One Slick Conference Phone

April 16, 2009 by Garrett Smith

The folks over at Kicker Studio think conference phones suck.

As such, they decided to go about designing a very slick touchscreen conference phone. Now the folks over at Kicker didn’t just fire-up Photoshop – they went to great lengths to flesh out the hardware and user interface design.

What they came up with is something that you might just be able to buy some day.

Kicker’s touchscreen conference phone combines the humanity of in-person meetings with the convenience of efficient technology. Features include:

  • Synchronizes with calendars and contacts for one-tap dialing
  • Quickly see who’s talking on a call and who wants to speak
  • “Hand Raising” to indicate a desire to speak
  • “Poking” to nudge other callers
  • Recording and marking of calls
  • Multi-line dialing
  • Adjusting individual lines for the best overall conference call quality
  • Comes in four different colors (silver, red, orange, and green)

Who said VoIP hardware was boring?

Update on Polycom VVX 1500

April 15, 2009 by Garrett Smith

Earlier today I wrote a brief piece on the Polycom VVX 1500.

After a smooth and easy setup on the voice side of things, we could not get the video component working. The VVX 1500 performs fine as a SIP endpoint for voice, and the HDVoice audio quality is buttery, as advertised. We could not negotiate video streaming between the two VVX 1500’s we had registered as extension off our Switchvox 4.0 plant however. I contacted Switchvox and quickly learned that the Polycom VVX 1500 is not currently supported on Switchvox 4.0, and that the problems with video negotiation are a known issue that they are working on with Polycom. There is currently no ETA on a fix.

I felt like a kid on Xmas morning opening up a super cool toy, only to find that it takes a non standard battery that they don’t sell in stores where you live. That being said, we are going to test point to point video calls and voice/video calls on Trixbox and Elastix later in the week and I’ll let you know how that goes.

I guess for me it’s back to my beloved Cisco SPA525G….hopefully Polycom and Switchvox are able to complete interop on the video side of things soon.

Unboxing the Polycom VVX 1500 Business Media Phone

I was pleased to arrive at the office this morning to find a pair of Polycom VVX 1500 IP Videophones waiting for me. According to Polycom’s marketing folks, the VVX 1500 is the first business media phone that combines advanced telephony, one-touch video, and integrated business applications into a seamless, lifelike experience.

The Polycom VVX 1500 combines DNA from Polycom’s very successful SoundPoint series IP Telephones with technology from their industry leading Telepresence and Video products. The result is some serious eye candy.


Linksys IP Phone Overview

April 14, 2009 by Garrett Smith

The Linksys IP phone line (SPA series) has been around for a few years now.

For some of you, these IP phones might be old news. But for many just getting into VoIP a good overview of the Linksys IP phone line is a great way to familiarize themselves with these phones.

So in the interest of introducing and educating some of the folks who are newer to VoIP on the Linksys IP phone line, I put together this straight forward overview of each phone.

Will high definition or standards revive voice communications?

April 13, 2009 by Garrett Smith

Daniel Berninger penned a guest piece on Jeff Pulver’s blog this morning entitled, “The HD Connect Manifesto” which anoints high definition voice as the savior of the voice communications industry.

In reality the manifesto has little to do with “HD” and more with two enablers driven by standards:

  • Convenience
  • Interconnection

Make voice communications more convenient

Today communications is increasingly fragmented. Consumers and businesses have more choices.

Like water people tend to take the path of least resistance. This means that they will naturally gravitate towards products and services which are more convenient and easier to use. A prime example of this in the communications sector is the increased utilization of contextual forms of communications (email, IM, SMS).

While you could argue this point, the usage data shows that contextual forms of communications are a more convenient form of communications. Further proof can be seen in their increased utilization over time.

HD voice does not make voice communications more convenient – the fact that it is a standards based technology mean that it has the potential to make voice calling more convenient.

Take the dreaded phone number. Daniel points out that the adoption of SIP URI’s by a voice service provider (instead of traditional phone numbers) would provide unified framework and therefore add conveniences to a voice service.

This certainly is true, but it’s not as a result of HD voice. It’s thanks to SIP, a standards based protocol.

Make voice communications more efficient (through interconnection)

Today most VoIP service providers are held captive by those who own/control the last mile and of course the PSTN. It adds inefficiencies to their services. This allows other voice service providers to continue to compete with them. It is, as Daniel states, the “Faith in the status quo…” that keeps them ticking.

That is why the idea of an interconnected network of ITSP makes sense. Creating a separate, more efficient network from which to power high quality voice calls is a great idea.

