A Technological Assessment Using STIP Method
EST 440: Interdisciplinary Research Methods
Group Duties 3
Technology Assessment 4
What is Skype? 5
Skype Protocol 10
Personal / Social 13
Health / Environment 15
Technical / Commercial 16
Future Projects 25
This document is the resulting technology assessment from an EST 440 class. It
uses the STIP Method to analyze Skype. STIP is short for, Scope, Technology,
Impacts, and Policies. Skype is a peer to peer VOIP (voice over internet
protocol) service. This assessment deals with the history, future, and current
issues with Skype as a technology and how it might be governed in the future as
well as how a this project is designed and could possibly be improved in the
This Report is a technological assessment of Skype using the STIP method. The
STIP method analyzes in four major components, Scope, Technology, Impacts,
and Policy. This report is the result of a project in EST 440: Interdisciplinary
Research techniques. The class and report have been designed to draw from
the knowledge and skills learned from previous classes, namely EST 391
(Technology Assessment) and EST 393 (Project Management). This goal of
applying knowledge is accomplished by the way that the project is set up. The
project is divided in to four parts, STIP, and each student is assigned as a project
manager for one part. Their duties are to maintain a schedule, motivate the other
students for that section, and act as a project manager. Each remaining student
will be required to work under the project manager of that section and submit the
necessary work which is assigned to him/her. As a project manager each
student will use skills and ideas which were learned in EST 393. If there are five
students the remaining student will act as an “understudy” for each project
manager. His/Her role is to help where ever possible as well as act as a back up
in the case of a problem where the current project manager can not perform his
duties or meet the need objectives. At the end of the STIP sections the fifth
student will collaborate and form the information in to a coherent report. If there
is no fifth student then the group as a hole will perform those functions of the fifth
student. The main subject of the project is a technological Assessment of a
technology, idea, or theory. Therefore all skills learned for assessment in EST
391 will be used in relevant exercise.
For this project the group consisted of five students, four of which were assigned
part of the STIP and one the understudy / collaborator.
Dan Kokkos: Scope
Ahmed Langston: Technology
Katherine Cordero: Impact
Paul Ip: Policy
Dennis Murphy: Understudy / Collaboration
When a student was not an acting project manager he/she was required to
submit an assigned part of each STIP component.
The project teams met at least once a week, usually two times. These meetings
were to discuss progress on the schedule as well as assign duties for the next
phase. The schedule was broken down in to the phases of STIP, Scope,
technology, Impact, and technology. Each phase was given about a week and a
half to two weeks from assignment to deadline. This allowed each project
manager to delegate duties and oversee that they were completed on time.
The full assessment is broken down in to each STIP component and each
component is broken down further in to five sub-headings. This was formed so
that each student will have a part in each component giving them a better
overview of the whole project.
The technology that is being described in this assessment of scope is a Voice
Over Internet protocol called Skype. This assessment is looking into the radius
of the Scope, Technology, Impact, and Policy. In this report, we will be looking at
the scope of the technology. During this assessment of scope we will
understand some of the history and background of this new and upcoming
technology. We will be starting off by identifying exactly what Skype is and
defining what this software service does. Second we will be looking at the
organization of the product and how it was incorporated. After we look at the
organization, we will be looking at the different types of competition. And fourth
we will look at the technology and how it all works. By defining and
understanding the importance of scope we can then understand the aspects of
the technological development.
