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February 18, 2004
Henshall on Skype
Stuart Henshall, the go-to guy for thinking about the ramifications of Skype and VoIP, has a piece on the radicalness of Skype's always-on conference call system
After my first Skype conference calls I realized how just how "different" it is. In a traditional conference call you dial-in to a phone number and the conference is pinged as you enter. No-one knows who is coming in unitl they announce themselves. These calls are usually scheduled for a specific time. Hardly a spontaneous way to connect a few people or in the "spur of the moment" bring someone new into the conversation. [...] I'm Skyping with you and want an additional person in the conversation.... I right click on the new contact in my friends list and that individual is added in to the conversation. My screen (see TDavid for picture) expands to show the new connection. I can introduce them, knowing exactly when the connection is established.
More like walking up to a group at a party than the current generation of conference calls.
The biggest difference between VoIP and the circuit-switched phone network we've got is not going to be cheap phone calls. It's going to be ridiculously easy group-forming.
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