Imagine a new secure P2P (Skype like) offer that also supported SIP in the client. You could use the client software on it’s own (just like Skype) or attach it to just about any VoIP service or phone system for free.
Does it make sense for consumers?
Does it make sense for business users?
Is there room in the market?
Would you use it?
Martyn Davies chimes in…
I would use it, but as a telecom industry insider, I know that I’m not the average business user or consumer. As to whether there is room in the market, I think that depends a lot on what Microsoft do with Skype now that they own it. From a business point-of-view, their efforts are focused around OCS/Lync (and software licenses), so Skype there is not adding to their central proposition. Skype has a lot of users, but produces very little revenue, since the majority just use the free services. As a Skype competitor you would have the same problems getting to the cash.
Skype was really the first company to take VoIP and make it completely trivial to install and use. To do that, they had to take some liberties and deviate from standards (like SIP), so that they could add the magic that made it work from behind firewalls, add security and self-configuration, and integrate video so seamlessly. Like Facebook, once it is clearly the biggest of its kind of services, it becomes the community that everyone must join. I can’t see that another Skype-alike has a way in, unless Microsoft significantly change the rules now.
It looks like the first victim in the Microsoft acquisition of Skype is Digium and the open source PBX – Asterisk. The following is an email sent to existing Skype for Asterisk users…
Skype for Asterisk will not be available for sale or activation after July 26, 2011.
Skype for Asterisk was developed by Digium in cooperation with Skype. It includes proprietary software from Skype that allows Asterisk to join the Skype network as a native client. Skype has decided not to renew the agreement that permits us to package this proprietary software. Therefore Skype for Asterisk sales and activations will cease on July 26, 2011.
This change should not affect any existing users of Skype for Asterisk. Representatives of Skype have assured us that they will continue to support and maintain the Skype for Asterisk software for a period of two years thereafter, as specified in the agreement with Digium. We expect that users of Skype for Asterisk will be able to continue using their Asterisk systems on the Skype network until at least July 26, 2013. Skype may extend this at their discretion.
Skype for Asterisk remains for sale and activation until July 26, 2011. Please complete any purchases and activations before that date.
Thank you for your business.
Digium Product Management
One has to wonder what will become of Skype Connect, Skype’s answer to SIP Trunking. Will Microsoft shut off the Skype Connect vendors (Cisco, Avaya, Grandstream, etc.) as well?
Original forum post here.
UPDATE: It’s looking good folks!
In the agreement…
3.3. 23 Because some mobile network operators may prohibit or restrict the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) functionality over their network, such as the use of VoIP telephony over a cellular network, and may also impose additional fees, or other charges in connection with VoIP, You agree to inform end-users, prior to purchase, to check the terms of agreement with their operator, for example, by providing such notice in the marketing text that You provide accompanying Your Application on the App Store.
9. Third Party Terms of Agreement: You must state in the EULA that the end-user must comply with applicable third party terms of agreement when using Your Application, e.g., if You have a VoIP application, then the end-user must not be in violation of their wireless data service agreement when using Your Application.
Now that we know VoIP over the cellular data network is allowed, and ATT has said they will support it, and ATT has a cheap unlimited data plan (Listen up Rogers, Telus, Bell!), the iPad and iPhone has just become something I think we should be excited about.
Apparently the new iPhone dev agreement has officially been modified allowing for VoIP over the cellular data networks. Trying to confirm that myself.
If this is the case, the iPad and iPhone just got a whole lot more interesting.
Jazinga and Freetalk have combined efforts and the result is a Skype enabled SMB phone system called Freetalk Connect.
The press release:
FREETALK Partners With Jazinga To Create FREETALK® Connect
Companies Collaborate On Skype-enabled Small Business Communication System
Featuring Set Up In Less Than 15 Minutes
MIAMI, January 20, 2010 — As the result of a new partnership announced today at ITEXPO East 2010, FREETALK and Jazinga have created the FREETALK® Connect, a full-featured unified communications system that is the first to feature Skype for SIP and Skype for Asterisk functionality.
FREETALK and Jazinga collaborated in designing the FREETALK Connect, featuring a do-it-yourself (DIY) technology approach that can be configured in less than 15 minutes, enabling users who are not tech savvy to use it without formal training. This new class of DIY communications system allows anyone with basic knowledge of computers to install and maintain the office phone system. SIP, Skype and traditional PSTN phones can be plugged into the network, and the FREETALK Connect auto-detects and configures them. An onscreen wizard guides the user through setup. Adding users and administering the system after install is equally simple.
Further distinguishing the FREETALK Connect is its intelligent routing capabilities. Incoming Skype calls, as well as SIP, PSTN and IAX2 calls, can be routed to any local or remote Skype user, SIP, analog or mobile phone. Additionally, the FREETALK Connect enables users to set up “Find Me, Follow Me” features, and provides a unified mail box that consolidates messages from voice mail and email into one mailbox.
