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June 2010

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Verizon Business Trials Cloud-Based Unified Communications and Collaboration as a Service

June 30, 2010

Verizon Business takes aim at the hosted unified communications space using Cisco's UC and collaboration solutions. Hosted UC is going to be a fast growing market segment, so this is a smart move by Verizon Business. Interesting that they chose Cisco over Microsoft (OCS/MCS) as their first partner. Perhaps Microsoft OCS support is coming, or perhaps Cisco will be their exclusive hosted partner.

Check out the news:

Verizon Business Customers to Trial Cloud-Based Unified Communications and Collaboration as a Service

Company Is First U.S.-Based Global Service Provider to Conduct Field Trials of Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution

To help organizations accelerate the adoption of unified communications and improve performance, Verizon Business will be the first U.S.-based global service provider to deliver Cisco unified communications and collaboration applications in the cloud "as-a-service."

The company next month will begin field trials of the new Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution, introduced today at the Cisco Live!

Cisco Cius HD Android Tablet

June 30, 2010

Cisco unveiled Cisco Cius, a business tablet running on the Android OS that offers "virtual desktop integration with anywhere, anytime access to the full range of Cisco collaboration and communication applications, including HD video." Now before you think iPad killer, you should know that Cisco is focusing this tablet on the business enterprise not the consumer market. It sports WiFi, 3G, and soon 4G when it becomes available. Nice! It also has a front-mounted 720p HD camera supporting 30fps.

I should add that many enterprises are using iPads as laptop replacements, so I wouldn't classify the iPad as strictly a consumer product.

Amazon Outage

June 29, 2010

Update: 6/29/09: Amazon is having ANOTHER major outage. The website starts to load, but does funky stuff with weird graphics like this:

 This is not the first major outage by Amazon, and certainly not the last. They had outages back in 2004, and a big one in 2008.

Original outage on Nov 8,2004

Skype Manager Reports - FAIL!

June 29, 2010

A couple of months ago I wrote 'Googlebye Skype Business Control Panel Hello Skype Manager!' , which is a web-based management tool that replaced Skype Business Control Panel (BCP). Well, can we have the old Skype Business Control Panel back? I just logged in today to check out some reports of international test calls I made. Every report I ran for each of the Skype users came up blank as seen here:

In the Reports screen I went to Summary and then Usage.

Global Dialer - Cheap Minutes App - is Gone

June 29, 2010

A reader to my blog tipped me off to Global Dialer going out of business. They had a proprietary software application that you download directly onto your mobile phone that enabled you to make low-cost, 'one-click' international calls. The screenshot of their calling rates is from 2006 when I first wrote about them. Rates listed here have certainly come down since then.

According to Whois, the registration for the website was created in 2001 and expires in October 2010.

Enterprise Unified Communication, VoIP & TDM Equipment 2010 (1Q10) forecast report

June 28, 2010

Infonetics Research released the 1Q10 results from its first quarter 2010 (1Q10) Enterprise Unified Communication, VoIP, and TDM Equipment forecast report. In it they point to how Cisco and Avaya battle for supremacy in enterprise telephony market with Avaya closing the gap with Cisco due to their Nortel acquisition. Could Avaya finally knock Cisco off their #1 IP-PBX perch?

Here's the news:

"We expected the acquisition of Nortel's enterprise assets to put Avaya in the clear lead for overall PBX equipment market share leadership, and while Avaya did receive a nice bump this quarter, softness in the acquired Nortel business combined with strong results by Cisco meant that Cisco and Avaya essentially tied for revenue market share, although Avaya is ahead in terms line shipments. This unfolding battle will be interesting to watch over the coming quarter, as both companies bring certain strengths and weaknesses to the table," notes Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research.

- Cisco maintains its lead in the overall enterprise telephony market in 1Q10, but only by a hair over Avaya, which saw a 25% quarterly jump in PBX revenue after absorbing Nortel's enterprise solutions business
> Both vendors posted their strongest PBX revenue standings since the end of 2008
- Manufacturer revenue from PBX and KTS system equipment hit $2.0 billion in 1Q10, a 4% sequential dip
- Despite the quarterly decline, the enterprise telephony market continues to grow from the lows set in the first half of 2009, and is up 7% year-over-year from the first quarter of 2009
- The North American PBX equipment market posted the highest year-over-year (1Q09 to 1Q10) growth among all regions
- IP phones continue to recover from their 1Q09 low point, up 32% year-over-year to 3.9 million phones shipped in 1Q10
- Sales of unified communication (UC) applications are temporarily down due to expired promotions
> The UC market, led by Cisco and Avaya, is expected to resume growth in 2010

Infonetics' quarterly Enterprise Unified Communication, VoIP, and TDM Equipment report provides worldwide and regional market size, market share, analysis, and forecasts through 2014 for the enterprise telephony market, including TDM PBX and KTS systems, hybrid and pure IP PBX systems, IP PBX by system size, VoIP gateways, unified communication applications (communicator, unified messaging), IP desk phones and IP soft phones.

