the table of any business, but incorporating new technology also requires adaptation. It's not always easy to adopt technological advances into your daily operations. Sometimes it requires substantial upfront investments in money, manpower, or time. Sometimes it means delays or time to get the bugs worked out of the system. Sometimes it just means being willing to learn something new. But keeping on top of new technology that can benefit your day-to-day operations and customer satisfaction is essential to successful business.

While that may mean that sometimes you have to adapt to new technologies, VoIP technology should adapt to you and the needs of your organization. Like any new technology, the purpose of VoIP is to make your business run smoother, improve customer service, and make your life easier. To that end, VoIP offers a host of flexible features that can be adapted to fit the needs of your organization. Hosted VoIP phone services from sipVine are budget friendly, don't require a significant upfront capital outlay, and offer customized deployments for all of your business needs, large or small.

Modern VoIP phone technology brings with it a lot of benefits that older phone systems couldn't manage, including direct dial, voicemail and inbound faxes to email, voicemail notifications to cell phones, unified messaging, on-phone corporate directories, IT and telecom support, and a variety of other advances that can help bring your phone system into the future. In addition to our VoIP services, sipVine also offers VoIP-enabled phones that boast a wide range of labor-saving and organizational features such as call waiting, caller ID, call transferring and forwarding, ad-hoc conferencing, group paging, intercom, and more.

Customized deployment means that you only pay for the services that you need for your business. At sipVine, our flat-rate service models include unlimited local and long-distance calls, and we offer price points on a sliding scale based on the number of users on your system, including low-usage phones (such as those in break rooms and conference rooms) priced at our lowest tier. Hosted VoIP has the added benefit of allowing you to turn over the administration of your phone system to sipVine. There's no longer any need for an expensive and maintenance-intensive private branch exchange (PBX) for your phone system. sipVine hosts the VoIP system, and handles the administration as part of our monthly flat fee, so you know what you're getting in advance, and pay for only what you want.

Many new technologies pay off in the long run, but require a lot out of you in advance. VoIP from sipVine gives you the best of both worlds, paying dividends in savings and performance, while adapting to suit the needs of your business from day one.

About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of hosted VoIP phone systems and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.

Tags: hosted digital phone service, small business phone service, Business Digital Phone Service, VoIP Trends in Business

Support Your Business Growth with Hosted Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 7, 2013 9:20:00 AM

A Hosted Phone System and Service grows with your business with its inherent flexibility and affordability.  Cloud telephony has changed the model for telecom investment to the benefit of business start-ups and growth companies.  Traditional approaches to phone system investment made it necessary for companies to accurately predict their system needs in the face of over investment in systems when capital can be best used elsewhere or under building their system and dealing with replacement as growth occurs.  Hosted phone service has essentially made this approach a relic!Hosted Phone Service

Because the physical phone system is no longer a requirement on-site and is managed by the hosted phone service provider, companies only purchase the desk phones or soft phones required for their business as it stands at that current time.  As employees requiring a phone are hired, additional handsets are purchased and deployed at that time.  The monthly service cost are typically built on a per user basis, as there are no more phone lines required or restrictions in terms of incoming or outgoing calls.  Therefore, companies are only investing in the capital and service as they need it.

The hosted service is basically a software program that can be re-configured as your company’s needs change.  Good hosted providers consult with you and build the configuration of the system to match your needs.  As you grow, your desire to change call flow, create departmental ring groups or queues, and institute other programmatic changes can be administered by your hosted provider.  Finding a provider that can serve as your phone department also helps keep your costs of maintaining and growing a system to a minimum.

Company growth also puts pressure on infrastructure costs from a facility perspective, whether you’ve outgrown your current location or need to explore additional branches.  A hosted phone system can help in many ways:

  • Deferring Facility Relocation – Moving a business is extremely expensive.  A hosted phone service can help defer the timing of facility expansion through the facilitation of a work at home model or a temporary office set up.  Because the phone system is not dedicated to a physical site, you can deploy employees at their homes or temporary office merely by purchasing the handsets and programming the call flow accordingly. 
  • Facilitating Branch Models – Whether the branch is located in the same town as your headquarters or in other towns across the country, a hosted phone system can make this economical in several ways.  First, phone numbers for the particular locality can be provided, but calls between locations can be extension dials.  Administrative personnel do not have to be duplicated branch by branch.  Callers to the branch looking for billing or customer service support, as examples, can be directed to where those personnel are located and retain the perception that they are being served locally.  Finally, many hosted providers offer a reduced price per user as you grow.
  • Supporting Targeted Employee Recruitment – If your headquarters is located where certain employee skill sets are difficult to find or expensive to secure, you can establish an office in a town where such skills are plentiful and affordable.  Your hosted service can direct calls for such employee groups to that location and callers will be unaware that they are being supported outside of the area.

The economy is improving and there are many jobs being added every month.  If your business is so fortunate to be addressing the “pains” of growth, help ease the pain by investigating a hosted phone service today!  The investment will have benefits for years to come and free you to grow without the restriction of traditional phone systems.

