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The “Old Guard” Make the Move on VoIP?

Jeff Pulver asks Are we at the crossroads of the Internet Communications Revolution? You’re damn right, only it’s not the doom and gloom scenario of the incumbents rebuilding walled gardens!  Yes, they will try, but as the old fable goes:

"But halfway across the river, the scorpion stung him. As the poison filled his veins, the fox turned to the scorpion and said, ‘Why did you do that? Now you’ll drown too.’ ‘I couldn’t help it,’ said the scorpion. ‘It’s my nature.’"

The genie is out of the bottle with companies like Skype, FWD, and SipPhone.  These are the first companies to try on the Voice 2.0 model, but they won’t be the last.  What’s needed next?

  • Momentum behind applications built on these platforms.  FWD and Skype both have API’s.  How many developers are there building products which leverage those API’s?  Are they lightweight enough?  Can we create the fascinating mash-ups between services that are implied by Voice 2.0, or do we need more?
  • A transparent interconnect model.  Skype has the ability to simply dial a PSTN number, and so does SIPPhone.  That’s necessary, but not sufficient.  How do I transparently contact a Skype user from SIPPhone?  FWD? Don’t tell me to dial out through the PSTN, and then use a Skype-In number.  That’s a stupid and broken model.
  • A transparent directory model.  ENUM "is coming".  Where is the extensible, carrier agnostic directory that links cellular, VoIP, POTS, and IM services?  Where is the meta-directory for the communications network?

Net net: we need to make a concerted effort, as an industry, to ensure that open, transparent systems exist.  Voice 2.0 is the answer.  Let’s get started!

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