Wednesday, August 27, 2008

1 year of Blogging, What I learnt

Wow! This was an amazing year for me. What started as a curiosity has just turned into passion for me. Before I started this blog, I used to read lot of other popular blogs and would always wonder; maybe I should write my version/analysis of the story. So it did take a little while for me to jump into the world of blogging. I have been having so many different thoughts/ideas and was looking for an avenue to echo these things and here iam talking to you folks. I have written around 115 articles so far, that is around 10 articles a month. (I will share some of my best articles for folks that have missed it)

During the course of my blogging came some big motivation. This blog was selected as Top 25 blogs of 2007, (thanks to VoIP News) within a short span of time. This was like a short in the arm. After this there was no turning back. This year, it was rated as one of the Top 100 telecom blogs by VoIP Now (Thanks VoIP Now). More than the recognition of the blog, I was thrilled by the fact that it was rated alongside some of the great bloggers i admire like Gigaom, Jeff pulver , Alec Saunders, Luca, Andy, Jon Arnold Jon Arnold etc. Worthy of mention is the Facebook voip statistics article that created quite a stir in the blogosphere and was quoted by many blogs and big news websites.

So here are something’s I learnt over the year of blogging:
• Blogging is fun when u enjoy it. It’s not fun when your blog drives you rather than u driving it. Ike has some good insight about this. Ike, iam following your words “So, for my fellow bloggers: don't let the blog run your life, and show the blog that you are the boss. Maybe your blog will even improve”
• It’s hard to keep up with writing articles everyday. From what I have observed, the traffic increases when i blog everyday. The question really is, do u blog to drive more traffic or you blog to share some valuable stuff to your blog readers. I am inclined more towards writing quality stuff rather than being a meme.
• Though I have been recognized as a one of the Top VoIP blogger, In the course of time I have realized that there is not much innovation happening in this space. ( Pardon me Phweet , wonderful mashup and sorry folks for not writing about this phenomenon)
• You need to be very clear on why you are blogging-- is it for extra money or just the passion. (I tend to write blog because of passion; don’t get me wrong for the Forbes and Google small adsense I have enabled. This is to experiment about the adsense and how it works. Will write more about the research later. Maybe I will enable hordes of advertisement when I needed money :-) )
• When I started blogging, I did not have a niche arena in mind, which is the basic rule of blogging. Nevertheless, I choose to write more of telecom related stuff, which could be because of my experience in the telecom and startup world. So my niche by default became telecom.
• It’s tough to be jack of all blog. Very few blogs have mastered and succeeded in doing so.

What you can expect in Future:
I have been fascinated by some of the emerging technologies and have decided to focus more on these areas as well. Doesn’t mean that I will stop writing about Voice 2.0; These new stuff shall be in addition to what I have been writing so far.
Some of the technologies I will talk about in future are:
• Lifestreaming
• Location 2.0
• Mashups
• Mobile applications

Iam very grateful to all my readers of my blog. Hope you are enjoying and learning something new and iam definitely learning a lot from you guys. Would love to hear from you guys, please leave a comment or send me a feedback to geekupate at

Also, would like to apologies to all the PR agencies and startups that send me PR news that I don’t cover in my blog. The fact of the matter is that iam not a full time blogger and I get very little time for this blog, mostly late nights (Have to thank my wife and the little one for that :-) )

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mobile VoIP going Mainstream

Business week has come up with an article about Mobile VoIP and some of the players that are ruling the roost in this arena. What this mean is that Mobile VoIP is gaining momentum and mainstream is recognizing the potential in this technology. From a technology standpoint, this has been there for a long time. What wasn’t available was a good wireless data network bandwidth to carry voice packets. Earlier it was GPRS and with the evolution of EDGE, HSDPA, 3G, CDMA rev-a, data bandwidth has gained a big boost. I guess what matters to the users trying out these mobile apps is the QOS and with the right bandwidth, you can get a very good voice quality. Check out my earlier article on different Mobile VoIP calling options

