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Tom Keating
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FaceTime Vantage - The Ultimate Unified Communications Compliance Tool

March 29, 2010

As I have mentioned in the past, controlling and monitoring Skype usage in the enterprise is very difficult. It is Skype's ability to work on any network, regardless of the types of NAT, proxy, firewall, or intrusion prevention systems that have helped make Skype such a popular application. It is this same set of characteristics that has made Skype the bane of many corporate network managers that wish to control what applications run on their network.

FaceTime Communications ( today announced the release of Vantage, a software solution for the security, management and compliance of real time and unified communications, including Skype. Vantage is the successor to FaceTime's IMAuditor, (note the name change) and it expands the support for UC platforms such as Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) and IBM Lotus Sametime and for the first time provides stringent security and compliance controls for Skype in the enterprise.

Most notable among the features integral to Vantage are extensive support for OCS Group Chat, compliance archiving and ethical wall creation for Microsoft Live Meeting and support for Call Admission Control (CAC) to manage resource allocation.  Support is also provided for logging IBM Lotus Sametime announcements, file transfer capture, scanning and controls and a host of compliance features including ethical walls, inline disclaimers and data leak prevention. 

In addition to controlling who can use Skype, the software also records the Skype instant messages, controls whether file transfers are allowed, and can control when VoIP or video can be used.

Egypt Bans Mobile VoIP

March 18, 2010

Egypt has banned international calls made through mobile VoIP internet connections, including Skype. This is obviously a big win for landline monopoly Telecom Egypt.

According to Reuters:

"The ban will apply to the three mobile operators in Egypt -- Mobinil, Etisalat Egypt and Vodafone Egypt -- who offer internet access for computers via USB and other mobile modems, as well as via mobile phone."

"The ban is on Skype on mobile internet, not on fixed, and this is due to the fact it is against the law since it bypasses the legal gateway," said Amr Badawy, the executive president of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA).

Under Egyptian law, international calls must pass through a network controlled by majority state-owned Telecom Egypt, which this week reported disappointing earnings.

While only mentioning Skype by name, Badawy did not rule out extending the ban to other services in the future.

"We are targeting any illegal voice traffic on the mobile (internet)," Badawy said, adding that the ban was communicated to the three mobile operators earlier this week.

New Nimbuzz Adds VoIP over 3G

March 11, 2010

Skype for Symbian

March 3, 2010

Skype for Symbian is now a downloadable application for Nokia phones and works over both WiFi and 3G.  Over 200 million Symbian users around the world can now use this Skype app to make FREE calls to other Symbian mobile users without chewing up cellular minutes. That's a huge market!

You can download it from Skype or from the Ovi store.

Features include:
  • make free Skype-to-Skype calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world
  • save money on calls and texts with Skype's low rates
  • send and receive instant messages to and from individuals or groups
  • share pictures, videos and other files
  • receive calls to your online number
  • see when Skype contacts are online and available to call or IM
  • easily import names and numbers from the phone's address book
Of course, Fring already runs on Symbian, which includes Skype calling and IM.

Skype to 3G Carriers - Tear down this VoIP over 3G wall! Verizon Complies

February 16, 2010

We can end my speculation now - Verizon Wireless is indeed enabling Skype to work over Verizon's 3G network. Wow! This is ginormous game-changing news. It would appear the great firewall between allowing VoIP over 3G on carrier's networks is finally cracking.

Skype to Offer VoIP over 3G on Verizon Wireless?

February 12, 2010

Skype's PR man Chaim Haas emailed the TMC team to tell us that Skype and Verizon Wireless will have a joint news conference next week being hosted by Verizon Wireless and Skype at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Now this is mere speculation, but this could potentially mean Skype over 3G on Verizon's network. Currently, the U.K.-based carrier 3 is the only one offering direct Skype calling on their cellular network, though you have to use special Skype phones. The question is will this Verizon Wireless deal be similar to 3 in that you need to purchase a special Skype-enabled handset? Or will some of the existing Verizon Wireless handsets support Skype via a software/firmware download?

Skype Outage Problem Yesterday

January 22, 2010

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 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.
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