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Posts from April 2010

Voice News Slowing Down? Watch it Pick Up Again-eComm is Coming In A Week

Over the past few weeks the news around VoIP has pretty much been slow, boring and not at all exciting unless I want to be accused of touting my own clients that is like Truphone who was first on the iPad--but I leave that to others to write first assuming they like the story. Hence why you've seen less posts is simply most of the stories haven't been "cool."

Sure there's been news, but for that kind of coverage you can rely on the tried and trusty folks at and a few other news sites for the regular coverage of what's new on an almost daily basis. That's their job and right now I'd say those outlets have the market cornered. But's its the independent blogs who uncover the stories and usually figure out the angles first. Even pal and client Alec Saunders has been slow on the keyboard of late, hunkering down and focusing on Calliflower. Mr. Mashup, Thomas Howe too has not seen a major news break in a while, with almost a month going by since he shared his views with the world. Larry Lisser, who has become one heck of a blogger who sees how company's can make money and understands monitization very well, too has been rather quiet. So has the always crispy Mr. Blog.

But all that will change very soon, as the big stories of what's going to be hot in Voice for the balance of the year will be heard starting on April 19th in Burlingame, CA at eComm, the event I not only look forward to, but supply my company's services to for free. Why? eComm is truly the community event for all facets of emerging communications. And if you're not there, shame on you, as it will be where new ideas, or ideas that people have had big ideas for years now come together. This is where the proven commodities in voice have shown off their "what's next" for the past few years, dating back to eTel, the O'Reilly conference which spawned eComm. So if you haven't already booked your space at eComm, now's the time. And to help, if you use the promo code "voipwatch" you'll save 10 percent.

Oh, and if you're a blogger who wants to cover eComm, send me a note and my team will look your blog over and grant appropriate bloggers a media credential too. You see, unlike some conferences and events, eComm is blogger friendly from the get go.

Broadband in Your Car

Over in the UK, where iPad fever has not yet hit, the smart mobile operator, 3, has picked up on something I've been doing over the past week (when I've been home that is.) Using my iPad in my car with a MiFi running.

But unlike those of us here in the USA who have to stitch together a solution, 3 has already built an in car kit for their "MiFi." This is something that would help slumping sales of the Novatel Wireless MiFi.

Hat Tip to Ben Smith and The Really Mobile Project!

Why HD Voice Matters

HD voice is a coming trend in voice communications. Those who have experienced a conference call using the services of client HiDef Conferencing, or an all Skype user conference call using an Everyman headset that has the SILK codec built in, or tried ZIP-DX with G.722 codec enabled on a customized version of client Counterpath's SoftPhones, either EyeBeam or Bria have heard the difference. Pal Robert Poe has taken to the importance of HD Voice for the Enterprise market as has Doug Mohney who has been pioneering the coverage of HD voice for sometime.

This is big benefit for client GIPS who are the dominant player in the wideband codec space. As Mohney points out, Goober, a new player from Germany in the multi-headed communications space is using GIPs codecs to power their soft client, while GIPS also now powers the Google Android with its Video Engine for Android, in addition to being the voice engine for Google Talk.

As more traffic moves to IP based communications, the need for a rich and more robust calling experience comes into play, and offering a better sounding experience is the first step.

What OS 4.0 on Apple Devices Means to VoIP

Stuart Henshall has NAILED the story and the importance of what Apple is doing with the upcoming 4.0 release of an OS for iPad, iPhone and iPods. Why now is multitasking going to be so big, and why will VoIP and VoIP apps be important? Because finally, with LTE and WiMax the importance of selling and marketing data plans time has come.

Companies like Skype, Truphone and Google Voice are all in this market together. Only fools think they compete. They don't. Each has clear cut market differentiation, and yet while there may be some overlap, they really each begun to carve out their own clearcut market position. Sure GoogleVoice wants to trump Skype at some point, but by the time that day comes, Skype will have been sold again.

So why does multitasking help these three and the carriers at the same time? Data and data plans, cloud based services and ubiquitous connectivity is what changes the game for these players. When I see a TV commercial from Cox Cable offering me web based management of my phone services from them that is still 1.0 era, you have to realize that the "me too" and "me also" approaches of the rising telcos are getting their lessons from the Voice 2.0 manifestos and developments that we've all been evangelizing and using for the past five or six years. Even Vonage is making quiet moves to be more than a PSTN replacement, with their mobile application.

So when your iPad on 3G gets a call on a softphone, then whats in the cloud will matter. Whose service the call comes over won't.

AT&T Voicemail to Text or GoogleVoice

AT&T is touting a new voicemail to text service very similar to what the previously ill fated SpinVox was offering or what you can buy now from PhoneTag.

The $9.99 price tage immediately draws the comparison to GoogleVoice which now offers a similar speech to text translation service for free.

In my view this begs for a voicemail to text challenge by one of the tech media biggies like Gigaom, ZDNET or CNET at some point to see who is the best at delivering the most accurate message translated to text, who delivers it the fastest and which service delivers the best bang for the buck.

So. Whose up for the AT&T Challenge?

Becoming The Work @ Home Expert

It seems of of late I've branched out from talking to reporters about what works in technology to how to work remotely. You may have seen the recent issue of Inc magazine, right smack dab at the start of the cover story about the virtual company.

Then along came Fox Business and the need for even more "how to" tips for working virtual. The tips include "how to eliminate cord clutter," "choosing a desk chair," and "storage solutions."

