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Posts from July 2013

Google just pulled an Apple with Chromecast

Google just pulled an Apple out of the bag in the OTT (over the top) space. And it's called Chromecast, a small USB device that connects a variety of devices to any HD monitor or TV set. What that means is you can now likely use your Android phone or tablet and make the monitor an extension of your Google Hangout (maybe) or for sure play videos. My guess is this device and connected software means there will be an Apple feature to stream your iTunes too-but it will take a while. Google is building eco-system pieces, and working hard to be open.

I think they just out Appled Apple. I'll take 2 please.

Some New Services To Keep Tabs On

WebEx logo used by WebEx as an independent companyWebEx logo used by WebEx as an independent company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We're constantly seeing new entrants into the market to help keep the global worker who crosses boarders more connected. Three entering global roaming market, and each with what appears to be well thought through value propositions are:


In the voice, video and collaboration space look at these three:

Podio-a part of Citrix now, they have added in voice, video and collaboration.
-this looks to be a very well thought through approach, and may have WebRTC under the hood.
LiveMinutes - a very simple and easy to use service that seems to take the best of others and make it easy.

What does this all mean-

1) Work in more places, more easily and less expensively.
2) Cost of services will be dropping-this is a direct threat to WebEx and GoToMeeting
3) Working from Home will mean your home can be in a totally different time zone and even a different country. 

Skype Dropping API

Pal Om Malik tells us all that Skype is dropping their desktop API access in favor of a URI approach.

Reading through the story and then going into the Skype Developer web site makes me feel this is a play on the whole Microsoft approach to WebRTC that is slowly emerging. At the same time seeing, and hearing, the improvements made to Google Hangouts, I'm becoming less and less Skype centric as I'm now receiving calls inside the browser via Hangouts.

To me this feels more like death by a thousand cuts as Skype seems to be making changes that make them less relevant and more challenging to work with.

Why Are Our Wireless Networks So Closed?

Last week OnSip revealed how SIP traffic on Verizon Wireless' LTE network is blocked, mostly on MiFi's more than smartphone devices, but over the last week I've noticed how fast GoogleVoice loads up on AT&T and T-Mobile and how slowiy it has been on VZW. The same with Apple's FaceTime and Skype--at least here in San Diego County. Don't think this depracation of service can happen? Look at what's going on in Europe right now and how a USA data network is making noise about it, likely as a proxy for Google and others.

Now that got me thinking---why, some thirty years after the breakup of the Bell System, and the creation of Equal Access that led to the growth of MCI, Sprint and others, are we still trapped on a single voice and SMS supplier with our wireless plans? Why do we have to pay for things like voice mail if we don't use it? How come I'm tied to a few basic, and hard to manage services, like call forwarding, and yet so many other more advanced services are all ready for us on the cloud?

In my view its time to deregulate the wireless operators, and with LTE replacing DSL there will be plenty of reasons to do just that. To me, its time for Naked LTE, just like we saw the arrival of Naked DSL some years back.



The Changing Face of Collaboration with WebRTC and More

While the standards bodies and heavyweights (Google, Microsoft, Firefox) all duke it out on the WebRTC standard the developers and visionaries of how work will get done in the future are not standing still in attacking the collaboration space at all. And its just in time as I'm tired of traveling and am finding that being home sure has its advantages. As someone who built a business from the start to be virtual, I found it odd that I was on the road so much, and now am happy to be able to always say "I'm WFH"  which means working from home, as it's really the way to go.

Already the team at UberConference has launched what has to be the first commericalized WebRTC service while others like clients Magor and and LiveMinutes are pushing the envelopes of real time collaboration with very simple to sign up for, and easy to use services that are going to put the pressure on WebEx, GoToMeeting and This also hurts the likes of Polycom, whose efforts with software to date all seem to be more defenive, while the likes of Mocet and their Communicator typify the idea of leveraging investment in a tablet to allow it to do more than an IP deskphone.

What we're seeing today is really the start of the changing face of collaboration, and that changing face is hapening because of the nexus of five key technology sectors and the seismic shift from wired to wireless, all under the guise of convergence.Slide1

But there's more to the whole collaboration movement. The world is going wireless, and with LTE and LTE-A (advanced) not far off, the ability to collaborate and share screens, access files stored on a cloud server, bring in another service --I love to use Tripit as an example to show travel plans on screen--but it could be showing your calendar to the group on a collaboration session to schedule the next meeting time tin order to make things easier. And, all of this will happen in real-time, not with the the usual back and forth, and no longer with the use of the phrase  "meet me on the bridge" because there isn't any bridge any more.

These meeting can all happen on the fly, with people being added as the call happens. It will be spontaneous, and the idea of the "visual conversation"-- a term I personally coined for Magor when I first saw their future direction last Sepetember, is starting to come to be. None of this was ever possible in the old PSTN. It's all possible due to IP communications and for that reason the telco model has to change. This includes the liftng of silly restrictions like port blocking by operators of traffic on certain devices.

Personally, the scheduling of conference calls has it's pluses and minues. Like analysts provide to a market, the schedule provides structure as I know what my day looks like ahead of time, but it takes away from the spontaneity that makes for a more collegial environment. That said, I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who has opted to cancel his summer travel, in favor of using what all the new tools collaboration offers to us. Brad Feld, one smart VC out of Boulder, CO is doing the same thing.


OnSip Reports That Verizon Wireless Is Blocking SIP

Verizon Wireless (VZW) has been reportedly blocking SIP traffic on the LTE network according to the folks at OnSip. While the revelation is news to some, it is not to me. I've been calling and asking the Verizon Wireless about it since they launched their LTE network and I discovered I couldn't make a SIP call on my MiFi from them, or any LTE device. I never really got an "honest" answer, and instead got the dumb folk run-around...some support folks tried to blame my device manufacturer (Samsung), other tried to blame CounterPath's Bria, some tried to blame the ITSPs (I tried four and all work on T-Mobile and AT&T, as well as Sprint and Clearwire) so I knew it was Verizon.

Isn't it time for Equal Access when it comes to voice over data networks? I mean, if LTE is replacing DSL shouldn't a NAKED option also exist for wireless networks?