03/05/2013 - Skype: Get Your Payment Act Together
Image via CrunchBase
Note to the Tony Bates-if you have customers, bill them as Skype, not an unknown, back office company. It's called Branding 101. You see, it's been a few years since Skype started to charge for services, so one would think that in an era of global transactions that they would get their payment act together, especially since they are now owned by Microsoft, but treated as an off-shore owned entity.
In the past they and many of the leading USA banks have had the same problem I've seen with other off-shore merchants-they fall into the high risk of fraud, so the credit card companies and banks take a careful look at their transactions. Now that Skype accepts the American Express card, a sign that more businesses are using Skype, one has to educte their credit card companies about them. At one point Skype and CapitalOne had issues, then Barclays, all in how they presented their data to to them.
Enter WorldPay, a European processor of credit card transactions. Today, the account security group of American Express flagged some renewals on various Skype accounts we use in my agency. Of course, Skype is who I do business with, but instead of Skype being the "merchant" presented to American Express, the name provided was WorldPay, a company that has only transacted business with me four times in the past few years, and those were for purchases in the UK.
It took a while with the very helpful AMEX rep, Ahmed, who basically said "oh, yes, we often see WorldPay flagged and it ends up being Skype."
8x8's CEO Bryan Martin was featured in an NBC TV news feature in the Bay Area about the second coming of the technology boom in Silicon Valley as the Nasdaq, where many tech companies list their stock reached a twelve year high. Watch the video.
My take--we're seeing a new renaissance of sorts in technology. Quickly we have moved away from a hardware based economy to one of apps and services. Devices, though being replaced faster and faster, are also more relevant longer because of it. A two year old Android or iOS device is still usable and able to present data taken from the cloud and presented, while the server in the cloud gets updated every so many months with faster chips, better code and is connected to a faster, lower loss network.
27/04/2013 - VoIP Companies Are Growing In San Diego
The San Diego area is known largely for bio-tech and mobile leadership, largely due to Qualcomm and its dominance on the local technology scene. But quietly, the region is becoming home to some of the more rapidly growing VoIP companies on both an infrastructure level.
Whose here? Well for starters here's three---Sansay, Phone.com and Telcentris.
Sansay, led by long time friend Andy Voss who co-founded Nuera Communications in 1995, continues to be a force in the Session Border Control sector. The little heralded technology, is an integral aspect of the telecom technology eco-system, making it pretty much a necessity for ITSPs and mobile operators to deliver high quality calling and services, including the ever increasing demand for real time video and WebRTC.
While the industry goes ga-ga over Broadsoft and its softswitch technology, without companies like Sansay and Acme Packet producing technology that insures the maximization of performance and profitability for IP communications companies to route, peer and secure telcos services, much of what makes VoIP able to be better than the PSTN wouldn't happen. With Oracle's recent acquisition of Acme Packet the likely need for SBCs will only increase down to the enterprise level on a regular basis is my guess.
Phone.com, with headquarters in Newark, NJ, recently outgrew their tech side office space in Poway, CA so they moved next door into bigger quarters, as the San Diego Business Journal noted, along with SoCalTech. The growth, and recent funding led by ff Venture Capital and the Edison Innovation Venture Capital Growth Fund shows that investment in IP based communications continues.
Telcentris, best known for their unified/social/OTT offering VoxOx also has recently been growing. They raised another $5,000,000 and made some strategic hires of late adding PR and Marketing exec Joe Lawrence from the CDG and Tristan Barnum, best known for being a co-founder at Switchvox, which is now part of Digium and befoe that working with long-time friend Michael Robertson at MP3.com.
25/04/2013 - OnSip Debuts Busy Lamp Field
One of the neat things about IP based calling companies is the fact that most are founded by innovators at heart. That's why today when I watched the video OnSip Busy Lamp Field note from CEO Mike Oeth, I just had to share it.
What the busy lamp field means is users can now see when someone is on the phone-whereever on the network they are. Sweet.
09/04/2013 - WhatApp Rumors with Google and What May Happen
I love WhatsApp. I use it daily, especially to stay in touch with friends in Europe and elsewhere to avoid the costs of SMS. Sure, I can use GoogleVoice, but if those across the water don't have a US based GoogleVoice number it means an international SMS. Whatsapp helps me avoid that.
