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Posts from December 23, 2012 - December 29, 2012

Standards Don't (Always) Apply

Over the past week what should be standard isn't anymore. First was the fact that Pay as You Go SIMs on SFR in France and the iOS on iPhones stopped working. After some work and a day later, SFR support admitted that the settings needing updating, and are different than the ones that are published everywhere.

Then there was the hotel/resort that this past July that everything worked perfectly. Then Apple changed what it does with Java and voila, I can't log on with my MacBook under OS 10.8.2 without the IT guy doing what we used to call Sysop magic. It seems the service that provides the gateway will be changing in January so they're not keen on doing much.

Now with their gateway, IP calling works with Skype but Bria is another story, not because of any thing CounterPath has done, but because ONSip and they both follow standard, and the gateway, and the network NAT or in this case double NAT making some things like conference calling and vido conferencing a bit of a challenge.

Speaking of conference calls, there's the never ending signalling and media issues, coupled with echo and latency. Ever since the demise of HiDef Conferencing via Citrix which incorporated what made it great into GoToMeeting, nothing has ever really sounded as good or worked as well.

You see, when standards don't always get applied the same way by everyone, nothing really is standard. Back in the day, when everything was PSTN, everything was the same. Now, with so many different ways to do the same thing, nothing is really the same.

An iMessage Sunday! What's App With That?

My friends have arrived in Lisbon, well some of them anyway, and where a few years ago BlackBerry BBM was the way we all would have been staying in touch what seems to be the common denominator isn't even the globally popular WhatsApp, the OTT SMS service, but instead its Apple's iMessage.

And, its not because of iPhone but because of iOS. Yu see, everyone isn't using their iPhons due to roaming charges or the fact that they may have a locked phone. But on Wi-Fi, using accounts from FON, Boingo or others, they can still be connected to one another and keep in touch.

We also can go one step beyond, with "Find Friends" which is an iOS app from Apple that is a lot like Google Latitude.

Between the two services, iMessage and Find Friends, neither requires carrier involvement, if you don't wish to go local. In my case, with unlocked iPhones and my iPads and SIMs from Vodafone, I'm pretty much staying in touch with everyone.

Does this mean I've abandoned my BlackBerry--NOPE. I still have it, use it and find a lot of benefit with it. And when BB10 arrives with new devices, and new apps I wouldn't be at all surprised if my usage levels increases as there are just somethings a BB is simply better at.

A Very Video Christmas

Image representing Comcast as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Ten months ago, pal Michael Graves wrote a very detailing post about two new hardware devices, TelyHD which works with Skype, and Biscotti, which uses GoogleTalk as its signaling and media transport layer that on face look very similar. Like many of us who live on the cutting edge, those devices and news of them was very early in the making, as the early adopters took to them, but not much in the way of mass adoption. You can read Michael's post to get the lowdown on both companies, but this post is about the implications I see coming from the developments both companies have made.

You see, when it comes to video in the home and small business offices, I think there is going to be change in adoption and use cases this year, and the reasons are:

Processors inside smartphones, Mobile networks with LTE, Cloud and Broadband to the home getting faster.

Those four reasons together all spell the ability for mobile and fixed line video calling to work more easily together, as well as to propel it's growth. Gone are the days where developers at services and apps like SightSpeed (now part of Logitech) needed to/prayed for the next generation of processors, while figuring out how to get more compression into video and audio streams. Now we have the power in the processors and the speed in the networks to produce and deliver full motion video without much hesitation to use it. 

We are also seeing total integration into the endpoint, the camera, with upgradeable software and encoding tools. By putting codecs in the endpoints, that can be updated, much like Apple TV's, video cameras become like telephones of old. We never updated our phones, the telephone company upgraded the network and our phones kept working. And that's the beauty of both TelyHD and Biscotti and once they go 1080P will be even better than 720p, but when you think about carrying video, sometimes size doesn't matter as much, or actually, it does.

What TelyHD and Biscotti both do is bring video calling to the home and office for less than the price of expensive Polycom and Cisco desktop phones. They also use two widely deployed networks with millions of users already connected every minute of every day. While Biscotti seems to be angel backed, TelyHD has funding from both Comcast and Rogers, two of the biggest cable MSO's on the planet. It will be interesting to see just how integrated the programs to sell in TelyHD into business markets really are, because both Comcast and Rogers are very siloed as companies go, and like many venture arms of large communications companies, not always knitted to the fabric of the business. 

Perhaps, Yahoo wll jump into this space with an acquisition of one of these companies because as Yahoo moves mobile, one of its biggest strengths is Yahoo Messenger, an app that has always had video and never really exploited it. On an International level it remains one of the most installed chat apps around.

Watch video get even more in home use, as apps and devices from Biscotti and TelyHD arrive under the tree this year.