Business week sites how users could save lot of money using applications like Gorilla Mobile that relies on Internet-based technology. Some of the applications like truphone, fring, mig33 support free calling if both the originator and the recipient have their clients installed. Basically this bypasses operator’s circuit switch network completely. ( Truphone as a MVNO 2.0 ) Off course this is worrisome to the operator. For those consumers who make lot of international calls and national calls with limited voice calling plans, Mobile VoIP is a blessing and big time money saver. What this means is- u could just get a unlimited data plan and basic voice plan and use one of these clients to make voice calls.

Acoording to the article:

Wireless carriers are expected to generate $700.7 billion in sales of voice services this year, according to consulting firm Ovum. Still, carriers in the fiercely competitive mobile-phone industry will be none too pleased with newcomers snapping up a portion of the almost one-quarter of all wireless minutes now devoted to long-distance and international calls. Insight Research estimates that together, international and long distance will make up 24% of the 1.2 billion wireless minutes used this year.

From a business standpoint, Telco operators are not gone sit and watch some third-party apps use their wireless data network and eat away their voice revenue, which is already taking a beating. I have mentioned this earlier many a times in my earlier articles about why operators would do anything to block Mobile VoIP calls. The recent dogfight between truphone and T-Mobile, Nokia dropping VoIP capability and Apple no iPhone SDK support for VoIP calls over wireless data network clearly proves the point. T-Mobile supports WIFI based calling via their own hotspots, caveat is, u need to pay $10 dollars for additional calling plan. Another point to mention here is that with unlimited voice calling minutes becoming cheaper day by day, using these apps makes more sense when u make more international calls. Also, Mobile VoIP would make perfect sense for corporate users who make lot of voice calls. We have seen lot of innovation in this arena FMC, UC, Femtocel. Not sure if any of these technology made big headways.

End of the day, all these apps are at the mercy of Operators. They have the potential to block any app that threatens their revenue.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where is my SMS, obama campaign

Barack Obama campaign was suppoed to announce the VP candidate via SMS and Email. I thought it was one of those cool idea. So i went ahead and registered with short code 62262 to get an SMS message. I got a confirmation message saying

"Welcome to Obama Mobile. You will now be the one of the 1st notified when the VP candidate is selected"

Well i was not the 1st to be notified. I had to read cnn to know that Senator Joe Biden being selected as the VP candidate.
So where is MY SMS?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Some interesting news

Couple of news that got me buzzed( wanted to write but was busy the whole day )
OpenSocial reached 350 million users

Its definietly catching up with facebook

Intel and Yahoo to bring Widgets for TV
Ten startups pitching to VC's, some of them are cool ideas

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Monday, August 18, 2008

We want Internet Telephony in India

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) acknowledges the huge potential of VoIP. TRAI has recommended that calls made over the internet be allowed to be received on telephones rather than just computers. If it succeeds, it will be good news for those of you folks that wants cheap calling solution to india. In addition, this shall open up lot of competition among vendors that are into IP backhaul play. According to the report, india currently has 11 million internet subscribers compared with about 326 million mobile and land-line phone connections.

Currently, in india, ISP’s are not permitted to have connectivity with PSTN/PLMN within the country. However, the restrictions imposed on use of different devices/ATA/Adapters to provide Internet telephony were removed as per subsequent guideline issued by DoT. Now any device or adapter conforming to the Standards of International Agencies can be used to make Internet telephony calls to PSTN/PLMN abroad. So what this means is- you can buy MagicJack and ship to India, your friends/family can call a USA number using the MagicJack adapter.