What is Skype
In our assessment of the Scope we have come to understand what this
technology is and what service this product is conveying to society. Skype is a
peer to peer internet phone service application. This service is free over the
internet Skype website. This service is easy to install and extremely user
friendly. This was designed by the same makers of Kazaa, a similar peer to peer
file sharing network that is used for sharing mostly audio and video but not
limited to text, pictures and applications. The only thing required for installation is
a microphone and speakers on your personal computer. Once installed users
can access another service of Skype called Skype Out. This allows people to
use the computer to dial out to existing telecommunication POTS lines. The fee
is very minimal to use this service. The cost to call through the telephone lines is
about two cents a minuet. Skype Users can also use the Skype in service; this
allows them to have 10 pre-chosen numbers that allows for incoming calls. The
Skype In service also has a built in voicemail feature will allow the caller to leave
a voice message. Skype Voicemail then saves the voicemail message for the
Skype user to retrieve at his or her convenience. The Skype voicemail is saved
permanently for them to access whenever, wherever they want. Another service
they offer is Skype for the pocket PC, and Email access. The technology is
convenient for the average pc user to make phone calls around the world at a
very affordable price.
The Organization was started by CEO Nicklas Zenstrom and cofounder Janus
Friis. The organization was founded in Luxemburg; however the company has
offices in London, England and Tallinn, Estonia. Skype has over 50 million
members in over 200 countries. They have over a 100,000 users accessing the
service per day and the numbers are rising by the day. The Skype organization is
partnering with multiple different companies so that they can continue to bring
you a fast secure and reliable network. As recently as April 2006, EBay has
purchased the organization. This is going to allow the Skype organization to
utilize their time and increase their overall productivity. In the long term of this,
the effect will be increase profits and more reliability. Another outcome of this is
more competition for the business world. Recently Skype has partnered with
companies such as Motorola, Logitech, and siemens to bring you the hardware
solutions you need to make a call with their services. Skype is the leading global
Internet communications business. Because Skype is not limited to geographic
regions they can help communications throughout the global community. Skype’s
brand and the Skype trademark have robust brand recognition. All the partners
can benefit from a positive alliance and helps to increase global recognition. All
together the company wants to offer free global communication. Not only do they
want to offer free telephone service but they also want to supply the best, most
secure network available. Their mission is “providing a simple, reliable and
friendly communications tool that just works”.
With good service, comes good competition. Skype has many different
competitors that offer a number of quality services and support that Skype offers.
Verizon, Bell South, and SBC communications all are telephone companies that
offer inexpensive traditional phone service. They may be the old kid on the block
but the one thing they are offering over all the other companies is a trusted
name. And their infrastructure is already installed and working. Voice Over IP is
the other competition that is out their for telecommunications. The Companies on
this range of service are Vonage, packet 8, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time
Warner cable, and speakeasy. They are trying to compete with the new type of
technology that Skype offers. As we see voice over IP move forward we are
going to see more and more companies moving their technology platforms to
VOIP. Optimum Online is offering VOIP as a part of their business services. The
triple play package from cablevision offers voice IP service. They all rely on the
customers ISP’s infrastructure to connect to users which minimizes their
overhead and allows them to have cheaper prices for their services. The point
here is, unless these companies start offering VOIP all the tradition
communications companies are going to become less then what the competition
So, you may start to wonder, what makes this all work? Well, this service is a
peer to peer VOIP telephone service. This means that the average computer
user can make phone calls from his/her pc. The Voice Over Internet Protocol
transfers voice sound waves into data and sends it to another node on the peer
to peer network. This secures a connection from two computers and allows them
to talk with the free software. Also, this technology access standard POTS lines
and allows the user to connect to the traditional telephone line with their Skype
Out service. Skype works behind most firewall software and gateways without
jeopardizing the user’s privacy. Skype calls are encrypted for your security.
Internet telephone service is in the beginning stages of development Skype will
lead the groundbreaking movement into the 21st century.
Skype has won awards from PC World as one of the best 100 Best Products of
2005, and also Web User for "Best Innovation" Award of 2005. Skype also has
one the Digital Lifestyle Award 2005 for Personal Communications. Skype is
becoming the norm around the world for affordable internet phone service and
will continue to set standards in the telecommunications world.