Recently rumors of a Google possibly making a purchase of Whatsapp made the rounds. And maybe there was some truth to it. Companies like Google always talk to smaller businesses about partnership or acquisition. Sometimes the negotitiations move along to a point where price is on the table, but often what Google and others like them are doing is looking under the hood to see if what's there fits into their long term strategy.
Candidly, the best buyer right now in Silicon Valley is Yahoo for WhatsApp, not the also rumored Facebook. The reason is simply this. Yahoo has basically moved in the direction of the mobile web, while Google is all about the browsable web. The fit between Yahoo and Whatsapp is likely better, as the Whatsapp team could likely be longer term players inside a new Yahoo and shape direction, while at Google it's all about Tim, Larry and Sergey and always will be for a long time. But at Yahoo, the opportunity has become more of a greenfield play.
But while all this is going on, and it goes on all the time, the best thing for WhatsApp to be doing is to keep driving user growth and to keep signing up mobile operators because in the end, those two metrics along with user retention and usage stats will be how the company is ultimately valued by whichever buyer pays the price.
09/04/2013 - AT&T Taps Boingo For Global Wi-Fi Roaming
First AT&T cut a data GSM deal with Jasper Wireless. Last week AT&T's Kris Rinne talked about AT&T shouldn't be called a dumb pipe and discussed how the new Ma Bell will do more to lower rates internationally. Today, AT&T tapped Boingo to start to put a dent in coverage holes and give their customers access globally with Wi-FI.
But while Boingo (a former client up to their IPO date) has hundred's of thousands of accessible access points worldwide, the way the press release was phrased leads me to believe that the access is limited to only the actual Boingo owned and operated hotspots, most of which are in major airports and large commercial building or sports facilities.
The key phrase is "managed and operated by Boingo's subsidiary, Concourse Communications Group." Those are not all of the access points in the Boingo worldwide network, but are indeed the ones that Boingo can do things like guarantee a level of service and insure that access really works.
In a lot of ways this is good for Boingo, and their partners. Too often some providers of Wi-Fi hotspots lag in keeping up with all the new standards or implement odd ball authentication schemes that make it difficult for early adopters, or Mac users, to connect. Having experienced this roaming issue first hand as a multi-account Boingo subscriber, I have also expeirenced how effortlessly all my apps work when I connect at a Boingo operated airport vs. a roaming partners' network. VoIP, Video, collaboration and cloud services sometimes work at partner locations. At Boingo locations, everything works.
And for AT&T and their customers, the gold standard approach dictates that everything has to work, or the cost to support it outweighs the value offered.
04/04/2013 - Say Goodbye to DSL, Hello to LTE
It's no surprise that DSL installations are on going the way of the dinosaur from the USA's larger telcos as that news is over a year old. But the reason is LTE is cheaper for the operators to install, and there are no wires to maintain. Today's formal launch of HomeFusion by Verizon Wireless, while pricier than the wired DSL lines means higher speeds, data caps and possibly some restrictions on what services you can access.
I say possibly some restrictions because my experiments with Verizon Wireless' LTE modems have yielded mixed results when I use over the top VoIP and Video services, as well as some challenges with IP based conferencing services because of how Verizon passes traffic or doesn't. They seem to double NAT which causes some IP communications providers fits, especially SIP traffic, and my attempts to get answers on this or organize calls between service providers and Verizon's engineering team have yielded no success, all the way up through their very polite Executive Response team.
But the good news is for those who have been speed challenged by wire, the new HomeFusion means higher speeds, higher bills and less time to download. Overall this is a win for those who are not as much in need of an always on, all IP based lifestyle of business.
02/04/2013 - Oracle In Telco-Look At FreeSwitch
With the purchase of Tekelec and Acme Packet one has to be wondering if market leading Broadsoft is next on Oracle's buying spree. While it's a possibility, I think the game plan is more of a surround strategy, than buy the company that would immediately grant SAP a licence to start working with every other telco and switch manufacturer on the planet. Basically, Broadsoft has so many customers that would feel Oracle's moves are too competitive in the long run they would begin to look at options. Oracle isn't buying up pieces to not make more money. What Mark Hurd is doing though is taking the parts that HP would have had if they continued on the path of being big in telecom and establishing the foundation to sell more appliances that are tied to the Oracle cloud.
Instead I would start to look heavily at the open source offering from Freeswitch the same way that Oracle now looks at Java. As an eco-system enabler. If Oracle gets behind Freeswitch then Broadsoft has to really start to start to look at other M&A options. Freeswitch according to many devs and CTO's I speak with is far more flexible and provides options that avoid the walled garden, royalty laden approach of Broadsoft.
01/04/2013 - Why Google Loves WebRTC
Todd Carothers' well penned post about WebRTC is totally in line with my thinking about the new technology. Lot's of money will be made, a bunch of startups will enter the space, many will die off, some will be successful, some will be acquired and of course, there will be Google, this decade's Yahoo or AOL-where new ideas come forth, some get acquired and others die. But for Google WebRTC is a big market opportunity, something that Todd points out when he wrote, and I quote:
"Meets Google’s modus operandi to implement technologies that better help it understand it’s users to sell advertising."
By this I mean the holy bucket of money that's sitting on the sidelines, not yet even coming into YouTube's coffers. I'm talking "commercials." Worldwide television commerical ad spend dominates and Google isn't even in the running today at getting much of the spend. But, as WebRTC technology improves now delivery of content, content that is dropped into a call, or around a conference call flourishes. Google's already figured out how to target ads, so as Sending Party Pays becomes the pay model for delivery of rich and massively sized data over other parties networks, users of Google's WebRTC technology (i.e. inside the Chrome browser, on Android devices and Chromebooks) all get served up television like commercials.
This takes Google smack into the middle of your viewing experience. And, delivers it for free to you. Your devices become like televisions. Remember when houses had more televisions than people? Well if you apply the same approach to laptops, smartphones and tablets, plus monitors and all, with WebRTC totally web browser centric Google can give away Chromebook and Chromepads all day long and recoup their money with targeted delivery of commercials.
It's the era of the all knowing about you, and your calling habits, your friends and relationships, plus your calendar and social patterns are what Google is collecting. Add in the delivery of commercials you want to watch and that can impact your lives, and Google wins.
02/03/2013 - AT&T: I Expected Better
AT&T and T-Mobile are in a war of words, using stats to confound and confuse and basically fighting a battle of whose is bigger...the most recent ads though by AT&T seem to go into the sewer after T-Mobile sought to keep the fight on the street. As a longstanding customer of both companies, it hurts to see wasted efforts like these when they both should be pouring their money into making for a better customer experience, not having a war of words, which in reality, don't solve the problems.
When it comes to mobile operators in the USA, I'm a customer of all four mobile operators. The reason? Coverage, or the lack of it in many places. Where I live, and where I travel means I need the flexibility and reliability that none of them really can deliver. In the USA coverage is huge issue and while there's a steady battle on about dropped calls, speeds and failed calls, the reality is that tower locations are getting harder to find, in building coverage is a challenge and backhaul for data is getting deeply constrained.
Over the past year my primary mobile device has become the iPhone, and while I started using it more than my BlackBerry on T-Mobile becuase of the apps, and no other reason, I still used my BlackBerry on T-Mobile heavily for two things. Email and BlackBerry Messenger. Up until the arrival of the iPhone 5, the iPhone on AT&T was my lead phone and carrier for calls, not because the network was better, but simply because it was the phone that worked best in the car with the least distraction to make or take calls. When the iPhone 5 arrived, I bought two of them. One each on Verizon Wireless, and another on AT&T-both unlocked.
Since its arrival, the Verizon phone has seen the bulk of the voice minutes which previously used to go to AT&T, and the reason is simple. Coverage but certainly not call quality. What happened recently in San Diego, and likely elsewhere is as AT&T "upgraded" their networks to LTE the voice coverage patterns changed, with places like my favorite breakfast joint losing coverage and other places like the freeway, adding better coverage. A long talk with folks inside AT&T Network determined that the changes to the network coverage in San Diego County caused this and what's more I was offered to be let out of any contracts.
But, as someone who travels, leaving AT&T wasn't the answer. Being polyamourous was.
