We saw a really interesting article over on VON here about the decline of landlines in the USA, this got us thinking about some predictions we remember from the recent past.
Wth the explosion of mobile phone use and when WiFI was becoming popular it became clearly expected that all offices would become mobile and that fixed networks and PBX systems would die, to be honest we were believers in this. Mobile and WiFi has clearly had an effect on the way we do business but no where near to the extent that was predicted, desk users still prefer a PBX phone and a monitor, full size keyboard and mouse so for the majority of users not much has changed. For casual office users such as those on the road or home workers then their use of office technology has been made much easier and the growing use of FMC (Fixed Mobile Convergence) has meant their mobile phone can become an extension of the PBX when they are in the office.
For sure landlines re reducing as many new house owners do not bother getting a line connected and the growth and improvements in mobile broadband mean a user does not need an ADSL line, however we cannot believe that fixed land line use will die 100% as there is still a place for such technology.
We all remember watching old sci-fi films that showed the future (as in now) with us all driving flying cars and of course the reality is somewhat different !
We are big fans of the Counterpath Eyebeam and Xlite but at the moment they run under Windows and Mac but cannot be used on Windows Mobile or iPhone, but we see Media5 Corporation has announced the launch, (approx July in the App Store) of its new softphone application for the Apple iPhone called the Media5-Fone.
We see a lot of specific SIP clients on the market but they are closed or locked to a particular service provider but the Media5-Fone is an open application designed to be used with any SIP service proivider or iPBX similar to the Counterpath products. The product looks nice with WiFi support, full SIP compliance, voicemail integration and a range of other features.
See the press release over on Media5 here and the application will appear as below:
Our regular readers will know one of our pet interests is the way mobile carriers react to VoIP applications, sometimes they seem to be happy and on other occasions do what they can to stop their customers from using them.
T-Mobile in Germany have reacted to Skype for i-Phone and Blackberry by stating they will not allow their customers to use it. T-Mobile spokesperson Alexander von Schmettow stated:
“It is clearly stated in our customer contracts that such services may not be used. There are two reasons for this – because the high level of traffic would hinder our network performance, and because if the Skype programme didn’t work properly, customers would make us responsible for it.”
Tech-savvy users should apparently not even consider figuring out a work-around, because T-Mobile will immediately “cut users off”.
“Those who violate their contracts can expect to have them cancelled. It’s the same with any contract. If you rent a no-pets apartment and expect no one to notice your little dog, you can’t be surprised when your landlord comes knocking.”
Skype have reacted to the news in a post on the company’s blog:
“This is a real shame: many other operators around the world know very well that people want to use innovative Internet applications, like Skype, and that’s the reason they pay their ISP to access the Internet in the first place. On top of that, there is no technical justification for this arbitrary blocking of Skype, and it represents a barrier to online business put in place by a private company just because they can, because they control access to the Internet.”
We believe that T-Mobile can stop users accessing Skype via mobile data but not via WiFi access (although it can block Skype traffic on it’s own WiFi Hotspots.
Usually carriers are subtle about such services and will ask a manufacurer to block it in the handset or attempt to black it on the network but I guess we have to admire T-Mobile for making their position clear even though you may not agree with their stance
Next week sees the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and there will be a lot of discussion about LTE or Long Term Evolution and of course this week saw the 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin the man who first realised and discussed the concept of evolution.
So what is LTE ?
LTE or Long Term Evolution is the 4th generation (4G) mobile broadband standard and has been designed to be the successor to the current 2.5G and 3G technologies of GSM/UMTS. Currently it is in development and is considered to be the competitor to WiMAX.
Like WiMAX this technology will provide broadband services wirelessly, but instead of transmitting signals via microwaves, LTE utilizes a radio platform. Users will need an LTE modem to access the network, which will be available in a number of formats such as USB, PCMCIA, or built in to a laptop, of course it will also provide Internet access on mobile phones and PDAs.
This super fast network, which is promising peak download rates of up 100Mbps, will provide an alternative to DSL, cable, satellite, and dial-up Internet, which will be a big boon to people living in areas that aren’t currently serviced by a high-speed network. It will also free people from the burden of having to find a WiFi hot spot when they are on the road – as long as you have an LTE modem, you can connect to the Internet anywhere in the service provider’s coverage area!
- Downlink peak data rates up to 100 Mbps
- Uplink peak data rates up to 50 Mbps
- Reduced latency to 10 msec round trip delay time between user equipment and base station
We are hearing more and more announcements about equipment availability for LTE so it seems that this technology will happen and carriers have a vested interest to deploy it to stave off new WiMAX networks that are under way.
Maybe they could have just called it 4G
We like to talk about news that could change the marketplace in our industry – well we believe that the launch of the first phone supporting Google’s Opensource Operating System Android is big news. We see lots of phones supporting the Symbian Operating system, Microsoft and various other manufacturer specific well this is the first time we see an Opensource Linux based phone.