VOIP stands for Voice over internet protocol and has other names such as digital
phone and internet telephony. It’s used to characterize any form of voice data
being sent using the internet protocol. There are numerous protocols that fall
under the umbrella of VOIP. These protocols include Skype’s proprietary
protocol, session initiation protocol, and H.323. The latter two are open source
protocols to be used freely by others. SIP was designed to be used for any user
interaction involving voice, video, or text. The H.323 protocol was designed for
audio and video communications and is used in programs such as net meeting.
History of VOIP
VOIP was started in 1995 from some Israeli hobbyists. At that time only
computer to computer communication was available. In late 1995 Vocaltec
released internet phone software which was able to be run on a home computer
which had a sound card, speakers, microphone, and modem. The largest
problem for VOIP in 1995 and the early years of its development was the lack of
broadband access. Most people and companies used dial up access, this lead to
low quality and latency in the calls. VOIP started to take a market share as
broadband became more widely used and the technology developed. By 1998
VOIP traffic was 1% of all voice traffic in the United States. That year Lucent and
Cisco started producing equipment that could route and switch the VOIP traffic
and by 2000 VOIP accounted for 3% of the total voice traffic in the United States.
Since 2000 broadband use has become the standard; static and latency have
become a thing of the past. There are numerous companies who are embracing
this not so new and emerging technology and offering full telephony services
based on VOIP. VOIP has entered the mainstream and is planed to overtake
and phase out traditional telephone service.
Skype uses a proprietary protocol for it communications. Unlike the other open
source VOIP protocols like SIP and H.232 which are based on the client-server
model. The client-server model has all voice traffic between clients routed to a
centralized server which then routes the data to the appropriate user. While that
is effective for a few users it is not advisable for millions of users being that the
infrastructure to handle that many users would need to be maintained and
upgraded as the number of users increase. Skype’s proprietary protocol is based
on a peer to peer model. This decentralized user network infrastructure is easily
scalable to larger sizes without degradation in performance or quality. The
protocol routes user’s calls straight to the same user he or she is trying to
contact. If the user is behind a firewall or NAT the call is routed through other
skype users to reach the user behind the firewall. All calls are encrypted when
being sent, to secure the call while passing though other users connection and
There are issues with this proprietary protocol though. Since a proprietary
protocol outside users and developer don’t have direct access to the code. The
code is accessed with limited ability though the Skype application program
interfaces (API). The API doesn’t allow for security concerns about the protocol
to be addressed or evaluated. Security is a major issue seeing as how your calls
are routed through others connections sometime leading to security holes with
unauthorized listening of calls. Another issue with the protocol is that since it
uses a peer to peer model it puts a bandwidth burden on the users to transfer
calls through. Certain users with large amounts of available bandwidth can
become super nodes. These super nodes can cause network congestion for
other non Skype users on the super node’s network. Bandwidth is limited and
can quickly be consumed by many users’ calls being routed through a particular
client node causing congestion for that user.
The competing technologies against Skype’s VOIP technology are essentially the
same backend technology. The difference is that the cable companies and
telephone companies have their own high speed networks to handle their traffic.
Vonage uses the open source protocol known as Session Initiation Protocol
(SIP). Since SIP calls for the use of a proxy server in the infrastructure it is not
truly peer to peer like Skype’s protocol. Similarly to Skype’s technology is that it
relies on the end users broadband connection. They have no control over the
traffic to and from the end user. Vonage also requires the use of a SIP enabled
router to connect your home phones and broadband connection. The Telco’s
such as Verizon and Cable companies such as Time Warner’s VOIP service is
run through their networks from user to their servers. The VOIP traffic is given
priority on their network due to its time sensitive data. Also both Verizon and
Time Warner Cable offer this service as part of a triple package of internet and
cable over their fiber optics network. This gives them an advantage in that Skype
could potentially be using their network and be filtered from functioning as
effectively as their competing service. Another key factor in favor of those
companies that manage there own networks is reliability. They can be directly
called upon when you’re having service issues were as Skype can not help you
with problems resulting from your broadband connection.
