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Johanne Torres[October 5, 2004]

Grand Opening Session


"This seems to be THE year for VoIP.” So said TMC’s president Rich Tehrani when kicking off today’s Grand Opening Session at the Crystal room of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles during what’s shaping up to be one of the most important VoIP events of the year—Internet Telephony Conference and EXPO. The session featured an impressive speaker lineup: first up from Siemens we listened to Bernd Kuhlin, followed by Katherine Bagin, representing AT&T.

Kuhlin highlighted that the need of voice and data convergence pushes open the creation of opportunities VoIP developers to go into a common open standard to serve as base for adoption of new platforms such as mobile VoIP and the widely adoptable Web conferencing feature. He said the key in being successful VoIP enablers was in providing customers with enhanced productivity while they are at work, home or on the move.

“VoIP developers will concentrate on being high on presence and saving millions of dollars by benefiting from Web conferencing capabilities, and capitalizing on bringing the technology to collaborate for a standard, unified network,” said Kuhlin.

AT&T’s Katherine Bagin stated that “After almost 10 years waiting for this technology to be hot, the technology indeed has arrived, and from the service providers perspective, it is like a science project come true.” Bagin when on to explain how “anything can be a phone, and this anything can work anywhere as well.” Bagin’s presentation was very big on the topic of presence.

She introduced the term “screenagers” as she referred to the real future users of VoIP. She believes that teenagers who empower today’s instant and text messaging craze, will be the real users of VoIP in the near future. She described today’s teenagers as knowledge power houses that understand their broadband, and are natural multitaskers.

She mentioned that right now it is hard to market broadband usage for $49.99, but by adding VoIP services to a bundle, consumers will now justify spending that amount for the access. “Users will now have a valuable reason to get broadband, and voice services will drive the adoption of VoIP,” said Bagin.

Johanne Torres is the contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was the assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at jtorres@tmcnet.com.

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