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Tom Keating
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Add-on Makes Microsoft Lync Feature-Complete to Compete with PBXs

January 31, 2013


Yesterday, at ITEXPO I met with some representatives from Bressner, a German-based company with some interesting add-ons for Microsoft Lync. Now targeting the U.S. (English website) their Lync add-ons add some powerful features to Microsoft Lync that help make Lync have feature-parity with PBXs, allowing enterprises to use Lync as a PBX replacement with no compromise.

Bressner's Dr. Klaus Zünkler, Principal Solutions Architect and Mitch Friend discussed three of their Lync products. The first was FonComfort, which is designed to fill the feature-gap in Microsoft Lync. One of those feature-gap fillers is "true busy" so the caller doesn't have to pay for the call if you're already on another call. I asked Klaus and Mitch why this was a popular feature since typically a call would drop to voicemail if you were on a call or unavailable and they said this "true busy" feature was more popular in Europe due to a cultural thing.


Surf Communications Solutions Aims to Slay the Video Giant

January 30, 2013

Video conferencing has held promise for many years - dating back to the 1964 AT&T Picturephone, but now has the time finally arrived for video conferencing to take off? The simple answer is "yes", but it's way more complicated than that. Yes, standards like SIP and H.264 have made video interoperability between endpoints less of an issue, but there are other issues to consider. For instance, Polycom, Cisco, Avaya, and LifeSize have very expensive MCUs for their in-room conferencing systems.

WebRTC Challenges

January 22, 2013

WebRTC holds a lot of promise, and with the buzz surrounding WebRTC beginning to reach a fever pitch, it's worth pointing out the challenges facing WebRTC.

First, let's begin with the expectations set for WebRTC. At TMC's recent WebRTC Conference, a panel discussed how WebRTC has high expecations. WebRTC has very ambitious goals, aiming to become the de facto standard by which users voice and video chat with other Internet users, which has the developer community and techies like myself very excited. Recently, I've written about WebRTC Demo fun, 2013 - The Year of WebRTC, and

WebRTC Test Demo Fun

January 21, 2013

WebRTC is pretty cool, allowing you to perform VoIP and video conferencing all within a browser. I thought it would be cool to demo some WebRTC code here leveraging getUserMedia, an API that began as part of HTML5 and was split off into the W3C WebRTC specification suite. It allows JavaScript access to a device's cameras and microphones to enable in-browser VoIP and video-conferencing. Further, with HTML5 it's easy to apply cool video filters (think Instagram) on-the-fly while in a video conference.

So without further adeiu, let's try "Self View" Camera on your WebRTC-enabled browser - Google Chrome, Opera, and Firefox (nightly build only) all support WebRTC, though not Internet Explorer (yet).

Logitech UC Solution for Cisco 725-C Launches

January 17, 2013


Logitech has now integrated voice, video and messaging controls into the Logitech UC Solution for Cisco 725-C, a UC keyboard (K725-C), wireless mouse (M525-C), and HD camera (Logitech C920-C) combo designed for Cisco Jabber. Cisco Jabber is a unified communications software client that gives users access to presence, instant messaging (IM), voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing.

The keyboard features illuminated control buttons for call answer/end, mute video, mute audio, and volume controls. The keyboard LCD screen displays Caller ID, call duration and receives calls for the user currently signed into the system, making it ideal for hot desking work environments where users don’t have a permanently assigned desk or phone.


Former Apple & Pepsi CEO John Sculley to Keynote at ITEXPO's StartupCamp7

January 15, 2013

John Sculley has lead an interesting business life, including being a former CEO of Apple and Pepsi. Here he is standing next to legendary Steve Jobs in 1984 as they debut a new Macintosh computer in 1984.


John Sculley has been an innovator since his youth. By the age of 10, Sculley was dismantling radios and converting them into intercoms.


2013 - The Year of WebRTC

January 9, 2013

WebRTC has been making great strides of late. A few companies using worth checking out are bistri, Plivo, and twelephone. I'm in the process of testing bistri and twelephone, but I did actual use Plivo's proof-of-concept WebRTC offering, which I'll get into a in a moment.

First an overview of bistri and twelephone. bistri is pretty interesting because it lets you link with Facebook, Google, Windows Live, Yahoo, Jabber/XMPP, and Вконтакте.

Intel's North Cape Super-thin ultrabook/tablet Haswell Reference Design Impresses

January 8, 2013


At CES in Las Vegas, Intel discussed their next-gen chip road-map, including new ultra-low power Haswell processors powering ultra-thin notebooks/ultrabooks and desktop computers. One of the most interesting demos was Intel showing off a reference laptop called North Cape featuring their 4th generation Haswell chip inside. Like my favorite Samsung 700T tablet (primary tablet), the North Cape is a hybrid tablet / ultrabook. The North Cape hybrid tablet / ultrabook sports a 13.3" 1080p screen, with a removable keyboard dock and sporting 13 hours of battery life when the keyboard is attached (10 hours when in tablet mode).

Facebook Testing Free VoIP calling in Messenger app

January 3, 2013



Well, well, well - just days after my "Skype vs. Facebook - How WebRTC Will Turn Friends into Enemies" post where I said Facebook could crush Skype if they chose to get into VoIP, Facebook released a new version of Facebook Messenger for iOS that sports VoIP features.

According to the Verge, "Facebook today began testing a new feature in its Messenger app that lets Canadian users call each other for free anywhere they have a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. The test for now only applies to Messenger for iOS, but could roll out to Android users, as well as people worldwide, if the test goes well."

I just tried it out on my iPhone and so far it's only one-way voice messages that you record and send to your Facebook friends.





Skype vs. Facebook - How WebRTC Will Turn Friends into Enemies

December 27, 2012


Facebook and Skype currently enjoy a friendly relationship that all started back in 2011 when Facebook collaborated with Skype to integrate these two popular social networks. They then deepened their partnership by offering direct Facebook video calling. But I always wondered why Facebook didn't offer their own VoIP service. They own the largest social network in the world and could crush Skype if they so chose.
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