Voice 2.0 Anyone? (Part 1)

The coming of “Web 2.0” has ushered in a whole lot of online services that we could only dream of when the World Wide Web was first conceived and commercialized. There were the blogs, where just about anyone can voice out their thoughts. Then there were the social networking sites, where you got to link up with friends. Then there came social bookmarkers, which let people share their bookmarks and places of interest on the Web. Then came the web applications. Software started to become web-based instead of client-based. Even the big players like Google started introducing (or acquiring) web-based word processors, spreadsheets, and productivity applications like calendars, to-do lists and wikis.

The point of “Web 2.0” was seemingly the collaborative nature of everything, and as well the user-generated aspect of applications. The development and management of content is no longer centralized but is now distributed among the users.

What about “Voice 2.0” then? VoIP News has this summary of what Voice 2.0 is all about.

“Voice 2.0” is an umbrella term for a loosely defined set of technologies and ideas that let people transmit voice, data, video and instant messages via IP, anytime, from anywhere. It also implies a world where users, rather than a central authority, will have much greater control over who they communicate with, how and when.

Successful Voice 2.0 applications could lead to large cost savings in telecom, and greater efficiencies in other areas.

Included in this umbrella term are various services and applications that users can utilize. The important point is that control is no longer in the hands of centralized organizations (like telcos), but in the hands of the user. Here are some features of this new concept.

Voice, video and data convergence. Applications today are increasingly able to transmit just about anything over the Internet. Communication, whether instant messaging, voice calls or video conferences, can now go through the same pipes instead of different connections. The need for Voice 2.0, then, is for all these to travel through IP via a common standard or protocol.

Mobile and fixed line convergence. The idea is to create all-in-one devices that can service both fixed line and mobile needs. While traditionally one would have separate gadgets for landline and cellular communications, Voice 2.0 endeavors that a user would be able to access either service from whichever device he chooses. For instance, if one is expecting a call via landline, ideally the system can be set up such that the call can be rerouted via SIP to his VoIP phone.

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