Raising VOIP Consciousness

Those of us in the technical media hear an almost deafening VOIP drumbeat. Newsletters on Internet telephony seem to appear every month. The general business media, and even the general interest media, are devoting a growing number of column inches, pixels and air time to the subject.

That's all well and good, but the industry still needs to realize how Greek—or invisible—this technology and service are to most.

VOIP's relative obscurity is born out by a June 28 report from the Pew Institute, which finds that just 27 percent of Internet users in the United States—or 17 percent of all Americans—have heard of Internet telephony, and 3 percent of Internet users have considered adopting VOIP technology in the home.

Eleven percent of Internet users, or about 14 million Americans, have made at least one VOIP phone call. The survey, conducted in February 2004, drew 2,204 respondents, of which exactly one was using VOIP in the home.

Indeed, a few weeks spent freelancing at a travel magazine this spring—for a change of scenery, from SIP-component network diagrams to pink-sand beaches—was illuminating. I asked six or seven young, intelligent and presumably literate writers assembled in the lunch corner if they'd ever heard of Internet telephony. Only one writer nodded. She was the departmental tech guru, and the only editorial staffer who knew how to make Quark CopyDesk type a tilde.

News source: eWeek

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