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Posts from October 2009

Posts to Read about Voice

Phil Wolff has a great post on how voice becomes more than cheap calling via Skype.

Larry Lisser writes up why voice is back in vogue.

Alec Saunders gets under the hood and shows just what AT&T may be up to in the battle around free conference calling and more.

The Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T says Google Voice prevents calls to convent. So what. Google execs on the Google buses already are in a monastery like environment as the are prohibited from talking on the phone making the claim nothing more than a brand extension in my book.

A real dandy of an article about pal and voice visionary Martin Geddes made its way on to the BT web site, as Martin explains about the three side business model and why voice is in vogue again.

Who Said What About Net Neutrality? The GigaOm quiz makes you wonder.

Why The Gizmo Sale to Skype Rumor is Good For The Industry

I've had a day to reflect on the rumor of Skype buying Gizmo (actually they would be buying all of Sipphone) and why it's more than just good for the VoIP industry.

For starters, just the fact that Skype is thinking of SIP as the alternative to JoltID is a good sign. It brings all kinds of attention to something that has been taken for granted and not given the kind of respect it deserves.

That makes it great news for the industry, and for companies like clients VoxBone and HiDefConferencing both of which play heavily in the Skype ecosystem, but are very much SIP based. It's also welcome news for client Junction Networks as their OnSip platform is business grade and far more developed and live than anything Gizmo has revealed so far. Likewise it's great news for client Truphone whose all SIP infrastructure is immediately interoperable with whatever the new Skype becomes. It's also good for client iotum (and blogger Alec Saunders) whose patent portfolio includes some very nifty feature sets. Same for ifByPhone which would immediately see a huge market open up in terminating their suite of automated telephony applications' calls to Skype via SIP in addition to 800 and local DIDs. This is also equally great for client xConnect, who SIP based peering platform and application ready architecture means Skype doesn't have to look far for a lot of interconnection simplicity.

Take OnSip for example. Here's a business grade, market proven (and loved) SIP based hosted PBX play built from the ground up by Junction Networks. They have a fully SIP compliant infrastructure, they are running minutes every hour of every day, with termination to SIP and PSTN networks, and have developed an entire web based UI that lets their customer manage calls at the individual user level, as well as a full backend customer administration portal. With their open source heritage making it possible to do almost anything imaginable, there's not much that Gizmo has that's different. As a matter of fact other than the downloads (which are not users) that Gizmo has, its possible that OnSip has even more active end points on a daily basis and may be terminating more calls to more endpoints that aren't all OnNet. So if Skype buys SipPhone/Gizmo this means all the OnSip customers can call their Skype pals without any hassle, or a need to have a second softclient running...That means greater efficiency, further reach and all the services that can run on SIP take the front seat over minutes.

Now lets look at who else this is good for. Companies with rich understanding of APIs like Voxygen and Thomas Howe. Voxeo, Cloudvox, Twilio, Broadsoft, etc. The list goes on and on. What's more all the current SIP customers of CallCentric, Inphonex and other Internet Telephony Service Providers instantly make calls to Skype ID's for Free from a SIP client or endpoint. Any SIP client or Any SIP endpoint. The list goes on and on.

Oh, and yes. It is good for Gizmo and founder Michael Robertson too.

Is Skype Buying Gizmo? Makes Sense to Me

One of the things one learns is that one can often be right without saying much. For months as the JoltID suit has been rearing its ugly head I've been saying Skype is a brand not a technology and they would simply go all SIP. That opens the door to a lot of potential moves, but one that makes total sense is buying Gizmo from Michael Robertson.

It makes sense because Gizmo works, but what really makes it interesting is how GoogleVoice already has a peering relationship with Gizmo ( a deal I helped broker two years ago when both were just simple startups per se)

The peering means if Skype goes with Gizmo as it's SIP backend is that calls to and from GoogleVoice are FREE and the stay on-net, without ever touching the PSTN.

