Tuesday, May 03, 2005

May 2

Andy Abramson - VoIP Watch

May 02, 2005
Skype Lays The Smack Down on IM Too !

Skype, according to Skype Journal's founder Stuart, is putting a hurting on IM as well as the traditional telco market.
May 02, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Skype Wants to Own It All
Mr. Blog finds out that the SKYPE API means those that develop with it shall give the ownership of the work output to Skype.
And people call Microsoft draconian and monopolistic, this is one for the books.
May 02, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
AT&T Rolls Out Business VoIP
Even though CallVantage isn't a part of this story, my instincts tell me the underlying base platform and network topology is the same.
May 02, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Macromedia Breezes Into VoIP
I sat through a demo today with some folks from Macromedia about their new Flash based Breeze VoIP powered web conferencing application. While a lot of what I saw was not what I would call breakthrough, it will put a lot of pressure on the WebEx market and Microsoft's Live Office efforts to do better.
In fairness to Macromedia I did the demo on the Powerbook and it's not really Mac ready, something they apologized for so I'm hopeful to be able to do another demo on a PC later this week. That said, some of the points they made were the same I heard years back from folks at Intervu and even Real and Microsoft as reasons why streaming media based web voice conferencing would be important to the market. Substitute VoIP for streaming and you've likely heard the story. Raindance made many of the same comments a few years back, but despite all that there was something rather easy about Breeze and how fast things could be done and how nice the images and text were presented. I've sat through many a CCBN based shareholder demo and live conference of earnings calls and know that this was indeed, pardon the pun, a breeze compared to what they have to offer today.
But with Skype likely heading in the Video direction, and other client software on the market such as eyeBeam from XTEN, one has to wonder just how easy it will be in the conferencing space to gain traction at .32 cents per minute. AT&T has also said as recently as the Internet Telephony conference that they have a very powerful voice conferencing platform in place that will work with CallVantage offering some features that add a real conference table experiences to the VoIP universe.
Overall I'm happy to see where Macromedia is going because as one of their presenters pointed out, service providers need more than price to have a sold VoIP offering, but something in the back of my mind makes me ask how committed Adobe will be to this application post merger. Adobe is all about making the print realm look better in digital. Flash does that, as do other Macromedia tools that are geared for the Web and for presentations, but this seems a stretch and without some better non-message point answers from Macromedia this will have to be determined down the road. Otherwise like a spring breeze, this application can be forgotten when something else reigns on their parade, for these days in our era of pop tart, minute rice oriented products and services what was hot today is, well blown away in the breeze tomorrow.

May 02, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Siemens Leaving Cellular Going VoIP/WiFi

Siemens which is dishing off their wireless business to Acer seems to be picking up in a new area. Wi-Fi phones.
Siemens entry brings legitimacy to the segment that has largely seen no name brands and OEM phones hit the market to date, largely with mixed results.
May 02, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
XTEN and Symbol Bring VoIP to Rugged PDAs
XTEN has a new relationship with Symbol Technologies. This is one more indication that the market for soft-phones is growing.
May 02, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Small Markets Present Huge Opportunity
Jon Arnold points to a collection of small wired markets which are gearing up for VoIP.
While many of these operators have already been the target of Vonage, Net2Phone and others, none has really gained any traction that is of significance.
These small regional local exchange carriers taken individually are a small market, but when rolled together they represent millions of customer and a collection within each RLEC of customers who don't want to be on the wrong side of the digital divide.
May 02, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

David Beckemeyer- Mr Blog

Practical IPv6

We finally released a project we've been working on in EarthLink R&D for some time now. I was not the lead engineer on this project but it's perhaps one of the most exciting things we've done in R&D to date, if not the most exciting thing.
Basically it's a demonstration of a practical IPv6 migration strategy. There is a sandbox that allows users to obtain their own /64 IPv6 subnet of real routable addresses (Goodbye NAT -- YEAH!)
Here's how it works: Simply get an account at http://www.research.earthlink.net/ipv6/accounts.html to get your own personal block of 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 IPv6 addresses; install the firmware onto your standard Linksys WRT54G router, and blamo, you have IPv6. With this special code installed on your Linksys router, your IPv4 works as normal; you'll still have your NAT IPv4 LAN. But in addition to that, any IPv6 capable machine on the LAN will get a real, honest to goodness, routable IPv6 address too. It couldn't be easier. This works for Mac OS X, Linux/UNIX, as well as Windows XP. You don't have to do anything special on the machines on the LAN. They just work, as they say.
So with this code installed on the router and your IPv6 accounts setup, nothing breaks. You continue to use your LAN as before, but you suddenly also get real IPv6 addresses. Easy migration. No forklift required.