The basic Skype program itself offers the ability to talk to users of Skype
worldwide for free. Skype’s only requirement is a computer and a broadband
connection which are almost synonymous. If you have a broadband connection
you obviously have a computer to use it. The extra premium services are known
as SkypeOut, SkypeIn, and Skype-Voicemail. SkypeOut allows for Skype users
to call home and cell phone numbers at extremely low prices that the
telecommunication and cable companies cannot match because they have
infrastructure costs which are passed on to the end user. SkypeIn offers the
ability to allow Skype to act as a real phone allowing anyone to call your “Skype
number” and be answered in Skype. Skype-Voicemail is a voice mail service for
people calling you to leave a message whiles you are offline or busy. A new beta
feature of Skype is videoconferencing with other Skype users. Skype however
cannot be an all in one replacement to a normal phone because it does not allow
you to dial emergency numbers. This is because your number can be anywhere
on the planet therefore Skype would not know where to route the emergency call.
Therefore Skype is more of a supplementary service to normal phone service
through traditional means. Skype’s major feature is its quality. Even with its
reliance on the end users connection it has clear voice conversation with users
around the world that is clear with little delay. This is a result of there custom
protocol designed for Skype users only.
We are now beginning to understand what kinds of implications are being
brought about from becoming social machines. Whether we like it or not we are
becoming more and more involved in using the computer to solve most of our
everyday tasks. For example, we can say that more people are starting to shop
online to avoid the lines and people at the stores. In addition, although we get
annoyed with the lines and the rude and crude people, it is what we need as
human beings. The absence can bring on bigger problems in the longer term.
Another thing to thing about is when people are in a public place, even today,
you can see them talking on the cell phones in public places with loved ones in
front of them. You see couples walking hand in hand, each communicating to
other people with their cell phones.
Broadband communication or VoIP facilitates the exchange of large amounts of
data, instant messaging, feedback, attached text, picture, and voice. Users can
go from sending short, simple text messages to posting and sending political
policy, images, graphics, audio, and videos. This will slowly start affect the way
we meet. A half a century ago, we needed to fly halfway across the world to sign
important documents. Today it’s as easy as a click of the mouse.
Using Skype, internet phone service, can also bring about positive change.
Skype brings an affordable, highly accessible service to your pc. You can
access phone service literally anywhere you want to. Today, we can find
computers in many different places that allow us to use the internet telephone. It
is making life easier since we are starting to rely on our computers more often
every day. It is also becoming the center of communication of adolescent
interaction. Skype is showing us positive effects in allowing us another way of
communication and continues to allow the world to get smaller and smaller. No
today, we can use Skype to talk to people from all over the world within seconds
and for fractions of the cost. It is allowing the diverse world we live in to become
closer than we used to. It is a bit of contrast with our negative effects. We are
pushing the people close to us out and now making communication with those far
away even more accessible.
With the advent of Skype’s revolutionary VoIP service, the VoIP industry, as well
as the telecommunications industry in general, is facing a drastic restructuring of
the business models that’s been employed by the companies since the inception
of the telecommunications era. Provided as a free download via their homepage,
Skype operates under a slight departure of the “razor & razor blades” business
model pioneered by Gillette. The free application has been downloaded up to 10
million times, offering crystal clear VoIP calls gratis to all of Skype’s users.
Skype’s revenue comes from the percentage of Skype’s users who have opted to
upgrade to Skype’s paid premium service, which enables them value added
functionality such as the ability to dial out to regular phone numbers, being able
to receive calls from regular phones, as well as internet voicemail box, etc.
Surprisingly, Skype is actually grossing a significantly large profit from the close
to 1 million upgraded users.
In addition, Skype has its sights on the cellular market. Skype enabled mobile
handsets are beginning to become commercially available for purchase, offering
the same VoIP service, without limiting the user to physically be next to a
Environmental / health
Skype has no major impact on the environment or health. Skype will not make
the air that you breathe cleaner and it will not make you live longer. Skype does
have secondary minor impacts on the environment however. By using Skype,
the consumer is using their computer for another task and is justifying the cost of
a computer and access.
