Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Randy Savicky
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions

January 2005

You are browsing the archive for January 2005.

Triple Play Case Study

January 31, 2005

Very interesting Triple Play solution case study from Intel. Some notable names in the PDF file - Netcentrex and Envivio.

Excerpt:
IPlay3 delivers a single fully integrated solution to provide value-added voice and video services on top of a high-speed Internet offering.

IP Telephony
Our IP Telephony delivers a standards-based (SIP/MGCP/H.323) carrier-grade, scalable platform with complete Class 5 and innovative voice-video interactive features.

TMC Traffic Through the Roof!

January 31, 2005

Nuvio Announces Special Hosted IP-PBX Offering for Level 3 Partners

January 31, 2005

Broadband Tax Proposal

January 31, 2005

Rich Tehrani proposes a broadband tax and then explains why:

Broadband Tax: Why I Am For It

Rich's idea is intriguing - have a flat tax on broadband that takes care of everything else. That is to say, this "all in one tax" means no extra tax on VoIP calls or any other Internet-related taxes now or in the future.

However, anytime I hear someone propose a new tax, as nobel as the idea may seem, I still have to squirm in my chair. Most people are loathe to think of any new tax, but especially when it comes to something so ubiquitous as the Internet.

SkipJam iMedia Controllers

January 31, 2005

SkipJam Touch Panel

Whoah! now here's a cool product! Check out the release & feature-set. With SkipJam's controllers, parents can pause their kids' video and tell them to come to dinner through the TV speaker … without ever leaving the kitchen.

VoIP Inc. Triples Size

January 31, 2005

VoIP Inc. is growing so fast they had to move their fulfillment center to a larger facility...

Read the release:

Company prepares for continued growth and expansion.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)—Feb. 4, 2005 -VoIP Inc. (OTCBB: VOII) announced today that it had tripled the size of its Fulfillment Center to support growth and the Company’s recent move to centralized product distribution for all VoIP Inc. subsidiaries.

The new address for VoIP, Inc.’s Fulfillment Center and the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, DTNet Technologies, is - 13101 56th Court N. Suite 813 Clearwater, Florida 33760.

Global IP Sound Announces Major Upgrade of VoiceEngine

January 31, 2005

Quick release to share... Global IP Sound makes an excellent codec that is embedded in many VoIP products - from VoIP softphones to hardware devices.

Global IP Sound Announces Major Upgrade of VoiceEngine to Provide Superior Voice Quality and QoS Monitoring in Enterprise VoIP Products
Version 2.0 Extends Usability and Quality with Noise Suppression, GIPS NetEQ 3.0, Push-to-Talk and Telchemy VQMon Support

San Francisco, CA - January 31, 2005 - Global IP Sound (GIPS), a leading provider of embedded voice-processing solutions, has announced the release of version 2.0 of VoiceEngine, a comprehensive, packaged solution that handles all the necessary voice components for VoIP to provide superior voice quality even under the most adverse network conditions. Enabling rapid integration and deployment of complex voice processing technology in PC and PDA environments, version 2.0 provides better-than-PTSN voice quality and a variety of new features optimized for enterprise-class VoIP, such as noise suppression, GIPS NetEQ 3.0, push-to-talk capabilities and Telchemy VQMon support.

You Gotta Know when to Fold Em

January 31, 2005

Very interesting article posted here: Tech Beat: Technology Blog on BusinessWeek Online

This article which is titled "No Wonder AT&T is About to Fold Em'" really hit the nail on the head with so many points, especially pointing out that we shouldn't wait for a mass migration to VoIP before considering VoIP a success or making a dent in plain old telephone service. The article critiques VoIP critics and naysayers by pointing to successes in VoIP, which reminded me of my recent Galitzine vs. Dvorak blog entry where both I and Greg Galitzine critiqued John Dvorak's "poor" analysis of the VoIP industry. Some people still just don't get it.

Verizon & Microsoft

January 28, 2005

According to Light Reading, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ - message board) has selected Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT - message board) as the software provider that will power its fiber-based television and video service offering, FiOS TV, both companies are expected to announce later today.

I bet the set top box will eventually embed a Windows thin-client terminal and then Microsoft will let you "rent" software (i.e. Microsoft Office) that you can view on your TV. Think WebTV reincarnate!

Nissan VoIP

January 28, 2005

I joked just the other day in my blog entry titled: McDonalds VoIP, Fries with your VoIP? that GM should offer VoIP in their cars in conjunction with their OnStar system so you could make VoIP calls (car-to-Skype, car-to-SIP URL)

I guess they'd have to add "Driving" as a new "presence status" to the "Away", "Out to Lunch", "Offline" list. If you integrate it with the speed, you could see "Driving 135mph" - a perfect time to make an inbound call to this car if you want someone to crash... I digress...

Well, ironically just two days after my GM Onstar/VoIP idea, Nissan announced a major VoIP deployment.

Packet8 Problem?

January 28, 2005

Switchvox IP-PBX

January 28, 2005

Switchvox Admin


Now I'm up to 3 new IP-PBXs I never heard of that I discovered in just one day! I hope this is the last IP-PBX I hadn't heard of this week. Feels like my IP-PBX knowledge and "VoIP IQ" is going down by the second!

I just got this email an hour ago from Joshua Stephens, the CEO of Switchvox where he mentions that he has a pre-installed, easy-to-use "plug and play" IP-PBX based on Asterisk.


