Anime and VOIP now mainstream

Posted September 21, 2005

I think I'm attending too many conventions... I stopped by the VON conference exhibit hall to try to get up to speed about the state of the art in voice-over-IP technology. Unfortunately, I didn't learn a whole lot, besides the fact that there are an absolute truckload of companies tripping all over each other to be one-stop solution providers in this industry. Some of them are going to get very rich, and most of them will be out of business in three years, I expect.

To some extent, all of this is very boring technology to me. "Oh, so you want to send speech over electrical wires? How novel!" I measure communications progress by how well I can get away with avoiding talking to people on the phone (in favor of using email, IM, texting, etc.), not by how cheap it is to talk to them. I shouldn't be so apathetic about this, since it's a huge industry now and clearly going to get much bigger. I just wish that we'd taken the opportunity to kind of reinvent the whole "phone" concept while we're at it, instead of bolting TCP/IP on top of things like "phone numbers" which clearly belong to a more ancient time.

On the plus side, I did see one sign that caught my eye: Versatel was using an anime-style girl with a headset as a mascot on their posters and literature. This is a good development: when companies think that Japanese cartoons are a good way to sell themselves to CIOs and CEOs of telecommunications conglomerates, you can be sure that anime has officially hit the mainstream.

Wait, does that mean it's not hip anymore? Uh-oh.