To nobody's surprise, Indian telcos want to block WhatsApp OTT VoIP

(c)iStock.com/gilaxia

To the surprise of absolutely no one, telcos in India are objecting to plans for WhatsApp to launch VoIP and complaining about it to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). So reports The Hindu Business Line that includes this glorious quote from a representative of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI):

“Allowing the use of VoIP/ Internet telephony at...

By Dan York, 02 January 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Disruption, OTT Services.

Why is Skype forcing a software upgrade on all of us?

Today when I opened up my laptop and switched to Skype, I found that I had been logged out:

Skype

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The text in that image says: "We've signed you out because you're using an outdated version of Skype. Download the latest version now."

Now, to be clear, I wasn't using an ancient version of Skype. My laptop had version 6.3.0.602 from sometime in, say, March 2013 - so yes, it was over a year old, but the thing with Skype is that it has had a history of always "just working", which perhaps we as users have gotten used to.

Community outrage

In a Skype public chat in which I participate a number of other users said they'd been logged out - and looking in the Windows Skype community and Mac Skype community web forums I see MANY messages from people who are experiencing problems over the past week. The frustration is even visible in the Linux Skype community (a community Skype has often ignored), where a staff moderator posted last Friday, August 1, this message:

From today, users with Skype for Linux version 4.2 and older will not be able to sign in to Skype. The error messages user will see during sign in may include “Can’t Connect to Skype” or...

By Dan York, 08 August 2014, 20 comments. Categories: Consumers, OTT Services, VoiP.

Beyond telephone numbers - Need for an application layer identifier

Schulzrinne sipnoc2013Do "smart" parking meters really need phone numbers? Does every "smart meter" installed by electric utilities need a telephone number? Does every new car with a built-in navigation system need a phone number? Does every Amazon Kindle (and similar e-readers) really need its own phone number?

In the absence of an alternative identifier, the answer seems to be a resounding "yes" to all of the above.

At the recent SIPNOC 2013 event, U.S. Federal Communications Commission CTO Henning Schulzrinne gave a presentation (slides available) about "Transitioning the PSTN to IP" where he made a point about the changes around telephone numbers and their uses (starting on slide 14) and specifically spoke about this use of phone numbers for devices (slide 20). While his perspective is obviously oriented to North America and country code +1, the trends he identifies point to a common problem:

What do we use as an application-layer identifier for Internet-connected devices?

In a subsequent conversation, Henning indicated that one of the area codes seeing the largest amount of requests for new phone numbers is one in Detroit - because of the automakers need to provision new cars with...

By Dan York, 30 May 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Consumers, Industry, M2M, Mobile, Telematics, VoiP.

Further thoughts on the Google Voice / Google+ Hangouts integration

Google hangoutsMy post this week about Google Voice ringing into Google+ Hangouts generated a good bit of commentary, not only on the original post but also out on Hacker News, Reddit, Google+and other areas. Given the range of responses, I thought I'd reply to a couple of points and expand on some further related topics. So here goes...

"DUH! This is nothing new/disruptive. You could do it forever with GTalk/Gmail!"

A common response was to point out to me...

By Dan York, 24 May 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Google, Mobile, Smartphones, Telematics, VoiP.

You can now call Google+ from regular phones

Want to hear the sound of Google further disrupting the world of telecom? If you have a Google Voice number and also use Google+ (as I do) with the Hangouts feature enabled, you'll soon be hearing this new sound if you haven't already.

An Unexpected Ringing

Yesterday a random PR person called the phone number in the sidebar of this blog to pitch me on why I should write about her client. This phone number is through Google Voice and I knew by the fact that my cell phone and Skype both started ringing simultaneously that someone was calling that number.

But as I was deciding whether or not to actually answer the call, I realized that there was another "ringing" sound coming from my computer that I had not heard before. Flipping quickly through my browser windows I found my Google+ window where this box appeared at the top of the "Hangouts" sidebar on the right:

By Dan York, 23 May 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Mobile, Smartphones, VoiP.

