Say Hello to the Next Phone War
Voice-over-IP, a technology that lets phones act like PCs and vice versa, is about to take off
By DUFF MCDONALD
When a customer walks into any of the 150 branches of Sports Soccer, a retailer of sports clothing and merchandise in Britain and Belgium, he might as well be walking into all of them. If a certain product say, a soccer jersey is unavailable in the store he’s in, the clerk can check the inventory of all nearby branches through a brief phone query. The clerk doesn’t actually talk to anyone, but with a few keystrokes she uses the phone to check a database and locate the nearest store with the shirt.