Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Skype P2P VoIP

Blue Jeans Network Launches Video Conferencing Service

June 29, 2011

Today, Blue Jeans Network announced the commercial availability of its cloud-based multi-party video conferencing service, which they've dubbed "any(ware) videoconferencing". I reviewed their impressive video conferencing product last month. I liked how their platform bridges together various business video solutions from Cisco/Tandberg, Polycom, Lifesize along with consumer video offerings from Skype and Google Talk. Users each get a private “meeting room” in the Blue Jeans cloud that they can use to schedule, host, and manage meetings through an easy web interface. Users can join the meeting using anything from a high-end Cisco/Tandberg videophone all the way down to a user running Skype and a cheap webcam.

As part of its public release, Blue Jeans announced that it has raised $23.5 million from Accel Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Norwest Venture Partners.

U.S. House of Representatives Approves Skype for Video Calls

June 28, 2011

Looks like the U.S. House of Representatives is adopting Skype to lower costs. According to Skype's Big Blog:
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Administration announced that they will open up the world of Skype communications to Members of Congress and their staff.

Google Talk Adopts Jingle As Default VoIP Protocol

June 24, 2011

Google has adopted Jingle as the default protocol for Google Talk. Jingle is an extension of the XMPP which allows for peer-to-peer and session control (signalling) for multimedia interactions such as VoIP and videoconferencing.

The protocol was developed by Google, Collabora, Yate, Tandberg and Jabber Inc. Others that support it include Asterisk, FreeSWITCH, Nimbuzz, and Pidgin. Imagine a P2P protocol that lets the thousands of Asterisk-based PBXs to communicate with each other using XMPP. Taking the Asterisk ecosystem along with other large user bases from Nimbuzz, Google Talk, and potentially others could potentially build the largest P2P VoIP / video conferencing network in the world. Bigger than Skype.

Google Building Skype-like App in the Browser

June 22, 2011

Look out out Skype, Google Chrome is looking to add voice & video capabilities to the Google Chrome browser. Shortly after releasing WebRTC audio and video chat software as open-source, Google has begun to integrate WebRTC into Google Chrome. They're leveraging Global IP Solutions (GIPS) for the VoIP and video codec pieces. As you know, GIPS used to be the packet loss concealment and VoIP codec used by Skype before Skype dropped them in 2006. Google acquired GIPS in May of 2010.

Gmail currently has audio and video capabilities but it requires the use of a proprietary plug-in, so it can benefit from this as well.

Nimbuzz Still Growing - Even Without Skype

June 20, 2011

According to Nimbuzz, since July of 2010, more than 28 million new users joined Nimbuzz. That amounts to an impressive 100,000 new users every day and they've doubled in size in year to 50 million users. That's even with Skype telling Nimbuzz to buzz off and remove Skype integration.

Of course, even with Skype integration removed, Nimbuzz still supports Facebook, Yahoo, Windows Live, Google Talk, AIM, and others. So it's still a popular mobile VoIP and instant messaging app.

Still, without Skype support, I'd expect Nimbuzz's growth to slow a bit.

Skype Integrates Deeper with Facebook

June 20, 2011

Skype today announced beta version 5.5 for Windows which adds more Facebook features to its already tight integration with Facebook. The new version lets Skype for Windows v5.5 users instant message their Facebook friends via Skype, making Skype a nice consolidated app for all your IM needs. You can also comment on friend's Facebook status updates. You also have the ability to use the Facebook News Feed within Skype to "like" a friend's status or comment on it without logging into Facebook.

Google Promotes $.0007 VoIP Access Rate to FCC

June 17, 2011

Google recently weighed in on the Universal Service Fund (USF) and carrier access charges, which will affect the future of both broadband and VoIP. Over the past few years, there have been past court skirmishes over whether VoIP service providers must contribute to the FCC. VoIP has changed the landscape of telecom regulation and the FCC is scrambling to keep up, while not killing innovation or slowing the fast growing VoIP industry in the process.

With Google offering the popular Google Voice offering, which technically isn't VoIP, but could head in that direction, Google is leery over having to pay into the USF or pay carrier access charges. After all, if Google carries the voice call over IP, why should they have to pay into the USF, which was designed to help rural areas have subsidized access to the PSTN network?

Top 20 VoIP Innovators of All Time

June 13, 2011

VoIP has come a long way since it was first popularized by VocalTec in the mid 1990s. Here is a slideshow of the Top 20 VoIP Innovators of all time with photo captions explaining why they merit this top 20 ranking. Most innovators are companies, but not all. Two important VoIP standards make the list, which cannot be attributed to a single individual or company.

Patent Lawsuit Filed Against Skype - Here we go again!

June 7, 2011

When I saw the TechCrunch headline 'Patent Lawsuit Filed Against Skype Same Day Microsoft Deal Was Announced' I immediately thought of the various Joltid lawsuits filed by co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who own the P2P technology licensed by Skype. But surely, Microsoft, which acquired Skype would have made their due diligence before paying out $8.5 billion for Skype. It turns out that it's not JoltId's Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis suing.

According to Techcrunch:
The case is Via Vadis Vs. Skype and was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia. Via Vadis is a Luxembourg-based company with a license to the patents in question: U.S.

Fix for Skype Sign In Problem

May 26, 2011

I logged onto my computer this morning to be greeted with a message saying "Skype has stopped working", i.e.:

Skype has never crashed on me. Well, not in the last 4 years or so I should say. I quickly learned there was a widespread outage with users unable to logon.

[Update: I'm basing my initial word choice 'widespread' based on Twitter users' tweets and the fact that my account got hit out of the millions of Skype users. A Skype spokesperson said it was not a widespread problem.

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