The yet-to-be-created network would increase efficiencies leading to increased flexibility and further cost reduction for consumers. But HD voice is not driving this.

The utilization of standards based technology that makes this possible.

HD voice is great, but standards are the true drivers

HD voice is a great thing for the voice communications industry. It is does provide call quality that is superior to the PSTN, however better sounding phone calls is not going to lead a resurgence in the voice industry.

What will lead the resurgence of the voice industry is the use of open, standards based technology to make communication more convenient, efficient and cost effective – whether those standards include high definition codecs or not.

And the winner is…

April 10, 2009 by Garrett Smith

Drum roll please.

The winner of the “what’s important in a business VoIP service” contest is commenter #10 Fred Posner.

Fred’s number was drawn out of a hat just a few minutes ago and he will be the recipient of the QuickPhones QA-342 wireless VoIP phone.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the contest and Fred I’ll be dropping you an email later tonight or tomorrow to get your shipping details.

Last chance to win a FREE wireless VoIP phone

Last week Friday we launched a contest for readers giving the a chance to win a wireless VoIP phone for answering the question:

“What’s important in a business VoIP service? (Full post here)

Well today is the last day to get in on the action as we will be picking one comment at random to win the QuickPhones QA-342 at 5pm today.

So if you’ve got thoughts on what makes a business VoIP service great take a minute to leave a comment and earn your chance to win that FREE wireless VoIP phone.

Polycom KIRK 2010

April 9, 2009 by Garrett Smith

Polycom has announced the latest addition to their DECT product family, the KIRK 2010.

The Polycom KIRK 2010 is a DECT based wireless VoIP phone. At the surface it looks just like another slick wireless VoIP phone, but the most important aspect of the KIRK 2010 might the targeted customer:

The SMB.

If you’re familiar with the Polycom KIRK line of wireless VoIP phones you know that they’re excellent – with the exception that they are typically “outside the reach” of small medium businesses.

In the KIRK 2010, it seems that Polycom has constructed a simple, basic wireless VoIP phone that will allow the small medium business leverage the benefits that come with mobility.  This simple and basic theme can be seen in the KIRK 2010’s feature set:

  • Black & white LCD screen (3 lines of text/icons)
  • Internal/external ring pattern, volume control and silent modes
  • Telephone book with room for 40 numbers
  • Speech/stand by time > 12/150 hours
  • Weight incl. battery: 120g
  • Size (LxWxH): 124x47x31mm

There’s no word yet on what the price tag of this unit will be or when it will be available, but we will keep you updated.

Adding Telephony to iPhone Applications

One of the great things about the iPhone is the ability to add a variety of different applications. But outside of the applications for mobile VoIP providers, there aren’t too many iPhone applications that feature telephony capabilities.

Now this is likely due to the fact that iPhone developers have no clue when it comes to telephony. That’s why I thought it would be great to share a session Ifbyphone CEO Irv Shapiro put on at the recent ecomm conference.

Entitled, “How to build an Ifbyphone-to-iPhone app” the session shows iPhone developers how to use Ifbyphone’s cloud telephony capabilites to add voice to their applications. What’s even better is that the examples and advice come from Ifbyphone’s own experience.

Digium Releases Switchvox 4.0 (Finally!)

April 8, 2009 by Garrett Smith

Switchvox SMB release 4.0 shipped yesterday….we upgraded our SMB plant here last night without any real hiccups. With the release of SMB 4.0, a great IP communications platform just got better in many ways.

1 – Switchvox SMB now supports “Presence” across multiple sites (server instances). This was an issue with our own deployment in the past, and it is great now that you can unify multiple, geographically dispersed Switchvox SMB systems with a “global” Switchboard, showing you the status of all users and allowing you to control calls across multiple sites.

2 – Fax! Switchvox SMB 4.0 now supports outbound fax and fax-to-email. I have not had a chance to test this personally but am looking forward to accidentally knocking our finicky analog fax machine off the desk soon.

3 – More API goodness! Digium/Switchvox are wisely investing dev cycles in their API Call Control, unlocking more and more flexibility and integration abilities.

4 – Jabber/Chat capabilities with Switchboard. Perhaps soon I can ditch Windows Live Messenger and AIM in favor of unified IM/Chat within Switchboard.

5 – More / Better Microsoft Outlook integration!

6 – Improved system diagnostics and schedule reports.

There’s more to love in Switchvox SMB release 4.0 beyond the features I’ve mentioned here. If you are considering Switchvox or have any questions about this product, feel free to contact one of our product specialists at 800.398.8647!

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