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Rich Tehrani
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VoIP Banned on Some Flights

December 24, 2007

Perhaps the best holiday gift for people who enjoy peace and quiet on their flights is an all out ban on VoIP in the sky. The AP is reporting on the sorts of things we may be allowed to do in the sky like view porn or talk.   It is too soon to know which airlines will allow what but I am sure there will be extreme pressure on airlines to allow talking if they can monetize it effectively. The question is how to allow talking without disturbing passengers who want quiet.   Will airlines have talking sections like they used to have smoking sections?   Then again, what happens when you are seated in a row that has a baby crying? Is talking more annoying than a baby crying?   As a frequent Metro North train traveler I can sympathize with how annoying some callers can be.

Google, Blackberry and Skype News

December 13, 2007

Two things worth noting this morning have to do with mobility and video. First off, Google Calendar now syncs with Blackberrys. This is big news, allowing corporations to slowly wean themselves off of Microsoft software if they so choose. As Mashable reports, this comes a few days after Google announced a mobile application suite for RIM’s wireless handheld device.   In other news, David Meyer reports that Skype will soon be allowing multi-party videoconferencing otherwise known as Brady Bunch calling or video.   You may recall I asked Skype execs about this feature back in February of this year.

Star Wars Everywhere

December 11, 2007

Should we be alarmed with the amount of Star Wars content on Tom Keating’s blog? I am not sure. As a huge fan of the Star Wars trilogy (quadrilogy?, quintilogy?, sextilogy?) movies I guess I am OK with it but what happened all of a sudden? Did George Lucas realize the price of jet and yacht fuel has just tripled and subsequently started licensing like crazy?   Here is Tom’s most recent post – an R2-D2 DLP video projector and here is an R2-D2 phone that Tom beat me to writing about.   Here is a Philips VoIP phone that I am sure Darth Vader would have used.

Security: The Best IP Topping of All

December 11, 2007

The Internet Protocol is one of the largest enablers of the last decade. It allows communications to take place wherever there is broadband connectivity. Voice over IP, video over IP, fax over IP… Just about everything runs over IP it seems. But this is old news – right?

Skype Developer Program Change

December 7, 2007

Andy Abramson reports that Paul Amery (interview) is no longer the Director of Developer Programming at Skype. I liked Paul a great deal and he had tremendous passion and enthusiasm for his work at Skype.   You may remember Amery was a keynoter at a past TMC event so I subsequently had the opportunity to spend a good deal of time with him.   I am not sure what the reason for this departure is but perhaps it was just time. Here is the statement the company put out:  
Change has always been a constant at Skype and will continue to be. We will keep re-shaping our business to take advantage of the immediate and short-term opportunities in front of us.

Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007 Kicks Off

December 5, 2007

At the Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007 conference the attendance is very good which indicates tremendous interest in this burgeoning market. So far it seems clear that Stealth Communications, the company behind this event has yet another successful conference under its belt.   Perhaps the best indication of how this market has evolved is the fact I am sitting in a session on wholesale VoIP meaning the Voice Peering Forum is not just about peering but has evolved to the point where it focuses on more general service provider topics – not just peering.   The session really focuses on international long distance growth and is being chaired by Stephen Beckert, Research Director at TeleGeography Research is speaking. Here are some of the session points worth noting:  
  • Aggregate wholesale revenues are growing 2-3% annually while traffic is growing 20-30%.
  • The impact on carriers net is not as bad as on gross.

Google to Bid on 700 MHz Spectrum

November 30, 2007

While it is not really a surprise at this point, Google will be bidding on the 700 MHz spectrum auction and if the company wins, it will likely change the business model of many other service providers. The reason is simple. At least one service provider has expressed interest in leveraging their connections as a competitive weapon/advantage and more specifically as a way to exact a toll from Google!   As you may remember I referred to this situation in an article titled SBC Goes Trick-or-Treating which took an excerpt from a BusinessWeek article referring to an interview with SBC CEO Ed Whitacre*:

  The question posed was:   How concerned are you about Internet upstarts like Google, MSN, Vonage, and others?   And the answer was as follows:   How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe.

Skype High Quality Video

November 27, 2007

Skype has teamed with Logitech to provide what they call a High Quality Video solution. I had a chance to test this new feature via a videoconference with Tom Keating who heads up TMC Labs.   In order to take advantage of this new software you will need Skype 3.6 or higher and a Logitech QuickCam 11.5 or higher (Currently: QuickCam Pro 9000, QuickCam Pro for Notebooks, QuickCam Orbit/Sphere AF). In addition, your broadband connection will need to be 384 kbps or better and your CPU needs to run at 2.0 GHZ or higher and be of the Dual Core variety.   In case you want to know if you have a Dual Core processor you need to press Control-Alt-Delete on your PC then click on Task Manager and then Performance. If there are two separate boxes under “CPU Usage History,” you have a Dual Core processor.

Verizon Wireless Opens Up

November 27, 2007

In the history of United States communications, this day ranks right up there with the day of the Carterfone (Wikipedia) decision allowing any device to work on AT&T’s PSTN network. Today, almost 30 years later, Verizon chose to tell the world they will open up their wireless network to devices other than their own.   The news may be even more surprising in light of the fact that Skype has been petitioning the FCC for this exact thing. How often does Skype agree with the carriers?   Another surprise is the fact that Verizon is the first carrier to make such an announcement. Remember, this is the same company that routinely cripples the current devices they sell consumers.   Amazingly, this development is exactly what I have been asking for.

Star Wars VoIP Phone

November 27, 2007

I came across a Star Wars VoIP phone this past weekend while perusing catalogues. I was going to write about it today but apparently either Tom Keating checks his mail more often than I do or he gets access to catalogues faster than me.   As part of the VoIP phone package, you can get an R2-D2 roving webcam. For the Star Wars lover this is a no-brainer gift and the only downside may be the $380 cost which is reasonable if you compare it to an iPhone – basically replacing the cult of George Lucas with the cult of Steve Jobs.   To get really geeky, I wonder if there will be bluetooth connectivity to the famous headphones Princess Vespa used in SpaceBalls by Mel Brooks.
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