VoIP Will Bring 'Dramatic Transformation' - Page 2

By Sharon Gaudin

March 04, 2004

Q: Will it change the way we do business?
VoIP allows for Virtual phone numbers. Right now, I have phone numbers with different area codes. I can be here in New Jersey and I could have a Maine virtual phone number and you, living in Maine, could ring it and it would be a local call for you... And not only is my phone a phone, but it could ring my desktop, my laptop and be forwarded. That's a very cool thing. When a business person is on the road, he can jack in to get emails and still get calls. It becomes a mobile office for them.

Q: What is the biggest obstacle in getting companies to switch over to voice over IP??
It's education awareness. We need to tell them about the benefits.

Q: Why are regulatory issues coming to a head now??
There are a lot of entrenched players out there that are starting to worry. They're asking how it's going to affect them. They're raising red herrings. There's the issue of calling 911, which is a red herring. We can route for 911 calling... And there's the issue of law enforcement assistance. We have assisted law enforcement in tracking bad people. We're working with the FBI and the DOJ on a number of those issues. Right now, it's about getting the data they want. You might get a subpoena for billing information or for numbers that people have called. And they want to listen in to people's phone calls. We're working on technical standards for that.

Q: How could regulations change the course of the industry??
If they apply undo or unfit regulations, VoIP could be over. And that could happen. We don't want to be shoe horned into the wrong box.

Q: Do you think the industry needs some kind of regulation??
At this juncture, we think it should be reaffirmed as an interstate service because of its mobility characteristics. We think VoIP should not be considered a common carrier. And it should be reaffirmed as an information service. There's no reason to apply regulation at this time. We have 150,00 people using this service, which represents .1 percent of the lines out there. Let's see how the industry solves these problems working with government. We're doing a great job.

Q: How will the technology change over the next few years??
We're having a call over speaker phone over VoIP right now, and it sounds pretty good to me. Whatever quality problems occur will become less and less. There will be new capabilities being added... there will be better mobility, so you can use cordless phones and it will work with WiFi.

Q: What will happen with the convergence of VoIP and wireless??
You'll see a changing or swapping out of cordless phones for WiFi-enabled phones. Do you have a cordless phone? Do you have a WiFi access point? Converge them and call it a WiFi cordless phone. You won't need that extra box. When you move around, go to work or go to a friend's house, you can take the phone with you and it will work off their WiFi access.

Reprinted from Datamation.

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