T-Mobile have launched the G1 phone manufactured by HTC to the USA market and it shows some of the most advanced capabilities of the Android operating system, by including a touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, accelerated 3D graphics, Wi-Fi and 3G support, GPS and accelerometer. The device won’t have an impressive design and it won’t be as easy to use as an iPhone, but it will certainly be able to run a lot of interesting applications.
G1 Google Android Phone
We will be watching to see which other manufacturers will adopt the Android system – it looks as though those currently using Microsoft will be able to move the quickest.
Visit the google Android blog here or visit the unofficial Google System Blogspot here for some useful information on the G1
We have previously discussed Tesco offering VoIP to the consumer – see our post here, well we see that Tesco are also offering a cheap VoIP service using WiFi on Nokia handsets. The offering makes use of a service by Australian company Freshtel, and requires an application download for the Nokia phone.
The service is currently only available for a limited number of handsets, all of which are Series 60 WiFi enabled Nokias – the E51, E65, E81 and N95. However, more handset support is slated to be available soon.
This move may not be significant for the VoIP business marketplace but when a big player like Tesco offers VoIP then it helps the acceptance of the technology in the overall marketplace.
Visit the Tesco Talkwifi website here.
We are starting to see reports now that Fixed Mobile Convergence is dead and the new King in town is Mobile Unified Communications (MUC ???)
So what does that mean ? – there has been a lot written about FMC and what it can or cannot do, essentially FMC brings the mobile user into the business enterprise by offering single-number access, dual mode phone (GSM/WiFi), VoIP calls on WiFi within the enterprise to reduce the cost of calls. We can compare this with UC that relies on Femtocell technology that extends the reach of the mobile cellular network within the home by using a special mini base station plugged into a home broadband connection, this has the advantage that a regular GSM handset is used.
It will be interesting to see which flavour emerges as the strongest – many FMC applications and handsets are starting to be implemented but we see this is heavily driven by businesses in the enterprise sector on the other side of the coin the Femtocell technology is now being trialled heavily and we see this being driven more by the cellular providers as a method to protect future revenues.
We see Apple have announced that they are now supporting third party applications for the iPhone including WiFi based VoIP. As mentioned in a previous blog Truphone have already released a demonstration model late last year, they have confirmed their interest here and indicated they would be developing a fully fledged application.
Not only have Apple opened the iPhone up to external developers but they have also announced a $100 million developer fund from its VC partners called KPCB’s iFund™. There is now an SDK available for developers that allows applications to be tested on a regular iMAC before they are used on the iPhone. You can see it here
We are looking forward to see what external developers produce espescially in the VoIP area and many observers are waiting to see what happens with Skype and what applications they will surely produce.
We love innovation here at Iridiacom and especially when it stretches a product to do something it was not originally designed for.
Have a look over at http://touchmods.blog.com/ where a group calling themselves the iPod Touch Mods are about to release a SIP VoIP application for the Apple iPod Touch – they have had to overcome the limitation of no built in microphone and have developed a plug in circuit for an external microphone that looks pretty neat and is even the same colour as the Touch.
It seems the application is based on one produced by Samuel over at http://svsip.free.fr/ that was originally developed by him for the Nintendo DS.
We will watch this one with interest and maybe we can justify buying an iPod Touch for business use (or maybe not !)
Here is a screen-shot and make sure you donate if you are going to use it.
Have a look at some more screen-shots here http://bananenoeffnen.de/VoiPod/VoIP-Test.html
There has been so much hype about if the iPhone was going to support VoIP or not and it is great that a small group has produced something that we guess Apple did not even think about – well done guys !
Here is a recently updated URL http://touchmods.wordpress.com/
Many users who are looking at implementing on site wireless communications naturally look at VoIP over wireless, but it seems a lot of companies are concerned about the security and reliability implications on Wireless.
A survey from SAS Group of 100 IT and Telecoms Managers, revealed a lack of in house skills to support VoIP technology, this really is not surprising but 21 percent of firms mentioned reliability and 18 percent highlighted security concerns. The SAS Group believes that this lack of faith in wireless VoIP is to be expected, as the technology is outside the comfort zone of many IT departments, putting voice traffic over a wireless network requires specialist skill sets to implement and manage.
From our experience in the IP PBX market we see many users at a crossroads where they need on site wireless communication and they have to make a decision to either use the proven DECT technology or opt for Voice over WiFi. DECT is a technology designed in the early days of GSM and handles wireless voice very well with a wide range of handsets available, if a user wishes to implement WiFi then they have to set up an extension to their fixed data network and ensure that the network is optimised for voice as well as being secure – there is still a relatively small amount of handsets available (compared to DECT) but with manufacturers such as Nokia including WiFi SIP support in their new handsets then this will change.
So this blog entry does not actually answer the question posed but trys to give a balanced over view of the two technologies to help users choose.