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February 2012

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Kinect Grocery Cart Follows You and Helps You Shop Efficiently

February 29, 2012

Let's face it, between checking email, tweeting, updating your Facebook status, sending/receiving text messages, taking kids to soccer, etc., every second of our daily lives is precious. So if we can squeeze in a little bit more time via more efficient grocery shopping that leverages a robotic Kinect-camera-enabled grocery cart that stalks you, then by all means.

Microsoft recently demonstrated a prototype of a Kinect-enabled shopping cart that leverages a monitor screen, a motor and a Kinect sensor usually reserved for the popular Xbox 360 console. The shopping cart can recognize a membership card, pull up a customer's shopping list, speak items, offer suggestions, tell you where items are in the store, and scan objects as they are placed in the cart.

maaii Review - New VoIP App Similar to Viber

February 28, 2012

maaii pronounced as “mahy-ee” or “My-ee” is a free mobile VoIP application for iPhone and Android featuring Facebook integration and it comes bundled with 100 free minutes ($1.90). However, as part of their launch they're recharging each users balance back to $1.90 each day, thus giving each user 100 free VoIP calling minutes every day!

I decided to take the app for a test drive on my iPhone 4S. The maaii app will run in the background unless you force the app closed. Thus, you can receive inbound calls very quickly without waiting for the app to load.

Skype For Windows Phone Available With Group IMs But No Group Video

February 27, 2012

Today Skype announced their Skype for Windows Phone Beta app, which is the last major smartphone operating system to not have Skype. Ironic, considering Microsoft owns Skype, but obviously with the relatively new Windows Phone operating system Skype had to be redesigned by Microsoft's Skype team. The new Skype follows the elegant and clean Metro tiles design.

Check out this video to see how it works.

With Skype for Windows Phone Beta you can make free audio and video calls to your Skype contacts over 3G and 4G or WiFi, and of course make calls to landlines and mobiles using your Skype Credit. Also you can create and hold one-to-one and group chats, and update your profile and account information.

Google Voice Adds Circles - The Apocalypse is Upon Us!

February 23, 2012

In a terse blog statement, Google announced that Google Voice would add Google+ circles adding a social network management strategy to Google Voice. Now you can organize your contacts into specific circles that actually ring your mobile device (family, mom, dad, friends), while ex-lovers, telemarketers, and stalkers go straight to voicemail jail! You can also add custom greetings to each Circle. From the Google Voice Blog:
To help make it even easier for you to organize your contacts, today we’re adding Google+ Circles to Google Voice.

Text-to-Speech (TTS) on Kindle Fire!

February 22, 2012

Text-to-speech (TTS) for the Kindle Fire is a long sought after feature. Having TTS on your Kindle Fire enables you to listen to your e-books using text-to-speech without having to buy expensive audiobooks. Some people may be vision impaired and want TTS to supplement or replace their manual reading of the text. Sure TTS isn't perfect, but it works pretty well.

Now if only the Kindle Fire supported TTS like other versions of the Kindle, then life would be grand.

LightSquared Gets Square Rooted - 4G LTE Network Killed by FCC

February 16, 2012

LightSquared was just dealt a death blow by the FCC due to concerns of interference, mainly with regards to GPS products:

“LightSquared’s proposal to provide ground-based mobile service offered the potential to unleash new spectrum for mobile broadband and enhance competition. The Commission clearly stated from the outset that harmful interference to GPS would not be permitted. This is why the Conditional Waiver Order issued by the Commission’s International Bureau prohibited LightSquared from beginning commercial operations unless harmful interference issues were resolved.

“NTIA, the federal agency that coordinates spectrum uses for the military and other federal government entities, has now concluded that there is no practical way to mitigate potential interference at this time.

FCC Now Requires VoIP Outage Reporting

February 15, 2012

The Federal Communications Commission today voted and passed a requirement that interconnected VoIP service providers report significant network outages that meet specific criteria and thresholds. The goal is to ensure 911 system reliability and perhaps customer awareness of fly-by-night VoIP operations that are just trying to make a buck. The FCC will use outage reports to "track and analyze information on interconnected VoIP outages affecting 9-1-1 service and determine if action is needed to prevent future outages." In other words you might be looking at fines if you don't have a reliable VoIP network.

According to Chairman Julius Genachowski, "With today’s action, the FCC is helping ensure that our communications infrastructure is more resilient. 

Journey Releases New Video Featuring Michaele Salahi

February 14, 2012

I was scrolling through my Facebook Newsfeed when I came across a post by Journey saying they had a new music video. It read:

Sweet vibrations! Our new video for "Resonate" from our latest album Eclipse, is here as a special Valentine's Day gift to you.

KEMP Load Balancer Certified for Microsoft Lync Server 2010

February 14, 2012

KEMP Technologies today announced that its LoadMaster hardware-based and virtual appliance load balancers are now approved for Microsoft Lync Server 2010.  If you recall, I spoke with Kemp last year about their Exchange 2010 load balancer, so adding Lync load balancing certainly rounds out their Microsoft portfolio. KEMP’s LoadMaster products offer server load balancing, optimized application delivery and built-in SSL acceleration. These features enable the LoadMasters to seamlessly integrate with Microsoft's Lync server pools.

Watch out for Metallic Objects in IP Phones! You Could Get Hurt!

February 13, 2012

I've tested, used, and reviewed many Polycom phones over the years, but apparently I never noticed or received this warning letter with these phones. Check out this ridiculousness:

With respect to section of the Australian Communications Authority as Telecommunications Technical Standard AS/ACIF S004 2004 under the s376 of the Telecommunications Act 1997:

You should be aware that, under certain operating conditions, the handset earpiece may retain small metallic objects. If this occurs, these objects should be removed before using the handset.

Really? Seriously?

Windows on ARM - New Tablet Operating System With Some Limitations

February 10, 2012

Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinoksky OR is this Bruce Willis?

The next version of Windows will run full-sized desktop applications on low-power ARM-based tablets. However, the only desktop applications approved to appear on ARM devices will be those designed by Microsoft such as Internet Explorer 10, Office, and the Windows file explorer. Affectionately known as WOA (Windows On Arm), it includes desktop versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Apple Planned the iPad BEFORE the iPhone. Who knew?

February 10, 2012

Everyone assumes that Apple was working on the iPhone before the iPad. However, the recent lawsuit by Proview Electronics suing Apple over the name 'iPad' says others wise. The iPhone was launched in 2007 and the iPad in 2010. However, in 2006 Apple purchased the iPad trademark from display manufacturer Proview Electronics (Taiwan) for $55,000 by way of a front company called IP Application Development. So it appears Apple planned on making a tablet before the iPhone even came to market!

According to TMC's Peter Bernstein, Proview says the trademark deal with Apple did not include the rights to the trademark in China.

Dell Voice Launches in Canada - Will it Fail As Badly As Dell Video Chat?

February 9, 2012

Dell has partnered with Ontario-based Fongo to offer Dell Voice, a VoIP app exclusively available exclusively in Canada that offers a Canadian phone number and free calls to most of Canada. Also, incoming calls and Dell Voice-to-Dell Voice calls are free of charge. This reminds me of how Dell partnered with Sightspeed, now a part of Logitech to offer a multi-party video conferencing service called Dell Video Chat. I reviewed the software and it works well, but with free alternatives like Skype, having the ability to do 9-way (3x3) Brady Bunch video is a very niche application. Practically nobody has ever heard of Dell Video Chat, so here let me share a couple screenshots of it...

Screenshot of me testing it:

2x2 (4-way video call)

I suspect Dell Voice will suffer the same ignominious fate as Dell Video Chat. There's just too much competition, including superior offerings from Google Voice, Skype, and most recently Vonage.

Vonage Attacks Skype with 30% Price Cut and Free App-to-App Calling & Texts

February 8, 2012

Vonage today launched new versions of their mobile app for both iOS and Android phones that feature free app-to-app calling and international calling rates that on average are 70 percent less than major mobile carriers and 30 percent less than Skype according to their release notes on iTunes. What's nice about their mobile app is it lets you talk and text worldwide for FREE with anyone else who has the app. It's also wideband HD audio for better audio quality.

Another nice feature is that you simply use your existing address book and there is no need to leave the app. It works on both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G.

ITEXPO IP Communications Trade Show Continues Solid Growth

February 8, 2012

ITEXPO East 2012 in Miami was TMC's best show ever with over 200 booths and over 8,200 attendees. Conferee attendance for ITEXPO East increased more than 50% from 2011, resulting in dozens of standing room only sessions at ITEXPO and collocated conferences such as HTML5 Summit, M2M Evolution, Business Video Expo, Super WiFi Summit, and 4GWE. As an example, here's a photo I took at the jam-packed Ingate SIP trunking conference session:

Even with the additional third day of exhibit hall hours, foot traffic was pretty good - on a Friday no less. I heard from several exhibitors saying it was their best ITEXPO ever.

