David Weinberger writes:
Voice over IP is a misnomer. It only looks like voice now because it’s replacing a voice-based technology. But it’s really about calls.
Why assume that phone calls have to be audio only? That’s an artifact of the current infrastructure. If you were starting from scratch and didn’t have lines that only knew how to carry sound but could carry any type of bit you’d build something far different. It’d integrate with other applications on your phone device. It’d know who’s calling from where and spin up a web page to show you the relevant information. It’d link to everything the Net knows. It might assume an open mike not a two-person conversation as the default. It wouldn’t assume that each phone call is essentially separate from every other; it would assume they can cluster into threads the way emails do. Or perhaps it’d find a more natural lumping than threads, including joining with other types of communication. It’d provide IM as a backchannel for multiperson phone calls. It’d give you visual bits as well as audio ones. It would do things that no one can predict because the genius of the market hasn’t yet invented them. But it is in the process.