Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Et tu, Brute?

Oh, and the "SIP is dead" bit.
The Vob (a provisionless SIP-speaking voice network) is dead. Not even sleeping. SIP will be embedded inside other virtual networks (e.g. IMS, aka "TDM and SS7 on IP"). But they will be overlayed with a ton of proprietary and closed stuff that will make any SIP embedded somewhat irrelevant.
Think of the Skype API (and the Yahoo API, and MSN API, and…) as being like Visual Basic controls. By constraining the set of possible things you could do, you add value to the developer. In VB you don’t call generaly call Win32 APIs directly. The virtual networks will also overlay SIP in ways that make it invisible.
SIP is dead in the same way Latin is dead. The influence is clear, but you won’t hear it spoken on the street.
UPDATE: When people say "SIP" they often mean "The Vob" rather than RFC3261 (or whatever); but because there isn’t an equivalent of "The Web" for SIP they don’t have the language to say it.
UPDATE: The Vob has done what most open source projects do: create an imitation of the proprietary expensive earlier thing. In this case, the PSTN. But DOH! The point of the stupid network was to do crazy new things and send unimagined new messages. As a facsimile of the old thing, the Vob is fairly pointless. And if you don’t have an future equivalent of the "Web" for voice — a single virtual network, then SIP doesn’t have much of an audience. It just becomes a hidden bit in some proprietary virtual network owner’s developer kit.
UPDATE: Or, to ramble even more and eliminate all possibility of succinctness, SIP’s image is irredeemably hitched to the Vob, and the Vob is no more. As a vision of an interoperability standard, it’s extinct. As a convenient short-cut to building a private virtual network, it has its uses, but nobody will know or care.
UPDATE: Looks like Richard has put 1+1 together; if the Vob is dead, and public ENUM is a way to route SIP calls on the Vob, then all SIP and ENUM have become are toolkits to build private proprietary virtual networks with. Now all you have to do is pin the tail on the donkey and decide which private virtual network(s) to put your money on. Cheap-and-nimble Skype; one of the big-three IM networks; the telcos with IMS; or something else from leftfield.
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