A few years ago I had dinner with someone in senior management of Globe Telecom. It was one of those strange meetings where I was asked along as someone in London who was future technology focused and in the Telco industry. I guess someone at the table valued my opinion but I ended up getting a lot more out of the dinner than just food and a pleasant conversation.
The topic was generally around getting the local calling card companies to get a dedicated VoIP link into Globes main network switch. The idea being that the costs of terminating calls to the network would cut out the middle arbitrage men that you traditionally would use to deliver the calls to the network. So the conversation was generally hovering around VoIP. I asked the fairly innocuous question: “what do you see happening to call pricing over the next few years?”. The answer I got stunned me. “We don’t see international call charging as being our core business, we are all about value add” or something to that effect (It was a few years ago now, so don’t quote me on that).
It’s now five years later and I don’t think I’ve paid for a phone call for the past five years. I Skype, Viber, iMessage, Voxer, Heytell and What’s App. In the case of email I do the majority of my communicating via Facebook. I have a gmail account that I use to transfer files between people who insist on using traditional email (I currently have 1700 unread emails in my gmail inbox). For all intents and purposes I don’t use traditional email anymore. My communication is instant, live and direct to the person I am communicating with.
I could make this post about: where is the value add? This may be interesting, however I have another question I would like to pose: “how come it has become more difficult to communicate when all this technology should have made it easier?”.
We have to open apps. We receive push notifications and they all going to specific apps. There is no joining of this information into one nice feed. We have islands of communications. With the streams of consciousness trapped on individual islands.
I find this frustrating.
We were promised convergence. Instead we have islands that operate oceans apart. I spend a lot of my day switching between twitter, voxer, facebook messanger, facebook and skype. All in the name of keeping in touch with people.
There is also another issue: you have tribes of people who only use one messaging platform. I for one haven’t made the leap to the google+ platform yet. I have an account, I open it from time to time but I don’t really use it. I have their apps installed on my various mobile devices but I just don’t ‘get it’.
So the friends I have that only use Google+ don’t get to speak with me any longer. They are marooned on a desert island lost to me.
The operating system manufacturers should force apps to use a common messaging repository that the OS can use to handle notifications, viewing, deleting, answering and read notification.
Watch this space, I think this is going to be the next major thing. An actually unified messaging platform lead by the OS manufacturers.