The Fall VoN is On

Von logoIn a few hours from now, most of in not all of us with interest in Voice over the Internet, will be jetting our way to Red Sox Nation, aka Boston for the Fall edition of Jeff Pulver’s VoN. Some of us will wear Hawaiian shirts on Tuesday to celebrate Jeff Pulver’s birthday. Perhaps we would all take this opportunity to remind the godfather of VoIP, that video on the net maybe the new kid on the block, his roots are still in VoIP, and he should continue to blog more about well … VoIP. Happy 10th birthday to VoN, by the way.

Why? Because after a long stint as a low-cost PSTN replacement technology, VoIP is finally beginning to evolve and become part of the web fabric. This is critical – because in the future, voice will just become a feature, to be embedded in different apps. (Of course, there is that whole thing about incumbents catching up and putting VoIP into their game plans for the future. Which reminds me, we have heard that CounterPath, makers of a soft client might be close to snagging a big fish in the US.)

Alec Saunders calls it Voice 2.0, and his company iotum, last week benefited from this week when AOL decided to open up its AIM Phoneline to outside developers. Whether AOL, a company in middle of an identity crisis will become an application-centric carrier, remains to be seen.

Detractors point to the many failings of Asterisk …. But just as PCs were dismissed thirty years ago by the IT department and ultimately surpassed that centralized command and control infrastructure, so it’s also clear that commodity PC hardware, running Asterisk (or something like it), will also surpass today’s purpose built telecom equipment.

Watch for companies that are leveraging Asterisk, for instance Jajah and Radio Handi to make some news in coming days. The chess game has started. Of course with Voice 2.0, comes Mobile VoIP – especially now that devices such as Nokia E61 and HTC Excalibur have started to find their way into the market. Tiny start-ups such as iSkoot are trying to mobilize Skype and other IM-based VoIP services. Several others are waiting in the wings.

Talking about waiting in the wings, our good friend, Andy Abramson has picked up a rumor that Yahoo might be announcing a similar service at VoN. Of course, Yahoo is in the habit of announcing early, but we know they mean well. 

Since it is the eve of VoN, it is not surprising that tips and rumors are flying thick and fast. We have picked up word that two large VoIP peering services are doing the tango, and might seal the deal with a kiss by the time VoN keynote kicks off.

Photo by Jeff Pulver

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