There comes a point in every disruptive technology's life when it is not just an "acceptable alternative" to the entrenched technology, nor even "as good as" the entrenched technology, but "preferable to" the entrenched technology. That's when the entrenched technology dies.
That's when VCRs and audio cassette tape decks show up on FreeCycle.org and the shelves of Goodwill Industries shops. That's when pawnshops won't take them anymore. That's when Wal-Mart runs out of Blu-Ray players during Christmas season and respectable matrons bloody each other for the last one.
This sort of "market inflection point" hit the VoIP market in the second half of 2008. High-definition (HD) VoIP is preferable to traditional PSTN. HD VoIP is here, now, in abundance from many vendors. That's it. Game over.
The PSTN is not dying, it is dead. Its corpse is being hauled away to recycling centers and Third World countries. Do not cling to the PSTN or, like a car pulling away from the curb, it will drag you through dirt and broken glass. Let go and embrace HD VoIP.
HD VoIP doubles the usable bandwidth of traditional VoIP to 16 Khz, making VoIP audio signals painfully clear. You may actually have to throttle down the bandwidth a bit to dampen the rustling of clothing and the soft scratch of ballpoint pens on paper. That's fine. The point is, HD VoIP is preferable to anything else, and it's time to buy it.
Jeff Pulver, whose first evangelical ravings on VoIP I edited in Boardwatch Magazine, has a decade-long track record of calling things right in the VoIP industry. Here's what he has to say on his blog:
"I believe HD voice holds the same promise for the telecom industry as format changes in the entertainment industry. With enough interest, together we can trigger a worldwide replacement cycle like the one observed currently with HDTV. This is an opportunity that cannot be ignored and one that will get the attention of the entire telecom ecosystem."
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