Looking at the “long view” of Interconnect Voice

Ahh, chaos. It feels like the whole world is moving at such an unprecedented pace that if we look back we will break our necks from the whiplash. It’s crazy. From Brexit, to President Trump, to Russia, to technology markets, to retail markets, to corporate mergers, it’s all happening so fast.   

In our teeny, tiny, little corner of the world where we are obsessed with the more mundane - trivialities of interconnect voice, we still can’t escape the pace of innovation and disruption. As we look at our roadmap for 2017 and beyond we sometimes start to feel like we are behind the curve and need to catch up, but then, we remind ourselves that the pace of actual disruption is not accelerated, it just is more widespread.

When we look at 1996, the year the U.S. implemented its landmark 1996 Telecommunications Act, the world was just getting introduced to VoIP.  It was still a PSTN/POTs world and it was very expensive to make phone calls.  Now, 20 years later, look where we are.  VoIP is the standard, PSTN is on its way out and no matter how you analyze it, it's incredibly cheap to make phone calls, relative to 20 years ago.   

We draw comfort from that objective reality (No alternative facts here :-) ). Markets change and innovate, and that comes along with a typically long tail of disruption. Think of retail, think of newspapers, those markets have been disrupted, and reshaped by the innovation of Amazon and digital content. And yet, while the innovation appears to have happened overnight, the impacts have happened over years. Many years. Remember, Amazon started as a website that sold books. Now they are a disruptive force in the retail, cloud, content, and home automation markets. But that took them more than 20 years to get there. 20 years is a long time.   

So, try to resist the hype. Try to resist the current gestalt that is seemingly pushing us to move faster. Innovation happens quickly, but progress and change take time. That’s true in all domains and all industries.

When it comes to interconnect voice and the business of exchanging voice phone calls between carriers, the industry has experienced disruptive innovation since that 1996 Telecommunications Act (VoIP, SIP, IP Peering, etc.),but, the progress and changes that resulted have happened over two decades. Not two months. Not even two years. Keep that in mind the next time you are looking at your strategic product initiatives and roadmaps.

But don’t worry, we’ll be here... we are in it for the long-haul.


Andrea Rona