VoIP Update: Hosted VoIP Services
The current generation of softswitch-based hosted VoIP services is aptly, but not perfectly, suited to meet the needs of small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). Currently, they are ill-equipped to meet many fundamental enterprise requirements. For example, none is geographically ubiquitous. However, this service is not stillborn. Distinctions between the three major providers are emerging, such as the ability to support soft clients/softphones, integration with wireless services, and the availability of unified messaging. Each tier one hosted VoIP service provider plans major service enhancements this year. When combined with the prospect that more tier one providers plan to enter the market this year, 2006 could be a turning point in business use of managed voice services — but only if providers make services truly enterprise-class.