Greg Galitzine : Greg Galitzine's VoIP Authority Blog
Greg Galitzine

Skype for SIP: VoIP Provider Targets Corporate PBX Market

March 23, 2009

It was only a matter of time.   Skype today announced the Skype For SIP beta program, which will enable businesses to receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users on SIP-enabled PBX systems, connecting a company's Web site to the PBX system via click-to-call. The beta is initially available to a limited number of participants.   The financial benefits are clear, allowing businesses to connect to over 400 million registered Skype users while offering the features and integration capabilities of traditional office PBX systems.   According to the official announcement:   The beta version of Skype For SIP will enable business users to: ·         Place Skype calls to landlines and mobile phones worldwide from any connected SIP-enabled PBX; reducing costs with Skype's low-cost global rates ·         Purchase Skype's online numbers, to receive calls to the corporate PBX from landlines or mobile phones ·         Manage Skype calls using their existing hardware and system applications such as call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail.   Beginning today, SIP users, phone system administrators, developers and service partners are invited to apply to the Skype For SIP beta program. Applicants will need to be businesses, have an installed SIP based IP-PBX system, as well as a level of technical competency to configure their own SIP-enabled PBX.   During the beta period all calls will be charged at standard Skype rates. Further pricing details will be announced when the product is fully launched later this year.    

8x8 Visit With Huw Rees

March 18, 2009

If it's Wednesday, it must be San Jose...   Or in this case, more specifically, Santa Clara.   My colleagues and I just stopped in to see our friends at 8x8, who were gracious enough to spend some time with us on this cloudy day.   Things are moving steadily forward at 8x8, and according to Huw Rees, Vice President of Business and Channel Development, the firm continues to execute on its strategy of selling their Virtual Office services into the small and medium sized business (SMB) market space. Rees told us that they are focused on ramping up sales of their virtual trunking products and Microsoft Response Point services, as well as expanding their channel strategy to build a larger channel to serve ever larger customers, working up to the "M" of the SMB.   8x8 serves customers from 5 employees to several hundred employees, but according to Rees, the average customer tends to the smaller end of that scale. The goal of the channel expansion is is to grow the number of larger customers.   Anecdotal evidence points to a trend where larger organizations are more comfortable with using hosted communications services, and 8x8 is certainly in a position to serve this market.   We also went on a tour of the 8x8 facility, and we saw the variety of elements that go into making a successful VoIP service provider, including the NOC or network operations center, the QA testing workspace, the higher-level support call center, and the shipping/receiving dock, which according to Rees sees such volume, that 8x8 is the largest FedEx customer in Santa Clara.   We also got a glimpse into some of the exciting things that will be coming down the pike from 8x8, and I look forward to sharing those with my readers as soon as I am able to.

Alcatel-Lucent CFO Sees Profitability Ahead

March 13, 2009

A French newspaper is quoting Alcatel-Lucent's CFO as saying he expects a return to profitability by the latter part of next year.   Paul Tufano, the company's chief financial officer, was quoted in Les Echos, as saying, "Regarding net income, we expect to return to profits during 2010, most likely in the second-half of the year."   Back in December company CEO Ben Verwaayen unveiled Alcatel-Lucent's strategic plan, which called for working closely with Alcatel-Lucent's service provider, enterprise and application partners to -- as Verwaayen said -- "innovate, collaborate and partner... to stimulate a sustainable business model for the industry that will fuel innovation and the capital investment required to expand the overall web experience to more people and businesses."   At the time, company officials offered a break-even forecast in terms of operating profit in 2009.   As I wrote in the December piece:   In 2010, Alcatel-Lucent is targeting to achieve a gross margin in the mid thirties range and an operating margin in the mid single-digit range, and looking ahead to 2011, the goal of the company is to achieve a gross margin in the mid to high thirties range and an operating margin in the mid to high single-digit range.

Google Launches Voicemail to Text

March 12, 2009

Google is introducing Google Voice, which is based on the technology of Grand Central Communications, a company they acquired in July 2007.                         The new service marries innovative new phone features with Google's e-mail service (Gmail) allowing users to receive transcribed voicemail messages in their e-mail inbox.   According to Craig Walker, posting on the Official Google Blog:   The new application improves the way you use your phone. You can get transcripts of your voicemail and archive and search all of the SMS text messages you send and receive. You can also use the service to make low-priced international calls and easily access Goog-411 directory assistance.   While not entirely a new application (see Spinvox and PhoneTag... Vonage offers a service like this...

XConnect to Certify NetNumber; Liverpool Wins

March 10, 2009

Flying Home, WIsh I Nabbed a "Demo Unit" From TI

March 6, 2009

I'm at DFW, waiting on my early flight back to the New York area.   As I mentioned in my last post, I learned this week that Sipera is up to some interesting things.   I also stopped by Texas Instruments on this trip, and in addition to getting a run down on their OMAP 4 strategy I learned  about some of the other things they just showcased at the Mobile World Congress show.   Robert Tolbert, platform marketing manager, OMAP platform business unit shared the company's recent news, and explained the company's activity in TI's quest to continue to improve user experience and the power properties of the devices that TI chips are deployed in.   Tolbert also discussed the company's recent announcement (with Samsung) of PicoDLP technology, which will be available in a Samsung handset soon,   After the briefing we took a tour of TI's Wireless Application Center (WAC), where I got to see the PicoDLP technology up close and personal. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a tiny projector, which can take your source video (as an example) and project it onto any nearby surface, such as a wall, or the back of an airplane seat. The quality is amazing, but to me the fact that this technology is available in a handset or a standalone device smaller than a deck of cards is pretty remarkable.   I almost wish I could have taken a "review copy" of the device to trial on my flight home today. It would be a great way to catch up on some of the movies I have yet to watch, or perhaps just review the video interviews that I conducted in Dallas this week.

