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Jon Arnold and I finally got it all together and are proud to announce the launch of our new portal, IP Communications Insights.

I'll let the announcement we sent over the wire this morning fill you in on the details:

Robins Consulting Group and J Arnold & Associates Announce the Launch of IP Communications Insights

New Web Site is Home to IP Communications Industry Newsletter, Blogs, Podcasts, Newsfeeds, and Market Research and Intelligence

NEW YORK & TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Robins Consulting Group (RCG) and J Arnold & Associates (JAA) - both prominent IP communications industry research, marketing and consulting firms - have proudly announced the launch of their new independent Web platform "IP Communications Insights", located at

IP Communications Insights is the culmination of a partnership between the two firms that includes an array of marketing, communications, advisory, consulting and research services for IP communications technology vendors and service providers.

Designed to be an independent platform for industry thought leaders and market intelligence, the goal for IP Communications Insights is to offer valuable coverage, analysis and information not readily available elsewhere.

In addition, IP Communications Insights will publish an ongoing series of industry reports designed to be very topical, highly strategic, concise and affordably priced. One study in the works, "VoIP Mashups - Where's the Money?" is a critical evaluation and insider view of this rapidly evolving space. The possibilities for VoIP mashups are limitless, but the business case scenarios are not. This ground-breaking report will survey today's landscape and provide a strategic roadmap for making VoIP mashups a viable business.

Marc Robins, IP Communications Insights Co-Founder and Chief Technology Evangelism Officer of RCG, has been involved in the IP communications industry since its inception, and has served the industry as a reporter and analyst, conference producer and magazine publisher, and marketing executive and consultant.
Continue Reading...






Jon Arnold just let me in on the official "hard" launch of a new Web portal called "IP Convergence TV", of which Jon is Portal Editor. Here's Jon's blog post about it.

IP Convergence TV is a non-profit initiative that Comverse is heading, along with a group of charter sponsors including Intel, AudiCodes, Tilgin, BEA, and Blueslice. All these companies support the initiative by contributing content about all the various aspects of IP convergence - IPTV, Triple Play, FMC, etc.

Already, there's a good chunk of content on the site, and it has a nice, clean layout and very easy navigation. Definitely worth checking out!



Off to VON Tomorrow

March 19, 2007 9:02 PM

I'm off to the VON show in San Jose, CA tomorrow morning, and I'm interested to see if there's any truth behind Thomas Howe's brave post today about why he's not attending the event. I'll be meeting with other technologists while I'm there, so I'm curious whether this position is shared by them.

For my part, I'm looking forward to shooting the breeze with my industry friends, making new friends, and (hopefully) discovering new innovative solutions and sussing out relevant industry trends.

Also, let me extend an invitation to those also attending the event to contact me if you're interested in meeting up.

More on Second Life Voice Offer

March 19, 2007 8:52 PM

I knew I was onto something hot when I posted about this a short time ago.

Apparently my colleague Jon Arnold agrees, and has this much expanded analysis of the offer - and provides a well-deserved booster shot for the technology masterminds behind the scenes at DiamondWare.

Loyal Blog Readers: Please enjoy this sneak peek at my upcoming Mind Share 2.0 column (more like a mini-whitepaper) -- co-authored by Cbeyond CTO Chris Gatch -- that will be running in the April issue of Internet Telephony magazine:

Managed Services Providers: Delivering on the Promise of High-Value Services

As the IP communications industry continues to evolve and mature, an array of new companies offering highly reliable and robust new products and services have made their way to market, providing users with an uncommon wealth of new productivity enhancing communications capabilities at extremely competitive prices.

Foremost among these new entrants to the marketplace are a breed of companies commonly referred to as Managed Services Providers, or MSPs. These MSPs represent a special type of service provider that leverages new Internet technologies to combine the best of Web service and network service models to deliver a whole new class of hosted services to users, and also represent a new genre of investment opportunity to Wall Street.

MSPs typically provide a unique bundling of various hosted voice and data communications services and applications, often coupled with quality of service guarantees, robust security measures and Web-based administrative features. But what exactly is a managed services provider, and what differentiates an MSP from a Web services and network services company?
The Two Types of Integration

Service providers establish their unique identity through integration – using process and technology to make distinct systems work together for the benefit of their customers.
When one examines the concept of integration with respect to an IP-based services provider, there are really two distinct types of integration to consider: network integration and application integration. In fact, the types of integration that are practiced in large-part determines whether a provider is a network services operator, Web services provider, or an MSP.

MSP%20Figure%201.JPG The matrix represented in Figure I to the left illustrates the differentiation between these two types of integration as well as the progression of derived value as the degree of integration increases across the two planes.

For example, a basic html-based website represented in the lower left-hand quadrant functions rather autonomously and displays little or no integration with other network resources or other applications running on a network. Continue Reading...

