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Rich Tehrani
| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space


How Skype and Facebook Work Together

July 7, 2011

It is fascinating to hear how Facebook and Skype work together - the news this week that the companies have a solution merging the best of social and video has shaken the industry up a great deal but now the details on how the system works are beginning to emerge.

TMC's Tom Keating has an extensive podcast interview with Chaim Haas with Skype PR and IP communications veteran Jonathan Rosenberg, Skype's Chief Technology Strategist where he learned everything you need to know.

New Skype APIs There are Skype server APIs made available to Facebook users which allow "shadow" accounts to be created with random Skype IDs. This happens even if you have a permanent Skype account.

Stripped down client: The Skype client used in this instance is stripped down (just does p2p no supernode functionality or unnecessary UI or codecs) so it will download quickly. It doesn't use Adobe Flash as some web reports have stated incorrectly.

Thank you Amazon: All the Facebook calling is supported by server supernodes - no PC supernodes - with cloud support from Amazon EC2.

No PSTN just yet: There is no PSTN calling at the moment but in the future there could be. Some interesting use cases are the ability to allow calls to mobile phones based on profile or even e-commerce and click-to-call.

No HTML5: There were rumors of the client being HTML5 - sadly it isn't - that would have been great to see as it could have conceivable run on all platforms like iPads, etc. As you can imagine, the company had to work on scaling this app - as there are over 750M active users on Facebook - even more than Skype users.

Will it scale? The question now is will the Skype network which has had a number of outages these past few years be able to to deal with flash crowds, update issues and more.

PSTN Death is Near

July 7, 2011

I vividly remember driving my car in 1999 – two years after the company where I am CEO, TMC decided to launch Internet Telephony Magazine and thinking VoIP was going to change the way communications works and eventually kill the PSTN. It seemed to me that within five years most of the world would make the transition as the cost disparity at the time was quite large between the PSTN and VoIP connections. Moreover, there were a myriad of free calling services using VoIP such as Dialpad which were ad supported, putting even more pressure on traditional telecom networks.

Within a few years the dotcom and telecom bubbles burst (we collectively said goodbye (details) to Dialpad and its competitors) and the cost for using the PSTN dropped substantially in order to better compete with IP communications alternatives.

Survey: Games Most Popular Smartphone Apps

July 6, 2011

And surprise, most people will pay for apps

Games, weather and social networking apps are where people are spending a tremendous amount of their time followed by mapping, news, music and entertainment. These are the results of a new survey from Nielsen which asks what apps people used in the last 30 days. iPhone users who are mobile gamers play about 30 minutes per day on average or 14.7 hours per month while Android users play 9.3 hours per month.

Nielsen supplied chart of apps which smartphone users have downloaded in the last 30 days

While we see mega deals in the video game world for titles like Angry Birds and social companies like Zynga preparing for multi-billion dollar IPOs - let's keep in mind part of the reason for this is that everyone it seems will pay for games on their phones. Consider in fact Nielsen found 93 percent of app downloaders are willing to pay for the games they play.

How Social Networking Could Change Amusement Parks

June 28, 2011

I’ve been fairly consistent in saying that video conferencing would take off when mobile devices became powerful enough to allow users to show their surroundings on the go. Amusement parks in particular seemed like an obvious place where video conferencing would be of use. This has been my feeling since around 2002 and it’s been great to see the industry get to a point where a smartphone is as powerful as a laptop of just a few years earlier and virtually everyone with a smartphone or tablet has Skyped on the go by now.

Telecommuting Tax: Now The States Are Killing Jobs

June 16, 2011

In August of last year I explained why there are so few jobs – in part the problem revolves around demonizing the successful by our politicians and in-part because of excessive taxation. Part of the support for my post was an opinion piece from Michael Fleischer of Bogen Communications – a company in the telecom space I have followed for over a decade-and-a-half. Some of you may think Fleischer is complaining too much and he needs to give back more of the money he earns to be fair – but you should know that in New Jersey he has to pay $74,000 so a worker can take home $44,000.  He doesn’t mention this but I will – if he then is lucky enough to make profit he could pay 50-60+% of that money back out to the government through federal and state tax as well as various fees – real estate taxes, regulatory compliance, etc.
Watch the latest video at

This week Fleischer was on Fox Business and isn’t any happier with the state of the US economy and has nothing for venom to spew at politicians who make it more difficult for his company to succeed.

Top 20 VoIP Innovators

June 13, 2011

8x8 Speaks Out About Skype Deal (Video)

June 13, 2011

Skype, the Carrier's Friend?

June 10, 2011

There are people who believe the Microsoft acquisition of Skype will make Redmond's relationship with carriers much worse but the leading internet telephony software company has been making steady progress wooing carriers. Years back at the CTIA show in Las Vegas, Chaim Haas, one of Skype's PR representatives told me the Three UK deal between his client and Skype was working out well for the carrier and moreover, the company was hoping other carriers would partner as well.

Then more recently Verizon Wireless struck a solid relationship with Skype and now, TMC's Paula Bernier breaks the story of how Canada's Telus too has partnered with Skype to among other things champion usage of the VoIP company's network and services.

Perhaps the Skype acquisition isn't all bad news for Microsoft's carrier relationships. In fact it may even do the opposite of what many pundits tell us - help Microsoft get more entrenched in carrier networks.

And certainly when you are the new underdog in the mobile world, any advantage like this one can come in handy when competing with Apple, RIM and Google.

7% of Doctors Using Video Conferencing

May 27, 2011

On TMC's Video Conferencing community Erik Linask reported on the fact that 7% of doctors are using video in their practice and this got me thinking about how the IP communications market flattened the world allowing jobs which were once required to be in the US to be outsourced to India and elsewhere.

For those of you who have followed my writings for years you know my company TMC has been at the forefront of educating the world on IP communications - and one of the unintended consequences of this technology was the outflow of jobs from the US to other parts of the world.

Thomas Friedman details how optical fibers have flattened the world and moreover - that Americans are not ready for the ensuing competition

But when you consider that US companies have used technology to lower their costs and the US healtcare system is not only one of the most expensive in the world, its costs are growing out of control - you realize we need to solve the problem.

Sure there is Obamacare - but the basic premise of this new entitlement is a broke country is going to spend another trillion dollars to insure even more people. The idea of insuring 30M more people and saving money as its proponents tout doesn't pass any logic test that humans innately posses.

So this leads us to the fact that in order for the US healthcare system to lower costs it too will have to outsource its services and we can expect nurses and doctors to eventually be treating us from other countries. This isn't a tremendous leap as it is already being done but without question inter-country video conferencing will eventually be used far more frequently to treat patients.

I have a good friend who recently flew to Costa Rica for an operation  because his dental surgery estimate in the US was $50k. In Costa Rica the cost was around $14k and when he had a problem a few months later the doctor flew him down again for free and fixed the issue.

An Honest Critique of Microsoft and Steve Ballmer

May 26, 2011

For the last five years there have been calls for Steve Ballmer to step down from Microsoft and I have refrained from comment until today because a confluence of news and events has made commentary necessary. Specifically, David Einhorn, an influential hedge fund manager – whose firm Greenlight Capital owns almost 9M shares of Microsoft, said (video) Ballmer is stuck in the past and is ruining Microsoft’s stock.

Technologist Vs. Businessperson: One compliant about Steve Ballmer is that he is more a businessperson than a technologist and as a result, new and innovative products have been developed much more slowly. This point is very tough to argue with and more importantly, what is Ballmer’s vision for Microsoft?

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