I've been in Munich the last 36 hours before I head to France for meetings, gourmet dining and wine tasting. While one part of the trip is to secure a vineyard for my wedding, much of it really is tied to a series of meetings I'm having for a variety of activities I'm involved in.
One of the things I'm realizing is a lot of this stuff I've been writing about really does work, and work very well. For starters the UT Starcom phone loaded up with Broadvoice has been as clear as clear can be. I brought along my trusty Zyxel Travel router and zap, it connected, and then I was making calls as if I was still in San Diego. Calls were crisp, and other than one or two dropped calls when the hotel's Internet got busy, there weren't any real issues.
I also made extensive use of Skype, Gizmo Project and SightSpeed. SightSpeed, which is a client was amazing to use. Back in my San Diego office I had Brooke on camera and I showed her how to configure MacMail on her desktop as an intermediate step to Entourage from Web based email. She pointed the iSight at the screen and I told her what went where. Call it IT from across the ocean in real time. We also made extensive use of Gizmo Project to talk throughout the day. I had Gizmo and my Nokia N70 set up to receive inbound calls via Webley, they both worked like a charm
Overall the call quality on Skype has been very good, but Gizmo seems to get the nod. I've also been giving SipPhone's Prexy Jason Droege some trouble tickets for some bugs that showed up in the latest version that they though went away a few versions back. They minor and nothing that really affected the call quality, and most seem to be network related, but the great thing about both he and "Golden Boy" Michael Robertson is how reachable they are, and how they both really care about the end user's experience.
While I online I chatted with Yahoo's RockStar of VoIP, Jeff Bonforte. He continues to be impressed with the progress they are making on the VoIP enabled Mac version of Messenger and promises to update me soon on the hard release date of that and Yahoo Messenger with real VoIP in the USA.
I also had a very long chat with iotum's Alec Saunders using my Sprint PPC-6700 and the new Skype 2.0 for Windows Mobile 5.0. Alec had his Skype forwarded to his cell. The call quality was excellent, and considering I was upstairs in my two floor hotel suite, and the access point was one floor down I was totally amazed as was Alec at how good the sound was. I downloaded it from the Skype site direct to the PPC and it worked.
I'm now at Munich airport for a 635 AM flight to Paris using Vodafone's W-LAN service. Up until now I've slept all of 11 hours in the last two nights including three on the plane, and 15 in the last three. Somehow though either the adrenaline or the clean Alpine air has had an amazing affect on me. I'm full of energy and really not looking for a bed to crawl into...well the flight calls and I have to fly.
What the maestro of chaos has culled is a way to blend CallWave (a company I hear is on the block to be sold) with SipPhone and Gizmo to create a mini Webley type service at prices that will cause me to jettison J2's Jfax service for starters.
I love the concept, but there are some kinks Robertson and the team will need to figure out.
First there is no way to terminate calls outside of the USA for now. Second the backend integration is clunky. I have to go between three different sites (Area775.com, a Callwave management page and my Gizmo accounts page if I want to do things. But knowing Michael and Jason Droege as well as I do, those growing pains will go away rather soon, especially with their new found cash to drive engineering (meaning hire) and out reach.
Check out the press release and then check out how Robertson has beaten Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL to the punch once again not only in concept but in execution.
Last week Skype announced SkypeWeb, a way to advise presence via a web page so calls can be made.
Today, The Globe, makers of GloPhone announced a patent has been awarded to them by the U.S. Patent Office for the process of origination and termination of telephone calls between subscriber
terminals connected to a public packet network. Subscribers have
traditional numbers mapped to their IP address allowing them to place
and receive calls. The mapped information is published on HTML pages
for direct use over the Internet.
To me this sounds alot like click to call and may also make companies like client VoIPster who created a plug in for Firefox want to look closely at the actually patent also. Heck, even Microsoft, which acquired Tello may have to worry.
1. Comcast has a conservative streak that dates back to its founding. 2. Comcast does not like to tick off their customers. Meaning VoIP in its infancy would have done just that. 3. Comcast didn't have the footprint it has today. They acquired AT&T which was TCI. That has given them the national footprint Ted refers to. 4. The Comcast aggregated MSO is really alot of small little systems they have patched together. Each has different equipment. Heck in some places they didn't know what was where, just where it started (head end) and where it ended (a customer's house). Over the past three years they have spent millions sorting that out and making their systems more alike so they can roll out other services like VoIP.
Still, Ted's points are valuable, and today, Comcast, like Time Warner Cable is in a position to ramp very fast and indeed take on the Bells (or what's left of them) across the USA
I'm getting very impressed with the Realtime VoIP Community web site is up to. Ken Camp is providing some very needed technical analysis around VoIP as well as inside the industry insight. He's the kind of person I hope is in the audience and becomes a discussant at the Spring VON Bloggers Panel. We need people like him and Aswath to bring some of that technojargo stuff down to earth and explain it in terms that even I can understand.