IPCC Meeting

I had 20 minutes to kill so I opened my laptop to work. The SuperComm convention center McCormick Place charges $10 for the day. So I decided to use EVDO and to my surprise the speed of this Verizon service in Chicago was blisteringly fast. It will probably slow as more attendees get to town but I am impressed more than ever with this service…

I just got to the IPCC member meeting (I am sitting here now) and Mike Tribolet of Vonage is giving a great presentation about the growth of Vonage. He goes went on to explain the intricacies of getting a technology product to retail and also training an army of 40,000 sales people in retail locations.

He mentioned also that Jeff Citron having built a consumer service before (in the financial market) is well versed in the complexities of the back office. Jeff focused on billing first and then grew the company.

He also mentioned that AT&T had 3 shots at this. A billion dollars in Net2Phone and a billion in Concert/BT and then CallVantage — which as he said, "Speaks for itself."

He went on to say there is tremendous complexity in building a VoIP network. On the positive side the broadband market is huge. There are 41 billion broadband users in the US. That gives him 39 million other potential customers! Also, the rest of the world is seeing massive broadband growth meaning more opportunities.

Q1 is where Mike says they crossed the chasm. He says things are going well. He isn’t losing sleep over the reliability of the network as they scale. Many in the industry had told him they would never be able to scale effectively.

They don’t want to be the lowest priced or the highest but they want to have the best value. Features and applications are where they will differentiate themselves.

As Mike says they will have to do in 120 days what the telecom industry had 50 years. He was obviously referring to the recent FCC mandate on 911. He didn’t complain but implied the FCC has not given enough time to get this done. They have 911 in two states and it took none months of bureaucracy to make this happen.

Mike showed a chart from SmartMoney where they did a blind survey where Vonage was the leader in quality followed by Verizon, Packet8, CallVanatge and Broadvoice. He mentioned that his cell phone dropped calls 3 times at the show. While I didn’t have any dropped calls today the quality of my cell calls was pretty terrible today as well.

Vonage sees videophones and WiFi phones as the future.

The talk was very upbeat and mike really knows his stuff. I came away more enthused than ever about the future of our industy.

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