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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Gas Prices, VoIP Adoption & Skype Phenomenon

Russel Shaw writes,When wholesale oil prices reach very high these levels, airlines feel compelled to tack on fuel charges. Maybe $5 or $10 a ticket, sometimes more.Companies calculate the rising cost of business travel, maybe they won’t send a whole crew to that monthly sales meeting, or second-tier industry convention.When companies opt out of those types of press-the-flesh solutions, they wil look at cheaper communications alternatives.VoIP is that alternative. This may work for businesses,entrepreneurs,SOHOs and withVoIP-enabled video conferencing capability, the cost efficiencies/ROI as opposed to business travel doesn’t just present itself.

My Take: Yes this is generally true – improved telecom is expected to cut down travel.The travel industry need not worry – apart from meetings, lot more socializing, networking happens in face-to-face meetings. Lot of icebreaking, deal making all happen in face-to-face meetings. Imagine trying to close a medium sized to lagre sized deal over VoiP – One would always like directly to be at the place of action. Notwithstanding these, we see phenomenal increase in the usage of tools like skype. We recently covered James Enck saying, At 30m registered users, Skype would appear to have penetrated 20% of its addressable market, and with around 2m concurrent users, more than 1% of the world's broadband population is running Skype at any given time.Look at how these tools get acceptance so quickly If 155m use MSN Messenger as reported in this Financial Times article, then Skype is ahead of MSN in terms of addressable market penetration, and in a much shorter period of time. May be worth bearing in mind that Skype's addressable market (& MSN's for that matter) is quite a bit more than the 150m broadband subscribers (probably ADSL + cable). It also includes businesses, govts, schools/universities, cybercafes etc with leased-line or other fast, shared connections." Skype calling cards, integration with mobile and cordless devices. With this, is the growing development of products and services around Skype. Individuals using the service own for the most part all the hardware required to operate the network. As Dina Mehta points out A computer-mediated social network is the infrastructure. Skype is beginning to rewire and unwire the whole way in which we communicate. It is extending to business propositions, services and products that serve business processes and social interactions. This is truly an impressive social transformation that is happening and in a ever growing business suituation, growth of one new sector like VoiP need not be at the expense of another always -in this case the travel industry - afterall the travel segment is also growing(albeit slowly)- more and more opensky arrangments are getting finalises in tandem with general trade agreements.

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