While it takes Nokia’s marketing department to task, this rather off-color comparison of the E70 to the iPhone from maddox’s The Best Page in the Universe has to be causing some smiles back in Finland. I’m having trouble finding a suitable passage to quote here on our family-friendly site, but suffice to say he really doesn’t like the iPhone…
I saw many interesting speech technology and telephony-related innovations at SpeechTek last week, but here’s one that’s at the top. Jonathan Tyler, CEO of Voxeo, gave me a personal demo of their new integrated BusinessVoIP service.
Some background. Voxeo is a hosted services provider for speech recognition, text-to-speech, and related services. They handle both inbound and outbound calls. Voxeo also provides a free download of their SIP-based platform, called Prophecy, and they just released version 8. (Disclosure: Voxeo and I have a business relationship, and many of my clients use their hosted and server platforms.)
For some time Voxeo has been providing BusinessVoIP to allow developers to send/receive PSTN traffic, but with this new release they include a new level of integration. If you go online to your hosted account and select an application that’s hosted, you can determine how the traffic for this hosted application is routed: to the hosted platform; to your servers; or it can be routed to your servers with an overflow/failover to the hosted platform.
Not bad for a free-to-developers service. I’m looking forward to the full rollout of this service; it solves the problem of hosted vs. servers very neatly.
Dan York broke the news from VoiceCon that IBM has just announced its acquisition of WebDialogs, maker of the popular Unyte web conferencing and collaboration software that works in conjunction with Skype (and other platforms). I think that’s great news for WebDialogs and the Skype ecosystem, and a smart move by IBM. We featured WebDialogs in a recent ETel article, Skype Developer Program: A Tale of Pioneering and Persevering, about their successful partnership with Skype. They clearly see the value in working with developer programs like Skype’s (even when it can be very challenging at times), and I think are now reaping some of the rewards for that kind of forward thinking.
The Call for Participation for our next Emerging Telephony conference is now open. This is my favorite conference of the year, and not just because I work for O’Reilly. ETel has become a showcase for the most interesting and innovative things happening in telecommunications. We welcome plenary submissions for our audience of people who, like you, are pushing through the boundaries of communications into new ways of thinking and doing. Topics will be centered around the innovations and projects occurring at the intersection of voice, instant messaging, the mobile ecosystem, and the Web. ETel will be held March 3-4 in San Diego, California. The deadline to submit a proposal to speak at ETel is September 17, 2007.
The latest news from Skype about their recent major outage is pointing the finger towards the autmatic Windows Update feature. Well, to be fair, they are actually blaming a “a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly.” But the latest post on the Skype blog indicates that the chain reaction was initiated when a large number of Skype clients were rebooted in the same timeframe, due to a routine Windows Update.
While it does seem plausible that a massive concurrent restart of Skype clients could cause some grief for Skype’s network, that doesn’t explain why it took 2 days to restore service. And I’m also left wondering why previous Windows Updates haven’t caused similar problems. What do you think, is there more to this story?
I have been a T-Mobile customer for several years, and while I have had issues with their customer service (like all phone companies, it’s trying) I have been happy with their phone service. As phone companies go, they are an innovative company, and have done a great job carving a niche out for themselves among the youth and small business markets. This week, I upgraded to their new Hotspot@Home product, and while the iPhone has been sucking all of the air out of the room in recent weeks, I concluded that this is a much more disruptive, and useful, service that other carriers will be wise to watch.
So over the past several months, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time following, reading and developing widgets for a variety of platforms. I’ve classified widgets into three platforms:
1. Web - These would be widgets you would embed or develop for portals such as Myspace, iGoogle, Netvibes or Facebook
2. Desktop - These tend to be more full-featured widgets since they operate on the desktop; examples include the Google sidebar, Yahoo Konfabulator or Vista widgets
3. Mobile - This would include a variety of mobile widget platforms including Nokia’s Widsets or ULocate’s Where.com
Anyways, in 9 months of widget development and exploration, this is what I’ve noticed:
1. When designing my widget, I need to optimize for different tiers. I design a medium-tier version for the web where I may not have a lot of CPU or access to certain functionality. I design and build a lower-end version for the mobile and a high-end version for the desktop.
2. For each platform (web, desktop, mobile), I’ve had to port across a variety of vendors - in some cases, this may take as long as a week.
3. More recently, some of my widgets were being denied submission for failing to meet certain style guidelines such as title color or font.
4. I signed agreements with some vendors to gain access to special functionality such as access to location information or file-system access on the computer.
5. Once I submitted my widget into the provider’s directory, promotion and discovery became another major hurdle
Tim Panton, Westhawk’s Technical Director and one of this year’s keynoters at ETel, has just informed me of the launch of a closed, thousand user trial for their Phone from HERE service, based on the Corraleta technology demonstrated at ETel.
Registering for the beta, adds a new link to your LinkedIn profile, from which contacts can call you - from directly within your browser.
You can call Tim, using the demo link on his profile - simply click Call Me FREE with Corraleta, ‘trust’ the applet being installed and make sure you have a mic plugged in :)
I called Tim using this link and was surprised at the call quality and user experience - it works and it sounds pretty good! The beta won’t incur any costs or reveal your number but includes 50 minutes of talk time. Sign up at http://www.phonefromhere.com/talk/register1.xsql and let Tim know what you think.
I’d be interested to hear from ETel readers on the applications of this technology, where it might be deployed and most importantly, the user experience. Is voice now just a feature?
The newly launched SignalMap (thanks Gizmodo!) allows users in the US to see how Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers rate their coverage quality, on a Google Map. Of course, you can also add your own reception markers to the maps.
Unfortunately, the service only covers the US and a handful of carriers - but as the creators say ‘beta is an understatement’ ;)