Who is Voice 2.0 Enabling?

June 30, 2008 by Garrett Smith

One of my favorite blogs had a post today about the merging of the emerging with the ordinary in the voice world.

For a few years now, we have all been touting the promise of Voice 2.0, the death of the PSTN and the revolution that is upon us, yet to date, this new wave has not come crashing down on the traditional voice world with the might that one might think. It isn’t for a lack of trying, but mainly from a lack of a focused vision.

The telecommunications entrepreneurs who have created the greater vision for what Voice 2.0 is have done so in an attempt to free people from the gripes of the traditional phone company and enable us to do more with voice. The problem, though, is there enough of us out there to be enabled?

When you talk with entrepreneurs about creating something to offer to a market, one of the things they always say is to create something that you would use, because chances are, there are other out there with the same need. When it comes to telephony and Voice 2.0, I am not quite sure, at this time, there are enough people out there who want to be enabled to do more with voice. It is tough for the 1% to convince the 99%.

This brings me back to the iLocus post and the merging of the emerging with the ordinary. Although JR sees a future for Voice 2.0 companies without the need for traditional services, I do not. At least not for the foreseeable future, because there just is not enough demand for the masses to support the continued growth and that is why these companies are looking to merge their offerings with traditional ones – consumer demand!

The technology life cycle is a tricky thing. Some cycles move fast, some move slower. It isn’t that Voice 2.0 holds no promise, it is that the innovation is happening faster than the mass market demand for said innovations. In a sense, we, as an industry, have innovated, for innovations sake and made services we would use, but forgot about those who aren’t like us – the great majority. Now forced to wait until the catch-up, many are finding that the only way to build a sustainable business is to simply offer what is that customer really want: the ordinary.


  • I’m sorta new to Voice 2.0 so I’m not sure what it *used* to be about.

    My belief, and I think we’re already starting to see this with some of the iPhone apps, and the Android apps – is that it’s the intelligence that can be brought about that’s going to be the sell.

    Be that disaster coordination, providing location based services or advertising recording artists, getting people in contact with each other is powerful. I think – eventually – the winners will excel in doing that.

  • Garrett Smith


    I agree what you said and what you are talking about what these new services will enable you to do.

    There is no doubt in my mind that due to the IP transport mechanism, voice can and will be used as an enabler of things never before possible.

    My question is, is there enough people out there who want or need the ability to use voice in this way.

    Right now, I say no, based on the fact that most of these companies are struggling to make a dime and that they are moving closer to the middle by providing ordinary service.

    I hope the trend changes, because I think there are a lot of great voice 2.0 companies.

  • It’s hard to argue with your position based on the history of the sector. I think (and hope, as my company is in this sector) that the intelligent plays will show profitability.

  • randulo

    A comic once joked “If God had meant us to fly, we’d have been born with tickets!” The same is true for “phone numbers” and I imagine it will someday come to pass. Oh, they needn’t be 10 digit numbers nor do we really need area codes or even country codes anymore.
    The challenge of VoIP isn’t lowering the cost per minute, is it? It’s making it easier or better to contact, speak, see and hear, conference etc. So one huge area is this: whatever the device, get me “Suzie”, wherever she is and whatever device she’s near. Is it going to be SIP URI ([email protected]) or ISN 123*65142? The ISN isn’t cute or memorable, but it can be dialed on any numeric keypad.
    Ok, this comment is turning into a full post, I’ll shut up now. Look to Grand Central, if it ever comes out of beta to provide food for thought.

  • Jason

    i like my spa-2102 it allows me to be ordinary with my ordianary phone which works in an ordinary way. Nothing new to learn except programming the box. If i bought a cellular-like phone it would be a linksys wip330. I like cheap and since the firmware is ahead of the voip servers i know i don’t have to buy a new box for a very long time. I like CHEAP and EASY to use service. Not interested in the “NEW” stuff as it always means learning a new way of doing things and quite frankly the old way is the easiest so why change it?

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