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Posts from December 18, 2011 - December 24, 2011

What I Want as a Holiday Present This Year (Wishful Thinking)

In looking at the technology landscape here's what I want for holiday present:

1) The end of security being the excuse not to adopt something. Over the past 11 years I have seen more great ideas and growth stymied under the guise of "security" being the issue. 

2) Standards really being standards. If you use the standard, don't limit what can be done using it.

3) Skype VoiceMail that's really voicemail. Just add client YouMail.

4) The ability to transfer a call in Skype on the Mac. Why do Windows users have all the fun?

5) Skype to realize and get out of the denial mode that there Windows approach may have been good to get bought but that their 2.x era Mac client was a better experience.

6) Android OS' to migrate up with each new version, and to be like Apple, and work on devices up to two years old. All devices.

7) More Apple users. Easier reduces barriers to adoption.

8) End of geek centric customer service. Email is not problem solving. It's time consuming. If I paid for the product or service and there's a problem, I want a real time solution at least 6 AM-6 PM Eastern/Central/Mountain and Pacific Time in the USA and elsewhere.

9) Public hotspot WiFi that works. Bandwidth to support demand in public. An experience that's worth paying for.

10) Microsoft Office for the iPad. Office for the Android. Office for the Playbook. Let's face it despite Google Apps, people are still using office. 

 

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Log Me In Takes Aim at Citrix Go To Meeting

LogMeInImage via Wikipedia

Already a competitor to Citrix in the GoTo category of support tools with LogMeIn Rescue and LogMeIn as a remote desktop service that gets around firewalls nicely, the folks at LogMeIn are now taking aim at GoToMeeting, GoToTraining, GoToWebinar and of course HiDef Conferencing with the news of VoIP support for Join.Me, a novel, easy to use screen sharing service that offers annual and monthly plans.

The VoIP support is rumored to be coming from TurboBridge, an upstart in audio conferencing out of the Washington, D.C. area. TurboBridge offers Skype, SIP and dial up access from all over the globe, and at monthly rates that can only be viewed as purely "disruptive."

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GoGo to Go Public in 2012

GoGo, which puts WiFi on airplanes, is going to file an IPO in 2012 in hopes of raising $100 million to support growth according to TechCrunch. The IPO is a way for the investors to get some of their money back faster or to fuel growth. 

While GoGo is seeing growth, it's currently using proven technology based up CDMA to connect to the Internet on the ground. If they can switch to LTE then the speeds will increase as will the capacity, but to date I have not seen any commentary on that. 

GoGo also needs to pursue markets outside North America, where CDMA doesn't exist for the most part. To do that they will need to work with satelliet operators like ViaSat before LTE arrives globally, but global frequencies for LTE are far from standard.

Third, it's the intercontinental flights are where passengers are en masse who really need to connect given the lenghth of flight time. Panasonic and Lufthansa are rolling out their own version of in-flight WiFi currently on trans-Atlantic flights and their first mover advantage, and alliance program partnerships are driving roll-out.

The above hurdles aside, should GoGo and Panasonic/Lufthansa all find a way to play nice and roam between each other, then subsriber plans become more attractive and revenues become more predictable, much like cell phone companies. Already Boingo or iPass have figured out how to roam with GoGo, so that opportunity must be obvious as WiFi is the standard and how the signal gets to the ground really doesn't matter to the person in the seat. We just want it to work.

I hope GoGo makes this all work as the service is why over the past year almost all of my domestic flights have been on WiFi equipped planes.

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Microsoft and Level 3-The Next Mobile Operator (for Enterprise Customers)

Level3's blog may be tipping us off to more than Microsoft may have liked. In their year end post about voice predictions for 2012 there is a casual reference to the mobile client of their UC product, Lync, but the "tell" is based upon a "one number" solution.

So let's speculate. When you think about it, Microsoft and Level3 have had a longstanding relationship, dating back to voice running over the Level3 network for XBox for years, and recent efforts around SIP trunking. Now we see a "leak" and a series of references in items 5, 8 and 10, when all taken together and given the relationship history with Level3 start to show some potential directions that both companies are taking.

Level3 for years has been flirting with how to be mobile player. Now that Skype is part of Microsoft and that Lync is the business UC client, the only missing piece is mobile.

Where does the mobile piece come from? Well, if Light Squared gets approved it could be them, or you could see Microsoft and Level3 buy up Leap Wireless or Metro PCS and turn it into a business focused UC player end to end....with Level3 in the middle of it all.

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I'll See You In the Car

Motor Authority is reporting that OnStar will be introducing in car video chat for the back seat of automobiles at CES. While no carrier was mentioned hopefully the concept is a webcam and a 4G LTE modem so the back seat passengers can choose whichever video calling solution, however given that the carrier is Verizon Wireless, my money is on Skype (clearly not Google these days with VZW due to the Wallet tiff).

