Monday, March 7, 2005

VON Keynote: Beyond the Tipping Point

"After 10 years, the VoIP Wolf has finally arrived at the door" said Jeff Pulver in a keynote address at the Spring VON in San Jose, California. This week's VON is the largest yet, with some 6,000 attendees expected.

The VoIP industry, as Pulver sees it, is now it its adolescent phase. Tens of millions of people now use services like Skype regularly, and hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on marketing/advertising to attract a mass market for commercial VoIP services. And yet, the rules of engagement for the new network have yet to be fully defined. Pulver argued that what we really need are DUMB PIPES and the enforcement of NET FREEDOM principles (freedom to access content, freedom to choose your own application, freedom to attach personal devices of your choice, etc).

Pulver is also an advocate for the open source movement, contending that soon generic "communication servers" will become as ubiquitous as web servers and email servers. On the consumer front, the VoIP industry is still looking for its Steve Jobs. "What we really need is the iPod of Communications" said Pulver, "because in the end, what people want is a great consumer experience."


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