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VoIP and Data - the Great Paradigm Shift

Updated on October 5, 2011

Birth of the Data User

There's a saying in the computer world - you can never get enough of three resources in an electronic device. Memory, CPU speed, and Bandwidth. The last few years have proven the truth of this many times over. The last component is especially scary because we now know that Internet usage expands to fill the bandwidth allotted to it. And users are always wanting more given the opportunity. The end result is that bandwidth availability has increased dramatically from what it was years ago, but we don't really seem to have enough. A web page always loads too slowly on mobile phones.

The latest breed of consumer is one who scares the pants off telcos - the data heavy user. It's what forced them to impose data caps on their previously "unlimited" plans in the first place. But it's not just because of network capacity that they're apprehensive. Data users represent a mind shift in the way phones are used and what they're meant for that's fundamentally troubling to carriers.

The data user is a curious customer. Bred on the Internet they have this curious idea that networks should be "open." That every application should get the same treatment regardless of who made it and what it does. And why not? That's how the Internet works in the real world.

The World of Wireless VoIP
The World of Wireless VoIP

Different Expectations

Data users also tend to view anything that moves in and out of the phone as "just data." For them, "voice minutes" are an artificial distinction between data streams. VoIP is the realization of just such an ideal. What it represents is nothing short of a fundamental shift in the way we view our phones.

The reason is that telcos have historically been anything but open. They like to control their network, they like to decide which phones run on it and they like to dictate how it's used. But the Internet makes no such distinctions and applications like VoIP are their worst nightmare come true. Because if we don't need the carriers for voice, what do they carry? Just data. Undifferentiated data which turns them into what consumers love and what companies hate - a dumb pipe.

Companies such as hosted SIP providers offering innovative services are the future. Just switching to hosted PBX can save your business money and improve the quality of communications for everyone. And that future has no place for voice minutes. Welcome to the new world!


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