Today's humpday so it's time to look at what's happening around the technology news world. We'll start off with a Huffington Post item about Customer Disservice something most of us have felt from some PC brand, utility, airline, hotel or car manufacturer over time. Next we're seeing the IRS looking at those who feed their staff and how that can be considered income vs. an expense..The Celebrity Photo Hack is making the news cycle, this time with the tools that can make it possible..Microsoft is everyone's target it seems these days, not just Apple or Google...all this and more today, SO ON WITH THE NEWS...
Posted: "The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity." - Peter Drucker If you haven't yet heard the 8-minute diatribe leveled by a Comcast customer service rep to a customer and his wife who were trying to cancel their cable service, tune in here.
There is a grumpy new face in line at Silicon Valley's lavish freebie cafeterias: the Internal Revenue Service. Staffers at technology companies such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. long have enjoyed free gourmet meals, courtesy of their employers.
As nude celebrity photos spilled onto the web over the weekend, blame for the scandal has rotated from the scumbag hackers who stole the images to a researcher who released a tool used to crack victims' iCloud passwords to Apple, whose security flaws may have made that cracking exploit possible in the first place.
While a commitment-in-principle has already been made, a formal decision on construction of the high-speed 5G network won't come until autumn, said Nokia technical director Juha Määttä. When asked about the construction schedule for the network, Määttä said that it could begin early in 2015.
Hotel WiFi Test has launched a browser extension that displays information about a hotel's WiFi speed and quality onto the most popular booking and travel websites: Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com and TripAdvisor.
Office by the Month. Not the kind you physically use, but from Microsoft has debuted for iPad as an in-app purchase. In my view this is two years or more too late. Google Apps is gaining momentum and already is far more integrated.
Microsoft adds monthly in-app subscription option to Office for iPad
Summary: Microsoft Office for iPad users now have the option to subscribe to Office 365 monthly and from inside Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Microsoft is now allowing Office for iPad users to pay monthly, rather than only annually, for their Office 365 Home or Personal subscriptions.
If you don't use Evernote, your working too hard when it comes to storing and finding notes, pictures, videos and more. And, like Google and others, the company is taking aim at Microsoft Office at the right time. While Microsoft has OneNote, Evernote has users, lots of them who are raving loyalists.
What about OneNote? It's a question that Evernote CEO Phil Libin gets asked all the time, especially after Microsoft made the note-taking app free earlier this year. But, Libin says, it's the wrong question. Libin makes no bones about having Microsoft in his sights, but it is Office he wants to dethrone, not OneNote.
Google executive Amit Singh must persuade companies to ditch Microsoft Outlook for business-focused versions of Gmail. But pioneering driverless cars may be easier than changing the way people send email at work.
Who comes after the Millennials? It's Gen-Z, not Jay-Z. And, Gen-Z seems to be more like those who came before GenY....at least that's what one study says. We really won't know for a few more years though..
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A few years back, before he zapped it and wound it down, Ken Camp authored a blog all about Real Time Communications. He was obviously ahead of his time with the name because today, more and more of what we are hearing about is RTC, and specifically WebRTC.
While companies like Blue Jeans Networks, Twilio and TokBox seem to be in the news a lot because they're inside the San Francisco and Silicon Valley echo chamber for news generation, there's more companies outthere doing new, novel and eventually game changing innovatinve stuff. As a matter of fact some of these companies are at the forefront of what's about to happen, so let's name names.
Temasys Corporation based in Singapore makes it easy to build, deploy and manage WebRTC. Think of them as a combination of Twilio and Amazon Web Services for real time communication. Dr. Alex Gouaillard is one of the key drivers in the industry shaping the WebRTC standard within the IETF and W3C working groups. Already Temasys has released the first plug-in that makes WebRTC work on Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari web browsers. Temasys is already working with IBM.
Hookflash's Erik Lagerway has been around reat time voice communications since he started XTEN which is now known as CounterPath. Today, he's leading Hookflash and championing the effort around ORTC which is all about making WebRTC more mobile via their ORTC API.
Pexip was started by a bunch of very smart executives who built Tandberg's video conferncing solutions and then went to work at Cisco. They're attacking the same area that Vidtel, which was quietly acquired by Fidelity Investments, was taking to make collaboratoon interoperable between platforms in the cloud. Pexip's core strength is the ability to virtualize meeting and collaboration rooms in the cloud, on the fly. The big benefit to Pexip is their ability to be interoperable with Cisco's Jabber and Microsoft Lync via their Infinity Connect platform and apps for iOS and Android.
