Previous month:
August 5, 2012 - August 11, 2012
Next month:
August 19, 2012 - August 25, 2012

Posts from August 12, 2012 - August 18, 2012

The Stories to Read About VoIP, Video and Collaboration

You may not be old enough to remember the movie "The British Are Coming," but longtime client Truphone has established an office in Raleigh-Durham's Research Triangle Park, with mobile and technology sales champion Gary Cohen at the helm, reports the Raleigh-Durham NewsObserver's Gloria Lloyd, WRAL TechWire's Rick Smith with two posts in a week and the Triangle Business Journal's Lauren Ohnesorge.

ZD-Net's Charlie Osborne reported that Verizon Wireless and Comcast have received regulatory approval on the spectrum sale. Ay carumba...what this means is a major shift in what consumers and more importantly, businesses, especially enterprise size companies will be able to do. Cross selling was at the heart of this and the business market is really what this is ultimately about, not consumers. Let's face it, Verizon and AT&T are happy to lose local landline revenue. They've milked those old copper wires for as long as they can, and the tell tale sign has been the basic sunsetting of sales efforts around DSL. AT&T's uVerse is a weak sister to what the cable MSO's have to offer with Docsis 3.0, and Verizon is not really expanding markets for FIOS, and is instead putting its money into LTE everywhere. The cable operators basically agreed to get out of the wireless spectrum business and handed over the airwaves to Verizon. In turn Verizon hands over to Comcast the landline wired replacement business that gets fulfilled by their team made up of what was the company formerly known as NGT. Think of it as the fries with your burger sale.

Speaking of spectrum, no not the arena I literally grew up in, but wireless spectrum related... Respected travel blog, Jaunted, thinks former client Boingo is heading the way towards FREE. I say..well, sort of. Boingo as an ad delivery model for free will happen in my opinion. But, it will be for very basic users of WiFi. In my mind, free Wi-Fi will mean Web. Nothing more. No access to POP/SMTP, no access to Skype, no streaming your Spotify, no iTunes download and likely a pipe no bigger than 256k in each direction. In essence, great for surfing the web, where ads can be served up and clicked on. Want the good stuff, PAY BABY. You know the street drug trade slang phrase of, "the first hits free", well think of ad drive Wi-Fi as the taste. Pretty soon, you're going to want more, faster, better. That's when you have to pay the piper. As a traveling executive Boingo will not want to lose the revenue generating customers who need that kind of access. Besides, with the mobile operators all pushing Wi-Fi offload as their salvation to constrained networks and limited spectrum, they need a healthy Boingo to help carry the water for the business traveler, especially in airports and hotels.

ComputerWorld has the lowdown on Medium, a new collaborative web publishing tool from Evan Williams (who was one of the minds behind Twitter.) While details are sketchy, with the service in beta, the idea of co-publishing and co-authoring isn't exactly new. Can you say Google Docs sharing. But to be able to do it right in real time, and have it socialized so the published work becomes contagious is what is at stake here. Basically, Medium is saying that web publishing today is based upon the print model and in many ways they are correct. Back in the 80s I was contributing to the ENA's Netweaver, and we passed files around for joint authoring, editing and even porting. It was as arcane as the vacumn tube system that many newsrooms used to have to send typed copy up to the composing room. Medium is saying, obliterate the old, bring in a new and better way.

RingCentral, Vocalacity and SNOM get some attention in a rather short and incomplete look at small business VoIP in PC World's VoIP Buying Guide. Given the fact that cable operators like Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable and the rest also focus on this market with their @Work offerings, and companies like 8x8, Junction Network with their OnSip service, SimpleSignal,, PhoneBooth, Grasshopper and many others are in the space, each offering very different and some more complete packages, I have to say the review, while well written, is not very deep.

