By Alok Saboo on January 3rd, 2009
If you have been following the VoIP industry, you would have noticed the recent debate about the death of VoIP. Probably, it all started with Alec Saunder’s entry, which was followed by Ted Wallingford’s 10 points about the death of VoIP. On the other hand we have Jeff Pulver firmly believing that the true promise of VoIP is yet to be realized, but then he highlights that VoIP buzz is down by 47% using Google trends. To me both are extreme positions, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
I had commented earlier that VoIP is not a breakthrough or a radical innovation. It is an incremental innovation, changing the way voice is transmitted between two parties. One of the important result of this is lower cost of communication. But this is not what VoIP is all about, we need to think beyond prices/cost when we think about VoIP. VoIP provides the structure to build powerful voice based application.
Probably, people are suggesting that the innovation in VoIP is dead. But I am not sure, whether this is a legitimate point. The problem, I feel, is that people are viewing VoIP as an end in itself, which is not the case. VoIP is a means to an end, a tool to facilitate communication, a tool to empower voice, etc. So the innovation may not be in VoIP itself, but the real innovation will come about in the applications developed using this technology. Let me use Alec’s example, where he compares VoIP with TCP/IP. The technological revolution is facilitated to a large extent by the TCP/IP protocol and not not by the protocol itself. Just to borrow from Andy, VoIP has (or will) become the building block for the 21st century communication.
We are currently in VoIP 1.0 and setting up the stage for the next phase of evolution, VoIP 2.0.
Lastly, just to dig deeper in the results shown by Jeff (VoIP buzz is down 47%), I decided to look at the trends for some other commonly VoIP keywords. These are some of the keywords that I tried: incoming number, unlimited calls, unlimited free calls, make free call, free calls, Rebtel, Truphone, Fring, iPhone VoIP, Free calls India, Mobile VoIP. Not surprisingly, all of them showed healthy growth during the above period. This just shows that the awareness of VoIP has increased. Instead of searching for “VoIP”, people are now doing a more focussed search.
What do you think about this debate, share your thoughts…