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Posts from August 2008

Boingo Mobile and Truphone = A Real Winner

Today I mashed up the recently updated Boingo Mobile client (which works on Nokia N and E series phones, the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet and Window Mobile devices) on my Nokia E71 Smartphone (North American Edition) from inside my hotel room.

The hotel is powered by iBahn, one of the Boingo roaming partners. I grabbed the E71 and booted up the Truphone client, identified Boingo's hotspot SSID as the one I wanted to latch onto. That fired up the Boingo Mobile client which works automatically. No entering usernames, passwords or anything.

Next I dialed a number, and voila, instant connectivity and the calls go through, with no muss no fuss. In many ways this is just like the way the T-Mobile@Home with UMA works.

I then made a Skype Out call on my MacBook Air to my Truphone number, and within less than a second the Nokia E71 was ringing.

So here's the use case for this one. You're an International traveler. You're working inside your hotel room. Roaming rates are such you switched SIM's to a local SIM or even a travel SIM like MaxRoam or SIM4Travel (from Truphone now.) Those help keep cost down when you're out and about, but when you have WiFi access on your phone because it has that capability this is the rate buster.

Now you're making calls for .01 cent a minute back to the USA or Canada from anywhere, or taking advantage of Truphone's cost saving rates to call anywhere else.

Now that's a Working Anywhere Approved Combination

(Full disclosure Truphone, Boingo and Nokia are all clients of mine).

ifByPhone Profiled in Chicago Sun Times

It's been a banner year for Skokie, IL based Comunicano client ifByPhone.

For the second time in a few months the Chicago Sun Times has poked there head in the direction of Irv Shapiro and each time the story has been glowing.

As the story says ifByPhone "software applications let small businesses set up virtual call centers and make "live" contact with potential customers without having to hire technicians and phone operators."

Also included are real world examples of how companies are using the ifByPhone technology.

WiFI VoIP Standard Now Final

PC World reports that the long awaited 802.11r standard has been finalized and approved by the IEEE, the standards body that determines much of what goes into our personal electronics and communications equipment.

This means that finally WiFi phones can really come into their own, and that roaming between hotspots and even networks becomes much more stable and reliable.

While mostly beneficial to the Enterprise market, this is a solid step in the right direction and will benefit companies like Agito Networks, Cisco and a few others.

For consumers it means that we'll start seeing more WiFi enabled cable, FIOS and DSL modems with phone service tied to them, but with the luxury of working from house to house as people in neighborhoods mix and mingle.

In my view this can create a whole new type of personal communication's network that rides on IP, interacts with the PSTN and Cellular, but has many more IP based features that are designed specifically for localized use, but have the "smarts" to connect and roam.

HTC Google Android + T-Mobile + 1700/3G?

If I was a betting man, I would expect the new HTC Android device to be one of the first 3G devices on the new T-Mobile 1700 megahertz range network.

Why? It's an instant market differentiator, and it puts data plans on a network that was licensed and built just for that. I mean, how hard does one have to realize that a Google device is very much oriented in that direction.

The key is, will the data plans be ad-subsidized by Google in some way to build market share?

I also would expect it to have UMA built in, just like the T-Mobile Blackberries and a few Nokia and Samsung devices to work with the T-Mobile @Home service, as well as at any hotspot that T-Mobile powers.

Where's The Meter?

Om's post of this past Thursday, aimed squarely at Comcast, asks the question "Where's the Meter?"

That reminds me of the old Wendy's commercial, "Where's the Beef" and at the same time "Show me the Money" from Jerry McGuire fame.

Here's my take.

1) Cable companies have never cared how much tv you watch.

2) Cable companies have used UNLIMITED telephone calls to take customers away from the telcos.

3) Cable MSOs have become the market leader in delivering broadband to the home and as a result, have accomplished number two at the peril of the telcos.

You don't see Comcast saying "Mrs. Jones, you watched too many soap operas, spent too many hours watching HBO and your kids spent hours watching Disney kids."

Why not?

Because they are paid not to. Beyond the local must carry rule that requires cable MSO's to carry the local tv stations, each home that is served and each cable box installs carries with it a payment back to the cable channel from the MSO, which is taken from the monthly subscriber fees or from payment for premiums channels as WikiPedia points out.

Basic cable networks receive at least some funding through fees paid by the cable TV systems for the right to include the network in its channel lineup. Most basic cable TV networks also include advertising to supplement the fees, due to their programming cost being greater than the fees paid by cable TV systems. Premium cable refers to networks, such as HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime, that scramble or encrypt their signals so that only those paying additional monthly fees to their cable TV system can legally view them (via the use of cable box or converter). Because these networks command much higher fees from cable TV systems, their programming is generally commercial free.

We are about to enter a time where the content providers need to start to pay the cable operators and other ISPs for the delivery of their rich media content, because in an era of metered bandwidth, the reason the MSO's need to charge for that is they are losing eyeballs from their commercial supported business. TV. That means the likes of Google with YouTube, Apple with iTunes, and everyone else will need to figure out a way to share the pie, instead of making billions off of OPM (other party's megabytes).

