Now the dust has settled (literally) on the Icelandic Volcanic disruption it got us thinking about people being stranded in a remote country for some time.
With modern VoIP systems and Unified Communications users could easily work from their remote location assuming they had Broadband access then they would have a VoIP Client, Voicemail and email access – in fact was there any reason for them to rush back
In the last few months with the Snow problem and now the volcanic ash we can see compelling reasons to have remote access to the office.
Our local area has had a lot of snow this week and people are struggling to get to work, after a particularly heavy snowfall yesterday we decided it was too risky to travel so stayed at home.
We have remote email access, VPN access to the office and a VoIP phone so it was business as usual and our customers did not notice any difference as we were able to provide support as normal. It shows the power of modern technology that we could run the business as a virtual office.
The main problem we have with weather like this is the Couriers who are struggling to collect and deliver equipment but technology cannot do much if the roads are not gritted !!!
We see that HP has acquired 3COM and we think their respective product ranges are very complimentary, however it is now interesting to note that part of the 3COM portfolio is their VoIP product line the 3Com NBX and VCX IP PBX and handset lines. 3Com currently has less than 0.5 percent share of the total $16 billion enterprise telephony market, according to Dell’Oro Group. But that is still more than the zero share HP has, which up to now addressed the market through partnerships with Avaya and Microsoft, among others.
The prospect of a VoIP product line branded as HP and with the backing of the HP marketing might should be a very interesting prospect and some of the current VoIP providers will be sitting up and taking notice.
Our industry is renowned for producing lots of acronyms – it makes sure no one else knows what we are talking about !
VoIM or Voice over Instant Messenger is the ability while instant messaging to then have a voice call using VoIP, the question here is are we talking an IM client with VoIP capability or a VoIP client with IM capability, by this we mean MSN Messenger which most users will use for Instant Messaging and probably not think about the VoIP capabilities or Skype where most people will use the VoIP capability and not think too much about Instant Messages.
I guess this technology will grow and grow as it seems logical to turn an IM conversation into voice if more clarification is needed (we can still talk faster than we can type – for now anyway !)
Currently this is very much a Peer to Peer type technology but more solutions are being implemented in the Enterprise space for group chat which will then lead to the ability for group calls, conferencing etc.
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
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 like the FreePBX product and it is excellent the way Bandwidth.com have sponsored the future development, we see that they have now announced a Developer Sandbox Program in order to accelerate development of next-generation applications for IP communications. The intended initial focus of the program will be to enable a select group of telephony focused developers to join Bandwidth.com’s internal pilot projects that are focused on:
IP communications network functionality, such as next-generation VoIP codecs, T38 fax protocol, SIP enabled SMS, and HD voice
Fixed-mobile convergence functionality, such as sharing one number across both mobile and landlines and unique new telephony applications
Open source telephony, focused on FreePBX
Bandwidth.com’s approach is to catalyze the next generation of telephony applications by the powerful combination of open source telephony software (FreePBX), open access to Bandwidth.com’s own VoIP network sandbox, and unique industry partnerships, that allow developers to employ some of the newest telephony innovations.
We also see that at the same time they are announcing a developer release of FreePBX v3 as well as a Beta release of FreePBX v2.6, so it obvious the product is moving forward and their developers have been busy.
TELES has enhanced its ISDN VoIP Gateway portfolio with a new 8 port BRI VoIP Gateway. The product has been designed to meet demand for a higher density, high performance solution for connecting enterprises to public telephony.
With the introduction of the new product, VoIP service providers and system integrators addressing business customers can offer a broader range of customers a straightforward migration path to VoIP without having to waste existing investment in PBX infrastructure. As well as contributing to a substantial reduction in operating costs, the TELES VoIPBOX BRI also provides enhanced functionality, including an integrated feature rich IP PBX and advanced LCR functionality. The gateway can be added to an existing PBX without the need for any special interface cards or programming and can be setup to route VoIP calls as required.
The VoIPBOX BRI is designed for a smooth and fast installation and is provided with an intuitive installation wizard for increased productivity. A comprehensive set of management tools allow customers to provision and operate small to large installations from a single location using either a web-based management tool or TELES NMS.
We have been selling the VoIPBOX gateways for a while and this new version gives us flexibility to sell to a wider market.
Google has announced it has begun accepting new users for Google Voice, but this is not the full public launch. After a lot of speculation about when the service would actually go live, Google began sending emails to users who had registered interest back in March.
Google did not say how many invitations would be sent at this limited release for the service or when a general launch will begin.
Google will be using the transcribed voicemails for contextual advertising this has led to complaints from consumer groups that this may be an invasion of privacy, however it is obvious that like Gmail many users are prepared to accept targeted advertising for a free service. It seems that correctly targeted advertising sits OK with most users as opposed to being bombarded with glossy flashing general adverts.
See the announcement on the Officail Google Blog Here.
We are seeing lots of rumours about who is going to buy the Enterprise division of Nortel – it seems Avaya is the favourite with Nokia Siemens Networks and GENBAND also interested and for sure there will be several other parties looking closely as the price will be very good on account of Nortel’s financial problems.
We are interested to see what happens should Avaya acquire Nortel, they have in the past bought SDX Business Systems in the UK and what was originally the Network Alchemy system became the IP Office which is the mainstay of the SME business sector for Avaya. They have also in the past purchased Tenovis in Germany but that was more a market share acquisition and that product range seemed to disappear.
If Avaya completes the acquisition then it will need to be smooth and they will have to ensure that customers have a migration path from existing Nortel products to Avaya product or else the competition will be all over them.
We market a range of GSM gateways from Topex and Teles and up until now neither company had a VoIP product that is cost effective in the small business market. We all know that the vast majority of businesses are small to medium so this is a big business sector to sell to and we know Portech are very succesful in this area.
Topex have announced the release of the Mobilink IP gateway – we already market the Mobilink analogue gateway that is a single SIM and connects to an analogue PBX port, the Mobilink ISDN that comes as single or dual SIM and connects to an ISDN2 port of a PBX. The Mobilink IP connects to a PBX or VoIP Server using SIP or H323 and comes as single or dual SIM, there is a big market for this product in the Asterisk IP PBX (and the many derivatives) system market and with other IP PBX. Generally this device will connect without any extra items required on the IP PBX and just set your dial plan to route mobile calls via the gateway and off you go with big cost savings to be made.
The gateway also supports other mobile applications such as email to SMS and SMS to email as well as web to SMS so the user gets many applications for the price of one, the other added advantage is the quality and robustness of the gateway, Topex also manufacture systems for Air Traffic Control so their quality standards are very high and this reflects in the overall reliability of all their products.
Pricing and actual release dates will be confirmed shortly.