May 24, 2006

The ICANN of VOIP? Nah.

Steve Forrest over at Free 2 Innovate has picked up an article about Spider, a company that seems to want to be the registry of registries for ENUM.

I guess folks who are wrapped up in ENUM have not noticed that the VOIP community, particularly the SIP community, are ignoring ENUM in droves.  I mean, why should I use legacy phone numbers when I could be calling something rather more descriptive, and more memorable, like a text string or what looks like an email address?

In the VOIP world calls are placed using URI's - these look a lot like URLs.  (But trust me, they are really different, and more flexible than URL's.)

ENUM was a designed as a way to let people call legacy PSTN phone numbers.

But with personal directories (e.g. speed dial) and group directories, and search services, and all the other web-based technologies that everyone has come to use over the last few years, do you think there is much beyond the 12-key pad that is locking is into archaic phone numbers?

In the SIP world there is arising a kind of dynamic registry of registries called DUNDI - Distributed Universal Number Discovery.  DUNDI is open source and is found, among other places, in Asterisk the extremely popular open source PBX.

I often scoff at the phrase "the internet routes around problems".  However, I do suspect that VOIP "number" registration is going to grow in ways completely outside the telco and ICANN mentality.

Posted by karl at May 24, 2006 2:32 PM