A modern day Thomas Edison. The Jack Welch of the telecommunications industry. If you have not yet heard of Dr. Hossein Eslambolchi, his biography does not make for light reading (http://bit.ly/gAFnmn). Well known for his revolutionary role with AT&T as President of Bell Laboratories, CIO and CTO until 2006, Business Week has labeled him “a critical player in maintaining AT&T’s status as a technology leader” (12/2005). Eslambolchi has leveraged both his visionary entrepreneurial and engineering skills (named “Inventor of the Year” by the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame 2001) to act as advisor and board member to dozens of companies he has helped to transform. We see this currently with Clearwire’s transition from retail to wholesale network provider. BroadSoft, the leading, worldwide innovator of Voice over IP (VoIP) applications, grilled the often prophetic thought leader on what’s next for the telecommunications industry.
BroadSoft: As a renowned telecommunications strategist, you are known to help set the foundation on what’s next for the industry. So, we have to ask – what’s next?
Eslambolchi: I have been pushing hard for the past 15 years that everything will be moving toward IP; and predicted by 2010 VoIP would be the primary source of all business communication and by 2015 would be the primary source of all consumer communications. We are not too far from it, as more and more businesses have transitioned to VoIP (due to cost, quality, scalability, flexibility, etc). And with FTTX & 4G – VoIP has started to reach out to consumers.
BroadSoft: You see a large market opportunity for VoIP and the end consumer?
Eslambolchi: VoIP is clearly a transformative, converged technology that offers significant benefits for corporation and consumers alike. By 2015 VoIP won’t be an option for voice telephony; it will be the standard – as ubiquitous as the copper wire has been in the past.
BroadSoft: You mention ubiquity. How do you see IP, mobile, and the connected consumer moving forward?
Eslambolchi: Communications must be building around the user, instead of the user having to adapt to their devices. IP convergence will allow you to plug one device into a broadband network to instantly meet all your communications needs. We are reaching the era of the smart environment – smart homes and all of its appliances, smart cars which will integrate with all of our devices from GPS to ipad, iphone, Android, facebook, twitter, and of course smart offices.
Mobile phones will be able to move between VoIP networks, and wireless networks without the user ever noticing a change – a huge boost for reliability and range of use. 4G is the promise of the future for broadband as they fully and easily interconnect with wide range of individual devices, a capability that earlier wireless technologies lacked. It will support all sorts of converged services, including conferencing, training, entertainment, gaming, advertising, mobile banking, NFC, etc. SMS, MMS, pictures, gaming, video, and many other apps will be integrated with voice so that if you drop a call, or need to remain quite in a conference room or at home, you can continue your conversation and other apps.
BroadSoft: BroadSoft recently announced HD video conferencing service, BroadCloud Video. What are your predictions for multimedia, video and IP?
Eslambolchi: Video will be the new voice. IMS will be the springboard for seamless delivery of multimedia streams across mobile and wired devices. And IMS helps enable XoIP service and video services such as video conferencing, video training, video peering between multiple independent networks which will work similar to voice.
BroadSoft: What is the XoIP opportunity for video?
Eslambolchi: XoIP infrastructure allows the service to adjust and adapt to the access technologies the user has at his/her disposal. You record a video message, but the other party does not have access to the video device. The message will automatically covert to the service layer from audio-video format into an audio message or SMS. These XoIP apps on all services will allow you to take your call at home, easily transfer to your car (hands-free), and once you are in the office to transfer it to a audio-video desk phone, and vice versa.
BroadSoft: Our service providers, partners, and end customers have played a critical role in the evolution of IP technology and services. As such, how do you see this VoIP community evolving?
Eslambolchi: BroadSoft plays a key role in all of the above conversations; as they have been the pioneer of the XoIP feature and application services for past 12 years. While others had doubts about VoIP, IMS, FTTX, FMC, 4G; BroadSoft continued to push forward with their innovation. The innovations from BroadSoft enabled so much for us during the past 12 years in wireline XoIP; that now we can take advantage of all of the experience, development, and applications as they all will be extended toward 4G. These will also be the converged XB services of combined wired and wireless networks in a ubiquitous, always available, mobile broadband network.
I have personally invited many executives from our industry to stop by the BroadSoft booth in CTIA and encourage everyone to do the same.