Some of the key features from the Jazinga platform found in the FREETALK Connect include:
Callback / Dial-around
Access to Skype Buddy lists
Auto Attendant / IVR
Music on Hold
The FREETALK Connect also has an easily configured and updated:
Managing routes to users, telephone services, and applications
Providing SIP/Skype telephone service management
Router management (networking, port forwarding, DNS, DHCP)
“Jazinga’s products consistently ensure call integrity by integrating quality of service and prioritizing voice traffic on the network into an affordable, simple product,” said In Store Solutions COO Craig Smith. “There was no question that FREETALK wanted to partner with Jazinga to develop the FREETALK Connect, because it continues our goal of working with the best providers to distribute outstanding products around the world.”
“FREETALK Connect is designed for small businesses with between 2 and 49 users, an undersold market that desperately needs UC functionality,” said Randy Busch, CEO of Jazinga Inc. “As a result of our partnership with In Store Solutions, the telecom technology playing field is much more level between larger enterprises and their smaller competitors.”
The the FREETALK Connect is marketed through Skype Shop, which is operated by In Store Solutions. The unit initially will be available to registered U.S. Skype users beginning in March.
For more information about FREETALK Connect PBX or to order a unit, visit
FREETALK is a product innovation catalyst – identifying market gaps and working with its global partners to design, manufacture and quickly bring to market products that disrupt traditional categories. Leveraging untapped market opportunities, FREETALK products are designed to be environmentally friendly, sold online and delivered globally at aggressive price-points. Always at the forefront of innovation, FREETALK is known for creating synergistic products that add unique value to its partners’ branded points-of-sale.
Jazinga Inc. develops communications products for small businesses and homes. The Jazinga system provides enterprise telephony and data functionality for this market, but at a fraction of the cost and without the setup complexity of an enterprise-class IP PBX. Jazinga Inc. is privately held and headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Additional information is available at http://www.jazinga.com.
Sue Huss, for In Store Solutions
Jazinga came to market a while back with a Asterisk appliance that is not much different than other you would find in the Asterisk market today. Skype recently announced their Skype SIP Trunking capability which is helping Skype become more open standards compliant, paving the way for deals like this one.
Since I have not tested the system myself I can only speculate that it is not huge departure from other Asterisk systems, which are not trivial to set up. Let’s hope they did their homework and come to market (March) with something that is much less technical and more end-user friendly, like Response Point.. was.
One thing that I find interesting is that it will be sold via the Skype store to US registered Skype users. If you were wondering what the connection is between Freetalk and Skype; the creators of Freetalk are also the curators of the Skype store. Ya, you heard me right. The company that created Freetalk (In Store Solutions) operates the Skype store. Which makes one wonder if there is overlapping ownership between Skype and In Store Solutions.
Something else that I find interesting, and not just because I am one of the founders of Xten/Counterpath, is how this announcement relates the recent announcement of the Asterisk/Digium softphone from Counterpath. Which may be why In Store Solutions decided not to leverage the Digium or Asterisk brand in this release, maybe they see the new Asterisk Bria softphone as a competitor in this instance?
I expect this will not be the last Asterisk-based phone system to incorporate Skype functionality this year, but it would seem as though they are the first, congrats to fellow Canadians at Jazinga.
Yes, they will.
1. Rogers has cornered the GSM market in Canada and is the only carrier to offer the iPhone, but that is about to change. Telus and Bell have tag-teamed to erect an HSPA+ network and will be offering the iPhone as early as next month. Just in time for the holiday season and with plenty of time to ready themselves for the 2010 games in Vancouver.
It’s true that 3G is not yet ubiquitous which mean VoIP over 3G is not something that will drive massive adoption in the near term, but it will be enough of a detractor for a good percentage of the users to not choose Rogers if Telus and Bell allow VoIP over 3G on the iPhone.
2. Rumors have it that Globalive / Wind Mobile is hot on trail of Rogers and will be completing Phase 1 of their network build-out as early as this spring. They too might be carrying the iPhone. None of the big three want to get beat out by the new guy on the block.
3. Other devices on the Rogers network already have apps that deliver VoIP over 3G service. It’s not the network that is the limiting factor here, it’s the Apple app store and the contract they have with the carriers representing the iPhone.
4. Net Neutrality. I am sure that Rogers would like to avoid getting dragged into the same kind of kerfuffle the FCC has been crowing about in the US. The Internet does not stop at the desktop, so why should those it be left out of such conversations, it simply shouldn’t.
It’s should also be clear that Apple would prefer it if the carriers would allow VoIP over 3G. It would mean more devices sold and more interesting apps in the app store. I just can;t see Apple saying “no thanks” to VoIP related (product and service) revenue in the app store.
I think the question is more a matter of ‘when’ as opposed to ‘if’. Hopefully it’s soon!
Tom does some handy investigative work and finds out that Skype has been banned from use in Canada due to a legal issue around what seems to be a codec related patent.
I then asked if other countries were affected or if it was just Canada and was informed it was just Canada. When asked whose patent it was or what category it involved (i.e. mobile VoIP), the representative told me, “I can’t go into many more details other than it’s codec related.”
That really bites. I was hoping to do some testing via Skype for iPhone on the new Skype for SIP on Response Point.