I've been working from home for over 20 years, and even when I had an office to go to back in the early 90s, I still did work from home as the day usually began before the drive to the office and never ended when I left. But now, more and more people are not only "working" from home, they're running business from home and in the home. All it takes is a laptop, a good phone line and a place to work.

The work world is changing and that means a whole new redefinition about what work means and where work gets done.

Here Comes VoiceMo

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has had one of his spies inside Google feed him yet more inside insight about GoogleVoice, the service previously known as GrandCentral.

To no one's surprise Arrington postulates that GV is going to release a softclient for laptops and desktops.

Any bets they don't have an iPhone client anytime soon that does the same thing? But if you really want to, you can make use of Gizmo and Google Voice on the iPhone by installing many of the SIP clients that allow you to enter your credentials and settings...

Maybe, just maybe, we'll see this at eComm.

My iPad Delivery Experience

So, like all good toy idiots, I have been tracking the arrival of my Apple iPad ever since the "shipping" notice from Apple showed up in my "inbox" early last week. While the accessories are all being delivered via FedEx, the iPad was being handled from China to me via usually more reliable, UPS. Given I had a drive to L.A. planned, my day was based upon the arrival of the newest son from Apple, so I made a few calls on Friday, first to UPS to be sure delivery was still on schedule, as the web site was showing messages that kept changing all week. For example, on Tuesday the box was supposed to be in customs in Louisville, KY. Then on Wednesday it was still in China. On Friday it was both in China, then back in customs for an "exception" for clearing. When I called, around 3 PM the nice UPS representative said, "all is on schedule. You'll have your iPad tomorrow with your regular UPS delivery."

So, I called my UPS store where the box was to be delivered and confirmed that on Saturday, the UPS driver arrives by noon. Perfect.

Then on Saturday, the horror of misinformation from UPS began. What started out as a nice morning, turned into an emotional summersault brought on by the UPS call center confusion, that was only medicated by the highly competent Apple customer service team, and some very professional on the ground, in the field UPS supervisors, notably Nick and Bill in the San Diego region.

Here's the gist...

At 1030 AM, the on screen tracking system showed that at 745 AM my box was in Ontario, CA, roughly two hours north of me. It didn't show it had left nor did it show, the normal, "Out for Delivery" type of indicator, nor the arrival scan in San Diego, which is the usual behavior of UPS reporting progress. So, I called. UPS had an outgoing IVR message saying all packages of iPads are on schedule to be delivered. Well, in the face of conflicting information, verification is the key. Remember the saying, "trust, but verify." Well I did, and that's when the emotional roller coaster began. I got "Andrew" the Customer Service Rep. He said..."looking at what I can see, I don't believer you're going to receive your iPad today. There was a delay in Kentucky yesterday and we just won't be getting it to San Diego in time to make the delivery. It will arrive Monday."

Shock..Horror and a polite request to talk with a Supervisor, as clearly something was wrong. The supervisor, whose name escapes me, was equally emphatic. The box is likely "on its way to San Diego" but "we don't have any updates. Sorry." So, I asked her to call the distribution center, as their information would be more accurate. While on hold for 30 minutes or so, I called Apple. Talk about an about face. The Apple Customer Service Rep was totally on the ball and said, "I'm seeing the same thing, but, I'm also seeing status go from being held to delivered with nothing like out for delivery. And, trust me, you'll be getting yours today." She also added that this has been going on all day, and yes, agreed it was frustrating. the issue was, when. Nick the district manager called. He was super, as was the San Diego station leader Bill, from UPS. Nick said, yes the package is on its way from Ontario and will be delivered today. He was "surprised" that the UPS Customer Service folks were giving out the kind of information they had told me, and assured me that the package was tracked and that Bill would be following up. He even went so far as to give me his personal cell phone number. That's service. A few minutes later Bill called. He said, "the package is on one of two trucks out for delivery. Then he really surprised me and asked "when do you need it by?" Wow. Talk about service. I told him by 1230 would be great as the UPS store closes at 2 PM and I wanted to grab lunch and work with the iPad before heading up to L.A." He asked that I give him 15 minutes, then called me back at noon, saying within 15 minutes the iPad will arrive. Like Nick, he too was amazed that no one from Customer Service had looked at the available information. Even more bizarre was the fact that my UPS store owner knew when he first arrived that the iPads destined for his customers (two of us) were already in San Diego and out for delivery ...before I had called UPS Customer service around 1030 AM.

Bottom line..Apple knows what its doing, and there are a lot of heroes at UPS, namely, the Supervisor, who doggedly called all over SoCal to find a district person to get clarity, Nick, Bill and Farouk, the former UPI Photojournalist who runs our local store.

iPad Arrives Today-My Plan For It

The Apple Blog, one of the GigaOm network blogs, was wondering what people who receive their iPads will be installing. Well here's my iPad plan.

Boingo-between hotspots and my MiFi's I'll be connected all the time.

Truphone-Voice over WiFi, 3G. I get to make the call.

DropBox-sync those files

Tweetdeck-tweet me, baby.

AP, BBC, NPR, NYT, USA Today and WSJ--a news always junkie needs a fix..

Pandora-personalized music, that drives me to buy more iTunes

Netflix-movies on the go...beyond the iTunes library

Kindle-while I won't be using the Kindle much longer, the books and subscriptions still have use

FlightTrack--as much as I fly, this is a must have

And I'm sure all the iWorks apps (Pages, Keynote and Numbers)

All I'm missing is Word, Excel and has to wonder why MSFT didn't have them ready by now...