According to opusresearch; “Over the top” (OTT) is gaining momentum as the “term of art” for value-added Voice over IP (VoIP) transport networks. In rapid succession we’ve seen Avaya contemplating a relationship with Skype, Telefonica’s European wireless subsidiary 02 purchase JaJah and most recently Mark Plakias at Orange pointed me to this “Flash-to-VoIP” service, calling it an “OTT cocktail of Flash and Jingle-to-SIP gateway technology + carrier.”
The phrase “over-the-top” suggests a level of extravagance (think of “over the top” entertainment). Yet, during the past 10 years it has become synonymous with “cheap international calls”. In 2010, I expect OTT to return to form and refer to all sorts of value-added services and innovations, whose providers take advantage of those “cheap” or “free” minutes to take VoIP “beyond customary boundaries” (which happens to be one of the Dictionary.com definitions for “over the top”). Avaya and 02 are seeing the same trend, and we can expect a stream of acquisitions, partnerships and innovative service offerings that take incumbent carriers and traditional enterprise infrastructure providers over-the-top and outside their comfort zone. Case in point: BT with Ribbit.
By Dan Miller