Thinking about why VoIP is free (after paying for connectivity, of course) is an amazingly difficult concept for most of us to understand because we are so locked into thinking of voice conversations as something a telephone does. Somehow, sending voice data over the internet feels so much different than sending text data or images because we have such firm associations between voice and the old telephone companies. As broadband penetration improves and devices become more sophisticated, the lines between television, telephones, internet and everything else begin to break down. You can watch movies on your laptop over the internet, use it to make phone calls and send email.
Meanwhile, mobile/wireless technologies are leapfrogging everything familiar and pushing the boundaries further. The real innovation is happening in the developing world which skipped over a lot of legacy technology and who’s wholehearted embrace of mobile wireless is creating new markets, connecting new people and frustrating regulators everywhere. I love it.
Here is a fun little video on WIZZIT banking in South Africa – one of many innovative uses of mobile phones meeting the financial needs of the world’s poor.