Robert Andreasen

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The simple words, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you," transformed communications in ways that Alexander Graham Bell probably never imagined. Although telecommunications has changed dramatically since that first call in 1876, there are still many aspects of our current phone system that would seem familiar to Bell. Throughout its history the telephone has continued to be a relatively simple device connected by wire or fiber optic cable to an intelligent core. While the intelligence at the center has changed from operators at a switchboard to smart switches, the phone has remained a simple terminal at the periphery of the network. And, with this traditional host-terminal model, any change in phone services has to be programmed into the central switch. Intelligent, Java-based IP phones, such as the xpressa phone offered by Pingtel Corporation (see Figure 1), are begin... (more)