SBC DSL Pricing

January 28, 2005

SBC Communications yesterday announced it cut the price of its fastest SBC Yahoo! DSL plan - but with a caveat - you have to sign up for SBC's All Distance local and long-distance calling plan, which costs $48.95. So that's $78.94 for unlimited voice and data. They're not using VoIP by the way in this "All Distance" package as far as I know, so you do get the QoS advantage of PSTN calls, but I'm not sure it's worth the price premium, which I will analyze in a moment.

SBC Yahoo DSL Pro will cost $29.99 a month for customers who subscribe to it for one year along with SBC's All Distance local and long-distance calling plan, which costs $48.95, the company said.

Brekeke OnDO IP-PBX

January 28, 2005

Brekeke OnDO PBX Architecture

Ok, now this is the 2nd new IP-PBX company I found in just 1 day! How did I not hear of this sooner? What gives? (See: New IP-PBX Company?) Someone emailed me asking if I knew about Brekeke's OnDO PBX, which I did not.

Broadband Monopoly?

January 28, 2005

IPInferno brought an interesting news item to my attention. Sonic.net is claiming that deregulating broadband will kill independent ISPs and result in less competition. Obviously, with less broadband competition this could have quite a bearing on VoIP broadband service.

Check out IPInferno's site and also read this from Sonic.net

Bellsouth seeks DSL Monopoly
Sonic.net on Monday December 20th filed comments (PDF) at the FCC in response to BellSouth's request to exclude independent ISPs from access to DSL.

Skype & Vonage Interviews

January 28, 2005

Packet8 Financial News

January 27, 2005

Some financial news to share from Packet8. My snopsis - they are still in the red, but they've closed the gap and are closing on being in the black. In fact, if my math is right, they improved their revenue by 20% over last quarter (2.5 mil vs. 3.0 mil).

Volo Goes after Level3's 3Tone Customers

January 27, 2005

Galitzine vs. Dvorak on VoIP

January 27, 2005

Greg Galitzine, Editor of Internet Telephony Magazine takes on John Dvorak's recent (1/24/05) negative comments on VoIP ("The Problem with VoIP Phones"). Once again Dvorak takes a pessimistic view on the state of VoIP. In his November 2004 "What's Holding Back VoIP?" he also attacks VoIP and makes a ridiculous claim:

If you wonder why DSL services have often deteriorated, it is because good DSL invites VoIP. Bad DSL, on the contrary, keeps it at bay.

VoIP fees have users fuming

January 27, 2005

New IP-PBX Company?

January 27, 2005

ICS IP-PBX

I was just lurking in the VoIP Forums and came across this interesting post: *** All in one IP PBX*** : Forums

Here's an excerpt of the post:
IP PBX is an ideal small office telephone exchange designed to keep your business communications efficient and effective. Based on embedded Linux OS, it integrates IP-sharing, email/web server, and Internet firewall together with digital switching technology in modular PBX and VoIP design.

http://www.icstel.com/product/pro-IPPBX.htm

Hmmm. Let me get this straight...
a) It's a Linux-based IP-PBX similar to Asterisk or Pingtel's SIPXchange.
b) According to the website, it's based in France (we won't hold that against them)
c) Why wasn't I informed about this?


Amazing how many new products I accidentally find out about in the VoIP Forums.

Verizon CDM8940 Cellphone

January 27, 2005

Verizon CDM8940 Closed

Verizon Wireless and UTStarcom Personal Communications Division (formerly Audiovox Communications Corp.), yesterday announced the availability of the CDM8940, that will work on Verizon's EVDO network. It features a built in 1.3 Megapixel camera (with flash) and a mini SD slot that customers can add up to 512 MB of memory - some pretty cool features!

Other Features of the handset include:
- Built-in 1.3 Megapixel Camera with Macro Function and Flash
- Mini-SD Card Slot
- Camcorder
- Two Way Speaker Phone
- Voice Activated Dialing
- Standard Rechargeable LiIon battery (220 minutes talk time/Up to 190 hours standby)
- Dual Band 800MHz CDMA/ 1900 MHz PCS Operation
- EVDO Capable
- Dual LCD Displays
- Inner Display 2.0” TFT with 262 Colors
- Outer Display –1.2 “ with 262 Colors
- MSM6500 Chipset
- CDMA 1X C
- WAP 2.0
- Two-Way Short Message Service/MMS
- GPSOne capability (E911 Phase2 Supported)
- Size: (H) 3.4” x (W) 1.8” x (D) 1.0
- Weight: 3.9 ounces





















Verizon CDM8940 Open

Here's the full release:

Compact V CAST 3G Handset Delivers Video on Demand, 1.3 mega-pixel Camera and Built-in Mini-SD Slot for Expanded Memory Capabilities 01/26/2005

BEDMINSTER, NJ and HAUPPAUGE, NY -- Verizon Wireless, the first wireless carrier to deliver widely available 3G EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) wireless broadband network, is now also the first to offer the CDM8940 handset, the only EV-DO phone to feature a built-in 1.3 mega pixel camera/camcorder and memory expansion up to 512 MB with a mini-SD slot. The CDM8940 from UTStarcom Personal Communications (formerly Audiovox Communications Corp.) a division of UTStarcom, Inc. (NASDAQ: UTSI), allows Verizon Wireless customers to access V CAST – the nation’s first 3G wireless broadband multimedia service for consumers – to view crystal clear video on demand and graphics for 3D games.

