Greg Galitzine : Greg Galitzine's VoIP Authority Blog
Greg Galitzine

March 2009

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ShoreTel Upgrades Unified Communications Offer

March 31, 2009

  ShoreTel has released the latest version of its Unified Communications software, ShoreTel 9. Among the new features, ShoreTel 9 is targeting mobile and desktop users with enhancements designed to enable them to communicate more effectively-regardless of location-and increase individual productivity.   I had the good fortune to meet ShoreTel Vice President of Marketing, Kevin Gavin, who shared some insights regarding the latest offering from his firm as well as the market opportunity in front of ShoreTel.

According to Gavin, "CIOs are still buying but they are considering more vendors and have become more price sensitive."   "Communications is a fundamentally strategic purchasing decision, and increasingly, UC brings hard dollar savings and CIOs are willing to spend on technology that gives a good return," he added.   The latest version of ShoreTel's flagship solution, offers a series of personalization features, including location-based services and individualized call handling, and enables users create custom call-routing scenarios to ensure priority callers can always reach them.   The solution supports integration with Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007, and according to the company, when Microsoft OCS 2007 is integrated with ShoreTel 7.5 and higher, customers can use Office Communicator to manage their ShoreTel phone, view other parties' presence, and exchange instant messages with other Microsoft and ShoreTel users.   ShoreTel 9 scales up to support larger sized businesses, offer Active Directory integration, and takes the company's renowned distributed architecture to the next level offering N+1 reliability, however it extends N+1 across the entire system, allowing customers to save money while maintaining high levels of reliability.   The upgraded solution also offers security enhancements including SRTP/AES encryption, which is designed to help ensure call privacy, as well as display encrypted call status on ShorePhone IP phones and ShoreWare Call Manager displays, so users can see at a glance that the call is secure.   As far as mobility is concerned, ShoreTel 9 offers location-based services for GPS-enabled mobile devices, allowing users to automatically custom route calls based on the user's location, ensuring that their most important contacts can always reach them, without having to manually manage their call handling settings.   For a full list of enhancements and features view the press release.

ADTRAN Launches Alliance Program; Targets SMB

March 31, 2009

Building on their recent momentum and looking to leverage the best of what the market has to offer, ADTRAN today announced d the ADTRAN Alliance Program, a collaboration between ADTRAN and a number of best-in-breed technology and service providers delivering solutions centered on the NetVanta 7000 converged IP PBX.   This first phase of the Alliance Program features both IP telephony (IPT) technology partners and SIP trunking service providers. In order to be considered for the program, vendors and service providers must have completed an interoperability certification program proving that their services or solutions complement ADTRAN's NetVanta 7000.   "With a network-wide view of our customers' issues and challenges, we created the ADTRAN Alliance Program to help identify leading technology and service providers that are particularly well equipped to address the key needs of SMBs," said Chris Thompson, senior product manager, ADTRAN.   IP Telephony Technology Partners offer innovative solutions that have been strategically chosen to address specific applications in conjunction with the NetVanta 7000 Series. These best-in-breed partners include:   CounterPath Incendonet LifeSize Communications Multi-Tech Polycom Resource Software International (RSI) SIP Print, and snom   These partners were selected to address specific market needs that growing small and medium businesses are looking to deploy.   These markets include:   Desktop IP Phones (Polycom) DECT Wireless Phones (snom) SoftPhones (Counterpath) Speech Recognition (Incendonet) Call Accounting (RSI) Call Recording (SIP Print) Unified Messaging (MultiTech) Telepresence/Video Conferencing (Lifesize)   SIP Trunking Service Providers who offer IP telephony services that are certified to be fully interoperable with the NetVanta 7000 include: BroadVox Covad Communications CommPartners Connect Speakeasy Voxitas