My issue with Verizon though is different. The vagaries of call quality are very evident, especially when calls to me originate on Skype, go through GoogleVoice or come from or go to another mobile operator. The transcoding, and network hopping of voice calls today in the USA is so bad that its not about dropped calls, speeds and failed calls. No, its about quality.
My guess is that Sprint wins on quality, not because they have a bigger footprint. They don't. Simply because they have less people on their network. You don't see Sprint playing in this game of gutter ball. Nor Verizon. Both are taking the high road, and I hope they stay there, because, gutter ball marketing has a way of coming back to bite you, and customers have a long memory.
What's really going on here is the new T-Mobile model of no contracts is going to hurt AT&T the most, because they are playing the accounting game, and have been for many years, not the sales and marketing game, where the customer is who matters. T-Mobile is, and in doing so, the strategic level battles that are going on began before merger was begun. If I was a betting man, T-Mobile was hoping for a DoJ rejection of the sale, as the strategy that has unfolded ever since --Metro PCS merger, switch to LTE, getting spectrum as part of the breakup fee, etc., all seems to pat.
AT&T-your legacy demands you do better. Getting into a gutter war, is not what I would have expected. There are other ways to win back your customers. It starts with being a different kind of company, not a gutter ball war.
27/02/2013 - Has Google Given Up On GoogleVoice?
googlevoice fluid app icon (Photo credit: benlundquist)
When one thinks about GoogleVoice one has to wonder if the team at Google has given up on it.
Let's face the facts, not much is really new with it, and what has been new has been more iterative post GrandCentral (my agency was one of two agencies that helped make it what it was and I was a founding option-holder.)
While there are now apps to do things with GoogleVoice on smartphones and tablets, no real easy to implement smarts have found their way into the service that millions of people love to use. For example, we're still stuck with manually setting up do not disturb, even if it can be a timed DND. But while calls get blocked, SMS notifications of calls still come through. Transcription is still very mechanical, and often error prone, while tighter integration with GoogleApps and Gmail seems to be missing. Sure you can send your messages to your GMAIL, but texting with threading isn't there, you have to go to the GoogleVoice web page to see that, or be using a mobile app on your smartphone. There's also been no enterprise oriented efforts to beef up the service to do more between groups of users within the same company nor has any conferencing or group messaging been added to the mix. Even something as obvious as a GoogleVoice integration with Hangouts is lacking, where an SMS could go from a Hangout organizer or scheduled Hangout from the Google Calendar using GoogleVoice is absent. About the only integration we've seen is either with contacts, or with Sprint as a GoogleVoice customer's mobile operator, with number porting. Nice, but that's more than a year old news.
The bottom line is most of what we have today with GoogleVoice we had when GrandCentral was its name. As a loyal GoogleVoice user I look forward to the day when there's more to it than we have now, but sadly, I won't be holding my breath.
20/02/2013 - Skype and Lync Get Joined at the (mobile) Hip
Long suspected and not at all far fetched since Skype was acquired by Microsoft was the marriage of Lync and Skype. The reason for the purchase was the foresight of Lync lead Dr. Joe Williams who saw how the two could work together and at the same time, the looming threat Skype posed if independent of Microsoft. Now with the news today, as reported by Fierce, mobile apps will be where the two converge first.
When you take stock of the Skype acquisitions of GroupMe and Qik, both of which were mobile centric, those pieces fall nicely into where MSFT wasn't with Lync. MOBILE.
Now the two will be joined at the hip, making the enterprise extended to the mobile space.
20/02/2013 - Survey Reveals Mobile Users Prefer Voice Over IP
Image via CrunchBase
In a prior era Skype was trying hard to get close to mobile operators. They had established deals with Three and Verizon Wireless and a few others around the globe. That all seemed to go on hold when Microsoft acquired the company and the focus became more surrounding integration with the rest of what Microsoft does.
Just yesterday news started to leak out of Russia that Skype is now supporting carrier billing meaning consumers can buy credit and charge it to there bill. To me, this is no surprise as Microsoft about 18 months ago started to view the mobile operators as their next channel of distribution. If you look at the mobile operators in the GigaOm post, Orange, Telefonica, T-Mobile, Telus and Verizon Wireless, all but Telus were on the short list of operators MSFT wanted to get close to first, starting in 2011. The others, AT&T and Vodafone, as well as China Mobile will likely come on board soon.
