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The VoIPNews Challenge

AIM Phoneline provides free incoming service.  SkypeOut provides free outgoing (in North America).  Owen Linderholm and VoIPNews have issued a challenge: mash SkypeOut and AIM Phoneline together to create a totally free North American phone system. 

Mash AIM Phoneline and SkypeOut together to build APSO – the totally free mashed-up VoIP service? This isn’t totally easy – you’ll need a robust contact database to match AIM, Skype and regular phone numbers in and out of accounts. You’ll need some form of protocol conversion since they both use proprietary VoIP standards. Maybe via some into PSTN-out of PSTN method since both can talk to the PSTN?

But there it is the VoIP News Mashup Challenge – how soon can we expect to see a web service that handles the signup with AIM and Skype, sets up the accounts – gives you a single sign-on via a web site and then lets you gab away in both directions for free? This is probably going to be immediately explicitly forbidden by both services if it isn’t in fact, impossible, but who knows? We certainly wouldn’t bet against it…

It needs a prize Owen!

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Aswath May 23, 2006, 10:47 am

    I don’t see a need for mashup or for that matter synchronizing contact list. Run both Skype and AIM at the same time and then use Skype to call out to PSTN and answer the incoming PSTN call using AIM. Use the native client for all other contacts. Won’t this work?

    Let us prove that the End is indeed smart by “disintermediating” the disintermediators. :-)

  • Owen May 24, 2006, 9:10 am

    Well, if you succeed, then I will forward all the VC contacts I get to you! How's that?

    As for running both clients – yes you could do that but it isn't as elegant and it requires 2 ids. I was thinking of a service that gives you a single id and manages the two seperate ids for you (as part of the total solution). Plus it would be able to show a single phone number to the PSTN for caller ID purposes, etc.

    Yes, you can in fact get free NA calling as described, but I was shooting for a single service – and making a sideways remark about how these companies are dancing around which one will break down and just offer free inbound and outbound first….

  • Alec May 24, 2006, 1:19 pm

    Ah… I think your final comment tells the story of the problem with the prize being VC contacts … just me thinking aloud.

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