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Posts from July 2009

CTIA-I Was In Error-It Seems Zer01 Never Won Anything

In an earlier blog post I was critical of the CTIA award process, and I was wrong. It seems CTIA should be critical and possibly litigious against Zer01 instead.

A wonderful reader of this blog found something very interesting, that may shoot more holes in the unfolding Zer01 mystery. It seems they never won anything from the CTIA...WHOA!!!! In light of Nancy Gohring's riveting IDG story

Over on Scam.com (what a name) there seems to be a complete report by a reader which if accurate seems to cast more disfavor on Zer01.


Where Are Conferences Headed and Why It's Good For Cisco

Future thought types have aired their viewpoints via Robin Good, one of the sharper experts on collaboration.

My view is that conference have to go well beyond the "presenter" and "audience" model. For years there have been back channel discussion via IRC and more recently using Skype chat for people both in the physical and virtual audiences. Now services like client Livestream-which just combined Twitter via Twitcam- and others like uStream and Justin.tv are streaming conference events to those not physically there. The interaction though between those up on stage and those virtually there though is lacking for the most part today. But so are many of the key elements that are needed to make the interaction look and sound great over the net, which is where I see Cisco heading.

I recall at two different VON events I used SightSpeed to bring Om Malik to one conference as a virtual panel participant, and another to have an expert on the panel from Los Angeles while we were all in Boston. Both sorta worked, but the conference technology was not configured well to do it (i.e no one gave me a video and audio out, there wasn't a production mixing board input to use, etc.) that would have made it kickin. But hey, that was two years or more ago, so Jeff Pulver and I were just slightly ahead of everyone else with vision on how to include those not at the event in the event. Today, Cisco would be smart to buy ooVoo and make it telepresence light as the technology would be a very good mass usage way to make telepresence part of everyone's daily life. The other option would be Skype, and as they move more in the SIP direction, that too could be a worthwhile look under the hood for John Chambers' folks.

But to make it all work will require a totally different set up both physically and network wise. For example, a classroom set up is needed so people can have a desk surface for laptops, not just chairs. Better lighting of the audience is needed. More mics are needed around the room.

The idea of a network at the event has to mean more than just WiFi. Audio and video clients require packet prioritization and bigger and better routers, so at the end of the day, all this means is Cisco wins and is sorely needed to provide a Cisco powered network solution.


Rumored New Apple iPod Touch Will Be Huge for VoIP, Multimedia

Yesterday on KenRadio, host Ken Rutkowski and I jabbered on about the rumored new Apple iPod touch, that will come with a camera and a microphone-built in and 64 GB of memory.

This is awesome news for the likes of Skype and client Truphone and will likely start a flood of "me too" applications from the likes of Cablevision who operates a WiFi hot zone in the New York area, Clearwire and Comcast who are chasing customers in the Portland area with WiMax and elsewhere as the WiFi capability of the iPod touch means its a mobile phone without the mobile phone bill and contract connected to it, something Jeff Belk, the former Senior VP of Strategy at Qualcomm discussed in Unstrung in February of this year.

This isn't science fiction and with the rumored new iPod touch, VoIP over WiFi gets to. I've been doing exactly that with Truphone on both my Nokia's and my Apple iPhone and iPod touch for as long as the Nokia N80 and E61's were available and now on iPhone's and the current iPod touch 2nd edition. As a result of the reported iPod touch coming I fully expect a flurry of SIP based applications to start streaming through the Apple App store as a result and would expect the apps to come in two flavors:

1) BYOS-Bring your own SIP service ala SipPhone which is currently in the App store. A company like Mailvision could easily enter this space, as could Counterpath.

2) Branded service dedicated voice and video communications similar to Skype and Truphone from the likes of Gizmo5 or any SIP based operator with a customer base. This is why I think the cable operators who market land line services as part of a bundled offering will be in the game so soon.

An iPod touch with a microphone built in means another phone extension in the house, but more importantly that telephone number is accessible anywhere there's a WiFi connection. Just like a mobile phone is.

Where do I see the disruptive uptake? Within two key categories:

1) Pre-teens who need a phone but can't afford a contract

2) Travelers who don't need to be "always on" but want to stay in touch cost effectively.

Who benefits from this? Anyone with a travel router to sell, including Apple. Toss a travel router in your bag, and stay in a hotel with wired broadband to your room, and logging on is a snap.

But this also opens up a whole new world for mobile video production and applications that make it easy to record and capture, along with a voice over, as well as quickly "rough cut" video footage and upload it. For apps like QIK and for companies like Sorenson Media, which already has a mastery of video production tools, and even BrightCove and client Livestream, this new device will be a game changer.

