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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Phone.com has become the latest VoIP provider to offer iNums to its customers. iNums are virtual numbers with their own country code, which is 883. Instead of going to subscribers in specific countries, however, the way calls beginning with 44 go to the U.K., calls to 883 numbers go to VoIP subscribers, regardless of where they are in the world. iNums let callers from around the world reach the subscribers for the cost of a local call. As such, iNums amount to global toll-free numbers.
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HD (high-definition) voice is getting increasing attention from both users and providers of business VoIP services. It offers a number of advantages over standard voice calling, especially in business situations. It makes calls less fatiguing, and different accents easier to understand. Until now, though, smaller businesses have had trouble taking advantage of the technology. To fill the gap, Phone.com has just added HD voice capability to its hosted phone service for SMBs.
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