Motorola, Vocera Team for Healthcare Solution

March 31, 2009

Motorola, Inc. and Vocera Inc., expanded their relationship with an agreement to jointly deliver solutions combining Vocera's experience in providing targeted communications solutions and Motorola's expertise in enterprise handheld devices. The joint solution addresses the healthcare market, and is designed to deliver improved healthcare at a patient's bedside.   Healthcare staff will be able to utilize the Vocera communications system on Motorola's Enterprise Digital Assistants (EDA) and voice-over-wireless LAN (VoWLAN) smartphones to improve collaboration, increase patient safety, and provide more attentive care.   The first Vocera-enabled solutions will be a range of Motorola EDAs, including the MC70, MC75, and MC55. Vocera has also developed a software client that will be sold as a software upgrade to run on the Windows Mobile handheld computers delivering instant VoWLAN communication capabilities.   Also announced was the Vocera smartphone, which in addition to traditional full phone functionality will offer Vocera's signature voice-enabled calling and messaging capabilities within the enterprise. The solution will be based on Motorola's TEAM VoWLAN solution, The new semi-rugged phone will run the Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, giving users access to a wide variety of applications, such as electronic medical records.      

8x8 Launches Enterprise Scale Virtual Office IP PBX Solution

March 30, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to meet with 8x8's Huw Rees to discuss that company's steps to move their Virtual Office hosted IP PBX solution "upstream" to serve larger organizations in the small to medium sized business range.   Well, today the company officially announced the availability of an enterprise version of its hosted IP PBX phone service suited for deployment in larger organizations. This latest solution is designed to fit in a variety of environments, including a single building, a campus or distributed across multiple locations.   Positioned as the latest generation of 8x8's broadband agnostic hosted IP PBX business phone solutions, 8x8 Virtual Office Enterprise is now being positioned to offer a host of features, flexibility and the economics of hosted VoIP to enterprise environments.   In a briefing today, Rees explained the announcement. "It's not just the technology," he said, "we completely re-did the network architecture."   To meet the critical performance requirements of large corporations, the 8x8 Virtual Office Enterprise solution provides high availability, quality and redundancy. 8x8 recently upgraded its service infrastructure, which included deploying a new triple redundant architecture across three independent data centers with each center connected to redundant IP access providers.   As a result of this new architecture, companies that experience a failure of any software component, server, cluster or even a complete data center failure will not experience an impact on the service to the end customer.   Looking ahead, keep your eyes open for 8x8 to release some unified communications related news later this year.

Mitel Meeting Notes

March 30, 2009

I visited with Mitel today, and they showed me several solutions designed to drive productivity, enhance customer service, and simplify network management. Thanks go to Stephen Beamish, vice president of business development and strategic alliances and Danielle McNeil, public relations manager for spending the time with me to discuss the new solutions.   First we discussed the Mitel Business Dashboard, a management portal designed to allow enterprise and contact center management to monitor call activity and collect trend data on call volumes and times.
  The intelligent call tracking solution is available on the Mitel 500 Communication Platform.   In addition to the Business Dashboard, I also received a firsthand look at Mitel's latest desktop IP Phone, the 5360.   The 5360 color phone with Web capabilities designed to deliver a whole series of HTML-based applications. The phone boasts a 7-inch touch-screen display, which grants access to the applications. The device also features wideband audio, embedded gigabit Ethernet, and a built-in HTML toolkit for application development.   And lastly, while not exactly telling me what the surprise would be, Beamish told me of an upcoming Mitel promotion scheduled for April 16th.

Dimension Data Drives Productivity, Cost Savings

March 30, 2009

Down at the VoiceCon show in Orlando today I had the opportunity to meet with Mark Zerbe of Dimension Data. Zerbe is vice president, Converged Communications at the IT services and solutions provider.   Our discussion ranged to include a series of topics, but the key message that Zerbe spoke to was the fact that clients today want to talk about solutions that drive productivity and cut costs.   Zerbe told me that he believes that integrated collaboration is the technology wave for clients to ride this economic transition, in fact, he said, "IC may turn out to be the wave that helps pull us out of this 'transition.'"   I asked him to explain why it seems that video collaboration solutions seem to have taken off recently, to which he responded:   "Cisco Telepresence + Microsoft OCS + slow economy are combining to drive the market to adopt integrated video solutions."   The proof of course is in what the customers think:   The confluence of these technologies is helping to transform organizations, and customers are saying that these solutions are driving productivity and saving them money.

