Top Stories of the Week – July 30, 2011

Twilio shifts to VoIP, slowly pulls back support for traditional networks

Twilio, the company, which offers a service so companies and web services can add voice or SMS to their menu of options, now will provide access to a VoIP service as well. The company, whose APIs underlie popular applications like GroupMe and Beluga, now offers developers the option to use all IP communications as well as the old-school phone and mobile networks.

Previously the company’s killer app was its hooks into the old copper-based phone system that can be costly and complicated for smaller companies to learn to use and write to. It has gained huge success and helped open up voice for a wide variety of applications. Hulu, for example built its customer service call centers on Twilio. Now customers can add VoIP to the mix, said Jeff Lawson, co-founder and CEO of Twilio.

Mobile VoIP’s growth faster than video in the first half of 2011

While video streaming still dominates mobile data traffic, the use of VoIP and IMs showed faster growth in the first half of 2011, according to new research from Allot Communications.

VoIP and IM became the fastest growing application type in the six months until June, with usage increasing by 101%. Video streaming came in second at 93%, albeit from a significantly larger base. Currently VoIP and IM applications account for only 4% of bandwidth, while video takes up a sizeable 39%.

Amazon acquires Pushbutton

Amazon is buying the connected TV app developer Pushbutton, which had built the PS3, Sony Internet TV and Samsung Smart TV apps for Lovefilm, which Amazon had bought last January.

The acquisition means Amazon is also gaining a foothold in to YouView – the UK connected TV consortium of public broadcasters and ISPs – since Pushbutton is a content partner for the awaited offering.

The connected TV ecosystem is discreetly growing rapidly. New TVs from the major manufacturers are coming equipped with apps environments that represent new distribution opportunities for content owners, especially those with video – and that spells an opportunity for vendors like Pushbutton to pitch their services.

AT&T adds 200K U-verse IPTV Subscriptions

Even as cable continues to shed viewers, IPTV is on an upswing, and AT&T is leveraging the advantage. AT&T Inc. added 202,000 U-verse IPTV subs in the second quarter of 2011, bringing its total subscriber base to 5.3 million, or 21.5 percent of households served.

Overall penetration for the next-generation television service stands at a respectable 25 percent in areas where it's been available for 36 months or more. It continues to expand, as well: AT&T's U-verse deployment now reaches 29 million households, the company said. And, ARPU for U-verse triple-play customers stood at $170, up 8.3 percent year-over-year.

Voice control included with the iPhone 5

Apple is currently developing a fully-integrated voice control feature called Assistant in iOS 5, according to Internet sources. The feature is not in the current developer beta version of iOS 5, so it's possible that Assistant will be exclusive only to the iPhone 5.

It was suggested that Assistant will do more than just convert speech to text or command basic iPhone functions. It will also implement technology used in the app Siri, which Apple recently bought. Siri is a free iPhone app that uses data stored on your device like location, calendar schedule, etc. to find the best way to answer your inquiry.

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