Recognizing That Voice Is Just Data (Or How Google Voice Could Be Disruptive)
from the voice-is-data-too dept
Karl Bode, over at Broadband Reports, wrote up a great article a little while back about why Google Voice was more disruptive than anyone (especially the telcos) were willing to give it credit for being. The key underlying point: voice is just a form of data. Once you realize that, you realize that no one needs to be tied to any telco’s own dialing system. Your mobile phone service provider really could just be a dumb pipe.
For years, I’ve always felt that the calls for “triple play” or “quadruple play” was incredibly misleading. All of the different “plays” (voice, video, data) were actually all just data. And when things are all just data, and its on an open network, then anyone can provide the services on top of that data. The telcos recognize this, somewhat — which is why they’ve tried to block out others from offering certain telco services (it’s why Google Voice was blocked on the iPhone), but it could be really game changing. Imagine if you could just buy a mobile phone that had no calling plan at all — but it was all in the software? You could even use different dialers (with different numbers?) depending on what made the most sense or was cheapest.
The telcos hate thinking of themselves as dumb pipes, but there’s something to be said for focusing on the pipes and making them as strong as possible, while letting everyone else innovate at the service level, and just selling good data plans. The more others innovate, the more valuable those data connections become.