Skype Over Echo is a Big Deal

Skype is coming to the Amazon Echo soon. This is a big win for Amazon, and also at the same time could have massive ramifications to the entire voice and video calling industry. And it may also be the biggest boost to Skype resuming being a force in calling. 

Here's why

  • Echo devices are becoming almost ubiquitous. They are also becoming dirt cheap. As low as $50.00 for the Echo dot. With the new in car Echo coming to mobile (2020) the ability to reach anyone, anywhere, will be easier.
  • Imagine if Amazon and T-Mobile put SIM cards inside Echos for data. Skype can call over the network. BOOM.
  • By connecting to Echos Skype now has millions of endpoints world wide.....That's a big number......
  • Video-Amazon has made voice control of a video call already possible between Amazon Show devices. But Show to Show is a limited market. Add in Skype and connectivity to mobile devices, Macs and PCs, and now Skype is the switchboard.
  • Apple hasn't done this with FaceTime yet. Google hasn't done this with Hangouts.
  • A Skype In or Skype Out call is like a phone call. Add voice control and it's no different than using your iPhone with Siri.
  • You know my name, you don't have to look up my number.-Just like you can ask Alexa to play a song over Spotify, Pandora, or Amazon Music, you'll be able to do the same thing with your Echo. So today, while you can Connect and call Echo to Echo, with Skype that audience just got really huge.
  • Even though Google Home can call over Google Voice, it doesn't receive phone calls (yet). Skype on the Echo is an full service endpoint.
  • This could eliminate the need for a voice plan as all you'll need in the car for calls

Calling on the Echo though isn't new. In it's infancy Telzio did the first integration ever as a VoIP player, followed by OnSip. Dialpad also has done one too. These though are edge cases and really proof of concept. Skype still has 300 million users worldwide. But it's the Skype In and Out capability that changes the game though. WhatsApp has 1.5 billion connected users but you can't call someone from WhatsApp that not a WhatsApp user. Nor can Facebook Messenger call out. 

Given the deskphone is going the way of the dinosaur, the Echo is the ideal replacement, and since Skype is like a switchboard, Microsoft's move to cozy up with Alexa, is a big, big move.

 


Influencers and Analysts - Is There Any Difference?

Online, nothing is really what it appears to be, especially when it comes to business, and the spectacle that surrounds "the business." Today, the term, "influencer" has become a blanket euphemism for everyone who has influence, and is getting paid for it. So while it is easy for FTC to identify the online influencers, the rules don't seem to apply to the analyst community.

As blogging took hold, and as we some of us attracted clients, or patrons, the FTC stepped in to make sure we all revealed our business relationships. In my case, I started to use the word "client" in my posts. But when it comes to analyst firms or the independent analysts, there seems to be a double standard, as you never see the same type of transparency that you now see from bloggers when the reports come out, or for example, the Gartner's Magic Quadrant get announced. It seems we have different rules for different people. A double standard per se. And that's not right.

Over the past 15 years, or since the early days of blogging, it hasn't gotten better. It's only gotten worse. With consolidation in the analyst world there are fewer "big voices" to shill for the vendors. With fewer media outlets, and less reporters, there's less neutral commentary. This all means the pay for play content is trumping the independent voices. Add in domain authority to SEO and the truth further gets pushed down and less seen. 

Large analysts and research firms like IDC, Forrester, Gartner, 451 are all paid for subscriptions to their reports. But vendors are really their clients. These same client companies also offered and pay for research, advisory and writing services. The analysts in turn offer guidance on product and services launches. Some offer feedback on "go to market" planning, or serve as sounding boards for presentations to the industry or public market analysts and media. But even so, the FTC Guidelines don't apply to them. There's no disclosure. No transparency. Well it's time.

The solution is simple. If you're paid by a company, reveal it. Be radically transparent. That way, the audience can decide if it's like wrestling (fake) or like the MLB. A real game, where the outcome is based on who is best, not simply the richest.

