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My "Industry Perspective" at Spring VON Next Week

Posted by Brough Turner on Mar 08, 2006

Next week, I’ll be at here:

AOL, MSN & Yahoo have built substantial instant messaging communities but they’re dwarfed by mobile phone users. Now mobile operators are federating for universal IM, Skype and Google are redefining instant communications, and mobile data users in Asia are evolving their own communities. A survey and prognosis on emerging instant communications.

Does this suggest an attenuation in my passion for layer zero competition and user ownership of first mile fiber or my passion for bringing telecom to the next 4.5 billion people on the planet. No! These are critical issues and I’ll continue to speak out on them.

But another theme of mine, for more than a decade, has been telecom disruption. Here VoIP has been disappointing. Most IP-PBX solutions and most VoIP services like Vonage, AT&T CallVantage or Time Warner’s digital phone service are just digital POTS (plain old telephone service). These VoIP players talk about low cost, toll quality and 5 nines availability. If they actually thought about user experience, they’d realize that only a small fraction of calls actually work—most calls end in voice mail. From a user perspective, telecom delivers far less than 2 nines of success.

Presence is part of the answer (although availability is what counts). The Mobile Internet in Asia suggests some interesting directions. And recent actions by mobile operators in the EU and Asia could upset the balance of power in instant messaging.

If you will be at Spring VON, please join me in the general session on Wednesday morning.


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