There's all kinds of news coming out in all sorts of sectors as the USA warms up for a three day Memorial Day Weekend the our cousins in the UK do the same with a Bank Holiday this weekend. Clearly Apple is in the middle of a make over while Cisco begins to turn up the heat to continue to be a force in the Enterprise market....Around the world HD Voice and Voice Over LTE seems to have gotten its start and looks to be taking hold with even AT&T getting into the act in parts of the USA with some tests...Down under, Telstra is linking up with FON to create not only a network of WiFi hotspots but to give their customers access to WiFi in other countries which makes me think Fixed Mobile Convergence may not be dead at all. In other news Sprint gets whacked with a fine over "Do Not Call", some think the Internet of Things is a Bad thing..GoPRO to IPO and a whole lot more is below.
When Ron Johnson finalized his decision to move from leading Apple's retail strategy to become the Chief Executive Officer of J.C. Penney, the executive jumped in his car to drive to Steve Jobs' home and notify the Apple co-founder in his living room of the decision.
By Chris Preimesberger | Posted 2014-05-19 Email Print Chambers: "Architectures will make the difference" in developing server, storage and networking systems that will power the Internet of Everything.
Hot on the heels of its lower-priced videoconferencing gear for conference rooms, Cisco is now hoping to sell personal videoconferencing devices on every company desktop. But at an estimated street price of $1,000 to $2,000 per device, this is a tough prospect.
This year's hottest tech properties have a mobile, cloud feel
What a great time to be in technology, EY report shows. If you are a company immersed in SMAC solutions -- social, mobile, analytics and cloud -- you're an appealing acquisition target, a new analysis shows.
Last week we noted that AT&T's first markets for HD Voice over its LTE network would be live on May 23. The carrier still plans to launch the service and will offer a compatible phone on the same day. Customers will initially need the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini handset to place or receive HD Voice calls.
SINGAPORE - SingTel has become the first telco here and globally to lead the charge in providing a full featured Voice over Long Term Evolution (LTE) service. With this service, dubbed 4G ClearVoice, 4G customers can look forward to clearer voice calls and faster connection times.
TELSTRA is creating one of the world's largest Wi-Fi networks in a plan worth more than $100m, to boost connectivity in Australian cafes, shopping areas, stadiums and transport hubs. Whether you are a Telstra customer or not, the aim is to offer Australians access to two million Wi-Fi hot spots in five years.
The suggestion of Twitter buying SoundCloud, as floated by Re/code on Monday, has elicited strong reactions. Some see it as a potential bad deal for Twitter; many have worried about Twitter ruining SoundCloud's low-ad user experience. All this discussion may not be worth much anyway - Der Spiegel reports that Twitter considered the buy but decided against it for now.
This afternoon GoPro filed its S-1 document with the SEC, detailing its financial performance as it looks to go public. The company states that it will raise up to $100 million in the offering, trading on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol 'GPRO.'
Sprint is paying a $7.5 million fine for violations of 'Do Not Call' requests, federal regulators announced Monday. When it comes to "Do Not Call" requests, Sprint apparently hasn't gotten the message. The Federal Communications Commission announced Monday that the wireless carrier will pay a $7.5 million fine for failing to honor requests from consumers to opt out of phone and text-message marketing campaigns.
Coupon-providing middleman Groupon is going to provide a point-of-sale device to nearly all of its merchants. According to a press release posted on Monday, the checkout system, called Gnome, will be iPad-based and will cost $10 per month, and any business that offers a deal through Groupon will be expected to use it.
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Back in the 90's I had the good fortune to be part of the team that represented Rosa Parks in her negotiations with Apple so they could use her likeness in the "Think Different" campaign. I remember getting a speeding ticket on my way to meet with the team at Chiat Day that was handling the ad campaign and pointing out that of all the people in the campaign, only she and Bob Dylan were still alive, and of the two, he never really suffered the way she did, nor was he ever humiliated to the degree she was.
Much will be written about it. Many will speculate and question how the NBA could take such swift action, but as a former Commissioner of youth sports leagues, the whole action is likely covered under a very broad rule that allows the Commissioner to deliver pretty much whatever they wish to. The rule, which deals with "conduct detrimental to the league" is a very wide reaching catch-all, and if the Sterling commentary wasn't detrimental to the NBA, its heritage, its legends, its current players and the fans, I don't know what is.
Given I also worked for a year with an NBA team, the Denver Nuggets, and was around the Philadelphia 76ers for 15 years while working for the Flyer and Wings in Philadelphia, and who served also as a amateur hockey league commissioner who had to hand out suspensions and penalties many years ago, Commissioner Silver had no other option in the direction he could go. While the NBA's Board of Governors may think otherwise, in my day, the way we handled rinkside justice was supported by another rule. That one was even better, "the commissioner cannot be reversed retroactively."
