by Carlo Longino

Why Should People Have To Know What VoIP and 3G Are?

from the too-many-acronyms dept

A new survey says 87 percent of Americans don't know what VoIP is, while over in Australia, a research firm says "the vast majority" of people there have no clear idea about 3G technology. What's also unclear is why people in either country should need to know what they are. "The acronym VoIP and the term `Voice over Internet Protocol' can be intimidating for many consumers, because it sounds like something that only tech-savvy people can understand and use," says Verizon's exec in charge of consumer VoIP services. If it's intimidating or confusing for people, then maybe the logical thing to do would be to not use it? Telecom companies have a nasty habit of trying to sell people technology, not services. For instance, AT&T Wireless branded its high-speed wireless service as "AT&T UMTS" an acronym that's meaningless to most everybody, whereas Verizon Wireless calls its "BroadbandAccess", making it pretty clear what it is. Mobile operators should know after the WAP debacle that marketing technologies really doesn't do them any favors. It's a point that bears repeating: the average consumer really doesn't care about underlying technology, they care about what it can do for them.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    andkore, Sep 13th, 2005 @ 2:26pm

    Some people do?

    You know some people DO want to know what 'underlying technologies' provide the service and would like to be able to know without digging through 'service' oriented pages until finally coming to a cryptic page that vaguely hints at the technology.

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

  2. identicon
    Flamsmark, Sep 13th, 2005 @ 3:28pm

    Specifications and Standards

    some of us really like to know what technology is being used, especially if they name a standard. that way, were it not to perform exactly as defined by the specifications of that standard, you can get a refund. i've done it on tech that's two years old. not knowing what they're saying it *can* do means you can't take it back if it *can't*.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2005 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Some people do?

    Too bad people like us are the minority. Should we really expect everyone else to cater to our wants?

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

  4. icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 13th, 2005 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Specifications and Standards

    Um. It's not like they HIDE these things... but they don't have to market them. I mean, you know that Verizon Wireless' BroadbandAccess is EVDO based, but that doesn't mean that's how they should market it.

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

  5. identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, Sep 13th, 2005 @ 7:36pm

    But what's BroadbandAccess?

    I agree that naming your system by the underlying technology alienates most customers. But the opposite is when the names are so generic that only the vendor understands 'em: that's worse! Verizon is a serial abuser in this regard (like so many): I never know the difference between BroadbandAccess and NationalAccess (which apparently has nothing to do with roaming). And their coverage maps aren't at least labeled "Faster" and "Slower". Twits.

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

  6. identicon
    Dr Technobabble, Sep 14th, 2005 @ 1:13am

    Re: But what's BroadbandAccess?

    It's an interresting point... but does it reflect reality? Case in point: Microsoft versus Mac
    Mac sell their computer based on what you can do with them - productivity suites, multimedia applications etc.
    Windows boxes are sold on the basis of processor speeds, memory sizes, frontside buffers, cache sizes, bus widths and a thousand other things that 95% of computer buyers don't understand.

    But look how many windows boxes there are out there... I know it happened because of the whole IBM-compatible era of cheap knock-offs that work together, perhaps it would be a different story if mac was cloned first! But the point is that they havent caught up - despite selling on the basis of easy to understand products.
    People continue to buy based on geek-speak stats they dont understand because it gives them a barometer to compare the quality of the products... and for the same reason they bought computers with "Turbo" buttons back in the 90s. "It sounds impressive".

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

  7. identicon
    Tom, Sep 14th, 2005 @ 6:29am

    Re: Some people do?

    Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with this! I am not a computer 'geek,' but with most things in life I like to know the details of the service to that I am not just blindly buying into a product or beingd duped by a marketing ploy. In this way, I consider myself an informed consumer. However, the 'average' consumer probably does not desire or need to know this info--it will likely just confuse them.

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

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