What’s important about IP telephony?

I suppose that, having worked on and off with VoIP for a little while, I really should have cottoned on to this earlier, but it’s only having it at home that has made me realise what will really be different for ordinary users in a VoIP world.

It’s not the lower cost, though that will be nice. It’s not that you’ll need fewer wires around your house, or that you’ll be able to make phone calls from your laptop, or that you’ll only need to buy one link to the outside world because your internet connection and your phone connection will have merged. No, I think the big changes will be that:

  • You’ll be able to have as many extensions as you like for no extra cost. This means that the concept of one or two lines coming into the house may go away. Yes, your daughter will have her own extension, and she’ll be able to call her friend’s bedroom without blocking the line for everybody else. You’ll be able to call the kitchen from the basement, or call the basement from the shopping mall, if you so desire.
  • Phone lines will be more like email addresses. And many of the things you can do with email addresses will apply to phone lines. So, for example, you can redirect them to point at other addresses. Or you can make one address ring several phones, which may be in different parts of the house or in different parts of the world.

All of this has been possible in the past, but it won’t be long before this is a standard facility that everybody will have at home if they choose to make use of it.

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