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Knowledge of voice over IP has become so ubiquitous that many falsely believe it’s a simple, ubiquitous technology available to business environments of all sizes. The truth is VOIP integrated with PBX and SIP trunking services has a low penetration in small businesses, those with fewer than 25 seats.

New technologies are bringing integrated VOIP and PBX systems with enterprise-class functions to the small business. And that’s opening new and interesting deployment and services opportunities for solution providers.

A few vendors have targeted that small business VOIP sweet spot with proprietary VOIP PBXes that work with commonly available VOIP phones and a multitude of SIP service providers. Companies such as Adtran, TalkSwtich, D-Link, Epic Systems and many others are focusing on providing the hardware needed to hook small businesses up to VOIP using SIP trunking services from the likes of SimpleSignal, Broadvox, Megapath, ThinkTel and Protocall. While that is well and good, generating small business VOIP opportunities is going to take more than just pitching the latest and greatest phone system.

A few vendors have recognized that and have pushed the envelope to create business services and communications gateways that do a great deal more than just ring a phone. Vendors such as Allworx, Critical Links and Sutus are looking to make VOIP a ubiquitous portion of IT services for the small office by offering a hybrid solution that rolls VOIP into a business appliance, which addresses a multitude of needs. It’s those additional capabilities that build the integration, support and training opportunities for solution providers addressing the market, which is a far cry from the install and forget approach normally associated with VOIP.