Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Plantronics .Audio <strike>910</strike> 920 headset

March 6, 2007

The Plantronics .Audio 910 (replaced by the new 920) Bluetooth VoIP headset was recently released. It works with Skype and other VoIP softphones, so I'll have to get my hands on one to review. Looking at the Plantronics .Audio 910/920 features, it looks very similar to the Plantronics 510-USB headset I reviewed. Just look at the product photos to the right, including one from my Plantronics 510-USB review.

Fonality launches new PBXtra Professional Edition

November 6, 2006

Fonality, provider of Asterisk-based IP telephony solutions (including trixbox 2.0), today announced the release of its new PBXtra Professional Edition IP-PBX and HUD (Heads-Up Display) Team application. I spoke with Chris Lyman, CEO of Fonality to get the scoop on this news. The short take is that PBXtra Professional Edition is a notch up from their Standard Edition targetting larger businesses that aren't necessarily call centers, scaling from 50 to 500 seats with enterprise-class features. Similarly, HUD Pro is launching, which is a big upgrade of HUD, offering more features that are interesting to larger companies - more on that later.

VoIP Call Recording

August 22, 2006

VoIP call recording software for popular VoIP applications such as Skype, Google Talk, Windows Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and the rest is something I get asked about all the time. I can't tell you how many times I get email requests for recommendations for the best VoiP call recording software as well as requests for call recording software and/or hardware to record strictly PSTN or traditional PBXs conversations. Even the VoIP Forums has a few threads involving requests for call recording, including this three-page thread titled "Call Recording Software" and this VoIP Forum posting, "SOHO VoIP call recording".

It's tough when I get so many of these help requests (usually via email, sometimes via phone) since it is in my nature to want to help people out.

Another IP-PBX company bites the dust?

August 8, 2006

After the news that Zultsys was going out of business, only to hear that they are being resurrected, word from two sources is that a well-known IP-PBX company may be on its last legs. I don't want to disclose who it is at this point without some further investigation. No point causing a company harm from what is just rumor at this point, but I will keep you posted.

This got me thinking though. What happened to the days when there were dozens of PBX manufacturers?

Unified Messaging supplants traditional voice mail?

June 19, 2006

I couldn't help but laugh at a prediction by In-Stat stating that "Unified Messaging poised to supplant traditional Voice Mail this decade". Didn't all the research groups make this prediction in the 1990's during the CTI hey day? Heck, I was one of the biggest advocates of unified messaging when I wrote for CTI Magazine in the 1990's - CTI was the precursor to VoIP and of course Internet Telephony Magazine. The prediction that unifed messaging (UM) would take the world by storm still hasn't happened.

IP-PBX market numbers continue to shine

May 30, 2006

Interesting IP-PBX stats within Infonetics's Enterprise Telephony report that shows IP-PBXs continued growth even with a generally slower 1st quarter. They also list the current IP-PBX market leaders (Cisco is listed as #1). This report doesn't list this, but I'd be curious the stats for "hosted IP-PBXs" that use SIP trunking with no customer premise IP-PBX equipment. My bet is that market is growing as well.

Overall PBX/KTS revenue down 2%, IP PBX up 1% in 1Q06

Despite a seasonally down quarter for the overall enterprise telephony market, the slow and steady move from circuit switching technology to packet switching technology remains evident, with worldwide TDM system revenue falling 11% and IP PBX revenue inching up 1% between 4Q05 and 1Q06, says Infonetics Research in its latest Enterprise Telephony report.

Combined, worldwide TDM and IP PBX systems revenue dipped 2% to $2.1 billion in 1Q06, but is 15% higher than a year ago.





Plantronics Voyager 510-USB Bluetooth headset review

May 25, 2006

Plantronics sent me their Voyager 510 Bluetooth headset to review. Unlike any other Bluetooth headsets, the Plantronics Voyager 510 USB Bluetooth headset is the first to simultaneously support both VoIP softphones on your PC and your Bluetooth mobile phone simultaneously -- negating the need to deregister/re-register your Bluetooth connection with the other device. Plantronics is able to do this using their exclusive Multipoint Technology.

Measuring 4.0 x 2.5 x 0.8 inches and weighing 5.6 ounces, the Plantronic Voyager 510 headset is pretty lightweight - after awhile you don't even notice it is there. It is slightly heavier and bulkier than the Motorola HS850 , but I found the Voyager 510-USB much more comfortable on my ear.

