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Canada Gets Skype for iPhone, Not.

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.

Excerpt:
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.

Avaya Aura Brings IMS Into the Enterprise

Picture above: IMS architecture; Source: Wikipedia, March 30, 2009

Avaya’s new Aura solution marks a major step in the evolution of business communications. The Avaya Aura architecture with the Aura Session Manager changes the way business users communicate and collaborate by de-coupling the network from the applications. The centralized management of applications across multi-vendor platforms and the ability to propagate features and capabilities based on user profiles and business functions provides businesses with a greater flexibility and cost efficiencies.  

The Avaya Aura architecture includes the Avaya Communication Manager, Presence Services, and Application Enablement Services with Integrated Manager. The key element of the new architecture is the Aura Session Manager based on the Ubiquity SIP application server acquired by Avaya in 2007. Packaging all elements together makes it more convenient for businesses to implement the solution and leverage all of its benefits. 

The concept of separating the network from the applications is not new as it has been pursued by service providers and carrier infrastructure vendors (such as Ubiquity) for some time now as part of the IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) trend; however, it has mostly been associated with the service provider space. This is not the first time when a service provider solution has been brought into the enterprise world, either – Siemens’ OpenScape Voice (former HiPath 8000), originally a service provider softswitch later converted into an enterprise IP telephony platform – is a great example. This announcement is significant, however, because it shows Avaya is on the right track, further breaking away from its proprietary-system, legacy-vendor past.  

Overall, the Avaya Aura product release is very good news to the industry as it clearly demonstrates that vendors are still innovating in spite of the recession and the consolidation in the enterprise communications market. It is great news that Avaya is looking to modernize its portfolio and dramatically change its approach to business communications, and that it can do so (i.e. has the financial capabilities and a clear vision) under its new ownership and management. We would be remiss, though, if we did not mention the challenges. The economy aside, Avaya’s competitors are not sitting idly. Flexible and economical Cloud Computing and Communications as a Service (CaaS) offerings, on one hand, and all-in-one platforms such as OCS, reducing endpoint and server costs, on the other, are probably the two biggest threats Avaya should worry about. Hopefully, Avaya’s loyal customer base and expanding channel will help this new solution gain rapid traction in spite of the challenges.

 

WebRTC

Siemens Demos A Potential Cloud-Based UC Offering

Are you at VoiceCon? If you are, make sure you visit Siemens’ booth for a demo of a potential CaaS offering residing in Amazon’s EC2 environment. Unfortunately, I cannot make it to Orlando this year, but I can’t wait to hear/see more details. (And no, the picture above is not part of the demo :))

Not only does this eventual partnership bring Siemens to the forefront of UC innovation once again, but it can also give a boost to hosted UC and Communications as a Service (CaaS), as well as to UC, in general. Such a partnership marks a trend that will grow over the next few years and will be eagerly pursued by all leading communication and business application vendors. Time to market is a critical factor, though, and the trend-setters can both gain a competitive advantage and/or suffer the consequences of market immaturity. For the sake of Siemens, their customers and even their competitors, I hope they do it right from the start!

A potential OpenScape deployment in the Amazon cloud is significant, because it opens up a whole new growth opportunity for UC. As a hosted (CaaS, cloud) offering, it provides flexibility and a less risky entry point for customers that are willing to trial UC but have limited capital budgets. By leveraging a partner that already has an enormous brand recognition and marketing abilities, Siemens has just created a channel for its UC solution, that expands its addressable market well beyond the reach of its direct sales force.

It is too early to predict exactly how successful this partnership is going to be, but we can speculate. Although demand for CaaS and UC in general is growing, even a joint endeavor of this magnitude cannot overcome the numerous barriers to adoption including the general economic climate, availability of legacy infrastructure and customer hesitation about which vendors and platforms to choose. Further, while this partnership creates marketing and sales opportunities, how will services be handled? Which party will businesses turn to for CPE (phones, gateways, etc.) installation, maintenance and evolution/migration? If the entire premise-based infrastructure is up-to-date and all that’s needed is a hosted presence component, it may be a favorable scenario for this kind of solution. But if the CPE needs to be upgraded, will customers handle the migration and the new integration with the hosted service or will they call someone and who would that be?

There are a lot of further implications from that announcement. For example, this CaaS solution threatens hosted UC providers that are dependent upon their hosted telephony business to grow. Given the larger CPE base, a hosted UC platform that integrates with premise-based solutions has a greater potential than end-to-end hosted services. With Siemens’ superior OpenScape voice capabilities, a fully hosted package, if properly delivered (from sales to installation to management) can dramatically impact the hosted telephony and hosted UC markets, which are currently very fragmented and populated by multiple small providers with limited technology capabilities and sales resources.

Overall, a potential OpenScape UC in the cloud is good news for the industry and worth monitoring closely going forward. The concept is great, but let’s see how Siemens handles the execution.

 

Do you think soon we will be shopping for communication services like we do for books and CDs? Will we trust what we see on the Internet? Won’t businesses still look for a more direct touch, e.g. a call/visit by a knowledgeable consultant? Is the Amazon brand as popular with businesses for business solution shopping as it is with consumers? I have many questions. Let me know if you have the answers.

gdpr

Skype for SIP, it’s about time!

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Back in 2004 I wrote a post relating to the VON Canada Panel I sat on with Niklas Zennstrom. It was an interesting debate on open standards (SIP in this case) and closed networks, specifically Skype. I was quite vocal about how silly I thought Skype was not to include SIP, a few of you picked up on that 😉

It looks like something good came of the eBay purchase as we now see a Skype pushing towards open standards, good stuff!

On a similar note, I heard a rumour that it’s likely Jason Fischl the current CTO at Counterpath (Xten) will be going over to work with Jonathan Christensen (General Manager – Media Platform) at Skype. Jason was an early advocate of SIP in the IETF and works with some of the best minds on the subject: Cullen Jennings, Robert Sparks, Alan Duric come to mind.

This could get interesting.

I will do some testing with SkypeforSIP & Response Point and post the results along with my comments on what this new offer from Skype might mean for Response Point.

Stimulus Bill Impact on the IT/Telecom Sector

Dear vendors, service providers and channel partners,

We are looking to evaluate the potential impact of President Obama’s Stimulus Bill on the U.S. information and communication technologies markets. While this program is likely to foster demand for various IT and communications solutions, we are finding that the impact is going to vary based on each market participant’s vertical market strategy, portfolio specifics as well as geographic coverage. Further, we believe the Stimulus Bill requires considerable internal restructuring and reorganization on the part of some vendors and service providers.

Please help us validate our initial findings and assumptions by responding to a very brief, 10-question online survey. All responses will be kept confidential and the results will be aggregated. The highlights of our final findings will be posted on our website – www.frost.com.

Here is the link.

Thank you very much in advance!

Regards.

Elka

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