Convergence is Dead, Long live EoIP !

Scott Dobson, Managing Director of Newbury based distributor VComm has told Comms Business Magazine that having spent the last 10 years in the convergence space, together with another 6 in the data comms marketplace, I think it’s time we evolved the name we use for the amalgamation of voice and data on a single network.

“Convergence as a term has been banded around for as long as I can remember. I myself sold voice over data networks 15 years ago using Newbridge Multiplexers so the concept of convergence par say is old hat. IP Telephony as a term is closer to the core of the value proposition but only really covers the voice piece and as we all know, voice is just a part of this emerging space. Instant Messaging, Fixed/Mobile Convergence (FMC) and collaborative tools all form parts of the whole concept of Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem or IMS for short (it really rolls of the tongue don’t you think?) which the carriers are hanging their hats on as the future of their Convergence strategies.

For a concept to succeed, it needs a simple, focused term to encompass it’s value proposition. I’d like to propose Everything over IP (EoIP) as a potential term as this simply states that the future of Convergence is exactly that, EVERYTHING over IP. Voice, Video, IM, Collaboration, Conferencing, Mobile, Wireless etc. etc. Importantly, to be able to deliver everything, all product and services need to adhere to an open standard and that standard has to be SIP. If HTML is the standard for the Internet, then SIP is the standard for EoIP and the sooner the incumbent vendors realise this the sooner we’ll all be moving towards this utopia.

Interestingly, the channel has a very basic issue with this concept. The Voice centric players struggle to understand the value and concept if IP and data networking in general whereas the Data channel sometimes struggles to understand voice as an application in it’s basic form. Obviously, certain integrators from both side of the fence have a good understanding of both areas and these are the businesses who will succeed and excel in the EoIP space. To this end, should we be calling ourselves Voice or Data integrators ? Surely, this is a symptom of the underlying problem we all face. If we think we’re in a box, how can we evolve to embrace this brave new world?

This, I guess, is the underlying question we should all be asking ourselves… Are we one or the other or do we do everything ? I think I’ll leave that to you to decide.”