T-Mobile rolling out HD voice (wideband) in US mobile network #CES

T mobileMarking a huge step toward moving beyond the limitations of the legacy phone networks, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week in Las Vegas T-Mobile announced that HD Voice is now available nationwide on its US network. This will give people the richer, fuller voice experience similar to what many of us have gotten used to experiencing while making Skype calls.

There is, of course, the caveat that HD voice (also called "wideband audio") is only available using specific...

By Dan York, 10 January 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Mobile, N America, Operators.

Hypervoice: The fundamental flaw in the proposal

MartingeddesI am a huge fan of Martin Geddes, but he and I disagree fundamentally on one key part of what he is now calling "hypervoice".
NOTE: Listen to Martin discussing his idea here

To back up a bit, Martin has always been one of the "big thinkers" in realm of VoIP and telephony/telecom. Way back in mid-2000s when a number of us all started writing about VoIP, Martin's Telepocalypse blog was brilliant. He was always thinking about the "big picture" and drawing connections where they were not already apparent.

His work with "Telco 2.0" was excellent and it was no surprise when he went to work for BT looking at their strategy. Now that he is back out on his own as a consultant, I'm a subscriber to his "Future of Communications" email newsletter (subscribe on

By Dan York, 16 October 2012, 0 comments. Categories: Broadband, Industry, VoiP.

How WebRTC will disrupt telecom (and change the Internet)

Old phoneIf we step back to before 1993, publishing and finding content on the Internet was a somewhat obscure, geeky thing that a very few people cared about and very few knew how to do.

It involved gopher servers, ftp sites, archie, veronica, WAIS, USENET newsgroups, etc., and this "World-Wide Web" service primarily demonstrated via the server at info.cern.ch.

It was an amazing period of time for those of us who were there, but the number of users was quite small.

Then NCSA released Mosaic in 1993 ... and suddenly everything changed.

Anyone could create a web page that "regular" people could see on their computers. Anyone could download Mosaic and use it. Anyone could share their sites with the installation of server software.

The Web was truly born into public consciousness... the creation of Web-based content was democratised so that anyone could do it... the creativity of developers was unleashed... a zillion new business models were thought of... and the Internet fundamentally...

By Dan York, 19 September 2012, 0 comments. Categories: Broadband, Developers, VoiP.

Skype celebrates 9 years of disrupting telecom, but what comes next?

Nine years ago, August 29, 2003, the first version of Skype was made publicly available. Now in 2012 Skype celebrates it's 9th birthday - and first birthday as part of Microsoft... and it's still disrupting telecommunications.

Four years ago on Skype's 5th birthday I wrote at great length about how Skype has changed telecommunications, and last year I wrote a retrospective as well- both of those posts still stand...

Skype has only added more capabilities over the time. Skype is still one of the only applications that I can say I personally use each and every day. It's critical to what I do.

As I look back on my last year of writing about Skype, I'd note that they've finally gotten the app to work more similarly across operating systems, introduced amazing video quality, crossed over 40 million simultaneous users, made yet another attempt at a developer program and continually improved the Skype-on-mobile-device experience. Skype has also added a deeper Facebook integration, embedded Skype into more TV and other consumer devices, rolled out Skype on Windows Phone and continued to improve their video offerings.

But what comes next?

What will we be writing about on Skype's 10th birthday next year?

Jim Courtney captures this well in a post today on the theme of "Whither Skype?" The whole post is worth a read, but I'll highlight one paragraph in particular:

Where does Skype play...

By Dan York, 30 August 2012, 0 comments. Categories: Apps, Consumers, Operators, Smartphones.

Skype Hits 40 Million Simultaneous Users!

Congrats to the folks at Skype for hitting over 40 million concurrent users! Today at 2pm US Eastern when I typed "/users" in any Skype chat on my Mac, I got this great message (Windows users should see the count in the lower left corner of the Skype client):

Skype 40million

That's a pretty amazing milestone, given that some of us can remember back to when the concurrent user count was in the upper 20s (early 2011) or even way...

By Dan York, 11 April 2012, 0 comments. Categories: Consumers, Industry, VoiP.