ChannelPartners noted that BestBuy's GeekSquad is adding more companies to their VoIP install business, with PhonePower (which acquired Broadvoice) and being two ITSP's that use their mobile band of merry geeks to set up your phone systems.  This is important because as more residential customers want to switch from their local Ma Bell legacy carrier to alternatives, there's a need for proven installers to do what the "phone man" used to do. Why is this important. Two main reasons. The upsell and personal safety. BestBuy gets to upsell better routers, wireless access points, and do the actual installation of the ATA that connects to the router or DSL, Cable or FIOS modem that comes to the house. They then get to connect into the homes already wired network, and plug in a new cordless phone base station that will allow for wireless connectivity around the home. It's actually a needed service as everyone isn't really as knowledgeable as early adopters are when it comes to this.  The key. Making sure phone line power still gets to the handsets. Not many realize but today's cordeless phones stop working when the power goes out.

GoMo News picked up on the Rebtel sponsored Harris Interactive poll about US residents mobile phone habits. It seems that 96 million American have a smartphone. For Sweden based Rebtel that's an important market as their business is based on making it easier for having people cut their international calling costs by using the Rebtel service, and new apps they are coming out with helps make that possible.

eWeek reported on video communications hardware company Lifesize (acquired by Logitech in 2009 or so) adding a virtualized MCU. This is more along the lines of client Vidtel's "MCU Enhancer" that opens up access than Blue Jean Networks MCU Killer which was more about disintermediation, that intermediating.

Telappliant thinks that 4G (meaning LTE) could be the catalyst for rural market VoIP adoption. Here's my twin spin take on that. Blessing. Curse. Right now we have data bundles that make the cost of a VoIP call not as cheap as free. You still pay for the data and you may be paying for the call. As a matter of fact if both people are on LTE and getting a call over Skype we have the return of the Nextel model of push to talk where each party was getting charged. Talk about a two sided business model..Yikes. But then there's the benefits. Using CounterPath's Bria on my iPad or iPhone and being on a real 4G or LTE network (like when I was in Portugal) and TurboBridge or ZIPDX, both of which support g.722 wideband audio for conferenc calls or when making a Skype to Skype call with Skype's super-wide band SILK codec, the call quality blows away anything currently offered by the mobile or wireline operators, so yes there's a benefit. But at what cost?

Last but not least, AOL's HUFFINGTON POST has news on the new CameraMan feature of Google Hangouts, which lets producers pre-screen who's on camera next. Hangouts is an ambitious project for Google as they want to be the new community of video content and by doing so, are enabling all kinds of parallel content to be created, much in keeping with what former client LiveStream is doing. This is interactive TV in what really is it's first true incarnation. Google is wrapping social, search and real time to what they have, and built it by seeing how people use Hangouts. Randy Resnick at VoIP User Conference has been a proponant of Hangouts for sometime, and I am not far behind. To me, Hangouts represents a new era in journalism.

Anyone ready for a VoIP Hangout session?

Something To Fix in the Apple iTunes App Store

The architecture of the iTunes app store was created for tracks of music, and was based on rights management issues tied to licensing of the mechanicals, the words and the recorded works, which is why the iTunes store and App Store architecture is country specific. To gain access to a specific country's app store or iTunes store, you need a credit card in that country or you need to load the account with Apple credit That means creating yet one more account with Apple..Not something I want to do and between business and personal, I'm already getting confused.

But apps are different. Rarely is their licensing tied to countries, so unless an app developer only chooses to list an app in specific countries, it would show up in all. The rub though is with the telecom/mobile operators who forget the pre-paid market of visitors who come to a country with an unlocked iPhone, pick up a local SIM and then want to manage it from their iPhone or iPad, like I do. 

In France the SFR app would very helpful to me, even with my limited ability to speak and read French. I can follow instructions. Same in the UK for T-Mobile or Three. The list likely goes on. All of this is rather niche I know, but for those of us who do know, and do use the iPhone and iPad when we travel, and go through the effort to become a customer, even for a week, it would be nice.