Next week, I'll be at Spring VON in San Jose. Due to other commitments, I'm only arriving late morning Tuesday and I have to leave at mid-day on Thursday. My industry perspective presentation, on Wednesday morning at 10am, will touch on instant messaging, presence and the impending collision of VoIP and mobile. The abstract is here.
Does this suggest an attenuation in my passion for layer zero competition and user ownership of first mile fiber or my passion for bringing telecom to the next 4.5 billion people on the planet. No! These are critical issues and I'll continue to speak out on them.
But another theme of mine, for more than a decade, has been telecom disruption. Here VoIP has been disappointing. Most IP-PBX solutions and most VoIP services like Vonage, AT&T CallVantage or Time Warner's digital phone service are just digital POTS (plain old telephone service). These VoIP players talk about low cost, toll quality and 5 nines availability. If they actually thought about user experience, they'd realize that only a small fraction of calls actually work -- most calls end in voice mail. From a user perspective, telecom delivers far less than 2 nines of success.
Presence is part of the answer (although availability is what counts). The Mobile Internet in Asia suggests some interesting directions. And recent actions by mobile operators in the EU and Asia could upset the balance of power in instant messaging.
If you will be at Spring VON, please join me in the general session on Wednesday morning.