James Enck - EuroTecoblog

Tuesday, May 03, 2005
UMA - Universal Mutual Annihilation

Denmark, spritual home of the disruptive MVNO model, may be about to see another source of pressure in its crowded and brutal market, from TeliaSonera, which is planning to trial a UMA-based converged product ahead of a "possible launch" in 2006. After its acquisition of Orange's Danish business last year, TeliaSonera is third in the mobile market (1.1m subs), just behind Telenor's Sonofon, though the two are very close in numbers of contract customers. TeliaSonera also has 134k broadband subs in the market, so there is probably a pretty good case, as an ambitious challenger, to stitch product offerings together in a more coherent way. I am curious, however, what the impact on pricing might be here, and also who else may follow along the same lines (France Telecom in the UK?).

UPDATE: Had barely published this when Motorola chimed in with a press release claiming seven European trials in all, but only identifying TeliaSonera by name. I assume BT is also included in this group of seven. Any ideas out there on who the other five are?
Permalink posted by James Enck : 8:53 AM
Vive la disruption

French enfant terrible Iliad added 150,000 new DSL subs in Q1, and now has over 1m customers on its Freebox, of whom nearly 100k are TV subscribers, and 850k are on VoIP. Value-added service revenue in Q1 was nearly at the level of the entirety of 2004, though it still accounts for only 7% of group revenues.
Permalink posted by James Enck : 8:39 AM
Race to zero

Here's validation of one central strategic pricing principle at work in voice - do anything to keep customers happy, or just to keep them, period. Swisscom, hot on the heels of its flat rate data announcement last week, has today voluntarily cut mobile termination rates by 40%, and also introduced a new subscription tariff offering calls of up to one hour for a flat CHF0.50 (EUR0.32) for the duration of the call - in line with fixed line pricing.

I like the fact that the frank press release cites as motivations pressure from enterprise customers, as well as an observed decline in usage - i.e., consumers know when they're getting shafted and will vote with their feet - at least this company has grasped consumer sentiment. However, this is the sort of cut that hits a mobile company where it lives. Note the reference at the end of the press release to full year revenue and EBITDA impacts from the termination cut of a maximum of CHF165m - a tacit admission that termination is a 100% margin business. In any event, CHF165m off the EBITDA line equates to 8.4% of 2004 Mobile unit EBITDA, and that's only for six months. Annualized, we're talking double that level.
Permalink posted by James Enck : 8:24 AM

Mark Evans - Mark Evans

Monday, May 2
Who's Afraid of Big, Bad Huawei?

by Mark Evans on May 2, 2005 02:52PM (EDT)
Nortel CEO Bill Owens has been talking about the threat posed by Huawei almost from the time he took the helm a year ago. Here's what he had to say about Huawei during a conference call today with analysts: "Huawi is a keen competitior.....I think they compete well. We must on our side reduce costs. We are focused on cost reduction. We will stay [focused on] continuing to cost reduction in all areas of our business. I know Gary Daichendt is focused on it, Peter Currie is focused on it and I am focused on it. We will drive the cost structure of Nortel down....We are adding some jobs in China and India. We have the LG partnership in China and the JV in Korea. We will move R&D jobs into lower cost markets. It helps us reduce our opex as we go into this ever-creasing competive marektplace." Huawei, by the way, beat out Nortel for the long-haul optical part of BT's US$19 billion next generation network contract.

Leave Comment | Permanent Link | Cosmos
Bob Young Comes to Apple's Rescue
by Mark Evans on May 2, 2005 02:40PM (EDT)

Give Red Hat founder Bob Young credit for never letting a good marketing opportunity pass him by. In the wake of Tiger Direct filing a lawsuit against Apple for trademark infringement related to the release of the new OS named "Tiger", Young has offered to license the word "Tiger" to Apple for no charge. Young figures there is no reason why he can't do Steve Jobs a favor given he owns the Hamilton Tiger Cats football team in the Canadian Football League. "136 years ago we were called The Tigers," he said. "If anyone owns the exclusive rights to the word "tiger" with that much history and tradition, it's gotta be us." Not sure how a Florida court will view Young's claim but the Man in the Red Hat, who now operates Lulu.com, a knack for marketing. Last year, Young revived the Tigers Cats with promotions such as offering pregnant women a free ticket to a game on Labour Day. The first expectant mother at the game to give birth was given a life-time season ticket for their baby.

