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New Skype for iPhone & iPad Released

September 27, 2011


Today Skype announced a new version of Skype for the iPad and iPhone with the coolest new feature being a anti-shake software algorithm that smooths the video even if you have a shaky hand. It only works with the rear-facing camera however.

Update:
I neglected to mention an important new feature in this release. The new version adds support for Bluetooth headsets, a feature that users have been clamoring for. Good timing to add BT support in the same release they're adding mobile ads.



Top 50 Technology Blogs

September 26, 2011

eCollegeFinder just came out with their list of the Top 50 Technology blogs. Esteemed sites such as All Things Digital, Chip Chick, DVICE, Engadget, Macworld, Network World, and yours truly, my VoIP & Gadget blog made the list.

I received an email from an eCollegeFinder representative informing me about this award. Excerpt: "Congratulations!

Apple iPad - Your Next Desktop Phone?

September 22, 2011


I've been thinking about how the Apple iPad could really disrupt the VoIP space and become your next desktop phone. Think about the impact to companies such as Cisco, Polycom, Aastra, snom, Grandstream, and others. While these companies do offer low-end IP desktop phones, they have higher margins on the high-end large color screen IP phones that sport advanced features like RSS feeds (weather, news), collaboration, and video conferencing.

Take for instance the Aastra BluStar media phone, which sports a 13" touch screen that achieves true HD 720p video conferencing at a rate of 30 fps or the Polycom VVX 1500, which sports a a 7" color touch-screen and 2MP camera. Both IP phones are over $650, while the latest iPad 2 can be had for $450 (16GB model).


New! Plantronics MDA200

September 20, 2011


Plantronics is launching a new line of devices designed to help companies migrate from traditional desk phone-only usage to a unified communications (UC) infrastructure, including a new a multi-device adapter, the MDA200, as well as corded and wireless USB adapters.

The goal of these Plantronics "UC Enabler" products is to leverage your existing investment in traditional voice communications, such as desk phones, headsets and audio communication devices.  The MDA200 is a multi device switcher that instantly turns any corded or wireless USB headset into a multipoint headset. The MDA200 lets you answer, end, hold and switch between calls from any connected device with a press of a button. It supports Bluetooth and DECT wireless headsets.


MDA200 Wired USB headset configuration to deskphone & USB to PC

The goal of the MDA200 is so that you can use your existing corporate desktop phones, headsets, and even softphone applications, while also enabling the employee to use their existing personal or corporate-issued) Bluetooth headset paired to their mobile device.







Netflix DVD Now Qwikster - I Hate it!

September 19, 2011


Netflix is owning up to their mistake when they raised their price. I received an email from Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix which is quite interesting.
I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology.


Daring Fireball Gets It - Windows 8 Will Rival the iPad

September 15, 2011


Daring Fireball's John Gruber is as avid an Apple fan, enthusiast, zealot, freak, etc. as you will find on the Internet. Saying anything complimentary about Microsoft or Windows is akin to a Red Sox fan giving the Yankees a compliment. So it was a bit of a surprise when he amended his initial anti-Windows 8 operating system with the Metro touch UI and later stated he sees Metro / Windows 8 as a potential strong rival to the Apple iPad tablet.

Initially he wrote an article titled 'Windows 8 Fundamentally Flawed' where he wasn't too keen on Windows 8 competing with the iPad:
But I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build their next-generation OS and interface on top of the existing Windows.




CosmoCom and Telesphere Announce Partnership at ITEXPO

September 14, 2011


Contact centers looking for a comprehensive hosted voice, email and chat solution will be happy to learn that Telesphere, a Cloud Communication Service provider today announced a relationship with CosmoCom. CosmoCom is one of the early pioneers of cloud-based contact center solutions and certainly one of the leaders in this space. CosmoCom has won multiple TMC Labs Innovation Awards, including an award way back in 2002.

Telesphere's relationship with CosmoCom provides businesses and contact center operators with a portfolio of hosted contact center applications and advanced tools including:
  • Email, VoIP and chat, all of which can be captured and archived for training and follow up.
  • Skills-based routing so customers are routed immediately to the correct agent group.
  • Cradle-to-grave reporting, enabling businesses and contact centers to track every interaction for every customer.
  • An intuitive, graphical call-flow designer, which eliminates the need for special coding skills to create and modify call flows.
  • A 100 percent Web-based design, eliminating the need for client software.
  • The ability to bolt on third-party reporting tools.
  • Support for whisper and DNIS.
CosmoCom will demonstrate the new interaction management suite at Telesphere's ITEXPO booth, No. 837.

"Powered by CosmoCom, Telesphere's new, completely cloud-based contact center solution enables businesses and contact center operators to implement advanced tools quickly and without the need for a six-figure investment in premises-based hardware and software," said Sanjay Srinivasan, Telesphere CTO.





Hookflash for iPad Launches

September 13, 2011

Hookflash is skipping the iPhone and jumping right to the larger screen iPad to offer their feature-rich peer-to-peer communications and social media app. This goes to the heart of an article I've been thinking about  for months about how the iPad could replace the desktop phone. But that is an article for another day.


Hookflash for iPad is like a softphone application on steroids featuring  group video conferencing, group messaging, and participant profiles automatically created from information derived from business and social networks. You can also think of Hookflash as a "business" version of Skype, which tends to be more "consumer" focused.

Users can set up group video calls with Hookflash from the iPad with a simple swipe of the finger.




magicJack Plus Update

September 12, 2011


Here are some updates for the magicJack Plus, which I recently reviewed.

The magicJack Plus will be officially available this week on www.magicJack.com and will be available in major retailers before the holidays.

Other important updates:
  • Number porting capability will be included.
  • The magicJack Plus will be sold for $69.95 but all current users of the original magicJack will be able to upgrade for only 50% of that cost for 60 days. This will include the device and first year of service.
  • Renewal will remain at the $29.95 annual rate. This is an increase from what it has been in the past.  It was always 19.95 before, now it will be $29.95.






Artisan Infrastructure Solves the MSP Competition Conundrum

September 12, 2011

At ITEXPO I met with Artisan Infrastructure's CEO Brian Hierholzer to discuss how Artisan offers a compelling cloud-based solution for MSPs and service providers. Brian explained that one problem with existing managed service providers (MSPs) is that they often compete against their service provider customers by building and selling applications. Brian explained that competitors such as Amazon and Rackspace are now offering their own hosted applications, which undercuts service providers trying to offer hosted applications such as BDR (backup & disaster recovery), email, and hosted phone services leveraging VoIP.

Artisan on the other hand is a 100% pure play wholesale infrastructure services provider. They don't do any business direct to end users so they don't compete against service providers that use their service to build applications.

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