Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to choose a good IP phone

I was thinking about a review of different IP phones and was coming back to the fact that Polycom probably makes the best business IP phones. While we are selling a range of phones, we found Plycom to be the best. However I couldn't justify writing a review of different phones when all I am talking about is benefits of Plycom phones, until I discovered the following review:

How to Choose a Quality IP Phone for Your Business

Basically under the pretenses of giving an overview of different phones the author is talking about how good Polycom phones are. I must admit I agree with the assessment in that article and will not repeat the material here.

We offer a range of Polycom phones that can be found here.

However, to give a balanced view, I must highlight the weaknesses of Polycom phones and also the benefits of some other phones.

Let me start with the main weakness of Polycom phones. The main weakness of the Polycom is lack of support for STUN. STUN is the most commonly used method of deploying SIP phones in remote locations. Here is a more technical explanation of what STUN is:

STUN overview on voip-info

So when we need STUN we use other phones.

Thomson ST2030 is a great all-around phone that offers top features like BLF fields at an entry - level phone price.

Same with the Grandstream range of phones - if you need more features at a lower cost, which I must admit not all of our customers do.

Monday, October 25, 2010

VoIP is capturing the market away from traditional phone lines.

People are often asking me about the rates of adoption of VoIP technology in the market. Finally, I've got some real figures to report.

According to FierceVoIP analysis of the Point Topic report, Broadband and VoIP bundles could push market to saturation.

More than one in five consumer broadband lines already come with VoIP and it has reached 100 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2009.

So, here is the summary of the adoption figures:

22% of worldwide market has access to VoIP
Over 100,000,000 have subscribed to it and are using VoIP instead of PSTN (that obviously doesn't include services like Skype that have over 400 mil. subscribers)
Over 70% of French households now have a VoIP service available

Open source PBX systems also help business adoption, leading all other PBX vendors in the markets share for phone systems:

Open Source PBX is 18% of North America Market!

Not all open source PBX systems are deployed in conjunction with VoIP phone lines, but all are capable of connecting to VoIP, future-proofing your investment.

Interested to know how you can cut costs in your business by adopting VoIP? Here is a link to an article I published on Vadacom website earlier this year:

Reducing Telecommunications Costs

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The next iPad model

Before the hype about what is going to be the next iPad has completely overwhelmed everyone, I must put a stake in the ground and make some predictions.

Here are five predictions I am going to make about the new iPad. This is not anything I heard from anyone, or have read anywhere. This is not based on any knowledge - this is pure speculation, along with some analysis as to why I believe the prediction.

Prediction #1. The screen form factor is going to be the same.

Contrary to some speculation around I believe that Apple will keep the same screen form factor. They may make the device lighter somehow, but they will keep the same screen size. There are number of reasons for this.

Number one is that Apple wants its fan base to buy the new hardware and sell their current one second hand to those who want it but can't afford the new one. We've seen it with both iPhones and Macs - this has been happening every year for a number of years now. This is the easiest way for Apple to make quick win in the market and declare the new product a success. The people who bought the original iPad will spend money on the new one and since they've deemed the form factor as something they like - why spoil a good thing.

Number two is that applications that were developed for the current iPad, will run on the new one, unmodified. Since the novelty factor of the new gadget has worn off and Apple is facing some competition in the area, their best defense is apps. Keeping the apps the same gives them solid market protection.

Number three is this keeps the developers happy by not increasing the variety of platforms and form factors they need to develop for.

Prediction #2. There will be a front facing camera.

Yes, I think there will be at least one camera in the iPad and I believe FaceTime is coming to the iPad. That will be one of the top reasons for people to upgrade.

The second camera doesn't make much sense, but than I didn't think they'll put one into iPod touch and they did. Although the back camera does make more sense in an iPod touch than in an iPad.

Prediction #3. iPad is getting the Retina display.

I love the display on my iPhone 4. iPhone has got it, iPod has got it, iPad is going to get it and it will be touted as another reason to upgrade.

Prediction #4. iPad is going to be much faster.

There will be a CPU upgrade to make it faster. Not for a reason that iPad is not currently fast enough, but simply because that is what Apple does with every new device, every year - it makes them faster. iPad is no exception.

Prediction #5. There will be a new surprise feature that we haven't seen in any of the devices yet.

All of the above features are kind of predictable and are already in the iPhone and iPod touch. They may not be enough reason to upgrade for many of the current iPad users. However, Apple is known for creating demand for its new products and for bringing something new to create the iWant factor.

The new feature will either be software or hardware based.

Watch this space.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

iPhone vs. Android is Alien vs. Predator: whoever wins... we lose

I love that quote: "iPhone vs. Android is Alien vs. Predator: whoever wins... we lose"

I love my iPhone. However, as an open source specialist and advocate, I am a fan of Android's success. So, naturally, the war between the two platforms is not something I particularly enjoy. Unfortunately that war is the fact of life and I wish that neither platform ends up the absolute winner - we need both of them.

So far, commercially, iPhone wins the battle for me as the business decision maker. I must admit the fact that the development is reasonably straight forward and support overhead is very low is a big plus for the developer.

Here are some latest developments in the war of iPhone vs. Android:

Steve Jobs fired some shots at the Android camp when he hijacked Apple earnings call

Jobs hijacks Apple earnings call - transcript

And here one of the responses from the open source community:

A misguided rebuttal to Steve Jobs' Android attack

I don't believe Steve Jobs was actually talking about open source vs. proprietary.

A more social Skype

I have advocated for a long time that social communications media will start to converge and become more relevant to business.

Here is a recent development in our industry worth checking out:

Facebook and Skype Readying Deep Integration Partnership

Facebook, Skype Talk Social Network VOIP Deal

Skype’s VP Of Enterprise On Future Strategy, Products And Competitors

22 Oct. 2010: And here it is, Skype with Facebook:

Full review: Skype 5