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Tom Keating
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SIP

flaphone Enables Free Web-based SIP-to-Skype calls

February 20, 2009

Today, flaphone (formerly Flashphone) announced that users of their Flash VoIP application can now make a call from flaphone to skype. You simply need to enter sip:skype_username@skype after selecting "none"(global)" for the SIP account. I should mention that flaphone supports multiple SIP credentials, which is a really nice feature. I've been testing flaphone for several weeks now and have been meaning to write up their cool Flash-based VoIP application.

In any event, for my first test call I entered sip:tomkeating@skype and pressed the call button.

Build your own SIP-to-Skype gateway using Asterisk

February 17, 2009

While we wait for Digium's official SIP-to-Skype gateway, Nerd Vittles today informed me about his very cool recipe that you can use today to build your own free SIP-to-Skype gateway enabling you to use your SIP-based desktop phones connected to Asterisk to make Skype inbound/outbound calls.

Part of the recipe uses SipToSis - SIP to Skype Gateway Bridge Proxy. SipToSis is a piece of software which Nerd Vittles points out "forms the lynchpin of Gizmo's offering and which lets any Asterisk user create much the same gateway at no cost other than the expense of any Skype Out calls you may choose to make."

Nerd Vittles explains in his tutorial:
When we're finished, you'll be able to call any Skype user in the world from any extension on your Asterisk server by entering either a Skype username or any 10-digit telephone number preceded by an 8 to take advantage of SkypeOut calling rates. You'll also be able to receive incoming calls from any Skype user on any extension of your Asterisk system. In short, what you get is a transparent interface to several hundred million Skype users from your Asterisk server.

In summary, with this tutorial you'll be able to dial Skype users, as well as receive incoming calls from any Skype user!




Want to Make Some <em>Sick</em> Money in VoIP?

February 13, 2009

Garrett Smith over at VoIP Supply has an interesting post titled 'Sick of not making money on VoIP hardware?' He's seeing the glass half empty. I see it half-full, which is why my article is titled 'Want to Make Some Sick Money in VoIP?'

Garrett writes:

Remember the good 'ole days? When you actually made fat margins on the VoIP hardware products you sold.

It was great.



OpenSky enables SIP-to-Skype Calls

February 10, 2009

Michael Robertson, CEO of Gizmo5 has done it again! He has launched a cool new service called OpenSky http://gizmo5.com/opensky, a service that enables SIP-to-Skype calling. It's not the first time someone has broken the Great Wall of Skype to enable SIP-to-Skype calling, but it's always great to have a new method of accessing the popular Skype network using the standard SIP protocol.

Gizmo5's free Skype gateway called OpenSky is open to all users enabling any SIP-based VoIP software or SIP-based phone system to make calls to Skype users. What they've done is to create a SIP alias for every Skype user.

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 7.0 with WebEx integration Review

February 5, 2009

Here is a preview of the TMC Labs review of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 7.0, which is scheduled to be published in the March issue of Internet Telephony Magazine. Enjoy!



Cisco Systems, Inc.
Web site: http://www.cisco.com

Pricing:
40 concurrent user licenses (750 users), audio conferencing, includes application server software and media server hardware for voice conferencing - $79,999 ($2000/concurrent user)

100 concurrent user licenses (2000 users), audio conferencing, includes application server software and media server hardware for voice conferencing - $127,999 ($1280/concurrent user)

In both sample pricing scenarios, it also includes 6 concurrent web and 6 concurrent video licenses (customer needs to purchase video blade to use video licenses)

Note: As seen by the two example prices the concurrent user price comes down quickly as the system size grows.
Additionally, the customer would also need to purchase a $12,000 Cisco Media Convergence Servers, which is a standard server running Linux

//////////////////////////////////
RATINGS (0-5)
Installation: 5
Documentation: Not tested
Features: 5
GUI: 5
Overall: A
///////////////////////////////////

Unified communications is all the rage these days, especially when businesses are looking to optimize productivity and reduce costs. But what really is "unified communications"? You might be surprised at the different answers you'd get from various people.

























Bootable Flash Drive creates 15-Minute Turnkey Asterisk Installs on Atom-based processors

February 4, 2009

How'd you like a bootable USB flash drive which can create turnkey, full-featured Asterisk PBX systems in 15 minutes or less? Nerd Vittles has a recipe specially designed for the new Atom-based motherboards found in most netbooks. Nerd says it also works just fine with Dell's PowerEdge T100 servers.

He writes how this is perfect for on-site demos:

For those that demo systems for a living, no one will touch this presentation. Just show up at a customer site with a $300 Acer Aspire One NetBook and an Aastra 57i business phone.



VoiceGear SkyBridge at ITEXPO

February 3, 2009

IndustryDynamics' VoiceGear SkyBridge is a Skype-to-PBX product that works with analog and VoIP PBX systems and connects them with the Skype network. I stopped by their booth at ITEXPO to learn more. They told me that SkyBridge supports up to 60 Skype accounts and up to 4 simultaneous Skype channels. They demonstrated the web interface used to provision Skype accounts and other settings.

Plantronics .Audio 1100M USB phone for Office Communicator 2007

February 3, 2009

Plantronics today unveiled a phone handset optimized for Microsoft Office Communicator 2007. The new wideband .Audio 1100M USB phone handset features a standard, 10-key dial pad combined with call-answer and call-end keys, a visual ring indicator, a speakerphone activation key and ringer volume control. A headset jack is also available on the handset for users who want a hands-free option.

The Plantronics MCD 100 USB speakerphone, also announced today, is an option for those conducting group conference calls via Office Communicator 2007.

U.S. Social Security Blows $300 Million on Nortel VoIP system

February 2, 2009

According to CNN:
Nortel Government Solutions, a U.S. company wholly owned by Nortel completed the core network for the massive new U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) VoIP system within 180 days of initial purchase orders, an aggressive requirement of the 10-year, US $300 million Telephone Systems Replacement Project (TSRP) award.

Now I'm all for Social Security upgrading their phone systems and going VoIP, but $300 million? $300 million?

Microsoft Response Point SP2 launches + review

February 2, 2009

At ITEXPO in Miami, Florida, Microsoft has just launched Response Point SP2, the latest version of their IP-PBX. Microsoft sent me a sneak peek of the SP2 beta code in January to check out. I've reviewed the Microsoft Response Point system in the past and have been impressed with how easy it is to setup and install and I like the speech-recognition functionality that is built-in. With SP1 Microsoft added some sorely needed features.
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