I am honored and proud to accept the award on behalf of all the people who have made real-time communication over the Internet possible. Who have made it possible that we can now seriously think about replacing a legacy one hundred year-old telephone network by a more modern version of that, namely an Internet-based version. Probably the last vestige of the old communication infrastructure that we still have to tackle, and I’m glad many of us were able to do that together.
As part of the evolution of this technology, I’ve been kind of pleased, or in some cases not so much, to be part of six phases of a technology. I know some of you know kind of the Gartner type of phases with hype and disillusionment and all that. I don’t think that quite worked in that case.
The first phase was why bother? We have a perfectly fine telephone network. Why do you bother with doing this over IP? It can barely sound good let alone do all the features you had. Fortunately, Vint, in this first phase was able to provide encouragement when he was still at MCI to say, “Hm. Maybe worth pursuing.”
The second phase is nobody cared. That’s a really good thing. Because you can actually do engineering work without having grand ambitions or having lots of people, say at other standards organizations, suddenly get interested. They didn’t know what was hitting them.
Then there’s the usual hype phase and implementation phase and all that. Then comes, unfortunately, the patent lawyer phase. I could if I wanted to, and I suspect some of my friends have, used that to their advantage even if they had never filed a patent themselves, as witnesses on the other side.
Then unfortunately we get to a phase where your kids no longer think this is cool technology. “Voice? Who would use that?” says my daughter.
And unfortunately now we’re in one of the other phases, which I find myself in, namely the clean-up phase. What was not in the appreciation that I’m probably also at least to some small extent responsible for, just about every robocall that you have ever received. And I am now in the process, at least I hope, to help clean up some of that mess. With that, thank you so much. Much appreciated.
Henning Schulzrinne profile, Internet Hall of Fame 2013