VoIP Fraud is now Microsoft's Problem

An interesting article here describes the problems that large companies face as they try to diversify – specifically the move of Microsoft from software towards IP telephony.

While both areas are highly regulated, moving into the world of Voice over Internet Protocol through their highly publicized purchase of Skype certainly presents new challenges.

Hence the slew of articles about Microsoft enabling the ability to eavesdrop on VoIP conversations. While this was initially interpreted by some as a sort of Orwellian invasion of privacy, in fact this is a legal requirement.

Law enforcement needs to be able to have access to VoIP call transcripts for the purposes of terrorism prevention. VoIP solutions have many good aspects but they can also be used for nefarious purposes as it is much harder to track the original of a VoIP call. This is in danger of making the infamous wiretapping way of police work (as depicted in the excellent drama series The Wire) obsolete.

IP telephony calls are so hard to trace that India, which has seen a boom in VoIP used by criminals and terrorists, made efforts to ban some smartphones last year.

While Microsoft is now facing the same challenges, it will have to come up with a very innovative solution to the problem.

3CX and Grandstream Announce Strategic Partnership

Tighter Integration Between Products to Deliver Best in Class SME Phone System

3CX, the international developer of the award-winning 3CX Phone System for Windows and Grandstream, a leading designer and manufacturer of next generation IP Voice and Video products for broadband networks, recently announced a strategic partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, 3CX will become one of the preferred PBX partners of Grandstream, and 3CX will fully certify and integrate Grandstream’s broad portfolio of IP phones, gateways and multimedia phones, allowing for customers to easily provision and manage Grandstream phones from the 3CX Management console. With the integration, initial configuration and setup of a complete phone system will be much easier and ongoing management will be reduced. 3CX and Grandstream will also commit to advanced feature development and providing end-to-end support to customers, giving companies peace of mind that the complete solution is supported by both companies.

“We are pleased to establish a partnership with 3CX to promote the combination of the market leading software-based 3CX Phone System and the award-winning Grandstream IP phones and multimedia phones. This best-in-class product combination creates an excellent value and innovative solution for the SME market,” said David Li, CEO of Grandstream Networks.

“The combined 3CX & Grandstream solution is very easy to install and manage for customers, and is a great replacement for outdated proprietary phone systems. Because both products are standards-based, customers do not get tied in with one particular vendor and companies can buy best of breed, with full confidence in the complete solution,” said Nick Galea, CEO at 3CX.

The partnership has already resulted in benefits for customers and resellers: 3CX has shipped enhanced Grandstream phone support in Service Pack 4 of 3CX Phone System 9. It is now possible to provision and manage Grandstream phones from the 3CX management console, including the ability to upgrade the firmware network wide via the 3CX management console.

Grandstream has also launched a special reseller program which allows resellers and distributors to get rebates for selling Grandstream phones with 3CX solutions. 3CX was hereby one of the first suppliers to sign on with Grandstream’s reseller program as a result of the completion of extensive testing and 3CX getting full certification to Grandstream’s entire endpoints product line.

About 3CX

3CX is the developer of 3CX Phone System – an open standard unified communications platform for Windows that works with standard SIP phones and replaces a proprietary PBX. 3CX is more manageable and can deliver substantial cost savings besides increasing productivity. 3CX Phone System has earned numerous awards; Windows Server Certification, Windowsnetworking.com Gold Award, Windows IT Pro magazine 2008 and a Best Buy Award by Computer Shopper Magazine. For more information visit: http://www.3cx.com.

About Grandstream

Grandstream Networks is an award-winning designer and manufacturer of next generation IP voice & video products for broadband networks. Grandstream’s products deliver superb sound and picture quality, rich telephony features, full compliance with industry standards, and broad interoperability with most service providers and 3rd party SIP based VoIP products. Grandstream is consistently recognized in the VoIP industry for their innovation, affordability and superior value in their products. Grandstream Networks is a private company headquartered in Brookline, MA with offices in Los Angeles, Dallas and China. For more information, please visit www.grandstream.com.

Why VoIP is Changing the Way We Work

Voice over Internet Protocol is changing the way we work, and I am living proof of that.

An interesting article in the BBC finance section a while ago highlighted how more and more businesses are running virtual offices with employees all around the world collaborating through unified communications.

So even though I am freelance I can talk to clients in the Caribbean via Skype, and work on a project with them at the same time via Google Docs.

Although there will always be important aspects to face to face contact, in truth this new way of working can benefit everyone. There is no need to waste huge amounts of time and money hopping on trains or planes all the time, to say nothing of the negative effect that all those carbon emissions have on the planet.

