Friday, December 24, 2004

A Merry X-Mas and a Happy New Year 

to all my readers and friends all over the world from me and my family

Thursday, December 09, 2004

EENA and the status of 112 Emergency Services in Europe 

Last week the 2nd European 112 Conference & Exhibition took place in Brussels. The presenations given are available here.

Jeff Pulver posts in Emergency Calling in Europe: 112 Update the satus of E112 in Europe and also presents an e-mail sent to him by Oliver-Paul-Morandini with the conclusions of the conference.

I copy here the whole posting from Jeff, which is not very encouraging regarding the emergency calling situation in Europe.

Back on November 8th NEENA (The European Emergency Number Association) announced that it has issued a complaint to the European Ombudsman against the European Commission for misadministration concerning the implementation of the European emergency call number 112. This is in response to what EENA considers unacceptable answer from the European Commission to its concerns.

Olivier Paul-Morandini, founder of the European Emergency Number Association (EENA) just send me an email containing the conclusions from the 2nd European 112 conference and exhibition which concluded last week.

"Conclusions of the 2nd European 112 Conference and Exhibition

Issues pertaining to the 112 service chain. The 112 should ensure for all European Citizens the fundamental right to the same high quality service in case of emergency. This should be a political objective of the European Union the achievement of which should be judged on the basis of results obtained and not on the basis of available means and resources. To this respect it is very encouraging the fact that already the EU co-finances projects submitted on the initiative of several Member States in view of establishing integrated systems. However, the total response time of emergency services in case of intervention should become a European standard as soon as possible. Furthermore caller location and multilingual response should also become standard services offered to citizens throughout the EU.

Technological issues. Most of the technologies already exist to support location enhanced 112 services (E112), both in the network and the control room. To implement them only the political will is missing. There are a range of network based solutions to wireless location that can provide alternative solutions and complement each other. Activities towards the implementation of advanced technological solutions should be facilitated or coordinated at a European level, BUT the drive and desire must come from each of the Member States. Furthermore for 112 to be adopted throughout Europe greater direction from the EU is required. Of course technology should not be the driver but the consumers should get what they want. There is a requirement for European training and standards on call handling. Again it is clear that accurate location information is required but implementation of this will create additional pressures on emergency services.

Issues pertaining to emergency services. The 112 constitutes an essential element regarding the management of big crises like the Madrid bombing. However the cornerstone for a better coordination is the interoperability between the emergency services. Given the presence of 12 different nationalities amongst the victims, the following are very important elements to ensure proper and timely response: existence of a common number to call, establishment of a European system of health cards, and the possibility for the multilingual response to emergency calls.

The main elements of the EENA's work program for 2005. EENA underlines the leadership vacuum which exists in the field of emergency communications, mainly because emergency services have not been organized at European level in such a way as to express their common requirements vis-à-vis the industry. EENA is ready to face the challenge and fill in this gap by becoming a central (final and professional) user platform for emergency communications. EENA will thus undertake during 2005 actions towards the accomplishment of this objective. Furthermore EENA will continue and reinforce activities related with the information of citizens by continuing the operation of the existing communications tools as well as by promoting its action for multipliers (namely the e-mergency project). EENA will also continue playing its role as a discussion platform for citizens, emergency services and the industry via its website and online discussion groups, its 112 Newsletter and by organizing the Third European 112 Conference & Exhibition in 2005. The Association will further intervene with all available means to the national and European Authorities (European Commission, European Parliament, Ombudsman, etc) by requesting firm action to be undertaken.

On the basis of the above the following priorities will be considered in EENA's strategic planning for 2005: the education of political authorities and of the public, the establishment of a non-partisan scientific committee (which will undertake the drafting of at least two «Best Practices Guides») and the establishment of a strategic alliance / partnership with professional user organizations."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Economist on Internet Telephony - Mobile operators the big losers  

The Economist had an article in his December 2nd issue: The phone call is dead; long live the phone call. (premium article).

Raising the basic question:
Who wins and who loses as phone calls move on to the internet?

The Ecomomist had an article on Internet Telephony (VoIP) in his December 2nd issue: The phone call is dead; long live the phone call.

raising the basic question: Who wins and who loses as phone calls move to the internet?


Because VOIP service relies on software, rather than the traditional physical telephone infrastructure—voicemails, for instance, come into one's e-mail inbox and can be saved and forwarded—it upsets the entire telecoms industry, for two reasons.

First, while traditional telephony takes account of geography, distance, and time, says Michael Powell, America's telecoms regulator, “VOIP shatters all three”. In most cases it makes no difference to a VOIP caller where he is, how far away from the person he is calling, or how long they talk. VOIP phones can have traditional telephone numbers, yet still work no matter where they are, provided they are plugged in to a broadband internet connection. Lots of Indian mothers in Delhi have Vonage phones with the American area code 650 so that they can make cheap “local” calls to their sons in Silicon Valley.

