Video conferencing was a lot more interesting to watch in 2011 than was VoIP. It wasn't that nothing happened in VoIP during the year. It was just that a lot more happened in video conferencing. This was especially true in the SMB space. Early summer saw a slew of significant announcements from vendors and providers. These announcements figured prominently in the VoIP Evolution report "SMB Video Conferencing: Getting Beyond Clouds & Interoperability."
Continue reading "The Top 10 VoIP & Video Conferencing Developments of 2011" »
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" »
Verizon Wireless was for a long time the most conservative U.S. carrier. It did everything it could to keep even mildly disruptive applications and services off of its network and handsets. In the last year, though, it has claimed to be changing, saying it planned to make its network as open as possible. In October it said it would introduce two handsets running the Google-developed Android operating system, and with Google Voice installed. It subsequently announced a deal with Google to jointly develop and sell products, including such Android-based devices. Now it appears set to announce a deal with Skype.
Continue reading "Will Skype Soon Be On Verizon Wireless?" »
There were more advances than true innovations in the VoIP world in 2009. That's because some of the most important developments had more to do with commercial and political maneuvers than with technical creativity. Still, such maneuvers often helped spread the benefits of VoIP as much as did technical innovation. And collectively, the advances brought some already-evident trends into clearer focus. A key such trend is the increasing integration of voice with other applications and services. Another is the intensifying interest in HD voice. A third is the growing interconnection of VoIP services, in part in response to the possibilities that end-to-end HD voice offers. With such trends as background, here, in no particular order, are our top 25 VoIP advances of 2009.
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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" »
TechCrunch reported this morning that Google has bought Gizmo5 for $30 million. Gizmo5 is a SIP-based Internet phone service that competes with Skype. Such an acquisition would make sense, given the already-close relationship between Google's Voice service and Gizmo5. One little-noticed effect of that relationship is that the combined services already allow free inbound and outbound calling to and from the PSTN via Internet-connected PCs with headsets. A formal acquisition would presumably make such calling even easier.
Continue reading "Google Voice-Gizmo5 Combination Means Free Inbound, Outbound Calling" »
The most common reaction to the newly introduced Ribbit Mobile service is that it's a Google Voice competitor. In some ways that's true, but there are significant differences between the two. The main one is that Ribbit Mobile makes one's existing mobile number the main number, while Google Voice hangs all its services on a new number it provides. For most users, one approach will be clearly better than the other.
Continue reading "Ribbit Mobile No Google Voice Clone" »
The timing of the announcements by Verizon Wireless and AT&T was almost transparent. Both came just a couple of weeks after new FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's September 21 speech on network neutrality. In that speech, Genachowski stated, among other things, that neutrality rules should cover wireless communications. Even then, it was clear that mobile VoIP would be the most explosive issue in the network neutrality battle.
Continue reading "AT&T's, Verizon's Mobile VoIP Moves Reveal Political Concerns" »
AT&T's recent letter to the FCC about Google Voice was obviously disingenuous. It tried to link network neutrality, a key Google crusade, with Google Voice's blocking of certain calls. In reality, there was little connection except the politics involved: The real goal of the communication was to paint AT&T as on the side of network openness, and Google as on the opposite side. But the letter did inadvertently bring to light a potentially major weakness in the Google Voice model: the fact that the free service has to pay to have its users' calls delivered to their destinations on the PSTN (public switched telephone network).
Continue reading "AT&T Call Blocking Attack Reveals Google Voice Structural Problem" »
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" »