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Posts from October 2008

"Discover Best Practices for Secure Unified Communications" - a webinar I'll be giving tomorrow

Cross-posted from Voice of VoIPSA:

What are you doing tomorrow, Tuesday, October 28, 2008, at 1pm US Eastern time? If you are around, you are welcome to join a free webinar I'll be giving on "Best Practices for Secure Unified Communications".

From time-to-time, you'll notice that those of us working with VOIPSA will take part in seminars/webinars offered by members of VOIPSA and we definitely enjoy doing so. For instance, as readers of the blog know, I've been speaking at Ingate's SIP Trunking seminars for quite some time now. We're generally open to speaking at anyone's event or webinar - as long as they understand that there is no endorsement of the company/vendors's products/services and that we are there to provide an industry-neutral point-of-view.

mitel-logo.jpgSo tomorrow at 1pm US Eastern I'll be speaking as part of Mitel's "Discovery Series" where they invite in guest speakers from the industry. You can join the webinar for free at Mitel's site. They asked me to speak about the threats/risks to voice over IP and unified communications and talk about best practices for protecting them. Here's the abstract:

Discover Best Practices for Secure Unified Communications

Presented by: Dan York, Voice Over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) October 28, 2008, 1:00 PM EDT / 10:00 AM PDT / 5:00PM GMT

With the emergence of Voice-over-IP and Unified Communications, companies now have incredible opportunities to provide a rich communication experience to employees located in a single location or distributed globally. But how does a company do this in a secure manner? How is the confidentiality and integrity of corporate conversations protected? How can a company be sure that its IP phone systems and IP trunks will always be available for usage? What are the issues around protecting SIP trunks or using hosted services?

In this webinar, VoIP Security Alliance Best Practices Chair Dan York will discuss the threats and risks to Voice-over-IP, the tools that are out to test (or attack) VoIP system and solutions and best practices for protecting your systems. He'll also address concerns around SIP trunking, Spam for Internet Telephony (SPIT) and the move to push voice out into hosted/cloud computing environments and the associated concerns. Come prepared to learn about securing your VoIP system, to ask questions about your deployments and to leave with tips and resources to protect and defend your systems.

The webinar will be recorded and posted for later viewing as well. I'll note that they also have a nice companion webinar to the one I'll be giving tomorrow in one that HP representatives recently have on network security as it relates to VoIP.

Anyway, if you are available tomorrow (Oct 28th) at 1pm please do feel free to join into the webinar. I'll post a note on this site, too, when it is available for later listening.

P.S. And yes, as a couple of people have asked, I do obviously have a closer association with this webinar than I do with some of the other vendors given that I worked at Mitel for 6 years and was their point person on VoIP security issues for much of that time. It will be fun to be speaking with them again.

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Skype crosses over 14 million simultaneous users!

skypejournal-skypehits14million.jpgI didn't notice the number of simultaneous users in my Skype client today, but the folks over at Skype Journal did notice and Skype Numerologist Jean Mercier captured the occasion with a screen shot. Mercier writes:
"We needed only 35 days to go from 13 million concurrent users online to 14 million."

It is indeed an impressive statistic. (Confirmed by Skype's own blog.)

Congrats to the folks at Skype!

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Blue Box Podcasts #83 and #84 now online - VoIP, SIP, Skype security...

blueboxlogo.jpgOver on Blue Box, I've now uploaded two recent episodes:

With that I am almost caught up with our main shows... and I still have a bunch of Special Editions to finish producing and post. I'm hoping to finish post-production on #85 tonight so that I can post it tomorrow. We'll see...

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Jon Arnold interviews me about voice and web services, cloud computing and more

jonarnold-danyork-itexpo2008-1.jpgIs the role of "voice" diminished or enhanced by the availability of web services? How does voice fit into the "cloud"? Where do service providers fit into the picture?

Out at ITEXPO last month in Los Angeles, industry analyst Jon Arnold asked me (Dan York) to participate in a series of video interviews he was recording for his IPConvergence.TV site. In the interview, which is now available for viewing, we talked about "voice-enabling" business processes, web services, "cloud computing", the challenges to service providers and customers and much, much more. Jon also asked me to talk a bit about what I see ahead of us in the next few years. It was a fun interview to do and I appreciated the opportunity.

NOTE: There is no way to currently embed the video, so you'll need to watch it over on TMC's site. I'll also note that on my Mac I couldn't watch the video in Firefox but instead had to use Safari. Now this may be due to some local configuration issue on my system, but I thought I'd mention it.

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Some initial impressions of the iPhone 3G...

As I wrote about recently both here on Disruptive Telephony and also over on the Voxeo weblogs, my employer, Voxeo, has made the switch from the Blackberry 8830 to the Apple iPhone as our corporate mobile phone. Employees in our Orlando office have already been receiving iPhones and mine just arrived last Thursday. Given that I've now been using it for a few days, I recorded these initial impressions:

Initial impressions of the iPhone 3GAs I've documented on my employer recently made the switch from Blackberry to iPhone - these are some initial impressions...

The quick summary is:

  • Typing - Better than I expected with the touchpad typing and Appple's correction routines.
  • Coverage - Pretty much what I expected. AT&T's coverage here in southern New Hampshire is much less than Verizon's. However, it wasn't terribly bad and I did actually get better coverage in a few places like a local grocery store.
  • WiFi - Very nice!
  • Camera - While it's clearly not as good as my normal digital camera, it seems to be adequate for pictures for posting to blogs, etc.
  • Browsing - As expected, the browsing experience is excellent. I do like being able to switch the phone to a horizontal display. Watching YouTube videos is great as well.
  • App Store - Very cool apps available. I've installed a number related to social media / social networking and so far been quite pleased.

