Is VoIP Hype For Real?

from the beginning-to-look-like-it... dept

People have been hyping up voice over IP for years, and it’s always been more complicated than necessary. However, VoIP may actually be catching on this time around. The benefits of VoIP are generally that it’s cheaper than traditional phone systems and it makes it easier to tie it in with additional applications and features. The downsides were that the quality often sucked, there were reliability problems, and there were some noticeable upfront costs. However, this is the classic story of any disruptive technology. The quality is improving, the barriers are dropping, and suddenly VoIP is hot. While I was initially skeptical about Skype, I’m beginning to realize why so many people like it: it’s easy and the quality is astounding – which solves the two big problems discussed above. I’m still not sure how Skype will play into other phone systems (and, for all the downloads of Skype, I only know one other person I’ve been able to use the software with), but it looks like VoIP (like so many technologies) was hyped appropriately – it was just that the timeframe was off. It’s the same old adage that predictions for next year will be too optimistic, and predictions for ten years from now will be too conservative. The real questions now are how will the legal landscape evolve (will VoIP players be regulated) and how will the traditional telecom companies cope with competitors who like the idea of a decentralized phone system.

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