The use of Skype allows the computer to absorb the functions of the normal
telephone. With no need for a normal telephone, there is no need for a
telephone to be produced and purchased, and in turn disposed of, so as a
distance secondary impact of the use of Skype is reducing the waste from a
modern lifestyle. A tertiary impact of Skype is that the increased use of a
computer will use more electricity then the same use of a normal telephone that
would be used for the action that Skype is replacing. This additional power draw
means that more power needs to be produced, thus possibly increasing pollution;
this is a negative impact from Skype. Over all, Skype has no major impacts on
the environment or health but it does however have secondary and tertiary
impacts, which are both good and bad.
It seems to be that more than twenty-five percent of the non-farm jobs lost in the
United States over the last few years were in the telecom services and
equipment sector. Labor costs are reduced with the self-installation of VoIP,
which also includes Skype. With the ability of VoIP service, there would be many
home-based agents, which would dramatic decrease the cost of labor. Labor
standards could change due to the emergence of VoIP. The cost of on site labor
time can now be drastically reduced with the use of VoIP due to the mobility of
Skype. VoIP allows for the managing of a single, corporate data network for the
all the customer communication needs of a company which permits the reduction
Technical / Commercial
Skype has technical and commercial impacts, which can be either beneficial or
disadvantageous. Skype allows companies to save over regular phone service,
which is a very valuable resource. It also allows companies to fully utilize the
data bandwidth, which is supplied by internet connection.
As with any technology, Skype has a few disadvantages. It requires a lot of
upload bandwidth for DSL customers that have limited upload bandwidth in the
range of 128 Kbps. If many users sign up for Skype, it could lead to the
bandwidth being flooded. Skype is currently limited to computers with online and
broadband connections. As of right now, there is no standalone package offered
by Skype like there is from Vonage.
Within Skype, the security of calls sent across internet cannot be guaranteed.
Unfortunately, data packets that are sent across net can be viewed by anyone.
Skype protocol is proprietary therefore; no thorough analysis of the security can
be made. There are questions that are being raised of how government will be
able to tap a Skype conversation with a warrant. Since Skype protocol is
proprietary, no comprehensive analysis of the security can be made.
Only recently has the United States government directed its attention to the
domestic usage and applications of VoIP services. The FCC has established a
forum with the goal of gathering information about VoIP’s applications in mind. A
recent FCC ruling mandates that VoIP services must have in place a functioning
911 service in order to continue their operations within the United States. The
ruling also required that all United States VoIP providers provide their customers
a way to update their location, if needed or their current location. Continued
research must be carried out in order for the FCC to correctly impose regulations
upon Skype and other VoIP services that operate domestically.
Unlike the domestic VoIP regulations, VoIP operators are under much more
stringent scrutiny in Asia. In China, the state-run China Telecom is working
towards a government-endorsed ban on calls made through VoIP services,
including Skype. The rationale behind this move is a result from a decline in
revenue for their fixed-line POTS-based telephone service, as more and more
people are discovering the cheap alternatives offered by VoIP services. China
Telecom also plans to prevent users in China from accessing Skype’s servers
and monitoring and limiting the volume of data in efforts to disconnect any VoIP
calls. To counter this, Skype and TOM Online Inc., the largest Chinese Internet
provider based in Hong Kong, are in negotiations to establish a partnership to
facilitate their penetration of Skype’s VoIP telephone service successfully while
meeting government regulations.
