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The Future of VOIP - where’s the Innovation coming from next?

May 7th, 2009


When I first heard about Voice over IP circa 2000, my initial reaction was “why would you want to do that?” Phone service was already relatively cheap and reliable at the time (remember the pin drop :-), and I couldn’t understand all the excitement around this VOIP thing. But the experts at the time talked about all the amazing new workflows and “things you could do” once VOIP was deployed.

It was intriguing if nothing else.

Then Came VOIP 1.0

Though it didn’t offer much more functionality than Bell did in 1876, the first rollout of VOIP certainly came at a cheaper price. Vonage and other unlimited calling services clobbered the price of phone service for homes - and the release of the open source Asterisk phone server brought down costs for small and medium businesses. I certainly had no love lost for the PBX industry. When I was building my first company, our PBX was a ripoff at ~$10,000 (and we were fortunate enough to lock in something like 30% interest on the lease).

So we had dirt cheap phones, but…

What about all the other cool stuff VOIP promised???

When I went to the VON conference in late 2007, it seemed like all of the “me too’s” at the conference were hawking some variant of VOIP 1.0. I couldn’t find anyone there delivering any new innovative workflow, and Jeff Pulver’s keynote plea to the audience of “do something cool with this stuff” seemed to land on deaf ears. Except mine.

I was excited because we had just built the alpha prototype of BlitzTime, and I couldn’t wait to see how our new telephone “speed networking” tool would impact the world of business networking. Since that day, we’ve never looked back, and it never gets old hearing someone tell me how they “made a great partnership” or “found a new opportunity” from someone they met on BlitzTime.

Onward to VOIP 2.0

And so I echo Jeff Pulver’s keynote from VON 2007 and ask - what other cool VOIP 2.0 applications are there out there? What is the next big exciting thing in the space - or is it going to be in some super-mashup of Web, VOIP, and Mobile? What’s Next? …

Author: Jeff D'Urso Categories: Innovation Tags:
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