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Posts from March 23, 2014 - March 29, 2014

Conference Calling Apps and Services Update

With Enterprise Connect a thing of the past, and more attention being paid on Video Conferencing these days than audio conference calls, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at what’s been happening of late with the more widely used mode of communications. At the core of all the new developments is the rising pressure of WebRTC, faster processors in mobile devices and in theory faster broadband connectivity being offered as more fiber gets deployed in the ground and faster mobile networks with LTE coming on stream. With that in mind I decided to take a look at what's new and which service providers are changing the game:

For starters, this past week UberConference updated their iOS app and it is now in the iTunes App Store. The second-generation app is a complete new app that mirrors the second edition of the product that was launched in December. What’s new in the app is the ability for users create a conference instantly, as well as schedule one in the future which was missing in the prior version. Smartly, the team at UberConference has included a full demo mode so you can try it and create conferences without even needing to create an account. The experience is faster and the new app quickly loads over 3500 contacts easily.

I also noted this week that while using the GoToMeeting app on my iPad and iPhone how Citrix has upped their game, improving the audio experience, drawing more upon the technology from former client HiDef Conferencing that they acquired creating a more robust user experience.  While not using WebRTC, GoToMeeting, like competitor WebEx, works very well over LTE at least when you’re stationery. The other key function that has been added is a fully integrated calendar acess making it very easy to join a meeting while in motion. The most recent release to version 6.0 also makes the mobile app and Mac/PC apps pretty much in sync.

Client Calliflower has been successfully tested on the Android Tablet using Opera and Chrome making them the first WebRTC browser experience on mobile from a conferencing provider. Given they were the first to originally have an app in the iTunes store this is a testament to their prowess at working with standards to deliver on the premise of WebRTC. I used the latest Android Nexus 7 tablet, and successfully made calls over both WiFi and the AT&T LTE network. In both cases the calls were clear, crisp and void of any delays.

Client Voxeet continues to make steady improvements to their app and platform. When wearing a headset the audio experience is without question the best HD audio experience around. More importantly the ability to move the participants around on the iPhone, iPad or Android, as well as on a Windows PC. Their integration of WebRTC, plus some really good audio/acoustic work has surpassed Skype in audio quality which these days not hard as the Skype experience post Microsoft acquisition hasn’t been great, but with Voxeet one on one and group calls harken back to the days when Skype audio was the standard. What's most impressive is how fast the app loads a large contact directory and how smoothly Voxeet integrates with my Facebook Friends list.

All this leads to what is Cisco really doing with WebEx? WebEx seems to have stalled, and last week on some calls I was scheduled to be on the issues others experienced and which I did led to believe that WebEx was having authentication issues as logging in just wasn’t happening either by dial up or even over the Internet.

Maybe Cisco needs to take a book out of Citrix and buy something modern.

WebRTC And P2P Data Distribution

From the earliest days of hearing what WebRTC can mean to telecom I have been talking with people in various parts of the world about the Peer 2 Peer CDN approach, and finally, it’s gaining steam. Last Friday, Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis penned a piece going into detail what a P2P CDN approach would mean to WebRTC. One company that is in the space that could win big is a little known company out of Israel called Peer5 as their technology sits squarely in the WebRTC CDN space that Dean called out in the post. 

Give Dean’s post a read and share your thoughts on the whole P2P WebRTC CDN space.

Conferences and Trade Shows-Which Are You Attending?

GSMA Mobile. WorldCongressGSMA Mobile. WorldCongress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

of Sequoia Capital, at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010

Now that Enterprise Connect is behind us, the eyes turn to the upcoming WebRTC World conference in Atlanta in June. Two months later we have TMC’s IT Expo in Las Vegas that has an Enterprise WebRTC track co-located and then there's Super Mobility Week put on by CTIA in September.

Three big events, in only four months. To me that’s too many in too short a time period. But don't think the seasons over or that the June WebRTC event is the only event of the year on the subject as history shows us that there will likely be a west coast edition staged by the same organizers by the end of November all of two months before another ITEXPO in Miami. Now add in eComm in June in San Francisco, a few hackathons like the TadHack in Madrid that is also being conducted in June and someone could make a living being a professional event visitor and never get anything done. 

So, if you think the travel schedule is already heavy this is all before events on the subjects of Network Function Virtualization, Software Defined Networking, Conferencing and Collaboration are added in along with the many events on mobile, Big Data, Infrastructure. There's also the gamut of what I call "defined audience events" for app developers like Google I/O, the Apple World Wide Developer Conference and of course to drive sales, Channel Partners is also on the schedule.

Then there are the value creation events like those staged by Gigaom and Venture Beat. There are the launch events like TechCrunch Disrupt, Launch, Under The Radar, Grow and many more and those are only here in the USA. When I look globally there’s the GSMA’s annual shindig, Mobile World Congress again in February that has to be on everyone’s radar.

Now where did I leave my American Express card…..?

Voice and UC State of Security Report 2013 Released

I just flipped through the very well presented State of Security Report on the subject of Voice and Unified Communications that SecureLogix has released You can sign up to download the report here.

Overall I like what I read but I did wonder why only ONE reference to WebRTC included? And, what was there was nothing more than a mention in a passage that read more like they simply put it in. It seemed to be stating the obvious.

The continued move to UC and collaboration will increase the threat of voice security breaches. Integration of video, instant messaging, social networking/media, BYOD, Internet UC, and WebRTC will introduce new vulnerabilities

Given the news level and what we heard coming out of Enterprise Connect this past week, WebRTC is being adopted by call centers, contact centers and deployed by conferencing services regularly. But the subject seemed to be almost totally ignored in the SecureLogix recap. That transgression though doesn’t take away from the quality of the report, nor should it be taken to be the need for anyone to discount the value the report brings to those in the inside the business of voice or to those who don’t live in the voice or UC security world everyday.

On the contrary. The lightness of attention to WebRTC tells me that the technology was still in its infancy in 2013 and likely will need far more usage to become something that matters to the security world simply because there’s either not enough to track or what’s already in place can work. Rest assured, the day will come, when it matters, and when it does someone will include the threat cases for it too.

Back On Mars Edit For The Better

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

For years I composed my blog using Mars Edit, an app that was the fastest way for me to compose blog posts. Somewhere along the way I started to use the browser based TypePad editor, largely because of the Zemanta plug in.

But, I have found that using the browser vs. using an app on my Mac means more spelling errors, sloppier writing and just less complete sentences. Oddly, I don’t see this happen when I’m composing thoughts as much with Google Apps document application, so after breaking down my processes and a swift kick from a reader, I’ve gone back a bit, leaving the world of browser based composition and composing using Mars Edit.

How will this change my workflow you ask? Well for starters I’ll be composing more without distraction. Next, I’ll cut and paste into Word to spell and grammar check. Then, I’ll bring the text back into Mars Edit with the links still intact and publish to draft mode. Then, I’ll go inside TypePad and take advantage of what Zemanta has to offer, so image files and links to other relevant stories can be added to the bottom.

Does this mean I won’t make the occasional typo? No. But it likely means more posting more often because what clearly remember from my time using Mars Edit was how it encouraged me to blog more, and that is what will be the biggest gain.