Thursday, May 28, 2009

Google Wave, Communication or Messaging 2.0

Google’s Wave is surely creating wave. When I quickly glanced over the news of Google Wave, it didn’t entice me all the way. But my curiosity didn’t die. So did a little more digging and watched the launch video. Hmm... I have to admit, it just blew me away. It’s a bold thinking and just awesome. I guess only Google has the audacity to think beyond the ordinary. This is what I call the new Communication or messaging 2.0. Email was considered so offline and thanks to Google’s Gmail, which did change the perception a little bit. And now, Wave is the gone change the way group communication, sharing and editing is done. Welcome to the New World of Communication!

Here is what Google description of “wave” is:

A "wave" is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

As always, wave has exposed API’s using which developers can add lot of innovative features. Wave uses XMPP (RFC 3920) protocol to allow near real-time communication between two wave servers. The Google Wave APIs come in two flavors: Embed and Extensions. With Embed, developers can bring waves into their own site via a simple JavaScript API. With Extensions, developers can write programs, which can be packaged as Robots or Gadgets that provide rich functionality inside the Google Wave web client.

Google Wave has three layers: the product, the platform, and the protocol:
• Google Wave can also be considered a platform with a rich set of open APIs that allow developers to embed waves in other web services, and to build new extensions that work inside waves.
• The Google Wave protocol is the underlying format for storing and the means of sharing waves, and includes the "live" concurrency control, which allows edits to be reflected instantly across users and services. The protocol is designed for open federation, such that anyone's Wave services can interoperate with each other and with the Google Wave service.

Check out the video:

For additional information, check out the links below:
Wave Protocol
Google Wave Developer Blog
Google Wave

Stay tuned for technical details of Wave.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Free Conference Calls, Who pays?

We all have used free conference feature and iam sure we love it because it's free. Ever wondered how these companies survive providing free service. It’s a little tricky and complicated. Thanks to the Telco regulations. Apparently the whole free conference call business model works by arbitraging inter-carrier termination fees. So big Telco operators were picking up the bill for all these free conference calls. According to the Telco regulations, long distance carriers need to pay huge per minute fees to terminate calls to small rural carriers. This is required to support those rural carriers help pay for their infra-structure in order to provide good quality phone service.

Things were hunky dory until the operators realized that they were paying huge money to these rural carriers, who were partnering with free conference vendors and sharing the revenue. So lately, big operators have refused to pay these rural carries for free calls, terming them as “illegal”. So it comes as no surprise that Foonz, a free conference call provider, hung up their boots. It’s definitely a wake up call to all those free call service provider that rely on inter-carrier termination fees. Things have changed a lot. Big Telco’s are very watchful of their termination fees and would do anything to block these kind of services. Don’t be surprised if you hear “All circuits or busy” when u dial those free conference call numbers.

What changed the whole game plan is the unlimited nationwide calling plan. With an unlimited voice plan, users can dial these rural carrier numbers for conference calls and still pay nothing. However, operators will have to pay exuberant termination fees to the rural carrier. The regulation as such was intended for good. But this loophole has been exploited by some of these free voice calls companies. Couple of years back, ATT filed a lawsuit in IOWA “deceitful and unlawful schemes” like FuturePhone’s caused a jump from $2,000 per month to $2 million per month in the fees billed AT&T by an Iowa rural Telco.

Here are some of my thoughts:
• As fellow blogger Alec suggested, operator should come up with premium numbers for conferencing features, the price could be a little higher. The revenue from these numbers could be shared between operators and the vendors
• Nationwide unlimited calling excludes these premium services. Consumers interested in using these premium features pay the extra price per minute. Again, the revenue shared.
• Freemium model. Some x number of minutes free every month and charge for the additional minutes used by consumer. Hoping the extra minutes that users buy shall cover the free usage.
• Skype model, Free VoIP conference calls, for PSTN/Mobile origination/termination, charge the users.
• Buy Whole sale bundled minutes from operator.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Next iPhone coming this July?

There have been constant rumours about the release of new iPhone from apple. Earlier it was supposed to be announced during the WWDC conference scheduled next month. Later this date was changed due to Steve jobs unavailability. So here is the latest scoop? According to Appadvice , the next iPhone is gone be launched this Jul 17th 2009 . A lengthy list of specs has been listed by the source. ( Apparently the site has gone offline due to huge traffic. Looks like any rumors about iPhone sells big-time. Hope it turns out be a worthy rumor )

Here is the list of specs:
• 32GB and 16GB to replace current capacities
• $199 and $299 price-points to be maintained
• 3.2 Megapixel camera
• Video recording & editing capabilities
• Ability to send a picture & video via MMS
• Discontinuation of the metal band surrounding the edge of the device
• OLED screen
• 1.5X The battery life
• Double the RAM and processing power
• Built-in FM transmitter
• Apple logo on the back to light up
• Rubber-tread backing
• Sleeker design
• Built-in compass
• Revolutionary combination of the camera, GPS, compass, and Google maps to identify photo and inform about photo locations.
• Turn by turn directions

Video recording and editing capabilities have been mentioned in the past by couple of sources for a while now. So looks like this one will definitely make it to the next version of iPhone.

