Facebook's new product: Voyager

RingPlus News Service Los Angeles May 22, 2017:

Facebook continues its trek to innovate and release new technology to the world. It’s new product called Voyager, looks to create a bridge to connectivity for people who live in areas where there is no cellular/data service. This is huge as it puts Facebook in a position where they oversee their services being used by even more people. On the telecom side, it’s a kick in the bum to now work on developing their hardware as well as their software to compete with a possible new player in the telecom industry. However, Facebook has made it clear that they are not interested in becoming another competitor in that market but instead help telecoms by creating an open source group where companies and groups can all contribute in the ultimate goal of having the whole world being able to connect.

Facebook created TIP, or Telecom Infrastructure Project, which is a spin-off of a organization that was launched a few years ago called the Open Compute Project. Similar to TIP, OCP is a project to give more users the opportunity to connect to the internet. Because of OCP’s success, telecoms tried to join the project which in turn led to the creation of TIP. The goal of TIP is to overhaul the telecom equipment industry which is about a $350 million market once you factor in hardware, software and services. TIP’s impact will not happen overnight but the fact that it now boasts around 100 members in the project, excitement over their efforts will only continue to build.

Although TIP has many members, not all are participating. The concept of open source is most likely the reason why companies are holding back. And the point of the project is for everyone to contribute to reach the project's goal. To combat this issue, contributors can use an older method of sharing which is called RAND or Reasonable and Non Discriminatory Terms. It allows vendors to be paid tiny fees by all who use their product as long as the fees are reasonable and the tech is available to everyone without bias. Using RAND for now can help the project in its early stages and maybe a more open source method can be adapted in its future as it is in OCP.

The board members of TIP acknowledge that the project is in its early stages and very well could fail. Whether it does not garner a community or members continue to not participate, maybe they also do not create products that anyone is interested in. Besides the fear, the members believe that the project will succeed. If the project can succeed, the hope is that both operator and customer are happy.

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