In other parts of Asia, telecommunication services tend to be deregulated. These
deregulations have sparked consumers to look into VoIP services as economical
alternatives to conventional telephone services. In Singapore, VoIP services
have become a major contender in the telecommunications market, resulting in
fixed-line operators lowering their service fees in order to stay competitive. In
Hong Kong, telecommunication companies have had to introduce VoIP capable
3G mobile phones as a means to incorporate and adopt VoIP rather than
compete with it, which would ultimately lead to an increased loss of revenue. In
Japan, home to Asia’s most advanced telecommunications market, the number
of VoIP service subscribers has increased from 2003’s 3.1 million to 8.3 million
during the 1st Quarter of this fiscal year.
By embracing VoIP, as some Asian
countries have already done so with
the benefit of foresight, conventional
telecommunications corporations will
be able to expand on the current
market and improve service quality.
When this adoption is carried out,
they will be able to once again
attract consumers or “re-attract”
former customers to use their telecommunication services, just as smaller,
independent VoIP startups has done.
The telecommunications policy in Europe is very similar than all of our
Telecommunications policy in the United States. The different subtleties are what
separate Europe from the US. The eEurope 2005 action plan was introduced at
the Seville in June of 2002. It had the approval of the council of ministers in 2003.
The entire goal of the project is to develop telecommunications services through
use of broadband technologies. This is the time of competitive pricing and a
tough information infrastructure. The European Union seems to be embracing the
fact that technology is exploding around us. Europe is taking the initiative to
update all their technology. They are going to look for fast and visible results so
that they can see what the market has to offer. Growth and investment are highly
supported. The European Union understands that this enterprise is going to
create jobs and secure their economic future. Their current action plan has
ended this year.
Europe has an enlightened telecommunications policy. Although their policy is
very open and renaissance, they are also looking at all of the risks and securities
in a very conservative manor. They are conducting a round table of events that
will include many of the experts in each different field. This approach is allowing
the management to understand the risk of information security. They are using
risk management in co-operation with different partners in several European
countries. Aside from the general roundtables, the experts are exchanging tactics
that individual companies can take to manage their local risks. In other words,
the European telecommunications policy is much like a business; they are
looking at all different ways to make a profit for the economy.
During 2006 the commission will propose a strategy for secure information
society. Some of the ideas are going to include raising self-awareness for
monitoring personal security, how to respond and ways to reach out for support.
They are going to modernize their old policies so that all of the content rich
information can make its way to society in the modern ways of audiovisual
European policy also includes Information and communication technologies (ITC)
research. They are finding ways to promote all of the emerging technologies.
Europe wants to use the R+ D to promote telecom and create more businesses
that lead to more jobs. This will satisfy the short term and the long-term aspects
of the Sectored economy. The EU is a leader in global telecommunications. They
make up 40-50 % of the worlds largest players. Like the US, Europe wants a
safe, secure, and reliable range of networks and services so that the economies
In general, advocacy groups such as the Voice On the Net (VON) Coalition,
whose members include different VoIP service providers and their partners, play
an important role in the creation of VoIP regulatory policies. VON, founded in
1996 by Jeff Pulver, consists of the following member companies: Acceris,
AccessLine, AT&T, BMX, BT Americas, CallSmart, Convedia, Covad, Earthlink,
IceNet, iBasis, Intel, Intrado, Level 3, MCI, Microsoft, MobilePro, Multi-Link, New
Global Telecom, PointOne, Pulver.com, Skype, T-Mobile USA, Teleglobe, Texas
Instruments, USA Datanet, VocalData, and Voiceglo. Having secured an
influential position with policymakers, VON aims to educate members on
business strategies, as well as positively impacting the institution of regulatory
decisions. VON has successfully deterred the FCC’s effort to characterize VoIP
as a basic service, preventing the imposition of compulsory access charges.
CompTel/Ascent, another industry association similar in nature to VON,
represents communications service providers and their supplier partners.
Regulatory decisions regarding VoIP must be clearly articulated and must be
easily applicable to all network configurations that capacitates traffic over VoIP.