Cracking IP-PBX SIP Passwords - Be Afraid!

June 28, 2010

A few years ago I had an email conversation with Chris Lyman, the former CEO of Fonality, the makers of trixbox IP-PBX systems. I expressed concern that their trixbox Pro system was using the MAC address both for the password and the username, which for obvious reasons isn't very secure.

Below is the email conversation slightly edited for security and clarification reasons, followed by some further thoughts on SIP security:

Security is going to be a huge competitive advantage after we see some high profile VoIP intrusions.

How bout forcing users to change their voicemail PIN after X number of days? TMC's voicemail was hacked many years ago. (see link/story below)

More importantly, how about automatically changing extension passwords every month and then flash all of the phones with the new passwords at 3am?

Facebook Uses BitTorrent to Upgrade Servers

June 25, 2010

Facebook has thousands of servers to maintain and upgrade scattered across many locations. Imagine you're the IT staff responsible for updating all those servers in a timely manner across the Internet so they're all running the same code. Some of these upgrades are hundreds of megabytes.

Fortunately, BitTorrent is great at distributing large files very fast via its P2P technology. Facebook's Tom Cook (systems engineering group) spoke at the Velocity Conference with a speech titled 'A Day in the Life of Facebook Operations' where he explained how BitTorrent made server deployment much faster.

No Facetime friends? Call 1-888-FACETIME

June 25, 2010

Yealink SIP-T28P Review

June 24, 2010

, a Chinese manufacturer of IP phones is starting to make inroads in the U.S. market with their line of VoIP phones. Several months ago Yealink sent me a Yealink SIP-T28P IP phone to review. The SIP-T28P is a 6-line phone sporting a large 320x160 LCD screen and has full HD voice support (wideband codec, wideband handset, wideband speakerphone) .

Truphone Launches 3G and Multi-Task Calling for Apple iOS

June 23, 2010

Truphone announced a new update to their VoIP app to coincide with the iPhone 4 launch. Check it out:

Truphone's latest updates to the iPhone app are now live in iTunes with the iPod touch app soon to follow in the next 24 hours. The updates include placing/receiving calls over 3G, background calling that allows voice calls and data applications to run simultaneously and a new Truphone Instant Messenger.



DATE: June 24, 2010

WHAT: Truphone, the global mobile operator, today announced the availability of its updated application for the iPhone and iPod touch iOS 4 in the Apple iTunes store.

What's new?

 *   3G Calling: The application now allows consumers to place and receive calls over 3G networks. This means that consumers have the option to make calls as part of their data package even when out of Wi-Fi range, using their mobile carrier's 3G network.

 *   Background calling: Thanks to Apple iOS 4's multi-tasking feature, Truphone now allows voice calls and data applications to run simultaneously.  For customers, this ensures they won't miss incoming calls when running a data application and can place a call while surfing the Internet or checking email.

 *   Truphone Instant Messenger: The new updated applications include Truphone Instant Messenger.

Apple iPhone 4 Kills Fedex Website

June 23, 2010

Grandstream GXV3140 Dual Stack Skype & SIP Phone

June 22, 2010

Last year I predicted a dual stack 'Skype' & 'SIP' phone was coming soon. That day has arrived with Grandstream's GXV3140 IP Multimedia Phone, which already supported SIP, but now adds Skype support in their latest firmware. The GXV3140 is the world's first multimedia dual stack Skype and SIP phone. It supports Skype voice/video calls in addition to making SIP-based voice/video calls.

SkypeKit SDK adds Skype to Just About Anything

June 22, 2010

Skype today announced that soon every Internet connected device can now become a Skype endpoint with the addition of the SkypeKit SDK. The Panasonic line of TVs that integrated Skype used an early version of SkypeKit (as well as LG and Samsung TVs). Other connected devices like wireless picture frames could soon be Skype-enabled. The SDK will leverage Skype's wideband SILK codec.