Call it iPhone Lite.

As a matter of fact, it may be a better device overall.

Call it iPhone Plus!

P.S. This and a MiFi would be awesome too, as my friend Phil Baker pointed out in an email.


Open Source Guava - The Facts From Michael Robertson

Earlier today I received an email from a reader contending that GUAVA was written with code that was purloined. Rather than let this issue fester, I went to Gizmo5 founder Michael Robertson to help set the record straight.

Robertson, who has been a strong proponent of open source technology since his MP3 era was quick to respond and wanted to set the record straight. Here is Michael's reply:

Andy,

Sometimes the open source community over-reacts. My guess is someone went to the about screen and at the top we talk about what you can do with GUAVA since there's no web site or tutorial built for the software. Then they didn't know how to scroll down. If they would have scrolled down they would see lots of additional information about the software. Attached is a screenshot of the About section from GUAVA software running on Android. I think it's obvious it's based on Sipdroid since that's exactly what it says. We did not remove the copyright notice as you can also see. Also, we provide the source code at: http://www.gizmo5.com/guava.tgz and there's links to the source code from the support area. And if anyone had trouble finding it, they could of course send us email and we'd reply.

Anyone who knows my background knows I'm a big believer in open source having spent millions of dollars of my own money and more money from the companies that I've started and run to support open source. Of course people know I did Lindows/Linspire and we built lots of code and paid for other code which went back to the community. A small example is Firefox's 'underline in red when I do a misspelling' - that's code I paid to have written and gave to Mozilla. Way back at MP3.com we gave money to support an unknown open source database called Mysql which went onto bigger things.

Here's the screenshot of the About Page:

guava-about-screen.gif

Note: You can obtain the latest version of Guava here.


Zer01 May Not Be Real

IDG's Nancy Gohring, has done some really good investigative work about the Zer01 mobile service. Reading through what Nancy has written puts CTIA and it's entire awards process under a microscope as ZER01 was a CTIA award winner...

The key line in my book by Nancy who deserves a medal for her detective work:

But both T-Mobile and AT&T say they don't have relationships with Zer01. Without those operators, Zer01 is unlikely to be able to offer nationwide coverage, Gold said. If Zer01 had deals with all the other regional GSM operators, it still couldn't piece together a nationwide service

This is the same question I posed to their PR representative months ago.

Read Nancy's three page story, and then decide what's fact and what's fiction.


GUAVA Comes To Android

Michael Robertson, AKA "the Disruptor" wasn't happy with only doing unto Skype before Skype doeth to him so he launched OpenSky. Now he's taking aim at GoogleVoice with Guava-Google Unauthorized Android Voice Access.

Basically, this is possible due to a peering relationship between Gizmo and GoogleVoice that dates back to the GrandCentral days.

What does Guava do? Simply put, you use your Gizmo credentials, log into the app, and start calling as it makes calls out via GoogleVoice over WiFi.


MaxRoam Invades Hong Kong-Establishes BuzzRoam

MaxRoam's Pat Phelan let me in on some news tonight. Global Roaming Solutions Ltd (Hong Kong) and Cubic Telecom (Ireland) are announcing a new mobile roaming SIM card that will save consumers money over their usual mobile bills.

Dubbed Buzzroam, this becomes is the first GSM SIM card available in Asia which provides access to low cost voice and data roaming using one dedicated international number. BuzzRoam will also provide the ability to forward the regular mobile number to your Buzzroam SIM card.

This is all about reducing the dependency on roaming.


ooVoo Taking on All Comers

When Peter Csathy was at the helm of SightSpeed the company had vision and direction that included small business. Now under the Logitech leadership the company is moving mostly in the consumer direction.

Over in NYC, ooVoo is rapidly growing and moving in the direction that SightSpeed was headed until it was acquired. In reading the Reuters story it's almost like someone looked at SightSpeed's redirection, saw a gaping marking opportunity and has jumped in.

Way to go ooVoo.

Hat tip to the Daily Payload.


When Local Isn't Local

It seems the way Vonage presents their 800 number traffic makes local resident calls to 800 numbers look like their out of market.

Since the receiving party pays, faux-pas like this are bound to happen.

The radio station uses the ANI (Automatic Number Identification) as a way to verify the caller's name and address. It seems to me that Vonage must be masking that ID piece of the VoIP/SIP puzzle the same way blocked caller ID data causes the receiving party to get the locale of the POP that the call is being dumped into the PSTN (or used to.)

So do the math. The caller who won the $1000.00 would have had the money for almost four years of Vonage service if they had gotten through. YIKES!!!