The people at Communigate may disagree. Their mantra is SIPifying communications and they have solutions that allow an e-mail address to be the single address for users regardless of whether they want to communicate via voice, video, or text messaging. They are driving the world towards an e-mail-based communications model allowing users to focus less on devices and more on a single address for their regular communications.
This is not a new concept and others have lamented the concept of VoIP islands that don’t speak with on another. If e-mail worked the way VoIP does today then when I e-mail from a Hotmail to an MSN account, someone would have to read the Hotmail e-mail and retype it on the MSN system. In other words, calls from one provider to another have to go over the PSTN. The concept of VoIP peering certainly can reduce PSTN usage but this line of reasoning will be taken at a later time.
Getting back to Communigate, they have recently taken their CommuniGate Pro v5.1 software and added an XML API and a Flash client for subscriber mobility. Their goal is to be the middleware that SIP enables the two billion e-mail addresses in the world. Can you imagine if every user was on a common communications system that allowed free communications? What an amazing place the world would be.
If we can get the ILECS to generate revenue from this transformation some how even they might embrace the concept. Then there is that whole USF issue. Again we will take that road at a later time as well.
This new software comes with a new client called Communify that has a Flash-based client and uses XIMSS, an XML API for messaging, scheduling and signaling. The company believes this is the way to drive a full IMS strategy and as you guessed, service providers are their target market. Well their product is touted to scale from the size of an SMB all the way up to the largest of carriers so they have a pretty large audience to address.
There is also support for XMPP or the Jabber protocol meaning Communigate users can now connect with users of other IM systems such as Google Talk. It is worth pointing out that SIP phones will also work with the system.
What excites me about companies like Communigate is that they change the way the world can communicate and they simplify er SIPify the world of communications. It is natural to believe that one day soon we will all have a single identifier and some sorted computer aided logic behind the scenes deciding what calls to take and when. It is also logical to believe that this identify will be presence-enabled and likely use SIP or SIP version XX.
If the future is what I describe above then surely the first step to getting there is by embracing some of the concepts laid out on this page. I am not sure if everyone agrees so feel free to just send me a message to the non-SIPified (for now) address firstname.lastname@example.org.