As many of the key elements of VoIP technology fall into place and expectations for the market grow, attention shifts to several weak links in the chain supporting many a would-be business plan.
On the enterprise side, despite the much-touted benefits of VoIP, the technologys relative immaturity and remaining issues around standards and interoperability have delayed its adoption.
"In the cases where they accept it, its seldom a complete replacement [for existing voice networks]. Its a lot of hybrid [configurations] and perhaps departments. Its not a forklift upgrade," says David Kleiman, VP of North American operations for the Tetematrix division of Chiyoda Corp., a Tokyo-based telecommunications company offering Internet telephony services.
Sticking points for some businesses include quality of service, breadth of service and integration.
The slow adoption by businesses "is partly related to certain issues, like signaling and losing some features sets. If they cant tap into SS7 [Signaling System 7 specification] networks, and if their existing voice-mail systems are not able to port over," businesses will hesitate to jump on board. "There are a lot of [concerns about] accessing things. Its not a complete swap," Kleiman says.
To overcome this reluctance, vendors need to be able to offer complete, tested systems, according to Kleiman. "I think that now, with the services really starting to materialize, vendors will hopefully be more comfortable developing complete solutions," he says.