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Top 10 convergence predictions for 2006

Jan 04, 20062 mins

* What 2006 will bring to the world of convergence

As is our annual habit, today we polish the crystal ball to come up with our top 10 predictions for the coming year in convergence.

1. Enterprise network engineers and applications experts will be brought kicking and screaming into the same room and they will be forced to talk to each other. We expect this trend to develop from the exceptional case into the standard rules of business engagement.

2. Talking about VoIP technology will become about as interesting as talking about T-1 / E-1 transmission technology. (Boring.) The hot topic will be IP telephony and how voice calls get integrated with other user interfaces.

3. Web services (as defined by Steve and our colleague Jim Metzler in 2005) will become another hot topic, and may even be offered by one or two progressive service providers.

4. We will see further consolidation of telephony service providers and infrastructure providers in 2006.

5. A debate about device-level convergence will occur, with CFOs asking: Is a PDA / camera phone / cell phone / MP3 player / mobile video terminal / Swiss Army knife a valuable business tool or just another fun gadget to play with?

6. Some clever company will create a tool belt that can holster and provide power for up to five devices for those who don’t want or can’t afford a “converged mobile terminal.”

7. The VoIP strategies of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, eBay, and AOL will finally become clear.

8. The newest problem will be digital rights management / conditional access, and the oldest problem of network-to-network interfaces will be brought to the table again as applications management adds complexity between multiple provider networks. (A repeat from 2005 predictions that we think will finally come true in 2006.)

9. A tier-one network service provider will offer unlimited domestic local and long-distance calls “for free” with the purchase of the provider’s broadband service – including inbound and outbound off-net calling.

10. Regulatory agencies in most countries will continue to encourage competition, especially in the consumer markets.