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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.
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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!



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...

Radio 2.0 Under Assault

March 7, 2007 7:16 PM

pandora.jpg I just received a troubling message, sent by Pandora CEO Tim Westergren to the Pandora user community, about the fact that the Copyright Royalty Board has just dramatically increased the fees Internet radio sites must pay to the record labels. 

If this is left unchanged, the resulting financial burden would effectively stymie -- and potentially kill off -- all Internet radio sites, including Pandora.

According to Tim, "The RIAA has convinced the Copyright Royalty Board federal committee to pass rates that will kill internet radio. For now, we are continuing to operate Pandora in the belief that rationality will return."

"Online radio has brought millions of music-lovers back into music radio, and has opened up a world of opportunity and promotion for thousands of musicians - both obscure and well known. 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...

According to a piece by Thomas Claburn of Information Week, Microsoft and BT are offering  prizes for telecom mashups.

Here's the text from the writeup:

At the 3GSM World Congress 2007 in Barcelona this week, Microsoft and British Telecom announced a series of telecom service mashup competitions. The two companies are seeking applications that merge mobile phone services such as voice communication and text messaging with Internet applications like mapping and search.

The Connected Services Sandbox competition offers prizes ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 and will be managed by TopCoder, a company that administers online programming competitions.

Microsoft launched the Connected Services Sandbox in December 2006 as an online development community for independent software vendors, systems integrators, network equipment providers, and telecommunications service providers. To date, it has produced more than 50 registered services and mashups.

"We believe the Connected Services Sandbox will play a critical role in making Telco 2.0 a reality," said Michael O'Hara, general manager for the Communications Sector at Microsoft.

Freelance developers who register and Sandbox member organizations can review the competitions and rules online. The competitions consist of several usage scenarios defined by Microsoft and BT and typically require the combination of services like e-mail or document collaboration with Web services provided by the likes of Amazon, eBay, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

Microsoft plans to announce the winners at NXTcomm in Chicago this June 18-21, and to demonstrate the winning entry at its booth at the conference.
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Are You An Alexaholic?

February 20, 2007 11:48 AM

I was joking with Rich Tehrani the other day, when I sent him an email telling him I was sure he hadn't completed the 12-step Alexaholic program is a mini-mashup of sorts, where you can enter in up to 5 URLs and the site will then create a graph on the fly that shows each of the sites comparative Alexa rankings.

Apparently is so hot that it made it into the ranks of the top 2000 most heavily trafficked sites on the Web. And this with only 12 unique visitors, including Rich....Just kidding!

Great New Web 2.0 Mashup

February 14, 2007 1:22 PM | 1 Comment

Rafe Needleman, who contributes to the excellent Webware blog from, recently posted a review about a new Web 2.0 mashup site called

wiifindnearby.jpg In a nutshell, the site mashes up Google Maps, Amazon, eBay, Craiglist, and Once you enter in your location and an item you are looking to purchase, the site locates the items for sale that are nearby. A cool feature is the color coding of pins on the map that identifies whether the item is being auctioned off, sold at a retail store, or put up for sale by a private party.

There are also a number of related "spinoff" sites including (image above) and to search for game consoles, and new ones on the horizon including

Now, all that's needed is some click-to-talk and other real-time communications functionality to put the proverbial cherry on the sundae! Highly recommended!

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