NIST VoIP Security Report

January 27, 2005

Here's an interesting excerpt from a ComputerWorld article.

A new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology urges federal agencies and other organizations to take care in switching to voice-over-IP technology because of security concerns.

The 99-page NIST report, "Security Considerations for Voice over IP Systems," includes nine recommendations for IT managers to help them implement VoIP in a secure manner. "Lower cost and greater flexibility are among the promises of VoIP for the enterprise, but VoIP should not be installed without careful consideration of the security problems introduced," the report says.

Level3 3Tone Killed

January 27, 2005

Mobile VoIP Convergence

January 26, 2005

I've stated in the past to keep your eye on Verisign when it comes to VoIP. I've mentioned how they are leveraging ENUM and SS7 which make for some interesting integration possibilities, such as the ability for someone to dial your cell phone number which will then ring your wired or wireless VoIP phone instead. Further, with dual-mode cellphone/Wi-Fi phones, you could simply carry one phone and simply switch modes when in range of a Wi-Fi network - VoIP-to-cell-roaming if you will.

Look at my Verisign and VoIP using SS7 and SIP blog entry for reference as well as ENUM, ENUM, ENUM! where I discuss where Verisign may be headed in the VoIP space.

VoIP & Wireless Webinar

January 26, 2005

Interested in educating yourself about VoIP over WiFi, WiMAX, or other wireless technology? Well, besides the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo just a few weeks away, you may want to consider this webinar...

VoIP over Wireless Broadband -
January 31, 2005 - 11:00am New York / 4:00pm London

A special webinar for press, analysts and end users...

What happens when two hot technologies meet?

McDonalds VoIP, Fries with your VoIP?

January 26, 2005

McDonalds VoIP?

Google VoIP, now McDonalds VoIP, what's next Walmart VoIP? General Motors VoIP? Maybe OnStar will go VoIP? Actually that's not a bad idea...

Applied Global Technologies Video Presenter

January 26, 2005

Videoconferencing product news release to share. I'm still waiting for the day when you ask someone to have a videoconference and they say "I'm sorry I don't have a videoconferencing system." and you respond smugly with "What? You mean to tell me that you don't have videoconferencing?"

A friend of mine had a similar experience when friends came to her condo and they had to access the internet via dial-up. "You mean to tell me you don't have broadband?

Level 3 3Tone Gone?

January 25, 2005

WiMAX Needs VoIP

January 25, 2005

Received this Instat report I thought I'd share: Also, check out this NWFusion article titled "Throwing some water on WiMax and VoIP providers". Perhaps it gives a dose of reality for the WiMAX and VoIP hype. Nah. We need more hype! : )

WiMAX Gains Traction But Needs VoIP

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., January 25, 2005 - WiMAX, or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is becoming a force in the wireless access arena, at least in parts of the world, reports In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com).

Google VoIP Part4

January 25, 2005

While Google continues to deny entering the VoIP space, the buzz around the Net about the possibility of Google getting into the VoIP space reached a furvor pitch. With Google's repeated denials, the speculative fire began to die down towards the end of the day. Well, it's time for me to stoke those fires again! A visitor to my blog posted an interesting comment that raises some interesting possibilities about Google and VoIP.

He/she wrote (email was gender neutral):

Interestingly, Google in Germany already offers the opportunity to enter phone numbers into its search box.

Gigabit Ethernet IP Phone Chip

January 24, 2005

Broadcom has announced what they claim is the world's first Gigabit Ethernet IP Phone Chip. The Broadcom chip is designed to sit within a VoIP phone, routing and encrypting calls as well as data to and from the PC. The chip is Broadcom's first to ship with its internally designed BroadSafe security suite, which provides hardware encryption for the call. According to Broadcom, the phone can also be used with a software VPN for increased security. Interestingly, it is also intelligent enough to block a flood of packets from a DDOS/DOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack.

Internet Telephony Conference Hotel SOLD OUT!

January 24, 2005

Just received this email from the marketing team that states that the official hotel for Internet Telephony Conference & Expo is completely sold out. Wow!

The email states their are alternative hotels to stay at, but if you plan on attending the show, I recommend you book your room now. I have a strong feeling these rooms will fill up fast as well...

Microsoft Office and CRM Integration

January 24, 2005

Global IP Sound Releases New Voice Quality Enhancement (VQE) Module

January 24, 2005

Global IP Sound is well renowned for their excellent codec, so I thought I'd share their press release which it appears to state they've improved it even more by eliminating echo and background noice.

Global IP Sound Releases New Voice Quality Enhancement (VQE) Module To Eradicate Echo and Background Noise In Voice-over-IP

First of its Kind Solution Improves Voice Quality Within VoIP Applications and IP-Enabled Devices

San Francisco - January 24, 2005 - Global IP Sound (GIPS), a leading provider of embedded voice-processing solutions for the Voice over IP market, has announced the release of its Voice Quality Enhancement (VQE) 1.0 module. This comprehensive solution is designed to handle the unique and complex issues of echo, background noise, and other voice processing concerns in VoIP communications. It is the first VoIP-oriented product to combine and optimize all of the necessary voice quality components into one, complete package.

Next Exchange to Combine e-mail, voicemail

January 24, 2005

According to Cnet, the next Exchange Server will combine e-mail and voice mail for a "unified messaging" solution. I'm not sure exactly what this means for Microsoft partners that currently offer their own unified messaging solutions based on Exchange Server. Does this leave them out in the cold?

