Lobbing the Grenade Into No-No Land

by | Nov 19, 2014 | Ruminations


  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Mac v. PC

Many times I’ve encouraged social media enthusiasts to stay away from three online topics.

Tired Flames

When you engage in those issues, there are no flame-war winners…so why bother?  Not that the debate has no value…of course it does…but something about the milieu of social media seems to make it unsolvable and often hurtful.  And yes, participants and lurkers learn something from a civil back ‘n’ forth, but the time and effort seems wasted because these issues come up over and over and over, and each time the same arguments are rehashed.

Because of that, I’m ready to add a fourth topic to the no-no list:  ISDN v. IP.

My friend, and fellow WoVO board member Peter Bishop is right; every once in a while someone pulls the pin on an “ISDN is dead” grenade, lobs it into a social media thread, and watches the ensuing argument with glee.  That just happened (is still happening?) in the Voice-Over Pros Facebook Group that Terry Daniel administers with me.

The debate was far and wide (and mostly civil) that started with a Scott Lambright Smith post — who admitted the topic was probably taboo — asking if a purchase of an ISDN codec was worth the cost nowadays.

The Basic Arguments

I’ll save you the time by posting the salient points raised:

  1. ISDN is not dead (yet)
  2. IP solutions (primarily ipDTL and Source Connect) are infringing on ISDN turf with more frequency
  3. ISDN supporters are mostly those on East and West Coast metro areas where the service is reasonably priced
  4. IP supporters are on the East/West coasts too, but also populate everything in-between (where ISDN is getting prohibitively expensive)
  5. numbers 3 & 4 above encourages a culture of haves and have-nots
  6. Many are the instances of top talent utilizing IP with major clients on a regular daily/weekly basis
  7. ISDN continues to be the legacy technology of choice for producers/clients sitting pat on comfortable workflfows
  8. voice talent are ineffective in changing #7

Just a Minute There!

It’s that last statement that I take exception to.  It’s like saying we have no say in marketplace VO rates and compensation.  THAT is something most of us seem unwilling to accept, so why do we just roll-over on THIS issue?!

The facts are that IP solutions produce better quality sound (at even the most basic ipDTL and Source Connect offering) and it’s more cost effective.  Unless we’re paying lip-service to the notion that we’re here to help  our clients, and look out for their best interests, don’t you think it behooves us to let them know about a better technical solution that saves their bottom line?  Wouldn’t you get kudos for that? 

Instead, I’m hearing some pretty tired excuses about not being able to change the minds of our friends at Disney, the TV networks, Cable Co’s, etc.  Are we all THAT scared of losing our work?…or are some of us just pretty happy to be sitting in the land of “…I have mine…” sorry you don’t have yours?  

Fear of Change

Sure I understand that by encouraging IP solutions to now-ISDN clients, those sitting in the cat-bird seat lose exclusivity to the marketplace.  For the time being, you hold the cards.  The democratization of the marketplace with the acceptance of IP technology will give clients a much larger population to chose from.  Change can be scary.

But rather than being proprietary, I’m thinking right now of Joe Cipriano…acclaimed as one of the most accomplished and affable of the top VO talent in the country; and I’m thinking of all he has done to move the technological needle forward by challenging the status-quo.  Has it hurt his bottom-line?  No.  What it’s gotten him is appreciative clients, and recognition as a forward-thinking talent.

I have ISDN and I’m not particularly proud of using it.  I’d sell it, but who would buy it?  It’s a brick. 

When a client asks for a remote session, the first thing I suggest is ipDTL (no cost to them) or Source-Connect.  If the answer is “no”, I ask why.  I’m willing to push it.  Are you?

Let’s get as adamant about IP issues as we are about rates issues.  If we do, we can create happy clients, move technology forward, AND diminish the no-no list.




Share This