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Outlook Calendar Gets A Voice

Lypp for Outlook is nearly complete. Here are the highlights:

  • Lypp account optionally created on download/install
  • Integrates with Outlook address book and Exchange global contact store
  • Sync with Outlook contacts and Lypp contacts
  • Create Conference Call and Calendar event at same time.
  • Schedule outbound calls or dial-in Toll Free calls or combination of the two.
  • Edit/modify existing call/meeting.
  • Create recurring Calls/Meeting
  • Right click on contact to create call

Even though I am not so much a Windows guy anymore I have been using the Lypp for Outlook Add-in through Parallels and I have to say, it makes my life soooo much easier. Now I can schedule my calendar events and my calls (even 1 to 1) at the same time, no more swivel chair.

Hmm, now if only someone would mashup the Lypp API with Google Calendar…

37signals + Lypp Mashup Canceled

Due to the fact that there are not nearly enough active applicants to constitute a fair contest we are canceling the 37signals + Lypp mashup contest.

more…

by erik | sipthat.com

37 Signals, WebEx, Microsoft Outlook, International Conference Calls

Wow, it's been a crazy month. My 2.7 yr old son – Ky, has been in and out of the Children's Hospital with some virus that hit him in a bad way. Poor guy, it was hard for him but he handled it like a real trooper. While this was happening, business at Lypp was pushing forward at a serious pace, it was a difficult month. It looks like he is on the mend now so everyone is feeling a little less stressed.

At Lypp we did a little deal with WebEx in order to deliver a co-branded version of their service to round out our Conferencing offer. We soft-launched that yesterday. Anyone that signed up for Lypp Conferencing now gets access to Lypp Web Conferencing, which is essentially WebEx. Interestingly enough, we are able to charge much less than WebEx themselves, at 22 cents per minute it's a real bargain.

Right around the corner we have the Highrise + Lypp Mashup contest. Which we have a had a great response on. The doors open for that on April 15. We ended up pushing it back a couple of weeks in order to get the latest and greatest into the API before handing it over to developers.

In connection with the API, a MS Outlook developer has built a fully integrated Lypp Outlook plugin. For those who use Teleconferencing and live in Outlook it could be a real godsend. More on that later.

And finally, we are about to launch the beta of International Dial-out for the Lypp Conferencing service. Lypp Conferencing users will be able to conference-in attendees from all over the globe. This means that international attendees will not have to pay toll to dial-in, the host could have the system call them when adding them to an existing call or when creating a new conference call.

iPhone SDK, VoIP APIs et al

Andy contemplates a potential surge of VoIP apps likely to be written for the iPhone due to the latest announcements from Apple and KP.

I happen to agree with Andy on just about everything in that post, but I do have some comments that potentially relate more to the Canadian market.

It's true that mobile costs are going down for users in the US but the opposite is true for mobile users in Canada. Here, the mobile carriers are not facing the same level of competition as the carriers in the US. Local overages and long distance usage is still at a premium and not one carrier offers an unlimited North American-wide calling plan, at least that I am aware of or has been published. Also, the iPhone is not being offered in Canada at all, so one would have to hack it to get it to work, which means a loss in some functionality along with the other side-effects.

This actually presents a larger opportunity then some may realize for middleware VoIP service providers / developers and not just for iPhone but for any Smartphone. In the next post, I will explain myself a little better and go into some detail about what some companies like Lypp are doing about it.

37signals and Gaboogie Mashup Contest

+

Developers, build a mashup application or mashup your existing application using both the Highrise API and the Lypp API and win stuff.

Best app:

  • $3000 Apple gift certificate
  • 20,000 minutes of call time from Lypp (approx value: $1800)
  • 12 months subscription for a Highrise MAX account (approx value: $1800)

Runner-up:

  • $1500 Apple gift certificate
  • 10,000 minutes of call time from Lypp (approx value: $900)
  • 6 months subscription for a Highrise MAX account (approx value: $900)

2nd Runner-up:

  • $500 Apple gift certificate
  • 5,000 minutes of call time from Lypp (approx value: $450)
  • 3 month subscription for a Highrise MAX account (approx value: $450)

Application for entries: April 1 to May 1
Winners announced: May 15

more here..
http://blog.lypp.com/2008/02/26/37signals-and-gaboogie-mashup-contest/

Ribbit vs. Lypp

VS  

I have had a few people ask me to describe the differences between Ribbit and the Lypp API

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UPDATE: Ike Elliot has some good points about the un-evolution of VoIP 

The one thing I might say to Ike is, "you're right, in more ways than one". VoIP has not really come all that far and sometime it complicates life more than it needs to. I think I can help you in one way though Ike, check back in a week and you will see what I mean.