As second company playing in this same space is Acano which is all about video, audio and web Integration for collaboration. They look at incompatability as the problem their coSpaces platform solves. Their video does a very good job at demontrating how Acano works across so many diverging modes of collaboration devices.
Looking back over history my first Messenger was AOL's AIM and then quickly I was using ICQ. Yahoo Messenger came along about the same time as Windows Messenger which actually was able to access the SIP stack buried inside Windows 98. It was back then that I made my first VoIP call via Webley's never released VoIP platform.
Skype pretty much wiped out all the IM clients but today other are really taking their place. Mobile apps like WhatsApp and a few others rule the roost in mobile, the reduction in cost for SMS and services like GoogleVoice have also taken the need for IM down a peg, but with services like Slack and HipChat taking a bigger piece of the desktop and knowledge worker messaging activity, greater interoperability with other apps and hooks into them via API access from IFTTT and Zapier even Skype's days may be numbered.
To me, the move by VZW is a catchup play. T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS which was the first to offer HD voice but reading the number of "requirements" for what Verizon Wireless is offering leave me wondering if we're really anywhere yet:
HD Voice and Video Calling work only when both people are in the Verizon 4G LTE coverage area and are using VoLTE-enabled smartphones from Verizon
Those three requirements-in the LTE footprint, using a VoLTE phone and being on Verizon remind me when SMS between mobile operators didn't exist. This means a T-Mobile, AT&T, Truphone, Sprint or any other operator's customer calling someone on another network using the same phone with VoLTE/HD capabilities, on a network which enables HD Voice and Video to work, won't have a call of higher quality.
This all gets into the lack of true peering, interoperability and only adds to the inconsistency between carriers and the lip service standards are really give. Next issue is how already existing HD Voice based conferencing services like Voxeet, UberConference, ZIPDX, Calliflower, GoToMeeting, etc, which already have "HD" quality calling via their apps or WebRTC will be handled. Nowhere have i seen of any real interconnectivity despite Eli Katz's XConnect has had an HDVoice interconnect around for years.
To me, true HD voice and video won't be here until it's as transparent and fully functional as SMS is on delivery but just like iMessage and WhatsApp have outmoded the mobile operators. Today, we have Skype but given how easy it is to deprecate service quality between operators and networks, without the FCC stepping in and making sure quality won't be disrupted.,
This also raises issues in my mind around Net Neutrality, here in the USA at least, a topic that long time friend, Craig Walkeropinied about in the Wall Street Journal this past Sunday. To that end, my question is given how landlines/wireline connectivity is being deprecated by the telcos in favor of wireless, why isn't the doctrine of Equal Access from the 80's where any long distance carrier was to have the ability to deliver LD while the Regional Bell Operating Company provided the connectivity to the premise being applied to mobile?
SideNote-->When you think about it, Walker's prior company, GrandCentral, really was the first alternative Long Distance provider for mobile which was a disguied as a Find Me, Follow Me service, but really only works easily on Android devices with the ALD model really become integrated, and that's at the device level, not in the network. And, we all know that the network is really where Google is going with things, but that example demonstrates why apps contriol the smarts of the network, while the operators in the middle remain "dumb pipes."
A few news items passed my eyes this morning, and it got me thinking about a conversation that Truphone Founder and CTO James Tagg and I had last week during IT Expo in Las Vegas. James, who invented mobile VoIP and the touch screen technology we all use at airports and other kiosks, remarked that while we are seeing faster speeds, we're not seeing services coming along that can really take advantage of them, except to download a movie or upload massive databases. His comment reminded me of the Wendy's TV commercial of a distant time, "Where's the Beef?"
But that's not stopping the carriers, information service providers and mobile operators from entering into the race to be first and fastests.
To me, until such time as the "beef" is there, all these speed claims are more about "mine being bigger than yours" but we will start to see new companies come along who are indeed developing the next big thing, and those companies will be the "Wendy's" while everyone else will still be "McDonalds."
3 the original 3G carrier with operations in Hong Kong, the UK and elsewhere has once again made a move with Skype, following their efforts in the past to make Skype an integral part of their service offering.
