There is a significant void between available technology and the services offered by the telecommunications industry. On the Internet, rich media – audio and visual and video – are the norm. But telephony is still locked into the same audio-only technology we’ve had for 130 years. Since the bar is so low, VoIP vendors like Skype, Vonage, and cable TV companies are able to enter the field with low capital outlays, and offer the same 130-year-old service for less money with the primary pitch to the consumer of shaving pennies off the cost of long distance calls. Because of the downward spiral on price, traditional carriers have thin margins, low stock prices, and poor prospects for the future.
Carriers are experiencing a steady erosion of their customer base to wireless phones, cable-TV internet access, alternative local service providers, and discount long distance services, including VoIP vendors. There is little incentive for carriers to introduce similar VoIP services that will even further under price their existing services. The major carriers are, therefore, anxiously seeking new revenue opportunities that will leverage their investment and skills, however, they have not demonstrated a vision of how to accomplish this.
But there is a bright upside waiting in the wings. In an optimized environment, combining the multimedia capability of the Internet with the safety, security, and reliability of the telephone network would be ideal. This would enable a world in which audio/visual telephone calls will soon be the standard for routine, daily communications.
Even though VoIP holds promise in this direction, VoIP vendors have not implemented new and exciting audio/video features. Since existing VoIP offerings are simply discounted POTS service, companies participating in VoIP have limited promise for the future - current VoIP services offer no value-added, only lower cost, with fierce price pressure from cable TV and other low-overhead vendors. In addition, VoIP is susceptible to the inherent flaws of the Internet, including confidentiality, quality, and general Internet reliability.
Further, switching to VoIP will cause carriers worldwide to walk away from their investments in existing infrastructure, operations and support systems (OSS), billing systems and employee knowledge and training.
The technology embodied by the author’s patent portfolio avoids the problems and limitations associated with “traditional” VoIP by utilizing the existing PSTN private data signaling network to set up and manage Internet telephone calls. The resulting technology combines the security and reliability of existing telephone network infrastructure with the efficiency of the Internet. This next-generation, carrier-class Internet Telephony will clearly differentiate these providers from traditional VoIP vendors. The patented technology would likewise allow carriers to expand their traditional and cellular services by offering, for example, the transmission of MultiMedia data using wireline and cellular telephones (such as the iPhone).
The MultiMedia features enabled by this technology include videophone service, but are much more than that, effectively blending the world of the computer with that of the telephone. For example, as if using a browser, users could interact visually with remote systems such as voice mail systems and answering machines, and activate and respond to central office features such as call forwarding, call block, repeat dialing, and automatic callback.
Screen phones (wired, or wireless such as the iPhone) will allow users full functionality including audio-visual communications experiences. By combining the technological capabilities of the new generation of screen phones with this patented technology, carriers will be at the forefront of (or likely control) the next generation of landline and mobile personal communications.
The technology will enable these carriers to preserve their investments while introducing suites of new landline and cellular services to dramatically increase revenue.
A user only needs to dial phone number to a land-based or cellular telephone, as they’ve always done, to enable Internet MultiMedia communication – anyone’s grandmother (or grandfather) can do it. Internet connectivity is automatic if it is available, and so are all the available features.