Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Video Conferencing

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).


Madison Cain, Daughter of Journey's Jonathan Cain, uses Skype for Vocal Teaching

September 21, 2011


Madison Cain, 17 year old daughter of legendary Journey keyboardist and song writer Jonathan Cain apparently works with a vocal teacher via Skype to improve her singing skills. Score another useful feature for Skype! I knew Skype was used for teaching others how to speak other languages, but didn't know the "universal" language of music was also taught via Skype. You would think that the acoustics would be different speaking into a microphone which is then transmitted over VoIP to a vocal teacher wouldn't be as accurate as the vocal teacher being there in person.

Then again, sometimes a room's acoustics can "hide" weaknesses in a singer's voice, especially if they are a loud singer with the sound bouncing off the walls.


ITEXPO Austin, Texas - Day 1 Photos Slideshow

September 13, 2011

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.




HTC Unveils HTC TITAN 4.7" and 3.8" Radar Smartphones

September 6, 2011


HTC has unveiled HTC TITAN (image above), its largest screen smartphone featuring a 4.7 inch WVGA 480x800 pixel display and the smaller 3.8 inch HTC Radar, both of which run on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system. The HTC TITAN sports a slim 9.9 mm (0.39 inch) aluminum shell and a whopping 8 megapixel camera with a f/2.2 aperture lens, dual LED flash, BSI sensor (for better low-light captures) and 720p video recording.

The HTC TITAN, previously codenamed HTC Eternity, is powered by a 1.5GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset  with 512MB of RAM and integrated GPS. The internal storage memory of the device is only 16GB. I'm really surprised such a high-end smartphone sporting a large screen and a high-end 8MP camera doesn't sport 32GB of internal storage for storing lots of photos and other media (music, videos).


PowerView Offers Powerful Microsoft Lync Reporting

September 2, 2011

Unify2 PowerView is a reporting and billing solution for Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and Office Communications Server 2007 R2. It comes with pre-canned reports including a report to track ROI so you see exactly how Lync's unified communications feature-set is saving your business money.

PowerView 3.0 aggregates data collected from Call Detail Records, Active Directory, carrier billing rate tables and other data sources. According to Unify2, "PowerView effectively complements the raw transactional data contained in the Lync CDR databases and provides a rich view of the data that's correlated with the enterprise's organizational and geographical topologies, enabling enterprises to leverage a comprehensive set of PowerView reports or easily develop custom views of business data related to Lync."

NextUC Offering Limited-time free beta trial of hosted Microsoft Lync

September 1, 2011

I spoke with NextUC back in June to learn about their hosted Microsoft Lync offering but got swamped with other projects, so never wrote about them. However, I wanted to share the news that they are now offering a limited-time (2-month) free beta trial of hosted Microsoft Lync so you can try it out with no obligation.

Customers can sign up by accessing the NextUC self-provisioning trial portal and you can be provisioned within an hour after signing up. The  2-month free trial includes NextUC Enterprise and NextUC Messenger. According to NextUC, NextUC Enterprise is a cloud-based, all-inclusive voice, collaboration and conferencing platform designed for companies that want to streamline their enterprise-class telephony, instant messaging, Presence, audio, video and web conferencing and collaboration tools into one interface.

Microsoft front-facing cameras, Skype & Lync Mobile client Coming Very Very Soon

August 25, 2011

Microsoft confirmed Mango Windows Phone 7 handsets would sport a front facing camera as well as Skype integration and a mobile Lync client. The confirmation came via the TechEd event in New Zealand, where two Microsoft employees mentioned that Microsoft's Lync VoIP client also be available on other mobile platforms, including iOS, Android and Symbian. But the Lync client would be first available on the soon to be launched Mango Windows Mobile 7 software.

The employees stated that the mobile Lync client would support both voice and video on Android, Apple's iOS and Windows Mobile 7, explaining "it will dependent on the device, but it will be enabled at some point at time." They pointed out that some devices don't have a front-facing camera so having a videoconference via a mobile Lync client wouldn't necessarily make sense.

The Microsoft Lync client for mobile devices is a long time coming. I was actually told by Microsoft in NYC during a live demo of Microsoft Lync that mobile versions of the Lync client would be coming out "very soon".



Skype releases Skype 5.3 for Mac OS X

August 8, 2011

Skype for iPad Released then Pulled

August 2, 2011

Skype for iPad was released but then pulled. But not before Rich Tehrani snagged a copy and tested it. Works great! Though the resolution of the iPad 2 camera could be better.

As for the reason it was pulled, according to Skype's Twitter account, "To ensure your best Skype experience, we’ve temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today.” They also tweeted, "We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologize for the inconvenience."

If you cannot wait for Skype to put it back on the App Store, you can always try my workaround to make Skype iPad video calls.

Update:
It's back on the App Store!






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