After starting as the year of HD voice, 2010 ended as the year of video communication. Video in fact became so prominent that it earned a place in the title of this list. Announcements about new video communication products and services were so numerous they became routine. As the year progressed, it became clear that video conferencing/calling was no longer a luxury for the corporate and government elite, but was well on the way to becoming a commodity for the masses. Ordinary individuals will soon be making video calls with little more thought than they now give to picking up a telephone. Making that happen, however, will be a complex challenge for vendors and service providers.
A variety of other factors shaped voice and visual communication during the year. Chief among these were developments in mobile VoIP and video calling, along with an acceleration of the move to cloud-based voice services. Politics and the weather played unusually high-profile roles as well. So did the negative: Unlike last year, not all the important developments were advances – some were downright problematic. But even the negative developments had some constructive aspects. Skype of course figured prominently in many of the developments. So pervasive was the influence of the Internet VoIP pioneer that it seemed that the corporate slogan of "Skype Everywhere" applied to its appearances in headlines as well.
Continue reading "The Top 25 VoIP and Video Developments of 2010" »
When fring and iCall announced recently that they were introducing iPhone 3G VoIP calling apps, it seemed a turning point for mobile VoIP. The apps, which recent changes in the Apple SDK made possible, made it clear that there's no turning back: VoIP over cellular data connections will soon become commonplace. What was less obvious was that, at this point, 3G VoIP won't have major impact, at least in the U.S. That's because under existing major mobile pricing plans, it won't produce significant savings for most users.
Continue reading "Why 3G VoIP Is No Big Deal – For Now" »
Ifbyphone's acquisition of Cloudvox brought together two approaches to the hosted platform services business. One involves selling access to ready-to-use applications developed by the platform provider itself. That's what Ifbyphone has done from the start. The other involves providing the basic building blocks that allow developers to create their own apps. That's what Cloudvox was invented to do. The acquisition will allow Ifbyphone to do both. The question is which approach, if either, will predominate in the future.
Continue reading "Ifbyphone's Cloudvox Buy Highlights Questions About Platforms' Future" »
The most widely recognized obstacle to mobile VoIP running over cellular data networks is carriers' opposition. Mobile operators don't want to allow services that compete with their lucrative voice minutes businesses to run over their networks, because it means all they'll get paid for is transporting the bits carrying the voice, a far less lucrative business. A less-known obstacle to the service is call quality concerns. Regular voice calls can sound bad enough, but delivering them over a data network not designed with real-time services like voice in mind. A Global IP Solutions (GIPS) answer to the latter problem is now available for Android users.
Continue reading "Nimbuzz First Customer for GIPS Android HD Codec" »
It's clear that the FCC's emphasis has changed
dramatically under President Obama. Most notably, the agency has become a lot
more serious about increasing openness and competition in the telecommunications
industry. One part of its effort is a strong push for network neutrality in
general – that is, for mandating that Internet providers treat all traffic
equally, to legally prevent them from blocking or degrading services that
compete with theirs. Another part is a focus on the mobile communications
business in particular. VoIP will be central to that part of the effort.
Continue reading "VoIP Central to FCC Wireless Inquiries Under Obama" »