Monday, December 28, 2009

Interesting Skype Mobile Facts

Russ Shaw, General Manager of Skype Mobile, has a great blog post recapping some of the stats Skype and its carrier partners have collected on Skype mobile usage.

The two I found most interesting are:

Skype for iPhone push notifications are coming!! Skype is working on it and as soon as the process is perfect it will be released.

Skype on 3 in the UK with the INQ phone, has been a amazing success as well. Most importantly the stats 3 has observed is that revenue from a Skype customer is 60% higher than other customers and provides 3x the SMS revenue as well. I've said it before, 3 gets it.

Hopefully Apple will remove the restrictions on 3G calling VoIP apps., in 2010. Mobile VoIP is hot, and must be a fun sector to be working in.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Skype on the Nokia N900 - WOW!!!

My Xmas list just got a little bit longer, the Nokia N900 has Skype completely integrated into the OS.. I am drooling..

More information on the integration here..

Friday, October 23, 2009

VodBurner - A skype video podcast tool

A hearty congratulations to guys at Netralia, for their latest product VodBurner. VodBurner is launching on Oct. 29th and promises to be a fantastic tool for creating, editing and uploading Skype video calls - into first rate podcasts.

I look forward to trying Vodburner, you can sign up to be one of the first to get it at

Monday, October 05, 2009

Skype Video Opens up - The developer program evolves...

LifeSize, the fantastic HD video conferencing solution provider has just released an absolutely fantastic business product for Skype. The LifeSize Passport.

The Passport is the only product to ever allow for Video interop to the Skype network. This is the first in a what I think will be a series of products allowing for features that have never been possible working with Skype as a platform, the recently scaled back client API developer program that Skype had fostered is being reworked into something that can create real solutions for business and end users. First Digium with Skype for Asterisk, and now LifeSize with the Passport have worked with Skype to do a true network interop, that is scalable, easy to use and maintain.

Kudo's to LifeSize, I am anxious to see the Passport in action.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Skype Headset Giveaway!!!

Frugal Upstate is giving away 3 Skype Everyman Headset Packages with Unlimited Calling to NA but you have to hurry. Comment or tweet to enter on the Frugal Blog!

Only 3 days left to enter.

Skype's Brand

Quite simply put, I love this. courtesy - Fuel your Branding

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Skype For Business Winners Announced

Skype For Business Winners Announced: "I've been meaning to post this since Monday, but the Smart Grid Summit is just keeping me too busy. Anyhow, I've been a Skype follower from the beginning, and try to keep up as best I can. I don't have the dedicated focus of Skype Journal or Jim Courtney's blog, and those are the places to go for the in-depth low down on what Skype is up to.

That said, I get asked by the media a lot about Skype for business in particular. It's always been a bit of a conundrum, as you don't always think of Skype as a business application, even though it's so widely used in the office. Problem is, most people associate Skype with PC-based telephony, but of course, it's so much more.

Aside from the Summit activity, we're off on vacation tomorrow, so I don't have the luxury to time to give you any real analysis of the purpose of this post. Basically, on Monday Skype announced the winners of their global Skype For Business Competition. The results were posted on Stefan Oberg's Skype blog that day, and you can review them all there. I don't know how many entries were submitted, but it's great way to get the Skype developer community focused on real world applications that add value for business users.

It's great to see the global breadth of the winners, although it's too bad there were no Canadian winners! Anyhow, just a quick scan indicates there are business applications that go beyond basic voice calling, and hopefully Skype is takig some good steps forward to develop a suite of features that can be monetized with business users. There's lots of latent opportunity for building on everyday Skype features and extending that to collaboration, and there are some examples of that in the posting.

What really stands out for me, though, is how many winning apps have to do with language translation and learning English in foreign countries. Skype sure is a natural tool for that, and all Skype users get their share of random requests from people who just want chat to learn English - I know I do. The international community is probably the one thing Skype has over all the other IM platforms, mainly because they are largely U.S. in origin. By extension, I would think this could be the pot of gold for Skype as a business tool - either to support multinational businesses or as a platform to enable international business, regardless of language. That's my two cents for now, and if you have another take, I'd love to hear it.

All told, though, congrats to the winners, and I sure hope this is a sign of good things to come for Skype in the business world.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Voxeo + Tropo + Adhearsion = $

Some really great news today from the folks @ Adhearsion. I have spoken about Adhearsion in the past, it is very impressive - it goes beyond telephony toolkit or Voice API's, and with today's announcement puts it in a class of its own when it comes to Voice applications.

