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FREETALK Connect Alliance Formed at IT EXPO 2010

January 21, 2010

Andy Abramson (aka Mr. Harem of VoIP/Communications clients) told me that the new FREETALK Connect Alliance formed at ITEXPO has received a lot of interest from various companies looking to join in addition to the 14 charter members that have already joined.

Here's the news announcement:

FREETALK Connect Alliance Formed at ITEXPO 2010 with 14 Charter Members;
Open Alliance Members Will Offer Products and Services that Leverage
FREETALK Connect, Voice 2.0 Applications and Cloud-Based Services

Members will offer innovative products and cloud-based services that interoperate with FREETALK Connect via Asterisk, Skype, SIP, Skype for SIP, or PSTN

FREETALK® and 13 other companies today announced the formation of the FREETALK Connect Alliance, an open alliance of companies that will provide innovative applications, products and services to expand the capabilities of the FREETALK Connect communications system. The alliance is open to companies that offer products and services which build on the capabilities of the FREETALK Connect, "Voice 2.0" in concept, and can interoperate with Asterisk, Skype™, SIP, Skype for SIP or the PSTN.

The FREETALK Connect simplifies set up, enabling small business users that are not tech savvy to use it quickly and simply, without formal training. Supported telephones are plugged into the company's network and the FREETALK Connect auto-detects and configures them. An on-screen wizard then guides the customer through a few business-related questions that help configure the company's communication system and enables Skype calling from every supported desktop phone in the office.

FREETALK Partners With Jazinga To Create FREETALK Connect

January 21, 2010

In case you were wondering how FREETALK Connect came about, it's a collaboration effort between Jazinga and FREETALK. Jazinga was launched in September 2008 as an easy 15-minute IP-PBX install that is also easy to manage. FREETALK creates a few Skype-related products including the Everyman Skype headset, which I reviewed.

Here's the news announced at ITEXPO...

FREETALK Partners With Jazinga To Create FREETALK Connect
Companies Collaborate On Skype-enabled Small Business Communication System Featuring Set Up In Less Than 15 Minutes

As the result of a new partnership announced today at ITEXPO East 2010, FREETALK and Jazinga have created the FREETALK® Connect, a full-featured unified communications system that is the first to feature Skype for SIP and Skype for Asterisk functionality.

FREETALK and Jazinga collaborated in designing the FREETALK Connect, featuring a do-it-yourself (DIY) technology approach that can be configured in less than 15 minutes, enabling users who are not tech savvy to use it without formal training.

FREETALK Connect Unveiled at ITEXPO

January 21, 2010

So much news coming out of ITEXPO that I missed some interesting news from yesterday. One bit of news worth sharing is from In Store Solutions which introduced FREETALK Connect, a communications platform that enables Skype calling for SMBs. Using FREETALK Connect, companies can make free Skype-to-Skype calls and can view and manage Skype contact lists using their supported office phones.

Importantly, the system can also receive inbound voice calls from users of Skype around the world. They can also participate in the Skype for SIP open beta, which will enable them to take advantage of Skype's low-cost global calling rates for calls to landline or mobile phones around the world from their desktop phones.

I'm hoping to see a demo of the system with Andy Abramson and Andrew Hansen today. Jim Courtney seemed to be a big fan of FREETALK Connect from my discussions with him in the ITEXPO press room yesterday.

According to In Store Solutions, "The FREETALK Connect simplifies set up, enabling small business users that are not tech savvy to use it quickly and simply, without formal training.

Calliflower Adds Skype Calling

January 21, 2010

At ITEXPO Iotum announced their Calliflower hosted conferencing and collaboration platform added support for Skype calling. Calliflower, a web-based conferencing and collaboration platform can now be reached from any Skype-enabled PC or phone as well as from traditional PSTN phones. I spoke with Alec Saunders, CEO of Iotum in the ITEXPO press room and asked him how he was connecting to the Skype cloud. He told me they were leveraging Skype for SIP.

Yahoo's Challenges Deploying Asterisk Corporate-wide

January 20, 2010

At TMC's ITEXPO, Yahoo's Jeremy Wadhams revealed not only that Yahoo! has deployed Asterisk corporate-wide, but the challenges he faced in adopting Asterisk throughout the organization, including several Yahoo! branch offices , several acquisitions of other companies, including Dialpad & Overture, as well as the usual corporate culture and politics to contend with,

Jeremy demonstrated Yahoo!'s interesting custom web application which integrates their flavor of Asterisk with web-based email & voicemail, corporate directory, as well as the ability for users to reset their voicemail PINs themselves - the bane of every IT administrator's existence.

One interesting tidbit was that it he figured after reaching 25% penetration, the last 75% would be a cakewalk. It didn't turn out that way.

Rich Tehrani kicks off the keynotes at ITEXPO

January 20, 2010

Use of WiMAX in Smart Grid Networks

January 20, 2010

Truphone Local Anywhere - All Calls Now a Local Call

January 20, 2010

More great news coming out of ITEXPO. Truphone today announced the launch of its Truphone Local Anywhere™ service - a full GSM solution that makes it easier and more convenient for international travelers to stay in touch while saving more than 90 percent on their mobile phone bills. The new global mobile phone service provides consumers with local numbers and access to local rates for calls, texts and data in multiple countries on a single SIM card. Essentially, it leverages a smart, multi-country SIM card that eliminates roaming charges and provides local voice, data and text rates

The service launches today for the United States and the U.K., and the company plans to rapidly roll out Truphone Local Anywhere to a number of key business and leisure destinations in 2010, both across Europe and in longer haul destinations such as Australia, Hong Kong and South Africa.

Truphone Local Anywhere offers customers four main benefits:

·     Local calling rates in Truphone countries: With Truphone Local Anywhere, international travellers enjoy rates that are a fraction of standard roaming fees.

How Aerospace Research Is Helping Energy and the Smart Grid

January 20, 2010

Jon Arnold gives an introduction to an ITEXPO session titled 'A Systems Approach to Energy / Grid Security', which you can see in the video below. As he points out and asks me for confirmation, this is the 11th year for ITEXPO. The session continued to fill-up until it was standing room only in the back of the room.

Ron Sega was the primary speaker. He is the Woodward Professor of Systems Engineering for Colorado State University (CSU).

Ifbyphone Acquires Cloudvox - Offers Flexible Cloud Telephony

January 20, 2010

At ITEXPO, Ifbyphone announced that have acquired Cloudvox, a company that offers "open" hosted Asterisk telephony applications. I spoke with Irv Shapiro, CEO of Ifbyphone by phone just after he passed through Chicago Ohare's airport security on his way down to ITEXPO in Miami. Irv explained that the marriage of Ifbyphone and Cloudvox brings the best of "proprietary" telephony apps by Ifbyphone and "open" Asterisk AGI and AMI applications that developers can build on Cloudvox.

Irv explained that with the Cloudvox acquisition they now offer 3 scenarios for applications:
- Own the application(s)
- Rent the application(s)
- Have developers integrate or build application(s) from scratch

Essentially, you can use the pre-built apps offered by Ifbyphone or you can do
Asterisk AGI or AMI in the cloud. AGI and AMI are part of Asterisk's core API allowing you to develop applications for the popular open source Asterisk platform.

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