Cheap or free phone calls has been the promise of VoIP for some time now, but the most exciting thing about VoIP is not cheap calls, it is the new types of voice services made possible. Cheap or free calls is just the effect of emerging service providers taking advantage of the flat cost of operating telephony (which has been a fact for quite some time before the VoIP boom). The more commodity standards and infrastructure has made it possible for new service provider to cheaply establish themselves in the market.
Voice 2.0 promise to deliver new types of voice services integrated with IP services, everything from integrating phone calling to your website (cheaply) to add-on services such as unified messaging, routing, switching, forwarding calls “internally” to a colleague at another office, in another country, automatically connecting to your mobile phone when out-of-reach from your local VoIP connection to services yet to be imagined.
Many of these services has been around for quite some time for the big companies that bought the big and expensive (not just to buy, but to operate) digital PBX’s. Now these services
will be available to private individual, one-person company, or virtual companies (a number of freelances working together over the Internet). Small entities will be able to act even more as the big ones.
I think 2007 will be an interesting year in the VoIP and Telco arena, with a number of interesting startups surfacing.
Some interesting companies in this area.