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.
08/10/2012 - The iPad Mini
The reason I suggest this is after using my Google Nexus 7" over the weekend using CounterPath's Bria for Android Tablet, the form factor is great for being a multi-function device. Even if brought down to 5" or about the size of the Galaxy Note from Samsung, the mixed use functionality makes it a device that means you can have it all. And candidly, I want it all in one device vs. having to carry more than one device.
26/02/2012 - David Yedwab-Sorry To See You Go
I didn't know David as well as Rich Tehrani or Irwin Lazar, both of whom have written wonderful eulogies to him over the weekend, but what I can say is he was a gentleman and as industry analysts went, David was one of those who knew his stuff and didn't shout about it. He just did it right, all the time.
I started running into David at VON and IT Expo events many years ago. He always had a kind word, a smile and would reach out to me to talk about things. He also always took time to have briefings with my long list of clients.
David did his thing without a lot of flash. But he was a nice person through and through. Like with the passing some years back of Russell Shaw the VoIP and IP communications community has seen another one of the really good guys go before their time.
16/08/2010 - Sonus Enables Cable Customers to Make and Receive Calls on Their Smartphone Using Their Home Phone Number
17/07/2010 - AT&T Bought Wayport To Be A Monopoly Again
AT&T purchased Wayport about a year and a half or so ago. Wayport was the leading underlying provider of WiFi and Broadband services about a year or so ago. At that time Wayport's biggest customer was McDonalds. AT&T quickly took over StarBucks via Yahoo's ad engine as the cost savings driver, and now roughly has struck what I consider their first big deal. They've landed Hilton to provide WiFi and Guest Broadband services.
This comes after some global horse-trading between AT&T and Swisscom, who along with Intertouch, DoCoMo's hospitality arm, are pretty much the global market leaders to hotel operators as the provider of broadband services, a space previously dominated by T-Mobile (who I predict will shed that service in the next 18 months or so.) Over the past two years, T-Mobile which pretty much owned the hotel and airline club space has been giving up market share, especially in the USA. So, why do I single out these three companies related to the AT&T story about Hilton? Its simple.
The hotel connectivity for travelers in Hilton hotel properties in the USA has been so bad for the past five years that I went from being nearly a Hilton Diamond guest to Silver and now will be lucky if I qualify for that this year, if at all. And I'm someone who has traveled globally over 300 days in 2008, 275 days in 2009 and am on a pace to match the average of the last two years this year. Since 2006 Hilton has mandated to their properties, many of which are nothing but franchises to use Hilton "approved" providers, many of whom have simply run the Internet over the existing twisted pair (DSL) or some kind of ethernet over the existing in room TV coax. In some cases they have added WiFi, but in almost all locations at best you have seen no more than a pair of T-1s providing the kind of coverage that gives guests at best speeds that were only considered great when dial up was the access king (i.e. 56K)
And now days, access to real broadband is important. Especially to AT&T and their customers, as the consumption of content and delivery of mission critical information goes over the 'Net. For iPhone users in a Hilton, the inability to access the Net over WiFi, let along 3G is now critical. With AT&T now saying they "will ensure that hotel guests receive fast wi-fi and Internet services through a wired connectivity over a common Internet access platform" should mean a lot to the business traveler. But will it with the Hilton property owners.
First to really deliver this means that AT&T has to go past the demarcation point (where the service is handed off to the premise owner.) They are actually going to have to redesign and upgrade many of the internal distribution systems, many of which are controlled by OnCommand and other in room guest services/entertainment companies. Then there is the actual access point for WiFi. Anything short of the commercial grade Bel Air, Motorola or Cisco access points will mean an experience that is less than solid. And that's only for WiFi.
But I think this deal goes farther. I think AT&T has been reading some of Machiavelli. Specifically, "The Prince" where the fundamental and underlying premise is about "territory establishes control."
1. AT&T wants better in hotel coverage for voice calls. That means Femto or Pico cells being installed that work with guess whose network? AT&T.
2. Broadband Media Delivery of TV. Can you spell UVerse. First WiFi and Broadband, then the entertainment to the rooms both wired and over WiFi
3. WiFi access on the property
And who said AT&T isn't still about being a monopoly.
14/02/2010 - Off To Mobile World Congress
Good news for travelers heading to Barcelona for the 2010 Mobile World Congress put on by the GSMA.
As part of rolling out Skype Access on Windows the Skype folks are offering free access on Boingo in Barcelona.
Once you get to Barcelona look for SIMs at Phone house locations for your unlocked phones.
If you are away from your loved ones today then take advantage of Truphone's Valentines Day promotion.
