Kicking off the keynotes this morning, Michael Stanford, Director, VoIP Strategy, Digital Enterprise Group at Intel began by addressing the issue of yesterday’s acquisition of Intel’s media and signaling division by Canada’s Eicon Networks.
His presentation was constructed as a timeline of the past 12 months in review, ending with yesterday’s sale of the division.
He clarified what exactly goes to Eicon: the (former) Dialogic voice boards, the Host media Processing solutions, and Intel’s complete line of SS7 technologies (former DataKinetics) and PBX integration and gateway solutions (from the VTG acquisition).
Stanford reiterated that, “We (Intel) are still very much in the VoIP business.”
Intel maintains several VoIP related business lines, including network processors, and supporting components as well as solutions based in the modular communications products division (CompactPCI, ATCA, and rack mount servers).
Stanford spoke of three trends that he feels have been developing over the past 12 minths. Among those he named the following:
- Unified Communications are being woven into every application and Web site.
- The “Webification” or better stated, the “Web-2-ification” of voice communications, and
- The advent of regulation coming to the Internet
Stanford spoke of the theory of “architectural franchising,” a term coined by Charles H. Ferguson in his book Computer Wars.
To his point, Mr. Stanford pointed out the efforts that Microsoft has been making recently in the unified communications space, including the highly touted announcement of their unified communications strategy, and subsequently announced deal with Nortel, which looks to accrue to $1billion over the next four years.
Furthermore, Microsoft’s plan to combine their real-time collaborations group together with their Office group, further points out the value the company has placed on the space, and underscores their oves to establish dominance and claim architectural franchising over the market area.
Who else has an eye on an architectural franchise of VoIP?
Well, let’s see what else transpired over the past year. eBay bought Skype. Skype announced their API roadmap at an eBay Developer conference, making it easy to create plug-ins to the Skype platform, and embed Skype into third-party apps and Web pages
Skype took the complexity upon themselves, making it easy for users to use. They added best-of-breed codecs, from Global IP Sound, as well as QoS elements making the product better still. The company then took advantage of the so-called network effect or Moore’s Law, by announcing free Skype In/ and Skype Out, which makes the application available to the global voice network (read: 3Billion endpoints).
It’s clear that this company is making a move on the architectural franchise of consumer VoIP. And the developers in attendance at VoIP Developer Conference should be concerned with issues such as interoperability, peering, and developing applications that can take advantage of the success of the platform.
Skype even delivers handsets, which allows consumers without PCs to feel comfortable using their service.
Stanford touched upon IMS and carriers desires to converge network assets and embrace faster service creation and delivery. He also covered some ground regarding regulation, specifically wiretapping (FCC, CALEA) and network neutrality (S.2686, HR.5252).
All of these different currents that have been churning through our industry these past 12 months serve to create turmoil. And that’s what the development community should be looking for. For where there is turmoil, we can often find opportunity.