Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Skype, Asterisk (and IMS?) 

Nearly every week or so a new cool application using the Skype API is launched. Alec Saunders is reporting from the Skype API session at VON Canada:
Jon’s got Goren Gershon of WebDialogs, Andrew Hansen of Virtual Communications, Ben Lilienthal from Vapps, and Bill Tam from EQO communications.
I am really a fan from Gorens's Unyte, but did not find anything on the new mentioned application Skylook. I also had immediately to check out EQO and this is really nice. It allows you to see your Skype buddy status on your mobile phone and also to make (and receive) calls to them and to basically any number via your mobile phone. EQO is using here a call-back approach, saving some money on long distance calls - or better transferring the money from the mobile operator to Skype ;-)

Side remark: I also like the fact that the EQO developers even correct some of the stupidy of the device manufacturers. I always went mad if I am asked e.g. doing a driver update or have to load an application on my mobile phone what type of device I am using, and I basically have no clue. Some manufactures consider it funny to name their device with at least a four digit number e.g. Nokia 6630 and they do not give you any indication on the device itself about this number. Same with my Fujitsu/Siemens P-Series Lifebook, which also has a four digit number attached, starting with 7-something.

The EQO guys also have to ask you which brand and type of mobile phone you have to be able to send the correct file to the mobile phone for installation, but they are clever enough to present you also with a PICTURE of you mobile phone. That's nice.

Alec is also announcing in his previous post about making iotum's Relevance Engine available for Asterisk. See also iotum's press release.

But the important point is:
As of January, Mark Spencer estimated that there were 250,000 Asterisk installations worldwide, growing at about 20,000 per month. The VoIP-Info Wiki lists hundreds of Asterisk system builders and Asterisk consultants. And IBM, Linksys, and Intel have all made commitments to the Asterisk platform.
So currently ton's of applications are developed by independent 3rd parties both for Skype and Asterisk.

Alec is saying:
I had no idea how big, actually, until about six weeks ago, when Stephan Monette, the owner of Unlimitel and an iotum business partner, told me that we should think about targeting Asterisk users with iotum.
Six weeks ago?

He is also citing Bill from ECQ:
It’s amazing that EQO was able to deliver their application in just 40 days, which Bill attributes to the quality of the Skype API. He says that he couldn’t have done the same with MSN, or AOL.
40 days?

This raises two questions regarding IMS:
  1. Who will do all these innovative applications for IMS? The telcos and their manufacturers, e.g. the new innovative AlcoLux? And how long will it take? Telco cycles are 2 years minimum.
  2. Where will these Skype and Asterisk applications already be in 3-4 years time, when the first IMS application will finally be launched?
I wonder.

UPDATE: I you want a more explicit explanation of what I mean, see Alec Saunder's speech The Future is Here at the VON Canada (BTW, an excellent replacement for Niklas).

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