Adhearsion has joined Voxeo to launch Voxeo Labs. Essentially what this means is now the 'Sandbox' Adhearsion once sat in, has the power of the Voxeo network to draw on for applications.

To put this in context, I can (in probably less than 2 days) build a customized and interactive Voice Recognition front end tied to an ecommerce engine with an interactive telephony driven website. Doing something like that even 2 years ago was a 6 month build - this is child's play for Adhearsion. It is really groundbreaking stuff.

The challenge Voxeo Labs has is clear. Make decision makers understand the value add Voxeo Labs can bring to their business. They need (and I know they will build) sample apps. to demo the network, and recruit an army of business saavy developers to make the apps that will drive the traffic on the network.

Most importantly however is this - This platform gives developers an opportunity to really make money $$, the apps. created on this network will be affordable and powerful, this really levels the playing field for small developers and gives them an excellent opportunity to reach a global audience for their applications much in the same way that the App Store has done with the iPhone.

Congrats to the Adhearsion guys and kudo's to Voxeo for seizing this opportunity.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Note to Jim Balsillie: Forget the Coyotes, get me a bloody BB Desktop Manager for Mac before I buy an iPhone.

Here is a public note to RIM, Jim Balsillie and anyone else in that organization that will listen.

Why do you hate Mac Users?

Herein lies the problem (as you don't seem to understand it) and the reason for my tirade, you don't have a Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac. You license an application called PocketMac which 'sort of works' but not really.

The incredible lack of foresight and business strategy by ignoring 11% of your customer base is astounding, it is almost criminal. I can't explain it, the only possible reason for your utter contempt for Mac users is that no one in RIM uses a Mac.

Here is an important piece of information for you - the only reason I haven't switched to an iPhone is because of Google Sync. If it wasn't for Google Sync, I would have no way to reliably sync my calendar and contacts to my Mac and I would no longer be a Blackberry user. And let me be clear, I don't want to use an iPhone - it doesn't run background apps., it doesn't support UMA, it doesn't have a program like BB messenger and I really don't like typing on the softkeyboard.. but what is important to remember is it doesn't do these things YET...

I currently run Windows 7 on my Mac in a Virtual Machine (a feature you don't support btw, which just lights my fire even more). I am running the Windows 7 beta which runs out in exactly 1 year. At this point, if I wish to continue to run Windows I will have to pay. The ONLY reason I run Windows at all, is to have the ability to update, backup and maintain my BB . I am NOT going to buy a Windows license just so I can continue to use my BB. I will be forced to switch to an iPhone.

Your strategy to not support Apple is astoundingly poor. Last year you spend a bunch of money developing Media Manger for Mac.. A completely useless piece of software, that does NOTHING as drag and drop works perfectly, and is actually easier to use.

Mac users are early adopters, influencers, bloggers, and the people whom are passionate about technology. I can't tell you how much I drive my peer group nuts blabbering on about how much the BB is the one and only work solution. I don't think you can afford to lose 11% of your customer base to Apple, it is completely unnecessary, hire a Mac team - and let them loose. You will be surprised at the unexpected benefits...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Puddle Jump Fail

Totally unrelated to technology, but please vote for this picture on Failblog of my buddy Jean Marc attempting a puddle jump - it is a one in a million picture.

It is at the bottom of Page 3 of the voting page.

more fail, owned and pwned pics and videos

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Create a US iTunes Store account to get Skype for iPhone in Canada

Confirmed, this works!

I can't confirm that this works (please someone let me know, thanks MacGasm!) but apparently you can register for a US iTunes account separately inside of iTunes to get the Skype for iPhone application.

Link to Apple Support on how to do this here.

Also - thanks to Tyler: for the following link follow the instructions here and you are in business: Step by step instructions to creating an iTunes account in other countries.

Also - the imminent release of Skype for Blackberry will also be affected with a different version that is IM and inbound Skype call only - due to some patent issue. Because you can load BB applications via a desktop loader, that really won't do much to prevent CDN uses from getting the full application..

I don't think jailbroken iPhones have this geo-issue as you should be able to load any application on it, I imagine it is just a matter of time till someone releases the iPhone app. to the jailbreak community.

Skype tries TV Advertising

Skype PR and marketing have finally made the decision to start using mainstream media to get the word out. Adoption rates are likely to soar in markets where these ads are running. Viral marketing has a place, and built Skype to what it is today; strongly on a free calling proposition, but today it is so much more than what it was when it started. I hope these ads run in the US and Canada too in the near future.

