Recently in Broadband Telephony Category

businessbib.jpgI thought I'd seen it all. But then a friend of mine told me about a unique "half-suit" called the Businessbib created by Tucson-based designers Brad Denboer and Jeff Adkins. Their company, Klosk, operates under the philosophy that many everyday "objects can be re-invented."

If you're looking for a special something for a friend or family member who enjoys being a talking head during videoconferences, this just might be the perfect gift!

According to the designers, "the Businessbib allows you to look perfectly put-together in a fraction of the time it takes to boot your computer. You can work from home in your underwear while presenting a polished appearance to the people that matter most. Continue Reading...

Vonage Helps Subsidize $99 Laptop

November 15, 2006 3:13 PM

In an effort to compete with Wal-Mart and other retailers, electronics retailer Circuit City has announced that it is offering a $99 Compaq laptop for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. According to a copy of the Circuit City flyer posted on the bargain-hunting site Black Friday 2006, Circuit City is selling a Compaq notebook for $299 after instant and mail-in rebates, or $99 with rebates and a 12-month subscription to Vonage.

The laptop comes with an Intel Celeron processor, 512MB of memory, a 15.4-inch screen and a 60GB hard drive.

Cable Cos Bag 11,000 New Subs/Day

November 6, 2006 2:43 PM

Om Malik has built up quite a little blog empire, and for good reason: he consistently comes up with timely and interesting posts.

One such post back in September caught me eye, as it is an explanation, in large part, as to why Vonage and other "third-party" broadband VoIP service providers are having such a tough slog in the consumer marketplace (exempting Skype and other PC-based IM/Web telephony services).

According to Cable Data News, and reported by Om, North American cable operators (including those from North of the border) are signing up nearly 11,000 customers a day, and now have close to 4.7 million subscribers. Other notable stats include losses at AT&T of 426,000 lines due to this migration to broadband VoIP service. Continue Reading...

New Skype Gear Blog

November 1, 2006 5:10 PM

In an effort to serve up information about new gizmos entering the rapidly expanding Skype product ecosystem, the company has created a new blog called Skype Gear, dedicated exclusively to the world of Skype-related hardware.

A cursory look at the site reveals some useful news, comments, reviews and behind-the-scenes information related to some of the more interesting Skype gadgets, including the new Belkin WiFi Skype Phone, the cordless Philips VOIP841, and NetGear's SPH101 WiFi phone.

According to a new study from Insight Research entitled “IP-Based Application Services Market 2006-2011" a wide array of new Internet-enabled communications services geared to the needs of consumers is expected to generate nearly $265 billion for phone companies and other telecommunications carriers worldwide over the next five years.

These new Internet-enabled services include residential video telephony; fixed-mobile convergence; file sharing services; streaming services; location-based services; and presence-based services.

What's more, the study notes that wireless and mobile telecommunications carriers seem to be making the most headway when it comes to offering these new services, mainly because they tend to have greatest amount of control over the content in their networks as well as more flexible billing platforms. Wireline carriers expect operational and infrastructure savings by deploying the new IP-based services, and are initially choosing to rollout the new services as an overlay on their existing network.

For more info, including an excerpt, table of contents, and ordering information, go to: http://www.insight-corp.com/reports/ipapps06.asp.
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With TeleGeography's new Enterprise Network Pricing Service, companies will be able to get an accurate breakdown of WAN service costs and find out how competitive their price is, and carriers can determine how their prices compare to the competition, where their best margins are hiding, how to create a discount structure, and find out at what price customers will upgrade to a VPN service offer.

The Enterprise Network Pricing Service delivers current market rates for MPLS VPN services, dedicated Internet Access, and Retail Private Line services on a global basis. This analysis provides insight into typical network pricing structures, levels of customer interest, leading service providers, and varying conditions across the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

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While roaming the aisles of the show, I came across one of the more intriging products I've seen all week -- a new key system/PBX gateway that lets SOHO and small businesses access Skype's VoIP service to make and receive free and low-cost long distance phone calls worldwide.