It's "Prime" Time for Skype

March 11, 2007 5:10 PM | 3 Comments
Josh Lowenstein, over at the Webware blog from, recently posted about a new paid-by-the-minute service from Skype called Skype Prime.

According to the post, Skype Prime is aimed at consultants and other professionals that need to monetize their phone time. Such users can set their own per-minute rates that get charged to the caller. Skype Prime takes 30 percent of the fees to pay for the service, and users can set up as many types of paid-for calls as they want, with short descriptions and custom pricing.

Each type of call gets listed on the users Skype profile for others to see, and there are two options for pricing: a one-time fee, or charging by the minute. Continue Reading...

Second Life Trials Voice Chat

February 28, 2007 8:06 PM | 1 Comment

second_life_logo.jpg The popular, virtual reality site "Second Life", run by Linden Labs, will shortly unveil a new limited service beta trial in which they will give users the option of chatting up other avatars with voice instead of text.

Prior to this announcement, Second Life users wanting to communicate with one another have had two basic choices: text chat (either personal or in a group setting) or the use of third-party voice applications like Skype.

Linden Labs  has teamed up with VoIP technology partners Vivox and DiamondWare to engineer the service, which goes live on March 6 for a limited group of users. By the end of the month, Linden Labs hopes to extend the feature to all Second Life inhabitants.

Second Life's new integrated voice chat feature will offer a group mode that lets users hear voice conversations in their immediate proximity, and personal and regular group voice chat, where users don't need to be near each other to have a conversation.

After added voice chat to its site in late 2003, many Second Life users have been clamoring for the same feature.  And after seeing users add Skype and other applications like TeamSpeak or Ventrilo into the site, Linden Labs apparently got serious about development.

The plan is to initially provide voice free of charge during the beta. Down the road, Linden Labs is considering limiting the offering to mainland property owners and island owners who pay a $295 monthly maintenance fee, and charging users living on the wrong side of the virtual train tracks an additional fee or making them upgrade to the current plan.

It's clear the site is at the very early stages of incorporating real-time voice chat, and it will be interesting to see what emerges from the user community and how people incorporate it into their virtual business and personal lives. Continue Reading...

Ebay's Year-End Earnings Report

January 31, 2007 11:46 AM

I had to chuckle -- and scratch my head -- when I heard about the "glum" news regarding the financial performance of Ebay's VoIP operation, a.k.a. Skype. According to Ebay CEO Meg Whitman, "The monetization efforts we outlined at the time of the acquisition are not developing as quickly as we had hoped." During 2006, Skype generated $195 million in revenue -- after Ebay laid out $2.6 billion for the company in 2005.

Am I missing something here? A lackluster "monetization" result was basically guaranteed given the decision to give away free Skype Out calls for the entire 2006 calendar year for North American subscribers. Continue Reading...

Back from Sunshine and IT Expo

January 29, 2007 6:32 PM

Fort%20Lauderdale.jpg I just returned from travels south, to Fort Lauderdale and Internet Telephony EXPO -- and arrived in Winter in New York. It was bound to arrive at some point (although I thankfully missed the deep freeze, eight-degree temperatures of a couple of days ago).

The show was great -- well-attended and full of good content in the conferences.  Jon Arnold and I spent some time together basking in the glow of our recent announcement.  See Jon's post about show highlights.

sunburn.jpgAnd yes, I did spend a little time in the sun -- and barely escaped serious harm. Continue Reading...

Jon Arnold and I figured that since most everyone else was making some sort of announcement, issuing press releases and generally making noise  -- especially to pull in the crowds at Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO East going on right now -- that it was OK to make some noise of our own.

Hopefully it will be music to your ears

Robins%20Consulting%20Group%20Text%20with%20Logo.JPG          JArnold_logo.jpg

Robins Consulting Group and J Arnold & Associates Announce New Partnership

Two Prominent IP Communications Industry Research and Consulting Practices Join Forces to Offer an Array of Services and Co-Develop New Sources of Industry Intelligence

NEW YORK, TORONTO, and FORT LAUDERDALE, January 23, 2007-- Robins Consulting Group (RCG) and J Arnold & Associates (JAA) – both leading IP Communications industry research, marketing and consulting firms – have proudly announced a new partnership that includes the two firms joining forces to provide an array of marketing, communications, strategy consulting and market research services to their growing roster of IP communications technology vendors and service providers.

In addition, RCG and JAA will be jointly developing new information resources, including an electronic newsletter and related Web site, which will offer unique industry analysis, a healthy dose of opinion, provide a new platform for other industry thought leaders, and offer valuable coverage and information not readily available elsewhere about the rapidly evolving IP communications industry.

Veteran industry thought leader Marc Robins, RCG's founder and Chief Evangelism Officer, has been involved in the IP communications industry since its inception, and has served the industry as a leading reporter and analyst, conference producer and magazine publisher, and marketing executive and consultant. Continue Reading...
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