Skype is a VoIP (Voice over IP or Voice over Internet Protocol) technology that uses the power of the Internet to allow callers to talk to one another through their PC’s. VoIP calls over the Internet are not new at all even though VoIP is becoming more and more mainstream.
Several years ago, I worked with a start-up Internet telephony company developing VoIP communications. We courted auto dealers, real estate agents, and other high end industries that might benefit from the technology. We had VC money and investors lined up, and analysts that said VoIP was going to explode.
Everyone forgot several things….Users needed speakers and a microphone. We thought we had it covered, we would give microphones away. The next issue that everyone missed was that even though most PC’s had a sound card, and many with speakers and a microphone, not many users had plugged them in to actually use them.
Through much beta testing and trying to work with businesses, PC to PC calling for business use failed. End users didn’t want to tweak, adjust, or mess with audio settings to make a cheap PC to PC call. On the business side, businesses didn’t want a voice call with jitter or echo.
Businesses would rather a customer make a standard voice call for the best call quality as possible.
Another area I think eBay may have missed is the power of text messaging. The great thing with text messaging is the ability to make quick bursts of communication and then you’re done. Most people don’t want to get into lengthy calls. Allowing buyers and sellers to communicate via a voice call, many sellers / buyers might feel put out by callers that want to talk at length about any particular product.
Only time will tell whether eBay’s adoption of VoIP technology will reap any major benefits for buyers and sellers. For now, I don’t see the real value as there are easier, more effective methods of communication for buyers and sellers to communicate with one another without the hassles of configuring a PC to make a call.
What are your thoughts about PC to PC calls using VoIP technology? Share your views with our visitors.