A little history lesson/perspective.

Google VoIP Part3

January 24, 2005

Google VoIP Part2

January 24, 2005

Google VoIP rumor no more? Last week I "theorized" that Google would launch a VoIP service and it looks like my theory, prediction, whatever you want to call it may have come true! (others made similar analysis). You should check out my "theorized" Google VoIP blog entry which includes screenshots of what Google VoIP might look like.

MSN Search Beta Live

January 24, 2005

Today most people still look to Google for their search results, but I do remember the day when I used to have to check 3-5 search engines to find the results I was looking for. It was a real pain checking multiple search engines. Also, pre-Google, I recall checking Hotbot and Excite first, then Altavista, and surpringly, I checked Yahoo! last. Several years ago, Yahoo was great for directory listings, but terrible for finding keyword searches, but they have gotten much better.

Sharp Zaurus VoIP App

January 21, 2005

TheKompany.com announced tkcPhone, a Voice over IP (VoIP) SIP-based application for the Sharp Zaurus PDA. You are able to make phone calls between computers without any fee's beyond the cost of the internet connection. You can make phone calls from your Zaurus to an actual telephone by making use of their arrangement with iConnect.

Here are some of the features:
-DTMF support
-iLBC support
-SIP protocol based phone
-Codecs: PCMU, GSM, G729
-Dynamic jitter buffer size
-Instant messenging
-Buddy list
-STUN server support
-SOCKS support to allow calls from networks behind a NAT (we've tested as many configurations as possible, but you might run into a scenario that we are not familiar with, please let us know if that happens).








FCC Chairman Resignation Letter

January 21, 2005

From Al Bredenberg's blog

STATEMENT OF FCC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL K. POWELL ON LEAVING THE COMMISSION

Today, I sent a letter to the President thanking him for the incredible privilege of chairing the Federal Communications Commission during his first term. With a mixture of pride and regret I informed him of my intention to step down as a commissioner and chairman some time in March.

Having completed a bold and aggressive agenda, it is time for me to pursue other opportunities and let someone else take the reins of the agency. During my tenure, we worked to get the law right in order to stimulate innovative technology that puts more power in the hands of the American people, giving them greater choices that enrich their lives.

Cisco Denial of Service VoIP Attack

January 21, 2005

CNET is reporting that routers running the IOS Telephony Service, Cisco CallManager Express and Survivable Remote Site Telephony features could be vulnerable.

The CallManager Express feature enables Cisco IP routers to handle call processing for Cisco IP phones. Cisco said in its warning that certain "malformed packets" sent to the port handling the Skinny Call Control Protocol may cause the device to reload. An attacker exploiting this bug could flood the device with malformed packets that would cause the device to reload over and over again, causing a denial-of-service attack.

ParkerVision RF Power Amplifier

January 21, 2005

Interesting, just got a press release from Keating & Co. Gee, I must have sent the release to myself. Actually, there is no relation between myself and Keating & Co. nor am I related to the governor of Oklahoma (Frank Keating) or the infamous Charles Keating (Keating Five).

Anyway, the email contained some info that claims low cost RF power amplifiers with better efficiency and that can be used in such applications as WiFi, VoIP, and more.

Here's the abridged/edited email:

Yesterday, ParkerVision, Inc (NASDAQ: PRKR) of Jacksonville, FL, announced a revolutionary new RF Power Amplifier product line that reduces mobile communications transmitter power consumption by 50% to 80% while extending talk times by up to 400%.

Michael Powell 'Friend of VoIP' Steps Down

January 21, 2005

Applied Global Technologies Releases Fathom

January 20, 2005

Quick release to share about a new IP Video analysis solution ...

APPLIED GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES RELEASES FATHOM VERSION 3.0 WITH NEW IP VIDEO ANALYSIS ON DISTRIBUTED NETWORKS AND ENDPOINTS

New version allows for localized monitoring to isolate potential H.323 problems

Rockledge, FL – January 20, 2005 - Applied Global Technologies, proven experts in IP collaboration technologies and solutions, announces the release of FATHOM version 3.0 and the extension of network monitoring beyond firewalls. By moving the monitoring to the distributed architecture, FATHOM is able to measure network performance for different subnets, firewall systems and disparate networks. The localized monitoring provides for "Fault Isolation" – accurately determining if a failure is resulting from an endpoint or the network.

Comcast Increases Upstream

January 20, 2005

Unlocked ATA

January 19, 2005

Just came across Johanne Torres' interesting article: DVG-1402S: The First Unlocked VoIP Router?

In case you weren't aware, SIPPhone sued Vonage for allegedly releasing misleading packaging and advertising on locked VoIP ATAs (analog telephony adaptors) from Cisco's Linksys.

In the suit, SIPphone demanded that Vonage properly label boxes and advertisements to list the mandatory fees and restrictions of their locked hardware, which I wrote about awhile back in this blog entry. I'm all for open standards, so I tended to side with SIPPhone from a moral standing, but that doesn't mean that Linksys and Vonage were doing anything illegal. Partnering is as much a part of capitalism as anything else.

Google VoIP

January 19, 2005



Theoretical Google VoIP Capability





Google and VoIP? Cnet is reporting that Google wants 'dark fiber'

This news story came about due to a recent job posting which stated:
"Google is looking for Strategic Negotiator candidates with experience in...(i)dentification, selection, and negotiation of dark fiber contracts both in metropolitan areas and over long distances as part of development of a global backbone network," the posting reads in part."

