Thursday, June 16, 2011

Proposal for a Federated Telecommunication System

My application for postpaid cellular phone service was recently denied, and what's worse, they just sent me an SMS saying so without any explanation why. Their very brief if not cryptic message further rubbed into my person that their time is more important than mine.

In frustration, I thought of an alternative: VoIP-based telecommunication infrastructure that any cellular phone or computing platform with VoIP and Wifi can connect to, call, chat and exchange email over. Thus, the idea of a federated telecommunication system is born. I will outline here a system architecture to build this infrastructure as far as my experience can guide me, hopefully you'd send in comments and suggestions to make this better. I hope you'd bear with me that it took me some time to go over this setback and also to refine and polish this article.

To simplify the discussion of a federated telecommunication systems business model, let's refer to the Business Model Generation and it's canvas, that can be downloaded for local reference, as our framework to flesh out those details. However, I think the idea now isn't yet fully refined to cover the customer segment and customer relationship section of the business model.

Key Partners
To build a federated telecommunication systems, we will need an open systems in place that's built ready to connect and share information with a fellow telecommunication system to build a federated VoIP network.

Key Activities
1) Create a database of VoIP clients as directory
2) Create linkages between different telecommunication that will participate the federation

Key Resources
PBX server in the cloud
Looking for a cloud-hosted PBX service, I found services like this and googling for "asterisk hosting service" yields more, making the idea more feasible than imagined.

Not Your Grandma's Free Wifi Access Point
When we say wifi access point in this case, this means the federated telecommunication system needs high power outdoor access points. The commodity access points we can buy from the likes of Best Buy won't cut it good enough.

Built on IPv6
When we see an IP address in your LAN like, or online when you ping Yahoo you read or ping Google and read, you've just seen an example of an Internet Protocol version 4 or better known as IPv4 address. The federated telecommunication system should be built on the next generation 128-bit IPv6 technology, compared to the current 32-bit limited address space network protocol.

Value Proposition
To serve telecommunication infrastructure via VoIP that caters to all clients and telecommunication infrastructure that decides to participate in the federation.

Cost Structure
The operation cost for now I think hinges on electrivity to power the telecommunication infrastructure and maintenance of the network infrastructure.

Revenue Stream
For free access users, the revenue can come from ads pushed from the telecom servers to the VoIP clients. For paid users, they have privilege to have ad-free service.

Your Arms Should be Widely Open To Embrace the World
Would the internet be a critical infrastructure it is today if each provider were a silo, like the online companies of yore (AOL et al)? I doubt the internet would reach critical mass if it remained a resource shared only between the US academe and military systems.
This technology conceptually is a life changing infrastructure and where the telecom companies are building walls around their ecosystem, I think it's more important that we build a system that's open and ideally accessible to all.

But then again, there will be people who'd appreciate being not bothered by a phone call when they prefer not to.

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