The past week has been a blur. Coming off the holiday weekend which because I'm in Australia and a day ahead meant a six day weekend and that really piled things up. Conference calls using a combination of Calliflower, Voxeet, UberConference, GoToMeeting, WebEx and Skype. Lots of social media. Calls at 4 AM on Google Hangouts to recap the TADS Summit for this week's VUC weekly session, plus reading, writing has meant one thing. I needed to stay connected. A MiFi with a GigSky SIM, a phone with Truphone, plus a back up local SIM from OPTUS. Google Voice ringing everything, honestly, other than the 19 hour time difference, I haven't felt that far away.
And that's the way we're able to work. As a global nomad staying connected has become a game for me. Will I have strong enough WiFi or a wired connection in my hotel. Is 4G going to cut it? Will they block my UC provider Simple Signal? Will Skype work? When it does...as it has from the moment I landed in Bangkok until now...so staying connected, no problem. Sleeping normal..well that's another story...Now..on to the news.
Long time pal Ian Rogers keeps turning out the hits. Ian, who knows music and technology better than anyone I know recently took the helm at Beats Music.Their new service will take on Pandora, Spotify and iTunes so watch them do more than the others, as Ian's inside the industry approach and past successes (we helped him launch MediaCode that was acquired quickly by Yahoo) will mean, he's surely got the beat bopping along.
The new Beats Music streaming music service will launch January 2014, according to CEO Ian Rogers. The service also launched a ' name claiming' site today that lets you snag a primo username early. The project has been in private alpha for a while under the code-name Project Daisy, and has been garnering some heated attention.
We all know teens are glued to their cellphones. New data from the Family Online Safety Institute shows which mobile activities are keeping them hooked. Text messaging is the most popular activity, which 87% of teens have done in the past 30 days.
Being at the TADS Summit and ITU Telecom World two weeks ago showed me how much telecom and mobile is expanding in the Far East, Middle East and Africa. And the Dark Continent is seeing explosive growth.
We tend to have certain paradigms about the "developed world" and the "developing world." Including, of course, media-fed images of Africa as a place of almost irredeemable poverty, deprivation, and pain. Many of our paradigms are, of course, illusions.
Former Skype partner in the UK, THREE has struck back on International Roaming, creating a program where going away is the same as staying home. And they added the USA. Now when my friends in the UK visit they can take their THREE phone and use it here just as if they were there. Sounds alot like the Truphone Zone to me.
In a thoroughly consumer-friendly move that challenges its rivals, the British mobile operator Three has effectively eliminated all its roaming premiums for customers traveling to the United States. Three has form in this arena.
Speaking of Truphone. The company's first foray into sports marketing brought their brand of innovation to the Caterham FI team. Truphone delivered a Converged Operator Service solution that brought together Truphone's brand of global mobile service with Caterham's own VoIP provider so their team could always stay connected.
F1 team Caterham is looking to squeeze every penny of value out of its IT services as it refocuses its effort on major rule changes coming into force next season. As one of Formula One's newest teams, Caterham was able to start with a clean slate when it was first accepted onto the grid in 2010, with no legacy IT to deal with.
GigaOm's Kevin Tofel, who can claim to be the second to last person I ever had a Philly Cheese Steak wid (Philly folks will get the local foodie humor) picked up on client Gigsky and their global roaming data SIM that lets you buy just what you need, where you need it just in time for the holiday travel season.
It's amazing that we can use a private company to put satellites into space, yet international roaming with a smartphone, tablet or laptop is still such a hassle. I thought about this recently as some friends are planning to travel abroad this holiday season and they asked me what their options are.
UK-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lycamobile has reportedly identified eight further markets in which it hopes to launch by February 2014, including Canada and unspecified countries across Latin America and Asia. Lycamobile, which generated sales of more than EUR1 billion (USD1.35 billion) in FY2012/13, currently claims a global MVNO base of more than 30 million users.
Just like in the USA, where stolen phones are a problem, in the UK OFCOM and the operators are working together to create a database that stops stolen phones from being usable while also attacking roaming fees........
Four of the UK's largest mobile phone networks have agreed to change some of the rules around pricing and contracts in a bid to reduce the charges that arise when roaming abroad or if a device is lost or stolen.
Long time friends and clients, Alon Cohen and Ari Rabban should be smiling. The duo behind rapidly growing Phone.com just scored their first patent, where they have brought some of their technology wizardy to SMS.
RIP IMS If you haven't read Chad's break up, then you should. It is touching. And true. And the comments on it are great. We've had a ball at the Expo event, but that last day got me pissed off - it was the service providers track, with many of its vendors suggesting their IMS systems should be hooked up to WebRTC in order to save it.
Gigabit-class broadband is capturing the imagination of Internet users throughout the country. With Google and other companies bringing fiber-based services that deliver a gigabit of data each second to the home, communities are accelerating their push to get the highest speeds.
On the Googlewatch front. Over in London they have created an open "campus" that is attracting all kinds of new business starting types, bringing them into the Google Ecosystem in what is known as the Hub.