Interesting analysis from the report

US analysts Telegeography predict that revenues from Internet Telephony (termed as VoIP) will reach USD 5 billion having 16% of total telephony subscribers by 2010. Other estimates are much higher. According to Juniper Research, revenues from VoIP services in the business sector alone will reach USD 18 billion by 2010, with hosted VoIP business revenues reaching USD 7.6 billion. Source: iDate

The amount of money predicted in business and consumer VoIP is humongous. Iam not sure about the credibility of these reports. Lets hope these reports come true.

Some highlights of TRAI recommendation:
•The service providers must inform QoS parameters supported by them to their subscribers so that they can take informed decision.
•Internet telephony may be permitted to ISPs with permission to provide Internet telephony calls to PSTN/PLMN and vice-versa within country and necessary amendments made in the license provisions.
•National Long Distance (NLD) Operators shall be permitted to connect to ISPs through public Internet (Internet cloud) to facilitate termination of Internet telephony calls on PSTN/PLMN and vice-versa including among ISPs both within telecom circle as well as across the telecom circles.
•Allocation of E.164 number resources may be permitted to ISPs also for providing Internet telephony.
•Lawful Interception and Monitoring

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Intel PCs to wakeup for VOIP calls

Have you ever wished your computer wakes up to receive calls; your wish will come true. Intel Corp in partnership with Jajah is unveiling new technology that will let computers wake up from their sleep state when a phone call is received over internet. This shall be accomplished using Intels Remote Wake technology. This new component will be announced Thursday.

With JAJAH’s telephony support, the computer has direct access to JAJAH’s IPtelephony network, enabling the PC to both make and receive high quality, low Cost phone calls. JAJAH was selected by Intel to be the first telecommunications provider to implement Intel’s Remote Wake capability into their core telephony infrastructure.

This is indeed a big deal for jajah. What this mean is, manufactures will be able to provide computers with Jajah ready configured. With the help of microphone and headset, Consumers can now use jajah to make calls to any fixed or mobile phone anywhere in the world. It has a huge penetration for jajah software.

Here is what intel and jajah have to say about the deal

“Intel and JAJAH have a common objective to deploy technology building blocks that deliver a richer communication experience for consumers," said Joe Van De Water, Director of Consumer Product Marketing for Intel. "Intel is delighted to be working with JAJAH on its latest offering, which supports Intel Remote Wake technology. The combination of our technologies enables added convenience and energy efficiency for consumers who want the PC to be a genuine two-way communication platform for their IP-based telephony services.”

“We are delighted to enhance our existing telephony services with Intel’s innovative hardware-based solutions,” said Trevor Healy, JAJAH CEO. “JAJAH combined with Intel’s Remote Wake capability brings the industry closer to a global IP-based telephony system with simple to use functionality and advanced environmental friendliness.”

Jajah has more than 10 million users across the world and this new deal is surely gone to surge their user base

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yahoo’s Fire Eagle, Location Platform

Good news for location based apps. Yahoo announced the general availability of Fire Eagle. Fire eagle is an open platform that can be used for updating location information of users to the web with more privacy controls on who can access the data. I guess the platform approach is a good strategy. By providing an open interface for all location related data, yahoo is positioning itself as the location distributor. It’s like Google’s OpenSocial glue for location information to various applications.

When it was launched initially, lot of folks complained about the privacy issue and it looks like yahoo has taken that feedback seriously. With the general availability, if u sign up for the service, users are given the option to receive regular emails from Yahoo to see if they are still comfortable with sharing this kind of information. In the privacy setting tab, user is given two options

HideMe can temporarily hide yourself from sites and services you've authorized to use Fire Eagle. Fire Eagle will still receive information about your location but won't share it with anyone else until you unhide yourself

You can purge your location information completely from the Fire Eagle database...

Some insight on the platform, Fire Eagle platform provides a way to share location information’s to multiple apps, and an interface to update user location information via multiple apps. It is designed to help users safely share information about their location with sites, services and people on the Internet.
The picture below should give a good insight on the platform

The service has two major functions for users—it allows a user to update their location and then gives them full control of how and where they share that location. A user can perform these functions on the central site, but can also update or access their location data using any other authorized 3rd party application - on the web, on a desktop application or on a mobile device. Applications that access a user's location information can then personalize their service accordingly.