Dallas Trip Winds Down; Sipera News

March 5, 2009

So my week in Dallas is finally winding down. Not that it hasn't been a great week, with interesting meetings with a number of the companies who reside astride the north Dallas Telecom corridor.   In the last two days I've spent time in the offices of Telstrat, NEI, NEC, Fujitsu, Texas Instruments, Excel, and Apptrigger; that's in addition to the executives I interviewed from a number of companies attending the Comptel show in Grapevine this week.   The interviews should be online shortly, to see if they've been posted, please visit the TMCnet video library.   I'll be following up with posts and articles about all the companies I met with, but in the meantime I wanted to share a bit of news from Sipera that's not made the rounds of the mainstream media just yet.   The company has just released an IP Video sniffer called UCSniff2.0. Until now, the information has only been posted on security boards and community sites, and on the SourceForge site at   The UCSniff2.0 eavesdrops, captures and records video conferencing sessions and works on regular IP Telephony too. Using the tool, an IT manager can perform a man in the middle voice capture and can reconstruct the voice call, shows holes in a security policy, and enable those responsible for a site's security to fix the application.   The timing is good, as many industry pundits are hailing 2009-10 as the timeframe when IP video comes into its own; the solution allows an IT manager to test their environment and move quickly to address issues.   Sipera also told me about VideoJak, an application designed to allow an IT manager to examine any vulnerabilities with regard to system availability.   According to a description on the SourceForge site:   VideoJak is an IP Video security assessment tool that can simulate a proof of concept DoS against a targeted, user-selected video session and IP video phone.

tw telecom's Herda Calls for National Business Broadband Policy

March 3, 2009

tw telecom Chairman, CEO and President, Larissa Herda, delivered a keynote at Comptel this evening, calling on the industry to engage Congress and the FCC in establishing a national Broadband Policy for Businesses that will spur innovation for enterprises and create jobs in what she termed, the New Broadband Economy.

Just hours before Herda's presentation, President Obama ended months of sepculation, and announced that he has nominated Julius Genachowski to head the Federal Communications Commission.   Herda urged the competitive carriers in attendance to fight for a national business broadband policy that includes three critical points -- effective regulation of Special Access, including Ethernet services, and UNE last-mile facilities; interconnection for IP voice and data services; and a reform or elimination of the forbearance process.   She noted that 2009 has been quite a year so far, with a new administration, a crazy market, and many challenges, but there is hope.   Herda described the industry as facing uncertainty, with treacherous market conditions, and sleepless nights, the likes of which many had never experienced before.   She told the audience that we need wisdom from government as well as business leaders, to navigate these treacherous waters.   "As an industry, we are at a cross roads," Herda said, "we face new challenges, and a long road lies ahead of us."   She got a good response from the assembled group when she likened the past decade to a popular reality television show. "The past eight years has been Survivor FCC, but with no immunity on the island," she said.   Herda called on government regulators to treat everyone fairly. "There cannot be one set of rules for only the most powerful and a different set of rules for everyone else," she said.   "We can continue down the same paths, permitting consolidation and deregulation to limit competition and forestall innovation," Herda said, "or we can unleash the power of competition for the good of the entire U.S. economy"   "We must enable the enterprise with technological solutions that will propel and accelerate growth," she said.   In the end it's about the customer.

Infonetics: Carrier VoIP Market Down

March 3, 2009

Infonetics Research has released the Q4 2008 edition of its Service Provider VoIP Equipment and Subscribers report.   And the news is not good.   According to Infonetics' Diane Myers, Directing Analyst, Service Provider VoIP and IMS: "The fourth quarter of 2008 confirmed what we started seeing in the previous two quarters in North America, with signs in Western Europe and some parts of Asia as well: the market for carrier VoIP equipment has stalled due to large deployments nearing completion and shifting strategic priorities. The global economic downturn will likely exacerbate the drop in VoIP equipment sales."   According to the report, the streak of double-digit annual revenue growth, which has characterized the worldwide carrier VoIP equipment market since 2002, has come to a close.   In fact, the market declined for the first time ever in 2008, dropping 6%.   According to Infonetics, large RBOCs and ILECs are putting the brakes on VoIP as major projects are (or have been) completed. Furthermore, the economic downturn is forcing operators to move their capital expenditures to other strategic priorities.   There were some bright spots in the report. On the plus side, the Infonetics research bears out the following:   ·         The number of residential and SOHO VoIP subscribers worldwide increased at a steady clip, topping 107 million in 2008, driven mostly by EMEA and Asia Pacific; ·         Nortel increased softswitch and trunk media gateway revenue, gaining share in both categories; ·         Sonus increased its trunk media gateway revenue 45% in 4Q08 from 3Q08.

ITU Says One-Fourth of World is Online

March 3, 2009

Out of context, it's a funny pull quote: "Internet usage is up due to an increase in job searches." A sad commentary on the state of the times.   However, in context, it makes for a good example of one small element of usage behavior that is driving increased Internet traffic, in the face of a global economic crunch.    The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says that that nearly a quarter of the world's 6.7 billion people use the Internet, with use more than doubling from 11% in 2002.   Jonathan Wright, Director of Wholesale Products at Interoute, owner operator of Europe's largest next-generation network, had this to say:   "Internet usage is simply reflective of global demographics. Whilst the digital divide is ever present, demands on telecom providers are from both sides. On the one hand, established Internet users are demanding higher capacity connectivity due to their engagement with more sophisticated uses of the internet applications like peer to peer and social networking sites that require higher bandwidth support from access technologies. And, on the other hand, the entry of new users driving initially less sophisticated demands for internet access from economies like China and India is exploding.   "The Internet explosion will not be interrupted by the economic downturn in the developed world.
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