Leave Comment | Permanent Link | Cosmos
Nortel's Q4 Results
by Mark Evans on May 2, 2005 07:54AM (EDT)

Nortel Networks finally came out with its fourth-quarter results this morning. At first blush, they look mixed. Sales were US$2.62-billion - compared with analysts' estimates of US$2.8-billion and the company's internal goal of US$2.8-billion to US$2.9-billion (based on a regulatory filing made in December). On a positive note, Nortel made a profit of three cents a share, compared with estimates of 2 cents, while gross margins were slightly higher than expected at 45%.
Before anyone gets too excited about the EPS number, net income included US$181-million in income from discontinued operations and customer financing recovery and settlements. This was offset by an US$81 million restructuring charge.
Among the interesting tidbits to come out of the 10-K were CEO Bill Owens' compensation package. It includes a base salary of US$1-million a year with the opportunity to make a bonus of 170%. He was also slated to get a special pension worth about US$33,540 a month for the five years following his retirement. If that wasn't enough of a carrot, Nortel approved an "additional special pension benefit" in March of US$4.5-million to compensate Owens for equity compensation he forfeited when he resigned from the boards of other other companies after he was hired as Nortel's president and CEO last April. As a result, Owens will receive US$119,787 a month over five years when he retires.
Nice work if you can get it.
Comments (2) | Trackbacks (2) | Permanent Link | Cosmos

Leonardo Faoro - The VoIP Weblog

Monday, May 02, 2005
VoIP Service Like Tupperware
Posted May 2, 2005, 8:34 AM ET by Ted Wallingford

In an interesting piece CNET posted from the New York Times, Ken Belson likens the growth of VoIP sales through word of mouth to Tupperware. A culture of social networking surrounds is propping up the positive popular momentum fueling the expansion of VoIP service. Click the Read link below to check it out.

Read Permalink | Email this | Comments [0]

Eric Lagerway - SIPthat.com

Xten Leverages Symbol Relationship and Goes After Enterprise VoIP
Xten Announces Mobile VoIP Solution Support for Symbol MC50 Enterprise Digital Assistant

SAN JOSE, CA, May 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Xten Networks, Inc. (OTCBB: XNWK - News), a provider of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), Video over IP, Instant Messaging (IM), and Presence SIP softphones, will make its softphones, along with Symbol Technologies, Inc.'s (NYSE:SBL - News) handheld mobile computers, available for channel partner offerings later this year.
Xten software on Symbol handheld computers provides a mobile voice solution that enables next generation connectivity and collaboration across Symbol's voice capable Windows Mobile platforms. The first product supported is the MC50 Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA). Generating an overwhelming positive response, Xten demonstrated the handheld SIP softphones with the Symbol MC50 EDA at the Voice on the Net show in March of this year.
Continue reading "Xten Leverages Symbol Relationship and Goes After Enterprise VoIP"
Posted by erik at 10:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Aswath Rao - Aswath Weblog

May 02, 2005

SIP API or lack thereof

Today I stumbled upon a thread referenced at del.icio.us, where one of the posters states that he has developed a Perl script to display Caller ID information on the TV screen, by accessing the SIP messages directly and using MythTV.
This suggests a general solution: connect the modem line from the PC to the SIP ATA, along with the standard phone; let a PC application “sniff” SIP signaling information that the ATA is receiving and transmitting to the service provider. For those who remember TAPI or TSAPI, I am just replacing PSTN with SIP. The level of commonality between the service providers in their use of SIP will determine how ubiquitous an application can be across the service providers. This brings us to the recent discussion on the lack of SIP API.
Posted by aswath at 05:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rich Tehrani - Rich Tehrani

May 02, 2005
VoIP at Interop

Off to Vegas. See you tomorrow at my VoIP Security session. I am really pumped up about this session. Just a few years back I was asked to speak on when VoIP will happen, Now that it has, I am getting asked more and more to discuss how to perfect it in any given situation. My panel seems like it will be great and I already sense some rivalry among panelists. Keeping these guys from tearing each other's heads off while simultaneously educating and informing the audience will be great fun. I want to keep the session as intellectual as a Larry King interview with a dash of Jerry Springer thrown in to keep everyone awake. I hope N+I, er I mean Interop has ample security guards on hand.

Posted by rtehrani at 07:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Customized RSS Feeds

I have been hearing more and more about RSS and for those of you that aren't aware RSS is a technology that allows you to subscribe to content and get alerts on an RSS reader. Some readers convert feeds into e-mails while others are integrated into web browsers. I use rssreader.com which is a standalone program that is not as stable as I would like.