Enterprise VoIP adoption to double by 2010

May 10, 2006

According to Infonetics, enterprise VoIP adoption in North America will more than double by 2010.

Check out some of the interesting stats:

BOSTON, Massachusetts, May 10, 2006--While voice over IP is still in the early phase of adoption, it's starting to go mainstream, says a new study from Infonetics Research, "User Plans for VoIP, North America 2006."

In the three years Infonetics has conducted VoIP adoption surveys as part of their larger study on VoIP usage, one trend is clear: the number of small, medium, and large organizations that plan to deploy or at least evaluate the technology is rising steadily. At the same time, awareness of available products and services is increasing, and while awareness doesn't necessarily translate into deployments, it is one of the first obstacles any new technology must overcome.

"Our forecasts show a continued steady uptake of VoIP over the next few years, with adoption following a relatively straight line, not the S-shaped curve typically seen in the adoption of emerging technologies," said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst at Infonetics Research. "That's because VoIP uptake is largely tied to an organization needing a new phone system, and when companies buy a new phone system, they generally invest in the latest technology, which happens to be VoIP-based now. By our estimates, almost half of small and two-thirds of large organizations in North America will be using VoIP products and services by 2010."

A number of companies that are moving voice network investments aggressively from TDM to VoIP are actually decommisioning their legacy TDM PBXs, the ultimate show of confidence illustrating that VoIP has become enterprise-grade.

Study Highlights
   -  36% of large, 23% of medium, and 14% of small North American organizations interviewed were already using VoIP products and services in 2005
   -  VoIP adoption will triple by 2010 among small organizations in North America
   -  The top drivers for deploying VoIP are having an integrated phone system across multiple locations, scalability, operational cost savings, and converging voice and data networks
   -  Next to basic voice, money saving long distance/toll bypass is the highest ranked application for VoIP
   -  The percent of users at respondent sites accessing VoIP over wireless LANs grows from 5% in 2006 to 20% in 2008
   -  Among respondents using in-house VoIP, the most commonly used protocols for their IP phone endpoints now and in 2008 are SIP and the 4 versions of H.323
   -  Cisco, Avaya, and Nortel, the top PBX manufacturers in North America, head the list of manufacturers of VoIP products currently in use (IP PBXs, gateways, and IP phones)
   -  Organizations spent an average of $47,667 on hosted VoIP in 2005, growing 34% to $63,799 in 2007; for managed CPE, expenditures grow from $10,865 in 2005 to $28,367 in 2007

Infonetics conducted in-depth interviews with 240 small, medium, and large organizations that use VoIP products and/or services now or will by 2007, as well as 450 shorter interviews to determine VoIP adoption rates, and 150 exit interviews to determine why organizations are not deploying VoIP.





















Siemens targets the SMB VoIP market with P2P HiPath BizIP solution

May 1, 2006

Siemens Communications Inc. today announced its HiPath BizIP offering, a new peer-to-peer SIP VoIP phone system that negated the need for a complex enterprise network telephone system. Conceptually, this is similar to Popular Telephony or Nimcat Networks (now part of Avaya) , but the real news here is the fact that Siemens, a traditional "big iron PBX company" is now offering a P2P phone system that doesn't require a centralized PBX - instead the intelligence is located on the "peers", i.e. the phones. Now that's Avaya and Siemens that have embraced P2P phone systems.

Cisco Unified Communications Changes Everything?

March 5, 2006

Cisco at 12am March 6th will launch their new Unified Communications System (www.cisco.com/go/unified) aimed at streamlining business processes, and helping to drive productivity. Unified Communications (UC) will feature new presence, desktop tools, mobile integration and network intelligence to improve business agility and customer interaction, but just as importantly as I will indicate later, Cisco is fully embracing the SIP standard on their desktop phones. I interviewed Cisco last week and they told me that I was the first journalist or analyst to have a "first look" at this major announcement.


Cisco IP phone & the new IP Communicator softclient

Perhaps I misread the tone of the Cisco representatives during my call, but they initially seemed to downplay the significance of Cisco's embracing of SIP in favor of focusing on the entire Unified Communications platform. But in my opinion, Cisco embracing SIP is just as big news as their Unified Communications system, but more on that later.

Essentially, Cisco Systems, unveiled the Cisco Unified Communications system, which is a new suite of voice, data and video products and applications specifically designed to help organizations of all sizes to communicate more effectively.






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