February 2006 Archives

The IETF has named the new directors (Cullen Jennings and John Peterson) to the Real-time Applications and Infrastructure Area which is essentially includes all work relating to IP communications. What does this mean? I am going to catch up with Cullen in the coming weeks and let him explain.

Ken Kuenzel on SIP Security

February 21, 2006 1:41 PM | 1 Comment

I interviewed Ken Kuenzel, CTO for Covergence today on SIP security which just happens to be the focus of his company.

We talked for 20 minutes about SIP security and what that means to the SMB operator and the Enterprise market in general. Ken talked about their strategy on TLS, SRTP and SMB SIP trunking.


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Ken is responsible for setting the companies overall technical direction and product architecture as well as the on-time delivery of high-quality products. Over the last 25 years Ken has successfully brought large complex networking systems to market and enjoys a well deserved reputation for delivering high quality products in a timely, cost effective manner. Prior to founding Covergence, Ken was a Founder and the System Architect of Tiburon Networks, Founding Team and System Architect of Aptis Communications, and consulting engineer at both Shiva and Digital Equipment Corporation.


February 17, 2006 4:20 PM | 0 Comments

A few days ago a I wrote about an experience I had while trying to source a SMB VoIP offering for a friend of mine starting up a new company. Well it would seem as though I am not the only one who is having troubles sourcing a solution of small and medium business.

Have the cable companies overlooked a $100 Billion a year market? According to Heavy Reading the MSOs are too slow to take advantage of this grand opportunity and are focused on delivering residential VoIP instead. According to a report published by Yankee Group last year only 5% of SMBs in the US use VoIP as their primary means of communication and in a January report they said the market for business VoIP is expected to grow to more than $3.3 Billion in service revenue by 2010.

It would appear to me that this monster hole could easily be filled by smaller more nimble VoIP service providers focused on an SMB offer. We know that Vonage Canada, Primus and other Broadband Telephony offers won't cut it due mostly to the lack of QOS (Quality of Service) and poor business VoIP services. Shaw, Telus, and Rogers are too busy battling it out on the mobile and residential front and Bell seems to be lost in it's own bureaucracy. So, who is left to take care of the SMBs in Canada's largest cities and rural areas?

VoIP over VPN, QOS enabled Broadband VoIP and Hosted Managed VoIP for business are some of the key components that will make an SMB VoIP offering compelling. According to Yankee Group, the most anticipated growth in revenue will come in the hosted VoIP market, a communications solution appealing to enterprises because it enables migration from legacy systems to a managed IP solution without incurring capital expenditure.

To me the opportunity is obvious, smaller service providers focused on a SMB VoIP in Canada and the US have nothing but green pastures ahead of them, the telcos and cable operators are asleep at the wheel.

Office Live not so Lively

February 16, 2006 10:54 AM | 0 Comments

Russel Shaw has kicked the crap out of MSFT for not including any VoIP functionality in their new Office Live beta, rightfully so in my mind.

I can't count the number of times people have asked me in recent weeks, "Don't you think that Microsoft will decimate VoIP start-ups relying on Network Edge revenue with this new Live Office release?"

Judging by this beta of Office Live I would say companies like Counterpath have nothing to worry about.

It looks like Michael isn't wasting any time, he's launching a new service today that lets anyone get a new Area775 phone number for free and of course it runs on.. SIP.


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I spoke with Michael about Area775 and his foray into the Mobile and WiFi world. He also speaks to the recent injection of $6M and what those funds will be used for. The podcast starts off with a demo of Area775 and later gets into very good overview of Area775 features including...

* Free U.S. based telephone number assigned to your computer and any phone 

* Dual Ring - Incoming calls simultaneously ring computer and regular phone!

* Call Screening - Listen to callers leave messages in real time (press 1 to take the call)

* Transfer Calls - You can transfer any call to any phone by pressing 2

* Voicemail (email and phone)

* SMS notification

Yes you will have to pay if you want to answer calls on your normal phone but he has to make it pay somehow. For a small monthly fee you can:

* Choose from a list of 775 numbers as well as other area codes

* Answer calls to your regular phone (cell or landline) free.

