This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
As we reflect on the disaster unleashed by British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico, I wondered about the role of IP communications in the event. Certainly, the reason that I can see the oil gushing out of the earth is because of the Internet. Most of what I read about the tragedy comes via Internet news sites and other IP sources. But, what role on a daily basis does the technology play?
I would be surprised if smartphones were not in use by BP, its contractors, volunteers, state and local officials to schedule daily work activity, document where the oil is approaching shore or creating havoc on various forms of wildlife. Moreover, given BP’s size and financial resources, I am certain that the company employs unified communications to support its daily business practices and processes. The company probably uses Skype (News - Alert) to make international calls between the U.S. and the U.K. BP employees certainly will find it easier to use e-mails and IM to contact each other and provide updates as to their progress or lack thereof. And I am sure that when escalation is required, transitioning from an e-mail to IM to VoIP is not uncommon.
The role of IP communications in this case is broad based. It is supporting the delivery of information to interested parties such as me. It is supporting the role of those responsible for the cleanup, such as BP, its contractors and volunteers. Finally, it is supporting the financial needs of businesses and people who are facing closure and the loss of their jobs. Today, IP communications is applied in nearly every aspect of our lives.
As the industry pushes the concepts and value propositions associated with VoIP and SIP trunking, I would be remiss if I did not remind all of you that we use this data-centric technology to accomplish an incredible number of tasks every day. Internet protocol is not a solution, but it enables numerous applications, services, products and processes. At some point, the final solution to shutting off the spill will probably be an action initiated by a command sent over using IP.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi