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

Wearable Tech Expo 2014 Kicking off in NYC

My team is at the Jacob Javits Center setting up for Wearable Tech Expo 2014 which will take place Wednesday and Thursday...

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #7

Tsahi Levent-Levi’s white paper, “Seven Reasons for WebRTC Server-Side Processing,” details a variety of WebRTC-related scenarios that necessitate a media server....

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How signaling spikes affect networks: 3 real-world examples

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent

Data and signaling growth are usually good news for network operators, since growth often translates into higher revenues. But when growth is averaged over a month or quarter, the daily highs and lows of network activity are smoothed out. And signaling spikes remain hidden within the averages. These spikes can overwhelm available signaling capacity, which impairs the customer experience, as well as the operator’s reputation.

What happens when a spike occurs? Typically, a CPU Overload alarm appears on various mobile nodes. And the Network Operations Center (NOC) immediately starts praying that the burst is short-lived and doesn’t go over maximum peak-rate capacity. Because when that happens, all consumers are denied service access. Then, the process of identifying the source of the problem begins. This can be arduous, because it often involves applications completely out of NOC control. And the issue can’t be resolved easily without solid network analytics that enables engagement with application and device developers.

That’s the reason signaling information is a crucial part of the Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Apps Rankings report and why LTE World 2014 devotes an entire pre-conference day to the topic. It’s also why this blog offers a closer look at how some real-world disruptive signaling spikes got started — and were finally resolved.

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The Expanding Channel Programs

Not only do I see more cloud service providers looking to the channel for sales, I see other channel programs expanding....

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #6

In a recent blog about the current state of WebRTC, I mentioned that readers should check out an excellent white paper...

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The Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: It's Not All About Data- Mobile Voice and Messaging Share Plans Offer Plenty of Appeal

Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe continues the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series by examining the degree to which consumers are interested in share plans that include unlimited voice and messaging but don’t include data.

The last Six Degrees blog explored consumer attitudes toward two different mobile share plan options: sharing data only and sharing voice, messaging and data. This blog will explore attitudes toward a 3rd option: sharing unlimited voice and messaging — but not data — across multiple devices or subscribers.

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200G Optical Networks: What you need to know

By: Earl Kennedy, IP Transport Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Optical network operators have already made the move to 100G. But skyrocketing bandwidth demand means many are already pondering what’s next. With a 200G optical solution hitting the market, you probably have questions about when to move to 200G optical – and what you need to know when you make that move.

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Telefonica Launches Skype Competitor Tu Me

May 9, 2012

Telefónica today launched a new mobile app called Tu Me, which essentially takes the approach if you can't beat Skype, join em'. Tu Me features texts, voice calls, messages, and location and photo sharing - all free of charge, with the caveat that it uses your data plan more, so it isn't technically "free" unless you are on an unlimited data plan or you use free Wi-Fi hotspots most of the time.

The app is currently only available on iOS however Android is coming. Tu Me enables communication and sharing between mobile phones, recording every interaction through a searchable timeline, obviously borrowing some elements from the Facebook social network and others.

There are some major caveats with this app.



Viber Announces BlackBerry Beta and Windows Phone 7 Beta

May 8, 2012


Viber today announced the availability of Viber for BlackBerry Beta and Windows Phone 7 Beta.

Both Viber for BlackBerry Beta and Viber for Windows Phone 7 Beta initially offer Viber Messaging, allowing users to exchange text and high-quality photo messages and share locations with other Viber users. The beta does not yet include their HD VoIP calling. Some may call this a bit premature beta since Viber is a known as a mobile VoIP app not a standalone IM app, but I'll give them a pass to bringing some early love to these two platforms.

Viber seamlessly integrates with the devices' interface, with no registration required, instantly identifying existing contacts who already have Viber installed so users do not need to go through a “friend request” process. According to Viber, "the full release for both platforms, including Viber’s signature HD-quality free voice calling, will be released as soon as it meets Viber’s quality standards."




Nokia City Lens Augmented Reality Launches on Lumia Phones

May 8, 2012


Nokia today released its City Lens app for Windows Phone, an app that is an augmented reality browser.  Users open the app, and depending on the phone's angle (landscape [facing away from you], 45 degrees, or parallel to ground) it automatically changes modes - augmented reality, list of locations, and map mode respectively.

