Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ordinary or extraordinary?

"Ordinary events" are frequently the result of extraordinary journeys. I experienced one of those "light bulb" moments yesterday. After being an avid Skype user for years, I decided to add a Skype phone to our house, instead of always using it on my PC. We have tracked IP phones for years now, but had never felt that using the PC got in the way. It amazed me how blown away I was by the convenience and simplicity of adding a Belkin Skype phone in my kitchen. Intellectually I had known that the phone was a friendlier device because of its familiarity, but the difference was tremendous.

Some days seem made for epiphanies. My second ordinary/amazing moment came when Dave finally installed the high quality camera he had bought for his PC back a year ago when Skype started supporting them. As someone who lived thru the arduous history of desktop videoconferencing and videophones at AT&T, I had become a Skype devotee when my daughter in Florida was awaiting heart surgery. With expectations conditioned by years of compromise, I thought that the pictures I was getting of my far-flung family were adequate and didn't expect more. When Dave called me with his new video camera (which costs $89.99) I once again realized what a long road we have travelled since the days of the $500 AT&T Videophone 2500, with its (maybe) 4 frames per second capability. What a picture!

Lest I seem hung up on Skype (I guess its my deep video history), I was also struck today by an article in Telecommunications Online, by Sean Buckley. With the leader "Actiontec cleans up the home network clutter" Buckley starts by saying: "It’s hard to imagine a time when the idea of having an integrated modem with Wi-Fi wireless and other capabilities on one common network gateway device was a foreign concept." I flashed back to a slide we presented at VON Asia 2000 (November 13-15, Hong Kong, China ( ). Called "Enabling the Broadband Home", we illustrated "the complexities which need to be overcome by the industry to make the broadband home a reality for the mass market." It is humbling to understand that it has taken eight years to move from conception to realization and adoption!!