PSTN and Internet Convergence
By Justin Ried, Mon Oct 20 13:00:00 GMT 2003

IBM's former vice president of Internet technology, John Patrick, thinks a new technology dubbed ENUM is "a really big deal." He summarizes: "Basically, ENUM is a protocol that will make it possible to converge the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the Internet. In other words, a telephone number can get you to a Web service -- telephone number in, URL out." (via Slashdot)

Patrick continues: "The idea can be extremely useful when you consider that most telephones are limited to twelve keys on a keypad. Every try to enter your alphanumeric login ID and password to a web site on a cell phone or Personal Digital Assistant? It is next to impossible! The biggest impact of ENUM will probably be for Voice Over IP (VoIP). In fact, it could be the tipping point. ENUM is a really big deal."

Want to get in touch with someone? You shouldn't have to know multiple phone numbers, email addresses, URLs and other IDs just to get ahold of them. Let them have a singular address, and then you choose the method by which to touch base.

This is fascinating. We've been talking about the convergence of your phone and fax numbers, email address, and URLs for a while now - but this would be a real leap forward.