We see it has been announced by Skype that it is terminating its Extras Developer program, they stated that not enough people were using the tools to justify it. No new projects will be certified, and existing ones will be allowed to expire over the course of time. We are not sure that this is the right thing for Skype to do.
So the Extras program has failed, but why ? – We believe it was because developers did not have the capability to produce deep integrations. In reality third party developers have never been able to do much more than skim the surface of Skype functionality. What developers have been asking for is to be able to treat the Skype call function as a service, and build it directly into their applications. Today in the main to make a Skype call requires the Skype client to be opened.
Could this be because Skype are moving towards the Skype for SIP service that gives existing SIP based products easier access to the Skype base of users with little support or development from Skype.
Skype have new owners so lets see what direction they take in trying to make more products Skype enabled.
One of the issues we have discussed on the IridiaBlog in the past has been Fax over IP (FoIP) or rather problems encountered and lack of general support. We are pleased to see the SIP Forum has published an official Fax over IP Problem statement and setup a Task Group to examine the problem further.
The SIP Forum has chartered the FoIP Interoperability Task Group to investigate interoperability issues with the deployment of fax services, specially the use of the ITU-T Standard T38 in SIP networks. The issues surrounding IP based fax and the use of T38 make it difficult for users to determine if T38 can or will work reliably and thus offer an alternative to traditional TDM-based fax transport. We often see customers deploying a TDM circuit just for fax.
While the T38 protocol, first approved by the ITU-T in 1998, was designed to allow fax machines and computer-based fax to carry forward in a transitioning communications infrastructure of both IP and TDM-based telephony, today there are enough problems and confusion among vendors, system integrators, and service providers to significantly slow the use of IP as a real time fax transport.
The FoIP Task Group Problem Statement details the problems the task group has chosen to address. Some of the issues the SIP Forum’s FoIP effort will deal with include:
- Interoperability failures seen in the field or lab
- Reliability or quality issues seen in the field or lab
- Deployment experiences
- Development experiences
- Architectural principals
- Proposals for achieving a higher degree of FoIP interoperability and/or FoIP reliability
- Proposals for soliciting additional real world feedback from implementers and service providers
We are really pleased to see a respected body like the SIP Forum taking an issue like this head on as many businesses still use or rely heavily on fax communication.
The Statement document is available for download Here. or visit the SIP Forum site Here
We see that a UK manufacturer of Femtocells has decided to make an attempt to go direct to the consumer market rather than the usual business model of via the Mobile Carriers.
Hay Systems Ltd have ignored the regular route of making deals with Mobile Carriers in favour of a straight to consumer sale. The problem they have is they will need to get agreement with the carriers to do this and so have launched a website www.femtonow.com where members of the public can register their interest so they can approach carriers with potential numbers of consumers.
The HSL product has the ability to work with any Mobile Carrier, or even multiple Mobile Carriers, over a regular broadband connection. To achieve this HSL needs to do two things: obtain a radio spectrum in which to operate, and integrate into the mobile Carrier’s back end.
We think HSL are going to face a few obstacles, firstly their Femtocell is 2G rather than 3G and every network operator in the UK is moving towards 3G deployment of Femtocells. Secondly the Femtocell is attractive to a Mobile Carrier as it is a way to lock your customer’s onto your network increasing the ‘stickyness’ of contracts so it is unlikely a carrier would encourage technology that allows customers to move easily from network to network.
We wish Hay Systems well and hope they can succeed in this venture.
See the Press release from HSL here.