Over a year ago, TMCnet instituted news feeds on allowing people to subscribe via e-mail to anything they like. For example, you can subscribe to a keyword like IP PBX or Avaya. Really, anything. Any mention of your keyword(s) triggers an alert via a daily e-mail.

PR professionals are huge fans of this service as it allows them to track mentions of anything and everything.

Getting back to my point, we instituted RSS feeds with our keyword alert system a while back -- perhaps a year ago as well. I can't recall. In other words you can subscribe to feeds on any topic, just like a news alert e-mail. The difference is, these feeds can happen in near-real-time... As often as your reader checks our site in fact.

This is not typical. I am not aware of many other sites doing this. Most RSS feeds are not flexible, the feed content is predetermined by others. As TMCnet has agreements with numerous news sources, you can use this service to gather tremendous competitive intelligence and stay on top of just about anything.

Now it seems like there is lots of talk on the Internet about having customized RSS feed as it would be a great idea. TMCnet has been doing this for many months and it seems like our subscribers are very happy with the service. I am glad to see others are joining the RSS party.

In case you want to try the news feeds for yourself just click here. Our commitment to our loyal readers is to make TMCnet the best and most useful communications and technology site around. We hope this and all other TMC products exceed your expectations.
Posted by rtehrani at 07:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Earl-Bird Deadline Approaching
I am blown away by the quality of attendees signing up for Speech-Word. Amazingly, it is not just call centers and OEMs but major service providers as well. I suppose these providers are looking to add speech to their customer support departments as well as using speech as a differentiator in their operations. Either way, the show should be very exciting. As I mentioned recently, people in the industry tell me frequently that if this is the year of VoIP, next year will be the year of speech. Honestly I think speech will take off in 2-3 years with double-digit growth for the foreseeable future. While the attendance to Speech-World is going well, it is not a frenzy-like industry like VoIP. It seems to be slower and steadier, which to be honest, is probably the best way for an industry to be.

Remember, The Early Bird registration expires this Friday, May 6. Register now if you would like to save $200.
Posted by rtehrani at 04:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Avaya and Just In Time Communications
Avaya has launched a suite of applications that tie business applications and communications applications more closely together. Read Bob Liu’s write-up on the Avaya Service Oriented Architecture news for details. I call this Just In Time Communications and I am happy to see the market gainingtraction.
Posted by rtehrani at 01:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tom Tom - eurovoip


Skype Smartphone 'Voiceless VoIP'

Voice-over-IP software Skype last week released a beta version of Skype for Windows Mobile smartphones but left out voice capability. According to a post in the Skype forum by a staff member, voice has been left out for now because Windows Mobile smartphones don't have enough processing power with 200 MHz. Skype requires 400 MHz processors to run efficiently. Additionally, "network connectivity of currently available phones is not sufficient to enable Skype voice calls," the Skype staff posting said.

so why do they even bother releasing it, if the cpu and the network isn't ready. this is just too stupid: a voip application which can't transmit voice on a smartphone.
posted by tomtom @ 13:05 0 comments

Dameon D. Welch-Abernathy - PhoneBoy's Blog

Best Quote on Blogging
Declan McCullagh says: "Good blogging is good journalism. Bad blogging is spending all day writing about your cats."

Sounds reasonable to me. :)

10:07:12 on 05/02/05 by PhoneBoy - General - No Trackbacks - comments

First Woman I've Seen in the VoIP Blogosphere

I hope Patrizia continues her insightful posts on VoIP. She's posting on a blog simply titled VoIP (the XML feed is here.
10:01:25 on 05/02/05 by PhoneBoy - VoIP n Telecom - No Trackbacks - comments

Convergence Must Be In The Air
Andy points to an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail about how VoIP enables convergence. While it's nice that the mainstream press sees it as well, this article doesn't mention the bandwidth requirements of a converged network, which I mentioned last night. They do talk about priorization, which is also important (something I forgot to mention).
00:47:35 on 05/02/05 by PhoneBoy - VoIP n Telecom - No Trackbacks - comments

Kevin Werback - werblog

Guns, Games, and Style

Want a sneak peek of tomorrow's technology? Look to generals, gamers, and fashionistas, where the real innovations will come from
Where will innovation come from? That's always on the minds of those whose livelihood depends, directly or indirectly, on information technology. Visionary entrepreneurs and brilliant engineers are always out there, building solutions for markets others don't even see. Yet most of those markets are hypothetical today for a reason. The majority of innovation occurs because it solves identifiable problems. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Precisely because computers and digital networks are so powerful, pervasive, and inexpensive, however, few applications truly call for breakthroughs. Corporate and government research and development once drove significant innovation, but both have been cut dramatically in recent times. And even research operations with generous funding, such as Microsoft's (MSFT ), have produced nothing comparable to the legendary output of Xerox' PARC and AT&T's Bell Labs. Some other drivers must take up the slack.