Here's hoping Silver's act stays in place if for no other reason but for "the love of the game."
Is the Google ChromeBook about to become your new communications device? Is your slightly older Mac or Windows PC that can run the latest Chrome Browser able to step in and be the new desk phone? What about the Android tablet which runs Chrome and WebRTC rather well these days? While some are predicting the death of the office phone, I’m confident saying that the replacement is already here.
As more of my voice, video and collaboration type calls are taking place inside the Chrome browser, even on some newer Android tablets, the ChromeBook, because of its low price point ($199) for an entry level model, is a natural and logical consideration to replace the desk phone and if you wanted to, it really can replace the room based conferencing system. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s look at what’s now going on inside the Chrome browser and in turn why the ChromeBook may be ideal to replace the aging desk phone.
Google Hangouts-originally a separate browser window, the video and sharing service from Big G has now become a tab. What’s more the integration of GoogleVoice to Hangouts has been around for a year, replacing GoogleTalk. This means calls to your GoogleVoice accounts come into your browser. Since GoogleVoice directs calls to Hangouts those on really solid mobile data networks will receive their calls inside Hangouts, further reducing their minutes on their mobile plans, but of course increasing their data bundle consumption. Of course being on Wi-Fi means no minutes and no data until home/office Wi-Fi gets metered.
Calliflower-Iotum’s web based conferencing and collaboration platform was one of the first full featured platforms to embrace the browser as far back as its founding. Given co-founder and now board member Alec Saunders background with the browser, he launched Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and with the advancement of WebRTC, Calliflower was one of the first established brands to embrace the new technology.
UberConference-GrandCentral founder Craig Walker brought UberConference to life as part of his Firespotter Labs incubation with some help from Google Ventures and then A16Z, the Andreessen Horowitz VC fund that kicked in more funding. From the start UberConference was all about the browser experience, and now they have integrated with Google Hangouts to pick up the missing video component.
GoToMeeting for Free-recently Citrix’s GoToMeeting launched a FREE service for up to 3 users. The service is right out of the minimal clicks playbook of the late Steve Jobs. Yousimply go to the web page, click Start Your Meeting and then share the web page URL. Voice, video and screen sharing all are there. Given that three people on a conference call is the equivalent of “three-way calling” the free offer is one more way that the race to the bottom is being demonstrated.
If I add in the $35.00 ChromeCast HDMI Adapter, the 73” Samsung monitor in my living room and a ChromeBook as a full-blown conferencing system as well as being a home theatre where the streaming of television programming, movies or music from the browser already is done.
The moving of communications into the browser is here. Already it’s easy to see how it’s mirroring my behavior, and that of many others. When combined with the elimination of using mail applications like Microsoft Outlook or Apple MAIL for email and the ongoing defections from Microsoft Office in favor of Google Docs for basic writing and spreadsheet work, putting my communications inside the browser is something Mr. Spock would find, “fascinating” as it’s all just following a logical path.
Here's the untold story that dates back to 2006 or so when I was working on the social media aspects of GrandCentral, now Google Voice. Back then, I was traveling a lot to the UK and France and wanted to have access in both directions to my incoming calls and voice mail messages, as well as have the ability to return calls using GrandCentral from Europe when I was using an unlocked phone, a local SIM, without international roaming or long distance calls, and also keeping it easy for my clients, colleagues and friends to reach me easily.
So, after suggesting the interop to both Craig Walker at Grand Central and Michael Robertson of Gizmo back then, Vincent Paquet of Grand Central and Jason Droege who was running Gizmo at the time had a call and simply executed a SIP interop where Gizmo's end points could be GrandCentral reachable, much like Hangouts is today. Making this suggestion was easy because I knew that GrandCentral already was built on SIP.
But it was more than just an interop that was interesting to me. Gizmo also provided local access numbers in the UK and France as well as other countries, much like Skype does. So using some SIP based simplicity I quickly realized that when I was in those countries if I dialed a local Gizmo number on a second Gizmo account that I had already pointed to GrandCentral, entered my password, I was now in my Grand Central account FROM Europe. To be reached on my mobile phones, I pointed the Gizmo number that was receiving the calls from GrandCentral to my "local" numbers and voila, I had made GrandCentral global and that meant I wasn't taking and placeing calls on my Mac only, I was receiving them on my Nokia phone and calling back to the USA for almost nothing.
This was all before the API and the apps like GrooveIP and TalkaTone which have taken advantage of the GoogleTalk API, and what's more, with a SIP client like CounterPath's Bria I was doing even more tricks with GrandCentral and Gizmo, Truphone and OnSip, all of whom I had or still have SIP credentials from.
Knowing we're in the sunset period of the Google Voice API saddens me as so much of the new GoogleVoice/Hangouts has its roots in what was started back in the mid 2000's is really making so much possible. Guys like Robertson, Droege, Jeff Bonforte along with Walker and Paquet had ideas that were ahead of their time, and now with Hangouts about to become the way Google has people Talking, its great to see how communications keeps moving forward.
