Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

June 2010

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Oh to Solve those Mobile Bandwidth Problems!

June 30, 2010

Back 6 or so months ago, there was a BusinessWeek article titled "Can AT&T Tame the iHogs". At the time, there were issues surfacing publicly about outages on the wireless networks, with AT&T and other network operators such as O2 in the UK. AT&T said  that 3% of users accounted for 40% of the data traffic, kind of setting up the scenario of tiered pricing models. So what has happened since then?   Well, first of all, we've indeed seen the rise of tiered pricing in the data world, as AT&T announced on June 2nd that they would revamp their plans.  The pricing has been reasonable as I see no key outbursts of unfairness. This should definitely help stop people from continually streaming Pandora or whatever to their phones. But it won't by itself solve the problem.    When looking at the Cisco Visual Networking Index, mobile data is expected to grow at over 100% CAGR through 2014. This is nearly double 3G+ subscriber growth. So people are going to continue to access the Internet through their mobile broadband connection, so other measures need to be taken as well.   That AT&T tiered pricing release also talked about WiFi. Another part of the strategy relating to solving the mobile bandwidth problems is to offload data to WiFi. While at one time the network carriers were not embracing WiFi, for fear of competition, WiFi is now a key part of their strategy as a way to offload the network. My smartphone has a WiFi connection and a 3G connection. Offloading to WiFi can really free up the network. And it better with the expected growth. While that release gave a hint of the offload strategy, in May AT&T actually announced an offload trial in New York City, in Times Square no less.     But still, that won't solve the problem either. Even 4G networks, while offering better bandwidth that will help, won't solve the problem. There needs to be bandwidth optimization solutions in the network as well, which I'll write about in some future blogs.   And then even when we get there, there will be more work to do. Because within that Cisco report, when looking through the data, you see that Video as part of mobile data is actually growing even faster than anything and represents about 2/3 of all mobile data traffic by 2014. All this means in the context of this blog is that there will be more and more and more and more complex stuff passing through the mobile networks. This is an ever evolving and interesting problem to solve.

HD Voice: What's Not to Like?

June 25, 2010

  A few days ago I wrote about the growth path of HD voice and how some people think it's growing faster than expected, and some people think it's growing slower than expected.  There is definitely a lot of hype about HD Voice, which leads me to believe it is growing pretty fast.    Orange UK recently announced that they will be trialing HD voice across several major UK cities.  Their initial trails, which were done in Moldova, had positive feedback. People claimed that the new HD service was clearer, eliminating background noise and making voices more distinct and more natural sounding - like being in the same room as the person you're on the phone with!  I can only imagine how HD voice will improve business processes.  It will be great for long conference calls, and for calls that have several participants with different accents.

LTE and Germany

June 23, 2010

Back on April 15th, I wrote about Germany's spectrum auction for the spectrum beyond 3G, likely to be used for LTE. The auction ended a couple of weeks ago netting a price tag of 4.38B Euros, much less than the recent $14.5B auction of 3G spectrum in India and much less than the 50B Euro 3G auction in Germany from the year 2000.
  The price tag is seen a sign of the times. $50B was a lot for the operators to pay for 3G. Given that, and given the state of the world and European economy right now, 4.38B is what was netted. Still, that low a number was a bit of a surprise to some in EMEA and the feeling is that the LTE winners will clearly be able to monetize this. How will they monetize this - well the mobile broadband will create many opportunities for data, video and voice. And likely we'll see very innovative apps be created with this awesome mobile broadband power available.

The HD Voice Growth Path

June 16, 2010

HD Voice is on a growth path.  Some say slower than expected, some say faster than expected.  Like many things, that is dependent on your point of view.  One way to measure growth is the amount written about a topic.  There is an HD Voice News site that I visit from time to time.  And a quick search yields quite a few articles - here is a recent one talking about mobile VoIP and here is one in Polish - I don't know what it says (though it seems to be talking about telepresence) but it clearly says "HD Voice" in there, as well as "HD Video". 

