04/12/2013 - Thoughts on WebRTC and OTT Services
Just about two weeks ago I was attending the ITU Telecom World where I joined Dean Bubley's panel and then moderating the TADS Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. Bangkok is an interesting place and my mobile experience, not only with a SIM but seeing how mobile centric that part of the world is, even more than what I experience in Europe or the USA exposed me to a lot of new ideas, as the TADS Summit served to reaffirm many forward looking ideas I've had about WebRTC and OTT.
The biggest concept I heard expressed was "Fast Fail" an approach that developer and early stage entrepreneurs have taken on. Being the optimist, I immediately spun that into the idea of succeed soon. And that's where WebRTC is. It has to succeed soon and the companies working to develop new method of communications have to learn that failing fast doesn't mean giving up. It means doing it better, and succeeding sooner.
OTT apps like WhatsApp and Line have succeeded soon and continue to grow. They are taking revenue away from the major telcos on one side (the SMS market) but at the same time shifting costs to other networks or the network side of the telco, while reducing the telcos labor and overhead cost.
Thus I would contend that OTT services like WebRTC don't really replace the carrier, they simply shift the burden of operating and delivering the service from the service provider to being the carrier while someone else operates the service. This is not much different from a concessionaire serving food inside a stadium while the landlord collects a piece of the action without having to buy the food or staff the stands.
The more a carrier opens up their network to OTT players and lets them take on the burden of building the audience, managing the relationship, and the less marketing the carrier or mobile operator has to do, the more profitable they can become because they can invest in technology that makes them better and more competitive versus their competitors, while providing the best field of play for the newcomers who use software and smarts vs. hardware and brawn to power their business.
The best and most profitable carriers will be the ones who embrace the new OTT players, find ways to incorporate WebRTC technology into their platforms or simply open up their pipe and network to let them in so they can carry more traffic.
Isn't that what carriers should be doing?
21/11/2013 - Hosted VoIP Choices Extended By Snom
18/11/2013 - EPC Opts for Ontario VOIP firm Instead of MTS
14/11/2013 - The Future of Telecom Is Next Week In Bangkok
Bangkok may be one of the last places you would think is where the future of telecommunications would be happening, as it's not exactly where one thinks of as a tech hot bed. But the 2013 ITU Telecom World is there, and that's where the newly minted TADS Summit will also be held.
While the ITU event is more about the establshed setting the future, the TADS Summit will be where the future gets statred. The two events, overlapping, and featuring many of the same participants will provide the framework for innovation. I'll be there, so keep an eye on this space for news.
05/11/2013 - 3D VoIP Video Calling Technology Announced By Ozeki
As we wind down fall and head into winter I'll be heading to Asia for two very important conferences and congresses. The ITU has asked me to be a part of the Dean Bubley led disucssion on Telcos and OTT-so off I go to Bangkok and that esteemed event in November.
That's immediately followed by what may be the most defining event about application development and Telcos ever organized, the TADS Summit. Long time peer Alan Quayle asked me to be a chair of a tract, but he's done the heavy lifting pulling together a really stellar group of knowledge leaders--those who are really doing it, not just talking about it, when it comes to how APIs and Apps are changing telecom as we know it.
If you look at this holistically, the two events in Bangkok during the same week blend the old with the new. While the ITU will not have many of the upstarts and disruption minded, TADS will.
23/09/2013 - Telzio Make A Business Look Bigger
Just as Phone.com focuses on the SOHO and Small Business market with a very complete and full featured set of services to separate them from the Grasshoppers of the world, a new player out of Los Angeles, Telzio is looking to take the same approach and go after the market that Jive is tackling, with larger businesses who are working both nationally and internationally with what is best described as a spin it up and deliver service approach very similar to past client Aretta that was acquired by cBeyond a few years back.
The core value of Telzio lies in their rapid deployment set up and automation engine that gets a business up and running in very short order. Compared to larger servcies, where provisioning is the pain point, this core part of their value proposition makes them an interesting and new player in a space of sameness.
Put this startup on your watch list.
22/09/2013 - Geddes: The Sensible vs Stupid Network
Pal Martin Geddes, one of the better, brighter and more forward thinking people in telecom today, authored a missive to his newsletter followers entitled "Rise of the Sensible Network" last week. It's an updated and padoxical viewpoint on the famed report by David Isenberg entitled “The Rise of the Stupid Network” that is often considered as the seminal treatise on the way the telcos went when it came to sealing their own fate.
Geddes longform article is a very strong read, and provides the basis of so much that will be discussed in a series of upcoming foundation events he'll be speaking at that set the stage for where telecom and the Internet are going, especially on the subject of OTT based communications. OTT is something that Martin, and his regular Future of Vocie speakermate, Dean Bubley and even I espouse and cover in our blogs and speaking engagements, with prime examples coming from the likes of HookFlash's Erik Lagerway and uberConference's Craig Walker, both of whom have all been very actively involved with for many years in delivering, or from services like Skype, Truphone (client), the now departed Gizmo, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Line, etc.
