By RICH TEHRANI
President & Group Editor-in-Chief
Rumor has it Intel or AMD Capital will invest in Inveneo, the bicycle-powered VoIP company delivering communications access to people in third-world countries. Recently some people have been joking with me that if you can really generate electricity in third-world countries, how about installing some light bulbs and other appliances that are more important than VoIP. This comment evolved into a conversation that made me wonder -- Are we taking the VoIP industry too seriously?
All kidding aside, the ability to have communications where there is no electricity is vitally important... Even in the where we supposedly have the world's best communications networks (OK we all know we don't but it is nice to imagine we do) a few Inveneo powered bicycles could have allowed Katrina survivors to call for help and be connected to the outside world.
You may recall that the company had its coming out party in the VoIP industry at TMC's VoIP Developer Conference.
I am looking forward to having this company at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo next month as well where we can learn more about where they are going with this ingenious new product and more importantly... What is the business model of such an invention? Perhaps charitable trusts will purchase these devices in volume for remote villages in third-world countries. The government could install these on every street corner in
New Orleans as part of the rebuilding process.
What I have learned after seeing the stationary bike in action is that out of shape writers may not be the best people to demo them. (*Light bulb*) Perhaps if we can install these bikes under people's desks so that whenever they talk on the phone, they have to pedal... We can solve the nation's obesity problem overnight.