There were more advances than true innovations in the VoIP world in 2009. That's because some of the most important developments had more to do with commercial and political maneuvers than with technical creativity. Still, such maneuvers often helped spread the benefits of VoIP as much as did technical innovation. And collectively, the advances brought some already-evident trends into clearer focus. A key such trend is the increasing integration of voice with other applications and services. Another is the intensifying interest in HD voice. A third is the growing interconnection of VoIP services, in part in response to the possibilities that end-to-end HD voice offers. With such trends as background, here, in no particular order, are our top 25 VoIP advances of 2009.
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SIP trunking services deliver voice calls from telecom providers to companies over IP data connections. Feeding their traffic directly into IP PBXes on the companies' premises, such services can bring considerable benefits. Sprint began offering SIP trunking to companies using Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 R2, an IP PBX software package that runs on Office servers, in February of this year. Now it's making the service generally available to business customers.
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One of the greatest benefits of IP phone technology is that it permits alternative methods of initiating voice connections. Click-to-call, for example, lets users launch phone calls from within Web applications, rather than having to pick up a phone, find the right number and then dial. A more complex example is seamless escalation – say, letting the user move from instant messaging to voice call, or from voice call to video chat for that matter, within the same application – with a click or key press or two. A new beta service from JAJAH brings a similar capability to Twitter users.
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SIP trunking brings a number of benefits to small and medium-sized businesses. Incoming and outgoing calls travel over the company's Internet connection to and from the provider's facilities. That means there is no need to buy separate voice and data lines from phone companies. Calls between the company's different branches or sites are typically free. And long-distance and overseas calls are usually quite cheap, since they're traveling over the provider's backbone IP network.
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