Fast forward to today. Dell becomes a major part of the Skype eco-system and the mobile operators and their billing platforms become the furture of online retail for Dell and all of Microsoft. The Microsoft - Dell loan is much like what Microsoft did many years back to help keep Apple alive, as it props up a competitor of sorts, but makes them a partner. But now, with the mobile operators and Microsoft being cozier, the distribution channel for Dell reopens in a bigger way. With Dell building tablets and PCs' as well as smartphones, one has to wonder why Microsoft needs Nokia much longer other than for manufacturing.
Now with Dell private, MSFT can make moves with Dell--possibly taking over the Nokia manufacturing facilities, using Dell's logistics and blending the clouds of Azure and BOOMI...
04/02/2013 - Acme Packet Bought by Oracle
Acme Packet (AKPT) makers of session border controllers and related real time communications technology has been acquired by Oracle, reports the New York Times this morning and others including Reuters.
This is an interesting grab by one of the tech world's true giants because it sqaurly puts Oracle into a game where they begin to compete with the giants of telecom, many of whom run Oracle software to drive things including SBC's, media gateways and firewall technology that's sold. What's more it means that for companies which compete with Acme Packet, like Sansay, a San Diego based private company founded by friend Andy Voss, that they now have an even bigger opportunity to take away market share from Acme Packet with Sansay's home grown technology that is viewed by many of their customers to be better, faster, more reliable and from whom they get real insight into VoIP network and topology issues. If nothing else, it increases Sansay's valuation, and will likely cause others in the space like Sonus to all embark on a very aggressive partnering and sales effort as mergers like these often cause attrition, if not immeditely, over the first 18 months.
How Oracle integrates a Real Time Communications business into their portfolio, and what this means for things like their cloud offerings is yet to be known. What this will do though is create excitement in the valley and across the country, as this will likely trigger companies like Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Cisco, Juniper Network, F5 and others, as well as security and firewall companies to realize that they now have a giant that knows how to sell in and through in both to legacy as well as startups, forcing them all to become as nimble as Oracle is. I would not be surprised to see SAP want to get in the game, and they would be wise to look no further than Voss and his Sansay team.
Investment research firm Zacks has upgraded its stock rating of Interactive Intelligence (Nasdaq: ININ), a provider of business VoIP services, from "neutral" to "outperform," reflecting the firm's anticipated strong financial performance in 2013.
Zacks joins Craig Hallum and Northland Securities in upgrading their stock ratings of the VoIP provider, according to a report on the Daily Political website.
The company's stock has surged 18 percent since the beginning of the year, based primarily on the firm's preliminary results revealed earlier this month.
Interactive Intelligence said it expects total VoIP orders to increase 119 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the same quarter in 2011, and total orders for all of 2012 to increase 48 percent compared with 2011.
The firm expects its cloud-based VoIP orders to quadruple in the fourth quarter of 2012 year-over-year, and its cloud-based orders to more than double for the full year.
The VoIP provider anticipates revenues of between $70 million and $72 million in the fourth quarter, up 21 percent to 24 percent year-over-year, and between $237 million and $239 million for all of 2012, up 13 percent to 14 percent over 2011.
In addition, the company said it expects 2013 revenues to be in the range of $285 million to $290 million, with a non-GAAP operating margin of 3 percent to 5 percent.
"The business showed excellent growth across the board, with our fourth-quarter performance driven by sales momentum for both our cloud and premises-based offerings as we continue to gain share at the high end of the contact center market. We received an unprecedented 20 orders of over $1 million in the fourth quarter involving some of the largest companies in the world," commented Donald Brown, the firm's CEO.
In its latest order, Interactive Intelligence signed a contract with T-Mobile Austria to deploy a contact center to support the company's 500 agents at two sites. The contact center is expected to be ready this summer.
The business VoIP provider is obviously doing something right. Its cloud-based product is fueling is rapid growth and strong financials. And Brown has pledged to accelerate the firm's pace of innovation this year, so stay tuned for the company's final 2012 results, set for release on Feb. 4.
15/01/2013 - Lyncing Skype and RIM's BB10-What's The Play?
