February 1, 2007

Skype To Improve Workplace Security

Link: Skype To Improve Workplace Security

Filed under: Internet, Security, VoIP, Software, Telecoms by Jan Harris


Skype is planning to enter into a partnership with a security company in an effort to help organisations gain control over usage of its Internet telephony service at work.

The partnership is with FaceTime Communications, a California-based security company which manufactures software and appliances to monitor and secure the use of instant message tools on business networks.

Whie Skype has major security advantages - all calls are encrypted and there is not central server which could be attacked - it poses a problem for IT administrators because it can find ways to make a net connection despite strong firewall controls on corporate networks.

Difficulty in controlling Skype usage by employees can cause compliance problems in industries were security is vital such as in the financial sector. Skype provides instant message functionality and in the US, Securities and Exchange Commission regulations require that all instant messages be logged.

The security partnership is a key element in Skype’s strategy to position its Internet telephony application as a business tool.

Over 30% of Skype’s 171 million users are business users, and there is a huge range of Skype equipment available for use.

January 19, 2007

UK Companies Slow To Use VoIP

Link: UK Companies Slow To Use VoIP

Filed under: Business, Technology, VoIP by Jan Harris


A survey sponsored by VoIP software company Shortel found that over one-third of UK companies decided not to move to VoIP (voice over IP) - because they believe it is too expensive to install and run.

Seventy percent of those surveyed said that cost reductions were the main attraction of the system, while others were attracted by its ability to manage calls more effectively and enable home and mobile working.

According to Rob Bamforth, principal analyst at Quocirca, companies need to understand that there are ongoing costs associated with VoIP. If, for example, a company’s existing IP network cannot cope with the extra traffic VoIP calls bring, it may be necessary to upgrade infrastructure and provide additional support.

Over one-third of the survey’s respondents were discouraged from using VoIP because of fears that it would be too complicated to manage.

Bamforth suggested that VoIP offerings could be simplified and that service providers could encourage companies to accept VoIP by offering it as a service including calls at flat rates.

Recent research by Ofcom found that the UK is among the slowest countries to embrace new services such as VoIP and IPTV.

However, what perhaps could benefit the VoIP market more is a focus on improving line quality. At present VoIP frequently suffers from poor call quality, so anyone who can introduce an algorithm to improve call quality can only help to push VoIP technology in the UK.

January 9, 2007

VoIP connects with Phillips DECT and Netgear

Link: VoIP connects with Phillips DECT and Netgear

Filed under: Internet, Technology, VoIP, Telecoms by Brian Turner


The world of VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol - saw a boost today, when Phillips and Netgear both announced dual-use VoIP and Dect phones.

Phillips began the foray, announcing the launch of the VOIP841 and VOIP443 at CES.

Both are dual-use DECT and VoIP handsets - which means that they can be used as ordinary cordless phones, and also for VoIP applications. The VOIP841 additionally allows for a different call tone for landline and VoIP calls.

Additionally, Skype has also announced a new set of DECT digital cordless phones from Netgear.

Netgear is a more common name to wireless products, and it’s SPH200D is a dual-mode DECT and VoIP phone as well. Ipevo and Topcom also announced phones for the VoIP market.

All of the digital phones are certified for use with Skype, which recently launched Skype 3.0, an upgraded service that allows for community-led text discussions, live moderated conversations, as well as games functionality for Skype users.

Overall, with over 150 certified products from Skype, the VoIP market shows real signs of continued expansion. The additional of dual DECT/VoIP phones from Phillips shows the introduction of mainstream manufacturers into the market - a sure sign that it is receiving very serious attention.

December 12, 2006

Microsoft pushes VoIP in Communications Server 2007

Link: Microsoft pushes VoIP in Communications Server 2007

Filed under: Microsoft, VoIP, Software by Brian Turner


Microsoft has added VoIP to the list of applications to be supported by its Office Communications Server 2007.

It represents the latest in a string of core enterprise applications to be added to the server, such as audio & video webconferencing, plus support for applications from non-Microsoft companies, such as Siemens, NEC, Nortel, and Avaya.

A beta version has already been seen to around 2500 IT staff for testing, and will allow them to integrate VoIP into Office 2007 applications, such as Word and Outlook, simply by clicking on a name.

The idea is to increase business productivity by increasing the ease of communications within the workplace.

While the business dream is a fully-integrated multi-media office to increase efficiency, we may yet find a lot of it is simply used for chatter.

