While these announcements only relate to IM, I wouldn't be surprised to see both vendors offer the ability for RIM devices to participate via VoIP in conferences and two-way voice sessions.
I've talked to several enterprises that are tinkering around with Asterisk, the open source Linux IP-PBX. Asterisk, along with other open-source platforms such as PingTel's "SIPxchange" are trying to do for IP telephony what Linux did for operating systems, provide a low cost, open-source platform capable of doing everything that a proprietary vendor supplied solution can do (and perhaps more).
As Voxilla reports, the growing interest in open source telephony is leading to the development of a supporting ecosystem, led by companies who see the same opportunities that Red Hat saw in the Linux world; namely providing value added services and support to open source systems.
CNET's Charles Cooper interviews John Chambers to find out.
From Network World comes word that AOL has announced a program called "Enterprise Federation Partner" to enable the ability for AIM to inter-connect with enterprise IM systems. The initial round of partners announced include Antep, Jabber, Omnipod, and Parlano. Network World points out that Lotus Sametime is noticeably absent from the list (Microsoft LCS interoperability was announced some time ago).
AOL is also considering creating a peering fabric that would allow IM systems to be directly peered with each other through an AOL-managed service. The opportunity for peering of IM, as well as presence services using open protocols is something that I'm currently writing about for an upcoming report on SIMPLE (SIP IM and Presence Leveraging Extensions). As open standards such as SIMPLE emerge, we should continue to see the walls around siloed systems come down, and there will be an increasing opportunity for peering services to handle issues related to security and privacy that come into play as systems are interconnected.
Russell Shaw shares some user experiences in troubleshooting residential VoIP services. It isn't pretty.
This example underscores the strength that broadband providers should have in delivering VoIP services over the overlay providers such as AT&T and Vonage, who have no control over the network that they rely on for service delivery.
Speaking of the broadband service providers, Comcast (which I use for my cable modem service) has had two outages of its DNS servers in the last week. These are the first outages I've seen in well over a year of using the service. During each of these outages it was impossible to call Comcast, every-time I tried calling I received a fast-busy signal.
I was able to get back on the net by using Bluetooth dial-up networking from my PowerBook through my Cingular Treo 650. Once I got connected I went to Comcast's support page and found that under the "Network Health" header, there was a terse statement stating that "All Internet Connectivity Was Down". Umm, no, just DNS was down. Reconfiguring my machines to use alternate DNS servers resolved the problem, though I suppose for the average user, DNS being down means that in effect, the Internet is down.
Thank you to my colleague Dan Golding for pointing out that Apple Mac OS X comes with a built in DNS BIND server (thanks to its BSD UNIX underpinnings). All I needed to do was to fire up the server and point my DNS lookups to my own machine to get around Comcast's issues. Yet one more benefit of using a Mac. :-)
Aswath Rao gives his take on the debate of marketing VoIP services on price versus features, as well as his review of the new AOL and MSN services.
David Greenfield writes in Network Magazine about the use of desktop video conferencing. Greenfield does a nice job covering the potential applications for desktop video, along with the potential negative impact on network performance due to video's bandwidth demands. He also provides a nice summary of issues related to SIP, SCCP and H.323 as well as an overview of numerous vendor approaches to delivering video conferencing features.
IMHO desktop video as an adjunct to simple person-to-person phone calls is little more than a toy who's novelty goes away fairly quickly. But, there is considerable value to the use of desktop video as a conferencing and collaboration technology with numerous uses such as allowing remote workers to join pre-scheduled conferences (that may be linked into fixed conferencing centers), or for ad-hoc meetings of small groups of individuals.
As I wrote about a few days ago Apple will introduce the ability for ad-hoc multi-party video conferencing in its new version of OS X (dubbed Tiger and now slated for release on April 29th). Microsoft is already building point-to-point video conferencing capbilities into Office Communicator. Cisco offers desktop video conferencing as part of CallManager 4.x. Could mass adoption of desktop video conferencing within the enterprise market be getting closer?
Verisign has announced the release of a VoIP Service targeted specifically at the financial services industry. This is the first commercial VoIP service that I'm aware of that is specifically targeted at a vertical industry segment.
From Advanced IP Pipeline:
The PBX IP Connect service allows users to centralize voice and data management and join different VoIP and data networks in a single infrastructure. With the version for financial services companies, users can route unlimited ringdown circuits over IP networks, allowing them to circumvent the restrictions of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and permitting the use of rich media content.
Siemens HiPath OpenScape 2.0 won E-week's Excellence Award for Excellence in the Enterprise Collaboration area.
As I wrote in my Burton Group report on converged communications, OpenScape has led the market in development of products in this space, but as this article shows, the competition is heating up. I thought it interesting to note that Siemens beat out the platform it is based upon, Microsoft Live Communications Server. Though I wonder why competing platforms such as the Nortel's MCS 5100 and Avaya Converged Communication Server were not included in this space.