The coolest mode is obviously augmented reality where you hold the phone up and scan the horizon with the camera and it shows icons where various points of interest (POIs) are located. You can specify the POI category, such as Food.

Then you can just tap to read reviews and descriptions, or call to get directions. You can also share your location with friends via social networks, SMS, or email.




Ooma Telo Review

May 4, 2012


Back in 2007 I wrote an article "Ooma goes Booma" because Ooma's claim-to-fame feature was that it worked by 'sharing' your PSTN analog phone line with other Ooma users. I was right that this PSTN sharing feature and business model wouldn't work, so certainly that did go "Booma". However, 5 years later after dropping the PSTN sharing and moving to a VoIP-centric business model Ooma has redeemed themselves with some really cool features. Ooma is a low-cost phone service provider similar to magicJack, netTALK, and Vonage in many ways, but with some key differentiating features.

The first big difference of note is that unlike the other three aforementioned phone providers, rather than charge a monthly flat rate for service and per-minute costs for calls, Ooma only charges for the initial hardware - $199 Ooma Telo, +$50.99 for Wireless adapter, +$29.99 for Bluetooth adapter and then they only charge you the taxes and local fees for calls in the United States.


Skype Aware of IP Security Flaw Back in 2010

May 3, 2012

Some more interesting information has come to light regarding the IP revealing security flaw in Skype. Researchers from Inria, a research institute in France, and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University discovered the flaw. Stevens Le Blond, one of the team's researchers who discovered the exploit told the Wall Street Journal that the team first discovered the flaw in November 2010. They were actually able to track the city-level location of more than 10,000 Skype users over a period of two weeks simply by making short calls to users that don't cause a Skype notification popup and the calls don't appear in the call histories.

Skype Responds to IP Address Privacy Vulnerability

May 1, 2012

Yesterday it was reported that a simple script could expose any Skype user's IP address. A Microsoft representative saw my article and gave me this official response, which they also provided to other media outlets:
“We are investigating reports of a new tool that captures a Skype user’s last known IP address. This is an ongoing, industry-wide issue faced by all peer-to-peer software companies. We are committed to the safety and security of our customers and we are takings measures to help protect them.”

Adrian Asher, director of product Security, Skype

It's a bit of a non-answer if you ask me.

Does HTML5 Rock Your Mobile World?

May 1, 2012

We've heard the hype surrounding HTML5, but does it live up to its promise? If TMC's recently completed DevCon5 show in Santa Clara, California is any indication, HTML5 will soon rock your mobile world!

At DevCon5, an international community of HTML5 developers and designers gathered to focus on Mobile Apps, Consistent UI Development, and more. Gaming was a huge draw featuring a large, enthusiastic group.

With breakout sessions led by experts from Adobe, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Joyent and Qualcomm, DevCon5 has quickly established its position as a “must attend” event for developers and designers looking to take advantage of business opportunities presented by the advent of HTML5.

DevCon5 – created for Web developers, software architects, graphic artists and business executives – helps developers, designers and engineers learn how they can use HTML5 to create engaging mobile applications and create consistent, positive Web user experiences across any device. The DevCon5 conference program encompasses a multi-track program covering important topics related to HTML5 adoption, including browser compatibility, user experience design and Web 3.0.





New Skype for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch Sports Ability to Move Video Preview

April 30, 2012

Ooma Telo installed - Ooo Look, Shiny Bright Blue LEDs!

April 26, 2012

Skype@Home Telephone Products Coming?

April 20, 2012

Today, Rich Tehrani wrote about Microsoft "working on Skype Everywhere Initiative" based on another Microsoft-careers.com job listing. Just a few days ago I wrote about a Microsoft job listing was pointing toward Microsoft and Skype building a HTML5 Web version of Skype.

Rich believes there are some good synergies with Microsoft and Skype that can result in a whole like of Skype at home phone products (Skype@Home?) including DECT 6.0 phones. The problem with DECT wireless phones over WiFi phones is you need a base unit, which adds to the cost. Wi-Fi phones can just connect to the Wi-Fi access point with no additional hardware necessary.

However, what if the next XBox 360 has a built-in DECT transceiver?



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