Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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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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FreePBX World - Just Days Away!

August 12, 2013

The first ever FreePBX World co-located at ITEXPO is just 16 days away, taking place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. I recently wrote about FreePBX and gave a sneak peek of the conference agenda for FreePBX World you should check out.

I'm attending ITEXPO to cover all the latest news on VoIP, WebRTC, Asterisk & FreePBX, cloud communications, and much more. Oh, and did I mention Apple legend Steve Wozniak is keynoting?

ITEXPO is one of the longest running communications shows and it continues to add excellent new content to the conference tracks, exciting new co-located events like FreePBX World & Startup Camp, as well as headliner keynoters like former Apple & Pepsi CEO John Sculley, 3Com founder and Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, and many more.

If you haven't registered already, head over here, but you better be quick, I hear the hotel room block is almost full!





iotum Adds WebRTC VoIP to Calliflower Conferencing

August 7, 2013

iotum today announced some improvements to its Calliflower conferencing service, the biggest of which is a new WebRTC-enabled native SIP client – Calliflower Connect. Previously, Calliflower required you either call in via PSTN or use Skype, but now WebRTC adds yet another dial-in method - a frictionless one at that since you don't need to install anything. PCs or other devices that don't have Skype installed can now take advantage of WebRTC, which is enabled on Google Chrome and Firefox.

I did a quick test and was able to connect to the meeting using WebRTC VoIP technology from my PC and I was also able to dial-in to the Calliflower provided PSTN number and enter a PIN to join the meeting.

Grandstream UCM6100 PBX - Security & GPLv2 Disaster?

August 5, 2013


Last week I wrote Grandstream UCM6100 PBX - Yet Another Aastra & snom Disaster? I was looking at it from a partner and reseller perspective. But I was talking with FreePBX's Tony Lewis and he mentioned he discovered the version of Asterisk running on the UCM6100 was 25 versions old, over a year old and with several security flaws fixed since then.

Ward Mundy over at Nerd Vittles also discovered some major security flaws, including a major one in the IVR that could enable a hacker to springboard out from the IVR to the PSTN via the UCM6100's FXO ports. Putting aside the old version of Asterisk and security flaws, the UCM6100 is impressive in several respects. Perhaps the most impressive is that you can get a 2 port FXO / 2 port FXS for $264!


Blazar Wireless Speaker Review

July 29, 2013


I took Beacon's Blazar ($149.99) wireless portable speaker for a test drive and compared it vs. the Jawbone Big JAMBOX ($179.99$199), a popular wireless speaker. The first thing I noticed was how heavy the JAMBOX is compared with the Blazar. My co-worker, Rich Tehrani loves his JAMBOX and takes it wherever he goes.

Phone.com Review

July 26, 2013

The Blazar Wireless Portable Speaker Launches on Kickstarter

July 23, 2013


The Blazar Bluetooth portable speaker now has a Kickstarter project page. The Blazar is a wireless speaker with a few innovative features, including stereo pairing and NFC. The Blazar comes from Beacon and features Bluetooth and a microphone that enables speakerphone mode or talking to Siri. It sports a 12-hour rechargeable battery and 1,000 day warranty.


Uniquely, you can pair two Blazars to get true left and right stereo separation. You'll need to purchase two to do so since they're sold separately, but having a portable stereo setup with access to your full Android, Apple iOS, or Windows Phone music library means you get retire your 80s boombox when headed to the beach - if you haven't already!


The NFC feature is used to pair your NFC-compatible phone with the speaker.






Grandstream UCM6100 PBX - Yet Another Aastra & snom Disaster?

July 19, 2013


Is history repeating itself with the new just-launched Asterisk-based Grandstream UCM6100 IP-PBX appliance, which could upset their partners? Back in 2008, I warned Aastra about getting into the IP-PBX game:
Aastra Telecom has entered the IP-PBX game with the AastraLink Pro 160. This is a very interesting move since Aastra Telecom is known for their IP phones used by various IP-PBXs, including many of the Asterisk-based solutions - trixbox, AsteriskNOW, Druid, PBX in a Flash, etc. With the AastraLink Pro 160 Aastra is now competing with IP-PBX vendors that purchase their phones.


How FreePBX is Revolutionizing PBXs - Let Freedom Ring!

July 15, 2013

Asterisk fans know that Asterisk, as its name implies, was designed to do everything in telecom since the name Mark Spencer gave it comes from the Linux wildcard symbol (*), which can match or do just about anything. It's a fantastic name chosen by Asterisk's founder.

Similarly, FreePBX also sports a great name, espousing a truly powerful and "free" PBX with no strings attached. Is it not ironic that America , the nation whose most precious Amendment of the Constitution, the 1st Amendment which established "free speech" as a fundamental right and a nation which invented the most important communications technology - the telephone, also helped establish one of the most closed, proprietary, and expensive pieces of "speech" technology? - namely the PBX.

Free speech you say?



Hilarious Skype Bombing Interrupts George Zimmerman Trial

July 3, 2013


Cheap Skype calling anywhere in the world...
Free video calling to friends and family...
Using Skype to "Skype Bomb" the George Zimmerman trial on live TV - priceless!

Scott Pleasants, a criminal justice professor at Seminole State College was testifying in the George Zimmerman murder trial via Skype, when pranksters watching the case quickly hammered the witness's account with Skype calls.

“I gotta tell you, there’s now a really good chance that we’re being toyed with,” said Zimmerman lawyer Mark O’Mara.

The judge was not amused... Watch the video...


Oh and in the future, if you don't want to be Skype Bombed, it's pretty simple to disable anonymous calls. Go into Skype options, then Privacy, and then check "Only allow people in my Contact list to contact me".

Unless of course the witness's friends in his Contact list were playing a practical joke. Though interrupting a courtroom could result in a "out of order" or "contempt" ruling and jail time, so I'm betting these were anonymous pranksters not in his Skype Contacts.













Logitech H650e Headset Review

June 28, 2013

The Logitech USB Headset 650e "corded" stereo headset is the sister to the H820e "wireless" headset I recently reviewed. Both models target unified communications (UC) with some call control functions like mute and answer call. Like the H820e, the H650e sports a call indicator LED to let co-workers know you're on the phone, as well as wideband audio. Curious how the H650e compared to the H820e I took the H650e for a spin.

One of my observations when testing the H820e was that the bass response - low frequencies was missing from the speakers when playing music.

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