A big market for this will be the limousine and town car market. It will also give the reality shows a simple way to get user generated content, creating a whole new opportunity for shows in the style of HBO's  "TaxiCab Confessions" to be produced without lots of production equipment. Then again, backseat lovers may have to start being more careful or they may end up on someone else's screen !

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Sub $200 Android Tablets Will Drive VoIP and Video Communications

One of the faster moving consumer electronics companies is Archos. They were one of the first into the portable multimedia device sector and have always been just ahead of the bigger brands at releasing new devices that take advantage of the fastest processors, brightest screens and better sound. That's why I'm not surprised to see them making noise about their upcoming 70b Internet tablet that will have an MSRP of $199.00 here in the USA.

The70b, which is Android based, and has a fast 1.2 ghz processor, a reportedly bright screen, and all the usual Android 3.2 (Gingerbread) functionality. While Wi-Fi only, this creates a huge opportunity for voice and video providers, as well as app developers who have realized how the Android tablets low cost will change the end point game.

This is why Polycom is focusing their January news around software, not hardware, taking a page out of the book of client CounterPath, whose SVP Todd Carothers has been steadily beating the drum about the rise of the tablet and the death of the deskphone.

This is also why client Vidtel is focused on "any to any" video, where their technology takes advantageof Skype and GTalk 's network capability to allow tablet users (both iPad and Android) connect to any video conference using their MeetMe service. And it's why Vidyo has also made a big stand around their iPad and Android apps.

At the end of the day, the lower costs tablets are going to be the devices that replace your deskphone, and once LTE opens up to be VOIP versus keeping the traffic on older circuit switch networks, the ability to do more things will be all IP. That will further propel tablets, especially those which combine voice and video plus data and that's all great news for companies like Vidtel, CounterPath, Vidyo and the rest of the sector but bad news for those hardware companies without a software based direction.

 

 


Jason Fischl Leaves Skype

Longtime friend in VoIP Jason Fischl has left Skype as of this past Saturday.  The news came out via a Facebook page change.

Fischl, who is one of the true experts in SIP and RTC, was heavily involved at Skype in the RTC efforts under Jonathan Rosenberg, as well as being the guy charged with figuring out the doomsday alternative should Skype have ever lost their claim to the JOLTID algorithm. 

A start-up's CTO at heart, Fischl will be missed but in my mind has made the right move, rather than get caught up in the SkypeRosoft merry go round that's about to begin. Expect more departures as stock options vest and the lock up period ends. Few of the core team at Skype will really want to stick around inside Microsoft and in a year or so the idea of a free standing Skype will be only a phrase, not a reality.

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Skype Opens Up WiFi Pipes During the Holidays

Skype has decided to allow WiFi access for free at some select airports in the USA this year. In looking at the map many appear to be Boingo locations but there's no mention of Boingo's involvement. That means Skype is likely paying Boingo for the access it has previously secured for users who take advantage of what is best viewed as Pay As You Go access to airport WiFi.

For those who don't subscribe to any type of WiFi access plan, or don't want to pay for a daily, hourly or even per minute plan at an airport, Free is a pretty good price this holiday season. In the long run Skype is likely hoping to expose more people to the availability of the pay when you need it plan as this does nothing to burn off Skype credit in a users account.

The map of where you can find the free hotsports can be found here.

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Mac Users Skype Wants You

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Skype wants more Mac users to test their new Click to Call functionality on Macs.

This type of program is designed to get people to use more of Skype and the more and more I look at the postings on Skype Garage and their other blogs, the more I have the feeling that Skype is all about consumers going forward, and none about business. That's being left for Microsoft Lync to win, as evidenced by some recent wins like Sprint - Nextel's decision to rip out old school PBX's to connect their own employees and switch to Lync which pal Tom Keating tipped me of to with his post.

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Why Avaya Needs Radvision or Vidyo

A stylized replica of the first transistor inv...Image via Wikipedia

A few days ago eWeek and a few others picked up on the rumor that Avaya (the spinoff of Lucent and really Bell Labs) from over a decade ago was looking to purchase Radvision, long an inventor of real time communications technology out of Israel and New Jersey. The reason for the interest in Radvision is two-fold. Video and patents.

Avaya should have been in the hunt for Skype, and likely was for a bit, but they got bested by Microsoft. Their primary business is IP-PBX's and desktop IP phones. Video is a also a part of their business so as the world goes more and more virtual face to face they need to bolster their offerings, the same way competitor Shore-Tel does in order to stay more competitive with Cisco and Polycom. Radvision provides some of those pieces, but so would Vidyo, which to me would be a far better move for Avaya for a variety of reasons, starting with their approach to what some would call the cloud, but what really would be truly hosted video.

Vidyo would likely be a nicer fit and maybe a better fit but investment bankers don't always look at fit, they look at the deal...and Radvision is in a better position to play let's make a deal.

 

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