Here are some of the features I would love to see:
• 3.2 Megapixel camera
• Video recording & editing capabilities
• Ability to send a picture & video via MMS
• Built-in FM transmitter
• Revolutionary combination of the camera, GPS, compass, and Google maps to identify photo and inform about photo locations.

For time being I have postponed my plans to buy iPhone. Hope the wait is not too long.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ballmer says, right time for entrepreneurs

This is one of the best videos for wannabe entrepreneurs. The advice comes from none other than Steve Ballmer , CEO of Microsoft. He says that this is time for entrepreneurs to take the plunge. Companies like Microsoft, apple were started during the recession times. Steve has some important tips for entrepreneurs. Check out the video embedded below

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mobile VoIP, heartburn to Telco Operator

According to Gartner, More Than 50 Percent of Mobile Voice Traffic Will Be Carried Using End-to-End VoIP by 2019. This poses a huge and direct challenge to the $692.6 billion global mobile voice market. I’m sure the operators would fight tooth and nail to block those applications that use end-to-end IP network for voice calls. Even the mobile application developer platforms provided by handset vendors disable any mobile VoIP access for third party developers, except for the WIFI. Earlier, it was the turn of iPhone and now today Microsoft announced that Mobile VoIP applications is a big NO NO.

I’m not surprised by this move. I had talked about this earlier. There are so many applications out there that want to use operators IP network to run voice apps. Third-Party applications like Skype, Truphone, Mig33, fring, nimbuzz etc all carry VoIP traffic using the mobile phone. These applications are very attractive to consumers and definitely a headache to the operators.

Here are some of the highlights of the Gartner report:
• Predicts that over time traditional network-based mobile carriers face the real prospect of losing a major slice of their voice traffic and revenue to new non-infrastructure players that use VoIP.
• despite this significant potential, conditions for the rapid expansion in the use of mobile VoIP are not yet right and are not likely to become right for at least five years and perhaps as long as eight years.
• Mass-scale adoption of end-to-end mobile VoIP calling will not happen until fourth-generation (4G) networks are fully implemented in 2017
• In 10 years time we expect that 30 percent of mobile voice traffic will be carried out through third-party mobile portals, such as Google, Facebook, MySpace and Yahoo, which will adopt wireless VoIP service as a voice option to their current communications hub.”
• Competing with mobile portal VoIP will be wireless carriers that offer circuit and VoIP voice and data services, and resellers and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that also offer services off the carrier networks.
• Biggest competitors to mobile VoIP may be text messaging and e-mail, as people may prefer to use these types of communication because of their non-intrusive, less emotional and less time-consuming nature.

For more information, check out the report available on Gartner’s Web site

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BlackBerry enterprise Voice server embraced by operators

Sprint announced to launch BlackBerry MVS, a service designed to unify fixed and mobile voice communication for greater productivity, more accountability, and extended accessibility. Blackberry MVS integrates the functionality of a desk phone with a BlackBerry Smartphone. Verizon the biggest CDMA operator also uses BlackBerry MVS to provide their corporate customers with FMC like features. This is a shot in the arm for blackberry MVS. No wonder BlackBerry Curve overtook iPhone in US smartphone ranking .

According to telephonyonline, Both Sprint and Verizon are offering the services as a joint solution between their business and wireless groups, selling wireless voice and data plans along with IP trunking services to link the devices securely to the enterprise. Sprint will be offering the FMC solution over both its CDMA and Nextel iDEN networks.

What is BlackBerry MVS?
BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) is designed to provide FMC features for corporate subscribers. The feature allows road warriors to move seamlessly between their desktop phones and mobile phones. Enterprise users can create a single number for up to four devices. Along with this comes a unified voicemail box and a seamless bridge for advanced PBX features such as conference calling, user groups and messaging between the wide-area mobile and local-area enterprise networks. Through integration with your existing PBX systems, employees gain office phone features on their BlackBerry® smartphones, while IT departments gain the advanced security, controls, and call-logging features that help make their jobs easier.

The latest version of RIM MVS server has been customized to integrate with Cisco® Unified Communications Manager 6.1 and later. The MVS however is designed to integrate with other IP-PBX system.

The BlackBerry MVS includes the following components:
BlackBerry MVS Client
BlackBerry® MVS Client software adds desk phone features to BlackBerry smartphones. The client integrates directly with the native phone application to allow the user to receive or place calls from the mobile line or the enterprise line.
BlackBerry MVS Services
BlackBerry® MVS Services enable communication between the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server and the BlackBerry® MVS Server. This allows control over voice management and security functionality through IT policies and highly secure authentication between BlackBerry smartphones and the corporate telecom environment.
BlackBerry MVS Server
BlackBerry® MVS Server interfaces between the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the corporate PBX system, and is designed to mobilize a variety of PBX telecom environments. BlackBerry MVS Server includes configuration options for TDM, IP PBX, and mixed environments.

Looks like RIM is focused more on enterprise customers and that’s a great strategy. As I said earlier, follow the money, and enterprise is where money is. Wake up Apple!

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