This is a latest development in the VoIP market. This is how one of my colleagues, Cullen Jennings gave details to me.
At present we have two widely deployed global identifiers for reaching people. First is delegated address out of DNS and the other is phone numbers. So I believe an address like email: email@example.com or xmpp:firstname.lastname@example.org to roughly be out of the DNS namespace and phone number to be out of the E.164 name space.
Phone numbers have lots of parts that are not cool, but they also have some cool parts: they are widely understood with social conventions of giving out someone else's phone number to a third part, they are easy to enter on devices with highly contained user interfaces, humans can almost keep in mind, they are easy for a human to give to another human. The major problem with phone numbers is, well, the only thing you can do with them is make a phone call. Say I desire to have a Skype video call with you, or view your twitter feed, or send you an email and all I knew was the phone number. In most of cases it would be nice to use a phone number to reach some internet service for user. Fundamental, this vipr technology resolves the problem of securely mapping a phone number to URL.
Obviously there have been other attempts at mapping phone numbers to internet resources. Public ENUM is one best example. However, most of the prior ones have failed because the economic incentives to make the technology deploy did not line up right. The vipr technology creates sure that every player that has to do something to make the technology deploy has an economic incentive to go do whatever they need to do. It greatly relies on peer to peer technologies.
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