Chapter 3. From Corporate Open Source to InnerSource: A Serendipitous Journey at Bell Laboratories

  • Year, place founded: 1996, Murray Hill, New Jersey (USA)

  • Area(s) of business: Telecommunications equipment manufacturer (software and hardware)

  • Revenues: US$9.44 billion (2005)

  • Offices: Global, headquartered in New Jersey (USA)

  • Number of employees worldwide: 30,500 (2006)

  • Number of R&D engineers: 10,000+

  • Year of InnerSource adoption: 1998

Although the radical disruption posed in the 1990s by internet voice calls may now be forgotten (everyone is now used to crossing continents through Skype or similar services), the innovation known as Voice over IP (VoIP) was a major extension of the internet’s capabilities. On an economic level, VoIP challenged the incumbent telecom companies and their business model of high settlement costs to carry voice traffic across local and international boundaries. These settlement costs were, in turn, passed to the people making long-distance and overseas calls. In this environment arose an internet multimedia signaling protocol that enabled everyday internet users to bypass the telecom service providers for an essentially cost-free means to communicate with anyone in the world. This chapter traces the development methodology that, in anticipation of InnerSource, enabled VoIP at Lucent Technologies, Inc., and its research arm, Bell Laboratories.

Background on Internet Protocols for ...

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