Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Unified Communications

NSA Can Wiretap Skype, Google & Facebook - But Not WebRTC

June 7, 2013


                                             Image Courtesy of the Guardian

According to the Guardian, the NSA has the capability of tap in to user data of Google, Skype, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and more. This is disturbing on so many levels, especially after revelation that Verizon gave the government access to over 100 million Americans' phone records. A friend suggested.

So now that P2P Skype is not as "secure" as many were led to believe, what sort of secure P2P VoIP is available? Well, there is Phil Zimmerman's Zfone Project, which Zfone uses a proprietary protocol called ZRTP.




Logitech Wireless Headset H820e Review

May 9, 2013


The Logitech Wireless Headset H820e targets the UC space nicely, sporting an amazing 300 foot wireless range, call indicator LED to let co-workers know you're on the phone, and wideband audio. The H820e is available in mono and dual versions and I took the dual version for a spin.

After initially charging up the headset I made a test call using Skype. After putting on the headset the first thing I noticed was how well this headset seems to block out ambient noise. They did a good job with the speaker padding and it's also worth mentioning they were kind enough to put padding on the underside of the TOP of the headset so you have some cushion and comfort when the headset is on your head all day. 


Grandstream GXP2200 Review

April 8, 2013


The Grandstream GXP2200 Gigabit IP phone is another Android-based IP phone in a growing line of Android-based IP phones that includes the Panasonic KX-UT670, CloudTC, and the ESI 250. A couple years ago I espoused the benefits of a tablet-based desktop phone running either iOS or Android, so that this "universal" device becomes your portable tablet/computer and your desktop IP phone. We're not quite there yet, since all the Android desktop IP phones are not battery powered and require either a Power over Ethernet (PoE) or AC adapter for power. Further, as with anything, cost will play a role.

Detailed WebRTC Research Report Out

April 1, 2013

Well, it was inevitable - a detailed and possibly first WebRTC research report is out with full analysis of the WebRTC marketplace & value chain. I've been blogging on VoIP since 2004 and writing about VoIP since 1996, when I wrote what I believe was the first VoIP product review (Vocaltec). But I've never been as excited about a new VoIP technology as I am WebRTC. WebRTC is going to be huge, which is why TMC launched a show WebRTC Conference & Expo focused exclusively on WebRTC.

So I'm interested to check out this research report which measures 160 pages in length, including detailed commentary, analysis, forecasts and over 50 tables and charts with over 70 WebRTC companies discussed.


Skype for Windows Phone 8 Gets HD First & More Feature Love

March 19, 2013

Today, Skype released an update for the Skype for Windows Phone 8 Preview, version 2.4, which for the first time ever adds HD video calling to a mobile version of Skype. This version leverages the hardware acceleration capability of Windows Phone 8 to enable the HD video experience.

It offers VGA video (640x480) on lower end handsets and 720P HD on higher-end devices including the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X and Samsung Ativ S. Importantly, the app can intelligently determines the best quality available based on the speed of your connection. They also added People Hub integration, landscape mode for calls, and the ability to switch between front and back cameras.


Finally, the Microsoft acquisition of Skype appears to be paying dividends. Get the updated version now from Windows Phone Store.




Cisco Strengthens Products For Midmarket

February 12, 2013


Cisco today announced a series of news surrounding their midmarket product line and their partners that sell Cisco products in this space. A quick overview is that they announced some enhancements to Cisco Business Edition 6000, their midmarket collaboration platform, a new Cisco Express Collaboration specialization, simplification of Telepresence Advanced Technology Programs, and tools for Midsize Business Marketing Campaigns.

I spoke with Marc Inderhees, Senior Manager, Worldwide Collaboration Channel Sales about this news. He stated that Cisco sees the midmarket as 100-1000 employees with over 3.7 million midmarket businesses worldwide. According to Cisco, 1 in 6 employees work for a midmarket company.


Add-on Makes Microsoft Lync Feature-Complete to Compete with PBXs

January 31, 2013


Yesterday, at ITEXPO I met with some representatives from Bressner, a German-based company with some interesting add-ons for Microsoft Lync. Now targeting the U.S. (English website) their Lync add-ons add some powerful features to Microsoft Lync that help make Lync have feature-parity with PBXs, allowing enterprises to use Lync as a PBX replacement with no compromise.

Bressner's Dr. Klaus Zünkler, Principal Solutions Architect and Mitch Friend discussed three of their Lync products. The first was FonComfort, which is designed to fill the feature-gap in Microsoft Lync. One of those feature-gap fillers is "true busy" so the caller doesn't have to pay for the call if you're already on another call. I asked Klaus and Mitch why this was a popular feature since typically a call would drop to voicemail if you were on a call or unavailable and they said this "true busy" feature was more popular in Europe due to a cultural thing.


Surf Communications Solutions Aims to Slay the Video Giant

January 30, 2013

Video conferencing has held promise for many years - dating back to the 1964 AT&T Picturephone, but now has the time finally arrived for video conferencing to take off? The simple answer is "yes", but it's way more complicated than that. Yes, standards like SIP and H.264 have made video interoperability between endpoints less of an issue, but there are other issues to consider. For instance, Polycom, Cisco, Avaya, and LifeSize have very expensive MCUs for their in-room conferencing systems.
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