Martin will be speaking at some upcoming events, and this topic is far from over.
8th October, London - Future of Voice workshop.
19th-22nd November, Bangkok - ITU Telecom World.
21st-22nd November, Bangkok - Telecom Application Developer Summit.
28th-29th November, Berlin - Future Seamless Communications Forum.
3rd-5th March, San Francisco - eComm.
05/09/2013 - One Source Networks expands IP-based global network
One Source Networks (OSN) is expanding its IP-based communications across five new points of presence (PoP) in North and South America, Asia and Europe, the company has announced.
The news sites are a flutter with the realization that Microsoft if buying Nokia for less money they paid for Skype, hyping the idea that ex Microsoftee Steven Elop is the potential heir apparent to Steve Ballmer.
I personally think this is simply a thinning of the herd, and as new stars rise, older ones with assets -the Nokia patent pool, massive distribution teams, a very skilled hardware design and manufacturing team was attractive to Microsoft, especially with all the cash they have offshore. They pick up a team to build things and with their own sales force and mobile operator deals actually sell them, and what's more they reduce by a factor of 4 their royalty payments.
Unlike Dell, which use sub-manufacturers to make computers, now MSFT has it's own plants and people, and unlike Dell Microsoft has now has a team that knows how to design and build very good hardware--you never heard bad things about Nokia smartphones-more often you just didn't find them when they were really hot, or when you did, they sold very well and impact the top line for the Finnish company. This is exactly why Dell needs to buy BlackBerry. They get smartphones and own an OS. The world is moving from powerful desktops and laptops to smarter, faster and more powerful tablets and phones, and while BB's issues are largely sales, Dell's folks know how to do that.
But back to Microsoft. They have a leadership problem. Elop while a possible answer, he will likely be looked at as a returnee, so not the right choice as picking someone from the existing executive suite, even a slighlty reconsitituted one means the rest on the team feel passed over, and the rivalry it causes during the run up to the annointing is also very bad for business, as the direct reports all line up like gladiators. That leaves looking outside--way outside. And I mean way outside. Hardware is not what the future is about. Software is. And consumer marketing models are where the thinking is. Look at Netflix. Look at Nike. Look elsewhere...
Enter Yahoo-and a whole new management team. What they are doing is all about aqui-hires and building a new team from the inside out. In essence the Yahoo leadership is buying up pieces and parts -- that are all human capital, taking some of the newly acquired IP and incorporating it into what will be a very efficient mobile and cloud services focused team. This is exactly where Microsoft (and Dell) are both super light.
In my view Yahoo becomes an attractive aqui-buy for either Dell or Microsoft. It gives either a new leadership team, cash, cloud and mobile. It also brings new, next generation services, which Dell lacks in a consumerization of the enterprise model world.
Personally, I am not surprised by the Nokia buy by Microsoft, as the writing has been on the wall since 2012's CES where I saw nothing new with the Surface line of tablet PCs. The lack of 3G modules then was a huge OOPS for Microsoft, and something that Nokia's engineers never would have missed.
One more thing--Nokia has a massive developer program, and rich API's. Don't be surprised if Microsoft looks at Twilio, plugs that into Skype/Lync and then delivers it all to the new handsets. In an LTE era, voice is no longer about minutes, and the data pipe of wireless is the new wire. We're far from done seeing buying going on..it's a great time to be in M&A.
20/08/2013 - Does L.A. Really Want Citywide WiFi?
The City of Los Angeles is considering building out a citywide Wi-Fi network. It's a good idea, but rumor has it that they are considering an anchor tenant model, similar to what Earthlink tried to be in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Anaheim and a few other cities. The model, which some former execs I know from Earthlink were not in favor of from the start, is fraught with the challenge of one backer who wants to be both the builder and then the manager which operates and maintains the network.
I'm much more in favor of the multi-tenant model that exists in France where the operations costs are shared by mobile and fixed line operators, who in turn provide access to their customers. In Los Angeles this type of model would be thus open to the likes of Time Warner and Comcast to market to their customers as well, much like what they are doing elsewhere.
Given the size of Los Angeles, one also has to wonder if the whole City needs to be lit up, or if it would make more sense to build out the city and county in stages, where they gauge adoption, behavior and usage.
14/07/2013 - Skype Dropping API
Pal Om Malik tells us all that Skype is dropping their desktop API access in favor of a URI approach.
Reading through the story and then going into the Skype Developer web site makes me feel this is a play on the whole Microsoft approach to WebRTC that is slowly emerging. At the same time seeing, and hearing, the improvements made to Google Hangouts, I'm becoming less and less Skype centric as I'm now receiving calls inside the browser via Hangouts.
To me this feels more like death by a thousand cuts as Skype seems to be making changes that make them less relevant and more challenging to work with.
08/07/2013 - Telstra's Business Customers Get IPv6 Connectivity
Image via CrunchBase
Verizon has become the second USA carrier to really get behind VoLTE as the way voice will be handled on their LTE network following the early lead moves taken by MetroPCS long before they were acquired by T-Mobile earlier this year, reports GigaOm's Kevin Fitchard.