The Cnet article speculates that Google may want to get into telecommunications.

I find it ironic that Level3 is laying off employees due to building out a huge backbone network too quickly and Google is looking to expand.Does this mean that data demand (Google) has surpassed voice demand (Level3)?Actually I think a research report already came to that conclusion a year or two ago.

Though that Google vs. Level3 analogy is a little over-simplistic since Level3 does voice and data, I think if Google decides to get into telcommunications and more specifically VoIP, things could get very interesting.It could also put more pressure on Level3 if Google decides to build out its own global IP network, considering Google is cash-flow positive and can build out their network with prudence as opposed to what Level3 did.

Google already has tons of bandwidth at its disposal.Imagine if they decide to get into the VoIP biz?Google has a loyal, almost fanatical following that dwarf's even (dare I say?) Apple's fandom.If Google plays its cards right it could get into the VoIP business and offer some really creative applications.

For instance, suppose you use Google to look up a local restaurant (actually I use Yahoo Yellow Pages since Google doesn't seem to have a yellow pages, but let's assume that they they did have yellow pages).After looking up the phone number, rather than get up from the PC, go get the phone, and then enter in the digits to dial, Google can simply place a "Call button" next to each search result.Then you simple click the button and initiate a SIP-based VoIP call using either a Google softphone client or third-party SIP client, such as Xten.Just think of the possibilities!Exciting stuff.

Could be another revenue source for Google - not that they need one.

The screenshot in this blog entry isn't the greatest "Google VoIP example" since I'm showing a Phone "call button" icon next to web results as opposed to specific phone directory listings, but you get the idea.Yahoo's yellow pages (http://yp.yahoo.com/) might be a better example, so here it is:

Yahoo VoIP
























FBI abandons Carnivore

January 19, 2005

According to MSNBC, the FBI has abandoned the controversial Carnivore wiretap software. Carnivore was designed to read e-mails and other online communications among suspected criminals, terrorists and spies. The FBI named the VoIP monitoring element of its Carnivore surveillance tool Dragon Net. There is no indication in the MSNBC story if Dragon Net was also killed, but one would assume this is the case since it fell under the Carnivore umbrella.

The FBI hasn't given up on Internet eavesdropping.

Lowest VoIP Service Provider?

January 18, 2005

Triple Play

January 18, 2005

Triple Play Cover Story Preview! I promised in my blog a preview of Pannaway's Service Convergence Network (SCN), a Triple Play solution which is the next cover story for Internet Telephony Magazine. So here it is... You should also read my Cablevision Price Drop Analysis blog entry which puts Triple Play bundling and pricing in perspective. I also made predictions that Triple Play would take off in 2005 you should also check out.

Yankee Group - Fighting Goliath: Can Alternative VoIP Providers Survive?

January 18, 2005

Yankee Group VoIP Marketshare

Yankee Group just announced a very interesting report essentially saying that single-play (vs. Triply Play) players such as Vonage, Packet8, Lingo, etc. are in trouble in 2005, as seen in the graph - Blue is Vonage, Packet8, etc. I made a similar prediction in my 2005 VoIP Predictions.

eBay and VoIP

January 18, 2005

skibare and I shared thought provoking thoughts about Xten. skibare theorized, "seems the PRESENCE factor of being able to click and call could be USED for EBAY to ask a seller a question."

I too have thought of that as well, but then I thought about all the Web "call-me button" companies that have come and gone - Hearme, Lipstream, etc. There are a few call-me button companies still around, such as eStara. Basically, if you click on a button on a web page you can initiate a VoIP phone call.

Invores Systems Hosted SIP-based IVR

January 18, 2005

Boy, I do seem to be coming across quite a few hosted IVR solutions based on VoXML and support VoIP via SIP over the past day or so. Invores Systems, Inc. announced the availability of an interactive voice application hosting/subscription service for businesses which uses a pure VoIP/SIP environment.

What's the benefit of something like this? Well, imagine you are a small-to-mid-sized company and rather than deploy an IP-PBX, you simply deploy SIP-based IP phones and SIP softclients.

Alias and Packet8 Videophone

January 18, 2005

Alias

Fans of Alias will enjoy this news release from Packet8. Apparently, the popular Alias TV show is utilizing the Packet8 Videophone. In addition to Alias, the Packet8 Videophone has also been incorporated in episodes of 24 -- The Series, King of Queens, Law & Order SVU, Will & Grace, Stargate Atlantis, Medical Investigation, Eyes, Entourage and Navy NCIS. You can check out my review of the Packet8 Videophone from awhile back.

Asterisk Forum

January 17, 2005

AT&T CallVantage Outage

January 17, 2005

I meant to blog the AT&T CallVantage outage this morning, but wanted to confirm some info with one of my sources first.

Apparently, this past Thursday (1/13/2005), AT&T CallVantage experienced an outage in at least Virginia and parts of New Jersey that lasted 6 hours or more. When a CallVantage user emailed them, AT&T responded that there is inclement weather in Kansas City which knocked out the system causing the CallVantage outage.

When you called AT&T to report the problem you received a message that because of the weather they were out and expected to have all service restored by 11:00pm (not mentioning what time zone).

