February 3rd, 2005

New technologies, new lens

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Be afraid said Businessweek (via VoIP Watch)

The big mistake many people make with new technologies, from personal computers to the World Wide Web and, most likely, VOIP, is to compare them with existing ways of doing things, and then–big surprise!–they don’t measure up. Yet already, more than 22 million people, plus 70,000 more every day, think Skype is more than good enough, and no doubt it will get better. What’s more, it offers much more than POTS–such as the ability to know if someone’s available before you call and set up conference calls with a click. Let the so-called experts argue over how many years away the tipping point is. I and 22 million other people already know it’s here.

How true. The greatest mistake most people make is looking at disruptive technologies with the same old lens.

Just a couple of weeks ago, one friend was arguing that WiFi VoIP isn’t ready for mass adoption – it still has many problems like power (handset battery life), WLAN authentication, seamless session handover across base stations, etc etc. You know what? In the famous words of Bill Gates – “it doesn’t matter!”.

It is not how well it compares to the existing technologies; Neither is it about how many problem the new technologies has. It is question if it is good enough and you don’t argue with numbers.

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