Well, rumors like that are good for ooVoo but in reality, Skype on BB10 is likely to happen. It's not a technical thing, it's all about what Microsoft wants from RIM and that's why you're seeing the ooVoo news now.
You see, the last thing Microsoft wants to do is lose the audience for Skype to a rival, upstart service because they have too much invested in it, and have added more assets to the mix that help them move more towards being THE COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE across all device platforms. They added GroupMe and QIK as acquisitions, so ultimately they need to be on the third biggest OS, just as they need to be on iOS and Android.
My hunch is that RIM and Microsoft make peace on this and if not at launch, sometime right after, Skype appears on the new BB10 devices and more importantly, Microsoft continues to move towards a Lync-Skype interop and eventually one service for all communications. To get there, Skype/Microsoft will want at least one thing from RIM---access to BBM, the over the top messaging service. Add in Group Me, instant calling and all that MSFT now has inside Skype and you have the Enterprise's communicator that goes over carrier networks, works over private networks and ties into Lync.
13/12/2012 - Are we entering mobile VoIP's heyday?
A report issued this week by Juniper Research certainly has a breathtaking prediction--1 billion mobile VoIP subscribers by 2017, or one in seven mobile subscribers.
Anthony Cox, the Juniper analyst who wrote the report, said the mobile VoIP market is getting a "second wind" because of network technology upgrades, greater competition and the decision by telcos to join the VoIP party (see related article, this issue).
But users sign up for VoIP because they don't have to pay much, if anything, for voice service, right? So how do you make money if people aren't paying?
Well, companies are getting creative in making money off of VoIP, Cox notes. Some are opening their APIs to third parties to generate revenues. Others are using advertising and premium services to make money.
Some recent developments support this rosy prediction for mobile VoIP. VoIP provider Rebtel this week launched a platform that enables app developers to develop new VoIP apps for iOS and Android smartphones.
In addition, mobile enterprise communications specialist Research in Motion made available this week its VoIP and IM app for Blackberry 7 on its App World store.
What does this mean for VoIP in the enterprise? As many recent surveys have noted, BYOD is taking flight in the enterprise and many of those personally owned mobile devices have VoIP software loaded on them.
A report by In-Stat last year predicted that business mobile VoIP users would increase tenfold over the next five years, with IP PBX users accounting for the majority of business mobile VoIP usage.
Factors attracting business users to mobile VoIP include the "ability to take the desktop phone experience with you, the ability to utilize the benefits of IP-based communication features, a cheaper international long-distance cost, an easy implementation path and better indoor coverage where cellphone reception has historically been poor," noted Amy Cravens, a senior analyst with In-Stat.
The move toward 4G VoIP services will no doubt prove attractive for enterprise customers. In fact, Infonetics Research predicts that global 4G VoIP subscriber numbers will reach 300,000 this year.
And let's not forget that the new Windows Phone 8, which Microsoft is pitching to the enterprise user as well as the consumer, has Skype integrated into the smartphone.
Mobile VoIP is likely to attract the enterprise user as well as the consumer. The mobile VoIP market is changing and enterprises need to change along with it. -Fred
12/12/2012 - GoGo vs. A Possible Class Action Suit
Slap suits are silly. And the idea of a class action suit against GoGo and parent Aircell is silly. While I don't disagree that the pricing model is currently flawed, the reality of the case is there is competition for GoGo and airlines have the choice of which provider they choose to use, as Skift.com points out.
The issue though is that we don't have a choice in the air of which provider we use, any more than people who want soft drinks when they go to McDonalds do. McDonalds only offers Coke, not Pepsi. And until the operators of the in the air broadband networks can figure a way to offer an MVNO like play in the sky, don't expect to see lower rates.
That said, iPass and if I recall correctly, Boingo customers have roaming deals so there are some options so this case while having some rational merit, on face is not meaningful. Personally I'd rather see more planes offering Wi-Fi. The inconsistency of planes from SouthWest with Row44 makes it impossible to pick that airline over those with GoGo and I used to be an A list flyer with SouthWest. Also when I look at the productivity I get when I fly on Virgin America, have in seat power, friendly flight attendants and Wi-Fi, I really don't worry about the costs of a monthly fee I pay GoGo because the time saved, stress removal easiy outweighs the cost.