Called the VoSKY Exchange, from Actiontec Electronics in Sunnyvale, CA, the solution is apparently the first Skype-certified solution that allows businesses of 10-300 users to take advantage of Skype's service. The gateway can add up to four outgoing Skype lines to a Key system or PBX without requiring any changes to the equipment, phones, or user PCs, and allows all the phones extensions connected to the PBX to use Skype.

I've seen a small but growing number of companies coming out with innovative solutions that are designed to essentially "extend" broadband telephony services such as Vonage and now Skype and allow small businesses to take advantage of these low cost services, and I expect to see several more emerge in the coming months.
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This past Tuesday and Wednesday, I had the pleasure to moderate and speak on a number of panels with a number of well-regarded and incredibly knowledgeable individuals, including Jon Arnold, principal of J. Arnold and Associates; Ron Gruia, Principal Analyst and Program Leader Information and Communications Technology at market research firm Frost & Sullivan; Richard Grigonis, Executive Editor of the IP Communications Group at TMC; Andy Mercker, Director of Marketing at Sphere Communications; Ray Hernandez, Managing Partner at VC firm ROTH Capital Partners LLC; and Ken Camp, speaker, writer and consultant who also blogs about IP communications technology at IPadventures.com.

I want to thank all the above profusely for their time, invaluable insights and for making the Summit a truly enjoyable experience.

For a great review of the first session on "The State of Industry: Focus on the Corporate and Government Enterprise Marketplace", check out Richard Grigonis' article ITEXPO West 2006 Powers Up, State of the Industry Discussed. Continue Reading...

By now I hope all of you have heard about the IP Communications Business Summit, a new workshop that's been added to the agenda at the upcoming Internet Telephony Conference and EXPO in San Diego.

In case you missed the email blasts, TMC and yours truly (RCG) are presenting this unique workshop to help educate the investment community -- including venture capitalists,
investment bankers, financial industry analysts, M&A specialists, angel investors and any other interested parties -- about the leading industry trends and market drivers in the hopes of ultimately identifying attractive IP communications companies.

The discussion will be feisty, informal, and hopefully fun and illuminating for everyone.

And since admission is free with any registration plan, you have one less reason to not check it out!


Summit Speaker Update:

We recently added notable industry analysts and bloggers to the panels, including Jon Arnold of J Arnold Associates, Ronald Gruia of Frost and Sullivan, and Ken Camp of IPadventures.com.

In addition, Ray J. Hernandez, Managing Director, Investment Banking at VC firm ROTH Capital Partners, LLC, has agreed to present a session described below:

Valuing Voice over IP Services:  A Public Market Perspective
October 10, 2006, 2:15 pm -- 3:00 pm

Certainly one of the most exciting things about the IP communications market is the growth of new businesses offering Voice over IP services.  Indeed, there is still a vast amount of untapped market potential in the industry, and the dramatic rebound of the economy together with renewed confidence in the industry’s prospects has helped the growth of Voice over IP services across all market sectors. As Voice over IP services providers build their businesses, they will want to know how much their businesses are worth.  In this session, you’ll learn about how Voice over IP is being valued in the public markets and what adds to and detracts from building value in a Voice over IP business.  
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Managed Service Provider (MSP) Whaleback Systems just completed a $7.5 million Series B round of financing, led by Castile Ventures with participation from new investor Egan-Managed Capital and existing investor Ascent Venture Partners. The financing will be used to expand Whaleback's channel and geographic market coverage and to fund aggressive feature development for Whaleback's CrystalBlue SMB Voice Service.

Unlike traditional systems, the Whaleback CrystalBlue Voice Service is 100 percent premises- based and software-driven. It includes an IP PBX with Key System Unit features and Road Warrior Functionality, and features an all-inclusive, unlimited nationwide calling package for SMBs that need between 5 and 1500 stations.

Castile Ventures is investing its third fund in innovative enterprises developing future generations of enterprise, mass market and service provider information technology. Continue Reading...
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