VoIP pioneer Jeff Pulver, who is responsible for creating the industry Voice on the Net (VON) events, has announced a number of predictions for what will happen to the VoIP industry in the year ahead. His predictions for 2005 are:
1) VoIP in the USA will cross the “early-adopter chasm.”
2) Broadband penetration will begin to snowball in the U.S., but not at a pace fast enough to raise America’s mediocre global standing in broadband penetration.
3) VoIP IPOs will restart and we will see some VoIP startups burning-out due to lack of marketing funds, customer base, and vision.
4) There will be still more major carrier VoIP announcements, as well as significant product announcements from major non-carriers (including software and Internet giants).
5) New battle lines and tangling alliances will form between and among carriers, vendors, and application providers; debate will grow over the continuing role of unaffiliated, non-carrier VoIP providers.
6) The FCC will not establish an IP-Communications Bureau or the FCC will release an Order in the IP-Enabled Services Proceeding, setting forth a broad, hands-off approach for VoIP.
7) Governments around the world will look harder at VoIP regulation, and service providers will respond by stepping up their efforts to deploy industry-based solutions for many of the social issues confronting the industry (e.g., emergency response, lawful intercept).
8) The pace of wireless replacement of wireline will increase.
9) ENUM (Electronic Numbering) will continue to happen around the world although the U.S. will continue to lag.
10) Open source communications will continue to gain momentum, the effects of which will be felt in the next 12-18 months.
11) Instant Messaging (IM) as well as incidental communications and applications will continue to grow unregulated.
12) Universal Service will move to a connections-based system.
13) Access rates and inter-carrier compensation will trend down, although the long-anticipated unified intercarrier comp reform will not be seen in 2005.
14) Sides will be drawn further as Congressional debate grows over the likely rewrite of the Communications Act. We will find out who our friends are and who has just been paying us lip service.
15) 2005 might be the year of Bluetooth. In 2005 we will see the emergence of the first dual, or multi-mode, phones capable of switching from WiFi to mobile wireless (and perhaps to landline).
We are in the midst of a VoIP communications revolution. The buzz surrounding the international VoIP industry continues to grow, and it’s important for everyone to understand and take advantage of the changes taking place. IP Communications is disruptive communications in the most positive sense, and it will dramatically enhance the ways in which we communicate.
Jeff Pulver is the publisher of The Pulver Report, VON magazine, and creator of the Voice on the Net (VON) conferences.
[From Connection Magazine – March 2005]