The second piece of the pie that needs to be addressed is the difference between business Internet and consumer/residential Internet. As a teleworker I am willing to pay more per month for a better grade of service, guaranteed up-time and shorter repair cycles. I'm not willing though, nor would other business owners, want to pay more for sharing the same pipe that goes to the kid down the block playing games, running P2P services for videos and music downloads and more.

What Comcast failed to show was the meter. They also, as Om points out, played bully saying "go over the limit twice and we turn you off." Instead they should say "go over and you pay this penalty or move up to a higher rate plan."

For the person who makes their living off of the Net we'll likely pay the price. That will lead to municipalities looking at how they can make money off of access, and in turn create a competitive environment.

Comcast's mistake is they're in a monopoly situation. By becoming the bully in the neighborhood and with a changing political climate in the USA, the bully won't be standing around long. My guess is we'll start to see more effort placed to opening up competition with cable companies, just like we saw with the telephone company.

History always repeats and what's more, we're entering an era of even great need for more people to work anywhere, not drive as far, if at all, and most of all, to inspire growth in the economy.

When all that happens, Comcast will be likely wishing for the day they had the customers who were moving that much data.

As one of their largest shareholders will understand very clearly:

There's greed. And there's 'anti-greed.' What Comcast is doing now is totally anti-greed.

You May Soon Be Able to Tether via Your iPhone

I've been tethering my laptop and other peoples laptops over a 3G connection for a while now using my bright and shiny Nokia E71 smartphone and an AT&T 3G data plan by running JoikuSpot as many readers know. Others have picked up on the capability and are doing it now, eliminating the need for a Data Card and an extra plan.

Now comes word that Apple is considering or may actually be lobbying AT&T to allow that capability over the iPhone. Ironically, this may be the first time Apple has ever lagged (or followed) in the area of wireless connectivity. If you look at their history with the Macintosh, Apple was first with WiFi and onboard Bluetooth connectivity.

Is Skype Killing Itself?

Over the past few months we've seen a rash of complaints from bloggers and users about Skype.

Now I see they've decided to retire SkypeCasts (hat tip to Stuart Henshall).

I'm not sure why they would be doing this, but I suspect it is a pairing down of non-core business efforts under the new regime. Let's face it. The new COO came from Motorola and clearly he's totally familiar with how businesses get smaller, not bigger.

What's puzzling though is that Skypecasts are one more example of how eBay really missed the mark with their purchase of Skype. For example, SkypeCasts were the perfect way to hold training sessions for new sellers; for sellers to provide how to tips to customers and for eBay buyers to share experience with eBay and eBay sold items.

Skype is the best example of Voice 2.0. Unfortunately, eBay is all about trying to be 1.0 and that's the disconnect.

Austria Mobilkom Launches SIP SoftPhone

Xnet's iSoftPhone is being used as part of a launch of a new service called A1 over IP, a new telephony offering coming from Mobilkom Austria.

Xnet has developed the new A1 iSoftPhone for the Mac OS X they say to deliver Carrier-Grade Voice Communications. The Xnet Mac softphone is a worthy rival to Counterpath's Eyebeam softphone and actually takes better advantage of the Mac OS as the echo cancellation in past trials has exceeded that of the commercially released version of Eyebeam.

Xnet's A1 iSoftPhone can serve as a primary or secondary phone device for mobile subscribers. It is capable of being used in parallel with any existing mobile phone and can use the same number as the mobile phone.

The A1 iSoftPhone will also access many 2.0 VoIP and messaging (SMS) features provided by the Austrian mobile operator. Since the A1 iSoftPhone is interacting directly with the A1 IMS infrastructure Mobilkom reports that they can begin to offer Unified Communications Services over IP to their customers.

They said about this:

"The IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) has become the glue that will tie the increasingly complex mix of rich services together, with session initiation protocol (SIP) as the standard that underpins it all.

Xnet's iSoftPhone in combination with IMS enables network operators and service providers to design, develop, and deploy new revenue-generating multimedia services for their subscribers quickly and cost-effectively.

Examples of service creation could include VoIP mashups that enhance popular business and consumer applications such as integration with the Mac Address Book, customer relationship management (CRM) with Daylite or SMS send/receive centre."

Here are some of the announced features and benefits:

Turns the Mac into a comprehensive communication centre.

Integrated with the existing Address Book.

Same call number as mobile phone.

Call pickup on mobile or desktop phone.

Free Internet Telephony.

Send/Receive SMS with finger speed.

Receiving calls abroad without roaming fees.

A1 Caller-ID and Multi-ring.

A1 Quality&Service

Maybe pal Lee Dryburgh, the eComm organizer, can try it out and let us know how it works as he lives in Austria.

If you want to try out the Xnet Mac Softphone on your own, here's the link.

WiMax Coming Soon

It looks like the next concept in wireless technology, the so called 4G version is coming on stream with the hype and hoopla of the Super Bowl meets the Democratic National Convention.....

It's WiMax and the push behind it from the Clearwire/Sprint/XOHM team is a full court press.

WiMax maven Paul Kapustka has the lowdown on where things will be really soon, and even found his way into Forbes this week with some commentary.