Internet Phones Smart For Home Or Business

    June 5, 2006

If you haven’t heard already, there’s a revolution underway in terms of how people make phone calls. Of course, the strong possibility that perhaps neither you nor anyone you know is participating in this revolution may speak to its (in)effectiveness. Still, the telephone is being modernized, with the promise of worldwide free calls just visible on the horizon. The technology is known as VoIP.

This promised land will be brought to you by fast Internet connections – computers will connect with each other and transmit voices (digitized, compressed, and formed into packets) between callers. The sound quality of these digitized Internet calls can be equal or better to conventional phone lines. And, within members of the network, calls could be extremely cheap or free.

PC-to-PC calls can be so inexpensive because they don’t utilize the lines of telephone companies’ networks. But although the infrastructure already exists, the hardware side of things isn’t as far along. Existing phones must either replaced or adapted to plug into the Internet, and right now, there isn’t much of a market for this. Phones that are compatible with the Skype service, for example, are few and far between, and are often more expensive than traditional phones.

This type of service is still very much worth looking into, however. With a headset, or a microphone and speakers, anyone with a fast enough Internet connection can take advantage of it. Certain investors seem to think the idea will take hold – Skype was purchased by eBay some time ago for $2.6 billion, with an additional $1.5 billion to follow if specific targets are met. Even if Skype doesn’t collect the “bonus,” the purchase price amounts to 43 times the company’s most recent yearly revenue.

And VoIP is catching on. In Skype’s first quarter, 220,000 users joined worldwide every day. The savings for an individual (or a business entity) who spends a lot of time on the phone could be immense. So grab a pair of headphones, or maybe even splurge on a new handset – Internet telephone service is, despite appearances, to some extent already here.

Add to | DiggThis | Yahoo! My Web


Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.