 

 


Why There Are No Guest Posts on VoIPWatch

In the history of VoIPWatch, there has been only one guest post, and that was by Michael Robertson during his days with MP3.com and Gizmo. But from the start, I never would permit guest posts, and it was for one reason. This is MY BLOG and it exists to share MY THOUGHTS and VIEWS on things, starting with VoIP, Mobile and Collaboration.

Yesterday, longtime blogging buddy, Om Malik drew attention to what Buzzfeed unearthed, but what most of us in the world of blogging and PR have known for years. That most of the guest post in what were once leading media outlets were really just paid posts to benefit a client. 

How did guest posts come about? Before that term was coined, there was the concept of the "contributed article." The contributed article was often presented by the PR agency to a media outlet as a thought leadership piece, that gave the publication, or web site, content for free. It had to meet standards and often it was considered a plum to score one for a client. Of course, like all good ideas that had merit, the publications saw "contributed articles" as a way to reduce cost on paying freelance writers or having a big staff and it became their route to survival by selling ads around content that cost them nothing. Voila, the guest post model came to life and almost anyone with a keyboard and an email account could send in an article to be published.  And, since the search engines can't discern the difference between real journalism and a contributed article, a piece written by a contributor would be discovered along side an article by a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter. That and the decision to not clearly label the content as being contributed also led to this situation overall

So, the next time you read something, ask yourself if the "reporter" is indeed a "reporter" or a "contributor." 

Oh, and there's nothing wrong in contributing content. Just don't try to be perceived as a "reporter" when all you are is a "contributor." Give the public the ability to decide if what you write has value, because some "contributed articles" actually do provide the type of information that reporters can never cover, it all just needs to be properly positioned.

That's why, to get covered here, it means I have to want to write about it...so, please, stop asking if I accept guest posts. I don't. 


Mobile Service on The Metro Impressively Fast

I've been a long time visitor to Paris for many years and remember my first experience on the #14 line, also known as the Meteor and how I was able to receive email on my Nokia 9000 Communicator. It was back in the 00's and the iPhone was not even in existence. Back then email and some web browsing at really slow speeds were the norm, but we were connected at least.

Today, I rode the #1 Metro and as I looked around there were people talking, texting and of course using many apps on their smartphones. I had forgotten that the Metro had improved its mobile connectivity across all of the lines that make getting around Paris such a snap.

Unlike London and New York City, where mobile phone service is relegated to just the stations, on the Metro you have full coverage. A fast speed check showed speeds at about 15 megs as the subway car moved towards Palais Royale from the Champs Elysee.

To say my experience was great is an understatement. Just watching so many people connected and getting things done while on the go underground was more than great. It made me realize that back home in the USA the operators talk about 5G but ignore opportunities in cities like Philadelphia and Washington DC. Yes BART in the Bay Area has connectivity, but it's nothing like what I just experienced here in Paris.


My Newsletter The Comunicano

For the past few years I've been putting out a newsletter, The Comunicano. First I used Flash Issue, a very well thought out platform. But as we have all seen with technology, someone always comes along and builds something better. And Revue is that better platform. It's cheaper, easier and faster for me to produce what has become an almost daily ritual for me to share news that I've found interesting.

But there's something more about the newsletter. It's the open rate and click through rates.  Even on Thanksgiving the click through rate was over 30 percent, and the same on Black Friday. 

Those types of readership levels are really something to be thankful for. If you want to subscribe, click here.

 

 


NoJitter's State of Enterprise Communications

The other day I was hunting around for what is happening in VoIP.  VoIP, which I built this blog and an agency on is like motor oil in a car. But 14 years ago, VoIP was like TESLA and electric cars. You knew it was there but it was an uphill battle. Today, VoIP is the way most voice communications travels. That's why when I saw the NoJitter State of Enterprise Communications infographic I just smiled.

I smiled, because Editor Beth Schultz nailed it with her statement about UC (unified communications) and Collaboration where she wrote:

"In comparing Team Collaboration to UC, Team Collaboration is almost as important as UC today, and within 24 months will essentially be just as important."

To me, you can't have UC without Collaboration as today's worker is not about being in the same place as the next member of the team which Diaplad, the parent of UberConference pointed out in their report about The Era of The Anywhere Worker. Today's Anywhere Worker needs to be a digital ninja, using the tools to let them work, anywhere. (another blog I sort of still write).

