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Voice 2.0 Anyone? (Part 2)

Voice 2.0 entails the concept of persons being able to transmit voice, data and video from anywhere, anytime, using their tools of choice. It’s more about convergence and accessibility to services using a common set of standards. We previously discussed the basics, and here are more concepts that fall under “Voice 2.0.”

Presence management. VoIP clients and IM networks usually have presence indicators that tell users which contacts are online or unavailable. Voice 2.0 endeavors to have this feature across all devices that a person has. One enhancement would be for the presence management system to determine whether a user is online or available on his desktop, VoIP phone, laptop, PDA, mobile phone, or office landline, and route calls and messages accordingly.

Another enhancement of the envisioned presence management systems would be that these would automatically schedule conferences and meetings based on the online patterns of members of groups and organizations. For instance, virtual meetings are best held when everyone is online, or at least a good majority can be in attendance. The presence management system would make sure of this.

One other aspect of presence management would be the ability to use different calling numbers from one device–this can even mean anonymity with the use of disposable contact numbers. Advantages of this can include the ability for one to call using his home phone, but appear on caller ID as having dialled from his office number. Or, one can use his mobile phone to call, but the other end would see a caller ID coming from a land line number.

Facsimile. Traditional faxes are incompatible with VoIP because these require circuit-switched connections. There are existing services that act as fax receiving services, and then send the digitized document via email. But these still require circuit-switched connections. New technologies are being developed such that traditional fax machines can call IP devices to transmit data, and vice versa.

Other issues. The concept Voice 2.0 also envisions to address issues like open source vs. proprietary technologies. Good examples of this are the use of Skype as the most popular consumer-grade VoIP solution (proprietary), and Asterisk, a software-based corporate PBX solution (open source).

The main point behind “Voice 2.0” is the change of the structure in telecommunications, from centralized to user-oriented. The control over the flow of data, voice and video is increasingly moving towards the user rather than centralized operators. This is largely because of the increasing popularity of IP-based solutions, which does away with the need for expensive exchanges and circuits, which are replaced by the Internet pipes, which have already been laid out. The concern now would be to determine set standards that can be used to run the various applications.

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