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VoIP over 3G now officially allowed on iPhone & iPad, confirmed.

UPDATE: It’s looking good folks!

Now I can get it on the App Store!

No more Jail breaking iPhones for VoiP over 3G

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.

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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.

Apple unveils new 3G tablet iPad, no phone, but VoIP?

Looks like the new iPad will come with unlocked GSM + WiFi but no actual phone.

Apple iPad Tablet

Apparently all iPhone apps from the app store will work and the device also supports Bluetooth. This begs the question, will the VoIP apps from the app store function on this device? Sounds like they should.

The device will sell for $499 for WiFi and $629 for WiFi + GSM.

Asterisk + Skype + SMB = Freetalk Connect

Freetalk Connect

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
Paging
Call Parking
Remote Extensions
Music on Hold
Conferencing

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

http://freetalkconnect.com.

About FREETALK

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.

About Jazinga

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 www.jazinga.com.

Contact:
Sue Huss, for In Store Solutions
sue.huss@comunicano.com
+1 619-379-4396

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.

WebRTC

Sigmund Freud and Social Media

A couple of years ago, a friend, obsessed with conspiracy theories, sent me a video (here is episode 6 of a 1-hour documentary) about Sigmund Freud, his daughter Anna and his nephew Edward Bernays and the impact of their theories on modern marketing and public relations. My friend’s takeway from the video was that we are being constantly psychologically manipulated and deceived by those in power – politicians, corporations, media, aliens, etc. I do not subscribe to global or otherwise large-scale conspiracy theories (color me naïve), but I enjoyed the video because I take interest in Freud and Jung, and the way their theories have been applied in social studies and comparative mythologies and how they have impacted the works of great minds such as James Frazer and Joseph Campbell.

The premise of the documentary is that modern marketing and public relations pioneered by Edward Bernays reduced individuals to passive, brainless consumers with little ability to pass judgments or make decisions on their own. As social networking rapidly penetrates society and I keep pondering over how it will eventually impact individuals, businesses and the various aspects of social life, I remembered this video and watched it again.

I personally believe that social interactions are inherently “manipulative” in nature – aimed at influencing other people’s perception of ourselves, of others, of concepts and various natural and social phenomena. It is our personal responsibility, not that of others, to decide to what extent we will allow ourselves to be influenced. With the exception of blatant, inaccurate propaganda (e.g. smoking is good for your health) or brutal enforcement of ideas (e.g. the crusades, the inquisition, etc.), the rest, in my opinion, is perfectly normal, natural human behavior. In fact, people have engaged in “marketing” activities, “public relations” and various forms of propaganda since the early days of humanity, only the means have changed over the years. Myths, rituals and religions were created for the purposes of disseminating collective wisdom and promoting values, as well as for entertaining people. In today’s society, those have been replaced by books and magazines (printed media), television, and most recently – the Internet.

Have common individuals become less or more powerful participants in the process of exchanging ideas and impacting others in the way they think and behave? I believe that, in democratic societies at least, individuals are becoming increasingly better informed and empowered through improving literacy levels and growing availability of affordable means of communications. It is the Internet, however, that has truly democratized access to information and entertainment. Now social networking is making us even more powerful participants in creating social value by sharing ideas with a large number of people dispersed over vast geographic areas. In the distant past, people gathered around the shaman to hear prophecies, find cures for various illnesses or just for a relaxing time with songs and dances. Now we have Facebook, Twitter, Youtube …

This new social experience comes with certain implications that we might wish to consider prior to engaging in further activities.

Opportunities to influence our environment: It is obvious that the Internet and social media are creating opportunities for the common man to more freely (and arbitrarily, more effectively) voice his ideas and concerns. Even if one person alone cannot have a significant impact on a stock price, a movie rating or a company reputation, the collective voice of the masses can make a big difference. This has tremendous implications for how social media is and can be used for marketing and customer service. “Word of mouth” will acquire a completely new meaning in the era of social networking!

Creation of new myths, believes and rituals: We should realize the fact that we, as social media participants, will become the creators of new urban legends (myths) and social practices (rituals). We may not even realize that occasionally we will fall prey to self-fulfilling prophecies as we systematically and collectively enforce a belief. To bring this closer to home, let’s take the concept of Unified Communications (UC) as an example. While UC certainly has the promise of delivering cost efficiency and productivity benefits to business users, vendors, analysts and media are effectively contributing to its becoming a more immediate and tangible reality by keeping its definition fluid and continuously ascertaining it as a “de facto” trend, rather than just a vision or a theoretical construct.

Emergence of new fears and conspiracy theories: It will not be long until social networking creates a fertile ground for new fears and conspiracy theories to emerge. Some people are already worried about too much exposure, identity theft, etc. These fears will grow into more serious concerns over the possibility of increasing negative influences on children and young adults that will be ever harder to monitor and control. Today, parents typically make sure they know their children’s friends and their friends’ families, but how will they know who’s behind a social networking pseudonym? The fear of companies, sects, the government, aliens, etc. now being able to reach anyone in all kinds of new powerful ways is likely to cause people to alter their behavior, look for counter-measures and seek for certain policies to become implemented in order to ensure at least minimal identity and security protection. Therefore, businesses using social media for marketing purposes will need to be very careful in what information they disseminate and in what form to avoid possible backlash.

The need for greater responsibility: The sheer power of the Internet and social networking requires a new sense of responsibility from all contributors. While I stated earlier that it is everyone’s responsibility to control the extent to which they are impacted by new media, we should not forget that we are parents, employees and consumers. As such, we have a responsibility to protect our children, companies and other consumers like us from the spread of erroneous information and unhealthy believes.

In debates over the role of art, I have always claimed that it does not need to be educational or elevating – after all, it is just an expression of the artist’s vision. I suppose that same theory applies to social media, but even if we don’t want to control the content (that would be somewhat undemocratic), we still need some basic rules of engagement to be in place or else – this may be the beginning of chaos. As Jean-Jacque Rousseau discovered many years ago, man is inherently greedy, jealous, violent, etc. – i.e. evil in all kinds of ways, but he finds it necessary to sign a “social contract” (i.e. behave in certain socially appropriate ways) in order to be able to peacefully co-habit the Earth with his brethren and benefit from some of the advantages of social (vs primitive, isolated) life. I will end this post with one of his quotes to give us all some further food for thought.

“The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said “This is mine,” and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”

Science

iPhone 4G, Data only + VoIP, Google Nexus One coming to Canada?

Image from PC World

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!

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