Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Smartphones Growing Out of 'Niche' Status

Found on Al Bredenburg's blog:

ABI Research is announcing a new study predicting that smartphones will grow to almost 15% of the mobile phone market this year, hitting 123 million units shipped.

ABI Mobile Wireless Analyst Philip Solis identifies five factors accounting for smartphones' growth:

1.Increasing demand for mobile data communications, including email and instant messaging.

2.Falling prices.

3.Greater device choices.

4.Smaller sizes (even as functionality improves), which in turn means lower power consumption and better battery life.

5.More wifi enablement in smartphones, expected to reach 25% penetration by 2010.

Today's announcement also points to shifting trends in smartphone operating systems as another important factor affecting the outlook. The report says Symbian is still market-share winner and describes the Palm OS as "moribund" (nearing death). But Windows Mobile is growing, and Motorola, Samsung, NEC and Panasonic are now backing Linux in the smartphone market.

ABI's new report is called "Smartphones: The Next Phase of Worldwide Adoption."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Washington State Emergency Agency to Use Satellite VoIP

Written by Robert Poe

Washington state's Emergency Management Division has deployed an emergency communication system using VoIP connections over satellites.

The system makes it possible for emergency personnel to talk to each other even when they're on opposite sides of the mountain range that divides the state. That geographical barrier makes it hard to use the VHF radio links that emergency agencies typically depend on.

The system, provided by Last Mile Networks using technology from FreelineUSA, connects a remote trailer to a National Guard central communications building via satellite links similar to those used to deliver commercial "dish" TV. The trailer, which operates at the disaster site, contains communications equipment and various backup power supplies, including a satellite dish and FreelineUSA IP node with softswitch capabilities.

The current configuration of the system provides eight simultaneous IP voice channels. It can also provide video links, using non-blocking architecture to make sure the video streams don't knock the voice links off the air.

VoIP technology gained attention for emergency communications following the widespread damage to conventional networks caused by Hurricane Katrina.

However, VoIP communication via satellite has been rare, mainly due to the significant delays resulting from the need for signals to travel to and from high-orbiting satellites. Such delays can run from 650 milliseconds to 1.2 seconds, according to Robert Simkavitz, president and CEO of FreelineUSA, which supplied key networking equipment used in both the remote and command center sites.

FreelineUSA uses specialized techniques to deal with the problems caused by such delays, such as the tendency of VoIP networks to drop calls when there are no packet transmissions for a certain length of time. Testing has shown the system to work with up to three-second delays, Simkavitz says.

Satellite delays are also disconcerting to callers, which is one reason for the near-complete migration of commercial international phone traffic from satellites to optical fiber cables.
One in-flight Internet communication system for airliners uses Iridium and other satellites to provide air-to-ground links.

Iridium's 66 so-called low earth-orbit, or LEO, satellites orbit at heights of only 780 kilometers. That means they produce considerably less delay than the geostationary satellites used to provide TV and other types of communications services. Geostationary satellites, so named because they remain in a fixed location above the earth, orbit at over 35,000 km.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Concerned about VoIP E911?

Here's a list of all PSAPs in the U.S. by ZDNet's Russell Shaw -- The recent imperative by VoIP service providers to make their E911 service compatible with the U.S.' nearly 8,000 Public Safety Answering Points has generated a new focus on what these PSAPs are and what they do.One might think that PSAP territories totally overlap jurisdictional city and county boundaries. No, they don't.So what PSAP are you [...]

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Research and Markets Gives Their Update For VoIP 2006

Consumer VoIP shows great potential as it provides a cheap phone service, allows consumers to listen to their voicemail over their PC, schedule times when they cannot be reached, and get a phone number in an area code different from where they live.

According to R & M, for VoIP to continue growth in 2006, it must leverage value-added services rather than remaining as another mechanism to deliver cheap telephony. Providers must resist pursuing convergence for technology reasons alone. To succeed, the new mobile/fixed quadruple-play strategies must address consumers' needs, and complement existing services with clear new benefits.

The real power of VoIP over the long term is that any device with an Internet connection can now be voice-enabled. We believe that propositions marketed to customers revolve around value, instead of the enhanced features which VoIP may offer. Because of the importance of PSTN calling, the value proposition currently equates to bundles of fixed local or national PSTN calls, rather than free VoIP-to-VoIP calling irrespective of distance.

R & M foresees the following trends unraveling in 2006:

Leading device makers will not try to replace the phone by embedding voice into devices like TVs and appliances. Instead, they will try to enhance their devices with voice.

