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Stuart Henshall: VOIP As Revolution

Stuart Henshall publishes the Skype Journal and is CEO of Mosoci LLC, a research and strategy group helping organizations define their Skype strategy.

For well over one hundred years, the phone system has slowly but surely brought us closer together through the simple act of hearing each other speak. The Internet, in turn, radically changed communications with media from email to blogs, giving everyone online a way to share ideas with global audiences. Today VoIP - voice over internet protocol - combines the personal contact of voice and the global connections of the Internet. Moreover, it opens up the possibility of new user behavior, offering up a new vision for future.

From Skype users reporting on the "intimate planet" to kids exchanging language lessons to extended families adopting "always-on" communication -- for them a presence aware global intercom is almost here. And that global intercom is still evolving, from the addition of video to massively multiplayer games to Skypecasting to collaborative art. The emerging global multi-modal communications networks come not from gated and priced hierarchies but from the ground up. That's a big change and one likely to stimulate new innovations, new economics, and empower individuals to make a better world. Like information wanting to be free, conversations when free shrink the world.

What can you do today? Embrace solutions that enable global connections and then make them. Reach out talk and build your global network. And pay close attention to the actions of those threatened by new technologies and connections.

While this personal freedom to connect is powerful, strong vested and regulatory interests may well want to take it away. Our freedom to converse with whomever and whenever we want over the Internet should be a basic freedom. Skype proves that in a broadband world we really can reach a point where always on creates abundant opportunities to connect. We must insure these new connections are not squashed by traditional vested interests, be they political or business. Recent policy and legal decisions on Port Blocking, the RIAA and Grokster case and 911 access are examples of the turmoil the new communications methods have triggered.

Freedom in the 21st century is defined by communications. Let's not shackle voices with constraints. Let's us listen and encourage a world abundance.

Let's think "Voices for Freedom".

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