From Internet Telephony to Voice over Internet Protocol there was a shift. It was from voice over the public Internet to voice over the protocol itself but using a private network, or transport layer circuit rather than the public Internet. This distinction is subtle, but critically important.
Recently there has been much hype about cloud computing. The "cloud" of course is the Internet. This term has its roots in frame relay and other data protocols that preceeded the Internet. Frame Clouds were places where virtual circuits were created so as to avoid the high cost of point to point circuits. At the transport layer it made good sense and saved dollars, but lacked the dynamic features that the Internet provided. Security was sacrificed in return for usability and profit.
Today in the world of could computing there are basically depots where one can go in and out and pick up, or use any available IP application on a per-use basis. This adds to the convenience factor of the public Internet and further compounds the economoic benefits as more applications are brought online. A recent and very logical one is Voice applications.
Ifbyphone is a Cloud Telephony provider that offers in simple terms voice applications that can be accessed over the Internet. So, for a service provider looking to offer their customers voice features they need not build it on their own. They can just incorporate ifbyphone in to their own service offering and pay as they use it.
The key is the service is that it can be accessed. This is accomplished by "SIP Trunking" which is a very basic form of VoIP Peering. The interesting dimension with cloud telephony is that while it it essentially enabled by VoIP Peering it also provides for an alternate destination for the session rather than a specific endpoint for the purposes of a full-duplex call. It is possible that this is a step in the direction of an IP version of the legacy TDM Audiotext. Aside from features such as voicemail, IVR and call tracking it is possible to create information-based services that can be pay-pay-use.
Things such as press 1 for weather (sponsored by the Weather Channel), 2 for dining (sponsored by Zagats), etc could easily be SIP trunk destinations within this new VoIP cloud world. There are many, if not endless revenue generating applications that can be created.
Cloud telephony is a natural eveolution. It does not solve for the security issues related to the public Internet and any data that traverses it, but the double yellow lines on the road do not do much to keep someone from crossing the line either. Nevertheless, the roads and the Internet are essential for the dynamic nature of commerce.