Next staff won’t have to simply have to forward Joke of the Day emails to the rest of the office - they’ll soon be able to tell it, too. :)

November 29, 2006

Small business snubs VoIP

Link: Small business snubs VoIP

Filed under: Business, Technology, VoIP by kathryn


Small and medium businesses are interested in the new technology of VOIP, but not so much that their interest over comes the pains involved with getting into the market.

The lack of movement by the small business is not a good sign for the VOIP vendors. Small businesses are usually the first to jump on the technology bandwagon, but the VOIP market has too many potential problems – mainly due to the number of vendors involved with basic set up.

New technologies, such as mobile telephony and data, laptops, and mobile computing, have allowed small business to compete in ways that would have been near impossible otherwise. VOIP does offer great advantages to these businesses, including reduced costs, but the market is just too complex.

Because of the numerous pieces involved with VOIP set up, there are lots of opportunities for something to go wrong. It takes much more to fix a problem, which means lots of time consuming trouble shooting. The smaller companies just are not able to do this.

To lure in the small companies, vendors are going to have to find a way to bundle and manage services. The research has shown that small business are 2.5 to three times more interested in VOIP when it is offered through a managed IP telephony and offers site to site VOIP services.

VOIP is the right direction for the small businesses. It’s just that no one is getting it right for them in terms of sales and delivery.

November 20, 2006

VoIP still illegal in India

Link: VoIP still illegal in India

Filed under: Internet, Technology, VoIP by kathryn


Voice over Internet Protocol, the technology which allows a call from a PC to a landline at a cheaper rate than landline to landline, is still considered illegal in India.

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) denied reports that VOIP will be liberalized. There had been reports in the Press suggesting other wise.

The TRA’s official position is that VOIP is illegal until it is legalized. The announcement came from the TRA’s manager, administration and public relations, Adnan Al Bahar.

The TRA further pointed out that until there is a firm regulation system in place, legalization will no occur.

Putting even more rain on some techies’ parade, The Director-General of the TRA, Mohamed Al Ghanim also announced that when VOIP does become available, it will only be offered by the countries two licensed operators, etisalat and du.

It had been hoped that the market would be opened to all companies wanting to offer the service.

The TRA was stressing the importance of regulations and careful review after noting problems that other countries are having.

They pointed out that the US, leaders in VOIP technology, has already run into situations with providers going out of business.

The care taken now before entering the VOIP market place will help limit those kinds of problems in India in the future.

The TRA’s officials did make a distinction between the new technology of VOIP and the current communication between PC’s. This kind of communication is legal.

July 13, 2006

VoIP - not ready yet

Link: VoIP - not ready yet

Filed under: Business, Internet, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, VoIP, Software by Brian Turner


VoIP is good - but not good enough to replace existing landlines.

That’s the conclusion of Which? magazine, the publication of the Consumers Association.

It tested 6 of the major VoIP suppliers - Skype, Yahoo!, Google, Babble, Sipgate, and MSN.

It rated Skype as one of the easiest to install and use, and also rated it best for quality of the connection.

Yahoo!, Google Talk, and Sipgate were also well rated on quality, but independent Babble was slated for poor help documentation, as well as poor quality connection.

The VoIP application with MSN Messenger was also found to be of variable quality, and along with Google Talk, is unable to call landlines.

Overall, the Which? study highlighted that VoIP cannot be used to replace landlines at present, not least because emergency services phone calls are not available via VoIP.

Additionally, recent moves in the US to bill against so-called “Net Neutrality” may prevent companies such as Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, from offering side-stepping telecom suppliers to capture users for free services.

This may lead to the big ISPs having to charge for VoIP on subscription in future, if the telecoms companies are able to prevent their own services because abused in this way.

February 9, 2006

EU seeks cap on mobile network charges

Link: EU seeks cap on mobile network charges

Filed under: Mobile, VoIP by Brian Turner


Mobile phone operators could have their “roaming” fees capped by the European Union.

It comes as Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information, Society & Media, outlines price cap plans to national regulators.

Roaming fees are the costs incurred to users when they have to rely on other networks, such as when calling from abroad.

The EU has been investigation the high costs networks charge to users for this since 2000, and Viviane has made it clear she believe the current system is unfair to consumers.

However, even if her proposals are agreed with and passed through the European Parliament, it is unlikely to happen before 2007/2008.

In the meantime, perhaps VoIP with Wi-Fi will become a more competitive solution in these areas, forcing the networks to lower prices before any legislation can be passed.

