Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions


Microsoft Lync Meets Video Kinect on Xbox 360

November 22, 2010

During my New York City demo with Microsoft's Lync team a few weeks ago I discussed with one of the Microsoft employees the Kinect for the Xbox 360 and how it would be a perfect fit for Microsoft Lync. He hinted it would indeed be coming. The Kinect is basically a two-camera system, comprised of one 640x480 color camera and another 640x480 IR depth-finding camera using for mapping objects in 3D. Kinect already offers video chat with Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger system, but that is more of a consumer-based app. Certainly adding Microsoft Lync support to Kinect makes a lot of sense.

KONNECT Office Phone System Review

November 19, 2010

Aksys Networks KONNECT Office Phone System is a fascinating P2P VoIP IP-PBX targeting the SME/SMB space. When I first head of a peer-to-peer phone system I immediately flashed back to Nimcat Networks, which was one of the first to offer a P2P phone system, way back in 2004. Nimcat Networks was acquired in 2005 by Avaya and then killed off about 6 months ago in favor of Avaya's IP Office SME solution. Thus, ended the great enterprise P2P VoIP experiment leaving just Skype as the sole P2P VoIP solution.

Blink SIP Client Now Available on Windows!

November 18, 2010

You may recall my posted "Blink, Best Damn SIP Client You Never Heard Of!" Unfortunately, at the time I wrote that, only Mac and Linux versions were available. For once, Windows got the short end of the stick! But no more! The first release for Blink on Microsoft Windows, version 0.2.0 is now available.

New Solution Enables Microsoft Lync to Talk to Land Mobile Radio users (VHF, UHF, P25, etc.)

November 17, 2010

One of Microsoft’s partners, Twisted Pair Solutions, maker of WAVE software now supports Microsoft Lync. WAVE Lync Communicator extends Lync by adding push-to-talk connectivity between office-based workers and their mobile worker colleagues who use two-way radios and smartphones. WAVE Lync Communicator breaks down the communications barrier found with two-way radio and other proprietary communication systems bringing critical communications workers in the field into the enterprise communications fold.

WAVE enables users of Lync to talk to land mobile radio users (VHF, UHF, P25, Tetra, etc.), group audio channels (hoot-and-holler networks, emergency broadcasts), paging/intercom systems and PC-based applications. With WAVE, all of these disparate devices and communication channels are now available from a single interface embedded within Lync.

Microsoft Lync Mini-review

November 16, 2010

Rich Tehrani and I were in NYC recently checking out Microsoft's latest UC offering, Microsoft Lync, which officially launches this week. I've been busy testing it out using some virtualized images Microsoft gave me, so haven't had time to write-up my initial impressions from the demo Rich and I had in New York. But no worries, Rich has an excellent write-up worth a look.

As a teaser, here's a snapshot of me testing Lync with Rich with Mary Jo Foley of "All About Microsoft" ZDNet fame in the background:

I hope to write a full review of Microsoft Lync soon. Although the virtualized images Microsoft sent me expired and want me to "Activate Windows" now. Doh!

Avaya IP Office v6.1 Launches

November 15, 2010

Avaya, Inc. today released Avaya IP Office Release 6.1. Avaya IP Office is the company’s flagship communications solution for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The new version delivers a host of business collaboration and customer service enhancements that can improve ease-of-use and worker productivity for SME workers, while introducing significant new efficiencies for businesses. I had a conference call and demo with Avaya executives to find out what would be in the latest version of IP Office.

Bria for Android v1.0 Launches

November 9, 2010

Bria for Android just launched. It's priced at $7.99 ($8.99 more for G.729 codec support) and is available here. Check out the features:

Bria Android Edition has all the standard telephone features, including:

  • Support for an account on any SIP-compliant server
  • Multi-tasking support for background operation, such as fielding incoming calls while using other applications
  • Call display and voicemail indicator
  • Voicemail support
  • Speakerphone, Mute and Hold
  • A detailed call history pane that displays dialed, answered and missed calls, along with ability to delete entries
  • Contact List – leveraging the phone’s native address book
  • The ability to work with the native dialer (a.k.a. Call Intercept)
  • Ringtones and contact avatars
  • Dial plan support (softphone-side)
  • Multiple call support
    • Swap between two active calls
    • Merge calls (three-way conferencing support)
    • Call transfer (attended and unattended)
  • Audio codecs include G.711a/u, iLBC and GSM
    • Option to purchase with or without G.729 codec
  • Automatic codec selection to ensure optimal call quality
  • Noise reduction
  • DTMF support: the ability to enter number into an auto attendant
    • via RFC 2833 or SIP INFO

Advanced Features

  • NAT traversal
    • Application managed, server managed or user specified
    • Global IP support
    • STUN and ICE
  • Media efficiency and quality
    • VAD (Voice Activation Detection)
    • QoS (Quality of Service)
    • ToS Marking
  • Security and encryption
    • TLS
    • SRTP
  • Logging support for trouble shooting
  • DNS SRV record lookups


ooVoo Adds Facebook and YouTube Integration

November 9, 2010

Today ooVoo announced their new 2.9 software update which includes powerful social media integration and video sharing. In 2.9, users can connect and share their ooVoo status with Facebook and invite Facebook friends to join them on ooVoo, as well as upload recorded video calls or messages to YouTube.

“Our latest 2.9 release with Facebook and YouTube integration is a great first step in allowing fans of ooVoo to combine their social networks with their video chat experience,” said Philippe Schwartz, CEO of ooVoo.  “The growth of our high quality service is driven by our goal to provide seamless video communication on multiple platforms.  We’ll continue to grow as we integrate social media tools and launch new products that help ooVoo accomplish anywhere, anytime video communications.”

Other changes in version 2.9 include the launch of “ooVoo Buddy,” a tool designed to help users create video messages or launch a multi-person call, and inform users of new features that can enhance their ooVoo experience. 

Skype 5.0 Beta for Mac Launches

November 4, 2010

Skype for Mac 5.0 is now available for Mac in beta, which includes a revamped look that aims to simplify navigation and provide a "more Mac-like experience". For instance, the Skype app has been brought together in one window and the Mac address book has been integrated.

Perhaps the biggest new Skype for Mac feature is group video calling, which allows you to make video calls with >2 people.

The new Skype for Mac also includes the following new features:

  • New call control bar — Hang up, mute and more from a mini Skype toolbar that sits on top of any web pages, documents or photos you’ve got open
  • Search chat content to easily navigate past conversations
  • Offline IM so that you can send and receive instant messages even if the recipient is offline
  • Personalise contacts via user profiles
  • Quickly rejoin calls if your Internet connection fails momentarily
  • Floating Contacts Monitor to see your online contacts and contact groups

Check out this video:

Read more

Time Warner Cable Beefs Up Home Phone Features with VoiceZone

November 3, 2010

Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., with  more than 14 million customers today announced VoiceZone, a new web-based portal providing online access to customizable features for customers to control and monitor Time Warner Cable Digital Home Phone service over the web.

VoiceZone customers can change call settings including caller ID, access voicemail, block unwanted calls and set distinctive rings, which can be accessed through the company’s My Services online platform under the MyHomePhone tab. VoiceZone is a free service, but customers must first register for MyServices at

“Time Warner Cable is focused on keeping customers easily connected to what’s important to them.  The introduction of VoiceZone to MyServices, much like our recently added Remote DVR Manager, provides customers with the convenience of managing Time Warner Cable products from outside the home,” said Jeffrey A. Hirsch, Chief Marketing Officer, Time Warner Cable’s East Region.  

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