VoIP browsing and chat will change how customer service questions get answered

In areas where cell coverage is limited, such as planes, telcos will use a combination of VoIP and Wi-Fi to support telephony and conferencing services.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

VoIP Comes to the Rescue of 3G

By Charlotte Wolter

The 3GSM World Congress 2006 last week in Barcelona, Spain, was an eye opener about the impact of VoIP on the mobile phone industry, and how VoIP might actually end up aiding 3G service providers, many of which are still trying to find their audiences.

The 3GSM conference centers on the developing 3G services worldwide, services that offer quasi-broadband (500 kbps to 700kbps) mobile IP voice and data. 3G services were conceived a decade ago as a way to expand traditional mobile technologies to provide broadband pipes. Multi-billion dollar spectrum licenses have been granted in many areas of the world to accommodate 3G services.
In the meantime, VoIP has developed and grown into a technology already used by tens-of-millions and is on its way to dominating voice communications.
Most VoIP services are very low-cost. Many are free. 3G services, by contrast, tend to be expensive high-end communications. Consequently, 3G services have struggled to find the legions of subscribers needed to help pay for the expensive licenses, and now feel the threat of Wi-Fi VoIP cutting into their already limited revenue.

However, some 3G providers seem to have decided to embrace, rather than fight, the VoIP phenomenon. The 3GSM conference saw the announcement of some major VoIP-3G alliances and the hints of others. Also, new technology, such as the Windows Mobile operating system, can be exploited to bring VoIP to any smart mobile phone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Do I Register My Cell Phone or Not?

Twice, just this week, I received an email from well intended people informing that my cell phone is going to be called by telemarketers soon. The wording was slightly different but both were basically saying that telemarketers are soon going to get a list of cell phone numbers and start calling you. Then direct you to https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx . While there is no harm in doing so, chances are telemarketers are not going to be calling your cell phone anytime soon. I did what I do with most forwards that sound a bit off center and checked with Snopes. (I suggest doing this for any forwarded email you receive that says it is a public service announcement. Especially before sending it on to 40 of your friends, family and colleagues. Because trust me if you sent them every one of those fwds you get, eventually they are just deleting your emails before they even open them.)

So anyways, like most emails like this there is some truth to them. Because there are now more cell phone numbers than land lines AllTel, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint PCS, and T-Mobile have banded together and hired Qsent, Inc. to produce a Wireless 411 service. This is a completely an opt in service. And the numbers will NOT be printed nor sold to telemarketers. For more specifics you can read the rest here at Snopes.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Microsoft Answers VoIP Question, Sort Of

MICROSOFT has developed a Skype-style free internet voice service for mobile phones that City analysts believe could wipe billions off the market value of operators such as Vodafone.

The service is included in a mobile version of Microsoft Office Communicator due to be released this year. It will take the form of a voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) application that allows Office users to make free voice calls over wi-fi enabled phones running Windows Mobile software. It uses the internet as a virtual phone network as well as accessing e-mail, PowerPoint and other Office applications.

Rest of the story here.

Friday, February 17, 2006

deltathree Expands Presence in Latin American and Caribbean VoIP Markets

VoIP to increase it's presence South of the border.

TMCnet VoIP Minute Watch Columnist

SIP-based VoIP service provider
deltathree Inc. announced this week that it will expand its presence in the Central, South American and Caribbean markets. The company inked partnerships within Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic regions that have led to an expansion of its global VoIP network.

"Our further expansion into Latin America and the Caribbean is a key step in leveraging the growing demand for VoIP services in the region," said deltathree's director of sales, Colin Blou. "Together with our established distribution partners, we are aggressively targeting new business opportunities and successfully leveraging the overwhelming interest in our VoIP offerings. Partner programs should not be complicated. Our focus is on making it easy for partners to work with deltathree and to maximize the revenue they derive from selling our products and services."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Where is the VoIP, Micorsoft?

Excellent question raised....

Posted by Russell Shaw @ 7:00 am on zdnet blog...

I have been touring Microsoft's new kind of hosted
Office Live beta.
What a waste of server space. Or, as my
colleague Phil Wainewright rightly says:
The power of Microsoft's branding is so great that slapping the labels 'Live' and 'Office' on a piecemeal bundle of rehashed services seems to have the whole world
agog. The evidence doesn't justify the excitement. Today's beta of Office Live is a repackaging of various web presence offerings that Microsoft previously tried (and largely failed) to market under the bcentral brand for a number of years.

And to that, I add: where's the VoIP?

Seems to me the Office Live Mail feature could really use a click-to-talk button. Oh sure there is an MSN Messenger icon but what if you wanted a real in-the-ear conversation with the person that just emailed you? Isn't that why
Microsoft bought Teleo last August?

Oh, sorry. That's probably another division. And not always do separate divisions of a company that is more Balkanized than you think talk to each other.

