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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Hosted IP PBX services have long had a shortcoming compared to premises-based solutions: They didn't offer onscreen call-handing capabilities. Premises IP PBXes typically have fancy "dashboard" software that runs on users' PCs. It lets employees see who's on the phone, click to call, drag calls to transfer and things like that. Now hosted providers are getting into the act. Vocalocity introduced a browser-based dashboard in April. And Junction Networks' OnSIP service has just introduced its own call-handling interface.
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