This column will appear in print in the February 2008 issue of Internet Telephony magazine.
Who cares about voice?
The Voice Peering Forum Fall session was held at the Ritz Carlton Battery Park in New York City on December 5th. Many interesting news bits were captured and blogged in real-time by a few of the attendees — including TMC’s (News - Alert) very own Rich Tehrani! With all that happened during the general and breakout sessions, there was really a lot of content to synthesize. Aside from the background of voice peering and the excellent historical trend data provided by Stephan Beckert (News - Alert) from Telegeography, most of the topics delved into the future of IP
applications and not just voice. This was an interesting twist on past Voice Peering Forums and it took a few days for it to all sink in.
In the beginning, the Voice Peering Forums were a way to help educate the interested about the Voice Peering Fabric (VPF
), what it is, what it does, that it is real and works and so forth. That was the first year or so. Then it turned into an event that not only included education of the willing, but also where the members (now totaling well over 300 — the education paid off) would meet and establish business relationships. Those transactions would of course be consummated over the VPF as VLANs. That was basically the second and third years.
The VPF (News - Alert) is on to its fourth year of life as of October 2007 and this most recent Forum was its first as a four-year-old. What was interesting about this Forum was that the attendees were largely the active members that are beyond the “show me” stage. They are already using the VPF and the new business transacted at the Forum is almost a given.
They are now on to very high-level discussions about what is to come of the entire voice business. The ultimate forbidden topic — voice as a true add-on feature — was the main derivative of the mashup discussions. Advertising revenue models that subsidize losses in other established industries were also a major concern, but it all wasn’t about dwelling on the unknown, but rather identifying the real models and where the new money is.
This group has faced the music. No one is under any illusion that voice continues to make any significant, high-growth money out into the future. The mission is now to determine what other apps, such as mobile video content voice mashups, can be monetized and how.
For this group there is one challenge that no longer needs to be addressed: the network interconnection piece. They’re all already connected — on the Fabric. Whatever comes next is just a VLAN away.
Hunter Newby (News - Alert) is chief strategy officer for telx. For more information, please visit the company online at www.telx.com.