3rd July 2014 – ITSPA AGM and Summer Forum & ITSPA’s 10 year Anniversary Summer Reception

ITSPA was celebrating 10 years’ anniversary this summer. To mark this special occasion, we held our

Summer Forum and Summer Reception

on Thursday 3rd July 2014 Sponsored by

Magrathea

On Thursday 3 July ITSPA celebrated its 10th anniversary with a busy day of events, including the AGM, Summer Forum and Summer Reception.

The AGM

The AGM, led by Chair Eli Katz, featured a brief recap of ITSPA's activities over the past year, a summary of the issues which continue to affect the VoIP industry and the presentation of the annual accounts by Pete Farmer. In addition to this, three resolutions were adopted: receiving the annual accounts, receiving the updated Code of Practice and re-electing the members of the Council.

The Summer Forum

The Summer Forum, which was held at Regus, No 1. Poultry, immediately followed the AGM and was a well attended and informative event. It kicked off with an insightful and witty presentation by Kevin Murphy, Director of Voice and Multi Media at BT, which gave a brief history of BT, an overview of the UK's current telephony situation and looked towards the future, setting out the industry's priorities and explaining new technologies which are currently being developed. The World Cup flavour of the presentation was particularly well received. Matthew Townend, Director,Cavell Group, then gave his annual market update, explaining that the good level of growth seen in the VoIP insdustry has mainly been driven by SME focused providers and providing analysis of the strong growth seen in the SIP trunking market over 2013. He forecasted that by 2016 over 50% of calls would be SIP based and questioned whether the large number of providers in the market would be sustainable. He still felt that there was a big challenge around the concept of selling UC into businesses and focused the problem more around the sales teams being unsuitably trained in the area. He believed that there was a place (perhaps for ITSPA to get involved) in educating the market place.   The regulatory bite size digest was provided by Peter Farmer, Head of Regulatory at Gamma Telecom and ITSPA Council Member. Peter provided an excellent and succinct summary of the regulatory issues that ITSPA has faced over the past year, discussing the Narrowband Market Review, Local Access and Broadband Market Reviews, whilst also mentioning other on-going regulatory subjects such as net neutrality and other consumer rights issues. This was then followed by David Cargill's brief presentation of ITSPA's latest Best Practice document titled 'Recommendations for Provisioning Security', which has since been sent to members.  The Forum concluded with a lively panel debate on ITSPA's decade in VoIP. The panelists were: Trefor Davies, Matt Townend, Alex Kinch and Dean Bubbley. They discussed a number of developments which they felt had helped the market evolve. These included the roll-out of superfast broadband, the rise of mobility, the big progress of SIP trunking and the rise in small business professionalism. There were competing opinions around how much the market had changed. There was agreement that in some ways nothing huge had changed around POTS (plain old telephony services) and that many businesses were still using phones in the same way. However there was also recognition that in many areas, personal habits and use of the telephone had rapidly changed in part due to the greater flexibility and availability of both differing voice applications as well as other forms of communication. While telephone endpoints were still increasing, the way people used phone calls as a communications tool was certainly changing and providers would need to adapt. The key was using phone calls for the most appropriate job. The shift from minutes to actually smart usage of phone calls was where the industry was going. There was agreement that UC was still not developed among the mainstream public but things like Google apps and hangout as well as Microsoft Lync were getting close to integrating the various communication channels (although the interoperability issues were a problem). The point that a lot of new applications still fall back to identifying an actual phone number, meaning that the voice market still had a future, was made. There was a feeling that we may have reached the peak of telephony, but the market was so huge that there was still plenty of mileage left for further development.

The Summer Reception

The Summer Reception began at 6pm in a rooftop terrace at the Coq d'Agent in glorious sunshine and featured speeches from both ITSPA Chair Eli Katz and sponsor Laura Moore from Magrathea. Those in attendance enjoyed the stunning views over the City, the plentiful supply of drinks and canapés as well as the networking which took place between members and the wider industry. The event ensured that we celebrated ITSPA's tenth anniversary, and the growth of the VoIP industry over this period, in style.