Oh and Boingo and Truphone will be a great combination for those with WiFi smartphones like the iPhone, Android and Nokia E or N series phones.
Disclaimer:Boingo and Truphone are clients,
22/01/2010 - Truphone Brings Wi-Fi Calling to Nexus One
01/12/2009 - fring Brings World’s First Video Calls to the iPhone
Just a week after fring brought world’s first video calls over IP to mobile, the company announced “the first ever” mobile video calls over internet for the iPhone.
fring video enables users to conduct video calls with other users as well as with Skype contacts over their device’s Wi-Fi or 3G internet connection, with support for mobile-to-mobile and mobile-to-desktop calls.
RIM announced the upcoming availability of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 with Wi-Fi Calling from T-Mobile.
It will be the first 3G-powered BlackBerry available through T-Mobile USA, and also the first smartphone from RIM that includes built-in support for both 3G connectivity and voice calls over Wi-Fi, according to T-Mobile.
11/10/2009 - Voice 3.0: The Era Of API Calling
I just learned that Cloudvox is launching this week and it got me thinking.
What does all this mean?
Well for starters, voice API's become more deployable. In an era where cloud computing and open source technology are taking hold, the need for easy to use libraries of code is evident.
A company that either develops API, uses them to their nth degree or knows how to manage and deploy them, ala pal Thomas Howe, is going to be part of the Voice 3.0 era.
Watch for other companies to take on a similar approach.
Vonage has launched Vonage Mobile, its first mobile calling application for smartphones. This free downloadable application provides seamless, low-cost international calling while on Wi-Fi or cellular networks.
It’s available for download on the iPhone, BlackBerry and iPod touch.
The app works with the existing mobile plans, what lets you keep your number, mobile device, existing contacts and mobile service provider.
29/08/2009 - A Warning To Skype? Nah, Not in My Book
Skype was sent a warning by Peter Csathy, on his blog this week, explaining why Skype, which is currently using the ON2 codec should be worried after Google acquired them. Google is also using parts of Videyo and video technology from client GIPS, and sometime back purchased a company with video expertise out of Scandinavia.
Actually, ON2 made the move at the right time to sell, just as Csathy did when he pulled a rabbit out of his hat and successfully exited SightSpeed to Logitech last November. But I have to disagree about Skype needing to worry about ON2 and Google.
In my view Skype with their technical team has the internal know-how and expertise to build their technology based on standards, not proprietary technologies. So while ON2 uses h.264 and optimizes it very well, this is much like the purchase of TellMe by Microsoft. You but it for what and who it has. Google has yet to demonstrate they play the "patent" game, and their video chat is just that, chat while what Skype is likely working on goes after Cisco and other telepresence suites, democratizing them the way their voice platform has leveled the cost of talking.
18/08/2009 - Mobile VoIP Starting to See Daylight
The road is filled with mobile VoIP and FMC companies. For a few years we heard how EQO was going to change the world and now you can't even download their software, while others like Challenger, Vyke and WiFi Mobile all made claims that they would change the way we talk but pretty much ended up being clones of two companies, Truphone and Gizmo, both of who early on figured out how to work best on Nokia N and E Series 60 devices and then expanded to more.
Former client now acquired by Counterpath, BridgePort Networks made a good run at Fixed Mobile Convergence and was very much way ahead of its time by a few years, as the carriers and mobile operators all said "like it, but don't see it yet."
Well the "yet" is about to be now, and as Om Malik points out in his post of yesterday, the mobile network operators are opening up more and more to VoIP starting with O2 in Germany but also with over the weekend mention by Verizon Wireless as part of their LTE trials.
Clearly this is good news for client Truphone, whom Om highlighted, as well as a few others who understand their role and place in the whole mobile eco-system.
Yes, the tides are turning, and part of the reason is LTE, which is going to be SIP based. All the work done to get there has not been for naught, but it takes staying power and a vision, as well as a roadmap to get there. Not simply an feature in search of a problem.
Om's post about Amazon Wireless made me realize that what the USA lacks is Carphone Warehouse, the chain that you see everywhere in the UK and with a sister chain called The Phone House all over Europe.
In the USA, the Carphone Warehouse model will come through via Best Buy, in their Best Buy Mobile stores. Right now a beta, the Amazon Wireless etail store pales in comparison to Let's Talk (a point Om makes) but neither are close to what CW offers.
What makes Carphone Warehouse so strong is you can comparison shop for deals in one place. I think Amazon is going in that direction, but my money is on Best Buy Mobile, because they have the deeper understanding of the mobile phone market. Amazon is just learning.
