How did we do with our 2008 convergence and VoIP predictions?

* How far did predictions about telephony integration, Microsoft's push into UC come true?

It’s time to wrap up the year with our traditional look back at the predictions we made last January for 2008, then next time we’ll suggest how convergence and VoIP will evolve in 2009.

In our first prediction for 2008, we believe we correctly suggested that "unified applications" would move forward slowly as ordinary business processes, IT applications, and the enterprise telephony system became more and more integrated. Twelve months later we’d like to add that the integration has happened more at a roles-based level based on individuals' job descriptions than at a horizontal level or on a vertical industry.

We’ve seen multivendor SIP interoperability progress although our hopes about SIP-based hosted VoIP based a new generation of Class 5 softswitches still seems like it is a long time from reality; rather SIP trunks are the rule and we’ve yet hear about a VoIP switch replacing a traditional Class 5 switch. And while we had expected to see VoIP being delivered over a 3G wireless network, it appears that the mobile service providers are more likely to keep their focus on using 3G for mobile data, although we are pleased with progress made by mobile handset providers and enterprise infrastructure providers to integrate VoIP features for mobile delivery.When we predicted that fewer than a dozen IMS-supported services would be offered by U.S. wireline carriers, we were correct -- AT&T did launch a next-generation consumer VoIP service to replace its current CallVantage service and it will deliver “U-verse Voice” over its U-verse (VDSL) network as a complement to its triple play offering. However, we’re still waiting for Verizon to follow a similar path and start to offer in-region next-generation consumer VoIP services over the Verizon FiOS network, although Verizon has now discontinued new sales of its VoiceWing VoIP product. Happily, Vonage is still in business, but as predicted the company lost its market leader position to several cable companies.

We were correct about Microsoft’s big push for unified communications into the mid-tier business market, and we have lost track of how many other UC suppliers have targeted the same market both by integrating with Microsoft and on their own.

Finally, we predicted that the FCC spectrum auction will prove an interesting opportunity for companies like Google to offer new services over a mobile network, but suggested that complications with the auction would prevent new spectrum from becoming an available resource for new services before the end of the decade. However, we may have been a bit pessimistic with this projection, and it looks like the cable companies and or Clearwire will be the first to market with these new services some time in 2009.

Next time: Our predictions for 2009.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.