IP Phones Join Hardware as a Service Trend

When it comes to hardware as a service (HaaS), many MSPs see revenue opportunities involving servers, desktops, laptops and printers. But the next HaaS opportunity will likely involve IP phones, according to vendors that are set to attend the Channel Partners Conference and Expo (Sept. 20-22, Washington, D.C.). One particular company to watch: Alteva, a hosted unified communications specialist. Here's why.

During the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Alteva apparently will announce a new IP phone rental program. I don't have deeper details (yet), but it's safe to assume Alteva will link the IP phone rentals to back-end unified communications solutions from Microsoft.

I realize: Renting and leasing hardware aren't necessarily the same as HaaS. Plus, leasing phones certainly isn't a new trend. But I suspect the pay-as-you-go trend for IP phones will surely accelerate in the months ahead.

So where does Alteva fit into that trend? The company positions itself as a unified communications specialist in the cloud. Alteva claims to be North America's largest provider of enterprise hosted VOIP. Plus, the company says its UC solutions reach businesses in all 50 U.S. states and across four continents. With that type of reach, I suspect Alteva will find plenty of customer demand for the IP phone rental model.

Meanwhile, there are signs that Microsoft's Office Communications Server (OCS) continues to gain momentum with hosting providers and MSPs. And apparently, at least one Microsoft partner -- named Evangelyze Communications -- is planning to launch an App Store for OCS.

We'll be watching for developments on that front, plus the potential convergence of IP phones with HaaS.

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