Cool Octiv Mini - iPod & iPhone Dock

June 22, 2010

Altec Lansing today introduced the Octiv Mini (M102) audio dock for iPhone and iPod users ($59.95). Sporting an angular slant and a large speaker, the Octiv Mini also functions as an alarm clock when combined with the free Altec Lansing custom Alarm Rock app. Unlike most docks, the alarm display is done on the iPhone or iPod display via the free app. So I suppose one drawback is if you take your device off the dock you lose the ability to see the current time.

Altec Lansing said, "Pound for pound, the Octiv Mini holds its own against bulkier speaker systems, and is even more appealing when considering similarly priced stand-alone chargers."

"Because the Octiv Mini functions as a dock, a charger and an alarm clock with the included app, it represents an amazing value that will be appreciated by those who will not compromise on sound quality for a smaller footprint," stated Steve Schlangen, Altec Lansing product manager.

Review of iOS 4

June 21, 2010

Ars has an in-depth review of Apple's iOS 4 that is worth reading. iOS 4, previously known as iPhone OS 4, is a major update to Apple's mobile operating system. The big features include multitasking, categories, opening up of thousands of APIs to third-party developers, and a spell check that doesn't proactively change what you type, but rather underlines your questionable words in red and lets you pick from a list of suggest words.

The biggest feature is the background app support.

Whistle Phone for iPhone & iPad Offers Free Calls

June 21, 2010

Whistle Phone is a new VoIP application for the iPhone , iPad, and iPod touch which offers free calls anywhere in the U.S. The catch?

Well, you have to listen to a ~15s long audio commercial before the call is connected. Not a terrible requirement to get free outbound calls.

California Plans License Plate Advertising - What the...

June 21, 2010

California, the most populous state in the Union and known as the Golden State is running out of "gold". No I'm not talking about the 49er miners panning the rivers dry from gold. No, I'm talking about our current form of currency - money. California is going bankrupt from profligate spending resulting in a $19 billion deficit.

Edit YouTube Videos Online

June 17, 2010

Today, YouTube announced a new feature that lets you edit your YouTube videos online. Sweet!

Here's what you can do:
  • Combine multiple videos you've uploaded to create a new longer video
  • Trim the beginning and/or ending of your videos 
  • Add soundtracks from our AudioSwap library of tens of thousands of songs
  • Create new videos without worrying about file formats and publish them to YouTube with one click -- no upload necessary
We've all been there / done that where we upload a video, wait for it to encode, then play it back to realize we had awkward pauses, didn't stop the camera on time, or simply wanted to cut a piece out. Well, now you can easily cut out these portions as well as create a mashup of several of your videos. Check out the video of how it's done:

How to get Around Apple Store Crash to Pre-Order iPhone 4

June 15, 2010

Today is a busy day for Apple. So busy in fact, the Apple Store has crashed, thus preventing TMC from pre-ordering some new iPhone 4 phones. In addition to high-demand to pre-order iPhone 4s, Apple also refreshed its Mac mini line and it launched a free Apple Store app. According to Apple:

"The new Apple Store app makes it easy for US customers with an iPhone or iPod touch to find an Apple retail store near them and make reservations for amazing retail services including free tech support and advice at the Genius Bar, hands-on workshops, Personal Shopping appointments and personal training sessions through Apple's popular One to One program."

This is deja-vu all over again, since Apple had an outage in 2008 during the 3GS launch.

USPS Ate My Netflix DVD. Damn you USPS! Or was it Animal?

June 15, 2010

So I check my mail awaiting a couple of Netflix when what do my eyes behold? Two glorious red envelopes - which means I received both movies my family and I wanted to watch. When what do my eyes behold? One of the Netflix envelopes is simply the outer tear off sheet that has my home address on it.

CounterPath Launches VoIP App for iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch

June 15, 2010

CounterPath, one of the early pioneers of SIP softphones, just launched Bria iPhone Edition for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Bria iPhone Edition works over both 3G and Wi-Fi networks and is the first SIP softphone on the iPhone that supports SRTP and TLS for security. I spoke with CounterPath about this news as well as got a review copy of the app to try on my iPhone.

I should mention I've used the free, open source Siphon on the iPhone and while it works OK, it doesn't support transfer or conferencing. Even worse it has no echo cancellation, so forget about using speakerphone mode and it doesn't support Bluetooth headsets.

