Telephony, the Next Wave of Communication
Calling China isn t cheap. With today s long distant rates it seems that it costs an arm and a leg just to communicate with a loved one. Shouldn t there be a way where to communicate without worrying about the cost? Now there is a way to communicate across the world with paying a single cent. The only hardware needed is your own personal computer and a connection to the World Wide Web. The name of this technology is called Telephony. With it you can simply type his or her number with your keyboard and with a click of your mouse, be able to communicate anywhere in the world. With Telephony, communication is cheaper, faster and more technologically advanced then ordinary telephones. This phenomenon will change communication forever and telephones will soon be a thing of the past.
Currently the Internet accounts for less than 1 percent of the international telecommunications market. But industry experts expect traffic will rise soon to as much as to 30 percent. “I think it’s going to keep getting bigger. I don’t now how the phone companies are going to react. It doesn’t make any sense for consumers to pay for something they can get for free,” said Columbia School of Journalism’s John Pavlik, a specialist in new media and avid Internet phone user. (LA Times 1/01) Internet Companies such as Goto.com, Net2Phone, VocalTech Communications, and even AT&T are implementing the Internet as a new source for communication. (Time Magazine 5/99) Using the keypad on your keyboard, you can dial a phone number anywhere in the world and speak to friends and family for free. The awesome thing about this new technology is that both parties do not need a computer to communicate. If one party uses a computer to call another, then the other party can communicate using a regular phone. “That’s one of the great things about telephony services today, you can call somebody who isn’t even near a computer, and they don’t have to own one.” said Aoife McEvony, senior editor at P.C. World. Because of this ease of implementing the Internet phone to the regular phone, this technology is growing rapidly as the Internet is.
Another reason why Internet communication is superior to a conventional phone is because it can offer more technological advantages. An example of this is found with emerging protocols like, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) People typically give out multiple phone numbers at which to reach them. For example, if you can’t reach them at their work, you can try their cell phone, home phone, and pager. That can be frustrating both to the callers (who have to remember and try all the numbers) and to the callees (who might hesitate to give business contacts their home numbers). With Session Initialization Protocols, you can route calls to all numbers at the same time by dialing just one of the contacts, which could be something similar to an email ID. The user can define who has access to him and at which of his locations. Once identified, calls would be directed to all locations defined, and the call would be connected to the location at which the phone is answered. That is done through server side scripts. With Session Initialization Protocols, people can communicate with each other freely without losing any of their privacy. (PC World 12/00) Many instances can prove the advantageous of S.I.P. Let’s say a businessman is waiting for an important call. With the new protocols, he can allow the caller to reach him at any of his phone numbers without giving out his personal numbers; the call could be forwarded to his office, home, and cell phones at the same time, and whichever the businessman answered first would be where the call is directed. Another example is a patient in an emergency situation in which the attending doctor needs to consult the patient’s minor s parents. In such circumstances, the locating facility can be very useful. The call could be routed to the parent s residence or cell phone, helping to provide timely care. Emerging protocols such as SIP will make those scenarios a reality.
Of course with every new technology that arises, there are various bugs that need to be fixed. An example of how Telephony lacks in superiority compared to traditional telephones is that computer telephoning is plagued by frustrating glitches like voice echoes and transmission delays. “You sound like you’re on a cell phone that might be running low. Other times you can’t hear anything at all. So the quality is very inconsistent and unpredictable.” (PC World) The reason why there are glitches, echoes, and transmission delays are because of the Internet connections themselves. Most people today are using a 56k modem to connect on-line. A connection like this is too slow now compared to today s Internet demand for high-speed connections. Although high-speed connection such as, DSL, Cable Modem, and Satellite s are available, the vast majority of people on-line do not use these services yet, so the greater part of telephony users will have the sacrifice sound quality until they decide to pay for high speed connections. Because of this, people complain that they do not want to pay for these services just to communicate on-line. They feel that it is not cost effective to pay for another service that they feel they do not need. What must be understood is that in the long run, everyone will have to use these services because the demand for high-speed connections just to go on-line is rising itself.
We can see that even phone companies know that telephony is the future. Companies such as AT&T, M.C.I., Pacific Bell, and even Sprint are concentrating on switching their services from the telephone, to high-speed Internet service. (CNN) The reason for this is these companies know that telephony is going to destroy the telecommunications market and in order for them to survive they must evolve as just as communications is.
Another Drawback is that a person must have a computer. Right now, only 50% of Americans own personal computers. From this, only 45% of them use the Internet. (PC World) The reason for this is because many feel computers are too expensive. Many Americans cannot afford to purchase their own computers and this hinders them from communicating on-line. Also users still need certain hardware: a computer, of course, a sound card, speakers and microphones and on top of that, some computer components are not ideal for instant voice communication. However computer companies are now combating these problems. Companies such as Hewlett Packard are teaming up with Internet service providers, like Microsoft and offering computer for free if you sign to receive Microsoft Internet service for a year. The cost of year s membership runs for about $250 a year, which you pay monthly. Also, these new free computers come with all the necessary equipment for on-line communication. So basically you are paying for a very inexpensive computer that is ready for telephony. This will make on-line communication easier than ever.
The ability to communicate with one another has evolved dramatically overtime. From the Pony Express, to the telegraph, to the extraordinary telephone, and now the next step communications, Telephony, communications has evolved to where it gives every person, regardless wealthy or not, the ability to communicate with whomever they want for free. Also the technological advantages will make commutations faster and easier to reach others wherever they may be. This phenomenon will blow telecommunications away. In short, you can kiss your conventional telephone goodbye.
Telephony, Internet Communication 8/16/00 AHS 8/16/00
McEvony, Aoife, Internet Telephony PC World 12/00
Adams, Hubert Throw Your Phone Away Times Magazine 5/99