Technobabble vs. The Box of Rocks Approach

Last week we were working with a prospective customer trying to help them understand what a SIP media server does, how it works and why it is such a differentiator for us competitively.  Being a team of engineers this is how the conversation ended up going internally…

Technobabble Mode:
The media server is a SIP RFC compliant media processing endpoint designed to provide dynamic DSP processing with configurable load balancing capabilities.  The MS is designed to provide low level audio processing without the burden of application layer configuration objects which are maintained in the IC application layers on the CIC server itself.  A bank of these NXM deployed audio hubs deployed across a customers WAN to provide fault tolerant RTP and SRTP processing provides a high level of resiliance.  Combined with a CaaS based architecture for DR the MTBF across the entire application suite can not be beaten.

Translated Mode:
The Media Server is a Toaster also known as a box of rocks that has great reliability and can be routed around during any type of maintenance or failure since they all do the same thing.

Did these statements say two different things?  Nope.  The only difference is that the latter statement says what you mean in English rather than in geek speak.  While it may seem ironic to a technical person the second point is actually far superior to the first.  As engineers we live and breath tech speak which when provided to the right audience can cut the time it takes to make a point by a significant amount.  However, with more and more business oriented users taking part in the decision making for advanced applications this model just doesn’t work. 

Unfortunately with so many new applications and appliances on the market the world of technobabble is only growing.  As these terms continue to expand it is becoming increasingly important for everyone in technology to take a step back, speak in clear terms and only revert to technical jargon if 1) you define the term while you say it or 2) you are 110% sure your entire audience understands what it means.  Without these rules constantly playing in your head you are setting yourself up for a situation where you may win over the engineers in the back of the room but completely alienate the business users who matter the most.  

Tom Fisher

P.S.
I’m off to poke someone since they wrote on my wall after I commented on their tweet about the new iPhone 4’s lack of 4g mobile ultra broadband and multi-carrier transmission data transport rates.

Translation: I’m going to talk with someone about why the new iPhone isn’t as fast as some people want. 

3 comments to Technobabble vs. The Box of Rocks Approach

  • Ismael
    Is ININ Media Server really a SIP RFC compliant media processing endpoint? If so, why CIC server still uses the proprietary Notifier protocol to signal and third party control it for recording and announcements playing into a call?

    TR: Why Media Server doesn’t work with any other standard telephony VoIP vendor equipment to avoid vendor lock-in?

  • Thanks Ismael. You are correct the MS uses notifier to allow us to control the call behavior on the media server. For example to tell it what prompts to play. The media server uses SIP for the call control to the endpoints it is communicating with. We are working towards SIP for both methods to allow us to traverse firewalls etc a little easier so stay tuned.

    Tom

  • Ismael
    Thanks for the explanation Tom and excuse me for the off topic.
    Regarding technobable, you’re true we sometimes sounds like aliens from Mars to some customer.
    But I think it’s the same issue for all professions. You spend so much time speaking in your "language" that when have to approach a customer you’re finding yourself sometimes struggle to translate to the fly to "real" language. I’ll tell you a secret: this is the reason why sales guy really close deals. They don’t know anything about technology and that’s the reason it’s easy for them to speak in customer "average Joe" language.

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