I found this link where Microsoft blasts traditional telephony systems (PBX) and desktop phones. Working for PHONECO, I have to admit, I agree with the Microsoft vision.
One of my HUGE complaints with Telecommunications right now is even with VOIP implementation, people are using it EXACTLY THE SAME as TDM communications. No one is utilizing the benefits of IP. The ONLY cost savings they are getting is the ability to unplug the phone and move it to another location without having to call a tech (like moving your laptop to another network jack and it working).
This is savings?
For this at a MINIMUM you have to provide QOS (Quality of Service) to your network in order to prioritize your voice traffic to ensure you have reasonable quality speech. I have gotten the argument all the time from IT guys about how they have a TON of bandwidth, so they don't need to worry. Fine Dude, just remember your network is only as fast as it's slowest piece of equipment. It only takes one bottleneck to reveal a problem. It is also preferable to provide POE (Power Over Ethernet). POE allows you to use an IP Telephone without having to plug in an AC adapter in addition to the network connection. This also costs money.
Lots of companies get by on name recognition (CallManager), but have very limited features and aren't any easier to implement than traditional PBXs. PHONECO an many others have implemented a Hybrid (Mix of TDM (standard telephones) and IP) approach. I think this is a very stable approach, but most manufacturers looking at the American market are still loking at everything from an old phone man prospective. They approach everything as how it would be implemented from a traditional telephony standpoint. The IP is thrown in to be "With It," and "Cutting Edge."
What good is IP when it is just another transport for everything you are already doing the same?
Most companies already have phone lines in place and the saving from MAC (Moves Adds and Changes) orders are minimal in the long run. This is even more pronounced if the need for the IP Network to be upgraded is costly.
What is the REAL future?
While no one knows for sure, what do you use when you need to quickly get in touch with someone? I use an Instant Messenger such as YAHOO, MSN, Google Talk, Skype or AOL. That is where I see everything going. Skype has the lead in what I view as the final solution for Telecom as it has a good voice, IM and video interface, but a limited footprint in the market.
Microsoft has teh footprint, but hasn't quite worked it out yet. Office Communicator is getting there. I know from my personal experience, one interface (a client, not a browser PLEASE!!!) which handles email, chat (IM), voice and video (maybe a calender function) would be FABULOUS!
That is why I see the future being bundled in with a future version of Outlook, with the IM riding on MSN's backbone for IM and video. The local office communicator can be used for traditional interface to TELCO through whatever media gateway.
Its not that far off. I was recruited by Microsoft a while back, but they wanted me for tech support on touch screen PCs. If they had recruited me for Office Communicator, I would be a minion of Bill right now.
May wind up being one anyway.