Who Cares That It's VoIP?

from the just-what-is-it? dept

Vonage and Skype are two very different things. However, since both are considered "VoIP," it's confusing plenty of people and making them shy away from anything having to do with VoIP. It is a problem for the industry that the idea of "telephone replacement" services are being lumped in with PC-to-PC software apps. There are some areas in which they overlap -- and that should only grow over time, but there's clearly a lot of consumer confusion in the market. People are increasingly aware that VoIP exists, and that it might be useful, but they're worried that it could mean giving up their phone or having to make calls via their computer, when that isn't necessarily true. To be honest, it's still not entirely clear why the VoIP industry has focused so much on selling "VoIP." The average consumer doesn't care: sell the real benefits of the service, whether it's cheaper phone service or simpler communications. Selling "VoIP" by itself is just adding to the confusion. A few companies seem to get this (plenty of cable companies refer to their offering as "digital telephone service" rather than VoIP), but it hasn't gone far enough. Also, in forcing VoIP companies to focus on selling the benefits, maybe they'll finally realize that they can offer a lot more in terms of features than traditional telephony, rather than just trying to replace it.

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  • identicon
    Alex Moskalyuk, 3 Jun 2005 @ 3:16pm

    Yeah, it's an issue

    Over the past few months I somehow became the local Vonahe evangelist, since friends keep asking me about it, knowing that I am a customer and seeing the ads on television.

    Many are confused by the presence of VOIP, it's as if someone was selling not Internet access, but HTTP/TCP/IP/SMTP/POP3 access, and people thought there would be some trick.

    The most popular questions - can I still use the phone if my PC is off, what if someone types on the computer at that exact minute, etc. Nothing to do with VOIP, of course, it's just that people are somewhat confused about it.

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

  • identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, 4 Jun 2005 @ 3:11pm

    I feel it's the opposite

    Skype and Vonage both offer "Voice" travelling over "IP" so sure, why not call 'em both "VoIP" (or "digital telephone service" since they are that too).

    What seems more stupid to me is that none of the providers have chosen to do something new and interesting. They really are just duplicating POTS over IP, and the fixed infrastructure we've got is far better for voice transport than IP is.

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


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