The closing remarks last night were delivered by Rick Ringel, distinguished engineer from the technology and product management communications group at Inter-Tel.
Rick began by making the observation that the user doesn’t care about signaling protocols or hardware platforms…users want specific features out of the new network that is being built.
Regarding that new VoIP network, Ringel said, “This time around we are building something that’s fundamentally different than anything we’ve built before.”
Ringel presented a laundry list of new “elements” that need to be addressed. New architectures, new components, new signaling, new network, new services, new players, and new rules. “But,” he asked, “what is our new metric? How do we measure progress? Is there an absolute network – a perfect network – that we are building towards? I say yes.”
Mr. Ringel offered the following analogy:
*Old network = monarchy (rules dictated by network owner)
*New network = enlightenment (rules by the people)
“The new network is based on the principle that users have rights to use the network,” he declared. Borrowing from the Declaration of Independence, Ringel continued, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all users are created equal, that they are endowed by the network with certain unalienable rights, such as Identity, mobility and the pursuit of innovation.”
Regarding identity, Ringel explained that users should have a series of rights, including:
The right to be known independent of their devices and to publish their identity as a universal media independent address.
The right to own their identities and to transfer ownership of these identities (i.e., between service providers).
Users will have the right to choose when and with whom they will communicate.
Users will have a right to multiple identities (as in the case of multiple roles).
Associations too will have equal right to identity.
Users have a right to mobility without sacrificing the rights to identity.
Users shall have the right to move between devices or to move a device to a different network or access point.
Users shall be able to share devices with other users w/o having to share our identities.
Regarding the right to innovate, Ringel said, that users shall have the right to create applications that interact with the network on their behalf or on behalf of many users. “Our responsibility is to create a network which does not hinder application innovation.”
Users shall have the right to choose amongst various providers of similar services.
Users shall have the right to the benefits of a free enterprise within the network as both producers and consumers.
In conclusion, Ringel told the assembled crowd that the revolution is certainly underway: “VoIP is shipping. We need to codify a framework that supports our ideals. We can’t create the “perfect network” but we need to compromise to develop the best network possible.”
In reassuring the audience Ringel added, “Progress is being made. Progress has already been made.”
He closed his remarks with yet another appeal to the Declaration of Independence: “…and for the support of this declaration with a firm reliance on the certainty of technological providence we mutually pledge to each other our vision, our standards, and our sacred interoperability.”