Introduction (VoIP Protocols)


The rebirth of VoIP

In his famous topic Crossing the Chiasm, Geoffrey A. Moore [B1] explains why so many innovative companies fail to turn their early successes into solid market positions and recurrent revenues. In an immature market, early adopters are eager to test new products and services, and they are willing to accept minor imperfections. When the market starts to mature, however, these ‘beta stage’ products do not sell as well, and many executives are led to believe that they do not innovate enough: instead of completing the product, they push even more ‘beta products’ to the market. This is the wrong decision: the key to massive product adoption in a mature market is the whole product (i.e., a product acceptable not only to technology enthusiasts and visionaries—the early market, but also to pragmatists, conservatives and even skeptics—the mainstream market). The whole product is not a marginal enhancement compared with the first prototypes, very often it requires as much effort and a lot of time to carefully analyze, understand and leverage the feedback of early users.
In many ways, the whole VoIP industry has just ‘crossed the chiasm’.
In 1999-2000, VoIP was one of the most successful buzzwords of the telecom bubble era. Every start-up company had a ‘new service’ or a ‘killer application’ that would change the landscape of the telecommunication industry for ever. The technology was evolving so fast that protocols introduced in 1998 were called ‘obsolete’ a year later … in fact, every manufacturer claimed that his technology was so much better than that of competitors that interoperability was impossible.
From 2001 to 2003, VoIP faced a very tough reality check by pragmatist and conservative service providers. Many enthusiast ‘next-generation’ service providers that had spent billions on immature products realized that this expense did not find a mass market for them; in fact, the cost of sales of many of the ‘killer services’ exceeded any foreseeable
revenue. In a depressing climate with a start-up failing every month and even large service providers filing for the now famous ‘topic 11′, the buzz for VoIP quickly disappeared.
Today the VoIP chiasm is behind us. Quite a few manufacturers and service providers survived, and are ready to participate in one of the most massive and disruptive technology changes ever faced by the telecom industry.

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