Collapsing Time and Space in the Real World
When the Internet started appearing in more and more businesses, an inevitable innovation quickly followed for companies with multiple locations. They found ways to link these locations together to share data securely in “virtual private networks” over the Internet and quickly dropped the expensive private data lines provided by phone companies. Having fifty locations suddenly had vastly decreased expenses for keeping information synchronized and flowing in real time between the branches. The next big innovation was naturally to combine another kind of technology to this formula: audio digitization. Big companies next shed huge expenses for interoffice calling by shipping those calls in digital format over an Internet connection for which they were already paying. A thousand phones in a hundred locations worldwide were now effectively in the same building.
Interestingly, the mobile phone industry already completed the process of switching to digital with the last analog Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) call being made in the mid-2000’s. But this was only the first wave of digital mobile calling. With 4G coverage quickly making its way to worldwide availability, using VoIP applications on smartphones already has a long history and has been adopted by small service providers as a main transport technology. Verizon’s VoLTE (VoIP over LTE) also uses this kind of arrangement. Users of Apple’s popular iPad™ often use VoIP applications with their Internet-enabled devices. All in all, the mobile industry will likely make the switch as well, especially considering the IP-address-as-phone-number experimentation taking place now.