05/07/2009 - SoftPhones For Linux
For those Linux folks out there who have always wanted to know about which softphones work on the Penguin platforms, VoIPGuides has published a rather complete listing of the range of offerings.
Ideally this will appeal to the users of Linux eeePC users who want to have more than Skype on their tote-a-longs. Add a PocketSpot MiFi or Cradlepoint plus a softphone client and you have voice calling and access whereever you may be.
25/06/2009 - Nimbuzz Offers VoIP Calling Without 3G or WiFi
Nimbuzz is partnering with Voxbone to offer its VoIP calling service using local DID access numbers – without the need for 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity.
The arrangement means that users can make voice calls to contacts using most of the popular IM and VoIP services, including Gizmo5 and Skype, in over 50 countries.
07/05/2009 - Intelecom Launches CoIP Handset Combo
Intelecom has announced that it has obtained the rights to sell the 1World1Phone mobile phone.
The VoIP communications provider will sell the handset separately as well as a package with the 1Button to Wi-Fi adapter.
29/04/2009 - Truphone Improves iPhone Mobile VoIP App
Truphone has launched a major upgrade to its free mobile VoIP application for the iPhone.
The latest version of the Apple handset's first-ever VoIP app boasts increased ease of use, speed of function response, intuitiveness and simplicity - along with improved voice quality.
Vopium has become the latest mobile VoIP provider to introduce an iPhone application.
The addition to its supported handsets comes as the company was named winner of this year's European Mobile VoIP Technology Innovation Award by Frost & Sullivan.
04/04/2009 - Personal Observation About AT&T Network
Lately there has been a lot of noise about the AT&T Mobile Data Network. And, it hasn't been pretty, but the accounts have been true. The network that promises 5 bars of coverage, has a full house, and there's not a lot of flexibility.
Yesterday on the tarmac at McCarren Airport in Las Vegas, as I was leaving from four days at CTIA I had no problem logging onto the AT&T Wireless network, but then I couldn't get any further. Web pages wouldn't load. Skype wouldn't connect. It appeared the gateway was down. When I arrived in San Diego at Lindbergh Field everything behaved as it should.
This morning I pulled out the Acer Aspire One which has a built in 3G modem that AT&T and Radio Shack are selling for $99.00 plus a data contract, and ran a series of speed tests, using a variety of services to see what the connectivity is like. The speeds were solid. The connectivity fast. I was topping out over 2 megs on the download and up to a meg on the upload. On the iPhone, from just a few inches away, the speed was 1.4 on the download and in the high 200's for the upload.
Is the experience bad? No. Is it likely to get better. Yes. As more and more devices get put on the network, the capacity will only increase, as will tower and antenna array configurations.
Using Netbooks and other handheld devices to stay connected is only going to put more stress on the networks overall, but were paying top dollar for our network access, and we should not expect anything but what's promised. And delivering on the promise is the challenge that AT&T now has, as they've delivered to their board the promise of more new customers via their iPhone sales success,
19/03/2009 - Nimbuzz Bridges iPhone 3G VoIP Gap
Nimbuzz has today released what it describes as the most comprehensive VoIP application for the iPhone after "quite a few" rejections from Apple.
Building on its iPhone app launched in November, Nimbuzz users can now make international calls to mobiles and landlines at domestic rates by dialing a local access number available in over 50 countries.
28/02/2009 - VidTel Is Video Done Right But Seeing Is Believing
This is more of a fast and quick "observation" note about Vidtel, something I've been trying to play around with for a few months, but anything that involves connecting to my new and improved network here at the house I wanted to wait to do until the team from Xceptional Networks got things to a point where everything is simple to manage.
So far, what I'm seeing, is that Scott Wharton and his team in Sunnyvale have NAILED the concept of phone based/SIP Video down cold. It is simple to install, I simply plugged it into my Linksys Ethernet switch that's connected to my Covad Bonded T1 (3 megs) and powered it up. After a few minutes the firmware update was complete and I was connected.
I made a few trial calls but no one was home. Yesterday I used the service with Counterpath's EyeBeam on the Mac and also was able to update my EEE PC from ASUS (the 1000H) with the software thanks to some friends at Counterpath.
The call to one of the Vidtel tech team was perfect. So were calls to Jim Courtney using EyeBeam.
At first blush, I like what I'm SEEING from VIDTEL. The second box is going to my wife's house in Sacramento. I'm tired of not seeing as much of her when the laptop isn't near her. This will change things....My thought is I guess I'll SEE more of her, more often and she'll see more of me.
JAJAH is to offer new services enabling VoIP calls to be made either via WiFi or over the cellular network for Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and Symbian users.
They are being offered as white label solution to enable carriers and non-carriers to launch the service under their own brand.