The report - 'Voice Over IM (VoIM) and How it is Changing Traditional Telephony,' from Heavy Reading - argues that this creates a fundamental differentiator. "The Internet-connected PC is now firmly established as a mainstream communication tool, and it is also beginning to transform into the primary tool for real-time communication.
"Instant messaging (IM) is the killer application that is helping to make the PC the main medium for the widest range of communication possibilities. By adding voice services to their IM platforms, operators of IM networks are aiming to complete that transformation."
The report argues that "One can hardly separate the voice application from text, video, file sharing, picture sharing, and gaming that is possible via sophisticated IM clients. In fact, that integrated communications element of the service is itself what makes VoIM so different from traditional telephony... Although VoIM can be viewed as a subset of VoIP, in that it delivers packet-based voice to end users, there are fundamental differences between the two. While VoIP is designed as a network service that is based on traditional voice telephony, VoIM is designed as an application that runs over the Internet."
Heavy Reading's associated news service, Light Reading, also quotes the report's author, John Longo saying that: "Carriers will ultimately need to reconcile traditional telephony with VoIM as they face increasing pressure from their customers to receive the same types of flexible services" that VoIM enables."
Longo also claims that VoIM actually sounds better than traditional circuit switched voice because it uses better performing codecs that operate with double the analogue bandwidth of the original voice signal: 16kHz as opposed to 8kHz.