Silos Are For Grain, Not VoIP

13 thoughts on “Silos Are For Grain, Not VoIP”

  1. Amen brother. Even the IM clients with voice and video capabilities should get in on this. i Use iChat because I have a Mac and its the easiest. This should be able to call Skype and the rest of the others. I am all for the open comm federation, sign me up!

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Brian McConnell just penned a long post on VoIP Peering over on our new ETel site (http://www.oreillynet.com/etel/blog/2006/01/voippeeringbreakingoutof_w.html), noting that VoIP peering is easy to implement with services that support SIP or IAX2 protocols. Let’s hope this does pick up steam and some organization or federation emerges to support VoIP peering and help keep us from going back down this road of silos..

  3. we need to start relying on PSTN-style numbers.

    we need smarter devices that allow us to think about the people we’re attempting to get in touch with, versus the means by which we’re trying to reach them. Get rid of those silly numbered keypads.

    Give me a scroll-wheel. A display with faces and people’s names as i scroll. With the option to speak names for the visually impaired.

    Let me forget about somebody’s number. Numbers are so 1849.

    Once my device allows me to forget about numbers, i don’t have to think about SIP addresses either. But what we’re storing are indeed SIP addresses, on-top of PSTN numbers for a given person. Once i have a full-blown SIP address (sip:foo@bar.com) for somebody, i don’t need to rely on kludgy numbering rules for routing calls.

    How do i get someone’s “contact info” in the first place, if they’re not just “giving me” their phone number? vCard. hCard. IR. Bluetooth. IP. e-mail. web. vCard.

    Devices need to get smarter:

    • they need to interoperate to facilitate the exchange of contact information.
    • they need to support multiple routing options to save end-users money.
  4. I feel like there is a bit of a double standard here. Why aren’t Friendster and MySpace being called to task for not being compatible with each other? Is it a matter of marketing? What if Skype started saying it was a social network instead of a communications tool? Another incongrous thing; Om, where is your cirticism of Apple for not releasing OS X for non-Apple computers? If this is a good idea for Apple, why is it bad for “phone” makers?

    P.S. I’m not saying that the Skype way is the better way (in fact, I think it is not), just asking why it is only a bad thing in telecom and not in other things.

  5. Jesse: both friendster and myspace are web-based. i’m not sure you can draw meaningful analogies between web-based communities and communications platform.

    Compare VoIP to SMTP e-mail. Back in the early AOL and Compuserve days, you had those independent online communities, with proprietary messaging platforms. Internet standards eventually caught-on, and people finally learned about domain names, and sending messages to other people through a foo@bar.com address. AOL and Compuserve adapted. Their members could be reached with their own @ address.

    The exact same thing can be accomplished in the VoIP world, through SIP and “@” SIP addresses.

    E-mail is just one of many available applications of the Internet Protocol, for Asynchronous Communications. Real-Time Communications ought to be seen similarly as just another application powered by the Internet Protocol, that can have its own user interface paradigms, that can be more efficient than past user interface paradigms we humans have gotten accustomed to with our Telco-sanctioned phones, and the almighty “phone number”.

    VoIP users today stand to lose as much benefits from not being able to seamlessly call users from disparate providers, as if e-mail users were only given a “username” and messages could only be sent within the confines of a given ISP.

    P.S.: i have several typos in my earlier post, the first line should say “STOP relying on PSTN-style numbers” instead of “start relying on PSTN-style numbers”

  6. Call me contrarian, but…

    Assume Jeff’s purple minutes are the way forward. My violet and your indigo innovations should be incompatible. We grope around for what unrealised innovations IP enables that are actually valued by users.

    The lowest-common-denominator duplex voice is competing against a PSTN that increasingly offers such features at either flat rates or rates too low to care about. VoIP interop is a badly-framed non-problem.

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