Tuesday, October 03, 2006

YOIP (yawns over IP)

Steering an old stew doesn't turn it into a gourmet meal. And frankly, I think the latest babble-chatter around which VoIP start-up is more voice 2.0 than the other is kind of boring.

I recently left a simple comment on a series of posts describing the "bad practices" dictating the success or failure of new voice and video over IP enterprises: "what should they do to succeed?" Well, the tentative answer has only highten my perplexity. In short, no one seems to knows, but many are talking…

after all is said, more is said than done

The unease grew even stronger when I red that voice 2.0 in a nutshell sums-up as "be different and give the customer control". What a great discovery! That sounds so marketing 0.1, dear. It just leaves me wondering if anyone is seeing the obvious: until the toll based business model ceases to exist, there are not many chances for large scale innovative and compelling voice applications to emerge. The promise land of converged applications remains a mirage. Unfortunately for all these new enterprises, the issue lies with the networks business model, not with technology. On the positive side though, these VoIP start-ups are helping an ongoing customer education process. Whatever their fate may be, by providing a test bed of other possibilities to end users, they are more valuable than it appears at first sight. Obviously, trying to quantify this value in business terms is open to interpetations. Like any return on peoples’ education…

The troubling feeling I had was further re-enforced when I red the self-congratulating inventor of the so called Voice 2.0 meme suggesting that switching from one's current telecom provider to AOL, Google or [insert your favorite walled garden keeper name here] is the next panacea and will open a wonderful era of user driven voice applications. I doubt refurbishing second hand ideas which have been around since the beginning of the nineties will ever make this meme a reality soon. If like me you have seen so many of these layered voice/directory/application diagrams in any single telecom operator presentation, and so little changes over the same period of time, you remain somewhat skeptical…

As Aesop, this fine observer of humanity, declared, "after all is said, more is said than done". I believe the VoIP meme, in its current voice 2.0 disguise, as well as all its “propagandists” unfortunately do not escape this great saying.

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