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Posts from November 2010

The Sunday Morning Post-Reflections on Game Changing Technology

Video is making strides forward and it's not in the corporate sector, yet. It's in the personal sector. More and more people each day are using video in their one on one communications, largely due to apps like Skype, Sightspeed, ooVoo and DimDim. But the biggest accelerator is FaceTime which more and more often I'm getting FaceTime calls from friends with the new iPhone 4 OS and the front and rear facing cameras.

Why? It simply works. It's having the same impact that Skype has on voice communications. It simply works. That's a far cry easier and in both cases, no IT guy is required. Now let me go one step farther that will totally change the game. It's the next generation iPad which will more than likely have front and rear facing cameras and FaceTime which will (officially) have AirPlay capability. That means I'll be able to use my iPhone or iPad or even an iPod Touch with front and rear cameras on my desk or coffee table and have a video call on my widescreen monitor on the wall or some small, lightweight monitor that's not my PC that I use for scrolling content. As more AirPlay friendly software comes along that supports what I don't need to have on my PC/Mac laptop screen comes along, and the more I can move wirelessly to a second screen, the more video becomes an active part of the conversation and collaboration mix.

Right now, Skype doesn't support video on the iPhone, and only other app that has any traction at all in the two way mobile sector is cross platform Tango that's working on both the Android and iPhone, but on the iPhone it's not yet multi-tasking ready, nor is it likely to be Airplay friendly very soon.

If I was Apple the first thing I would do for 2011 is make all Apple apps on the laptops and iOS devices Airplay ready. Already Airplay in my home office is changing how, and where and with what I use to stream music and video to the 42" monitor on the wall. In less than a week, it's gotten me back into music. Next would be to open up the iOS API's to those companies that get the idea of multi-platform collaboration. Now if you could be pushing your Citrix Online (a client) GoToMeeting sessions from my iPad (where they have a killer app) or Cisco's WebEx presentations using Airplay, cords further get cut and the whole concept of being part of the remote workforce comes greater in to being for even more people.

Next bring personal video into the equation using FaceTime, integrated into (or around) all the apps with multi-tasking, first as one-on-one video, and then as multiparty (think Hollywood Squares frames) and all of a sudden real time collaboration with face to face video is happening on everything from the iOS devices to the Airplay enabled screens around the home and the office, or on a Mac or with none at all.

This kind of capability exists within the Apple eco-system, and some would claim is coming from inside the Cisco world, and we all know Cisco wants to be a world changer in collaboration. Their UMI and upcoming CiUS are based on their Tandberg and Flip camera acquisitions but I would contend that it's easier to get an iPhone or iPad purchase approved and running on the network with Airplay and all I've described above, at a far lower cost, than to go out and buy Tandberg, Polycom, Lifesize or any other full size video conferencing system, and have it work, anywhere versus in a room where it is full time. So while CiUS is portable, it's a divergence device, meaning it does one thing well. The iPad and to its credit the Android powered Galaxy Tab, are multi-trick ponies and when combined with Airplay will do far more than what Cisco is proposing with UMI and CiUS, WebEx and Tandberg systems, at far lower costs, over more networks and at lower bit rates TODAY. If Cisco wanted to really change the game they would work with Apple on cross pollination of FaceTime and Tandberg's video, make their software on their devices Airplay friendly and recognize that the more Apple users collaborate, the more routers and switches the networks need.

Now that would be game changing technology.







Faster Speeds and Higher Prices

Time Warner Cable is now testing faster speed, unlimited VoIP and HD video in Charlotte, NC. This brings with it higher prices.

Here's what this means:

1. Docsis 3.0 is here. All the major cable MSOs are starting to roll it out.

2. Watch for more cable cutting by people who watch what they want to watch using Hulu, iTunes and Netflix

3. The era of the cable bundle is just beginning. Watch for more diverse offerings including more "services" like hosting, back up, security, etc.

