Snapshot – HD phones: Enterprise ready; Consumer coming

Enterprise: Ready
Consumer: Coming

SMB: A few
Mobile
: Waiting

Vendors discussed/cited:  ADTRAN, AudioCodes, Avaya, Cisco, Gigaset (Siemens), ooma, Polycom, snom

Enterprise: Ready

You don’t have to try very hard to find G.722 support for enterprise-grade IP phones. All of the usual suspects have G.722 codecs in one or more of their handset lines.

Avaya says all of its handsets already support G.722 while Polycom has stated all of its handsets will support G.722 by the end of the third quarter in 2009 (i.e. by the end of September).  Cisco has G.722 support throughout its product line of IP handsets.

At the end of 2008, AudioCodes started the push for HD communications with its trademarked term HD VoIP and a lot of continuing promotional work for wideband codes.  Needless to say, the company’s 300 series of handsets knows what G.722 is and how to use it. Snom also came out early with G.722 support.

Cisco and Polycom would seem to have some initial advantages within the enterprise space since many of the hosted business VoIP and conference providers are providing/supporting both manufacturers phones.

Consumer: Coming

Both Gigaset and ooma are rolling G.722 products out. You can buy a Gigaset VoIP phone today through Amazon while ooma’s second-generation telo hardware will be hitting the shelves of Best Buy and Radio Shack this fall.

Expect to see more HD communications products on display at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show built around the CAT-iq (Cordless Advanced Technology) standard. The DECT Forum started the CAT-iq standard and it has been adopted/blessed by CableLabs for incorporation into set top boxes and other devices.  France Telecom, the biggest European telco embracing HD Voice and G.722, has also lined up behind CAT-iq, so many manufacturers will be showing off their latest and greatest handsets – even if they expect to initially sell more units in Europe than in the U.S.

Cable companies are likely to be the biggest “pull” for consumer handsets in North America, so manufacturers will want to show what they’ve got at CES 2010 with an eye to move quantity by the end of 2010 and into 2011.

SMB: A few

The two big headaches of defining and parsing the SMB are 1) Everyone has a different definition of what SMB means to them and 2) Some companies, such as snom, end up playing both in the SMB and enterprise markets.  IP PBX manufacturers tend to sent the breakpoint of SMB to enterprise at around 500 seats/handsets.

Cisco has a G.722 firmware upgrade out for a few of its higher-end Linksys by Cisco handsets.

ADTRAN‘s phones don’t currently support G.722, but knowing the Huntsville guys it is likely A) On the product roadmap and B) Will be tested to extremes before any formal announcements are made.  Interestingly, there is support for G.722 in ADTRAN’s 1U IP PBX solution.

Digium’s Asterisk and the turn-key Switchvox variant both natively support G.722. Other IP PBX/phone manufacturers in the SMB space aren’t saying a lot about G.722 and wideband codecs at this stage of the game, no doubt waiting for more customer demand before they start announcing upgrades and new products.

Mobile: Waiting

To date, North American wireless carriers have been silent on when they might support a wideband codec, such as AMR-WB.

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