Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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Why E-Mail Sucks and How to Make it Smarter

Many of us live in email. I get hundreds per day and I need almost every message. I am also a source...

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The Contact Center's Seemingly Oxymoronic Play: How to Decrease Costs Yet Improve Customer Service

I was recently asked to talk to some of our many contact center customers about the new contact center trends.  It...

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The New Facet of Customer Experience Management - Field Service 2.0

By: Rhodo Odysseos, Product/Solution Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent, and Jess Verbruggen, Motive Integrated Marketing Assistant, Alcatel-Lucent

Traditionally, communications service providers (CSPs) have treated the field service aspect of their organization as a cost center. Field technicians engaged in maintenance activities were simply a part of the cost of doing business.  More recently, the communications industry in general and the field service arena in particular, has been disrupted by immense changes in the customer profile, service expectations, and behaviors.

Field service is often the only face of the company that a customer will ever see, so it’s not a surprise that CSPs are striving to make a positive impact on customers in this realm. Achieving full potential in field service saves CSPs a lot of time and money. Productivity and efficiency reviews targeted at field service operations, done correctly, can reinforce other areas of the business by increasing customer satisfaction and improving safety and quality. 

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Amazon Fire Phone Should be a Laptop

I’ve written a lot of headlines in my life but this one is among the oddest. Why on earth does a phone...

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Apple Pay Vs. Google Wallet

Replacing credit cards can likely only be done if the new system is dead-easy to use and it moreover has to be...

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Signaling Offers Great Differentiation for Mobile Value-Added Service Offerings

We’ve all heard that some Value Added Services (VAS) revenue such as Short Message Service (SMS) are starting to decline in...

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Birdstep Improves Wireless User Experience, Reduces Churn

A smartphone user can get tripped up easily when in motion as today’s smartphones look for WiFi networks to connect to and...

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Bandwith Shaping

November 15, 2004

Prioritizing VoIP traffic and performing bandwidth shaping is key to a successful VoIP deployment, so I thought sharing this bit of news about a bandwidth-shaping product might be useful...

APconnections Adds Support for Priority Voice Over IP Traffic to Its Entire Family of NetEqualizer Bandwidth Shaping Products

Plug-and-Play Solution Now Offers Support for Data and VoIP Traffic in One Product; Adds Additional Models to Product Family

LAFAYETTE, Colo., Nov. 15, 2004 -- APconnections, a supplier of plug-and-play bandwidth shaping products, announced today that it has added support for priority voice and video traffic to its entire NetEqualizer product family. In addition, the company has added additional models to its product family. Now, businesses ranging from Internet cafes and corporations to service providers and telcos will be able to take advantage of NetEqualizer's built-in traffic shaping controls to cost-effectively and automatically provide priority for voice and video traffic and relieve congestion for data traffic with one easy-to-install and manage appliance.

Customer Service

November 15, 2004

I was checking out Andy's blog about "bad customer service" in the USA and as I was reading it I kept thinking to myself, "Yup, been there" or a Clintonian "I feel your pain..."

In fact, reading this also reminded me how my father-in-law purchased a brand new Dell after consulting me for my opinion on what he should buy.

Later on, my wife told me that he purchased a Dell with the optional technical support contract. She said to me, "I don't know why he bought that. You even told me the frustration of dealing with technical support reps that just read from a script.

Mitel 3300 IP-PBX

November 11, 2004

Mitel is releasing a the newest version of it's flagship product - the Mitel 3300 IP-PBX "Release 5." There are significant upgrades over Release 4, which became available in 2003, including:

1. 3300 can now support up to 60,000 users (up from 30,000 users) and network up to 250 sites;

2. The new 3300 can for the first time support SIP and MiNet (our proprietary protocol);

3. There are built in Enterprise Management tools (efficiency management, graphical topology views, inventory, network health);

4.

Andy likes AT&T CallVantage over Vonage

November 10, 2004

Halo 2

November 10, 2004


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Halo 2

This is an excellent article discussing the launch of the immensely popular Halo2 for the Xbox: MSNBC - Gamers go gunning for 'Halo 2'. (If the Halo theme music is annoying, scroll up and hit the Stop button)

Think of Halo2 as a the "cabbage patch kids", "Harry Potter"-equivalent phenomenon for teens/adults. I have an Xbox myself, and own the first Halo, but never did get into online gaming via Microsoft Live with Halo or any other Xbox game for that matter. I knew it would be too addicting.

VoIP spurs growth for Cablevision

November 10, 2004

Skibare pointed out this Wall Street Journal article: WSJ.com - Cablevision's Loss Narrows With Strength in Advertising

I used to have CableVision when I lived in Norwalk and was pretty pleased with their service - they were one of the first cable companies in the Northeast to offer cable broadband. Competing satellite providers and other "ventures" have hurt CableVision over the past few years, but they seem to be getting some legs under them with the help of voice over Internet services.

According to the article, Cablevision's Internet phone service got 74,142 new sign-ups. Wow, that's nearly 75,000 VoIP customers.

Skype API

November 9, 2004

Skype

Andy's blog brought to my attention that the Skype API is out (in beta) VoIP Watch: Skype API Now Out

Here's the news from Skype's website:
Skype, the Global Internet Telephony Company, today announced the beta of its Skype API (Application Program Interface) included in the latest version of Skype for Windows, enabling hardware devices and software applications to seamlessly integrate with Skype's award-winning Internet telephony software. Skype currently has more than 14.5 million users from every country in the world, and is adding approximately 100,000 new users per day.

"We offer the Skype API to expand quality voice and messaging communications around the globe," said Niklas Zennström, Skype CEO and co-founder. "With this API, Skype is now an open platform and we are keen to watch the world's innovative developer community integrate the Skype application to extend the potential of global communications."

Non-commercial developers worldwide may freely integrate the Skype API in compliance with the Skype software End User License Agreement (EULA).

FCC Exempts VoIP from state rules

November 9, 2004

The Federal Communications Commission voted today to exempt Internet-based phone companies (Internet Telephony or VoIP) from state regulation, making Voice over Internet to fall under federal jurisdiction - a major victory for the VoIP industry. With the FCC having jurisdiction over Internet-based phone comapnies this could certainly help keep the VoIP industry "red hot" and inspire others to enter the market as well or investment/capital money to flow into the VoIP industry..

The FCC decision is likely to anger some local state officials who say the FCC is usurping local authority. In addition they are concerned that they can not collect revenue from VoIP providers to subsidize high-cost rural phone service.

FCC Gives me and VoIP Industry a Birthday Gift

November 9, 2004

AT&T CallVantage and Buy.com

November 8, 2004

I was in Circuit City this past Thursday buying a Disney Mickey Mouse television as a birthday gift for my wife when I took a stroll by the computer section. I saw lots of VoIP broadband service providers on the shelves, such as Vonage, AT&T CallVantage, and more using LinkSys hardware or other hardware. It's pretty amazing to me how mainstream VoIP has become. I was going to take a picture of the Circuit City shelf display which had lots of VoIP players all within a 6 by 4 foot area -- just to show how mainstream VoP has become -- but I didn't have my digital camera with me.

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