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Chicken or egg- app exchanges for VOIP phones

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M5 has had it's share of iPad buzz this past week- thanks to Dan's appearance on Fox Business' Gadgets & Games. We'll see what kind of solutions crop up for using the iPad as a business phone. Just as interesting is the idea that large phone vendors are now building app marketplaces of their own. Brian contends that this is a mixed blessing, that app exchanges like Apple & Androidwon't work in the business world.

But I look at ones like Salesforce's AppExchange which has created quite a thriving environment and created hundreds of medium-sized businesses building new functionality. I can only see this being a good thing for end users. It will definitely be slower growth than consumer app exchanges, but over time I can see a thriving marketplace emerging.

Apple iPad: Implications on Unified Communications

At the height of the iPad buzz industry buzz this week, Jonathan Edwards pointed out that while UC vendors might not be directly impacted by the launch of the iPad, there are some clear takeaways for them. On Twitter, he noted that UC vendors need to appreciate how Apple "has simplified service delivery and created a thriving developer community.... Self-service drives usage by embracing touch [interfaces], customization and sexy GUIs." It's not only about Gen Y and Millenials using technology, Edwards wrote, but about thriving developer communities driving success.

Interestingly enough, Alcatel-Lucent appears to be ahead of the game in this particular area. At VoiceCon the company debuted a new IP desk set called OmniTouch 8082 My IC Phone. It has a number of interesting features to it, including a large color touch screen, beam-forming technology that tracks where the speaker is standing when the speaker phone is in use, WiFi for connectivity to the PBX, and Bluetooth for connectivity between base and handset. (Incidentally, when are cordless handsets going to become the norm on business phones? I mean, come on! How many phones sold to consumers still have cords?)

But the most interesting aspect of My IC Phone is the plan to build an app store similar to the one so popular among Apple iPhone and iPad users. Alcatel-Lucent already has a large community of developers around its Alliance and Application Partner Program. It is now in the process of building out interest among them to support the new device and gathering their applications into a marketplace that makes them more easily available to business customers.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the Apple method of application integration being extended to business phones. A change in the way vendors like Alcatel-Lucent make third-party software available for their UC solutions is certainly warranted. Cisco, Avaya, Mitel and others have long made a variety of third-party applications available on their desk phones. But there's certainly room for improvement in the way developers certify their apps and make them available to business customers. But I worry that the wow-factor that fires the popularity of so many iPhones apps will not carry over well to the business world.

via No Jitter | blog