Alan Percy : The SIP Invite
Alan Percy
| Observations by Alan D. Percy on VoIP enabling technology, industry and our personal reach for success.

The New Guard in Telecom: Amazon and Facebook

Mobile World Congress, for me, has always been a combination of looking forward towards our future while at the same time reflecting...

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The New Guard in Telecom: Amazon and Facebook

Mobile World Congress, for me, has always been a combination of looking forward towards our future while at the same time reflecting...

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Why TelePacific is Re-Branding

In this podcast, I speak with TelePacific's SVP Ken Bisnoff on why TelePacific is re-branding. The CLEC of old is gone....

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Communications Tech Development = Code + Human Resources > Enter OpenSIPs Summit 2017 Amsterdam

A big difference between a successful communications technology corporation, startup or project and a flop is the development of the solution behind...

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Telecom Tidbits (part # 2450)

Amazon Using Trojan Horse Approach To Go After Smartphone Voice Market. Amazon is agressively pursuing the voice personal assistant market, focusing...

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Telecom Tidbits (#2449)

Telecom is still broken. Ordering a 1GB Internet port in a Lit building has turned from a 2 week turn up...

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Shock! IBM Reverses Telecommuting Policy. Here's Why

It's mind-boggling. It's incredible. The biggest news in tech culture is without question  the reversal by IBM regarding a telecommuting policy which...

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iPad and Skype - The ulitimate European Traveling Companions?

May 27, 2010

This last month, my wife, son,  sister-in-law and her husband joined me to visit my older college-age son in Spain during his "semester abroad".  While in Spain we took the opportunity to sight see in Madrid, Valencia and Cuenca on a break-neck pace.

Before heading off to Spain, I gave my wife an early Mother's day gift of an Apple iPad, allowing her to download books for reading on the plane and down time in the hotel. 

Needless to say, anytime we pulled the iPad out in public, someone would invariably stop to take a look and start to ask questions.  It almost became comical in a Starbucks in Madrid, with half a dozen people surrounding my wife.

What we didn't realize is how useful the iPad and Skype would be while in Spain.

It seems that my brother-in-law's bank didn't understand that when he notified them that he was going to travel to Spain, he actually would be traveling to Spain.  Once we arrived, his credit cards and ATM cards were denied putting him in a real bind.  Time to call the bank.

In the past you would have to expect a whopper of a phone bill to call the bank back in the US, but with my wife's iPad, WiFi in the hotel and Skype with Skype-out service, he was able to make the hour-long call to work through their layers of agents and IVR menus to attempt to get his problem solved.  Total cost for the calls?  Less than $1.

Being able to pass along messages with our travel updates via Facebook also helped us provide status updates to our older son in Valencia, making sure we didn't have any troubles finding our hotel and each other.

Meanwhile, an overly expensive pre-paid GSM phone sat in my pocket collecting dust.

I will say, I now understand the portable tablet revolution and next time you travel abroad, skip the GSM phone and the iPad is going in my briefcase.  

Sorry honey, I think your Mother's day gift may get "borrowed".























Nexus One - Choice at Last

January 6, 2010

Here at CES to witness the launch of the Google Nexus One smartphone device.  Heralded as the "iPhone Killer", with a big color touch screen, Google-powered applications galore, outstanding mapping and media capabilities.  While the phone is very capable and will give the iPhone a run for it's money as a smartphone, I suspect there is a subtle hidden story here that many have missed.

The real story here is that Google is making the phone available "unlocked", which means it can be easily moved from one GSM carrier to another.  Unlocked GSM phones can change carriers by simply swapping out the SIM card which you can usually find hidden under the battery or in a small slot in the side of the phone. 

Buying an unlocked phone doesn't come free. Google has set the retail price of the unlocked version at $529, while a version of the phone tied to T-mobile is set at $179.

However, I applaud this bold move and believe it will start a trend that will eventually shift control and choice back to the consumer, allowing for choice in carriers and options to have multiple carriers (especially for those that travel internationally).

Watch for Apple to follow soon with a similar program.

For those that are tired of the issues and congestion on your current wirelesss network, you now have a viable choice.









A Look Ahead at 2010

January 1, 2010

Wireless Internet - with the increasing use of handheld smart phones, wireless Internet usage will soar and with it will come increased congestion, reliability issues and eventually usage fees.  The "all you can use" wireless Internet is going to get expensive.

Apple will end exclusive arrangement with AT&T - with competition from Google Android (the operating software for the "Droid") and ever increasing network congestion and performance issues on the AT&T network (see above), Apple will be forced to finally end their exclusive relationship and expand to other carriers.  At first to other GSM carriers (T-Mobile) and then CDMA carriers (like Verizon and Sprint).  However, an iPhone for CDMA networks requires a different radio in the iPhone which means there will end up being two different phones and users will never be able to jump from GSM to CDMA carriers without buying a new phone.

