Mary Evslin is a different kind of evangelist. Her pulpit is on the Internet, her congregation is an esteemed list of voice carriers. Regardless, thousands of loyal followers praise her name as the prophet of Internet telephony, instilling faith in the technology around the world.
Its a little more credit than Evslin is used to. As the vice president of marketing at ITXC, the largest global wholesale carrier of Internet telephony minutes, Mary is accustomed to putting either her company or her husband in the spotlight; Tom Evslin is chairman and chief executive of ITXC.
The two started the company four years ago out of their house, after Tom left AT&Ts Internet division with an idea about where voice communications was going. It wasnt the first time the two worked together. They started Solutions, a mainframe and Macintosh software development firm, which they ran until Microsoft bought up its assets in the 80s.
"My role is to be an evangelist for Internet telephony," Mary Evslin says. "If the market didnt happen, then ITXC wouldnt happen."
Her efforts have brought more than 1 billion minutes to the ITXC network. Her determination has built ITXC to 360 Internet Protocol (IP) points of presence in more than 194 cities in more than 75 countries. And because of her ability to educate the old guard of telephony, ITXC has interconnection agreements with 13 of the 14 U.S. long-distance carriers.
As for the future, this evangelist has no problem prophesying. In the next two years, carriers that have been replacing core circuit switches with IP switches will begin to place similar switches at the customer location, making Internet telephony completely end-to-end, according to Evslin. And by 2010, all forms of communications data, voice and video will traverse the Internet. By then, Evslin says, even the most basic electronics store telephones will have some kind of IP chip that puts calls directly on the network.