December 1, 2005

Skype releases video beta

Link: Skype releases video beta

Filed under: Internet, Technology, Apple, VoIP by Brian Turner


Popular VoIP software maker Skype has released Skype 2.0 beta, which now allows video links while people chat.

Although video has been a available to messenger services, from Microsoft and AOL, this is the first time Skype has integrated video with it’s VoIP telephony service.

As well as adding video calling, the new version is designed to work with Microsoft Outlook, adding a toolbar to find and dial contacts.

Skype was bought out by eBay earlier in the year, though it’s as yet uncertain how the company will integrate Skype usage for auction sales.

September 29, 2005

DSG launch Freetalk

Link: DSG launch Freetalk

Filed under: Internet, VoIP by Brian Turner


Freetalk technology to make voice calls over broadband has been launched in Dixons, Currys, The Link and PC World. Freetalk connects into a broadband connection via an adaptor, enabling users to make calls over the internet using a phone handset and without the need to switch on a computer.

The development of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology has been led by software firm Skype and net calling is transforming the phone industry.

DSG International, which owns PC World, Currys, The Link and Dixons, expects about half a million users to sign up for Freetalk within a year.

VoIP technology converts phone conversations into data to be transmitted down the same wires used to browse the net. Voip services are available as free software that lets you make calls from a computer, such as Skype, Google Talk, or BT Communicator, while adaptors and hardware routers, such as that offered by FreeTalk, bypass the need for a computer.

Skype is the most successful of the free software programs available, with approximately 55 million subscribers worldwide.

Freetalk is similar to other services such as Vonage. Users can choose their own area code wherever they live in the UK. The kit also keeps its phone number, even if it is plugged into another broadband connection in the UK or abroad. Users can use their home phone number abroad and avoid roaming charges.

Freetalk’s start up kit costs £79.99. Subscribers pay a £6.99 a month for unlimited free calls to all UK landlines and cheaper international and mobile calls.

September 27, 2005

PlusNet to enter VoIP market

Link: PlusNet to enter VoIP market

Filed under: Internet, Companies, VoIP by brian_turner


Internet service provider PlusNet confirmed yesterday that it plans to unveil a broadband telephony service shortly. The company, which is based in Sheffield, said its PlusTalk VoIP service is based on open standards. Customers will be able to communicate for free with other open standards-based services.

PlusNet is confident that its tariffs for chargeable calls will be very competitive. The company said in a statement “PlusNet expects to offer a range of call packages at market leading prices.”

There is speculation that the launch of the VoIP service is imminent. Even before the product has been unveiled PlusNet has reduced charges. There is intense competition in the rapidly-expanding VoIP sector, with BT planning to reduce charges and Dixons to launch its Freetalk service this week.

PlusTalk Evening & Weekend package will now cost £2.99 a month. This includes 3,500 free minutes and 15 MB voicemail allowance. It was previously priced at £3.99. PlusTalk Anytime - which includes 4,000 free minutes and 25 MB voicemail allowance - will cost £4.99 a month, instead of the previously planned £7.99 a month.

PlusNet is also planning a pay-as-you-go VoIP service, although its VoIP services are not available as standalone products and can only be used by PlusNet broadband customers.

January 24, 2005

Google to offer internet phone services?

Link: Google to offer internet phone services?

Filed under: Google, VoIP by brian_turner

In Google gears up for a free-phone challenge to BT Elizabeth Judge at the Times speculates that Google could be building up a communications infrastructure that at some point could be opened up to launch a free internet telephone service.

The ideas arise primarily from a job advertisment for the company for a ?gstrategic negotiator?h to help the company to provide a ?gglobal backbone network?h- in other words, a high-capacity international infrastructure.

There is already a lot of unused telecommunications cabling around the world, after speculative construction outstripped demand. The suggestion is that Google could be looking into buying up large quantities of this redundant network, in order to ensure good quality global telecommunications.

ADDENDUM: In Why Google Is Not Doing VoIP, respected commentator Om Malik suggests that initial speculation goes too far, and that Google are simply trying to ensure proper connectivity on their existing server networks.

However, what the speculation does highlight is that Google are in a position to use their influence to apply their resources to a whole range of internet applications.

As Nick Bradbury once pointed out in Ramblings on Google and the Internet OS
, while Microsoft sought to become the lead operating system for the PC market, Google are trying to position themselves as the operating system of the internet.

Whether Google utilises Voip for users in the future remains speculation only. And although Om Malik points out that there is currently no business model in free internet telephony, he should be plainly aware that - once upon a time, before the advent of Google as a $40 billion corporation - people said the same about search. :)