"Why do people make phone calls?"
... the opening question at my old Future of Voice workshops.
many attendees and also many of my telco consulting clients during private engagements.
Most just looked blank, or perhaps suggested "to speak to people?". To be fair, the answer isn't obvious. Which is rather odd, given the need or desire for phone calls is the basis for the entire industry.
Few people think broadly about "purpose" of communications. What is the participant trying to achieve? How does the service or application help them do that? How can it be improved? What are the real sources of value?
In reality, there are 100s of uses for phone calls: To get information. Catch up with a friend. Buy something. Complain. Get help. All deserve a different, optimised experience. Yet a phone call is basically a one-size-fits-all, common denominator product.
Telco's don't do "voice". They just do "telephony" - a single 140-year old, clunky, unnatural, heavily-regulated voice applications
Instead, they should have considered the 1000s of types of voice
communication that are NOT phone calls. Audio chat, push-to-talk,
karaoke, voice assistants and so on. All designed for particular purposes, with user-interaction models and technology stacks. Some dependent on the network, some on apps, some on devices, some in learned human behaviour.
The same is happening now for video. It's more than just video conferencing.
It's training, collaboration, security, education, medicine, machine vision, infra-red, social broadcast or 1000s of other uses, applications & business models.
There are platforms, enablers & APIs. Developer tools & design & test capabilities. WebRTC is important but not alone.
If telcos, service-providers, cloud/platform players, developers, enterprises and investors really want to understand the value and timelines for future communications - they need to ask the real questions. Not get blinded by ancient standards, or regulatory mandates to measure things in "minutes".
RTC (realtime communications) is getting more complicated, diverse - and has huge opportunities, as well as risks to incumbent providers of old/poor products. We all know which are the good/bad WFH conferencing products, or messaging services these days.
What does the future bring? New models for UCaaS & cPaaS? Innovative video services for the smart home? New audio drop-in chat apps? AR/VR conferencing? What are the impacts of 5G, edge-computing and AI?
So I'm announcing:
A new 3-part / 2-timezone "Future of Video & RTC" workshop series with WebRTC maven Tsahi Levent-Levi from May 19th. Early-bird rates end soon.