As usually, AT&T would rather someone else work out the kinks in the concept, but what's got to be a very bold move is VZW is not going to offer circuit switched fallback, meaning they plan to build out the LTE network across more parts of the USA in order to map their VoLTE coverage to their current 2G voice network. This is also a massive opportunity for OTT and UTF (over the top and under the floor) players as well as those who will be investing into WebRTC and other voice, video and collaboration services as this will mean the network will be stable enough to really support moving voice traffic.
Now, here's the hitch. If VZW does what I think they will do, only their own voice traffic will get the benefit of the network architecture, while the OTT players simply get best efforts--but, I think this leads the way to something more impactful down the road. Just as we have BYOD in devices, we'll see BYOC (bring your own carrier) in my view is we will have OPEN ACCESS just like we did at the breakup of the Bell System. That was where your local RBOC had to provide you with access to any LONG DISTANCE carrier of your choice. That sparked nothing but competition and really fueled the growth of the telecom industry. If the FCC, or the DoJ, force, order or cajole the mobile operators into allowing a customer to bring along any compatible voice, video or collaboration provider and they must provide the same quality of service and access to all.
If one views spectrum and airwaves as pipe like the telephone networks of old, then the logical arguement is that the LTE spectrum gets approached the same way, because your cell phone remains the only phone network where you can't choose your own voice provider for long distance or international calling as your phone is really locked to the carrier.
This is no surprise, not from them, or the category that TokBox is attacking, as customer service with chat boxes tied to web pages are already being plentifully deployed so the natural progression of chat to voice and video is no big strecth, and with WebRTC now in two of the top three most used browsers, regardless of standards, the market is clearly there.
What is also not surprising is that Telefonica Digital is doing this as one part of their new efforts.
Parent Telefonica is sucking wind in Spain, rumored to be selling off their mobile operations in Ireland and other non Spanish, non-LATAM countries. The mounting losses in Spain, defections to other carriers due to a declining economy are forcing the telecom giant to start to amass cash to fend off American Moviles expansion efforts in South America, the other part of the world where Telefonica has massive business interests.
But with other efforts like Telefonica Digital happening with AT&T Foundry, Vodafone R&D, Verizon's Innovation Centers, Orange Labs one has to look down the road and over the horizon to see that eventually some standard and uniformaity will need to occur. My view is that these "labs" will be spun out of the parent and a new company started combining the best ideas, people and opportunities, serving as a Bell Labs of the 21st century. That though is good 5-10 years off.
25/06/2013 - WebRTC News for Tuesday June 25 2013-Midday Edition
The big news of the day comes from TechCrunch which is reporting that Firefox 22 now has WebRTC in it , and with the release, it becomes the first stable version of the popular browser that supports the WebRTC protocol. In looking at the update the very first item is WebRTC, clearly showing that the developers are playing into the hype cycle that is here in place. The by default enablement means no one needs to do any special "settings" changes to invoke a WebRTC session. This makes Firefox now competitive with Google's Chrome as the battle for WebRTC eyeballs. The Next Web also offers coverage, but they seem to think its all about video.
While we insiders know that WebRTC is not a prime time player just yet, it's clear from the data being sifted by some of the companies with the most to gain or lose are having a field day figuring out where, with whom and when the market will be ready for it. Today, Dialogic announced results of their study citing a whopping 87 percent of a representative sample of telecom execs feel WebRTC will be a part of their roadmap very soon. From the announcement---
Findings of the survey may surprise some within the industry who made early predictions that videoconferencing and contact center communications would be the primary points of adoption for WebRTC. Instead, 37.7 percent of those surveyed said that WebRTC offers a broader benefit to unified communications solutions. Further, more than 35 percent of respondents agreed that WebRTC will make a more immediate breakthrough in the education market as opposed to the enterprise. And unlike many industry initiatives that can take up to ten years to mature, 49 percent of respondents intend to deploy a WebRTC solution within the next 12 months.
With WebRTC World this week in Atlanta, a flurry of news is coming out today and likely through the week.
Here are some of them...so far seem to be on the track of interoperability between the old and the new, which is a key component for today and the near term, with the SIP trunking efforts from FreeSwitch and Flowroute being the most "make it work now" of the bunch from today.
AudioCodes announced OPUS support for its 400HD series of IP phones. With this enhancement, AudioCodes can facilitate HD real-time communication between WebRTC services and SIP-based Contact Centers and Unified Communications (UC) solutions.
Client Flowroute and Freeswitch are working together to enable SIP trunking to work freely with WebRTC. Flowroute's SIP trunking service means there will be true interoperability between WebRTC endpoints, and the most widely used of all telephony networks, the PSTN.
Radysis announced new voice processing technology to help make sure calls sound and look correct between mobile, WebRTC and the PSTN. They seem to be working at the media layer to insure interoperabolity.
The worldwide semiconductor market appears to be poised for a turnaround, according to recent figures released by Gartner and IHS.