In Hong Kong, for $69 HK Dollars a month, or $8.90 USD, under a new collaborative agreement with Skype the mobile operator will offer its customers Skype’s Unlimited World calling plan the ability make calls to mobile and landline phones to both Skype and non-Skype users on mobiles in eight destinations, plus landlines in 63 countries and regions, for a monthly fee of just HK$69 over a contract duration of 12 months.
What this basically does is concede to Skype their international long distance traffic over their data network, while allowing the operator to keep the local voice traffic on their network as well as the roaming traffic which pays a higher margin. What the deal doesn't include yet is video calling but that already goes over the data network as part of someone's data plan. What this also does is set a bar that other VOIP providers with apps would have to pay to access the 3 network in HK and be assured some level of quality. How this impacts those will only be learned from those in Hong Kong so in some ways this is much like the Netflix deal with Comcast but only really for mobile.
Don't be surprised to see deals on Nokia Handsets with Windows Phone to come out soon too in Hong Kong, as well to find in a short while that Skype deals like these come from other mobile operators around the world so they can push more data plans, which is exactly what 3 did in the UK when they first had the Skype Phone.
Cascade is at the core just really find me, follow me, albeit a very advanced version. But to me, and those who look at it from a historical perspective, it's not really a new idea. Going back, even before there was GrandCentral (which was a client all the way up through and for a short while after acquisition by Google) there was Alec Saunders and Howard Thaw's company, iotum, which we also helped launch, and which now is also in the conferencing business with Calliflower and other conferencing brands. Back in 2006 Saunders and Thawdebuted Pronto at DEMO where the core idea was intelligence in the way calls were handled.
With Cascade the difference isn't what Cascade does but the devices it moves calls between.
To see the the news about Cascade eight years later brings back memories of the era where VoIP was at the core of IP real time communications. The idea of apps and services coming from third parties and not the telco was what led to the concept of OTT (over the top). Now today, what we're seeing is not so much what's new, as what we're seeing and hearing from the telcos seems to tie back to an approach I dubbed "Me Too, Me Also, Me Different" a theme that others picked up on.
Cascade is a good idea. It's one that AT&T will provide to IoT and connected car technology suppliers with the ability to send calls to them....and by the time the get there, Google with the combination of Nest, GoogleVoice, Android, Hangouts, Maps and their smarts will already have been delivering it. as part of Google Now.
Every day I see Yet Another WebRTC based service come to life. Today its "ROOM" which has a very simple beta list signup going on where if you tweet their existence you get immediate access to the beta. Services like Slack, Hall, HipChat, Vobi and many others are offering what I'm calling Skype Takeaway Service (STS) often for free, often even richer in experience and more modern for the times.
Skype has in my view become the AOL AIM (AOL's Instant Messenger) of this decade.
An awesome service that stalled in development because of the so-called bigger picture of where Microsoft is heading. Let's face it, you can't be using the mobile operators as distribution partners, buying a handset manufacturer (Nokia) and trying to reconfigure legacy ideas like Exchange and their own Messenger service to the cloud and not realize that Skype's technology in the middle led to all of that being disrupted. At the same time redesigning the whole Skype technology, to basically make it a SIP like clone vs. the Peer 2 Peer approach it had also didn't just happen overnight.
Those factors and declining call quality, an almost step child like integration approach with other services, the killing off of the Skype hardware API, less and less developer relations activity, the expansion and deeper integration by Google surrounding Hangouts, Google Voice and of course WebRTC all are signs that Skype's days are numbered.
Pal Dean Bubley gets it. So do a few others. But sadly not everyone does. The "what" is WebRTC and the who are the telcos. Read Dean’s post and get a great lay of the land.
Last week at WebRTC World in Atlanta a lot of companies demo’d something’s new, somethings derivative and other concepts and technologies that are going to make our lives better online and off. The Trufind demo of Trufind, which was then demonstrated the next day on the weekly Voice User Conference by Truphone’s Director of Research, James Body, shows one of the “new” ideas around WebRTC. In essence you no longer need to know anyone’s number to call them if you’re connected to them socially via Twitter, Google+ or any of the to be added social networks. In essence this takes permission, authentication and authorization to a new level. Clearly Truphone, a client since 2005, get it.