Charter Moves to Next Phase in Bankruptcy

March 27, 2009

Charter Communications, Inc., one of the largest cable companies in the U.S. today commenced the next phase of its previously announced financial restructuring, which is expected to reduce the Company's debt by approximately $8 billion.   "The financial restructuring is good news for Charter and our customers and, if approved, will result in Charter being better positioned to deliver the products and services our customers demand now and in the future," said Neil Smit, President and Chief Executive Officer.   According to the NY Times, Charter reportedly had about $21.7 billion in debt at the end of 2008. After the bankruptcy, the company will have $13 billion mainly in bank debt, which expires from 2013 to 2016, the Times reported.   So here's a major company, a virtual monopoly in many of its markets I bet, going into a structured bankruptcy in order to emerge in a better financial position on the other side.   Students in today's current events/economics classes are probably left scratching their heads... "What?

DIRECTV Tops for Would-Be TV Service Switchers... Really?

March 26, 2009

Seeking Alpha has an article titled, Who's Winning the Cable Service Provider Wars? that discusses a recent ChangeWave survey.   While some of the results make perfect sense, other results may surprise you as they did me.   ChangeWave surveyed 2,830 respondents and found that price is now the key issue when consumers decide to switch TV service providers. Given the state of the economy, that's not too surprising. Apparently 48% of respondents who plan to switch their cable, satellite or fiber-optic TV provider in the next six months say price is the primary reason.   Slightly more surprising, but perhaps understandable is the fact that when asked how satisfied they were with their current TV service provider, respondents overwhelmingly gave fiber-optic TV services high marks.   According to the research, Verizon's FiOS service tops the list in terms of having the highest percentage of customers who say they are Very or Somewhat Satisfied with their provider. AT&T's U-Verse service is second.

Microsoft Surveys SMBs to Identify Business Priorities

March 25, 2009

   Microsoft today released its first-ever Microsoft SMB Insight Report, which is planned as an annual study of the business challenges and technology priorities facing SMBs.

The report identified virtualization, IT consolidation, business intelligence, software as a service (SaaS) and support of remote workers as the top technology investment priorities for SMBs in 2009.   The authors surveyed over 600 Microsoft Small Business Specialists in five countries.   The following are some of Microsoft's key findings on the technologies most likely to drive growth and profitability for SMBs in 2009:   ·         50% identified virtualization or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the technology most likely to reduce operating costs. ·         The Small Business Specialists expect a 20 % increase this year in the number of SMBs that use software as a service. ·         More than 50 % of the Small Business Specialists considered customer relationship management (CRM), virtualization or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the best investment for maximizing business growth in a down economy. ·         Nearly 40 % expect an increased interest in business intelligence and identified it as a critical tool for helping improve a customer's experience and increase loyalty. ·         More than half of the surveyed Small Business Specialists anticipate an increase in the number of SMB remote workers, and nearly 60 % expect that the shift to more remote workers also will lead to bigger roles and more responsibilities for those individuals working remotely.   A complete version of the 2009 Microsoft SMB Insight Report is available online.    

XConnect Certifies Covergence Session Manager

March 23, 2009

XConnect continues to certify products as XConnect-Ready.   The latest product to earn the distinction is Covergence's Session Manager. The Covergence Session Manager (CSM) is described by the company as "a comprehensive package of security, Web-enabling and session management solutions for SIP applications and services marketed to service providers and enterprises."   The formal release, which hits the wires tomorrow, states:   Certification through the XConnect Ready Partners Program establishes that service providers deploying CSM can query XConnect's ENUM registry for session-routing information. The designation also means the CSM's routing and peering functions work securely and seamlessly for members of XConnect federations. This ensures, in turn, that calls from a CSM-equipped service provider's network can be routed over IP through any XConnect federation member, reaching end points all over the world while bypassing the PSTN.   The CSM is the latest device to complete interoperability testing and earn the XConnect certification.

