Why hosters move so slowly?

This is an opened question to hosters, don’t hesitate to provide feedback. Over the last year we noticed something very interesting, namely hosters starting to offer VoIP to businesses. Some of our customers started on their own, while others were convinced by my colleagues (in some cases it was pretty hard). Some companies moved slowly, other positioned their products incorrectly, but most were succesful and they are very happy now.

We fell that this process takes more time than it should. Market is moving. Hosting is commodity. On a long run Google with “get” the customer. They could “get” even businesses (no business will use Google Apps now, but in two years, who knows). Microsoft is now a hoster (dangerously raising the bar for providers). It’s obvious that in these conditions hosters must expand their business. They have the customer and they can offer much more, not only old fashioned hosting. Otherwise they will lose this customer. Unified communications is an important piece in the puzzle and maybe the easiest to offer and support.

We started building resources to help hosters understand the opportunities behind unified communications, but we need your help. We are preparing for our most important release ever (VoipNow 2 – more to follow) and we want to accompany this release with many more resources to help you. Don’t hesitate to add your input.


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  • Not many businesses (the end users) are ready for VoIP. They don’t understand its benefits, and have only seen “toy” VoIP in action (e.g. skype).

    For the hoster, offering VoiP is interesting but also scary. If a company relys on a hosted VoIP server and it goes down (or their DSL connection goes down), it is a huge problem.

    With traditional hosting, when email goes down it is a problem, but not the end of the world. You don’t have to send you staff home. But when the phones go down that’s different.

    There are also issues with who to choose to route calls through. Many of the VoIP providers don’t last very long. If this happens it is a disaster for the hoster and the customer.

    If you are going to provide VoIP to a customer I think you need a bullet-proof solution. An HA cluster running VoiP Now, at least duel redundant DSL connections that the hoster provides not a third party…and….and…. (lots more 🙂

    We use VoIP in-house. We can’t do without it.

    We have two locations linked by VoIP over DSL, each with its own Asterisk server. Both locations have ISDN lines. Incoming calls come in over the ISDN lines (not voip) via non-geographic and geographic numbers that can be diverted online instantly (to voip/ to pstn/ to mobiles / to anywhere worldwide via PSTN)(this is one of our products — UK only).

    This means ISDN lines or DSL lines can go down in either location but calls can still come in and go out after we’ve reconfigured things. This is the only way I will trust to make sure we don’t end up with no comms due to a single fault.

    And if *I* have to specify so much redundancy, I can’t sell something to someone else without at least that much redundancy. A business can lose 1000s of pounds a day if they have no comms.

    So, that was a long story but basically that’s why we don’t (yet) offer hosted VoIP to our customers.

    One day we would love to. But we need reliable DSL and hot-spare/HA VoIP hosting first.

    Faris Raouf 15 years ago Reply

  • I don’t think that it is the hosters that are slow to respond. I think that its just the current state of the VoIP industry to blame.

    1. A lack of creditable DID providers – In our experience almost all DID providers are very small shops (a lot are one man shops) .. Support is extremely shoddy. When an outage occurs (and yes they will) .. it’s not fun knowing that your entire server is at the mercy of your upstream DID provider.
    We’ve even contacted 4psa for recommendations for a good DID provider .. and the only answer we’ve got was try ww.didx.net (which is just a wholesale exchange of DID providers (most of which are again .. just one man shops).
    2. Vast difference in VOIP phone hardware – We have noticed quite a big difference between different phone brands .. and sometimes there is a huge difference just between firmware versions! Firmware upgrades usually fix some bugs and introduce others.
    3. Vast difference in router hardware – Many different routers cause problems (Dlink etc). It takes quite a bit of time to configure things correctly.
    4. Poor documentation for VoIP phone hardware.
    5. Difficulty in finding reliable e911 and e411 service.

    We’ve muddled through most of this through trial and error and finally have things pretty much handled but it was a pretty painful experience. I can say that the support staff at 4psa always helped us out and did a good job when they could.

    If you ask anyone in the hosting field what takes the most to support its pretty much known that people with email problems are the most costly. (Huge webhosts like Dreamhost have even given up completely and stated to just use Gmail http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/05/27/137229)

    The cost of providing support for VOIP would be too great with the current state of upstream providers / VoIP hardware etc.

    Just my thoughts .. I’d love to hear a counter to them.

    Marcel 15 years ago Reply

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