With WebRTC in the guts of the services we’re now seeing just what WebRTC can deliver, and when one hears how much brighter the audio is, and sees how crisp video is it’s not hard to believe that only ten years ago services like SightSpeed were pioneering laptop/desktop video and Skype was just entering the game. Yet I would contend that we’re only beginning to see and hear how real time communications will change, not because of WebRTC, as that’s only a part of the changing landscape. What we’re seeing is a complete change in user behavior, interface design and the experience we have in over not only laptops but now tablets and smartphones.
I’m a bit surprised that Apple hasn’t done more with FaceTime, which already uses SIP at its core, especially when one considers how far Google is going with Hangouts. Then again, Apple has been in lock step with Microsoft in holding back on being in on the WebRTC standard. FaceTime is native now on all platforms, yet, its still only point to point, one to one communications, and the APIs for it remain off limits to the developers of other real time communications apps. And therein lies the reason why WebRTC in the apps and services is so crucial. With WebRTC there’s a way around the private APIs, and for users who want to move forward, its a path, while for developers it’s all a part of the journey.
There's a lot of rumors swirling around that GoogleVoice is going to basically disappear and be fully merged into Hangouts. You can likely thank the likes of Gizmo Voice founder Michaeal Robertson and the now Uber UberConference team of Vincent Paquet and Craig Walker for all their pioneering work years back. Basically what we're hearing now is the confluence at Google of what Skype is on its own. So where you have the GrandCentral technology all dressed up as GoogleVoice plus the Gizmo wizzardry in the middle, all wrapped aropund the GIPS audio and video codecs now sitting inside, this all looks like the currrent edition of Hangouts. Basically, Google has built a Skype clone for a lot less money than what Microsoft paid for Skype. A lot less. About $8.7 billion dollars less in round numbers.
And, what Google has done is when you look at sum of the parts of GV and HO together is basically bring "almost free" to calling, at least in the USA as call on-net to the masses terminating or originating on Hangouts and a Google Voice user are now basically settlement free to Google.
But what if you're Skype, with all their might. What does Skype do? Well I would expect them to mount a counterattack and offer massively free calling everywhere. Now wouldn't that change the game?
Think about it in the context of what Skype has done in the post Microsoft era. For starters now that Skype and Microsoft Lync are so intertwined the world of calling between consumer and enterprise isn't that hard, and its free.
Secondly, Skyprosoft has populated the world with servers that are basically in all the countries where traffic goes, providing Skype the ability to map and route calls around the traditional networks far easier today than when Skype started. Add to that LTE and LTE-A getting deployed the world over and you have data networks that are only a few hops away from all the mobile operators data networks so when you add in all that recriprocal compensation and carrier credits MSFT has, free calling everywhere isn't that hard to fathom.
That makes my question rather easy to ponder next. If Skype rolls out free calling everywhere, how far behind will Google be?
Earlier this week the news about Google exploring adding wireless services in markets where they offer gigabit fiber popped out. Today, The Information (subscription required) points out that Comcast via their sell off of spectrum (along with other cable companies) will have access to wholesale priced 4G/LTE access. Both items give evidence that there is new wireless competition coming.
Google is already cozy with Sprint (the Google Voice integration) as well as with Bandwidth.com for transport. Bandwdth.com is already selling their Wi-Fi + mobile using Sprint's network, which is a great proof of concept. Add to that Bandwidth has a homebrew version of Fixed Mobile Convergence that may touch on or compete with some patents that CounterPath acquired when they picked up the assets of BridgePort Networks some years back. (Note I am an advisor board member for Counterpath and my agency previously provided services to both Bridgeport and Counterpath as well as to Grand Central).
The difference though is the CounterPath patents and technology offers what is known as Voice Call Continuity and enables bi-directional handoff between WiFi and mobile networks. In an all Google world with WiFi hotspots plus fiber, the handover would mean putting the FMC gateway into the networks of both Sprint and Google if Google chose Sprint as their MNO partner, or whichever operators they chose to work with.
In those situations handover would be almost seamless. In the case of Comcast the same approach would apply and Comcast and Verizon each would also need the FMC gateway in their networks. Once the gateways are in place "roaming" between WiFi and the mobile world becomes simple, as the call doesn't drop when you leave one IP universe and traverse to the other. Comcast picking up TimeWarner and how in markets like NYC where there already is massive WiFi deployment, could quickly have a massive mobile customer base there all by itself. The same could be replicated quickly all along the major cities like Philadelphia and Boston where they already have a major presence.
This will take a while to all come into play, but with Google and Comcast looking to play in wireless calling and messaging, VoIP gets hot.
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.
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.
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…..?