4. Business cable services will be on the rise.

5. Relationships with cable companies will matter. Having an MSA with a cable company will mean access and the ability to sell in new services. This is great for Momentum Telecom and IBBS (recent acquirer of SinglePipe)

For AT&T and Qwest, it spells problems as the cable guys are moving in a much more complete solution offering, while only Verizon seems to be thinking like a cable company with FIOS where it's offered.

Cisco Goes Home

Cisco recently launch UMI, their version of TV set video calling. Today, one of the VoIPWatch Voyeurs spied just watch the Silicon Valley giant is doing in Atlanta at the Lenox Square Mall to market UMI.

ciscoLenox Square Mall in Atlanta.jpg

This is called experiential marketing and for Cisco it means following what mobile operators have done for years to build awareness. I have to wonder just how far from the Apple Store Cisco took space :-)

The Joy's Of DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Service

Well last week the cable guys came out and replaced my cable modem and gave me an upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0.

As a business customer of CoxBusiness I learned a few years ago that we just get treated better than the residential customers, so the extra $60.00 a month or so has never been a concern. I get multiple IP addresses that are static, not dynamic, 4 hour service calls with a real technician showing up on site, and premium level service by their support team, plus most importantly, the service that works. In the last five years I can think of only two times we had a service outage, and one of those was caused by the AT&T folks doing something down the street that caused an outage for me and over 1000 others by accident. That was fixed overnight by Cox.

Well now I'm on 3.0 and my speeds have come close to 100 megs down and almost always a solid 7-8 megs up. Downloads are faster, but more importantly video calling is really, really good, as is VoIP regardless of the provider. Cox made a decision to roll out 3.0 to business customers first, and I'm thrilled they did. As someone who uses collaboration in real time with my team and clients around the globe, having a service provider who gets it right is worth their weight in gold. For me 3.0 is one more step towards the truly remote workforce being an even truer reality for many more.

How to Bypass Carriers Apple-Style

Last month, GigaOM posted the news that Apple is working with SIM card manufacturer Gemalto to cut out the carriers. A new embedded SIM card from Gemalto would allow the loading of the operator-specific data onto the SIM after the phone was purchase. This week, there was news of the GSMA working to allow this type of SIM and of a potential war between Apple and European carriers over this. I’ve researched this type of SIM for the equivalent of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in The Netherlands as a solution to overcome business problems of large-scale, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) users. In itself, M2M is worth an article, but this one focuses on what Apple could do.


If what Apple and the GSMA are proposing ever comes to be, mobile operators as we know it become pipe and delivery men. Imagine if you can use a Google Voice like service to simply point all your phone numbers to whichever country specific number you have.

This is many ways is like client Truphone's Local Anywhere service currently up and running in the UK and USA which is likely where Apple got the idea from.

Rise of the Human Hotspot

A survey in the UK shows that a lot of Brits will be looking to connect to the net with a mobile device. That's giving rise to the sale of pocketspots, also known as the MiFi.

As someone who uses both data dongles and 3G/4G Pocketspots from Novatel Wireless and the Sprint Overdrive made by Sierra Wireless, I can attest to their allure and attractiveness for those on the go, especially those of us who carry multiple devices and have urge, need and desire to be connected all the time, even in places some would never wish to be connected.

Konnect. Is it Peerio By Another Name

Tom Keating drew my attention to Konnect, a new Peer 2 Peer telephony system. Years back one of my first VoIP clients inside my agency was a company called Popular Telephony. The company fell on hard times and the intellectual property was eventually sold off for very little money. The idea was simple. A P2P solution for business. The way it works is using the concept of distributed hash taobles.

Based on Tom's account, Konnect seems to be Peerio brought to life.