Another way to measure growth is my use of a new technology.  I'm about to get an HD capable phone at work, so I'll be HD enabled soon.  Basically I'll be voice enabling my email address.  There is a whitepaper at siptosip.net that explains how this works.  I won't be able to get to the PSTN, but I'm looking forward to making some HD Voice calls and I'll let you know how it goes.

Videooooooooooooooooooooo Gooooooooooooooooooooooal!!!

June 14, 2010


With the World Cup now in full swing, people will do anything to watch a soccer game or get information on any of the games. I had to be away from a TV when the US played England this past Saturday, and using my mobile phone, I had to go to espn.com to get automatic refresh on comments to get results from the game as I could not get video of that game. (My battery juuuuuuuuuuust made it through the game). And I couldn't see the goals until later on. 
  I wish I had a video goal application, as did one of my colleagues who happened to be in Brazil the Friday the World Cup started. Since the taxi ride to the airport from downtown Sao Paulo takes a while, both he and the taxi driver were looking for goals from the first day of the World Cup.   I know CallTech is working on one
  Creating something like this is what the Dialogic Innovator Challenge is all about.

The Dawn of a New Mobile Video Era

June 9, 2010

On June 7th, Apple announced the iPhone 4.  And the title of this blog is somewhat tongue in cheek, since the resultant hyperbole generated from this is seemingly iNdelible, iNcredible, iNdubitable and iNdefatigable. This iPhone must be iNvincible! This shows the power of Apple at this point in time. So I do use the word somewhat above instead of leaving that word out entirely, since, well, if Apple does get millions and millions of people to use mobile video telephony, maybe that announcement will indeed be an inflection point in mobile video and bend the curve to be steeper.
  But as readers of this blog know, I've long been talking about mobile video applications. And Apple did get something very right, which is a camera on both the front and back of the device.  And they are using the H.264 video codec, which we've put in our products and I can tell you that the quality with that video codec is impressive.
  With a camera on the back, which is what most mobile phones have today, you can take pictures or movies of what you see. But someone on the other end can't see you, so it's not a true video calling experience. As readers of this blog also know, there are many, many mobile video apps that don't need a camera on the front - a video IVR for instance works well on a mobile phone since you can see the menu on the phone, instead of listening to it. And we're even seeing commercials in the US now with regards to someone doing video banking while she is working out in a gym, using an IVVR on her mobile phone. So there are plenty of apps that are possible without a camera on the front.
  But with a camera on the front, you can make a video call with another person from your mobile phone. So it opens up an entirely new realm of innovative mobile video applications.

Doesn't Everyone Know What FoIP Is?

June 7, 2010

Apparently not, as evidenced by this interview that Carl Ford did with me at CTIA a couple of months ago. If you go to the end of the interview, this is where Carl asks me about Fax over IP and is genuinely surprised, in a positive way, that the community calls this FoIP. Yes, Carl, and I've even seen Data over IP referred to as DoIP. 

But that fact that Carl asked me about fax shows he does understand that the fax business is alive and well. Yes, email communications impacted some forms of faxing, but faxing is still important in ordering, health care communications, and in industries where record keeping is key. And leading the fax charge are solutions based on FoIP. Statistics show that FoIP is indeed growing. So keep on faxin.'  

3G Video + Humidity = Singapore

June 2, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I visited Singapore for some press meetings. One good thing about Singapore is that there is a 3G network here and when we talked to the press, we were able to demonstrate some live 3G video applications that have been built on Dialogic video enabling platforms. 
  One bad thing about Singapore is that anytime you move when you are outside, you sweat. And since you have to move when you are outside, well, you sweat. In case you haven't figured it out if you've never been there, it's super humid. I guess that is your lot in life when you are on the equator next to an ocean. Luckily for me, I found a place called the "Eski Bar." This is a bar that has been set up essentially in a meat locker environment. So it's coooooooooooooool inside.
  But back to the 3G video apps. If you go to the Dialogic YouTube channel you can see some interesting videos of some of these apps, but it was nice actually showing live demonstrations of Video Value Added Service apps that our partners have built - such as Voice SMS, Video Portals, 3G video call completed to a non-video 3G phone, and IVVRs. Showing these in action to the press is very powerful.

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