Rest of the story here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Nokia, Motorola Show Cellular-VoIP Phones

By LAURENCE FROST AP Business Writer

BARCELONA, Spain Feb 15, 2006 (AP)— "Call me back on the landline" may soon sound like a quaint, turn-of-the-century instruction to the ears of many mobile phone users.
Nokia Corp. and Motorola Inc., the world's biggest branded handset makers, both unveiled phones at a tradeshow here this week that switch between cellular coverage outdoors and cheap wireless Internet calling inside all on a single phone number.

The new hardware is a response to growing demand. Mobile networks, aware that they can't beat Internet call operators like Skype for cheap indoor coverage, are itching to join them.
BT Group PLC already has. In September, the British telecom began shipping Motorola handsets to the first customers of its BT Fusion service, the first in the world to allow users to switch in mid-call between cellular and Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP delivered via a Bluetooth wireless connection at home.

The new Nokia 6136 and Motorola A910 handsets introduced at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona can connect to the Internet via WiFi, rather than Bluetooth, to make cut-price calls from the home, office or public hotspot. A handful of similar phones have been announced by smaller manufacturers in recent months.

"Then you walk out of the door and the call is seamlessly handed off to the cellular network," said Nokia Executive Vice President Kai Oistamo. "There are no dropped calls it's like moving from one cell to another one in a cellular network today."

Other mobile operators have waited for the WiFi phones before adopting the technology that enables the mid-call switching between broadband and cellular networks, called Unlicensed Mobile Access.

France Telecom SA will be its first customer for Nokia's UMA phone, to be sold under the French operator's Orange brand to customers of its LiveBox a phone, TV and Internet hub marketed in France, Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland and Belgium.

Several other operators have announced trials or launches of UMA products.

The move into "converged" cellular and VoIP services is a big step for the mobile industry, which often sees the Internet as a threat to future revenues from services it has spent years and billions developing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Not only VoIP and Valentine's Day, but Flowers, VoIP and Valentine's Day.

VoX Communications Corp., a division of eLEC Communications Corp. (OTCBB:ELEC), and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM®, Inc., recently announced a Voice over IP (VoIP) Valentine's Day promotion designed to take the long distance out of long-distance relationships. VoX, a wholesale and retail provider of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services nationwide, provides unlimited calling across the U.S. and Canada for $29.95. After mobilizing the single largest disaster recovery response in Motorola's (NYSE: MOT) 77-year history in 2005, top leaders from Motorola's Government and Enterprise business this week returned to hurricane ravaged Hancock County to construct a new public playground as part of the company's ongoing relationship with the national nonprofit organization KaBOOM!.

Monday, February 13, 2006

PhotoSite Celebrates Launch of Album Gallery with 'What Love Means to Me' Contest for Valentine's Day

OK , so this one may be stretching it a little to connect VoIP to Valentine's day, but United Online is hosting a Valentine's Day related photo contest...
Winners in Five Categories Receive $500

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., -- Online photo-sharing service PhotoSite will host a "What Loves Means to Me" photo contest to celebrate the Valentine's Day holiday and the launch of its new Album Gallery. Members are encouraged to upload and enter photos that best represent what love means to them, whether it be romantic love, unrequited love, love gone bad or puppy love.

"Love is such an important emotion and it's expressed in so many different ways," said Heidi Gibson, vice president of PhotoSite. "To some, love might be a spouse or a parent, while to others it might be a cold beer and a ball game on the big screen. It really just depends on the individual. There are over 300,000 members in the PhotoSite community and we're encouraging people to be really creative in their entries, so we anticipate a wide range of photos."

The contest will run from February 7th through the day after Valentine's Day, February 15th and is open to all new and existing PhotoSite free and PhotoSite paid members. Winners will be selected in five categories: -- Most Romantic
-- Most Humorous
-- Most Creative
-- Most Surprising
-- Most Inspired

Friday, February 10, 2006

VOIP Startup Isn't Quite Spyware, But It's Close

It certainly sounds like Spyware to me. A crook who is willing to admit he is a crook is still a crook.

By Mark HachmanFebruary 10, 2006
A startup called Jajah launched its new VOIP service this past Monday, making telephone calls as easy as loading a Web page. But in doing so, customers may essentially be granting Jajah sweeping access to watch and even listen as they chat and surf the Web.

Jajah VOIP service launched Monday, although the company began trials last year. For now, Jajah is offering customers a free five minutes to call another landline phone.

The service is simple: upon loading the company's web page, users are presented with two boxes to fill in: the number of a friend's phone number, and the number of a landline phone close to the user. When the customer clicks the "Call" button, the Jajah service rings the user's landline, and then connects him via the Internet to the specified caller.