Businesses benefit hugely because they get rid of the massive amount of costs and responsibilities that come about with employing someone full time, especially all those extra taxes and employer contributions.

Studies have also shown that remote workers are in fact more productive. They get to manage their own time and in doing so are more efficient with it on the whole. Many feel that they have something extra to prove by not being in an office and so work doubly hard.

VoIP and unified communications are definitely changing the way we work and it is time for everyone to embrace it or face being left behind.

Mobile VoIP - Skype coming to iPad

Skype is now being worked on as an application for the iPad2 and iPad. The news will make remote communication even easier and is a huge boost for the world of mobile VoIP.

Skype is already available on most smartphones so that if you have used up your contract minutes allowance, but still have some internet credit you can make free calls. It is, of course, especially useful for calling people who live abroad at an affordable rate.

The news was confirmed by Skype Vice President Rick Osterloh. The new app will have everything you normally expect from Skype, including video chat, except for the file sharing feature – because of a conflict with the Apple system.

So it seems that Microsoft is not going to hog Skype for itself. It is also a nice move from Apple because in theory Skype is a direct competitor to their new Facetime video chat product.

Meanwhile Microsoft has a new patent which allows for the eavesdropping on Skype calls. It’s all very confusing so I will leave it to Kurt Bakke to explain it.
The Skype app should be out by the end of June.

Lightyear Network Solutions Offers VoIP in the Cloud

Hosted VoIP and cloud computing are the two standards which business service provider Lightyear Network Solutions has chosen to take it into the future.

The company is on the verge of rolling out VoIP in the cloud to small and medium sized businesses.

That will allow their customers to keep and integrate their existing traditional PBX (if preferred) with VoIP solutions for business.
Despite losing company founder Sherman Henderson recently the company is determined to plough on by increasing its portfolio and expanding its network services.

The new CEO Stephen M. Lochmueller told Fiercevoip: "We are pleased to announce the launch of our new product, which further enhances our extensive portfolio. Hosted VoIP is part of our strategic plan to make the cloud valuable and affordable for SMBs.”

Lightyear Network Solutions already has a strong customer base in the USA.
Hosted VoIP allows them to increasingly offer flexible and scalable solutions which can save companies costs and deliver fixed mobile convergence.

O2 Secure Wireless enters the Mobile VoIP Market

O2 Secure Wireless is entering the mobile VoIP Market with an unlimited VoIP service to provide talk, text and data at low prices.

Now that the VoIP market is worth an estimated $50 billion per year (and rapidly expanding), O2 Secure Wireless has sensed an opportunity in the market and created the O2USA brand.

The website and product is still in its rudimentary stages but you can visit it for an idea of the plans that they offer. However having tried to look for shops in locations (I entered 90210 as it was the only American postcode I could think of having grown up on the TV series) the search facility returned no results.

Once the glitches are ironed out, O2USA will work on both the Sprint and Verizon networks, two of the most popular mobile VoIP networks in America. O2 already has a strong infrastructure in the USA and other regions nearby such as the Caribbean.

Val Kazia, the Chief Executive Officer of O2 Secure Wireless, said: "O2 Secure Wireless is clearly in a highly desirable position to enter this sector. The potential to make the O2 trademark a nationally recognized name is unlimited.”

Nevertheless O2 had to put a warning about future looking statements under the Safe Harbour Act, presumably because the necessary regulation for this product is still being undertaken.

Google Paints VoIP IP Telephony Chrome

The news that Google is working to install VoIP IP Telephony into its Chrome browser has passed relatively unnoticed this week but it could be one of the most seismic shifts to hit the way we work and communicate.

Currently using VoIP services requires pulling up a piece of hardware or software, or just clicking on your preinstalled Skype button.
Imagine the amount of time that could be saved by just accessing VoIP numbers directly through your browser?

Not only does that benefit users, but it fits into Google’s idea of personalized search. Having access to your call information as well as your search information will give Google even more targeted information about you.

There are two ways to look at that. Firstly it will either be useful as searching for exactly what you want will become quicker and more efficient. On the other hand it is quite scary to think about quite how much information Google now has about us, everything from when we were born to where we like to shop.

Yet the search giant will not mull over these important concerns and instead is plowing ahead with its open source VoIP IP Telephony project which will incorporate audio and video. Known as WebRTC, Chrome VoIP will now give access to real-time chat on our browser thanks to the collaboration of Google and their VoIP acquisition GIPS.

Speaking to TMCnet, Google programmer Henrik Andreasson said: "Our goal is to enable Chrome with Real-Time Communications capabilities via simple Javascript application programming interfaces.”

There is no word as yet as to when the project will be completed for roll out.