Anthropologist Jared Diamond tackled a similar question for the planet as a whole in his Pulitzer-prize winning book, Guns, Germs, and Steel. He showed how the three elements in the title, plus other surprising variables, explained why certain parts of world attained a much higher level of development than others. Hidden conditions of the local environment, rather than innate capacity differences, produced extraordinary innovation in regions such as Europe while retarding it elsewhere.

PRACTICAL TASKS. In today's technology industry, the three hidden factors shaping the innovation environment are guns, games, and style.

"Guns" means the military and the vast associated intelligence and homeland security apparatus. From battling distributed global terror networks to providing soldiers with real-time information on the battlefield, the military faces a plethora of challenges that call for cutting-edge technology. And with an annual budget in the hundreds of billions, it has the resources to pay for it.

This isn't the kind of blue-sky military research that created the Internet. Surviving a massive Soviet nuclear strike is much less a priority for today's military than getting fuel trucks and parts to tanks in the field, or linking critical information already present in incompatible FBI and CIA databases.

Think of the Defense Dept. as an enterprise, with millions of employees, operations throughout the world, and a business that epitomizes the term mission-critical. In areas ranging from real-time collaboration to knowledge management to sensor networks, the military is pressing technology vendors to push the envelope, spawning innovations that will diffuse to other markets.

PLAYER POWER. Something similar is happening in the gaming world. Computer games are a big business, rivaling the movie industry in revenues. Moreover, they're the most demanding application most users have for their PCs and other devices. A machine that can browse the Web in its sleep will still strain at the three-dimensional rendering demands of today's games.

Massive, multiplayer virtual worlds, such as EverQuest, The Sims Online, and World of Warcraft, collectively have tens of millions of regular users, who put as much, if not more, stress on their technical infrastructure as customers on eBay (EBAY ) or Amazon.com (AMZN ). It's no accident that perhaps the world's most sophisticated microprocessor, the Cell chip developed jointly by IBM (IBM ), Toshiba, and Sony (SNE ), was designed primarily for gaming.

Games are also creating new markets in their wake. Online transactions in "virtual assets" (selling objects such weapons to other players) may soon exceed $1 billion annually, and in-game advertising -- for real-world products -- is expected to hit that level within five years. You no longer have to be a player or maker of games to feel their economic impact.

LOOKING GOOD. Style, the third element, may seem particularly incongruous in a technology discussion. Yet it's an ever more significant driver of innovation. As the IT industry matures, raw technical specifications become less important. The baseline level of functionality is usually good enough. That puts a premium on aesthetics, buzz, usability, and other "soft" factors.

Style is a big reason why Nokia (NOK ) became the world's leading mobile-phone vendor. And it's the reason companies such as Samsung and Motorola (MOT ) are now nipping at Nokia's heels.

Famously, it's why Apple's (AAPL ) iPod is such a hit. And style isn't just surface appearance. There's an aesthetic appeal to products that "just work," even if other offerings have the same or better features.

That, ultimately, is why Skype, which makes a free piece of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software, will likely be the world's biggest phone company, in terms of customers, within a year. It's a big reason why Google (GOOG ) became the Web's dominant search engine. And it helps explain why Firefox is challenging Microsoft's browser dominance in ways Netscape never did.

SYNERGY BURST. Particularly interesting innovations occur when guns, games, and style intersect. Army uniforms may never become haute couture, yet the military is extremely active in using massively multiplayer online games as training, recruiting, simulation, and collaboration tools. Participants in some games, such as Second Life, have organized fashion shows to display their virtual clothing. And gaming-focused PC makers such as Alienware are gaining market share not just because their boxes perform better, but also because they look cool.

Investment bankers, scientific researchers, and their ilk have long set bar for technology companies. Those markets aren't going away. Yet if you're interested in the business of technology, you would be wise to pay attention to a different set of customers: the generals, gamers, and fashionistas. When it comes to innovation, their decisions may be the ones that matter.

Kevin Werbach is an Assistant Professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, founder of the Supernova Group, and the organizer of the Supernova conference


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