Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Unified Communications

TMC & Digium Partner for Digium|Asterisk World at ITEXPO

October 6, 2008

I've had some big news I had to keep under wraps until today. My company, Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) and Digium, the Asterisk Company, today announced that they have partnered to host Digium|Asterisk World™ during INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO East 2009 in Miami, Florida. Having ITEXPO host Digium|Asterisk World is a huge win for TMC and further cements TMC's ITEXPO as the most preeminent VoIP and IP communications show. In fact, I recently came across this quote from Phonevite, "With the demise of the VON Show, the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo (aka ITEXPO) is now regarded as the biggest and most eminent show in the VoIP industry."

Digium|Asterisk World at ITEXPO will be the conference that addresses "Everything Asterisk" for business users, resellers and executive decision-makers.

fring Adds VoIP to iPhone

October 4, 2008

fring for iPhone has arrived! I'm a huge fan of fring, which I like to call the Swiss Army knife of VoIP/IM communications since fring works with AOL/AIM, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, Skype, Twitter, Yahoo! Messenger, and SIP registrars/IP-PBXs. I've used fring on my Windows Mobile 6.1 phone to connect to an Asterisk-based IP-PBX using SIP which enabled me to remotely make and receive calls. fring is a currently a free pre-release app free on iTunes.

VoIP using fring is of course restricted to WiFi connections - it won't work over 3G, but still cool nonetheless. Further, according to the apps description in iTunes you can IM over 3G, GPRS, EDGE, or WiFi, so you can use fring as your centralized IM application on your iPhone.

• VoIP (Voice) Calls over WiFi
• Instant Messaging
• Integrated dynamic contact list 
with real-time contact availability
• SIP integration
• Multiple Connection types

Download fring (free app) for iPhone here.

Microsoft Office Communication Server R2 ships in December plus Hosted OCS Coming

September 23, 2008

I discovered two Microsoft job postings several weeks ago and have been meaning to blog the discovery that Microsoft Office Communication Server R2 will ship in December of this year. One is for 'Software Development Engineer in Test - MBD - RTC' and the other for 'Lead Software Develpment Engineer in Test - Office Communications Server'. One of the job posting says:
"The Office Communications Server team is starting a new deployment/management/administration team at Beijing. The Office Communications Server product team must deliver both an on-premise version of the Server as well as offering a hosted Service for Small and Medium Businesses.

HUD 3.0 for trixbox CE and any other Asterisk IP-PBX!

September 23, 2008

I spoke with Kerry Garrison last week at ITEXPO and he gave me a news scoop that Fonality would soon offer the HUD 3.0 Unified Communications client for the open source trixbox CE Asterisk-based platform. trixbox CE is one of the most popular Asterisk distributions. I recently commented in my trixbox Pro review (paid version),"The feature-rich HUD Pro client is certainly a competitive advantage Fonality has over many other Asterisk-based solutions." As such, offering HUD 3.0 for trixbox CE is a major move by Fonality.

In fact, Kerry told me that once HUD has been ported to trixbox CE, the new HUD will work not only on trixbox CE but should also work other Asterisk flavors, i.e. Switchvox, PBX in a Flash, Voiceroute, etc.

Fonality Targets Call Centers with Advanced Call Center Features

September 18, 2008

I met with Fonality CEO Chris Lyman at ITEXPO and he gave me a demo of HUD 3.0, which includes some very advanced call center features. HUD 3.0 now not only displays the queues, but it lets you drag-and-drop individual queues off the main HUD client onto your Desktop allowing managers & agents to focus on specific queues of interest. The new version features important statistics such as abandonment rate, ASA (average speed of answer), and more. You can see all of your agents in a particular queue and they are color coded to indicate their status (on internal call, on queue call, etc.)

One critical feature is that if a call is not being answered, it immediately broadcasts a toast popup window to all the agents in the queue and allows an agent to take the call before it is abandoned.

