D-Link India, one of the bigger players in networking and communications hardware solutions, will soon introduce their range of IP phones into STD booths across the country.
The move is being made to take IP telephony to the masses and to increase the pace of adoption of Voice over Internet Protocol in the country.
"We felt that the best way to popularise IP telephones and the technology that goes with it was to use the telephone revolution that Pitroda started. We are working on the pilot batch where around 50 phones will be installed in STD booths in specific cities. The pilot will be conducted through October. By the end of it, if we believe the project is a success, we will work on getting more lines installed across the country," said J V Avadhanulu, director -- software technology of D-Link India's Software and R&D centre.
The most likely cities for the pilot would be Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai and D-Link's investment in the project adds up to approximately Rs 500,000.
The IP phones that are to be used were developed in the company's R&D centre based out of Bangalore. They were specially made for countries where broadband penetration was low and where cost played a huge role in technology decisions.
"Most IP phones have a DSP and RISC processor. We worked on doing away with the RISC processor, while maintaining functionality. We succeeded and the removal of the extra element has brought down the cost to a huge extent," said Avadhanulu.
These phones, which can double as a normal one as well and is available in two models DPH 70 and DPH 80, can be bought for as less as Rs 5,000. The phones are not sold directly by D-Link, but is offered as a package by service providers that the company has tied up with like Net2phone, IPYantra and IQura.
He adds, "The service provider is an elemental part of the equation. Ultimately, the adoption of VoIP in the country will depend on the service provider. But traditional ISPs are either not pushing the technology or are pushing broadband for data. Somebody has to drive voice, because VoIP with packet switching is the future."
D-Link has sold only a little over 10,000 phones since they were introduced a year ago and this is in spite of the fact that these phones also get shipped to other geographies including Canada, Australia and South East Asia.
The R&D centre is working on adding features to the existing phones and bringing out a range of models, which will address various needs, including multi lingual voice prompts. The centre is also looking into working in future areas of communication like WiFi phones.
They also aim to become a one-stop solution for voice and data solutions by adding, among others, gateways, routers and firewalls to their offerings by the middle of next year.
D-Link India is a part of the multinational D-Link Corporation and its market revenue is close to Rs 375 crore (Rs 3.75 billion).Though a part of the MNC, the fact that the parent holds less than 35 per cent of the Indian operations, enables D-Link India to develop products specifically for the local market. It has a nationwide network of 17 offices, 21 territory distributors, 325 dealers and 3,600 resellers.