Skype for SIP: VoIP Provider Targets Corporate PBX Market

March 23, 2009

It was only a matter of time.   Skype today announced the Skype For SIP beta program, which will enable businesses to receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users on SIP-enabled PBX systems, connecting a company's Web site to the PBX system via click-to-call. The beta is initially available to a limited number of participants.   The financial benefits are clear, allowing businesses to connect to over 400 million registered Skype users while offering the features and integration capabilities of traditional office PBX systems.   According to the official announcement:   The beta version of Skype For SIP will enable business users to: ·         Place Skype calls to landlines and mobile phones worldwide from any connected SIP-enabled PBX; reducing costs with Skype's low-cost global rates ·         Purchase Skype's online numbers, to receive calls to the corporate PBX from landlines or mobile phones ·         Manage Skype calls using their existing hardware and system applications such as call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail.   Beginning today, SIP users, phone system administrators, developers and service partners are invited to apply to the Skype For SIP beta program. Applicants will need to be businesses, have an installed SIP based IP-PBX system, as well as a level of technical competency to configure their own SIP-enabled PBX.   During the beta period all calls will be charged at standard Skype rates. Further pricing details will be announced when the product is fully launched later this year.    

8x8 Visit With Huw Rees

March 18, 2009

If it's Wednesday, it must be San Jose...   Or in this case, more specifically, Santa Clara.   My colleagues and I just stopped in to see our friends at 8x8, who were gracious enough to spend some time with us on this cloudy day.   Things are moving steadily forward at 8x8, and according to Huw Rees, Vice President of Business and Channel Development, the firm continues to execute on its strategy of selling their Virtual Office services into the small and medium sized business (SMB) market space. Rees told us that they are focused on ramping up sales of their virtual trunking products and Microsoft Response Point services, as well as expanding their channel strategy to build a larger channel to serve ever larger customers, working up to the "M" of the SMB.   8x8 serves customers from 5 employees to several hundred employees, but according to Rees, the average customer tends to the smaller end of that scale. The goal of the channel expansion is is to grow the number of larger customers.   Anecdotal evidence points to a trend where larger organizations are more comfortable with using hosted communications services, and 8x8 is certainly in a position to serve this market.   We also went on a tour of the 8x8 facility, and we saw the variety of elements that go into making a successful VoIP service provider, including the NOC or network operations center, the QA testing workspace, the higher-level support call center, and the shipping/receiving dock, which according to Rees sees such volume, that 8x8 is the largest FedEx customer in Santa Clara.   We also got a glimpse into some of the exciting things that will be coming down the pike from 8x8, and I look forward to sharing those with my readers as soon as I am able to.

Alcatel-Lucent CFO Sees Profitability Ahead

March 13, 2009

A French newspaper is quoting Alcatel-Lucent's CFO as saying he expects a return to profitability by the latter part of next year.   Paul Tufano, the company's chief financial officer, was quoted in Les Echos, as saying, "Regarding net income, we expect to return to profits during 2010, most likely in the second-half of the year."   Back in December company CEO Ben Verwaayen unveiled Alcatel-Lucent's strategic plan, which called for working closely with Alcatel-Lucent's service provider, enterprise and application partners to -- as Verwaayen said -- "innovate, collaborate and partner... to stimulate a sustainable business model for the industry that will fuel innovation and the capital investment required to expand the overall web experience to more people and businesses."   At the time, company officials offered a break-even forecast in terms of operating profit in 2009.   As I wrote in the December piece:   In 2010, Alcatel-Lucent is targeting to achieve a gross margin in the mid thirties range and an operating margin in the mid single-digit range, and looking ahead to 2011, the goal of the company is to achieve a gross margin in the mid to high thirties range and an operating margin in the mid to high single-digit range.

Google Launches Voicemail to Text

March 12, 2009

Google is introducing Google Voice, which is based on the technology of Grand Central Communications, a company they acquired in July 2007.                         The new service marries innovative new phone features with Google's e-mail service (Gmail) allowing users to receive transcribed voicemail messages in their e-mail inbox.   According to Craig Walker, posting on the Official Google Blog:   The new application improves the way you use your phone. You can get transcripts of your voicemail and archive and search all of the SMS text messages you send and receive. You can also use the service to make low-priced international calls and easily access Goog-411 directory assistance.   While not entirely a new application (see Spinvox and PhoneTag... Vonage offers a service like this...

