Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ground-breaking SKYPE technology links UK and Venezuela

I thought I would blog this, it is a rather interesting article on a rather inventive journalist introducing Skype to get two parties talking who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to do so. This is the type of realtime voice enabled collaboration tools that my friends and colleagues at Jyve are working on. Adding to this idea, imagine being able to bring in a translator at the click of a button, to help with the meeting. Now anyone, anywhere in any language can conduct international business without traditional cultural barriers. Follow the link to the rest of Andy's article, I am not too familiar with the issue at hand - but the concept is excellent, use a zero cost tool to achieve open communication between parties. Good job Andy, let us know how it goes.

Edit** - Andy has been in touch with me and is sending a DVD documentary entitled "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" - I look forward to watching it. Thanks Andy.

Venezuela Solidarity UK coordinator Andy Goodall writes:

Using SKYPE technology to span the great distance between the UK and Venezuela, the first international public meeting between the two countries will be held on March 30 at the Light House Media Center in Wolverhampton (West Midlands, UK).

The event is being jointly organized by Venezuela Solidarity UK and VHeadline (Venezuela’s Electronic News).

VHeadline editor/publisher Roy Carson came up with the idea for this international conference via SKYPE, which will enable Venezuelan activists to address and speak directly with people in Britain for the first time 'live' at a public meeting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

PC'less Skype Router/Handsets Coming...

John Blau, a reporter for the IDG news service, caught up with Niklas Zennstrom at CEBIT and probably without realizing got this little tidbit of info.

IDGNS: But your computer must be running all the time. Some people don't want to have their machines running all day. Are you looking at a product for these users?

Zennström: Many people like to keep their computers on most of the time, so connectivity isn't an issue with them. But, yes, some people don't like to have their machines running all day. So we are working together with a partner on a router-based product to reach out to a larger group. We will integrate our software either into the cordless handset or the base station, which users can then connect directly to their router. We can't say today when we will launch this new product.

So for all the people waiting and wanting a PC'less Skype solution is appears it is in the works. This is bad news for any PoIP service that uses an ATA as a connectivity device to mimic the PSTN. The poor sound resources of POTS limit the rich wideband voice experience you can have with VoIP. Cheap USB phones and wireless options, will create always on network devices needing no PC whatsoever. If your router just happens to have VoIP in it and can connect to anyone elses that also happens to have it, it becomes increasingly more difficult to sell Voice as a service.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Skype for Treo, but scrap Palm OS.

Skype for Palm OS is often talked about, mostly for supporting the truly amazing Treo Handheld, it really would be the killer mobile app., the Treo has a huge community of users that just love the thing. I started thinking that it might actually be easier to port the Treo to Windows Mobile rather than trying to port Skype to the (rather uncertain future) of the Palm OS.

Gizmodo has some interesting screenshots up of what could be the Treo 670, and yup - you guessed it, Treo "Windows Mobile Version". Skype would be a killer app. for this device, and create a huge developer community movement to port the thousands of Treo specific apps. that have been created for Palm OS to Windows Mobile.

Thanks to Gizmodo (the best gadget blog on the net) for the Pics.

Prototype Treo 650 pictures, or a new Windows Mobile-powered ‘Treo 670?’ The guy who took these pictures said it ran Windows Mobile. PalmOne should be able to tell us for sure: if they say it’s a mock-up, it doesn’t run Windows Mobile. If they don’t say anything at all, it has to be true.

HTC, has been very vocal about getting Skype on there phones and this might be the solution that is quickest.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

SkypeIn, Skype Voicemail Part 2... How to make a good thing better

Ok, so the day has finally arrived, after much posturing and speculation by everyone (including me, a long time beta tester) in the internet community Skype 1.2 is released in beta.

Key Features :
  1. Skype In - assign a phone number to your PC.
  2. Skype Voicemail - if your not online or if you're speaking it takes a message.
  3. Video isn't here yet, but stayed tuned, they have said it is coming...
  4. And some really great API enhancements that I have been waiting for.

The pricing is available on the main Skype account page - it is dirt cheap. Adding these features puts Skype on pretty much a level playing field for the basic features that Vonage and the other PoIP providers offer, and a one fell swoop, can turn a little internet company into a major revenue generating business overnight. The cost of the voicemail infrastructure will be insignificant compared to the potential revenue that it will generate for Skype. If 10 million users pay 30 Euro's !! a year, no other word to describe it other than WOW.

Is this realistic? Yeah, 100 %. Currently all the PoIP services charge a minimum of $14.99 US a month, plus LD above 500 minutes of PSTN a month, plus the sign up and cost of your ATA, and extra $ if you want to use a softphone. For $40.00 USD a year with Skype, you get a phone number, and voicemail service. This doesn't include your Skype Out minutes (calls to regular phones), they are about 2.5 cents pretty much anywhere in the world, and naturally Skype to Skype is free. Lets say you use the $14.99 Vonage plan. It would cost you $180.00 a year, pretty cheap actually. Skype would be $40.00 a year, plus however much PSTN calling you want to use. $140.00 of SkypeOut PSTN calling would be about 5600 anytime minutes you want to use. Use 1000 one month and 0 the next, it wouldn't matter.

Time for a Skype IPO?? Damn straight, I am in for sure, the difference between Skype and the dot com companies of the great bubble era and todays PoIP providers , is pretty obvious. They haven't spent 200 million on advertising this year - they haven't spent any, cost of a new customer isn't $150-$200.oo it is pennies, and; they have more users than all the other VoIP sevices combined and they are going to make money, a lot of money, all the time saving me a fortune in telecom costs. Go Skype.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Skype Ubiquity - Will Set Standards

Skype, announced today a really cool partnership with Broadreach in the UK. Broadreach is a Wifi access provider with what appears to be a lot of AP's and sites that include Virgin Megastores, Eurostar, Travelodge, Moto, Little Chef, Virgin Trains, EAT , Choice Hotels and Quality Inn and major railway stations including all the London terminals.

Skype will be free for anyone using it in a Broadreach hotspot. This is a very powerful statement by a broadband provider that really gets it. By focusing on their key product - delivering pipe - and not the services that run over it, they will cement themselves (and Skype) as a ubiquitous communication service in the UK. I would imagine a series of poster and advertisements popping up in all rail stations, trams, roadside hotspots in the UK praising the free communication, watch Skype penetration and usage in the UK explode, this will be the first mainstream media campaign for Skype and cleverly costing them zilch! Mobile workers will gladly pay the extra 3 pounds or so an hour to access the internet at a Broadreach hotspot, and travelers will subscribe to Skype-In, voicemail and SkypeOut - can you say win-win...