Opened in April 2012, Campus London, Google's East London 'startup hub' was something of a new departure for Google. It was taking out a ten year lease of a building which would be populated by co-working spaces, hackers and startups that Google had nothing to do with and Google would not have a stake it in.
Video is still in the news..and people are using it. Taking part in a global Hangout today that was offering amazing quality, even on my iPad Air, only tells me it's not that far away from being mainstream...
With video conferencing unshackled from the confines of the expensive, high-end telepresence room, enterprises are exploring a wider swath of video options -- like desktop video calling and managed or cloud-based video services that could improve their businesses. The arrival of more accessible video endpoints is removing one of the final barriers to every conferencing vendor's dream: ubiquitous business video calling.
Last week was the third rendition of the WebRTC Conference & Expo, and it covered a range of topics from business implementations and applications to more technical aspects like signaling and the WebRTC data channel. There was also a lot of discussion about the current state of the IETF movement to decide on a video codec standard for WebRTC, mainly between H.264 and VP8.
Platitudes are a dangerous way to build a company. What passes today as start-up wisdom can be attractive, even seductive to new entrepreneurs. We have witnessed the creation of a sub-industry of how-to advice on creating the next tech blockbuster.
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Just about two weeks ago I was attending the ITU Telecom World where I joined Dean Bubley's panel and then moderating the TADS Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. Bangkok is an interesting place and my mobile experience, not only with a SIM but seeing how mobile centric that part of the world is, even more than what I experience in Europe or the USA exposed me to a lot of new ideas, as the TADS Summit served to reaffirm many forward looking ideas I've had about WebRTC and OTT.
The biggest concept I heard expressed was "Fast Fail" an approach that developer and early stage entrepreneurs have taken on. Being the optimist, I immediately spun that into the idea of succeed soon. And that's where WebRTC is. It has to succeed soon and the companies working to develop new method of communications have to learn that failing fast doesn't mean giving up. It means doing it better, and succeeding sooner.
OTT apps like WhatsApp and Line have succeeded soon and continue to grow. They are taking revenue away from the major telcos on one side (the SMS market) but at the same time shifting costs to other networks or the network side of the telco, while reducing the telcos labor and overhead cost.
Thus I would contend that OTT services like WebRTC don't really replace the carrier, they simply shift the burden of operating and delivering the service from the service provider to being the carrier while someone else operates the service. This is not much different from a concessionaire serving food inside a stadium while the landlord collects a piece of the action without having to buy the food or staff the stands.
The more a carrier opens up their network to OTT players and lets them take on the burden of building the audience, managing the relationship, and the less marketing the carrier or mobile operator has to do, the more profitable they can become because they can invest in technology that makes them better and more competitive versus their competitors, while providing the best field of play for the newcomers who use software and smarts vs. hardware and brawn to power their business.
The best and most profitable carriers will be the ones who embrace the new OTT players, find ways to incorporate WebRTC technology into their platforms or simply open up their pipe and network to let them in so they can carry more traffic.
Jajah is being shut down. Jajah was acquired about five years back for the inflated sum of a reported $207 million dollars by Telefonica. The purcahse was intented to give Telefonica a deeper involvment in VoIP and then enabled them to take over the operations of Yahoo Voice when Yahoo basically started to ween itself away from communications services, in the era where they were rudderless. UPDATE- I just recalled that in January of 2013 Yahoo and Jajah ended their voice service relationship. This tells me the plan was in the works for some time. First Yahoo, then more.
Recently on a panel moderated by Dean Bubley during the ITU Telecom World in Bangkok, I commented how non-innovative Telefonica really was, as aquisitions are not innovation and referred to Jajah as "two servers in a broom closet connected to a few Tier One networks" at their time of acquisition. It looks like I wasn't that far off as shutting down a $200 million dollar purchase rivals the BT purchase of Ribbit for over $100 million dollars, which BT has basically wound down after buying the company for what was to be six services BT had on their roadmap, but never executed on either.
These two failures demonstrate the difference between Google, Microsoft and Apple who buy strategically, while old line telcos buy out of fear and uncertainty.
For the past few years the few people who have had a Yahoo Voice number were basically paying Jajah to maintain their phone numbers and use credit that was paid for to Jajah under the Yahoo name. What this does to Yahoo Voice is anyone's guess, but I'm betting they shut it down, until the company can figure out where it's really going, as a VoIP service tied to an antiquated Yahoo Messenger, that is not really as good as Skype is not the kind of effort the new leadership at Yahoo is getting behind.
Back in its day, in the Brad Garlinghouse, Craig Walker, Vincent Paquet and then Jeff Bonforte eras, VoIP inside Yahoo Messenger was to be a Skype killer. Yahoo spent lots of money buying and starting to build out a Skype threat, worked on rates to lower prices but in the end Bonforte was told to not make it a big deal and it basically was on life support since then.
The Jajah piece came to life about three or four years back where Yahoo basically outsourced the Voice piece to them and it simply billed customers.