Google will aggressively exploit Apple / AT&Ts performance issues (see above) and become a strong competitor in the mobile device market with both GSM and CDMA carriers (still with different devices).

HD Voip - the pieces are all there, and the first few carriers are readying their product launches.  Your wireline telephone is about to become obsolete.  Once you hear it - you will understand.

How my Motorola Droid saved me $50 and saved the planet!

December 17, 2009

On Wednesday I headed to Boston for a meeting with the great folks from TMC at the Liberty Hotel, a location that I had not been to before, but figured it must be downtown based on the address. Traveling with me was my trusty Motorola Droid mobile phone that sports the Google Android software suite.
  Upon arriving at Boston's Logan airport I would normally head to the cab line or head over to the Hertz garage for a rental car. A cab to downtown from Logan would normally cost $25 each way.

Verizon FiOS and Tivo - Finally a Fix?

September 30, 2009

It's been a while since my last post on my Verizon FiOS and Tivo experience and a few things have changed, so I thought it would be time for an update.

Tivo Upgrade - first and most importantly, sometime over the last couple months, the folks at Tivo have finally figured out a software solution to the picture "pixelation" that was occurring with Verizon FiOS.  Sometime ago, my Tivo automatically updated to the latest 11.d version software and to test the upgrade, pulled all the attenuators out of the line.  Results: it works!

With the picture quality issue now behind me, it was time to finally buy that second Tivo for the TV in our master bedroom.  It arrived a couple weeks ago and installation was much easier (now that I know the drill).  

By the way - one very important installation detail:  Tivo HD is shipped from the factory with an old version of software (really old), so you need to give it a day after you complete the initial configuration to perform the automatic software upgrade before worrying about the picture quality with Verizon FiOS.  Once the upgrade is completed, the picture quality should be corrected.  

I really love having two Tivos in the house now - the networking feature allows you to record on one Tivo and play back on the other.  Sounds silly, but it has already cured a couple domestic disputes in my household.  The choice between watching "Dancing with the Stars" or "How It's Made" had required moving to different rooms/TVs.  Now it doesn't matter which Tivo records the show, you can watch it on either one!

Closing Thoughts:
After all the original installation headaches, it seems to me that Tivo HD and Verizon FiOS are now working perfectly together.  Great user interface, built-in NetFlix client, fantastic picture quality - I finally have my peanut butter and chocolate!












Broadband, NetFlix and the Future of Television

August 24, 2009

Two weeks ago, I spent four days at CableLabs - talking about and seeing the new developments in the cable television business.  Truly fascinating stuff with new DVRs, on-demand programming and even a 3D TV demonstration.  However, based on what I seeing at home, I suspect someone is about to "move their cheese".

If you have been following my now year-long adoption of Verizon FiOS, you know that we've been using a TiVo-HD with FiOS to record and watch television. We subscribe to the FiOS triple-play bundle with HDTV, 20Mbps Internet and two work telephone lines.  As in most households, my teen-age kids have been the primary users of the television all summer and I've been watching their behavior on how they use the television, what they watch and how much time they spend watching.

They spend hours in front of the TV, but they don't watch "TV".  No, they don't play video games - it's NetFlix over the Internet that has become their primary source of visual entertainment.  You see, the TiVo-HD includes an optional NetFlix on-demand client that allows the kids to choose programs from the vast NetFlix library and then watch them instantly on our TiVo via the Internet.  It really is amazing - no waiting for the DVD anymore - just click and watch.  The kids have even put the NetFlix mobile client on their iPod Touches, allowing them to browse the NetFlix library from the couch.  

So what does this mean to the Cable Industry?  Think about it - here is a generation that who's world is a broadband connected and able to access virtually any/all information almost instantly.  And most of that information comes from other sources, not the cable operator.  Based on their usage, the cable operator is just a supplier of broadband Internet.

This really means that when the millennials grow up and start controlling household spending, things will change dramatically.  Our generation values the TV programming, Telephone, then Internet in that order.  I suspect they will reverse it, with their highest value being the Internet and then TV and Telephone being almost irrelevant.

Where does this take both the cable companies and legacy wireline operators?   Their focus will soon need to shift to reliable and very high-speed Internet access being the "high value and primary product", because the rest is quickly going the way of the Dodo bird.











HD VoIP - Talk Of The Town

August 11, 2009

HD VoIP is one of key strategic topics being discussed here at the CableLabs Summer Conference 2009 in Keystone, CO.  

