Tuesday, November 07, 2006

VoIP is irrelevant

At least for the purpose and in the context of this poll! When your [truck, ship, plane, add your own transport here] is stuck in the middle of a distant nowhere following a breakdown, the first thing you think of is getting in touch with the [driver, captain, pilot, etc…]. At that point, your only intention is to communicate, to exchange and gather information, for finally come to some decisions and trigger some actions. And during that process, the last thing you will be worrying about is if part of your communication is carried out using VoIP. It is irrelevant. Even the cost of the communication will become irrelevant. What you would want though, once the communication has been established, is to take photos or videos of the incident to be able to share them with the appropriate expert for deciding on the better course of action, and at the same time to start the claim procedure with your insurance company. What you would want is to quickly gain access to the nearest repair facilities and arrange for you transport to be taken care of, because your business depends of it.

Even if the transport of multiple data streams using the same underlying technology has become increasingly more common, it does not make VoIP relevant in itself. The induced fall of the wall between the voice and data silos is relevant. The ensuing cross domain knowledge dissemination between these two areas of expertise is relevant. The growing awareness of the possibilities offered by merging multiple communication types into applications is relevant. And only at that point will it become relevant to use VoIP, not the other way round. Obviously, all these positive consequences will only happen at the slow pace of human behavior changes. And this is much too slow for the buzz makers.

More profoundly what is relevant is "to impart, to share, to make common". And in that respect, the current impersonations of VoIP are far from providing this basic communication attribute, as they are repeating the creation of wall gardens in the same way early email providers did, in the same way consumer IM providers still do. And by taking this approach, their proponents are as good as the poll's author and other VoIP's meme builders: clueless…

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