Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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AstriCon Asterisk Conference Soon

September 18, 2009

After ITEXPO's resounding success in Los Angeles (over 6,000 attendees), we can definitively say VoIP hasn't been as badly affected as other industry sectors within the U.S. economy. In just about 3 weeks, we can confirm this is true with the big AstriCon event held at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa in Glendale, Arizona. TMC's Internet Telephony Magazine is a media sponsor for the event.

Aastra Launches HD VoIP Audio called Hi-Q & Takes on Polycom

September 3, 2009

At ITEXPO, Aastra announced G.722 wideband audio codec support (HD audio) in their new 67xxi firmware version 2.5.0 or later. It's available as a free download from Aastra with no strings attached. No need to upgrade your 67xxi (formerly 57XXi) phone to a newer model to get HD audio. I spoke with Aastra at ITEXPO about this free upgrade and got a demo as well.

XCast Labs Cuts VoIP Bandwidth Requirements In Half

September 1, 2009

In the ITEXPO Press Room I just met with Cliff Rees, President & CEO of XCast Labs. They have some interesting VoIP technology, including a patent called  "direct RTP" which reduces VoIP bandwidth requirements in half.

The example Cliff gave was a VoIP call from Los Angeles to San Francisco using Net2Phone based out of New Jersey. When the Los Angeles user calls the San Francisco user, it initiates a 90Kbps IP call cross-country to Net2Phone's headquarters in New Jersey.

Microsoft OCS Call Recording

July 28, 2009

Last week, I wrote how Microsoft is making inroads in the enterprise with their Office Communications Server 2007 R2 platform and how they are looking to achieve five 9s of reliability. Well, one other critical feature needed for an enterprise phone system is decent call recording. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a lot of options for call recording on OCS 2007. One of the problems is that not all calls go through a PBX.

For instance, you can use the Microsoft Communicator client to call a co-worker who is also using Communicator.

Grandstream GXE5024 Review

July 27, 2009

In today's increasing cost-conscious economy, SMBs are looking for feature-rich IP-PBXs at the lowest cost. Many SMBs are willing to sacrifice some advanced telephony features to just get the basics, including call transfer, three-way conferencing, auto-attendant, and voicemail. Advanced features such as call queues or call recording are nice features to have, but many SMBs aren't willing to pay for higher-end IP-PBXs with this functionality. Fortunately, Grandstream's GXE5024 and GXE5028 products not only have the "basics", they also have some advanced functionality such as call queues -- and at a reasonable price of just $899 for the GXE5024 and $1399 for the GXE5028. Grandstream sent me a GXE5024 for a test drive review.

First, the only difference between the GXE5024 and the GXE5028 is the number of analog PSTN FXO ports - 4 ports vs.

KIRK 2010 <strike>WiFi</strike> DECT VoIP phone

April 9, 2009

The KIRK 2010 WiFi DECT VoIP handset launched today. This is the latest edition to the Polycom KIRK Series. I wonder if Captain Kirk is aware that Polycom is trying to copy his copyrighted 'communicator'?

Then again, Kirk's communicator didn't have a numeric keypad. Just turn the dial and instantly talk to the Star Trek Enterprise's bridge (hundreds of miles away) with seemingly no latency either.

Microsoft Roundtable is now Polycom CX5000 Unified Conference Station

March 30, 2009

Polycom and Microsoft today announced that "as part of Microsoft's vision to broaden the availability of Microsoft RoundTable, Polycom has licensed the right to distribute RoundTable, effective April 13, 2009." The product, renamed the Polycom CX5000 Unified Conference Station, will be available through Polycom and its channel network.

Polycom has 'exclusive rights', to sell the CX5000, which is a huge win for them. Although I have been a huge fan of the Microsoft Roundtable with it's cool 360 panoramic video, my guess is that Microsoft has had difficulty selling this expensive ($4300) videoconferencing equipment.

The CX5000 when used in conjunction with Office Live Meeting service, or as part of Office Communications Server 2007, it combines content, a panoramic 360-degree view of the entire meeting room, and a separate view of the active speaker for a unique and engaging voice and video experience.

The Polycom CX5000 will be available beginning April 13, 2009, at a list price of U.S. $4,300. The CX5000 will be available in 27 countries through Polycom's extensive channel partner network and will be available for shipment in late April.

Microsoft OCS 2010 Will Finally Eliminate the PBX

March 16, 2009

Well, Microsoft has let the cat out of the bag and leaked word that Microsoft OCS 2010 will "remove the need for PBX equipment within your organization". I'm certainly not surprised. Let's flash back to last year where I wrote and article titled Microsoft OCS 2007 R2 Heralds the Death of the IP-PBX. In it I wrote:
"Office Communications Server 2007 R2, debuting just one year after the Microsoft unified communications launch, highlights the pace of innovation that is possible with software," said Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division at Microsoft.

Polycom VVX 1500 Media Phone Game Changer?

March 9, 2009

Today, Polycom has launched the Polycom VVX 1500 touch-screen business media phone, a new VoIP phone that combines IP telephony with business-class video and the ability to integrate with business applications. Recently, Verizon make a big splash with their consumer-class Verizon Hub, a multimedia phone that combines VoIP, Internet access, color screen, video streaming, and more. One could easily make the case that the Polycom VVX 1500 is the "business-class" version of the consumer-oriented Verizon Hub phone.

Although there are many similar features and both could be classified as "media phones", the Verizon Hub does not do video conferencing, since it does not have an embedded camera. The Polycom VVX 1500 on the other hand does have a video camera embedded (2-megapixel) and is therefore more suited to video conferencing, which is more prevalent in the business world any way.

The Polycom VVX 1500 combines a personal video conferencing system with a fully featured voice over IP (VoIP) telephone along with Polycom HD Voice (wideband telephony) and an open application programming interface (API) and microbrowser for real-time delivery of personalized Web content.

SmartSIP Launches for OCS 2007 R2 Enabling Any SIP Phone & Any SIP Trunking Service Provider

March 4, 2009

OCS 2007 R2 won't replace your PBX just yet. However, their latest R2 version adds the ability to do direct SIP trunking, thus bypassing the need for an IP-PBX.

One drawback however is that Microsoft only supports direct SIP trunking with two providers, namely Global Crossing and Sprint. Well that's pretty lame, considering their are dozens of decent SIP trunking service providers and probably hundreds across the entire world.
Fortunately, Mike Stacy an OCS 2007 guru, over at Evangelyze Communications has some products that enhance OCS 2007 R2 functionality. One such product is SmartSIP which launches tomorrow.

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