Second, VOIP uncouples the two previously intertwined components of telephony: access to the network (via a wire running into your house, for example) and service (the ability to make and receive calls). Traditionally, both have been provided together. With VOIP you can buy broadband access from one firm and a telephony service from another—or even from a company in another country altogether.

Who will be the biggest losers? Not the fixed-line telcos, even though their revenues may fall by 25% by 2010 due to VOIP, according to Mr Mewawalla.

The mobile operators are likely to be the big losers, with their revenues plunging by 80%. Together, VOIP and wireless broadband could fatally undermine their costly third-generation (3G) networks.

Country Code 1 ENUM LLC Creates Technical Advisory Committee  

By PRNewswire - WASHINGTON, Dec. 7

Country Code 1 ENUM LLC (CC1 ENUM LLC) today announced the creation of a Technical Advisory Committee. The role of the Technical Advisory Committee will be to provide technical advice to CC1 ENUM LLC regarding the Tier 1 A and Tier 1 B technical requirements and to provide technical input on the standard interfaces between the different tiers and entities in the ENUM architecture.

In addition, the Committee may also consider the minimum set of Tier 2 Provider and Registrar requirements. In developing its recommendations and report, the Committee will use existing industry documents and standards (e.g., ENUM Forum Tier 1 Requirements, CSCN documents, and CC1 trial documents) as a baseline.

The recommendations and report produced by the Committee will be submitted to CC1 ENUM LLC on or before April 4, 2005, and CC1 ENUM LLC will take the recommendations into consideration in the preparation of its Country Code 1 Tier 1 Request for Proposal. Any party within Country Code 1 who is interested in volunteering to serve on the Committee, or who wishes to learn more about the Committee, should contact Karen Mulberry at (972) 729-7914 or The Technical Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on December 8, 2004 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST at 2400 N. Glenville Avenue in Dallas, Texas

Monday, December 06, 2004

Skype and P2P SIP 

Prof. Henning Schulzrinne et al. from Columbia University published recently two interesting papers. One paper "An Analysis of the Skype Peer-to-Peer Internet Telephony
is trying to re-engineer Skype and is giving some insights to the inner working of Skype.

The second paper "Peer-to-Peer Internet Telephony using SIP" is proposing a way to implement SIP as P2P protocol. The most interesting point IMHO is the possibility for a client to register with a normal SIP-proxy ond at the same time to participate in a P2P network.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

ENVY - also wanna have! 

James Enck is again right on the spot, if he talks about Broadband Envy.

He is citing an article in Telecomweb: Hong Kong ISP Will Be First To Offer Gigabit-To-The-Home

While most people in the world (especially we Europeans) can only hope for 5 Mb/s asymmetrical broadband in the near future, and just a relative handful can look forward to 20 Mb/s or faster delivered by technologies such as FTTx and ADSL2+, residents of Hong Kong are about to get the world’s first 1 Gb/s residential broadband. And it’s fully symmetrical 1Gb/s no less, in the form of Ethernet delivered to a jack in their homes over standard Cat 5 copper wiring by City Telecom (HK) Ltd, a company that started life 12 years ago with just $65,000 in start-up capital.

Moreover users who don’t need all that speed or don’t want to pay for it have the option of taking “only” 100 Mb/s symmetrical service at $35 per month, less than U.S. and European carriers charge for asymmetrical DSL or cable broadband at a fraction of the speed. The 100Mb/s service launched this month, and the 1 Gb/s service set for rollout in the second quarter of 2005, are upgrades to City Telecom’s current 10 Mb/s symmetrical service, itself an offering of which most people in the world can only dream.

Considerings this, James later post on Japan gets it fits very well. Luckily James seems to be able to read Japanise and translates some statements made by Keiichi Enoki (VP of Products and Services at NTT-DoCoMo):

... It seems that at an event in Tokyo a couple of weeks back, Keiichi Enoki, VP of Products and Services at DoCoMo, sat on a panel wherein he expressed anxiety as to whether 4G technology would ever come about in the way people expect. The article is here, and while it's in Japanese, luckily that's a language I read. On top of the predictable discussion of licensed vs. unlicensed spectrum coming into conflict in Japan, Mr. Enoki says (my translation), "There's also Skype. Maybe we're moving to a situation where it will be enough just to have an internet connection." I and others have been saying that for two years, but it's interesting to hear such a powerful figure from a behemoth like DoCoMo going anywhere near this thesis, at least in a public forum ....

So if already DoCoMo - the king of services - has fears to be reduced to a simple access provider, what about fixed line telcos? And how will 3-4G compete with 1 GBit/s for two digit $ prices/month? And there are still people out wanting to charge you for plain voice calls per minute and for 160 Byte SMS messages?

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