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Posts from April 2008

Airports Continue to Not Get Technology

Jonathan Green explodes at his recent experience in Newark Airport where he had WiFi but found the power outlets all without juice.

Just this past Monday night I found myself in Phoenix's Sky Harbor, one of the airports that a national publication called the best for WiFi. Sure the signal was there, but on my Mac I couldn't get even to the home page. Of course I was able to at least get to the SouthWest Airlines pilots and flight attendants portal page, proving there was nothing wrong with my Mac.

Let's face it, the whole concept of WiFi and technology in airports is broken. The older established airports either do it right or turn the service over to a company that understands, or the lowest bidder. Sometimes contracts with telecom carriers decide who has the rights. Compared to Europe, where I get a standard experience country by country for the most part, like in Spain with Kubi, France with Orange, T-Mobile or BT in the UK, etc. here in the USA it's purely Russian Roulette unless you see T-Mobile, AT&T or Boingo's Concourse Communications as the SSID.

Gateway services seem to be the biggest challenge, and airports and their providers who insist on supporting only PC's with Windows and Internet Explorer seem to lead the list of hurdles. That and not enough bandwidth on the property of course.

But this power issue, spurred on by 9/11 is another challenge. In Phoenix Southwest Airlines built up these cool work spaces, complete with power outlets. Think of them as mini airport lounges without the lounge. Unfortunately while I had the juice, I didn't have the WiFi....

Jajah Says Yahoo

With the possible merger of Yahoo with Microsoft this agreement between Jajah and Yahoo can be very good, or much to do about nothing. But for now its all very good for Jajah and they deserve the credit for being the number one minute stealer, taking advantage of an opportunity when everyone has their eyes elsewhere. Well done.

Here are the facts as I see it:

Jajah picks up the inbound and outbound call management for Yahoo voice, which has not really set the world on fire. Isn't that why Yahoo bought Dialpad? Score lots of money to Craig Walker and Vincent Paquet. Yahoo, doesn't score any points.

Jeff Bonforte has left Yahoo for XOBNI. Reportedly Microsoft wants to buy XOBNI. Jeff developed Yahoo voice with the help of some very talented developers. He also developed the guts of GizmoProject for SIPPhone. Candidly, since Jeff left Gizmo the product hasn't been as stable, but it still works. Score one for Jeff, nothing for Yahoo as they let a talented whirling dirvish like Rockstar slip away.

Brad Garlinghouse is still there at Yahoo trying to help clean up the sticky situation brought on by the Peanut Butter Manifesto (and things are showing he was right). So the two guiding lights who moved Yahoo big time into voice are not paying any attention. Give Brad some Skippy.

Now this is where you have to really wonder whose paying attention to what at Yahoo. AT&T and Verizon are/were big parts of the Yahoo on-ramp strategy. This Jajah relationship can't exactly appeal to them given how may DSL customers they drive to Yahoo as their home page. Also since Yahoo powers AT&T's portal for WiFi with its ad engine, one has to wonder if the right hand at Yahoo knows what the left hand is doing.

So Jajah shows off smarts in landing a deal that has lots of marquee value, will enable Yahoo to not be in the phone infrastructure business and likely has some community and ad delivery value for them.

Score Jajah 10, Yahoo 0.

Open AIM Voice API's

AOL is making noise about releasing API's for voice with OPEN AIM and their desire to work with developer.

I wonder what developers who have worked with AIM PhoneLine have to say about that?

So far the announcement applies to AIM Call Out. One reason is that AIM Phone Line is pretty much dead and AOL doesn't want to be in the inbound call handling market it would seem.

WiFi, WiFi, Get Your WiFi Here!

Years ago, Joe the Beerman would lead cheers in the stands of The Spectrum, my work home for 15 years basically, when I worked in PR for both the Philadelphia Wings, and then fan development for the Philadelphia Flyers before it was called Fan Development.

Esme Vos is WiFi's cheerleader, and yesterday she posted about what will happen in the city of Bern, Switzerland during the Football Championships this summer. WiFi for free, subsidized by a local energy company, a media company and a leading ISP. It's part community service, part ad driven revenue and a big part, proof of concept.

It's also a very good idea.

FMC Flattening Phone Costs

I use client Truphone and my T-Mobile HotSpot @ Home services a lot because they help flatten the phone bill and keep things manageable. I also make lots of use of the Skypephone when I'm somewhere I can use it, like the UK.

So in seeing this report about some market research from ABI I can't but be anything but more than a cheerleader here. This is so accurate in perspective that its got to be something the incumbent wireline guys are worried about.

The experience of WiFi VoIP using Truphone and TMO the last two weeks from inside my London apartment and elsewhere was very good. Only downside I saw seemed to impact TMO where they seemed to have less control of the media and I would suffer from latency when the apartment's broadband was being slammed.

When you take the ABI report and add in some thoughts from other analysts like Dean Bubley, plus commentary from the land down under's Jo Best of ZDNet/AU you have to realize that FMC is not just someone's dream, it's someone else's reality.

Viva La France, Viva La Orange

I spend a lot of time in France and one of my peeves has been the lack of PrePaid data rates.

Well, not any more. Now with Orange France for 9 Euros a month you can get some type of pre-paid data. This is a boon for me, as I'm really loving my Nokia E90 as an alternative to my Blackberry Curve. As a matter of fact, the last two weeks I used the E90 more than the Berry in the UK and Spain.

Now with this new Orange plan I can get more use out of the E90 and N95's, and upload those famed coffee cup photos that's I've been neglecting to do (more out of respect for someone who had to recently give up coffee)

Pre-Paid data is the future, especially for travelers and tourists who want to stay connected.