Microsoft Kinect Adds Video Chat

June 14, 2010

Project Natal for the XBOX 360 has just been renamed to Microsoft Kinect. Personally, I prefer the old name. In any event, Microsoft also announced a VoIP & video conferencing app simply called Video Chat. Great, get rid of a cool project name and then offer the lamest name for a video chat application ever! Offering a video app is a natural extension for this video camera device.

With this news of bringing videoconferencing to your TV, it would appear Microsoft isn't going to take Skype trying to take over the living room TV lying down.

Netflix Queue Problem

June 10, 2010

Skype video chat on iPhone 4?

June 9, 2010

Update: 12/30/10 Skype video for the iPhone is now available!
With Apple announcing FaceTime video chat on the new iPhone 4 phone, which sports 2 cameras (front and rear), the obvious question is will Skype offer video chat on the next gen iPhone?

To 'somewhat' learn the answer check this out:
Skype bringing video chat to iPhone 4

Update: I was contacted by a Skype spokesperson with the following clarification:
There seems to have been some confusion about a previous statement we shared with Pocket-Lint as to Skype's stance in regards to FaceTime.

Skype is the market leader and champion of video calling for consumers and it's clear to us that mobile video will become increasingly important to our customers in the coming year. We are glad to see that Apple recognizes the value and potential of mobile video.

However, just to be clear, we are not considering FaceTime as a technological platform for video calling in our own products.

Cisco & Tandberg Adopt TIP Standard = Good News for Telepresence

June 9, 2010

Tandberg gave me a heads-up a few weeks ago that they would be making some major announcements regarding Cisco and third-party telepresence interoperability as well as an announcement of a new FEC (Forward Error Correction) protocol called ClearPath, which would improve video quality even at high packet loss. An interesting back story behind the Cisco acquisition of Tandberg is that Cisco had to make sure Cisco's open source and free TIP (Telepresence Interoperability Protocol) protocol was used. The EU wouldn't approve the acquisition of Tandberg without Cisco agreeing to use this protocol. There have been obvious concerns (including my own) that Cisco/Tandberg could create a proprietary telepresence platform that locked out third-party competitors.

Cisco and Tandberg just made an announcement stating advanced multiscreen telepresence interoperability with each other as well as other third-party systems, by integrating the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) on Cisco's newly acquired Tandberg TelePresence Server.

This interoperability solution, which will be commercially available in late July, helps enable multi-screen, high-definition video collaboration between all major telepresence vendors.

Grandstream Lands First and Only IP-PBX on Skype Store

June 3, 2010

Apparently, Grandstream landed a lucrative and exclusive spot on the Skype Store. Sorry Avaya, Cisco, Digium, Fonality, etc.

Specifically, the Skype Store lists the Grandstream GXE5028 IP PBX. I reviewed another model in the series called the GXE5024 which you can check out here.

New Vonage Lite Calling Plan

June 3, 2010

Vonage today announced a new calling plan called Vonage Lite for $9.99 per month. It offers customers 200 minutes of residential calling (5 cents for each additional minute) to the US, Canada & Puerto Rico. It also includes unlimited incoming phone calls AND Vonage-to-Vonage calls. Targeting consumers who don't use a lot of minutes and want to save, Vonage Lite may have a niche.

However, magicJack offers their unlimited calling for just $20 per year plus $40 for their USB stick.

Netflix on iPhone Hack

June 2, 2010

So you want Netflix running on your iPhone do ya? Well, you've come to the right place for an easy to follow tutorial to get sweet streaming movies and TV shows directly to your Apple iPhone. Who can wait for the official Netflix app? Certainly not me!

CounterPath Announces Linux Softphone

June 2, 2010

Today, CounterPath has announced its Bria for Linux softphone client. Bria for Linux will support multiple VoIP accounts, LDAP, a wide variety of codecs and more. The new Bria 3.0 for Linux will debut next month, however CounterPath said it has already ben deployed by two Fortune 500 companies. CounterPath is well-known for it's industry-leading SIP clients, both free (X-Lite) and paid (Bria), so perhaps the biggest advantage of this announcement is that enterprises can have a single SIP application that enables VoIP across embedded products, Linux, Mac and Windows operating systems.

To (Hyper)Link or Not to Link - That is the Question

June 1, 2010

The best bloggers and news sites seem to hyperlink like crazy. Usually its because they think they're doing you a favor by referencing a related article, web page, company, etc. so you don't have to hit up a search engine to find it yourself. Other times it's used for internal linking so you hit another one of their web pages and they get an additional pageview plus ad impression.
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