TMC's next show, ITEXPO West 2012, is scheduled to take place on October 1-4, 2012, in Austin, Texas, (the 'new' Telecom Corridor) which will be the second time in Austin after moving from Los Angeles.

Verizon and BT Announce Cross-Network Video Calling & Telepresence

February 8, 2012

Verizon and BT announced a deal enabling each of their respective customers initiate high-quality video conferences and telepresence sessions. I spoke with representatives from BT and Verizon to learn more about their collaboration.

Marc Hambley, Sr. Product Manager at BT explained, "We are connecting our respective telepresence exchanges together - that will allow BT clients to have meetings with Verizon clients, either hosted on BT service or Verizon service.

Why Apple's A5 Processor is Big (Siri) + Why Doesn't Siri Support Dictating Emails?

February 6, 2012

According to CNet, Apple's A5 processor includes noise-reduction circuitry licensed from a start-up called Audience. Audience's technology enhances speech and works well even when you hold the phone are arm's length ('far-field speech'). This explains the mysteriously larger A5 processor on the iPhone 4S and why the previous gen iPhone 4 didn't get the Siri via a simple iOS software upgrade.

The iPhone 4S has just a few advantages over the iPhone 4, including a an amazing 8-megapixel camera that captures HD video, a faster dual-core processor and of course Siri. However, if you don't care about the HD video or better quality photographs, you might be inclined to buy a new or even used iPhone 4 for less money or keep the iPhone 4 you already have. Many iPhone 4 users were none to happy with not getting Siri and assumed Apple was simply trying to force users to upgrade to the 4S.

Forget Super Wi-Fi! Go with Super Wi-Fi! Wait. What?

February 3, 2012

Everyone is hyping the new Super Wi-Fi standard which uses lower-frequency white spaces between television channel frequencies. These lower frequencies enable the signal to travel further (miles) and penetrate walls better than the higher frequencies previously used (hundreds of feet). Well, forget about Super Wi-Fi!

I met with Thomas Ngeow from Altai Technologies at ITEXPO, a Hong Kong-based company and he explained they coined Super Wi-Fi for one of their products long before the Super Wi-Fi standard was coined. You're probably wondering who cares who coined it first and you'd be right.

Billionaire Gives Secrets to Startup Success

February 3, 2012

Sir Terry Matthews is a Welsh/Canadian high tech entrepreneur, and Wales's first billionaire. He has directly started 89 companies with an amazing 83 out of 89 success rate. It's an even more astounding fact when you consider that according to TMC's Peter Bernstein, 90% of startups fail. Terry has sold many of these companies for millions and even hundreds of millions of dollars.

TMC Showcases the Top 40 "Newsmakers" at ITEXPO

February 2, 2012

There is a lot of news (product launches, new versions) being made at TMC's ITEXPO, some of which I've already covered (Digium, Xorcom)... ITEXPO has a record number of exhibitors that have unveiled new products and services at ITEXPO in Miami.

There have been many competing shows over the years, most notably VON, which suffered an untimely demise. ITEXPO and VON were the two best shows focused on VoIP and IP communications.

Rich Tehrani With ITEXPO Facts + Super Wi-Fi, M2M, StartupCamp & VC Funding

February 2, 2012

New Digium IP Phones Up Close

February 1, 2012

I got to see the new Digium IP Phones up close - sort of. I ran into Digium's Steve Sokol in their ITEXPO booth and proceeded to ask Steve about these new IP phones. I asked him if they were developed internally (yes) or white-labeled, where they were being built (China), and a few other questions.

I was about to ask him to see a demo when a Digium employee interrupted and asked Steve to give a demo to two attendees standing a few feet away.

Ingate SIP Trunking Session at ITEXPO is Packed!

February 1, 2012

The Crowd Gathers to Enter ITEXPO Exhibit Floor

February 1, 2012

Sprint's Michael A. Rouleau Kicks off ITEXPO Keynotes

February 1, 2012

Digium Gamechanger! Launches D40, D50, & D70 IP Phones

February 1, 2012

Today, at ITEXPO, the premiere communications event, Digium launched a line of IP phones that work in conjunction with their Asterisk and Switchvox solutions. This truly could be a gamechanger, since Asterisk is a popular IP-PBX solution that popular 3rd party phone vendors such as Aastra, snom, and Polycom offer products for. This move by Digium and the impact on these phone vendors could be quite interesting. This reminds me of 2008 when Aastra, a traditional IP phone manufacturer decided to offer a full-fledged IP-PBX based on Asterisk, called AastraLink. As I said during the AastraLink 2008 product launch:
Aastra Telecom has entered the IP-PBX game with the AastraLink Pro 160.

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