Are They Crazy? Digium Enters The Phone Game With Asterisk IP Phones

DigiumphonesWhen I first saw the news today, my immediate reaction was: Seriously? Digium is coming out with phones??? In a rather fascinating move in an already extremely crowded market, Digium announced today that they will be producing "Digium Phones", a new line of IP phones specifically targeted at users of Asterisk and Switchvox (both Digium products). They tout among the benefits:
  • Crystal clear HD Voice
  • Simple setup and installation
  • Tightest integration with Asterisk
  • Built-in & custom applications
  • A built-in "app engine" JavaScript API

There will be three models available:

  • D40—An entry-level HD IP phone with 2-line keys. Priced at $149.
  • D50—A mid-level HD IP phone with 4-line keys and 10 quick dial/BLF keys with paper labels. Priced at $179.
  • D70—An executive-level HD IP phone...

By Dan York, 01 February 2012, 1 comment. Categories: Devices, Industry, VoiP.

3 Great Posts to Read About Why Windows Phone 7 Hasn't Taken Off...

Windows Phone 7

Jumping online this morning I noticed this trio of great posts yesterday about Windows Phone 7 and why it hasn't taken off. The discussion was started off by Charlie Kindel, a former Microsoft general manager:

MG Siegler weighed in on his blog with:

And Robert Scoble posted a comment on Charlie's post that led then to his...

By Dan York, 28 December 2011, 0 comments. Categories: Apps, Marketing, Mobile, Smartphones.

2 Insanely Simple Steps to Completely Bypass the Stop Online Piracy Act

How completely BROKEN is the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)?

Here are the two steps ANY consumer can take to COMPLETELY bypass the DNS filtering proposed in SOPA:

1. Find The Computer's DNS Settings

On a Mac, go into System Preferences, then Network, select the network connection being used (typically "Wi-Fi" or "Ethernet") and then click on the "Advanced..." button in the lower right corner. On the resulting screen, click on the "DNS" tab to see a screen like this one:

SystemPreferences

On a Windows computer, go into the Control Panel and look for "Network and Sharing Center", find the adapter being used, right-click it and choose "Properties". Next click on "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)" (or IPv6 should you use...

By Dan York, 19 December 2011, 0 comments. Categories: Government.

Skype Releases (Almost) The Same Version on Windows and Mac OS X

when pigs fly

Yesterday I sat in such utter shock that I had to look out my window to see if, in fact, we were witnessing porcine aviation. My brain was having a hard time processing something I had just read online. I literally was speechless, which, if you know anything about me, is a very hard state for me to attain. :-)

What created this cognitive dissonance?

You see...

Skype just announced the simultaneous release of new versions of Skype for BOTH Windows and Mac OS X.

Even more, the two versions almost have feature parity.

Yes, indeed, you can now get the Skype 5.7 beta for Windows and the

By Dan York, 21 November 2011, 0 comments. Categories: Consumers, N America, Networks, Operators, VoiP.

And So It Begins... Comcast Starts Rolling Out IPv6 Production Network

Ipv6 200For those of us wanting to see IPv6 deployed, yesterday brought the great news that Comcast has started rolling out its IPv6 production network to customers.

Now, granted, the initial rollout was to only 100 homes in San Francisco's East Bay. It is also restricted to a single computer directly connected to a Comcast cable modem. This initial rollout did not support home routers which are typically found for WiFi in many/most homes these...

By Dan York, 09 November 2011, 0 comments. Categories: IPTV.

Is Skype Soon To Release New APIs?

Skype Renames Public API And Extends "Plugged into Skype" Partner Program

Pluggedintoskype
Today brings two changes from Skype to their developer programs. First, in an effort to bring some clarity to their existing application programming interfaces (APIs), they have renamed the "Skype Public API" to be called the "Skype Desktop API." As noted in a Skype blog post: In Aug 2004, we made the Skype Desktop API available to encourage third-party innovation and integration with Skype. The Skype Desktop API allows...

By Dan York, 26 October 2011, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, VoiP.