Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Video Conferencing

Nortel Web.Alive = Second Life for Business

December 15, 2008

Rich Tehrani has a very interesting post about Nortel's foray into virtualized business meetings. Think Second Life virtual world meets business world...

Rich participated in a virtual world demo with Nortel where they showed him web.alive. This business-oriented virtual world looks eerily similar to Second Life, including the 3D avatars, and 3D world but under the covers it sports something else - namely 3D audio powered by DiamondWare 3D stereoVoIP technology.

Grandstream GXV3005 Video Phone

December 11, 2008

Grandstream just announced the GXV3005 IP video phone is coming this month. The GXV3005 features an additional FXO port and is part of the GXV3000 IP video product line series.

The GXV3005 features the same design and all of the functionality as the GXV3000 model, but it comes with the advanced versatility of an FXO PSTN line port, which enables customers to receive both video telephony service over an IP network and their home land-line. One thing I like about Grandsteam is they follow industry standards, such as SIP, but also H.263 & H.264, so in theory their video phone will work with other H.263/H.264 compliant video phones. We don't need a videophone war, after all.

Bittorrent Kills VoIP - Game Over Man!

December 1, 2008

An interesting article at the Register claims that a recent uTorrent decision to use UDP for P2P file transfers (instead of TCP) to get around ISP "traffic management" restrictions will cause a meltdown of the Internet. Poppycock you say?

It's worth pointing out that traditionally P2P sharing apps such as Bittorrent,  use TCP not UDP. So why would UDP cause VoIP apps to fail? Well for one huge reason, TCP allows for congestion control.

High quality YouTube Video Hack

November 14, 2008

Sick and tired of cr**py YouTube video quality? Well, check out's tips on how to enable HQ video on YouTube. It's not HD quality, but much better than the default.

The specs for the Youtube HQ video is mp4 encoded using H.264 and stereo AAC sound at 480x360 resolution.

Also you need to do to link to a high quality video on your blog is simply append &fmt=18 onto the end of the YouTube URL, i.e.:

And if you want to embed the code on your blog/site you add &ap=%2526fmt%3D18, i.e.:

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=" &ap=%2526fmt%3D18"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Now head on over to Kottke to see the before and after video quality comparisons. Good stuff!

TMC Launches NGN (Next Generation Networks) Magazine

November 13, 2008

Today, TMC announced the launch of NGN Magazine focused on next generation networks and how service providers and carriers can build these networks and what they will need to know to maximize savings and ARPU (average revenue per user).

"We're in an interesting time," says TMC President and Group Publisher, Rich Tehrani. No, he's not referring to the American political scene or the chaotic American economy. Rich is referring to Next Generation Networks, which Rich believes will be critical to the future of service providers and carriers.

Cisco ASR 9000 High-end Router Launches

November 11, 2008

Cisco Systems unveiled a supercharged router called the ASR 9000, which is capable of moving 6.4 terabytes per second of traffic. The router is aimed at service providers with next-generation networks which plan to run bandwidth heavy services such as video, IPTV, mobile broadband, and more. With the explosion of Youtube videos, and other bandwidth-hungry apps, service providers are looking to stay ahead of the bandwidth demand curve. The ASR 9000 hopes to address that need with the ability to support the future "Zettabyte era".

NetQoS Unified Communications Monitor 2.0 Launches

November 10, 2008

NetQoS today launched its first unified communications focused management tool called NetQoS Unified Communications (UC) Monitor. NetQoS is broadening the focus of its formerly named VoIP Monitor product to reflect the growing role and functionality of unified communications. NetQoS UC Monitor 2.0 supports voice and video quality metrics in a Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) environment as well as enhanced diagnostics and reporting for Cisco IP telephony environments.

In my conversation with NetQoS I asked them what the upgrade/migration path was for current customers, and they said existing customers would be upgraded to NetQoS UC Monitor 2.0 free of charge.

SkyStone Video Enables Video Skype Gateway

November 3, 2008

Stonevoice has created SkyStone Video, a unique Skype-gateway product that allows video communications between enterprise video solutions from vendors such as Cisco, Sony, and Polycom and the popular Skype software. There are several voice over ip-to-Skype gateways, but this marks the first time someone has created a Video-to-Skype gateway that "bridges" the gap between high quality enterprise video conferencing solutions and Skype.

"Video has become a fundamental need in the day-by-day communications. The technology is now ready to handle video calls and conference calls; however, one fundamental element was missing to take it to the next level: simplicity - says Christian Bongiovanni, CEO of StoneVoice - today, ahead of competition, Stonevoice, has demonstrated its technical excellence and strategic thinking by releasing a unique product worldwide: SkyStone Video that allows standard based video solution interfacing with the Skype world, bringing excellent quality, rich and mobile communications, with extreme simplicity!"

With Skystone Video, Stonevoice has eliminated the Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Business barriers.

VoxOx Skype killer?

November 3, 2008

VoxOx is a new unified communications client launched by San Diego based startup TelCentris. Think of it as Skype on steroids since it not only support VoIP, IM, and video conferencing, but it also supports social media, such as Facebook, SMS, fax, e-mail, and content sharing all in one unified desktop application.

VoxOx creates a "meta address book" of contacts from all of a user's disparate communications networks into a single user interface, accessible from any device. To ramp up they are providing a free phone number, along with two initial hours of free talk time. TelCentris' CEO Bryan Hertz is making their API open source in hopes of duplication what Skype has done with Skype Extras and their developer community.

Features include:
  • Full inbound/outbound calling capabilities
  • Voicemail and interactive voice response "personal assistant"
  • Two-way texting
  • Call forwarding and "one-number-follow-me service"
  • Inbound faxing and fax-to-e-mail
  • Landline replacement option
  • Interconnects users to major instant messaging networks (MSN, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, Google Talk and others), allowing members from different IMs to chat and video conference with each other from one service
  • Integrates with all major social networks, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and others
  • Enables flexibility for integrating existing and future applications via its open standards platform

It currently supports Windows and Mac, with Linux support coming soon.

One interesting feature is Call-Back, which is similar to Jajah and a feature lacking in Skype.

Logitech Acquires SightSpeed

October 29, 2008

I'm a huge fan of SightSpeed and so I was pleasantly surprised this morning to read that Logitech has acquired SightSpeed for approximately $30 million in cash. I'm a fan of both companies actually, and my favorite webcam is the Logitech Quickcam Orbit AF, The acquisition is expected to close in early November. Just check out my favorable review of SightSpeed here and how SightSpeed carried out their patriotic duty in offering SightSpeed videoconferencing for online gameplay between Pros and G.I. Joes.
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