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Calling: Are We There Yet?
Jesse Berst, Editorial Director
Bits and bytes may travel through cyberspace at nearly the speed of light, but the arrival of Internet telephony might be better measured in light years.
Of the 70 billion minutes of calls made last year, only 4% were over the Internet, according to Probe Research
Your computer still isn't ready to be a full-time stand-in for your phone. But it's ready for you to try it.
Today I'll examine the latest developments in voice over the Internet, as well as the key players.
Yahoo just licensed software from Internet phone company Net2Phone in an effort to keep its site sticky and boost advertising rates.
already offers free online calling through Net2Phone to
users of its MSN Messenger
AOL Offers online calling, but charges about a penny a call.
Cost. If you think saving a few dollars on long-distance is appealing, imagine the draw for companies with whopping phone bills. Using the Internet to make calls not only lowers calling costs, but also equipment costs.
Unified messaging can bring phone, email and fax to the same
place on a desktop. Nortel Networks just landed a $1.4 billion contract to
create a voice-over-IP platform.
Businesses pay people to administer their various
information networks. Combining voice and data into one network reduces that
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
is a signaling protocol for
terminating phone calls over the Internet. It is both very manageable and
designed to be simple for developers to use.
recently unveiled a package of SIP products and services to help
service providers make Internet telephony viable for small- to medium-sized
Other companies are hammering out code as well.
figured out how to convert its Internet backbone to carry
phone traffic and business boomed because of it.
is slashing costs for voice-over-Internet calls by
routing them over its own Internet Protocol network, dramatically dropping
Are we there yet? No, but as soon as the bumps get ironed out enough for businesses to dive in, consumers will follow.
And when that happens, traditional phone lines will seem ... well ... light years away.
Are you ready to click out and touch someone? Hit the TalkBack button and let me know. Or go on to my Berst Alerts Forum where they're already talking about it.
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