Going green is all the rage these days. Slowing economy, raising gas prices – just what you need to fuel up video conferencing. When all around us, people are trying to reduce energy use, is there any room for solutions that are power intensive?
VoIP seems like a great solution when used for video conferencing, but when used on a mobile handset it might be a different story. I ran by a post in Martin Sauter’s blog, WirelessMoves, where he complains about the power consumption of VoIP on his handset:
“Power consumption skyrockets as soon as I configure VoIP for use over 3G. I can almost watch the power level of the battery drop as the network now constantly keeps a communication channel open to the device.”
To me this sounds like the ecological footprint of doing a voice call over the circuit switched network is smaller than that of the same call over the packet switched network (IP). I am not taking into account the servers here, only the handsets, so the resulting numbers might be different. But think about it – if handsets are always connected to the network to handle incoming calls, standby battery life is going to be a lot shorter for VoIP than for today’s cellular calls.
As we move towards IMS and all-IP networks, the question we need to ask is: Is there room for mobile VoIP in a world going green?
Do we need to wait for a year or two for Moore’s law to kick in and reduce power consumption of these services by providing better processors for the handsets? Can we implement VoIP differently on mobile handsets than we do on desktop PCs to really take battery life into account? Is that going to make the difference necessary?