Dialogic goes from boards to boxes, voice to video


Dialogic is computer telephony. The company made the specialized hardware — computer boards with digital signaling processors (DSP) attached — to enable telephony features on a server. It pretty much dominated this domain as its products were found inside PBXs, IVRs, fax servers, and more. Then interestingly in 1999 chip giant Intel acquired the company in a move that stirred the CPU and the telephony industries. Perhaps 1999 marked the start of Computer Telephony 2.0, when Intel pushed to phase out specialized DSPs in favor of its own CPUs to use for media and signaling. Well, Intel achieved most of its goal to bring its chips to the telephony masses, then sold Dialogic in 2006 to Eicon Networks, which is the Dialogic Corporation we know today.

I had a great meeting at VoiceCon with Bud Walder, Enterprise Marketing Director at Dialogic, about the company’s latest products and direction, as well as his insights into the industry and the conference. I was grateful that he reached out to me after reading my post about the Dialogic Border Gateway — “one gateway to rule them all” — but the meeting really turned out to be for my benefit. It appears that the company has readied itself for the Computer Telephony 3.0 era. Obviously, as important as telephony boards are, Dialogic considers that a legacy business. Today it is vying for dominance in the media gateway and border control business as SIP takes center stage. But more importantly, it believes Computer Telephony 3.0 is all about video and has made significant investments in that area. The company believes that “video is the new voice.”

According to Walder, the market for video has really exploded in the APAC region. And this is not just the usual desktop video conferencing, we’re talking about mobile video too. People with a cheap mobile phone — no need for fancy smartphones — being able to see clear videos on their handsets. It frustrates me to no end that my “state-of-the-art” iPhone, with its ugly sibling AT&T, cannot even do 3G streaming properly here in the States.

What about the brouhaha over interoperability? (Something I just had to ask.) Walder saw the openness of SIP as both a blessing and a curse, but Dialogic will strive for what it does best: making media work together, no matter the platform. SIP has enabled countless product innovations and cost savings (blessing), but also created some headaches during selection and implementation (curse). But we both agreed that this also creates an opportunity for companies to come up with products which will bridge the gap of interoperability — Dialogic being one of them.

So don’t be fooled by the Dialogic voice-y namesake. The company is about much more now. Maybe it’s time to change its name to Vidialogic.

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