In the past, getting the message through was a struggle, especially when we were entirely dependent on postal mail, a.k.a., snail mail. Also, gone are the days of expensive phone calls, again, thanks to the Internet. Aside from the usual voice chats or conversations, the introduction of the Voice over Internet Protocols (VOIP) has given people the chance to keep in touch on the cheap.
Saying ‘hello’ over the Net
Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP or Broadband phone service as it is often referred to, has changed the telephony world. It has slowly phased out traditional phone lines as businesses and households around the world embrace the benefits.
The technology started as far back as 1995, when a small company called Vocatec released what was believed to be the first Internet phone software. Designed to run on a home PC, it was simply called “Internet Phone.” It had initial success, but the lack of broadband availability in 1995 resulted in poor voice quality when compared to a normal telephone call. By 1998 however, VoIP traffic had grown approximately 1% of all voice traffic in the US. Businesses were jumping on the bandwagon and started to create devices to enable PC-to-phone and phone-to-phone communication work. By the year 2000, VoIP traffic accounted for more than 3 percent of all voice traffic.
By 2005, all major voice quality issues have been addressed and the system was able to ensure reliable, clear sounding and unbroken calls. It is forecasted that revenue from VoIP equipment will be over $8.5 billion by the end of 2008, driven primarily by low cost unlimited calling plans and the abundance of enhanced and useful telephony features associated with the technology.
Snail mail vs e-mail
It has been a longstanding debate – which is better, snail mail or e-mail? However, in a survey conducted by the International Communications Research (ICR), it was a mixture of results. Although the survey concluded that respondents overwhelmingly prefer promotional messages via snail mail, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are persuaded by them.
Electronic mail, or e-mail is a natural use of networked communication technology that developed along with the evolution of the Internet. It was, in fact, already in use in the early 1960s, developed for the ARPANET shortly after its creation. It has now evolved tremendously into the powerful e-mail technology, a widely used technology on the Internet today.
E-mail provides a way to exchange information between two or more people with no set-up costs or less paperwork. It is also a convenient way to send the same message to multiple addressees, with a swift click of the ‘send’ button.
A number of people however still see the e-mail as ‘too impersonal’ or business-like. This is probably because handwriting a letter, putting it in an envelope and actually mailing it out, takes more effort, thus the personalized touch. Still, the advantage of time and cost overthrows the reasoning, making the e-mail an essential part of our lives – business or personal.