Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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VoIP news, trends, and opinions, VoIP reviews. Covering Asterisk, Cisco, Grandstream, Polycom, Microsoft, Vonage, Packet8, etc.

Skype Offers Direct Facebook Video Calling

November 17, 2011

Skype deepened its partnership with Facebook today by adding Facebook video calling directly within Skype for both its Mac and Windows applications. The just announced Skype 5.4 Beta for Mac and Skype 5.7 Beta for Windows can initiate a Facebook video call without having to fire up your browser, log in to Facebook, and then initiate a Skype video call. While this isn't earth shattering, it is pretty convenient. Previously, you could initiate a Facebook-to-Skype call from within Facebook (With the Skype plugin).

Polycom RealPresence Connects Non-standard TIP TelePresence Systems

November 16, 2011

I've written about Polycom supporting TIP (Telepresence Interoperability Protocol) and Cisco's response to Polycom supporting it. Well, today Polycom announced a new software update for Polycom RealPresence Platform designed to "free users locked into proprietary telepresence solutions."

This update will allow customers with standards-based video collaboration solutions, like Polycom, to join calls with non-standard based telepresence systems, like Cisco. The solution is made possible by Polycom's support for the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP), developed by Cisco and only implemented on Cisco TelePresence System suites. The latest RealPresence Platform software update, released today, also further extends interoperability across Microsoft and IBM UC environments.

Oh no! VoIP is Going Down. Big Bad Bear Economy Taking its Toll

November 16, 2011

Well, whaddya know, the VoIP industry is not invincible to the Great Recession, which started way back in 2008. For the longest time, VoIP was one of the stellar performers even in this down economy. Back in 2009 I wrote, "An interesting report by IBISWorld, Inc. just named VoIP as the predicted #1 performer In 2009 - it even beat video games. Yet more proof that VoIP isn't dead and indeed VoIP is the one shining bright spot in an otherwise dismal bear economy." But even the mighty VoIP (Chuck Norris?) cannot withstand a bear market going on 3+ years.


Chuck Norris (VoIP) vs.


Blue Jeans Networks Makes Skype & Microsoft Lync Interoperate

November 11, 2011


I've written about and reviewed Blue Jeans Network's multipoint telepresence solution, which bridges H.323 and SIP end-points, PSTN — and even Skype, with the goal of allowing users to connect everything from high-end video telepresence systems like Tandberg/Cisco and Lifesize to web cams running Skype to desktop IP videophones from Polycom, Grandstream, Cisco, and others. I mentioned back in May they were working on adding Microsoft Lync support. Well, now they have it.

According to a TMCnet article, it is showcasing “the industry’s first video conferencing interoperability between Skype and Microsoft Lync” at The Enterprise 2.0 Conference held at Santa Clara, California, November 14-17.

The new Blue Jeans individual plans include: $69 per month individual plan for 500 minutes (less than 14 cents per minute), $99 per month individual plan for 1,000 minutes (less than 10 cents per minute), and $199 per month individual plan for unlimited minutes (as little as 1 cent per minute).

I'll have to review it again and test the Microsoft Lync to Skype interoperability. Good stuff!






Bria VoIP Softphone now available on iTunes

November 11, 2011


CounterPath's Bria 3, a VoIP softphone app is now available for purchase on iTunes. Bria 3 is a softphone that enables you make voice and video calls from your Mac or PC. The ability to make this software purchase directly from iTunes is for Macs only, even though CounterPath offers a PC-version of Bria. PC users will have to purchase directly from CounterPath.

Obviously, CounterPath would prefer to sell direct to users so Apple (via iTunes) doesn't take a 'cut' of the revenue, but they must figure it's worth the extra exposure to be on iTunes and allow for instant purchase. The price for Bria 3 is $49.99.


Republic Wireless Hybrid WiFi / Cell VoIP Service for $19/month

November 8, 2011

What if you could get a cellular plan for $19/month with unlimited voice? Well, you can (sort of) using republic wireless's hybrid WiFi/cellular network approach. It includes unlimited WiFi VoIP calling, 550 minutes of cellular voice calling, 150 texts, and 300 megabytes of data. republic wireless is a division of Bandwidth.com, whose network and solutions power Google, Pinger, Skype, Groupme, RingCentral, Phonebooth, and others.



The caveats: There is a $199 startup fee, which gives you a LG Optimus phone running Android 2.3.



iMainGo XP Portable Stereo Speaker & Case for iPad

November 7, 2011


Portable Sound Labs has a new product called the iMainGo XP (model: 11BWB04), which is a portable stereo speaker for the iPad but also doubles as a protective case. It works on both the iPad 1 and iPad 2. It sports a rechargeable lithium ion battery, so it doesn't suck the power from the iPad and delivers at least six hours of playtime between charges. What's nice is that you can play audio and view your iPad without removing it form your protective iMainGo case.

Digium (Unofficially) Announces R-Series Redundancy Analog & PRI Appliances

October 27, 2011


Today, at a standing room only session presented by Digium's Jason Parker he discussed Digium's R-Series (R = Redundancy) appliance, which adds redundancy to analog & PRI trunks. It comes in two models - an analog model supporting 8 analog trunks and a PRI model supporting 8 PRIs. Interestingly, both will be priced at $995. I would have expected a premium on the 8 PRI model. The products will be generally available on December 9th of this year.

Asterisk 10 - The Inside Story

October 27, 2011



At AstriCon, I sat down with Digium's Steve Sokol, Asterisk Marketing Director, to discuss the big Asterisk 10 release. It's quite the version leap from 1.1, 1.2, 1.4 , 1.6, to 1.8 - and now to 10.0. Ironically, I knocked Asterisk's small version increments when I spoke with Mark Spencer 1-3 years ago. I asked Mark why the version numbering scheme was still less than 2.0.

Digium's Mark Spencer Questions Panasonic About Android APKs/Apps

October 26, 2011

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