March 11th, 2005

Reflections on VON

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Finally, today is the last day of VON. So many things happened here that I can hardly catch my breath. It is time to sit down and reflect what I learn about VON.

1. This is the largest VON ever – 6,000+ people! (congz to This huge turn out means VoIP is no longer a fringe technology. I remember during one session, Carl asked the audience who they work for: 1/3 are vendors, 1/3 are VoIP service providers and 1/3 are investors/venture capitalists. Yes, 1/3 are investors; I been asked several times what would I recommend to invest during the week. That’s a very good sign!

2. I didn’t finish seeing all the exhibits but I am mildly excited about the things on display. Mostly duplicate of other successful products, I strongly believe we should continue to innovate and create new products/services. VoIP is really only in its infancy and there are a lot of things waiting to be built! Go fore and innovate!

Note to Taiwanese manufacturers: I think you can do better then just copying others ideas. You have the electronic skill, the manufacturing know-how, and also the factories. Go create something new and impressed us!3. VON conference presenters are first-class! Or maybe I attended too many Asia conferences, whose English language skill is weaker, so my expections have been lowered. Either way, I am very impressed with the quality of all the speakers, especially the keynotes. Even the marketing talks are interesting enough to keep me listening then doing my email.

4. VON is all about network – human network. I met so many people in the voip industry, some we talk over email and finally get to meet face-to-face, some only by reputation. Turn around, wala, CEO of SJPhone walking over…went over to lunch area and got introduced to CEO of IPWireless (we have a bit of history apparently ;-) etc. Its amazing – the only complaint I have is that it is impossible to locate anyone among 6,000 attendees.

Using VON.Communicator as a social network tool is a good idea but can be refined further. For one, please provide a Mac version…please. Next, look at some visualizing engine to show relationships (it always help!) so we know who we can ask for help to intro and also perhaps ways to organize ourselves for lunch/dinner etc etc.

5. Many people applauded FCC for reacting so quickly in the Madison River blocking port 5060 cases. What’s more interesting is many members of the audience have taken to ask FCC in public mic (several times) or private conversations regarding ISPs blocking port 25 :-) Looks like I wasn’t the only one against port 25 blocking. ;-)

6. Now, onto the bad part – Wifi network is horrible! This is especially so in the main hall – I spent a lot of time fighting the network to get a stable connection to be able to check my mail or do a little blogging. It is extremely frustrating.

So when someone asked me if we can do the APEET Live Trial at VON, my answer is “not with the wifi network quality!”.

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