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VoIP Articles  > Solution Overload

The article below is a great article expressing how many VoIP companies are good for the market as they compete to win VoIP business, the ultimate winner is the Small to Medium sized VoIP customer due to increased options and lower prices. Virtual VoIP call centers offer great flexibility to the small to medium VoIP business user that previously has only been available to the Large Telecom Customers.

 

 

Solution Overload
By David M Roberts

Call center software targeted at the small-to-medium-sized business market is a fast-growing field right now. It only makes sense, really. With VoIP and IP Telephony finally coming into their own, it's only logical that communications software companies are going to want to get in on the action. The result of this is a glut of “all in one” call centers, all guaranteed to meet your personal business needs better than the rest: Contactual, CRM, VirtualOne, AMCAT, Fonality, BCMR Desktop... the list goes on and on.

To some extent this isn't a bad thing. It means small businesses have an unprecedented range of options in telecommunications, which drives costs down. The obvious drawback is that anytime you have such a wide range of programs and companies, many of them are bound to be cheap imitations or downright ripoffs. A little research will of course turn up the obvious frauds, but with such a relatively young technology it can be hard to tell.

The curious thing is what it indicates about the small business world's approach toward VoIP in general. The obvious demand for such products suggests that companies are finding it hard to get the functionality they need out of VoIP without one of these virtual call centers, and yet the promise of VoIP was that it was supposed to free telecommunications from the monopolized world of a few phone companies.

For all the rhetoric about freeing up communications, all we're seeing is the exchange of physical PBX technology for the virtual call center – exchanging the new shackles for the old. Yes, VoIP is cheaper (most of the time), and, yes, it can theoretically do a lot more, but how much of that power are small businesses really seeing? Instead of being bound by the limits of telephone technology, a company is now forced to work within the artificial confines of the program it purchases.

In essence, the approach hasn't changed. Although VoIP creates the possibility for a custom made platform which is truly tailored to individual needs, it seems that most companies would still rather buy a premade package.

In a few years, once the technologies settle down and standardize, I suspect this will lead to a contraction in the number of small-time platforms in favor of a few recognized industry names, again essentially replicating the telecommunications scene before the introduction of VoIP. But for now, it's an exciting time to be in telecommunications.

David Roberts is a 10th level VoIP champion and technology writer for voip-avaya.com, an online resource for all things VoIP.

 

 

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