The ability to work anywhere is directly tied to IP based communications, voice, text, video, sharing and broadband or mobile broadband. Have the right apps, the right devices and the right connection, and BOOM, you're working anywhere. 

But back to Beth's prophetic view that collaboration and UC will be on par within 24 months. For many, that day is here. More an more, all my one on one and group calls are scheduled, and conducted over UberConference or Zoom if my team or I originate them. If not, those calls are on WebEX or GoToMeeting. I use those services as opposed to placing or taking a regular call, as the quality is usually better, and what's more, if there's a need to share a file or screen, versus sending an attachment in an email, it can happen.

In the case of the enterprise, so many workers today now WFH (work from home) so to those workers, collaboration at any distance is a necessity, not a one day my prince will come scenario.

 

 

 

 

 


The COMUNICANO for Thursday February 23 2017

 
 
FEBRUARY 23 - ISSUE #29
Andy Abramson
 
 
Getting Quoted…and getting quoted regularly are two different things. So far this year I’ve been quoted three times. Last year over 40. Like the number of exits Comunicano has been involved in, now 42, this isn’t luck, chance or accidental. It’s all about having insight, perspective and opinion on subjects, and having the ability to articulate the answer so it’s reporter educational and friendly. 
So the first story about the fastest way through some airports, CLEAR, has my quote, but the background provided to the reporter is there too…that’s how you GET QUOTED…There’s also news about Amazon getting in some hot water, Facebook trying to play nice, faster mobile in the USA, Twitter getting more “personal”, Lyft adding more cities and more news you need to know, so now onto the news in today’s COMUNICANO.

Travel Watch
Now you can go through MSP airport security with a fingerprint or iris scan
Norwegian Air steps up transatlantic pressure with $65 fares| Reuters
Media Watch
Facebook Is Trying To Smooth Over Relationships With The Media
Amazon Watch
What 'Chime' is it? Amazon sued over name of its new online conferencing technology
Amazon resists US demands to hand over Echo audio in murder case
Ridesharing Watch
Google’s Waze Plans Expansion of Ride-Sharing Service
Lyft launches in 54 new cities, while Uber does damage control
Wireless Watch
T-Mobile Continues to Boost Capacity for Customers with LTE-U Launching in Spring 2017
GE, Intel, AT&T team up to put cameras, mics in San Diego
Why I am not going to buy a cellphone
Odds & Ends
Google's Perspective API Opens Up Its Troll-Fighting AI
Twitter tweaks direct messages for brands so they sound more human
How Peter Thiel’s Palantir Helped the NSA Spy on the Whole World
How leaders of 9 billion-dollar companies stay productive

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The Comunicano for Wednesday February 22 2017

 
 
FEBRUARY 22 - ISSUE #28
Andy Abramson
 
 
UPS, like Amazon, is fascinated with what flying drones can do for their business. For normally silent UPS, their efforts with drones seem to be “taking off” in Florida the way Uber is testing driverless cars in Arizona. We lift off today with three items about UPS and their lofty ideas surrounding drones….those stories and a lot, lot more are all in today’s COMUNICANO.

UPS tests drone deliveries, eyes future price changes
UPS Tests Residential Delivery Via Drone Launched From atop Package Car
SportsTech Watch
Exclusive: Facebook in talks to live stream one MLB game per week - sources
Amazon Watch
Move over, Amazon: Here comes Walmart
Amazon plans to sell beer and wine at its new high-tech convenience store
Wireless Watch
Verizon offers taste of 5G as it expands network trials
Some subscribers of Project Fi are getting access to VoLTE on T-Mobile's network
Odds & Ends
Israeli glass tech can help car windows show ads
An AI Hedge Fund Created a New Currency to Make Wall Street Work Like Open Source
Apple has kept Steve Jobs promises with its new HQ

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The Comunicano for Friday February 17 2017

 
Last night I dined out using Feastly for the first time. It was the way to book seats at a “pop up” dinners across the USA. The dinner was the debut of former Herringbone LA chef Jason Witzl, who is in the process of opening up his own Cal-Ital place, Ellie’s, in DTLA. Not only was Feastly a cool app/service experience end to end, but the communal dining experience made it easy to make new friends, hang with old friends, eat very well and of course BYOB. 

