(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Voice? Who Needs Voice?

from the it's-an-all-text-world-here... dept

While the telecom industry struggles over issues about whether or not they're losing voice revenue to mobile phones and VoIP systems (even as they try to offer those services themselves), some are beginning to wonder if the whole concept of voice communications is losing much of its appeal. Now, obviously, it's never going to go away completely - and there are plenty of reasons why it's nice to actually hear the voice of the person you're communicating with - but increasingly communications that were traditionally done by voice are now being done by email, instant message, SMS text message or even by the web. So, no matter how hard the telcos fight over how the voice market proceeds, it could be a dwindling market. That's not to say the telcos aren't making a big push into data as well - it's just to note that the "cash cow" of voice that they all treasure could have a shorter lifespan than they expect.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, May 24th, 2004 @ 6:38am

    What if hearing loses much of its appeal?

    The population in the USA and other developed countries is growing older. As people grow older, they lose their sense of hearing, and also become less interested in music. Short of unexpected breakthroughs in stem-cell technology to regrow ear cilia in old people, deafness will become a major issue in coming decades, and therefore a major aspect of our culture.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    data64, May 24th, 2004 @ 8:08am

    Not sure I believe this

    Given the number of people you seeing yapping away on their mobile phones all the time, I find it very difficult to believe voice communications are going away any time soon. Also, since a number of people seem to be willing to endanger their lives and those around them by talking on the cell phone while driving, it makes me think Voice is still king, for a while atleast.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Andy Abramson, May 24th, 2004 @ 8:28am

    Re: Not sure I believe this either

    Voice remains one of the most effective means of communicating in real time. Unless you are a super fast typist, chatting is not as effective. Nor is inflection, tone or humour easily communicated by texting, chatting or email. Secondly, mobile phones, landlines, IP telephony all now can interconnect with one another, making the world a smaller place. While I'll admit that in technology, especially programming, text is a preferable way to communicate, the world is not run by programmers. It is run by diplomats and executives who need interaction, feedback and verbal assurances that later can be reduced to writing. The growth of VoIP in the USA is only beginning. Services like Vonage and AT&T's CallVantage are providing PSTN like service, with high quality and features that further enhance voice communications. I've been using the AT&T call conference aspect of CallVantage since I started using the service last month. It has been a huge cost savings. In November, when I went to London and Paris I took my Vonage ATA and a Wireless Router with me. Working from broadband enabled hotel rooms in both London and Paris I had my USA phone number ringing there. When I left the room, the follow me aspects of the Vonage service, which is also offered now by CallVantage, let me point the phone number to either a UK or France Cell phone number. Sure, I could have used my USA cell phone number, and paid $.99 cents a minute. Instead I paid nothing when the calls came to the hotel room, as the USA phone number was ringing, and less than $.38 cents a minute to terminate to the UK or French cell. What's more, my calls to friends and business associates in the UK or France from the Vonage line were under five cents a minute. Voice over IP services provide more than just talk in benefits, but unless one experiences the power of providers like AT&T, Vonage or even iConnectHere, a service I used over my laptop, which allowed me to make calls to PSTN numbers, one really doesn't know how great it can be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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