Update 2: To the hundreds/thousands of repetitive spam tweets / twits, “Will WebRTC replace / kill Skype”, the answer is NO!! It will not. WebRTC is using broken Jingle in the browser, it does not support chat and can only make and receive calls., there is no buddy / contact list to speak of etc etc. NO it will not replace Skype. Stop with the spam tweets already, please!
Update: It seems to me that until all the browsers are on board, native clients will be required to make this go. Which is not outside the realm of possibility, considering Google has open sourced the GIPS audio and video engine along with WebRTC.
Something to remember, WebRTC is not RTCWEB! It may sound silly but it’s true. WebRTC is a Google-centric project using Google code etc. RTCWEB is essentially an IETF effort, a working group driving towards open real-time communications on the web. They are not the same, which can be rather confusing.
— Original Post —
Google has been busy it would seem, last night WebRTC appeared to the public for the first time. This has some pretty serious implications for Flash, which was the de-facto technology one had to use to get real-time communications in a browser, that has now been circumvented, at least to a certain degree.
The sessions are not run by a signaling protocol per se, not Jingle, no XMPP, not SIP not anything we have seen before. All the session management looks to be coming from libjingle. Which, to me means Jingle is in the browser.
A few early comments:
1. Where does Google stand on websockets? Google have said they will block it if an exploit emerges.
2. Chrome, Opera & Firefox are the supported browsers. Where does Safari and IE land? My guess is that Microsoft will not be in any hurry to implement this considering their recent Skype acquisition.
3. Web-cam captures from HTM5 has not been ratified, although this is likely not as serious as the former points.
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.
Ok, so VoIP over 3G isn’t quite there, but 4G is not far off.
It would seem that Apple believes 4G is ready for voice and video calling in Korea at least. According to a Korean blog, Korea Telecom will be deploying the iPhone 4G in June of this year. The new device will sport forward and rearward facing (5-megapixel) cameras, an OLED screen and a video calling service.
It occurs to me that with all that is going on in the mobile space, at least one of the providers would have come to market with a data only + VoIP offer. Well, there is still a chance that might happen, in Canada. If we look at the recent spectrum auction it is plain to see the potential players who could bring the Google Nexus One (N1) to market in Canada. It seems that there are only 2 possibilities; DAVE wireless or Wynd Mobile.
Since Wynd has launched there has been no mention of the N1, so maybe it’s DAVE wireless that is bringing the N1 to market in Canada? Will we see a data only offer? One can only hope.
I am an iPhone 3GS user now, but I would jump ship in a heartbeat if I could get decent coverage at a decent price with 3.5/4G + VoIP service of my choice. This seems like such a no-brainer and could seriously disrupt the industry. Let’s get on with it already!
update: FCC sees VoIP as the future.
I don’t want to go on the cart!
Some of you may remember rumblings in the blogosphere, “VoIP died or VoIP is dead” around this time last year. Whatever the context, I think it should be clear by now the VoIP is not dead, nor dying. As a matter of fact, VoIP has never been less dead.
Some may argue that I am taking some of those statements out of context. Semantics. Some said “buddy list” centric calling is the future, hence VoIP is dead, again – semantics.
Call it what you like, VoIP is here to stay, Mobile VoIP is only just getting started.
Give it 5-10 years (not long considering the PSTN has been around for more than 100 years) and everything will be * over IP, including Voice and Video.
Let me first say that Jeff Pulver’s and his FWD network/service (Free World Dialup) was instrumental in contributing to the early growth of Xten (now called Counterpath). FWD provided the platform where the X-Lite SIP softphone flourished. It was a great litmus test for us and created incredible awareness for our product. I don’t think I ever thanked him properly for that.
VON might be history, but Jeff is far from done.
In his last blog post, Jeff talks about exclusive federal jurisdiction for VoIP and how important this is to the communications industry as a whole.
It’s a good read, here is an excerpt…
Yesterday six major high-tech associations collectively representing the growth engines of the economy (generating billions of economic activity every year, employing millions of workers, and representing thousands of companies) filed a friend of the court brief in support of the FCC’s decision to provide a single national policy framework for VoIP.
This is a big deal, and a part of a broader effort to remove barriers that could determine how and when consumers benefit from the lower prices, new services, and advanced communication features that VoIP can deliver.
Check out the entire post: http://pulverblog.pulver.com/archives/008352.html
Andy makes some valid points as he ponders the world of SIP without Microsoft. It would seem to me that with many of the service providers bailing out of the softphone services business that maybe the market is either already saturated or that the offers in the market are still not seamless enough for the average user to get excited about it.
From my own experience I know that getting people to strap on headsets or talk into a laptop is not only confusing for the user but even when you get them there the quality usually isn’t that great or predictable, regardless of the softphone you are using. Sometimes this has more to do with the connection and bandwidth and less to do with the softphone. At any rate, I think softphones have a future but they need to be invisible to the user and QOS (Quality of Service) must be addressed.
I think the boys at Microsoft might agree as they get ready to roll SIP Trunking for their new Response Point SIP-enabled SMB PBX. Response Point is probably the best SMB PBX I have had the opportunity to install, configure and play with recently. Btw, the customer I installed this for is loving it.
So, is Microsoft throwing in the towel on the VoIP front? No, I don’t think so. They are likely focusing on what they know best, bundling software with hardware to fill a niche. Response Point is a great example of that.
It’s been a while since I spent any amount of time thinking about the endpoint world but some recent developments around mobile SIP clients and softphones have my attention once again. The question is, “Are we ready for a 3G softphone?”
With 3G comes plenty of bandwidth and powerful mobile devices. The likelihood that carriers will want to cannibalize their own revenue in order to deliver VoIP on the cheap and/or free is… low, to say the least. With that being said there are rumblings that this is in fact what they are planning.
We all know that Rogers is bringing the iPhone to Canada on a 3G network. The fact that there is now an SDK for iPhone will make it rather easy to create a SIP client for the iPhone. On its own, the iPhone does not have enough of a subscriber base to drive mass adoption of a mobile SIP softphone, but it will certainly help.
I know the boys at Counterpath (Congratulations Donovan!) have been busy with FMC and it would seem as though they would be the carrier’s choice for any mobile 3G SIP softphone solution. Although, It’s not clear if a mobile SIP SDK is just a component within their enterprise offering?
So, what other 3G mobile SIP softphone solutions are there out there and which would qualify as a valid choice for a carrier?
If we search for “mobile sip” we see Nokia leading the charge. Not surprising, Nokia has been the predominant player in embedded SIP clients for years now. They have a bit of a leg up there, owning the device doesn’t hurt, or does it? From a carrier’s perspective one would think that getting further into bed with the device vendor could be troublesome but I guess it could work the other way as well.
Something else that’s interesting is that Google’s Android does not have a SIP stack. Not surprising when you think of it. After all Google Talk is still very limited in it’s telephony abilities. One would expect that with the introduction of Android, this would change.
Truphone would likely be a good choice but they are not a softphone vendor, they are a service provider, plus they currently only support Nokia devices. Although I know they have a version working on iPhone already and it would not surprise me if they were working on something for RIM devices.
So who’s left?