Verisign Jobs

January 17, 2005

I wouldn't normally post a job listing on my VoIP blog, however when Verisign emailed with with a PDF file containing several VoIP job descriptions, it piqued my interest. They asked me for any help I could provide, so I figures why not? I know there must be lots of VoIP techies that read my blog and are looking for a job - so if I can be of assistance to help my fellow VoIP techies, then by golly I'm going to help them!

What's interesting to note is that I discussed Verisign's entry into the VoIP space a few months ago where Verisign was leveraging VoIP with SS7 and SIP.

VoiceGenie News

January 17, 2005


In keeping with my last blog post about Parus' speech-recognition IVR, I just got this release a few minutes ago I thought I'd share. Similar to Parus Interactive, VoiceGenie also supports SIP and the VoXML standards.

Toronto, Canada – January 17, 2005. VoiceGenie Technologies Inc., the proven performance leader in standards-based software platforms powering customer contact solutions and next-generation networks, today announced record sales results for the company’s fiscal year, ending December 31, 2004.

Parus Interactive News

January 17, 2005


Have you ever tried finding the closest retail chain store from your cellphone by dialing the retail outlet's IVR? Or have you ever tried to check to see if a store in your area has a particular product in stock and what the current price is?

Well, I know I have and almost always it was a trying experience. For example, if you have ever called CompUSA's IVR/auto-attendant, you know it is not a fun experience.

10-10 Numbers and VoIP

January 15, 2005

You know those 10-10 numbers? You dial 10-10 followed by a prefix then a phone number to override your default carrier and go over a different carrier to get a discounted rate?. There used to be dozens of TV commercials that popularized 10-10 numbers with Hollywood celebs such as Dennis Miller and George Carlin espousing the benefits of 10-10 numbers. Have you noticed the 10-10 number commercials have dropped considerably since the 1990's?

Convad VoIP Trials

January 14, 2005

Not sure if you saw the news on TMCnet yesterday or not, but Covad will begin trials in the next 30 days of line-powered voice access that would enable Covad strategic partners to offer local and long distance voice services to their customers.

The interesting part is that you simply hook to your phone jacks and it isn't VoIP until it gets to the central office. So if the power goes off, you still have voice - one of the knocks against the dominant broadband VoIP players. While you can do this with existing broadband VoIP providers simply by connecting an ATA's analog port to your house wiring (to power the lines), technically you're supposed to "cut" the outside PSTN wiring that goes to your phone company.

Colleges and VoIP

January 14, 2005

Rich linked to my 2005 VoIP Predictions and pointed out my "Colleges Ramp up VoIP" prediction in particular. Well, ironically as he was blogging that, I came across something else that speaks of colleges and VoIP.

From a Reuters article:
For years, Qwest Communications International Inc. (Q.N: Quote, Profile, Research) has braced for the start of school in Boulder, Colorado, where 30,000 college students would sign up for telephone service when they returned from summer break.

But this past September, Qwest not only saw no increase, but actually lost lines in Boulder.

Forbes and Cisco

January 13, 2005

Got VoIP?

Forbes had an interesting article on Cisco. It starts off in the beginning of the article saying, "Seven months later, Cisco's stock has been disappointing and trades around $19 per share--about 20% lower than when I discussed the opportunities for the company." However, it then states a more positive tone with, "But don't count out Cisco yet--2005 will be a big year for IP networks."

The article goes on further to explain why Cisco may make a turnaround in 2005 - all due to and thanks to VoIP. I agree with the Forbes article that "VoIP" could be Cisco's savior in 2005, at least market value-wise and stock price-wise anyway.

SFLphone Open Source SIP

January 12, 2005

SFLPhone Default Skin


An interesting new SIP softphone client to bring to light called SFLphone that I don't think many people know about. It's similar to the popular XTen SIP softphone client in that both are SIP-based, however unlike the Xten softphone client, this SIP-based softphone is "open source". So if you are a developer you can start hacking away at the code to tweak it your liking. It also supports "skins" so you can customize the "look and feel" of the graphical user interface.

Asterisk Review

January 12, 2005

MCI Conferencing

January 12, 2005

MCI announced a new conferencing service that leverages local access numbers across the entire globe. Personally, with VoIP bringing international calls per minute pricing way down, I don't see the need for this. But I suppose a Fortune 1000 company that does a lot of international conference calls with participants in multiple countries could benefit somewhat, especially if all the participants are from your own company. If the participants are customers then all you are doing is saving your customers a buck or two for the cost of the call.

Salesforce.com Passes 200,000 Subscribers

January 12, 2005

Salesforce.com sent me a package today containing a letter that states, "It took
four and a half years to reach 100,000 subscribers. Just 16 months later,
we are proud to tell you that we have surpassed 200,000 subscribers."

Congrats Salesforce.com!

They informed me in the letter that their subscriber numbers and financial results are scheduled for February 17th. If I remember, I'll try and post the numbers here in my blog.

Level 3 Layoffs

January 12, 2005

Several sources over the past few days have been telling me rumors of Level 3 performing layoffs. I didn't want to speculate on my blog, but it looks like the rumors I heard are true.

Layoffs are never a good thing. Level 3's backbone is used by several VoIP players, so what does this mean for the VoIP industry?

Frontrange, Orb Data, and IBM Tivoli

January 11, 2005

FrontRange Solution's IT Service Management products is attracting new partners both in the U.S. and abroad. Detailed in the news release below, FRS has signed up UK-based Orb Data as a partner reseller. It is significant to note that Orb Data will be integrating FrontRange's ITSM suite with IBM's Tivoli enterprise management products.