XConnect to Certify NetNumber; Liverpool Wins

March 10, 2009

XConnect will officially certify NetNumber's TITAN (Transactional IP Telephony Addressing and Numbering) server as being XConnect-Ready. In other good news for XConnect CEO Eli Katz, Liverpool has just defeated Real Madrid 4-0. Check out the full story and a brief interview with Katz here.

Flying Home, WIsh I Nabbed a "Demo Unit" From TI

March 6, 2009

I'm at DFW, waiting on my early flight back to the New York area.   As I mentioned in my last post, I learned this week that Sipera is up to some interesting things.   I also stopped by Texas Instruments on this trip, and in addition to getting a run down on their OMAP 4 strategy I learned  about some of the other things they just showcased at the Mobile World Congress show.   Robert Tolbert, platform marketing manager, OMAP platform business unit shared the company's recent news, and explained the company's activity in TI's quest to continue to improve user experience and the power properties of the devices that TI chips are deployed in.   Tolbert also discussed the company's recent announcement (with Samsung) of PicoDLP technology, which will be available in a Samsung handset soon,   After the briefing we took a tour of TI's Wireless Application Center (WAC), where I got to see the PicoDLP technology up close and personal. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a tiny projector, which can take your source video (as an example) and project it onto any nearby surface, such as a wall, or the back of an airplane seat. The quality is amazing, but to me the fact that this technology is available in a handset or a standalone device smaller than a deck of cards is pretty remarkable.   I almost wish I could have taken a "review copy" of the device to trial on my flight home today. It would be a great way to catch up on some of the movies I have yet to watch, or perhaps just review the video interviews that I conducted in Dallas this week.

Dallas Trip Winds Down; Sipera News

March 5, 2009

So my week in Dallas is finally winding down. Not that it hasn't been a great week, with interesting meetings with a number of the companies who reside astride the north Dallas Telecom corridor.   In the last two days I've spent time in the offices of Telstrat, NEI, NEC, Fujitsu, Texas Instruments, Excel, and Apptrigger; that's in addition to the executives I interviewed from a number of companies attending the Comptel show in Grapevine this week.   The interviews should be online shortly, to see if they've been posted, please visit the TMCnet video library.   I'll be following up with posts and articles about all the companies I met with, but in the meantime I wanted to share a bit of news from Sipera that's not made the rounds of the mainstream media just yet.   The company has just released an IP Video sniffer called UCSniff2.0. Until now, the information has only been posted on security boards and community sites, and on the SourceForge site at   The UCSniff2.0 eavesdrops, captures and records video conferencing sessions and works on regular IP Telephony too. Using the tool, an IT manager can perform a man in the middle voice capture and can reconstruct the voice call, shows holes in a security policy, and enable those responsible for a site's security to fix the application.   The timing is good, as many industry pundits are hailing 2009-10 as the timeframe when IP video comes into its own; the solution allows an IT manager to test their environment and move quickly to address issues.   Sipera also told me about VideoJak, an application designed to allow an IT manager to examine any vulnerabilities with regard to system availability.   According to a description on the SourceForge site:   VideoJak is an IP Video security assessment tool that can simulate a proof of concept DoS against a targeted, user-selected video session and IP video phone.

tw telecom's Herda Calls for National Business Broadband Policy

March 3, 2009

tw telecom Chairman, CEO and President, Larissa Herda, delivered a keynote at Comptel this evening, calling on the industry to engage Congress and the FCC in establishing a national Broadband Policy for Businesses that will spur innovation for enterprises and create jobs in what she termed, the New Broadband Economy.

Just hours before Herda's presentation, President Obama ended months of sepculation, and announced that he has nominated Julius Genachowski to head the Federal Communications Commission.   Herda urged the competitive carriers in attendance to fight for a national business broadband policy that includes three critical points -- effective regulation of Special Access, including Ethernet services, and UNE last-mile facilities; interconnection for IP voice and data services; and a reform or elimination of the forbearance process.   She noted that 2009 has been quite a year so far, with a new administration, a crazy market, and many challenges, but there is hope.   Herda described the industry as facing uncertainty, with treacherous market conditions, and sleepless nights, the likes of which many had never experienced before.   She told the audience that we need wisdom from government as well as business leaders, to navigate these treacherous waters.   "As an industry, we are at a cross roads," Herda said, "we face new challenges, and a long road lies ahead of us."   She got a good response from the assembled group when she likened the past decade to a popular reality television show. "The past eight years has been Survivor FCC, but with no immunity on the island," she said.   Herda called on government regulators to treat everyone fairly. "There cannot be one set of rules for only the most powerful and a different set of rules for everyone else," she said.   "We can continue down the same paths, permitting consolidation and deregulation to limit competition and forestall innovation," Herda said, "or we can unleash the power of competition for the good of the entire U.S. economy"   "We must enable the enterprise with technological solutions that will propel and accelerate growth," she said.   In the end it's about the customer.