* Get a fax number

* Toll Free access for voicemail

Check out Area775.com for more info. And as usual Andy &  Alec are all over this.

SIPphone gets $6M

February 15, 2006 11:19 AM | 0 Comments

Michael sent me this Press Release yesterday announcing that SIPphone had just secured $6M in funding to bolster the Gizmo Project with a Mobile and WiFi extension.

"The release of Gizmo Project has driven over 400,000 registered users to our PC based service, but our goals go beyond free calls between PCs," says SIPphone CEO, Michael Robertson. "We want to seamlessly link the internet and the traditional calling world of landlines and mobile phones and that's becoming possible as low cost SIP based devices such as dual mode mobile phones and wifi phones become a reality."

Apparently Michael plans to expand the San Diego office by 3-fold in order to build this next generation of Gizmo.

The financing round was lead by New York based venture firm Dawntreader Ventures and is the first external funding for SIPphone. Joining the board of SIPphone is Dawntreader managing director Edward G. Sim. Private investors from Michael Robertson's previous digital music startup MP3.com Inc. also participated in the funding.

It looks like the VCs are making their moves into VoIP and IP Communications in a big way which means great things for the technologies and consumers that use them. I am going to try and catch up with Michael over the next few days and see if I can get a phone interview for the podcast.

Sightspeed 4.5

February 13, 2006 10:36 AM | 0 Comments

Not a new player in PC-based IP Videoconferencing, Sightspeed has been building proprietary software for VoIP and Video for more than 5 years (a lifetime in this industry). The fresh and new CEO - Peter Csathy was kind enough to comp me a Premium account so I could play with it a bit. First impression was good, easy to download and get setup. Since they mention in their PR that they are leveraging Web 2.0 I would imagine they are using Ajax, it looks good.  

Sightspeed 4.5 

This new release is much more esthetically pleasing than past apps and includes some great tools for creating html links from the video/voice mail recordings as well. In Sightspeed 4.5, we can extract the MPG link from the webpage that follows the recording which is great but I should not have to go through that much hassle to find it.

The video clip can only be 60 seconds long and only as a local recording, I can't record a video conference that I am part of. Not sure if this is by design but if we look at the flickr model we get plenty of storage space for free and Counterpath offers a SIP Voice/Video softphone that records all media to AVI.

I would also like it if the link were made available in MP4 and WMV and include the media extension in the html link so that my media enclosures will pick it up. Skype got picked up by the bloggers because it was the easiest app to use that was freely available, it's still not easy enough. I should also be able to upload my own MP4, MOV, WMV etc.

Add some mobile integration not unlike shoZu and multi-party conferencing recording capabilities for the Desktop client and we would now have a very useful tool for citizen journalists worldwide.

I would seem that most apps like this are targeting an audience that is less technically inclined but I think that with a little more work they could also carve out a pretty cool niche in a market that needs tools like this.

Alec has some comments as well.

SIP Magazine on News Stands Now!

February 10, 2006 5:59 PM | 3 Comments

SIP Magazine is up and running, my first column can be found here. Featured articles from James Gledhill of SIPstorm, Todd Simpson and Alan Hawrylyshen of Ditech. Subscribe here.

Skype loves EQO

February 7, 2006 8:22 PM | 1 Comment

Ian Bell the VP of marketing over at eqo (like echo) has spearheaded the launch of their new mobile-centric Skype app. It's orange, it's Skype-ish, it's mobile and it's cool. In this interview we talk about the fund raising strategy, the history and the innovation that is eqo.


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“Too many people are disconnected from their online buddies when they leave the PC behind,” said Bill Tam, CEO of EQO Communications, “Our goal is to allow the countless number of online communities worldwide to stay connected using mobile handsets and for users to, virtually, take their buddies with them.” Using a combination of a phone-resident J2ME client and a carrier-grade standards-based signaling network, EQO bridges Skype to more than 150 million J2ME-capable mobile phones already in use worldwide.