3Com and CrystalVoice

January 11, 2005

Just a quick release to share regarding 3Com & CrystalVoice. By the way, is it me, or does 3Com seem quiet these days in the VoIP space? They have a great SMB IP-PBX, but I don't seem to hear much from them whether its new releases or asking me for a TMC Labs review within Internet Telephony. Now that I say that, I'll probably receive a phone call in the next 5 minutes...

Streaming TV to Mobile Phone

January 11, 2005

In my Streaming Live TV blog entry from November, I talked about how I was able to stream recorded video files across the Internet to a 2nd PC. I did have some difficulty accessing my Sony VAIO's proprietary MPEG encoder card, so I couldn't stream live TV, but I was able to stream .AVI files and even DVDs. Cool stuff.

Well, today I received an email from a company claiming they can stream TV programs to your mobile phone.

Check it out!

Comcast Another Pricey Cable VoIP Offering?

January 10, 2005

Go check out Johanne's Comcast Enters VoIP Market With Pricey Plans article.

Johanne's complaints against high pricing schemes by Comcast have merit. Reminds me of my griping against Cablevision's pricey VoIP plans. Which I wrote about here and here

She writes: "The company plans to charge customers $39.95 per month for unlimited domestic service to current customers of its video products, and a whopping $54.95 monthly for new customers.

PhoneGAIM Targets Skype

January 10, 2005

PhoneGAIM

Someone emailed me about a new VoIP softphone client from Linspire, who typically develop Linux products. They now have a Windows version, tied to SIPPhone.com's service for PC-to-PSTN calling, but still based on the popular open-source Gaim IM software. Essentially by supporting SIP and partnering with SIPPhone, you can buy VoIP minutes and make outbound calls similar to the SkypeOut service. Better still, you can initiate a VoIP call to ANY USER on ANY MAJOR IM network, including AOL, ICQ, and MSN and the voice call is free.

Alcatel IP-PBX Leader in Europe

January 10, 2005

According to Frost & Sullivan, Alcatel leads shipments in IP-PBXs in Europe. The question should be "Who leads the world in IP-PBX shipments?" I'd have to say Cisco, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, check it out:
Frost & Sullivan Recognizes Alcatel for Leadership in IP Communications

Paris, January 10, 2005 – Frost & Sullivan today announced that Alcatel has received the 2004 Frost & Sullivan Market Leadership Award for its clear demonstration of IP-PBX market leadership in Europe for both IP-enabled and converged solution line shipments. In 2003, Alcatel attained the top position in IP-enabled and IP PBX shipments within Europe.

Arroyo OnDemand

January 10, 2005

I'm a huge VOD proponent, especially when deployed in a Triple Play environment, so thought I'd share this release. THey claim that each Stream server supports up to 3,000 personalized 3.75Mbps streams in just 3 rack-units (RU) of space, which translates into an unrivaled streaming performance of up to 42,000 streams per rack..

Arroyo Unveils Arroyo OnDemand, the Next Generation Solution for Video On Demand

Arroyo OnDemand is Field Deployed or in Trials with Three of the Top North American Cable Operators

Pleasanton, CA - January 10, 2005 - Arroyo Video Solutions, Inc., developer of a unique Video Platform enabling operators to deliver advanced video applications, unveiled today for the first time details of its initial application, Arroyo OnDemand, a groundbreaking Video On Demand (VOD) solution. Shipping since October 2004, Arroyo OnDemand has rapidly gained momentum and is already enabling real world commercial deployments or is in trial with three of the top ten North American cable operators.

VoIP Report

January 10, 2005

Another interesting VoIP report to share...

VoIP to Foster Increase in Cable Telephony Subscription Base

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., January 10, 2005 - Increased use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) by cable television operators will help boost cable's presence in the telephone service market, according to In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com). As more cable providers turn to VoIP over the next few years, total worldwide cable telephony subscribers will pass the 14 million mark by late 2005, and grow to over 22 million by year-end 2008.

"The use of advanced IP voice technologies is beginning to attract more cable operators to the idea of delivering voice services," says Mike Paxton, In-Stat analyst.

Dual Mode Cellular VoIP

January 10, 2005

Interesting release from a research firm regarding dual mode phones (i.e can use cell network or VoIP) - somethng I have been espousing as well in this blog. The advantage of a dual-mode or should I say dual-transport cellular phone is that it can use either the cellular network or VoIP over WiFi/3G/WiMAX, etc.

In theory, if the cell phones use standard SIP, you can make/receive phone calls using your home's broadband VoIP phone number. So rather than call forwarding say your Vonage phone number to your cell phone when you leave the house, you can simply logon to Vonage's network using a SIP client on the cell phone and then you will receive phone calls made to your home Vonage phone number on your cell phone.

Skype Security Issue Part2

January 9, 2005

A couple days ago I quoted Andy's blog where he discussed a Skype security issue whereby callers in a Skype conference could hear an incoming caller leaving a voice message vis Skype new SAM (Skype Answering Machine) feature. Well, that set off a firestorm of controversy, including Unbound Spiral blog asking for Andy to reprint a retraction claiming it wasn't a security issue but rather a known bug. Semantics? Further he claimed some industry VoIP pundits - myself inclded - did not perform any fact checking before quoting Andy's blog.

Media Center Communicator

January 7, 2005

Captain Kirk - "Retrieve all my email. And oh yeah, beam me up Scotty!"

