A couple of months back, I had an hour or so of face time with Dmitry Goroshevsky of Popular Telephony, in which we covered a lot of ground on the Peerio development roadmap. Along the way, he alluded to the significance of numbering, and today we see the outcome - the Peerio global numbering plan (or GNUP). This system allows interconnection - inbound and outbound - between any VoIP applications and also the PSTN, via a single unified numbering scheme created by Popular Telephony. This opens up some interesting scenarios for interconnection of currently incompatible platforms (for example SIPphone-to-Skype, Skype-to-MSN Messenger) with no gateway (except in the IP-to-PSTN transaction - interesting given Popular Telephony's recent efforts to get Peerio embedded on gateways http://www.peerio.com/news9.html). Popular Telephony will be enlisting service providers which will support the plan (I assume this will initially mainly include ENUM specialists, but who knows? A list is apparently forthcoming at www.gnup.org/connectivity), and will also build a global user directory (www.gnup.org/yellowpages).
This announcement adds another layer to the Popular Telephony strategy. To take stock of what has been announced so far and where all this is heading (as far as I understand it):
- Peerio takes steps towards becoming the preferred embedded VoIP solution for the hardware space and on the enterprise desktop, effectively making a play for disintermediating the PBX and Centrex players in the process (the previously announced deals with Adtech, Atemis, Logicom and VONTEL). In other words it gains a position at the end-points and also can serve as a replacement for part of the legacy local network;
- Peerio gains a place on media gateways, i.e., further up the network, to facilitate transactions between itself and legacy wide area networks (the Quescom deal).
- Peerio teams up with an acknowledged leader in audio codecs, whose products are proven to perform well in an environment of high packet loss, for which I read "wireless" (the Global IP Sound deal from last week).
- Now, rather than merely hold itself up as "a better alternative to Skype," or something along those lines, and pit Peerio head-to-head with everyone else, Popular Telephony sets up Peerio GNUP to forge compatibility between incompatible platforms (but at the behest of the end user, not the application provider). It effectively oversees interconnection arrangements, numbering and the directory function - globally.
Whew. At this point I'm left with the inescapable conclusion that Popular Telephony is trying to rewrite the rules for pretty much the entire industry with the exception of access. Perhaps now some more mainstream media attention will follow...