All in all, I've been quite pleased with how well it works. I'll write more as I use it more...

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Inspiring video of Skype used for augmented vision

While I write here mostly about technology, my interest has always been in the social impacts of all this communication technology. Here on the Today show was a fascinating story of someone who is blind using VoIP (and specifically Skype) to allow him to "see" courtesy of a remote person seeing his view and telling him what is there.


P.S. Thanks to Chaim Haas for passing this along...

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Voxeo switching from Blackberries to iPhones... (even as Blackberry releases the touch-screen Storm)

voxeologo.gifOver on one of Voxeo's weblogs I wrote a piece yesterday, "Goodbye BlackBerry... Hello iPhone!" that speaks to our vote in the evolving "RIM vs Apple" battle going on out there in the enterprise marketplace. It will be an interesting move that I'm very much looking forward to.

From what I've seen, we join a growing number of companies that are now using Apple's iPhone for a corporate mobile phone.

Interestingly, RIM is today announcing the impending release on Verizon (US) and Vodafone (UK) networks of the Blackberry "Storm", RIM's touchscreen entry against the iPhone. Some links today:

Alec Saunders also has it as the topic for today's Squawk Box at 11am US Eastern time.

Will it be enough to stop enterprises from defecting to the iPhone? I don't know... I'm sure it may stop some, but until RIM can come out with a development platform and distribution system rivaling Apple's AppStore, I think you'll see more developers choosing to go the iPhone way. We'll see.

Regardless, it certainly is good for us as users to have the increased competition out there... in the end, we'll all wind up with much better devices, methinks.

Meanwhile, I'm personally looking forward to receiving my corporate iPhone and joining in the iPhone fun. :-)

What do you think? Is the Storm enough to keep you on Blackberry? Or will you (have you?) move to the iPhone? (Or don't you care?)

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Join the disruption - speak at eComm 2009!

Emerging Communications 2009If you read this blog, the Voxeo blogs or follow my Twitter stream, you know that I very frequently travel and speak at conferences related to VoIP, telecommunications, etc. Often to the tune of 1-2 weeks per month. I enjoy the presenting immensely in that I get to teach people and tell the story about the disruption going on within telephony and communications in general... and also get to learn from some of the amazing people out there about what they see happening all around us.

Yet while I greatly enjoy and find so much value in the large VoiceCon and ITEXPO shows and so many of the others that I attend, one show stands out each year among them all:


.... eComm 2008 as well as the O'Reilly ETel shows that proceeded it in 2006 and 2007.

Why? Mostly because eComm and the earlier ETel shows were NOT the big conferences. There is no massive trade show. There aren't a huge number of different tracks. It's small... it's focused... and it has some amazing speakers who are truly out on the bleeding edge of how the ways in which we communicate are changing. It's a place to learn from those who are out there leading the disruption... it's a place to forge partnerships... it's a place where many startups have found interested investors... it's a place where you can sit and randomly meet those who are creating the "Post-Telecom Era".

Now if you would like to be one of those amazing speakers at the upcoming eComm 2009 to be held on March 3-5, 2009, at the Burlingame Marriott right near the SFO airport, the Call For Speakers is now open. The deadline for proposals is November 17th, but I expect the speaking slots to fill up before then. I'm on the eComm Advisory Board and we're already starting to see proposals come in by way.

If you've got an idea for a talk you'd like to share, please do submit a speaking proposal - please do note that eComm is very definitely NOT a place for sales presentations and such talks get quickly rejected. As the site says:

This isn't a traditional telecom conference. The eComm audience has very high expectations of speakers. They are both seizing opportunities of the post- telecom era (or re-inventing traditional products and services) and can engage the audience. Rules include a ban on "brochure speak" from stage (overt marketing pitches) and a strict enforcement of the clock.

Plenary presentations lasts just 15 minutes including 2-3 minutes of Q+A. We've found this format of carefully prepared presentations keeps the atmosphere charged. This format also helps us to fit in more than 70 speakers over 3 days. Thanks to the intimate feel of the venue and the energy and attention of the audience, many speakers find it to be a great public speaking experience.

Some of the topics we're looking for include:

  • Democratization of communications innovation; anything from VoIP community, XMPP enabled social networking to DIY 12-volt telephony
  • Convergence of the media industry with personal communications
  • Theme "telecoms is becoming software"
  • Telecom restructuring, threats, or new business models
  • Telecom trends, particularly Asian
  • iPhone or Android applications
  • The new old - traditional carriers or vendors who are changing the game
  • Mobile Social Software (MoSoSo) applications on any platform; any socio-centric devices or applications will be considered whether mobile or not
  • Social Computing
  • Mobile leveraging of Cloud Computing or Telco in the Cloud
  • Future of Social Networking Applications
  • Network Equipment Providers plans for next 1-3 years
  • Facilitating business processes with voice
  • 4G Technologies
  • P2P modes of production or networking

We're looking for all those topics and more... basically any topic related to how what we have known as "telecom" is fundamentally changing all around us... if you have an idea, please do submit a speaking proposal as soon as you can.

And if you don't want to speak - but do want to stay up on where the bleeding edge of telephony is - please do mark March 3-5, 2009, down to join us in San Francisco! (and follow the eComm 2009 blog to know when registration opens).

P.S. If you'd like to help promote eComm 2009, web site badges are available.

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