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UPDATE: Garrett Smith adds some food for thought

Garrett mentions "Lypp appears to be a solution for mobile professionals that aggregates AIM / AOL, Google Talk / Jabber, iChat MSN and Yahoo! Messenger contacts and allows for group or conference calling via your cellular handset. It also does not leverage the IP network, in favor of the wireless network and or PSTN." I can see why Garrett would think that, the current site says nothing about our Next Generation Conference Calling service, VoIP API or Rails plugin. Keep your ear to the Rails Garrett, that is soon to change 🙂

As a developer Garrett had some comments on the APIs. Garrett mentions that he could not really use either API which I found a little disconcerting. Our goal is to make sure that anyone who understands XML or Rails can use this API. The Lypp API is published here: lypp.com/api and can be accessed by simply sending an email to api@lypp.com requesting a key.

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UPDATE: Luca Filigheddu with some thoughts of differentiation

Luca makes a good point here about the importance of differentiation.

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UPDATE: Moshe Maeir makes a great anaolgy. 

Yes, you are correct Moshe. We are bootstrapping this venture and our poultry investment over the pat year is lunch money when compared to what Ribbit has raised but I think I would still prefer to be driving a Chevy 🙂

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UPDATE: Thomas Howe reflects on the differences and makes some good points.

Thomas is a smart guy and I have a great of respect for what he is doing in the voip mashup space and what he has done in the past. His comments on my initial post are well taken. On the last comment, I am not opposed to softphones, not at all. It's just that I have seen softphones deployed in almost every scenario imaginable and the take rate in the business community has been low. Mostly due to technical network issues like double firewalls and zero-tolerance VPNs. All that aside, I am very positive about the future of  softphones and firmly believe you will see one in the Lypp lign-up, when the time is right.

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UPDATE: Andy chimes in by ringing the bell. <ugh>

I think Andy might have slightly missinterpreted my intentions when writing this post but hey, a little spice never hurt anyone 😉

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First let me begin by saying I know Ted Griggs and I respect him greatly, he has a great track record for building innovative companies that push the boundaries of technology and communications.

I was the initial designer, sales guy, visionary, president, co-founder and COO at Xten (Counterpath) which since inception has dominated the SIP softphone SDK space. In other words, I think I may know a thing or two about building softphones.

Fyi, Ted and I will be presenting on behalf of our respective companies at Wireless Innovations in April.  

With that out of the way, here is why, when I started down this path, I did not choose to reinvent the softphone at the edge of the network.

The edge of the network is a nasty place. Bandwidth issues, carrier packet shaping, lack of end user control and costly redundancy solutions make it nearly impossible to deliver a predictable and reliable telephony service.

Much like turning on the lights when you get to your office, that phone on your desk had better work as expected.

In saying that many professionals use Skype and other softphones, like X-PRO, X-Lite, eyeBeam etc to make calls over the net everyday. But you can bet when it comes time to make the calls that really matter they are not using a softphone on the open Internet, at least not after it suffers major packet loss more than once during a call of significance.

This is also why traditional telephony will be around for decades to come. The PSTN still rules the roost. Setting aside for a moment the unwillingness of the carriers to allow other providers to simply stand up a service that will cannibalize their revenues, reliability and Quality of Service (QoS) is still a major issue.

At Gaboogie we steered away from the softphone or using any VoIP at the edge of the network in our initial plans. We made that decision early on because we believe VoIP at the edge is still not ready for prime time. If you don’t believe you obviously have not tried a best efforts VoIP service in Canada. I have not found a single best efforts offering that does not drops calls, drop packets and well… just generally suck.

So what is Lypp then?

The Lypp API was built to support advanced conferencing and was meant for critical calls for companies that require a dependable service. That does not mean a developer could not use it for more typcial telephony integration, which in fact some are already doing. Using the API directly via XML or by way of the Ruby on Rails plugin developers can add traditinoal telephony and/or conferencing capabilities to their apps in as little as a couple of hours.

We have constructed a very robust network that is redundant and dynamically scalable to handle billions of minutes of call volume per month. Our call back methodology (been around forever) keeps the VoIP in the core of the network. If your landline or cell phone is on, so is our service. Our customers do not suffer from call quality or reliability issues in the same way best effort VoIP service users might.

Developers leveraging the Lypp API can expect a higher degree of call reliability and call quality, more of the time, than any other best efforts VoIP service in North America, period.

Best efforts VoIP, whether you are using a Polycom VoIP handset and an Asterisk PBX or you are using a Ribbit inspired softphone, will likely not match up with the reliability you have come to expect from the legacy telephone networks. However the feature set of POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) pales in comparison to what VoIP can offer.

Some day we will have the kind of IP infrastructure that will make the edge of the network near bullet proof, but in my humble opinion, we are still a ways off. When we do get there Gaboogie will be ready to leverage its SIP network to the absolute maximum.

Cheap Mobile Calls in Canada

I had a great conversation today from a new Lypp user who was blown away by the Lypp mobile calling service that is current being offered at Lypp.com. The one thing that this gentleman kept reiterating was that mobile calling in Canada is so costly and how Lypp service all of North America for one low price.

It was so great to have some positive feedback on the service and I hope they will be even happier when they see the new features we are unleashing in February.

Next month we will be launching a new Next Generation Conference Calling service but at the same time we will be enhancing the current mobile offering at Lypp.com. Lypp mobile calling users in Canada will soon be introduced to a host of new features that we believe will enhance their mobile calling experience, at no extra cost.

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