September 03, 2006

PSTN is Alive and Well, Thank you very much

In a startling entry, Jeff telegraphs his intention to declare that, ...the PSTN is not ever going away and that the future PSTN is IP based. Deal with it! This is like Nixon visiting China. Only a person like Jeff can say it and get a following. He also amplifies what he means by that in a subsequent entry. I feel he hasn't taken his thoughts to the logical conclusion.

In my translation, what Jeff is suggesting that PSTN service can be enhanced by a message-oriented signaling system and that we could do that simply and cheaply, if PSTN is supplemented by IP connectivity. He further elaborates that a PSTN carrier provide the IP signaling link and also use VoIP technology to offer enhanced mobility feature. In my opinion he could extend his line of thinking in two directions.

Firstly, following Andy's lead he seem to suggest that soft client is needed for this feature and other so called Voice 2.0 services. Of course this is not necessarily true. Isn't Verizon's iobi service in this direction it may not forward the call using VoIP; but it is in the right direction.

Secondly, we do not have to depend on the PSTN carrier to offer this capability. This enhancement can be offered by any third party as evidenced by PhoneGnome. They offer this and many other enhanced features not only to VoIP, but also to PSTN line.

Finally, what is being missed in all this analysis is that even a third party like PhoneGnome is not required to realize these features. After all one can deploy intelligent (Isenberg notwithstanding) end-points even in PSTN. If intelligence has moved to the end, then wouldn't this be the ultimate outcome?

Personally, I have been advocating this for almost four years, but I have been dismissed because the general perception is that future belongs to VoIP and so why bother with PSTN. Now that we are told that PSTN is here to stay, I hope I get a more favorable ear.

Update: By the way, this is the reason I disagree with Andy's analysis that AOL TotalTalk is a PSTN replacement service and that AIM PhoneLine is forward looking service. If required, AOL could have easiliy added these features to TotalTalk as well.

Posted by aswath at September 3, 2006 01:12 PM
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