What Om says

What Om says: Om (blogging from CES) on the challenge facing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) — and the opportunity for those who solve it by thinking like those of us who are customers:

“The silos of VoIP are going to come and haunt the industry eventually, especially those who are banking on VoIM. But then it is a perfect opportunity for one smart entrepreneur, someone with a devotion to consumer and ease of use to build a “Trillian” or “Adium” of VoIP.”

For the record, Hammock Publishing has used VoIP since 2001 — a PBX-like system from 3 Com, not something like Skype. If one of the Hammock alumni who set it up and who read this blog want to explain the system, feel free to explain what the system is. My only directive for interoperabilty back then was, when I pick up the phone and dial a number, anyone with a phone needs to be able to answer it.

My “interoperability” complaints now have to do with wanting the video features of iChat/iSight to work with the non-Mac world. It is the most amazing technology I have that I can’t use (with ease and quality of service) with someone outside my Mac-silo. I wish Steve Jobs would think like Steve Jobs (borrowing Om’s words) and offer a Windows version of iChat/iSight. (Or, if someone has found a free, easy-for-a-non-geek-to-understand, dependable Mac-Windows videoconference bridge that works as automagically as the iSight/iChat combo, let me know.)

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  • lewis pennock

    Um, I think I might have purchased this system way back when, so i’ll jump in: in short, rather than having it’s own closed network, it works over a regular ethernet network (data network, computer network, whatever you want to call it) and transmits voice calls in the same way that computers transmits information (that is to say, in packets for anyone who knows what those are). When you plug a new phone in to the network it is just like plugging a new computer in, except that the phone system recognizes it as a phone and allows you to give it an extension number, etc.. You can also plug once of these phones into the internet connection at your house, tell the phone system it is out there, and that phone could then ring at your home just as if it were an extension in the office, regardless of where you were, even half way across the country with no long distance charges. It is the latter part that explanation that is similar to skype or whatever voip technology you are using, as it is over the internet rather than just a local network.