Friday, November 12, 2004

Jeff Pulver: Innovate or perish 

ISP Planet provides a summary of Jeff Pulvers presentation at the Fall 2004 ISPCON:
The future is Purple.

In my opinion the resumee given is remarkable and I can only fully agree:

End to end IP voice is happening, but: Innovate or perish

... Nevertheless, Pulver warned that the current VoIP environment may be too easy.

"VoIP must be more than a fashion statement! If that's all it is, there's a real risk of going out of fashion."

The problem, he said, is that there's a real lack of VoIP innovation. Most people see VoIP today as nothing more than cheap voice. That limits the opportunities for it, and is particularly harmful in discussion with state and federal regulators, who see VoIP as similar to voice and therefore want to regulate it.

As long as VoIP remains nothing more than cheap POTS in the eyes of customers and regulators, he warned, it will be a zero sum game that will be won by those with the deepest pockets, the RBOCs. At its best, Pulver said, it could be a "parasite within he ILECs, where the bellhead DNA still exists."

He called for more "purple apps" which he defined as anything that you can do on IP that you cannot do on TDM. For example, he suggested that Canadian telcos offer a local phone number to all expats.

He said his sons are always in touch, using voice or IM. Partly inspired by them, he has built the
pulver.communicator which combines free voice and free IM multiuser chat as well as presence. In the long run, he hopes to end the phone numbering system completely. "The future is not about dialing.

We should call people, not locations."

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