Road_to_Universal_CoverageIt took more than 100 years from the invention of the telephone to the point where virtually every home in the developed word had a phone line.

In the mid-1980’s the first cellular networks appeared and, 25 years later, we get to the point where there are 6 billion cell phones in a world with 7 billion people. More people have access to a cell phone than to drinking water or toilets.

As cell phones reach universal coverage, traditional phones usage is declining. As of 2013, 1/3 of the US households no longer have a phone landline, and that coverage is fast.

VoIP technology as we know it today appeared in the 90’s and became widely available to consumers in the early 2000’s. Those services have incorporated capabilities to add video, text chat, screen share, etc.

But IP-based communications has not yet reached universal coverage. I cannot simply “pick-up the phone and call anyone in the word”. Users are still segmented among a handful of proprietary platforms.

But the day where real-time communications over IP become universal is coming. We can already see the beginnings of the decline in the use of cell phone. I am not necessarily typical, but I used only 5 minutes of my cell phone plan last month (most of my communication these days happen over Facebook, Twitter and Skype).

How long will it take? Considering that adoption of new technologies is accelerating, it won’t take 100 years like the telephone or 25 years like the cell phone. We have been using IP-based communications for over 10 years, so we are going to see universal coverage in IP RTC in a couple of years. Download the WebRTC White Paper.

 
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