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Tags: hosted digital phone service, start up business phone service, VoIP Trends in Business, Phone Service for Multiple Locations

Outlook Positive for Cloud Telephony – Business VoIP

Posted by Mark Greim on Sep 29, 2011 11:17:00 AM

Driven by growth in the small business sector, cloud telephony service providers can expect a substantial increase in revenues over the next 12 to 18 months.  This business segment is gravitating toward hosted voice services and other cloud computing applications as a means to access advanced technology for their business without a large capital outlay.cloud telephony outlook is positive

A recent report by the Heavy Reading IP Services Insider, Cloud Telephony:  The Battle over SMBs, indicates that “real estate and legal firms are the hottest vertical for cloud telephony” and “increased workforce mobility is driving more interest in applications such as unified communications”. 

At sipVine, a North Kansas City, MO based business VoIP provider, we’ve seen a surge in sales opportunities, both locally and nationally, in recent months.  Our growth has been brisk to this point, but the accelerated interest from the SMB market space has not gone unnoticed.  “The core of our business has always been the small to mid-sized companies, and more and more are looking to enhance their technology by looking to cloud services such as ours”, says Robert Conner, founder of sipVine.  “We have seen a great surge in clients who have multiple locations, whether locally or across the country.  A hosted VoIP solution really creates synergistic opportunities and drives efficiency for these types of companies.”

The landscape is certainly changing in the telecom marketplace.  As the large, traditional providers of landline services have their focus on the wireless offerings and large enterprise solutions, a niche has been carved out by an increasing number of VoIP providers who focus on delivering both the phone equipment and service to the business community.  Hosted providers are able to differentiate themselves from the large providers by getting close to their customers and program the system to meet their needs and delivering dial tone.

This emerging niche of providers coupled with an increasing adoption level of the SMB market of cloud telephony services has created a business market primed for accelerated growth.  If you’re a business looking to enhance your communication functionality at a low entry price, check out a hosted VoIP provider specializing in business applications today!

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.  

Tags: Technology in Business, VoIP Trends in Business, Cloud Telephony

More Businesses Planning on Changing to VoIP Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 17, 2010 11:31:00 AM

The telecommunication landscape is continuing to change as more businesses make the switch to VoIP phone service.  A recent study by Atlantic-ACM, “a leading provider of strategic research and consulting services serving the telecommunications and information industry, showed that 27 percent of their respondents have already or were planning on making the switch to VoIP service.  Most of the migrations were coming from the integrated access/PRI or circuit switched voice users.”

“Atlantic-ACM forecasts indicate that VoIP will continue to experience high growth in the future as VoIP products become increasingly commoditized and end users pursue gains in cost and efficiency."  The business community will benefit from the increased competition and the increasing capabilities of VoIP providers.  Not only will this competition deliver cost advantages, but businesses can capitalize on increased the communication functionality inherent in VoIP applications. Many Businesses Changing to VoIP

sipVine, a Kansas City-based VoIP phone service provider, has witnessed first-hand the changing landscape.  Robert Conner, sipVine’s CEO, states:  “When we first launched our service back in 2005, there were many questions and fears about switching to the technology.  In time, businesses were more aware of VoIP and the fact that many other businesses had already made the switch.  The questions shifted from concerns over the technology to how the technology could enhance their business and save them money.”

To learn more about how VoIP phone service applications can help your business, contact sipVine and we’ll be pleased to consult with you.  Consider joining the many businesses migrating to this technology!

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Tags: VoIP Trends in Business

Changing Trends in Buyers for Business VoIP Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Jul 19, 2010 1:27:00 PM

Trends for VoIP and SIP Trunk deployment in business are expected to continue to grow dramatically over the next several years, as companies evolve to the new technology standards.  According to a recent report from the research firm Frost and Sullivan, VoIP and SIP revenues are expected to grow from $717.3 million in 2009 to $3.9 billion by 2016.  Certainly, a driving piece of this is from the conversion of large enterprises’ traditional PBX to SIP technology.trends for VoIP and Sip Trunk deployment are increasing

The small and medium business market is also participating in this shift.  sipVine, a business digital phone service provider based in Kansas City, services the SMB market and has begun to notice some slight changes in buyer dynamics during 2010.  Examining the main drivers for new customer installations, during 2008 and 2009, price was the primary factor given by customers as the reason for moving to a VoIP service.  The recession provided a business opportunity for VoIP service providers to find willing participants to convert from their existing phone service provider.  However, in 2010, again according to internal statistics, an increasing percentage of new customers are coming on for feature enhancement or phone system replacement.

What does this tell us?  Price and cost savings are still important decision factors for companies not too far removed from the impacts of the recession on their business. The increasing mix of feature enhancements as a driver in the decision may also be a signal that companies are investing again, particularly on items that can produce an ROI.  Replacing or upgrading phone systems traditionally have not had a return, but VoIP has produced a savings opportunity over traditional service deployment.  Therefore, the opportunity to go digital, enhance features and customer communications, streamline communication patterns, and create virtual office environments while generating a return has had appeal to customers in 2010.

With such a dramatic increase in VoIP and SIP Trunking revenues projected over the next several years, most companies, large and small, will be evaluating digital phone service.  There are many tips to selecting the right provider posted on the internet, including a previous blog post by sipVine.  There are many great reasons to examine making this change for your business, and the market research indicates that you would not be alone in beginning this evaluation.

Tags: VoIP Trends in Business

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