Unless I'm mistaken though, Gizmo isn't P2P SIP, but just SIP, with of course the media path being P2P like all VOIP, and the Signaling being SIP.

Comcast Looks To The Future With HomePoint VoIP

In a move that Fierce VoIP is calling a limited release by Comcast, the nations largest cable operator, of HomePoint, a converged VoIP/Router, it would appear that finally, after making all the needed in network (e.g. getting all the hardware and software to be the same in all markets) infrastructure work completed, Big C is ready to sell VoIP.

You may ask as Fierce did, "why?"

That's simple. WiMax and LTE. Both are SIP at their voice core and even really IMS for LTE. IMS is SIP for voice for the most part so as Comcast rolls out Mobile WiMax they can more easily offer a truly converged service, and one that offers the kind of features we see from Google with Google Voice.

Since Comcast and Google are both investors in Clearwire, and since Android is already becoming more than a mobile-GSM handset, you can start to see long term roadmaps coming together where Comcast in many parts of the country becomes a single source provider vs. AT&T and Verizon.

In many ways, if you look at the map, Comcast is the Bell System recast, albeit with a more technology/IP orientation, while AT&T has chosen to be still in the analog world more than in the IP world with a converged play.

That will change by 2011 when the new Ma Bell/AT&T rolls out their concept of ONE Network. Then the battle will begin and AT&T will start to regret ever selling Comcast their cable TV networks.

This particular trial, is very typical in the cable industry. Pick a market as a control site and then add a few more. Gain feedback and then push it out across the country. It's smart and a good way to roll out a product that works from the time it's installed. In many ways this is the market AT&T would have owned had they continued marketing CallVantage. Oh, well.

VoIPWatch Report #5 for Week of October 11 2009

This week I talk about the almost laughable actions of the FCC and Google Voice, the comical but Dangerous memory loss by Microsoft and Danger, a quick peek at what you need to know about Clearwire-whose picture is get more clear and how T-Mobile in the UK now allows VoIP over Mobile Broadband, all on the VoIPWatch Report

Sidekick Data Loss-A Wake Up Call For Cloud Based Users

Danger-Your Data Is Not Really Secure With Microsoft Servers

---that could be the headline in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal, and it would grab a lot of attention.

Another could be:

The Danger of Online Storage

Or another

Danger In The Cloud

Danger Phones Now Have Amnesia

You see, redundancy doesn't have mean you're fired. Unless of course you're the VP or GM of the Microsoft/Danger group's server farm due to the SideKick fiasco and the T-Mobile executive who signed a deal that didn't insure their customer's data was secure.

Redundancy means having another full copy of everything. And somehow we're seeing more and more "data" loses.

Now, while many may say "read the fine print" in this case, the Sidekick has no other way of having it's data backed up (at least not from the era of my old Sidekick which was pre-Microsoft) so users really had trust in their mobile operator and the back end suppliers.

Well, that trust just went out the window.

Now it seems the idea of a cloud based storage service that doesn't have a backup guarantee is as good as a free service. In this case the implicit trust of the brands, T-Mobile, Microsoft and Danger, all have been compromised.

Given how in some parts of the world, a mobile phone is the computer for so many, and for many, their entire life (well social and business life) is stored on a mobile phone, losing one's memories, contacts and details is paramount to amnesia.

Somehow, I now think this is much more than a headache in Redmond. It's more like total memory loss with no chance of recovery. That's called brain damage.

Voice 3.0: The Era Of API Calling

I just learned that Cloudvox is launching this week and it got me thinking.

Cloudvox is one of the companies like client Voxygen, Voxeo, Twilio and also client ifByPhone and Ribbit which has grasped the power of voice APIs and made them available to just about everyone.

What does all this mean?

Well for starters, voice API's become more deployable. In an era where cloud computing and open source technology are taking hold, the need for easy to use libraries of code is evident.

A company that either develops API, uses them to their nth degree or knows how to manage and deploy them, ala pal Thomas Howe, is going to be part of the Voice 3.0 era.

Watch for other companies to take on a similar approach.