The company's
privacy policy and EULA, however, seem to imply that the service could be used as a window into a user's online activities, including monitoring a user's surfing habits and the content a user posts to message boards and web sites, sending him spam, disclosing personal information to third parties without control and consent, and even potentially allowing a third party to eavesdrop on the conversation.

Because the company technically discloses its practices, Internet security firms said they couldn't classify it as spyware. "They're doing nothing blatantly illegal," a spokeswoman from Webroot Software told ExtremeVOIP. "But they're just toeing the line, and we certainly don't agree with it by any means."

ExtremeVOIP attempted to contact Jajah executives, but company representatives did not respond to requests for comment. Jahjah is headquartered on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Calif., one of the ley lines for technology venture capitalists, as well as in Luxembourg.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The last of the first long distance calls

Usually I only list news about the newer updated forms of communication, but I thought this was important to note as well.

On Friday January 27th Western Union closed a chapter of communication history and sent their last telegram. With no big fanfare Western Union has decided to stop sending telegrams.

On May, 24, 1844 the first telegram ever was sent by Samuel L. Morse. Sent from Washington to Baltimore, the message read, "what hath God wrought."Over the next few decades, telegraphs invented by Morse and his assistant, Alfred Vail, where deployed around the nation and around the world. The first Transatlantic Telegraph cable was successfully completed on July 27, 1866.

So if you never received a Western Union telegram before, like I suspect most haven't you never will. I think they missed a chance at making some good money by not announcing it ahead of time. I think a lot of people would have sent one just to say they had done it. Oh well...too late now I guess.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Vonage Files for $250M IPO, Names New CEO

Ok, I would be the only one not reporting this if I didn't report this VoIP news about Vonage...

By PETER SVENSSON AP Technology Writer
NEW YORK Feb 8, 2006 (AP)— Vonage Holdings Corp., the country's largest Internet telephone service, on Wednesday filed for an initial public offering worth up to $250 million.

The company also appointed Mike Snyder chief executive, succeeding founder Jeffrey Citron, who will remain chairman and take the new title "chief strategist."

In a statement, Citron said he had recruited Snyder to assume day-to-day management of the company, leaving Citron to focus on new products and technologies.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

VoIP and Valentine's Day

Well Valentine's Day is only a week away. What better way to keep in touch with your special valentine then with a VoIP phone. At least that is what Firebox is suggesting on their site. A VoIP phone for Valentine's Day, just below their Silver & Gold Plated Love Heart.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Voip and the Super Bowl?

Ok, I had to find away to mention the year's biggest game into a VoIP blog. The best I could do was to let you know that VoIP blogger, Jeff Pulver, was there in person taking pictures.

Way to go Steelers.

P.S. In case you do not already know...
Jeff Pulver is the Chairman and Founder of pulver.com, and one of the true pioneers of the VoIP industry. Leveraging well over a decade of hands-on experience in Internet/IP communications and innovation, Mr. Pulver is a globally renowned thought leader, author and entrepreneur.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Packet 8 upgraded

Packet 8 has announced yesterday that they have added some "new" features. These features have been offered by most Voice Over IP providers, even the smaller ones, for awhile now. But now they seem to be up to speed in all areas. The following are the features they have added:






CALL WAITING DISABLE *70 per call or all calls

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Will BlackBerrys be shut down

BlackBerry fans have been holding their breaths as a five-year intellectual property fight that could lead to the shutdown of their beloved mobile devices heads into its final weeks.

Lawyers for Research In Motion and patent holder NTP are scheduled to give final arguments later this month before a Virginia judge who could reimpose an injunction on the sales of BlackBerry devices in the U.S. NTP has won several court victories so far, but RIM has prevailed on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to call NTP's patents into question.

The case is being closely watched by the tech industry amid calls for patent reform and by anxious BlackBerry users wondering how they'll keep the mobile e-mail flowing in the event of a shutdown. Just to spice things up, RIM claims that it has a "workaround" that could allow it to bypass NTP's patents simply by upgrading its software

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Google tests VoIP calls to firms

It would seem that Google's "click to call" project that was reported on a couple of weeks ago is coming even closer to being.

By Jessie Seyfer Mercury News

Google is adding another way to cash in on search advertising, confirming Tuesday that it is working with a Florida-based telephone network to allow people to make Internet phone calls directly to the companies highlighted in its search results.

A Google spokesman briefly explained the company's dealings with VoIP Inc. after a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the Ft. Lauderdale-based company Monday made vague reference to a Google telecommunications service.

The filing added fuel to rumors that the Mountain View search giant might expand further into the telecom world.