CellPhone Boosters, Femtocells and Wi-Fi

For years the mobile operators have avoided the reality of the situation when it comes to coverage and solutions. Now comes a report from the New York Times that the leading mobile operators in the USA are contending that wireless boosters interfere with the smooth running of their networks. What's ironic is those "boosters" and some from larger more established technology companies have been around for a few years, and were often used at large technology events to enable coverage in the past. But now, with an investment in femtocell made, the mobile operators are screaming foul, and seeking assistance from their trade body, CTIA and the FCC to limit or eliminate the use of the wireless boosters when in reality the solution to provide coverage in many places really has been Wi-Fi.

The genesis of this craziness stems from something called IMS, a failed idea that was to bring IP and Mobile worlds together, fostered years ago. IMS purists continue to pound away on their idea, and in turn, support/defend their entire approaches over the last ten years or so when it comes to how the mobile world operates. But while IMS may be at the core the right idea, it isn't the solution, and has not proven to be. Femtocells stem from that thinking. Why someone needs to buy a Femtocell to boost coverage, or even a wireless booster to fill in the gap inside a house or office building is even needed is the real issue because for many years Fixed Mobile Convergence technology has been offered to the carriers, and only T-Mobile in the USA, and Orange in France has even dipped their toes in the FMC water, with a UMA solution from Kineto Wireless. This all plays into the idea of Voice Call Continuity that enables a seamless handover between the mobile/cellular network the way the technology from client CounterPath does, based on it's acquisition a few years ago of BridgePort Networks (a former client) which was demonstrated by CEO Donovan Jones this past spring at eComm in San Francisco.

The answer lies in FMC, with the mobile operators and broadband suppliers working together to enable the enterprise, small business and residential customers the ability to use what they already have, and what works to have complete coverage not in Femtoland, where the customer has to buy one more piece of hardware to use at the edge, when FMC technology can solve the problem at the core. For years smartphones have had both 3G and Wi-Fi capability. The software for the phones to be able to switch has been around too. Rather than to have people keep spending more money to solve the problem, all the network folks have to do is let the solutions that are already available come alive. Then, the problem of coverage holes begins to go away, and less and less duplication and overspending goes away too.

Google Voice for iPhone--FINALLY IN APP STORE

Dear Prudence,

It was a Long and Winding Road, but today Apple decided they could just Let It Be. Yes I know. the service's application that almost started a Revolution and wasn't available Yesterday has surfaced today for real, and nobody had to hold a Revolver to anyone's head to make it happen. I mean, every time I was asked if I thought it would be out soon, I would simply say, Tomorrow Never Knows when it comes to Apple and what will come out in the App store.

I'm referring to the new and official GoogleVoice app that's now available in the App Store. Do you think Tim had a Little Help From My Friends to have this day happen? Either way, this means no more Hard Day's Night or Helter Skelter like days and nights around the two tech giants HQs because with the release of the app, GoogleVoice fans now have their Ticket To Ride, and that's alright. Even better. It's free. No paying the TAXMAN, and with the way the app works If You Know My Name, (you can) Look Up My Number.

P.S. I Love You.....

Nimbuzz Learns Open Is The New Closed

IntoMobile is reporting that Nimbuzz had to drop another Instant Messaging platform, ICQ which is owned by AOL. Previously Nimbuzz dropped Skype under threat of legal action from the Skype attorneys.

I'm not surprised and would expect to see similar noise from Yahoo and Microsoft at some point in the future, not because I agree, but because it makes business sense to be able to control the Voice experience which is how they make some money, not off of the IM chat. No one cares about the chatting, its the minutes that matter. Then again, is either Yahoo or MSFT selling many minutes of calling through their messenger clients?

About the only company that likely won't yell about Open being the new closed is Google, who pretty much doesn't care how someone gets to Google, as long as they do, and with GoogleTalk and Voice, calls are mostly free anyway (except for International calls. One has to realize why companies like AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft all got more deeply into the IM space. It was to get people to SEARCH using their search tools. Well AOL with WebCrawler went nowhere fast. Yahoo, which invested initially in Google, has pretty much lost it's way, leaving really only MSFT's BING as a potential option to Google from the big brands. Even is pretty much gone these days.