I weigh in on Ted's 10 VoIP predictions

Some months back, fellow VoIP blogger Ted Wallingford posted a list of his top ten predictions for the VoIP industry.He now revisits this list with a progress/lack of progress report on each.

Some months back, fellow VoIP blogger Ted Wallingford posted a list of his top ten predictions for the VoIP industry.

He now revisits this list with a progress/lack of progress report on each.

Let's visit some of Ted's points, see what he says, then read what I have to say.

10. You’ll give out your email address instead of your phone number.

Ted: Not yet, but the day is coming.

Me: Not for many years, certainly not until email addresses are more intuitive and VoIP is the main telephony communications channel.

9. Disparate telephone networks (cell, PSTN, etc.) will eventually migrate to VoIP.

Ted:  With UMA and Metro-area Wifi, we’re already seeing the beginning of this trend. My prediction is that the last mile will be nearly all IP-based within 10 years.

Me: The timeline is about right, but this vision won't come true without a lot of legal wrangling, lawsuits and regulatory appeals from the CellBells. Adoption curve: ignore, threaten, sue/lobby; align, acquire.

8. Long distance calls will be free, as a rule. In fact, the concept of long distance will eventually disappear.

Ted: I don’t pay for long distance, do you?

Me: I don't either, but you got to realize, Ted, we're early adopters.

7. Wireless calls, even packet-based ones, will have quality of service comparable to wireline calls.

Ted: With all the bickering Level3 is doing about lack of consumer interest in VoIP, it doesn’t look like QoS on the Internet backbone is a high priority at the moment. But it will eventually happen.

Me: Agreed, but only if and when Internet delivered VoIP succeeds in breaking QoS-guaranteeing solutions in the enterprise space.

6. Skype will be forced to centralize their network with more in-house mega peers to comply with telephony regulations.

Ted:  Hasn’t happened yet. But it will. Especially now that Skype is owned by Daddy Warbucks (eBay). It only takes one e911 shakedown lawsuit to scare the pants off ‘em. Then legislation will magically kick in and Skype’s honeymoon will be over.

Me: I couldn't have said it better. Or as well.

5. E911 auto-location service will become a required feature of all Internet TSP service offerings.

Ted:  This may be the one i got dead on. In May of 2005, it became a required offering thanks to a ruling by the FCC. Also, Packet8 now offers something they call “roaming” E911, a step ahead of Vonage.

Me: I generally agree, but I think E911 auto-location will only become common when every single last one of VoIP-enabled mobile devices is GPS-compatible.

4. Microsoft will enter the hosted PBX market or invest heavily in a startup.

Ted: Tough call. Microsoft, aside from a few generic voice-oriented technology acquisitions, has been pretty quiet. Live Communications Server is gaining VoIP PBX capabilities, though, so it could happen. There isn’t a silicon pie on the planet Uncle Bill wouldn’t love to stick his little finger in.

Me: It just occurred to me that a good way for Microsoft to enter this space would be to buy a company such as Avaya. Not saying this will happen soon, or ever happen, but there's a fully formed solution in place should MSFT want to go that route.

3. Vonage will get slurped up by a non-FCC-regulated organization, possibly Microsoft.

Ted: It hasn’t happened yet. And I’m inclined to think that, when it does, it will be a telephone company that buys Vonage, not Microsoft.

Me: I am on record on this one. Sprint.

2. Google will bring its search and advertising technology to the telephony business.

Ted:  Well, I got some of this right. Google now offers their own Voice-IM service called Google Talk, but so far, it has no search features.

Me: Search will be coming soon, and so much more. Google Talk will soon offer PC to PSTN capability much in the manner of SkypeOut as well as be seamlessly integrated with Google AdWords and AdSense. Further out, what about, say, an opt-in voice recognition utility within Google Talk that would recognize keywords in your conversation and then serve up ads based on those words? Hmm, think I shall make a post about that.

1. Avaya, Nortel, and Vonage will all sponsor Nascar teams.

Ted: Well, Alltel and NetZero are already there. I’m still confident this one will happen.

Me: Not exactly Nascar, Ted, but Vonage already sponsors up-and-coming driver Marco Andretti. Yes, he is one of those Andrettis.