North America's HD Voice Fall Season

As the fall of 2009 arrives in North America, so will HD voice.  Within days, Best Buy will be stocking telo, ooma’s second generation hardware, for the holiday shopping season.  As the leaves fully change colors and approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, 8×8 will flip the switch on its Aastra software upgrade.   Both events — one consumer, one SMB — will be benchmark events in moving HD into the mainstream.

Telo will be the most sophisticated “phone” in the consumer retail channel when it arrives, with native support for G.722 and as well as DECT CAT-iq linking handset and base station, plus a Linux/Asterisk code load under the hood.  Best Buy will be the primary outlet for telo with others such as Radio Shack and Costco following along as their respective inventories of older equipment dwindle down; Costco has a preference for the first generation equipment because its (older/elderly) buyers prefer the big-button keys of the first generation ooma phones.

Meanwhile, 8×8 has “hundreds of thousands” of Aastra67xxi series phones deployed and plans to deploy Aastra’s Hi-Q software/firmware upgrade sometime between October and November.  Hi-Q, a free software upgrade, supports G.722 so 8×8 will end up having the single largest set of HD voice end-points/users in North America once they finish; 8×8 will likely have the largest total number of HD voice handsets in the North American business hosted VoIP market by a favor of about at least 4 to 5 times as many endpoints as any one of the other competitors in the marketplace.

How both of these deployments will push others is uncertain, but both companies will be in advantageous positions relative to their respective competitors in their markets.

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