But history tells us that speed and target marketing are not the forte of Tier 1 providers. Sure, they can collectively offer VoIP across the country in a blink of an eye, but to be anything more than a cheap, commoditized blending of voice and data into a stew of packetized content, large service providers need to utilize platforms that can spit out targeted application for very specific customer needs like watermelon seeds. Either that or they leave a big chunk of their potential market to those who can--the innovators. Tim McElligott: The Tao of VoIP
The residential VoIP market is already facing a hail of price cuts, so it is likely that the incumbents (with their bigger bank rolls and large target markets) can win this low-margin business. To tap into higher value business (often associated with small and medium businesses), a one size fits all approach no longer works.
Hence, the need for either a customizable "platform" or portfolio of solutions that meet different needs. Are we talking software or hardware here? Well, both, although I think an open software platform will be more important in the long run.
(via Jeff Pulver)