There are already lot of applications that are using fire eagle platform for location sharing and updates. Some of the popular ones using fire eagle are Brightkite, Dash, Dopplr, Movable Type, Pownce, and Loki.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Don’t know Chinese, use jajah

Going to Beijing for Olympic Games and don’t speak/understand Chinese, don’t worry Jajah is at your service. Jajah launches JAJAH Babel a free, real-time voice translation that works from any phone. The first release supports English-Chinese Mandarin and vice versa, with additional languages to follow. Developed with support from IBM Research, JAJAH Babel is the latest breakthrough in JAJAH’s mission to remove the barriers to global communication.

Here is how Jajah babel works From English to Chinese or in reverse:
• Dial JAJAH Babel from any phone. U.S. local access number: +1-718-513-2969
• Choose which language you want your message translated into (either English to Chinese or Chinese to English)
• Say your message and press #
• You will be able to confirm that your message was properly understood by the system.
• The message will automatically be played back in Chinese. If you wish, simply hand your phone to the other person or put the phone on loudspeaker so they hear the message.
• The other person can then record a message in Chinese, following the steps
above, and you will hear their message in English.

Another product they launched in colloboration with mobivox( one of my other favorite startup ) is JAJAH Concierge ,Very relevant for consumers that need to make calls hands free, JAJAH Concierge voice activates JAJAH services so there is no need to scroll through address books or dial long phone numbers. This free service gives JAJAH customers a local number, which can be used to initiate phone calls, send a text message or establish conference calls, all with voice commands at JAJAH's low rates and without lifting a finger. This new service does not cost anything additional and leverages MOBIVOX voice application.

Here is how jajah concierge works:
• Go to JAJAH Concierge to get your local access number.
• Call your local access number; JAJAH Concierge will answer with a personal greeting and await your instructions.
• Say the name of the person from your contact list you wish to call and your Concierge will connect you.
• Concierge can also add other parties to the call, send an SMS or add a contact to your JAJAH address book.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

$3.3 billion in Location Based Mobile Social Networking

Yes there is money in location based social networking. According to ABI research , location based mobile social networking revenue will reach $3.3 billion by 2013. Iam a big fan of LBS based applications. This is indeed good news for startups that are building LBS based applications. I see a great potential in location based mobile applications including the mobile social networking. I guess mobile social networking is one of the applications that has potential to explode. Iam sure over a period of time, every social networking platform will provide location information of their users.

There are so many applications I can think off based on location and I have talked about them earlier . We are yet to see a mobile social networking leader and this is definitely a space to watch for. In addition, integrating all the different silo LBS apps into mobile social networking platform seems interesting.

Here are some highlights from the report: article(Info to buy the article )

“Location-based mobile social networking revenues will reach $3.3 billion by 2013, but successful business models may differ from what many observers expect,” says ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte. “While location-based advertising integrated with sophisticated algorithms holds a lot of promise, the current reality rather points to licensing and revenue-sharing models as the way forward for social networking start-ups to grow their customer base and reach profitability. Recent evidence: the agreements between GyPSii and both Garmin and Samsung. Similarly, Loopt has established partnerships with all major US cellular carriers.”

Location-based mobile social networking constitutes a framework within which previously independently-launched location-based services such as search, friend-finder, people tracking and user-generated content find new momentum by complementing and reinforcing each other. Hence, it comes as no surprise that Nokia is moving in quickly with the acquisition of Plazes and the beta launch of the location-enabled Nokia Chat social instant messaging application.

It’s been a long time since I wrote about LBS based apps. So this news has charged me up. Stay tune for some interesting update on current LBS applications. If any of you guys have found cool LBS based apps, buzz( leave a comment) me, will include in my future article.

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