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Posts from July 2008

Pushing voice applications "into the cloud"... a new article series I'm starting...

So what are the steps of pushing your voice applications out "into the cloud"? Where do you begin?

As you all probably know and as I mentioned over on Voxeo's 'Voxeo Talks' blog, I have a fascination with network clouds (and cloud computing), and in the latest sign of that, I've kicked off a 4-part series over on the TMCnet IVR Community that Voxeo is sponsoring. In the first article in the series, titled "Pushing IVR Into The Cloud, Part 1: Why Make The Move?", I talk about why you might want to consider moving your voice application out into "the cloud". Here's part of the intro:

In this four-part series, I'm going to explore what we are calling cloud computing and how you can push your IVR applications out into the network cloud. First, in this article, I'll look at what cloud computing is and why people should think about it for IVR. Second, I'll look at the security issues and what questions you need to be asking when considering a vendor for pushing your application into the cloud. After that I'll discuss the key role that open standards play in allowing you to avoid vendor lock-in and I'll conclude with steps you can take to make the move into the cloud.

The article continues on to talk about what cloud computing is, why you might consider it and why you might not consider it. Now the article focuses on "IVR" because... well.. it's the IVR Community on TMCnet! However, you can pretty much go through that article and replace every instance of "IVR" with "voice application" or whatever term you want... the concept is the same.

As I note at the end, Part 2 will talk about the reliability/security aspects of pushing voice applications out into the cloud and the question: Can you trust the cloud to always be there for you?

Stay tuned for more... (and please feel free to let me know what you think as comments to this post.)

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Want to understand Peer-to-Peer SIP (P2PSIP)? Listen to this podcast...

p2psip.jpgWhat if we could design SIP-based VOIP systems... but without any servers? What if we could have SIP endpoints just communicate with each other and "self-organize" into networks? What if we could essentially build an open standards-based version of Skype? How would it work? Who would use it? How would we secure it?

Those are all questions we discussed in the Squawk Box podcast / interview I did with David Bryan on July 10th. David is the co-chair of the IETF's P2PSIP Working Group and also the CEO of SIPeerior Technologies. It was a great interview where we covered all these questions and much, much more.

P2PSIP, to me, represents one of the most exciting new directions for SIP research and is something I'm definitely following closely. I wrote about my interest in P2PSIP clouds (and connecting them to larger clouds) at some length over on Voxeo's Speaking of Standards blog... it's all about clouds of SIP communication... and how we weave them all together. It's a fascinating time.

If you'd like to understand what P2PSIP is all about, please do definitely check out the Squawk Box podcast... and then, if you are so inclined, head over to to find links to learn more and download code...

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FYI - I'll be out at OSCON next week in Portland talking about voice mashups...

OSCON 2008 If any of you reading this will be out at O'Reilly's OSCON Open Source Convention next week (July 21-25) in Portland, Oregon, I (Dan York) will be there giving a talk on Wednesday on "Mashing Up Voice and the Web Through Open Source and XML". Here's the abstract:
With over 4.5 billion mobile and fixed phones out there as of November 2007, the phone represents the most ubiquitous user interface out there. As “mashups” on the Web let us quickly and easily access information from multiple data sources, how do we extend those mashups to the world of the phone? How do we bring the old world of voice and telephony into the new world of the Web, social networks, and social media? And how do we do that using open source tools and open standards? In this session, Dan York will introduce participants to the world of “voice mashups” and how applications can be quickly built on top of open source and open standards. Topics covered will include:
  • The technology and architecture behind voice mashups
  • The open standards in voice of VoiceXML, Call Control XML (CCXML), the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), and new standards emerging from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
  • Open source tools related to voice including Asterisk and
  • How to quickly build voice applications that interact with web sites, databases, and even new services like Twitter.
During the session, York will demonstrate multiple applications and provide participants with sample code, tips, and pointers so they can return home and get started building voice applications with open source and open standards.

If any of you will be attending, please do drop me a note as I always enjoy meeting up with people who read this blog. If you are not attending but are interested, it's not too late... you can still register at the OSCON site. Should be a great convention for those interested in open source development. The schedule is pretty amazing as it truly has a collection of some of the best folks out there in the open source world. (The convention starts on Wednesday with Monday and Tuesday being for tutorials.) I'm definitely looking forward to the event!

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Sangoma acquires Paraxip... open source-focused hardware meets enterprise software

sangomalogo.jpgEarlier this week there was the announcement that Sangoma was acquiring Montreal-based startup Paraxip for $4.8 million which was interesting to me on a couple of levels. First, I've known David Mandelstam from Sangoma for now around 8 years since way back when I was part of the open source startup e-smith up in Ottawa. David and I have continued to meet at trade shows over all these years and he's a great guy. So I'm pleased for him that Sangoma is growing.

It's also an intriguing transaction because it moves Sangoma is a different direction from its past... they have primarily been a provider of PSTN-connection hardware with a heavy focus in recent years on Asterisk and open source. Now, with Paraxip, they move into Windows-based enterprise software! As Jon Arnold points out, the two companies already announced last September the integration of their products, so that part of an acquisition has already been done.

In any event, I'm pleased for them all that this has worked out and I wish them all the best. Here is some good analysis of the deal:

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Congrats to my Canadian friends on Rogers dropping iPhone and RIM charges...

rogerslogo.jpgHaving lived in Canada for 5 years and dealt with Rogers Communications being really the only GSM game in town, I understood the jubilation yesterday of Canadians like Jim Courtney when Rogers dropped their prices for iPhone plans. Faced with a lot of negative publicity in advance of tomorrow's iPhone launch in Canada... faced with 60,000 people signing an online petition... and facing Apple redirecting some iPhones away from Canada over to Europe... Rogers caved and dropped it's prices.

Even better for Canadians, the price drop is also in effect for Blackberry users!

Jim's post has all the details and pointers.

Go, Canada! (You, too, can now join in iPhone mania... :-)

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Preview of today's Squawk Box (July 8) - WiFi in cars, answering phones with fingers in your ear...

Is the fact that Chrysler is turning some of their 2009 cars into WiFi hotspots a good thing? And would you really want to answer a phone call by sticking your finger in your ear?

Those are some of the topics we're going to be discussing on today's Squawk Box conference call/podcast at 11am US Eastern time. You can see the links to the articles and join the conversation through either:

Here's my video preview of the show:

I realized today that I haven't really been posting these previews here, but should... so I'll be doing more of that. I look forward to our 11am US Eastern conversation...

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Is voicemail dead? Our Squawk Box discussion...

squawkbox.jpgOn yesterday's Squawk Box podcast, we had a lively and enjoyable conversation on the subject of "Is Voicemail Dead?" - building off of Michael Arrington's recent TechCrunch post and Andy Abramson's followup post. It was a fun conversation with different perspectives that definitely highlights that the way in which we are using voice messaging is definitely changing. You can listen to the show from the Saunderslog page or in iTunes. The Calliflower show notes page also has more links and a transcript of the live chat during the call.

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Skype 4.0 beta discussion on Squawk Box podcast now available

skype_logo.pngI realized today that although I wrote that Skype's Mark Bartlett would be joining a Squawk Box conf call back on Friday, June 20th, I never followed up with the link to the show.

That discussion about the Skype 4.0 beta is available from I could not participate in the actual call, but it sounded interesting. I'm still not thrilled by Skype's cross-platform "answer", but it is what it is. Jim Courtney over at Skype Journal has a longer writeup about the call which covers some of the main points of the call.

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