ITEXPO West 2008 Best of Show Winners

September 18, 2008

It's been a great ITEXPO - perhaps the best West Coast show we've had, especially when you consider the economic turmoil. It's worth sharing the companies and their products that were just awarded "Best of Show" at TMC's Internet Telephony Conference & Expo.
Best Service Provider Solution
Ring Carrier
Best Large Enterprise Solution
Instant Solutions
Best SMB Solution
Best Consumer Offering
Best Development Tool
Apex Voice Communications
Touchstone Technologies
Most Innovative Solution
Best Booth
WBS Connect
Best of Call Center 2.0
Best of Open Source
Editors' Choice
SIP Print
KnoahSoft, Inc.
Volt Delta
"These companies are pioneers and their products represent the cream of the crop in VoIP solutions," said Rich Tehrani, president and group editor-in-chief of TMC. "As the event grows, selecting Best of Show winners each year becomes more and more difficult as the solutions displayed on the exhibit floor become more and more impressive."
Tehrani continued: "Every product is worthy of distinction, therefore you can rest assured that the companies and products on the list this year represent truly outstanding achievement in IP telephony."

ITEXPO West 2008 a Resounding Success

September 18, 2008

Some great news from TMC about our IP communications conference & expositions (ITEXPO) taking place this week that I thought I'd share. The show is still going on, with today being the last day. Yesterday's exhibit hall attendance was tremendous as seen by some photos I snapped and posted yesterday. I had some great meetings or saw many important VoIP companies, including Asterisk/Digium, CosmoCom, Fonality, Microsoft, Packet8, PIKA, Skype, and more.

Zeacom News

September 17, 2008

Zeacom, a provider of Unified Communications (UC) solutions for the small-to-medium sized business market, is showcasing its new Executive Mobile module at ITEXPO, which is part of Zeacom Communications Center (ZCC) 5.1. Claiming more than 2,500 enterprises worldwide, Executive Mobile gives end-users advanced UC functionality on their smart phone or other handheld device with support for Blackberry and Windows Mobile. Zeacom President, Ernie Wallerstein demo'ed the platform in the ITEXPO press room and I was pretty impressed.

Executive Mobile gives individuals the ability to manage their presence and availability status from their mobile. All functionality currently available on the desktop (single mailbox, presence profiles and directory) will be available on Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices.

Zeacom President, Ernie Wallerstein, believes that executives in today's hyper-competitive global marketplace must have access to this critical functionality.

HUD3 Launches

September 17, 2008

Apparently, Fonality has decided to launch HUD3 (also called HUD 3.0), the latest version of their latest communications client at ITEXPO. I was aware HUD 3.0 was coming soon, but did not know it was launching at ITEXPO until I saw T-Shirts being worn by fellow TMC team members in the registration area with HUD3 written on them. I used my top secret security clearance badge   to get into the off-limits exhibits area, which was still in the setup phase. I went over to the Fonality booth to see if I could confirm if HUD3 was launching and sure enough their booth display announces HUD3.

I guess Chris Lyman decided ITEXPO was the best place to announce the news.

VoIP is Dead, Long Live VoIP!

September 17, 2008

In case you missed Skype General Manager for Voice & Video Jonathan Christensen's ITEXPO keynote, you can check out my mobile phone video phone recording here. In the keynote, Johnathan made a bold statement - "VoIP is dead". Specifically Jonathan said, "The title of my talk is: 'VoIP Is Dead.' So, maybe a little bit of controversy about that, but as I said, let's work through it." TMCnet's Michael Dinan has a good summary of the keynote here.

Of course, VoIP isn't really dead, as can be demonstrated by the 175 exhibitors at ITEXPO, and the plethora of research reports that shows VoIP is growing very rapidly. What Jonathan is attempting to point out in a somewhat sensational manner is that VoIP - or voice over IP will become less important as video over IP and unified communications grows.

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