This is the first, in what I hope is a series - it is fantastic. I don't think you could capture Skype in 30 seconds better than this ad does.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Skype makes a small ripple, but no Splash with new VM features.

Over a year ago, I talked about a Skype/Spinvox deal and I was admittedly lukewarm to the idea. I have been critical of Skype's Voicemail Strategy (VM) and I think for good reason.

Skype's VM service is proprietary and closed, this severely limits its usefulness, and for some reason Skype refuses to add any significant resources to this feature. You can't listen to a Skype VM message unless you are logged into your client. It has remained unchanged for the better part of 3-4 years, until now.

Today, Skype has made some 'upgrades?' to this service - announced @ Ecomm (I think) Skype has (finally) integrated with the Spinvox API, and now allows Voice to SMS transcribing of your messages for a cost of .25cents PLUS the cost of up to 3 SMS messages depending on the length of the transcription. There is no email option (which would be trivial to add) so you have to pay the piper twice. I don't think this will be very significant in the long term, it is far too expensive, and the nature of Skype's VM service limits its usefulness anyway.

The other news regarding Skype's VM feature upgrade, is the ability to receive txt ($) and email (free) alerts that you have a VM waiting for you. This is a welcome upgrade, but frankly still falls far short of what would be expected of a Voice 2.0 service today. You can also call a Skype to Go number to listen to your VM if you live one of the 11 countries that has Skype To Go numbers.

I am (I think) rightfully critical of Skype's VM strategy. In other posts I have asked for the following as a minimum.

A web interface and portal of my messages would really tie me to Skype as a communication tool, even when I am not logged onto the p2p. Every other VoIP solution currently offered in NA/or the world provides this basic form of Unified Messaging.

Personally I wouldn't pay for the SpinVox solution, if it was free I would probably use it - I imagine more text/SMS centric people will think differently. But as a member of the Blackberry faithful I would rather just get an attachment sent to my mobile/email, that I can then store and forward a la' Apple's new Visual VM for the iPhone.

Messaging could be major area for revenue @ Skype, they have the ability to create something much better than what Google offers with Grandcentral, and users will gladly pay! I don't know why; but they dip their toes into the messaging pool, rather than cannon balling off the high dive. They need to make a huge splash, not a ripple.

Jim Courtney's thoughts here:

Skype Voicemail to Text via SpinVox: Tell Me Why?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Adhearsion - Great name, great project

The Adhearsion project (which I have been following for a while) has some big news today. A new site and a new member of the team, and friend of mine Jason Goecke. Jason knows call centres and telephony probably better than anyone I know - this guy gets Voice and Web Jason is excited about Adhearsion, if I knew nothing else about the project that would be good enough to get me interested.

Adhearsion (from the site):

is a new way to write voice-enabled applications. It's not just an API or library — it's a fully-featured framework, the first of its kind, designed for maximal code reuse and intuitiveness. The name "Adhearsion" is a combination of "adhesion" and "hear" because Adhearsion shines best when integrating technologies with voice.

I will be watching very closely what is coming out of the Adhearsion project. This is something completely different in a very hot market segment. IfByPhone, Ribbit (now BT), Voxeo are all sucessfully entering/defining the market with unique voice services platforms. Adhearsion is something a little bit different - marrying Asterisk with Ruby without any of the complications.

Adhearsion will make the 'cool voice stuff' mainstream - I have been a long proponent of IVR becoming web/visually based - Adhearsion is the first step to that reality. I encourage you to check it out, play in the Sandbox and start combining the web and voice together in the most complicated; yet simple ways easily.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Superbowl - Etrade Baby

It is almost that time - the big game is on Sunday, E-trade has a teaser video out of some of the video that didn't make the cut for this years commercial.

Classic stuff - hat time Rimarkable.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Skype for Mac beta 2.8 with ScreenSharing!

Dan York has the scoop on the new Skype for Mac beta 2.8. Probably the most interesting for me is the Screensharing feature. This has been a favourite of Skype developer partners for some time, and it is now native to the Skype for Mac client. It even supports dual monitors!! full screen and application only.

It was announced at the Showstoppers event this evening - pre MacWorld.

New features (from Dan's Blog):
  • Skype Access
  • Screen Sharing (awesome)
  • Improved chat management: ability to sort chats in the drawer and set priorities to chats
  • Quick Add: much easier to add people to chats
  • Mood message chat: mood message updates from your friends as chat messages
  • Large avatars: 256x256 pixels
  • Hidden avatars in incoming contact requests
  • Ability to add your own notes to contacts
You can check out the UI on Dan's podcast.