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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It's clear that many VoIP companies aren't meant to be standalone telecom businesses – they function far better as providers of features and capabilities to other telecom businesses. The latest example of this is SabSe Technology's acquisition of Mobivox. Although Montreal-based Mobivox offered cheap VoIP calling services of various types, what set it apart was its so-called voice-activated user interface, or VUI. The interface let users dial by speaking rather than pressing keys – a significant benefit for mobile talkers. The addition of this capability will boost the attractiveness of the array of services SabSe is offering worldwide.
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Pay-per-call, in which advertising companies charge for every call from a potential customer they deliver to a business, is the telephony equivalent of Web pay-per-click. And like pay-per-click, it can be quite imprecise. There's no easy way to know whether a given call produces any results for the business. It may be a wrong number or from a telemarketer, for example. New York-based startup Yext is attempting to solve that problem with a service it unveiled yesterday at the TechCrunch50 conference.
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