Alexa-can you come with me? So many times i wanted to take Alexa with me, so while Telzio had voice enabled access to my Amazon Echo first via their mobile app, almost a full year or so ago, there wasn’t a lot of use. Well the game just changed as Rain Labs has launched Reverb with apps for the Mac, iOS and Android. It’s all made possible by Amazon Voice Service.  As I wrote on the Xceptional Blog a few days ago, Amazon keeps looking more and more like a telco/information services competitor to AT&T, Verizon, H-P and more….
So with that, let’s dive into the news in today’s extended edition of Comunicano.

Facebook just changed its mission, because the old one was broken
Here are the details of Uber's disastrous public Q&A session with drivers on Facebook
App Watch
Messaging Tech Expert: The Year Messaging (Actually) Matches its Hype
White House Staff Are Using A "Secure" App That’s Really Not So Secure
23 Must-Have Alexa Skills for Your Small Business
Money Watch
Uber Gives Restless Employees a Way to Cash Out
Airbnb buys Montreal-based Luxury Retreats to bolster high-end vacation offerings
Verizon acquires Portland startup Skyward, a maker of drone management software
Daimler’s MyTaxi acquires Greek rival Taxibeat for undisclosed amount
Soundtrack Your Brand has raised $22 million for B2B music streaming
Apple Watch
Apple Vowed to Revolutionize Television. An Inside Look at Why It Hasn’t - Bloomberg
Apple may cut the (charging) cord completely with the iPhone 8
Cool Things
The Piaggio Gita Is a Futuristic Helper Bot From the Makers of the Vespa
A breakthrough in Alphabet’s balloon-based internet project means it might actually work
Private Astronaut Taxis by SpaceX, Boeing May Not Be Ready by 2019
Where is Zealandia? Geologists say they have discovered eighth continent
Odds & Ends
AT&T’s new, new unlimited data plan eliminates an annoying requirement
Jack Dorsey: Twitter Lacked 'Focus And Discipline' For Growth

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The Comunicano for Wednesday February 15 2017

 
 
FEBRUARY 15 - ISSUE #23
Andy Abramson
HUMPDAY…….and there’s tons of NEW and that makes NEWSsurrounding new services releases that are making the rounds today from the likes of Facebook, Signal, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. They all have decided to unleash new “stuff” that changes the way we consume, communicate, create and deliver information today, and after a wave of non-news of late, it’s nice to see NEW back in the NEWS..

Let’s start with Facebook,
which is going to become a bit more “annoying” as they start with sound on within their video news content. Their claim is more people prefer that, but thankfully there are ways to turn the audio offMicrosoft makes its biggest move to take on Gmail with a more complete Outlook Premium offer…In some cases I’ve included the official announcement as well as a news item about what’s new, in an effort to provide deeper transparency and insight. 
After all that, there’s a few perspectives on the new data plan wars happening in the USA that’s waging between the mobile operators that will help you decide what plan and what changes are right for YOU….That and more are all in today’s COMUNICANO.

New Release Watch
New Ways to Watch Facebook Video from the Facebook Newsroom
Facebook is launching an app for Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV
Outlook.com Premium Comes Out of Preview
Introducing Cloud Spanner: a global database service for mission-critical applications
Signal Adds Video Calls, Better Quality---And a New Privacy Tradeoff
Video calls for Signal now in public beta
Yahoo Mail now syncs photos across devices and IDs who's calling on the phone
Yahoo Mail Update: Never Guess Who’s Calling or...
Dataplan Watch
Expect T-Mobile to Continue Inflicting Pain on Verizon and AT&T
Experts warn businesses not to over-buy on unlimited data plans
Your complete guide to choosing an unlimited data plan
Unlimited plans comparison: Verizon vs. AT&T vs. Sprint vs. T-Mobile
Odds & Ends
This sick Valentine's day ad shows people getting naughty with their phones
How To Create A Killer Logo-Two Experts Weigh In

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