With more than 227 million downloads and tens of millions of active users, Skype? is the dominant player in VoIP and Instant Messaging communications services worldwide. While the company has developed its technology to first work with Skype?, EQO intends to extend peer-to-peer communications to mobile devices with other high-profile providers in the near future.

Google, Show me the Federated IM

February 7, 2006 3:35 PM | 0 Comments

Google needs to open up the GTalk beta, it’s been months and still no one can use this unless you go through the hassle of getting a Gmail account, which is also still in beta?? I think this client has a great deal of promise but I never use it because nobody I know has it.

 Speaking of timing, check out IM Federation. It looks to me like Mr. Michael Robertson is making nice with Google and visa versa. Looking closer we can see that the domain is registered to Michael. Gtalk appears to be on the federated IM client track as well as it is listed Pending. I wonder if this means they will create a federated architecture much like Gizmo or if Google will use a third party service to help them federate with other services.

At any rate, federated IM seems to be gaining momentum, which is good for all users.

Hosted VoIP for SMB in Vancouver

February 3, 2006 12:27 PM | 2 Comments

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine told me that he was setting up a new Real Estate company here in Vancouver and already had hired 25 people. He needed a scalable phone system that would grow with him and would cost an arm and a leg in up-front capital costs. If anyone would have asked me 3-5 years ago I would have said there is no such thing. Today it’s a different story, or is it?

I had met a fellow a couple of years back at VON Canada who was running a very small SMB VoIP company called Shift Networks (traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol SHF) . Trent Johnsen struck me as a very capable and professional CEO. We had some great conversations about SIP, VoIP, Softphones, Presence et al. As it turns out Trent had a couple of tickets to the Jays game that night so we continued our conversation at the ball park. I had a blast! How refreshing it was to meet an executive in the industry who is all about business but yet still understands how to enjoy his work.

So when I was sourcing this SMB VoIP offering I right away thought of Trent. I found his company Shift Networks on the web. Shift has their HQ in Calgary and the website mentioned that they would have dial tone in Vancouver around this time. Before talking to Trent I had some good conversations with the sales and technical staff. It was starting to sound like this could be a good solution for my friend’s new company in Vancouver.

I called my contacts in the SIP feature server and softswitch world and soon found out that it was pretty slim pickings for hosted business-class VoIP here in Vancouver or in Canada for that matter.

I called Trent and we talked for some time about their current offering and where the company was headed. I came to the conclusion that they had done a great job in laying the initial groundwork for what could be the next Covad in Canada. Trent started talking about his plans for IP business applications and that really peaked my interest. From what I heard I would say that Shift is set to be a real contender in the SMB VoIP market giving Bell and Telus a run for their money, which shouldn’t be too hardwink Shift already has people on the ground here in Vancouver and one of their first customers here could very well be a new real estate company. With Trent at the wheel you can bet that there will be some great apps coming down the pipe as well.

Shift’s offering can grow and move with your company. If you are business owner and you are thinking of a new PBX or phone system take a look at Shift.

AudioMail vs. Audioblog.com

February 1, 2006 4:01 PM | 0 Comments

I just tried the AudioMail service which is reminiscent of audioblog.com's moblog capability. The big difference being that AudioMail is Java Applet driven and Audioblog.com is Flash driven.

Much like audioblog.com's moblog feature, with AudioMail the user calls into a phone number (Vancouver only right now) in types in their account number. The user can then record up to a 5 minute clip.

Today AudioMail looks more like a marketing tool for the parent company Clipstream, the record time is too short and the service is not very useful for bloggers. When the recording ends the system sends you the link for your encoded clip. Us bloggers need a media file to point to e.g. MP3, MP4, etc. so our enclosures will pick it up and aggregators will fetch it.

With Audioblog.com you can either produce your media using their tools or upload your own, it costs $5/month. At this point I would have to say that audioblog.com is a better bet.

Rich on Google's Tellme Buy

February 1, 2006 3:59 PM | 1 Comment

Rich has his radar on and speaks of Google buying Tellme. I was wondering how long it was going to take for them to get bought. For those who do not know, TellMe is the new age of IVR. Speech recognition driven telephony applications. Very cool.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2006 is the previous archive.

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