Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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IBM, Mitel, Wearable Tech round out Latest ITEXPO News

Its been an amazing ITEXPO so far - wow. In case you missed some of the happenings from day 1, here are...

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3 Reasons UC Deployments Fail

Just getting ink on a Unified Communications deal is just the beginning. So many deployments go wrong or worse the company...

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Small Cells are Key to Attracting and Keeping SMB and Large Enterprise Customers

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

To say that operators of macro-cellular physical networks are facing all type of challenges these days would be an understatement.  These range from spectrum scarcity issues, competitive pricing pressures, the need to build out LTE networks ASAP as platforms for new services and to meet the insatiable appetite of users for things like streamed and real-time video, getting ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) etc.  They also are busy figuring out how to keep users, particularly enterprise users on their smart devices always and all ways on their networks in an increasingly fickle world where alternatives abound, including for value-added traffic lost to Over-the-Top (OTT) providers.  

It is to keep enterprise customers on the mobile service provider networks for enhanced services that good in-building wireless solutions are seen as both a powerful business tool and a competitive advantage.  This is particularly true when it comes to retaining small-to-medium business customers (SMBs).

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Changing the SIM game

The iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models comes with a SIM  that “gives you the flexibility to choose from...

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WebRTC and the Enterprise

I was reading an article titled, “How WebRTC can serve the Enterprise” but when I originally saw the headline I thought...

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Jeff Pulver, Andy Abramson, Craig Walker, Alon Cohen, Mike Tribolet, Andy Voss and Danny Windham at ITEXPO Next Week

Panel to celebrate 20 years of IP communications/VoIP and discuss its future. Next week at the 29th ITEXPO, I get the pleasure...

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Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes on Importance of Bringing Ultra-Broadband to Africa

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

It may be almost cliché to say we live in a global economy, but many times when globalization is discussed the focus is on developed and emerging markets and not that often, if at all, on under-developed regions.  In fact, in the past few years until the recent drop in oil prices, much of the financial community’s and economic development interests has been focused on the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).  This leaves out not just most of South America, but the promising rest of Africa which contains a wealth of rare minerals and other natural resources waiting to be literally and figuratively mined.

However, for most of the African continent countries to move from under-developed status, along with toward political stability and having a educated citizenry, infrastructure needs to be in place which it currently is not. This means not just giving the populace access to clean water and energy, but in a digital world ubiquitous and affordable access to businesses and individuals to high-speed broadband communications is now not just a foundation but a pre-condition that is essential for moving ahead.  

In this regard it is enlightening, refreshing and significant that Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes recently wrote a corporate blog stressing the company’s interest in working with governments and commercial interests to help accelerate economic development across the continent.  This about not just about the Oscar winning movie of several years ago “Out of Africa”, but is also about around, into and across Africa. 

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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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