Most of us have seen at least one Star Trek episode. Then as you already know, Captain Kirk was able to talk into a communicator to have Scotty beam him up to the Enterprise. Star Trek the Next Generation had an advanced speech recognition system that let the Captain Picard simply press his communicator badge to ask the computer to do something.

SBC IPTV Offering

January 7, 2005

SBC Communications announced at CES their plan to go after the cable television industry by offering consumers hundreds of television channels using internet protocol (IP) TV technology over a new broadband fibre-optic network.

In a keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Edward Whitacre, SBC chief executive, said SBC will begin selling the next generation IPTV service with super high-speed internet access and VoIP services.

Last year, SBC announced plans to spend $4 billion on "Project Lightspeed" which will enable the Baby Bell group to offer "triple play" voice, video and data services to 18 million homes across 13 states by the end of 2007.

Finally, the carriers strike back at the cable companies after sitting on their hands as cable companies stole carriers' customers by offering voice.

Skype Security

January 7, 2005

Motorola Ojo

January 7, 2005

Motorola Ojo

Have you got your mojo on? Well, Motorola seems to have found their "mojo" with their Motorola Ojo, which my guess is a take off of Austin Powers' famous "mojo" quotes. When you go to the Motorola Ojo website, there is a flash multimedia demo with a male voice that keeps making some "cheeky" Austin Powers-like comments. For instance, after the intro, an interactive demo starts where you can click on various buttons to get feature demonstrations.

LignUp

January 6, 2005

Lignup Architecture

Interesting company someone just told me about via email. He mentioned that he doesn't think they are "officially" announced yet, but their architecture diagram looks quite interesting. They certainly seem standards-based, i.e. SIP, XML, VXML, etc.

Linux Embedded DVR

January 5, 2005

George Tang Industrial Corporation GDV-08 DVR

George Tang Industrial Corporation introduced the GDV-08, its latest 8-channel DVR with built-in LAN and CD-RW. The Linux-embedded unit is bundled with Software Watchdog and realtime MPEG-4 compression. 8 channels? Now this is one sick DVR...

Windows Mobile 2005

January 5, 2005

Las Vegas Monorail

January 5, 2005

Mapquest Directions on Cell Phone

January 5, 2005

Personally, I can't live without my Destinator1 GPS running on my PocketPC, but for those with that can't afford GPS in their car, this may be a useful service to get directions...

MAPQUEST LAUNCHES NEW SERVICE THAT LETS TRAVELERS SEND MAPS AND DIRECTIONS DIRECTLY TO THEIR MOBILE PHONES

'Send to Phone' Service Provides Mapquest® Mobile Service Subscribers Another Convenient Way to Access MapQuest Information

Helps On-The-Go People Find Places and Get There

Dulles, VA, -- January 5, 2005 – MapQuest, the leading location based services company, today announced the launch of Send to Phone, a new feature that lets MapQuest Mobile subscribers send color maps and driving directions from the MapQuest.com website directly to their cell phones. Created in partnership with leading mobile publisher, Vindigo, Send to Phone expands the convenience of the MapQuest Mobile service, which enables users to request and access maps and directions directly from their cell phones.

"With Send to Phone, users can request maps and directions from home or work and have the comfort of knowing that when they turn to their cell phones for information, the specific maps and directions that they have created will be ready and waiting for them," said Tommy McGloin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MapQuest "Send to Phone gives people, especially business travelers who we view as early adopters of this technology, the power and convenience to choose exactly how, where and what kind of information they receive from MapQuest."

McGloin continued, "The MapQuest.com website is already the No. 1online source for maps and directions – with more than 33 million monthly users.[1] With the addition of the Send to Phone technology, we continue to open new market opportunities and expand the reach of our brand and our superior maps and directions."

The MapQuest Mobile service was created in partnership with Vindigo, one of the best-known publishers of consumer applications for mobile phones.

Level 3 Offers E-911

January 4, 2005

VoIP History

January 3, 2005

CTI Magazine cover

I often get asked "When did VoIP begin?" or "What is the history of VoIP?". Well, VoIP goes further back in time than most would expect - 9 years in fact. In fact, I did the first product review of a VoIP product back in 1996 within CTI Magazine (which later became Communication Solutions Magazine). CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) Magazine was at the forefront of news, articles, and reviews of anything to do with computers and telecom (or telephony if you prefer).

Cablevision Price Drop Analysis

January 3, 2005

In my Cablevision Optimum Voice blog entry, I ranted about how Cablevision was overcharging $34.95/month for it's unlimited VoIP phone service, which is much more than other VoIP providers. In the comments section of that blog entry, Rich Tehrani disagreed with my assessment stating that Cablevision could get away with this pricepoint if they bundle it with other services.

As a former Cablevision customer a few years ago, I looked into getting Optimum Voice at a discounted rate since I had cable + broadband and they told me "Sorry, it's $34.95/month".

That price point was a couple of years ago.

VoIP Event

January 2, 2005

VoIP Event in Miami

The next big VoIP event is Internet Telephony Conference & Expo down in sunny Miami and I can't wait to go! Right now I'm stuck up here in chilly Connecticut where the past few days have been in the 20's. So in addition to me envisioning the latest VoIP products, services and of course VoIP gadgets at the Miami show, I'm also dreaming about South Beach. And no, not for the scantily-clad women in bikinis!
Featured Events