Jason Tapolci, President and Owner of VoIP Innovations, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
In this episode, they discussed a wide variety of topics including global telecommunications, VoIP fraud detection, and the ITEXPO.
Below are a few highlights from their conversation:
TechnologyAdvice: Something you mentioned that was interesting to me was how you were looking to work with regional mom-and-pops. How do the VoIP needs different for a small company as opposed to a large company, and how are you guys looking to tackle that?
Jason Tapolci: We target the smaller mom-and-pops because they tend to depend on us for everything. What we’ve found is that the smaller companies prefer a single-source solution provider, like us.
A larger company would buy all their services à la carte from where they can get the best pricing and best quality. Then they have to fight a constant battle of, "We have to satisfy this client on just 911 and this one on just the DIDs and this one on just termination.” We can bring in these mom-and-pops and have them buy everything from us, and we really want to support them. That's our whole goal — if they're successful, then we're successful. We build tools and do everything we can do to help them be more efficient.
TA: What is exciting you right now in this industry?
Tapolci: There are a couple of things that are new and exciting for VoIP service providers. They're getting really hot. One of them is SMS. That's becoming very big and people are providing virtual DIDs, and have the SMS, the fax, and we are starting to use our devices, our mobile devices.
In the future you're going to see it like this: I'll buy a mobile device, I'll get data on it, and I'll load my own telephone number on it from my chosen provider. That telephone number will have SMS capabilities, fax capabilities, call conferencing capabilities, call forwarding, all the good stuff.
I really see that all going back to our mobile devices, which makes sense. That's a positive. On the negative side of things, I see a lot of fraud. It's rampant all over our entire industry. It's been bad for years; mainly in international termination and services. However, over the past two years, we've seen an increase in domestic fraud activity. We’ve seen fraud schemes, breaking into switches and running up service for free. It's a whole variety of ways -- and some of them are very well thought out on how they get you with the fraud. We built a system to fight it. Originally, it was built to protect our own customers, but then we said, "Why don't we open this up to the general public as well?" So you don't actually have to be a VoIP Innovations customer to use it.
TA: Do you work internationally as well, and if so, how are the needs and demands different for an international audience opposed to a domestic audience for voice over IP?
Tapolci: We work in about 60 countries including the U.S., and that's on origination. You can purchase DIDs in roughly 60 countries and toll-free DIDs in probably about a third of those countries. We provide the international termination as a service because we want to be a one-stop shop, so customers need to be able to purchase or make calls internationally.
To be honest with you, it’s a little bit scary. Once you get outside of the United States you do become more susceptible to fraud, and often there is no avenue for recourse. So we do it, and we lock it down, and we watch it regularly, and we build systems to monitor it. It's becoming a global infrastructure.
The traditional infrastructure of telephony and copper wires running everywhere is quickly migrating quickly into the IP world and you're seeing that happen in each country and you're going to start to see it happen globally now.
If you’d like to catch us in person and chat about telecom, fraud or anything else, we’ll be at booth 500 at ITEXPO West on October 6th through October 8th.