While the main goal of government regulation should be to foster, rather than to
constrain, the adoption of innovative applications such as VoIP services, an
equally important secondary objective is to ensure that the necessary regulations
be clearly laid out and communicated to service providers. This ensures the
proper implementation of technologies across all network architectures by
service providers and warrants impartially enforceability by regulators or co-
Contrary to popular misconception, VoIP is not a telecommunications service, but
rather an IP-based application. As such, VoIP services are classified as an
information service. When used as a substitute to traditional telecommunications
service, issues such as E911 (previously mentioned in the Domestic Policies
section) must be resolved through industry cooperation with support from both
state and federal government agencies. Measures must be taken to address the
need for and the interests of national security, and should be carried out
independent of the economic aspects of the VoIP industry, and in a manner
which requires no additional regulatory reclassification.
In today’s modern world the telecommunications industry is growing at an
alarming rate. It is predicted to grow for at least the next ten years. This growth
will not only be domestic but international. The global telecommunications
industry is on the verge of exponential growth. This exploding industry needs
guidance and direction. If there is no form of guidance then the industry’s great
potential for growth will be potential for disaster and implosion.
Once the United States congress passed the telecommunications act of 1996,
which was an overhaul of a previous telecommunications act in 1936, a new
digital era was entered.
Due to new technology
and the convergence of
congress saw the need
to regulate and define
guidelines. These new
guidelines were set in
place to promote competition while still accelerating development of new
technologies. This act also helped set up guidelines for “open” technology.
“Open” technology is ideas and technology that can be universally applied with
out much proprietary software or hardware. Open technology helps unite and
strength the industry. The next year, 1997, the WTO (World trade organization)
followed suit and passed a similar telecommunications legislation. The governing
body for telecommunications in the United States is the FCC. They are the ones
who regulate, place guidelines and standards to witch the domestic industry are
to conform to.
In this new digital age telecommunications policy will shape the ever-digitizing
world around us. Policy should commit to nurture development, encourage
competition, and place the power in the hands of the consumer. The
telecommunications industry is about to explode with the newly developed and
the only way is to
“lead, follow, or get
out of the way”.
The total result of the project was to give students an exercise in using skills and
knowledge learned in EST 391 and 393, as well as prepare them for 441:
Interdisciplinary Senior Project. In 441 each student will create their own
technology assessment using STIP. This project gives students a solid
foundation to work from when designing and implementing their senior project.
During the course of the project a few problems arose and were dealt with as
necessary fro resolution. The most major problem was that of scheduling. It was
hard to coordinate every one in one place when needed as well as when the
deadlines for work were. These problems were solved by working with the
present students and using e-mail and phone calls to disseminate the
information, assignments, and schedules. There were a few minor
miscommunications that happened during the project. These were resolved and
absorbed in to the week and half to two weeks allotted for each phase.
As with any Major undergoing or project there are ways to improve a design no
matter how good the original is. In the case of this project the largest problems
were scheduling and communications. In the future a stricter schedule of work
could be implemented with penalties for not meeting a deadline. This would give
the project more of a real world feel. Also minuets for each meeting could be
distributed thru e-mail for better explanation and understanding of goals and
expectations. Over all this project had little which needed improvement.
New technology is being created every moment of every day; therefore there are
an infinite number of future project options. Some plausible topics could be: GPS
(geo-location and navigation), RFID, HDTV vs. NTSC, Streaming Video and
enhanced content on cell phones. There are many possibilities of topics. The
selection would depend on the group which is undergoing the project and their
interest. A topic should be chosen which all members of the group have at least
a small interest in learning about so moral and motivation are kept high with
minimal boosting needed.
Skype. Skype, the whole world can talk for free. Skype technologies
SC. November 21st 2005. <Skype.com>
PC World. Skype Launches Premium Services. John Blau. April 18,
Wikipedia. Wikipedia.com. Skype.
Educause. Connect.educause.edu. Using Skype for Teaching and
Learning. Catherine. June 22nd, 2005.
Queens Media Lab Blog. HML Blog. Skype, February 8th 2004. Doug.