Considering The Case Against VOIP

Carl Weinschenk over at The IT-Finance Connection has expressed an interesting perspective in a post entitled, “The View from Here: The Case Against VoIP.” It’s got a few people stirring. He cites posts from Ike Elliot, Garrett Smith & Jon Arnold in making his argument. He makes a good case.

However, he presumes an equivalency between VOIP services and traditional land lines. He’s right in that the traditional carriers are dropping prices so cost savings may not be the primary benefit. That was inevitable and  it’s about time I say.

But even so TDM <>VOIP. In VOIP there are opportunities for efficiencies beyond the PSTN. There are significant productivity gains that can be made in making the VOIP migration. There are also gains in flexibility brought about through VOIP. I think the whole argument for presence and unified communications (UC) speaks to these advantages.

Further, the line between VOIP and the PSTN is not sharp. Consider CBeyond, one of the biggest players in Ike Elliott’s survey of VOIP providers. Are they a VOIP provider? They commonly provision TDM circuits (T-1, NxT-1) in support of SMB installations, typically using Avaya hardware. Clearly they do some things leveraging VOIP technologies, but also use legacy approaches where appropriate. The picture is not so clear.

VOIP is a shiny new tool in the arsenal of business. Some will use it and some will not, according to their goals. In my mind the tide of it’s adoption still awaits a compelling application. Cheap voice minutes are not going be the defining factor. If that’s all VOIP offers then it’s already irrelevant.