My week started with a discussion of the future of voice services on cable networks and a live demonstration during the CableLabs Innovation Showcase, highlighting  a number of audio clips that showed the difference between the existing narrow-band voice quality and what the same clips sound like with HD VoIP.  During my presentation, I challenged the cable operators in attendance that unless they do something to differentiate their voice services, that wireline telephony will soon fade into oblivion, taking away an important revenue stream from their services, turning the "triple play" into a "double play".  I was joined by Larry Clarkson, Product Marketing for the AudioCodes System Group who helped me present a number of architecture diagrams showing how HD will be integrated into the current and future network infrastructure.  We wrapped up with a demo featuring a live transcoding demonstration of a wide-band call between a Nokia E71 mobile, a DECT phone and AudioCodes 320HD phones.

Tuesday's main theater session is "High Definition Voice" featuring a panel of experts including Jean-Francois Mule, CableLabs; Vivek Badranith, France Telecom; Mike Jablon, Time Warner Cable and Jeff Pulver, Pulver.com.  During this member's only-event, the panel planned to discuss the current status of HD voice services to help the cable operator community assess their plans for HD in their networks.

Looking ahead, HD Voip will also be the topic of discussion at a number of other upcoming events, including:

ITExpo West in Los Angeles - "Pushing the Envelope with HD Voice - a State-of-the-Industry Panel Discussion" on Wednesday September 2nd at 10:30 AM







HD Communications Summit in New York City, an all-day event focused on HD in voice communications on Tuesday, September 15th in the New World Stages venue.

VON Fall 2009 in Miami Beach - "HD Voice: The Future of VoIP? A panel discussion on the impact of HD on our industry" on Wednesday, September 23rd at 12 noon.

I hope you will join me and participate in one or more of these sessions to contribute to this industry-changing discussion.







SIP Interoperability: Why Is It So Hard To Achieve (Part III)

July 30, 2009

During this last "blogisode" we moved from a discussion about the technology and weakness of the SIP RFCs to what I feel is a far more difficult hurdle, the political challenges with SIP interoperability. As with national and global politics, getting people with diverse needs and existing investments to compromise is a significant challenge.

So how do we break the almost infinite cycle of continuous interoperability testing between the growing number of hardware vendors, software applications and carriers?

One approach that immediately comes to mind is to define a "gold standard" that each of the market participants can test against, and create a predictable level of interoperability assurance between systems.

SIP Interoperability: Why Is It So Hard to Achieve? (Part II)

June 17, 2009

 Earlier this week I shared with you a few thoughts on SIP Interoperability discussing what I felt where the root causes of incompatibility between two or more SIP-based systems.  I clearly hit a raw nerve with a few of you, flooding my email box with your own stories of interoperability issues.   You shared with me your own experiences with registration problems, call transfers, security, message waiting indications, even fax issues.  It seems the couple examples I gave were only the tip of the iceberg.

 

Let's move past the technical issues with SIP Interoperability and talk about a far more difficult challenge - the politics of SIP Interoperability.

 It appears to me that soon after the authors of RFC 3261 finished their work, the fun really started.  As the development teams of the various product and application companies started to build their solutions based on RFC 3261, the looseness of the specification allowed them to make wildly different choices all "within specification".   The result was that you had developers that had invested untold hours of hard work into developing a protocol stack that worked fine in their own lab and with their own products, but had serious interoperability issues with other vendors.  To each of the developers, it appeared that "everybody else screwed up". 

 So now you have a number of over-worked developers that would have to go back into their products and re-work significant parts of their SIP stacks - just because someone else made some bad choices.  The end result is a classic stand-off with each of the vendors saying "we followed the spec, you should change".  So much for "Open and Standard".

 

To make things even more politically complex, many of the vendors are starting to compete in the marketplace, vying for the same markets and customers.  In this competitive environment, interoperability is a double-edge sword.

 Okay, so let's pretend our developers get past their own stubbornness and decide to make some changes to be more interoperable.  Who do you do your interoperability testing with?  Do you test against anyone that comes along?  Or maybe just in cases where "the business case works"?

SIP Interoperability - Why Is It So Hard To Achieve? (Part I)

June 12, 2009

For those of you that have deployed SIP-based solutions or SIP Trunking, there is a pretty good chance that you've had to navigate your way through the maze of SIP interoperability, wondering why it is so difficult to get a straight answer out of anyone on whether two systems will work together or not.

SIP is supposed to be a standard and eliminate many of the challenges with integrating systems from various vendors together, right? If my IP-PBX is RFC 3261 compliant and my SIP Trunking service provider is RFC 3261 compliant, they should just work, correct? Well--maybe or maybe not.

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