09/12/2012 - Cablevision Raises Broadband Rates by Five Dollars
Cablevision rushes to install hanging wires (Photo credit: Anthony Quintano)
I have friends who love Cablevision's Optimum Online who live the in the Metro New York City area and were not Fios friendly or simply didn't want to cut their copper connection to Verizon's landline network. Well for them, access to the Internet is going up by five dollars a month.
Given that Cablevision isn't behaving like Time Warner Cable, making noise about things like rate limiting and download caps, seeing a five dollar increase to help offset the buildout and upgrading of the network, the addition of a Wi-Fi network with access to 50,000 hotspots and all seems reasonable.
My guess is that Comcast and Cox, as well as others will make similar moves in time to increase speeds and capacity to help fight off the wireless offers that will begin to look more like cable TV companies' offers as Advanced LTE rolls out across the USA in the later part of 2013.
PC World has taken a look at 2012's top video conferencing services that are both app and cloud oriented in their most recent issue. Back in the day, SightSpeed, now owned by Logitech, used to win this award, but it seems Logitech has stopped pursuing accolades for the once dominant service. (Note my agency, Comunicano, represented SightSpeed in those days.)
Each of these are what I would put in the pro-sumer category of applications/services that have lots of marketing muscle behind them. And, ironically, with WebRTC happening, any or all of them could be displaced very quickly with even more complete and wider ranging capabilities.
Having used some of the services listed what's clearly obvious to me, other than Skype PR Agency lead Chaim Haas being on the other end of tests with PC World's staff, is that no mentin was made with regard to price and there wasn't a comparison chart of features at the end which would have made it all easier to decide which service is best for who.
The reasons. Each has taken the time to work their app strategy to include mobile devices and on iPads they all are really mobile experiences of the desktop world. (Note: Citrix Go To Meeting has been a client in the past, and the guts of its audio comes from former client HiDef Conferencing that was acquired on our agency's watch just like SightSpeed at about the same time)
Skype Premium is also useful, but the changes being made to Skype's architecture of late have me seriously wondering how soon before it just becomes the next Windows Messenger, and fully incorporated into Lync.
Also, missing from the report. Google Hangouts, which on face, may be better than all of those chosen, but then again, Google isn't exactly, PC.
03/12/2012 - Princess Cruises Ending Unlimited Internet
Just when i was thinking that connectivity at sea is getting to the point where I could take a cruise and still stay connected, I found out I can't. The first shoe has been dropped by a major cruiseline, Princess, will end unlimited Internet according to Travel Weekly. The problem is the adoption curve has created a new level of connectedness by traveler. It's not just about a laptop any more, or the occassional check of email.
Today, people carry data hungry smartphones and tablets that are "always on" so consumption is outpacing the amount of bandwidth originally anticipated. This under-projected consumption level is only going to increase, with most studies showing that what we're doing today is only the tip of the iceberg.
03/12/2012 - What's Up with What's App and FaceBook?
WhatsApp (Photo credit: abulhussain)
Over the weekend word leaked out in Techcrunch about Facebook having an interest in buying WhatsApp. This is not so far fetched when you think about Skype previously buying GroupMe back in 2011 which gives Skype the ability to send group texts, but also more SMS capabilities than it had previously.
For FaceBook, the ability to have better SMS technology gives it a competitive technology that could be much like iMessage and BBM, both of which provide over the top messaging, but what Facebook really gets is a way to send messages without having to always pay SMS charges through gateway providers, which means that they have more capabilities. WhatsApp also has one or two other features that would place Facebook ahead of Twitter, which uses SMS to send tweets from smartphones, unless a Twitter app is in place.
Having used What's App for more than a year now, the big benefit is in it's being an Over the Top (OTT) messaging where I can send text messages internationally without paying international rates to mobile operators. What's more, WhatsApp also enables MMS-sending photos and voice notes to another WhatsApp user. For Facebook these would be essential complimentary tools to further propel their billion dollar acquisition of Instagram and more.
26/11/2012 - Spotted-VoIPInfo.org
I was recently tipped off to a VoIP Wiki that is largely an advertising site that surrounds content about VoIP and supporting technology.
VoIP-Info.org is a nice summary of information that's not making the mainstream press. Check it out.