Infonetics: Carrier VoIP Market Down

March 3, 2009

Infonetics Research has released the Q4 2008 edition of its Service Provider VoIP Equipment and Subscribers report.   And the news is not good.   According to Infonetics' Diane Myers, Directing Analyst, Service Provider VoIP and IMS: "The fourth quarter of 2008 confirmed what we started seeing in the previous two quarters in North America, with signs in Western Europe and some parts of Asia as well: the market for carrier VoIP equipment has stalled due to large deployments nearing completion and shifting strategic priorities. The global economic downturn will likely exacerbate the drop in VoIP equipment sales."   According to the report, the streak of double-digit annual revenue growth, which has characterized the worldwide carrier VoIP equipment market since 2002, has come to a close.   In fact, the market declined for the first time ever in 2008, dropping 6%.   According to Infonetics, large RBOCs and ILECs are putting the brakes on VoIP as major projects are (or have been) completed. Furthermore, the economic downturn is forcing operators to move their capital expenditures to other strategic priorities.   There were some bright spots in the report. On the plus side, the Infonetics research bears out the following:   ·         The number of residential and SOHO VoIP subscribers worldwide increased at a steady clip, topping 107 million in 2008, driven mostly by EMEA and Asia Pacific; ·         Nortel increased softswitch and trunk media gateway revenue, gaining share in both categories; ·         Sonus increased its trunk media gateway revenue 45% in 4Q08 from 3Q08.

ITU Says One-Fourth of World is Online

March 3, 2009

Out of context, it's a funny pull quote: "Internet usage is up due to an increase in job searches." A sad commentary on the state of the times.   However, in context, it makes for a good example of one small element of usage behavior that is driving increased Internet traffic, in the face of a global economic crunch.    The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says that that nearly a quarter of the world's 6.7 billion people use the Internet, with use more than doubling from 11% in 2002.   Jonathan Wright, Director of Wholesale Products at Interoute, owner operator of Europe's largest next-generation network, had this to say:   "Internet usage is simply reflective of global demographics. Whilst the digital divide is ever present, demands on telecom providers are from both sides. On the one hand, established Internet users are demanding higher capacity connectivity due to their engagement with more sophisticated uses of the internet applications like peer to peer and social networking sites that require higher bandwidth support from access technologies. And, on the other hand, the entry of new users driving initially less sophisticated demands for internet access from economies like China and India is exploding.   "The Internet explosion will not be interrupted by the economic downturn in the developed world.

... yes, I made it to Dallas

March 2, 2009

Sorry! Didn't mean to leave you hanging... My flight was fine. A little de-icing, and we were off to DFW. When I arrived I discovered that no, it was not 70 degrees, but it is supposed to warm up this week. Inany event it was warmer than NY City today. The hassle this morning ended up being a distant memory, as the meetings got in full swing. I had wonderful meetings with Sprint, Neustar, 360 Networks, TransNexus, and there's so much more to come tomorrow. Best part is, all of these meetings were recorded and will be available for download from TMCnet's video page shortly. I'll have more tomorrow, so stay tuned.

F-f-flying to Dallas?

March 2, 2009

 It's cold (20) here in NY this morning. Cold, snowy, windy, and yet they think they're going to get our flight off the ground in this "lull" or window between storms. My colleagues have been rebooked on later flight as was I, but when I got to LaGuardia this morning, they told me that an earlier seat opened up, so I'm going for it. We board in 15... I hear it's like 70 in Dallas. Can't wait. Just noticed I need to adjust my camera's date/time function. It's not 2006, is it?

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