Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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Mark Spencer AsteriCon 2012 Keynote! [VIDEO]

October 24, 2012

Skype for Windows 8 Launches Simultaneously with Windows 8 & Microsoft Surface

October 22, 2012


I predicted back in August, "I wouldn't be surprised though if this [Skype for Windows 8] simultaneously launches the same day as the Windows 8 Surface tablet - it certainly would be one of the first apps I'd try out on the new tablet. "

Well, looks like I was right. Microsoft is releasing Skype for Windows 8 on the same date that Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface tablet launches. I gave an early preview of the Skype for Windows app, which you can check out.



Looking at Microsoft's promotional video (below) it appears to show a later, more refined version than the beta I checked out.






Watchitoo's Playground Unveiled - Watch out Skype & Google Hangouts!

October 3, 2012


Watchitoo today unveiled Playground, their cloud-based video collaboration platform for small and medium businesses featuring up to 25 participants that can do video, screen sharing, chat, and file sharing. I did a demo of Playground last week and I was very impressed. During my demo with Watchitoo's CEO Rony Zarom and a PR representative we had 3 webcams streaming and he started a screen-sharing session. Next, he started a HD YouTube video.

Toopher Two-Factor Authentication Leverages Mobile Phone Location

October 2, 2012


I met with Toopher's Josh Alexander, Co-founder & CEO to discuss their two-factor authentication platform. He explained their their two-factor authentication is drop-dead simple leveraging your mobile phone's location - pulling location data from GPS, 3G/4G triangulation, and Wi-Fi, which usually grants accuracy of at least a couple hundred feet even when indoors.

Two-factor authentication is nothing new - Google for instance offers two-factor authentication by sending you a SMS to your mobile phone with a PIN to authenticate your device. Of course, I experienced an issue with Google's YouTube two-factor authentication because my house has poor cell signal and I didn't receive the SMS. Josh told me that's why there is a pretty low adoption rates of many competing two-part authentication methods.


Novus Distributes First Enhanced Media Gateway for Microsoft Lync Server 2013

October 2, 2012


Novus, a boutique telecommunications and IP distributor serving value-added resellers throughout North America, announced today the distribution of Ferrari electronic’s OfficeMaster Gate media gateway featuring recently released firmware that supports the new features of the next generation Microsoft Lync Server 2013, including the IPv6 protocol. Novus is the official distributor of Ferrari electronic products for the North American market.
 
Ferrari electronic worked in close collaboration with the Microsoft Lync product team in Redmond, Washington to develop the new firmware for the OfficeMaster Gate media gateway and it has been rigorously tested at Microsoft over the last few months. The new firmware from Ferrari electronic was released to coincide with the availability of the Lync 2013 Preview on July 16, 2012.
 
“Ferrari electronic is currently the only European manufacturer of an enhanced gateway certified for Microsoft Lync Server 2010, and it’s the first manufacturer to integrate its gateway with Lync Server 2013,” said Novus Managing Partner Chris Meehan. “This creates a compelling value proposition for resellers because they can install software-based OfficeMaster Gate gateway cards now as proof of concepts and deliver a highly scalable gateway solution with a tremendous ROI to small and medium-sized businesses looking for Lync migration solutions.”
 
Novus offers the Ferrari electronic OfficeMaster Gate media gateway and OfficeMaster SBA survivable branch appliance to resellers in flexible configurations as either appliances or PCI boards.
 
“Resellers will find the licensing options particularly appealing, since they can optionally configure gateway and survivable branch appliance functionality on a single card to reduce power consumption, minimize rack space and further reduce costs while benefitting from ongoing improvements through firmware upgrades that are free of charge within the current revision,” added Meehan.
 
To further incentivize resellers to deploy the Lync Server 2013-ready OfficeMaster Gate media gateway, Novus is announcing a free comprehensive private training program for resellers who sign up to carry the Ferrari electronic products.










RCA Makes Android IP Phones? Who Knew?

October 2, 2012

I'm here at ITEXPO in Austin, Texas, a leading communications tradeshow, when what do my wondering eyes see? An email promotion from RCA promoting their new Android-based IP phones - the RCA IP150, RCA IP120 and the RCA IP110. Here's a screenshot of part of the email:



When I think of RCA my nostalgia kicks in and I think of two things, both of which are antiquated technologies.

One, I think of my grandparents huge TV inside a wooden frame that sat on the floor. Nowadays you hang up your flat-screen TV and the TV never touches the floor.

Two, I think back to my dad's Elvis Presley "Hound Dog" RCA record with the cool logo of dog with its mouth aimed inside the record player, similar to this Elvis vinyl record:


As a 6-year old kid I assumed the RCA dog was because the song on the record was "Hound Dog".










WebRTC - Mobile Communications Game Changer or Flash in the Pan?

September 24, 2012

Came across Erik Lagerway's interesting guest post on Gigaom.com discussing WebRTC and its potential to be a mobile game changer. WebRTC essentially embeds a standard-based real time Media Engine into all of the available browsers enabling real-time voice and video communication from your browser. Erik ponders the future leveraging WebRTC:

Imagine a world where no matter what we use or where we are we could all communicate via video, hassle-free, for free — native video from Apple devices to Samsung devices, from business phones to the TV in your living room, from your car to your home to a beach in Hawaii. That is what WebRTC can do for us.


Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade to Windows 8 Problem Solved!

September 20, 2012

I decided to upgrade my Windows 7 Ultimate laptop to Windows 8 Pro. I wanted an in-place upgrade keeping all my apps and settings. Yeah, no judgement here for not doing a clean install! No time.

Anyway, the options available to me were 'Keep personal files only' and 'Nothing'. There is supposed to be an option 'Keep Windows settings, personal files and applications' but it was missing.

Apple iOS 6 First Look

September 19, 2012

I upgraded my Apple iPhone 4S to iOS 6 this afternoon and here are my impressions. First, for some reason the Photo Stream feature was turned 'On' even though it was off when I was running iOS 5 firmware. That's annoying. If you're privacy conscious make sure to check that this is Off under Settings, iCloud, Photo Stream.

Now the good stuff.

Gartner's 'Magic Quadrant for UC' - Cisco Bests Microsoft - Not!

September 11, 2012

Gartner recently posted their Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications along with their analysis of the UC market. As always Gartner's research is a fascinating and insightful read, but I do take slight issue where they positioned Cisco and Microsoft. First let's take a look at the Magic Quadrant:

You will see that Cisco and Microsoft are nearly touching one another and the top two companies within the Magic Quadrant, but Cisco slightly beats Microsoft in both the "leaders" and "visionaries" categories. I don't take issue with Cisco in the "leaders" category, since clearly Cisco has been doing enterprise VoIP, video conferencing and indeed UC longer than Microsoft with many more deployments.

I do however take issue with Cisco beating Microsoft in the "visionaries" category.



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