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Posts from September 2006

Luca Questions JaJah and RebTel

I really think Luca has raised some very interesting questons about minute stealers JaJah and RebTel. Though I'm more impressed with Rebtel's business plan than what I know about JaJah, I'm not sure either can't be squashed by the likes of Vodafone, Telstra or AT&T if they want to do the sqaushing.

Thes ecompanies are only able to offer cheaper service as long as the carriers choose not to.

Words On VON Flame Across The Net

A war of words is heating up the Internet accelerated by Tom Keating, fueled by VoIP Supply's Garrett Smith over a post by a new employee at Voxilla (note a VoIP Supply competitor) who wrote something on his blog about VON this year, even though it does not reflect the official position of Voxilla according to my sources there who I know and trust.

Basically this is a case of second hand reflections, something we are all occasionally guilty of.

This year's VON was different than past events. It co-existed with a new Video on the Net effort from Pulver, but in no way did it pale or suffer. Quite the opposite, I found a better business climate, more sophisticated companies, and a higher level of participation by the bigger companies in the event, even if it wasn't all on the show floor.

VON is not CES, nor is it like Digital Life where masses go. VON is a gathering where more business goes on in meeting rooms, the press room, the speakers lounge and the hallways. I've even suggested to Carl Ford and Scott Kargman of PulverMedia that they find a way to create some hallway exhibitors for startups who don't want or need a booth.

In my mind VON is more than alive and well. As the barometer for the industry, it showed me based on the kind of approaches I received in many directions, that the VoIP world is getting more sophisticated, more strategic and learning what they can do at these events beyond being on the floor.

Being their first hand, working day and night, being on a panel and interacting at events around VON gave me the perspective of the positive undercurrents that are there. My only rub is I couldn't decide if I wanted to be in the VoIP tracks or the Video panels, as the people who were there were really a "who's who" in both industries. The show floor is in my view the culmination of the advance work done to meet with prospective customers and your existing relationships. Planning and having contacts helps accomplish that, but a newcomer, especially one from behind the scenes. is less likely to have been a part of that game, and would obviously feel left out.

To Tom's satire, having been with Jeff Pulver on his birthday at the Level3 dinner at the Harvard Club, I can safely say that he's not divorcing VoIP. as Jeff's questioning of Level3 Chairman Jim Crowe was as savvy as any network anchor. My view is Jeff sees the nexus of the two V's and wants to be a part of it now, rather than later.

Alec Saunders has a very good perspective from a company on the floor.

This Can Put The San Jose State CTO Out of A Job

If the Chancellor at San Jose State wants to save money and still block Skype, he won't need the CTO much longer.

Sophos now has enterprise software that will block Skype and a host of other file sharing and P2P tools, as well as VoIP.

Given how the CTO has already put the university under a bad light in many people's eyes, this could be a better solution :-(

The way I see it, this is more reason for the OpenNet concept I theorized over the weekend.

Bye Bye Vonage

The VoIPGirl shares her experience of canceling her Vonage account.

I did the same thing and they charged me to cancel. But I was able to keep my number that I had ported over to them from SBC. I did it by parking it at Junction Networks before I cancelled the account.

A bit of trickery on my part, but I sure avoided the hassles of losing my own number.

Grand Central Unveiled

Om was working when I was sleeping, so he beat me to the posting about pals Craig Walker and Vincent Paquet's new venture, Grand Central Communications on Monday.

On Sunday around 11 AM Vincent and Craig gave me access to what I had seen back at VON under the cloak of darkness in a deserted alley. Over the past 56 hours or so I've been a regular user of GrandCentral for managing my inbound calls.

To put it bluntly. It rocks.

I've been a user for years of Webley/CommuniKate, and the last two years of AT&T's CallVantage as well. In a nutshell Craig and Vincent have taken the best of both, and come up with a very slick Ajax interface that makes managing Grand Central a breeze. What's more the functionality out of the box from day one is powerful as anything, and about the only thing it lacks which Webley has is the speech recognition engine from Nuance.

What I like about GrandCentral is the *8 code. That their quick key for making telemarketer calls the same as SPAM and sending them to your SPAM folder at GrandCentral. The other aspect I like is how easy it is to use. Set up was a snap and it works as advertised.

Om thinks that GrandCentral intrudes on Jangl and iotum. In my view iotum would be a compliment to GrandCentral, not a competitor, and with Jangl, there's no comparison. While Jangl wants you to create a new form of ID and then assign numbers based on the relationship (and may be good for the no life or I need a date crowd), GrandCentral is for people who want what the promise of unified messaging has always offered, and before now, was only available to those who knew where to find it with the likes of Webley/CommuniKate. This is far better than uReach or the long forgotten WildFire and given the free offers they have to get people to test drive, you have to give GrandCentral a spin.

The features like record a call, unlimited voice mail, customize ringtones and more are all alluring. I'm a convert already and I think after you try the service out you'll see why both Om and I think this one is a winner.

Fixed Mobile Plays Coming From Mobile Carriers

It looks like fixed mobile convergence, or at least dual mode services that combine mobile phone and in home service are coming.

Orange in the UK and T-Mobile in the USA are both unveiling this year on both sides of the Atlantic according to published reports.

I've often felt that if any group could rival the cable operators at offering VoIP in the home, it would be the mobile operators because they already have and maintain a customer relationship.