Along with the continued excitement around VoIP, GigaOm has posted his "Beware the VoIP Hype" article. There is belief that the scramble to invest is creating another bubble, with comparisons being drawn to the investment in DSL providers.
I believe the bubble around residential VoIP is just that -- a bubble. But there is a need for business-focused VoIP expertise and services.
I don't see a bubble there, and I still see a lack of companies addressing the space (especially in Canada). Mainly because it's not technology that's lacking (there are many proprietary and open-source solutions), but rather knowledgeable, independent VoIP consultants. There is a lack of such people that know how to implement VoIP solutions for small and medium businesses. Read on for my idea of how to build a business around this.
A successful VoIP-related company could be built around:
- Providing turn-key solutions to independent consultants, including technical and marketing assistance, a knowledge base, etc.
- Running and maintaining VoIP gateways at different POPs
- Give consultants a piece of the ongoing service revenue
Such a model provides independent computer and telephony consultants (and even small ISPs) a way forward: a way to quickly start offering VoIP services without having to have all the expertise in-house. They get all the money for installations and on-site support with the assurance of having a third-level technical support entity that they can turn to if they themselves need help. With a piece of any ongoing revenues, they gain a new revenue stream.
Note: I've been thinking about this concept for a while -- this is the first that I've written publicly about it. As always, implementation is everything. Have a couple of hundred thousand to steer my way or want to team up to attack different geographic markets? Contact me.