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


Manhattan School of Music Teaches the World

April 14, 2009

Back in a previous life (GG:BTMC) I worked on Manhattan's Upper West Side managing a stationery store that was an outgrowth of a successful private bookstore serving the needs of the students at Columbia University, Barnard College, and Manhattan School of Music (MSM).   It was a fun period of my life and I was treated to a pleasant reminder of that time by a news item that came across my desk today, namely that MSM was leveraging distance learning powered by Polycom's HD Telepresence solutions to extend their classrooms to the world. 
  MSM has reportedly been using distance learning since 1996, allowing approximately 1,700 students around the world to participate in classes, workshops, and clinics to help them master their craft. Currently they are using the Polycom HDX 8000 and HDX 9000 series room telepresence and VSX 8000 series video conferencing systems to reach their audience.   As the technology evolved so too did the opportunity to reach more students, more effectively.   According to composer/conductor Robert Sirota, president of MSM, "Our use of visual communication has changed the way we do music instruction at this school in a very profound way."

"It's effective because it quickly becomes invisible," added Sirota. "After 10 or 15 minutes of using the system, you're less and less aware that you're engaged in a high-tech video call. You're simply working.

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.

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.

Digital TV Transition Put on Hold

January 26, 2009

Polycom Q4 Results Announced

January 21, 2009

Polycom announced their quarterly earnings today and the results were a mixed bag.   The Pleasanton, CA-based maker of voice and video equipment announced adjusted Q4 EPS of 42 cents, which was ahead of analysts' estimates of 40 cents.   The company also announced growth from its video services segment which accounted for two-thirds of consolidated net revenues at $141.7 million (this includes video communications - 54% and networks systems - 13%). The voice communications segment of the company's business accounted for 33% or $87.1 million, which is down as compared to Q407 when voice generated 37% of consolidated net revenues or $98.4 million.   Robert Hagerty, the firm's chairman and CEO addressed Polycom's successes in 2008 as well as the challenging economic climate and his outlook for the company into 2009:   We are pleased to have surpassed the $1 billion revenue mark in 2008. As the largest company in the Unified Collaboration industry, Polycom generated year-over-year growth in our Video Solutions business, illustrating the resilience of our fast-ROI video offering. With our Voice business showing more sensitivity to the economic environment, Polycom proactively took action in Q4 to reduce our operating cost structure and, as we announced earlier this month, we have implemented a restructuring plan designed to optimize our cost structure as we move into 2009                                                   With our rapid pace of innovation and the full breadth of our offering, we believe Polycom is the best positioned in the industry to deliver the cost-savings benefits of video adoption to our customers.

Our Growing Family

January 8, 2009

Sometimes we get so busy we don't notice the great things that occur right under our noses.   In the past few months we've welcomed several new voices to the TMC blogosphere, and we continue to expand our roster of industry experts who go out of their way to share their expertise with our audience. You simply can't find such a great lineup of IP Communications related bloggers and columnists anywhere.   Among our constellation of writers, there's one I wanted to draw your attention to today. Tsahi Levent-Levi is a Product Manager at RADVISION and he writes the Talking Video blog at TMCnet.   Check it out. You won't be sorry.   In today's entry, he addresses the video calling market and where he sees this market gaining traction.   And keep an eye on TMCnet, for we have new bloggers and columnists appearing every week.   And lastly, if you want to be a star in the firmament of TMCnet bloggers or columnists, let me know.

Panda Warns on High School Musical Borne Viruses

November 24, 2008

Attention parents: In case you weren't aware, there are bad people online. Bad people who would disguise viruses, worms, and Trojans as innocent-looking files such as songs and videos related to Disney's popular movie franchise High School Musical.   According to officials at PandaLabs, the research division of Panda Security, there's a growing rash of infected files being distributed through peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as eMule and eDonkey.   Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs said:   "Cyber-crooks are exploiting the interest of the numerous fans of these films, by hiding their creations in files with names related to High School Musical. An added danger is that many of these fans are very young and as such are more likely to fall into the trap. It is therefore a good idea to give young children a basic grounding in IT security."   When users run these infected files their computers can be affected by malicious code such as VB.ADQ, the Agent.KGR Trojan, the adware Koolbar, and other nasty stuff.

Meetings Galore

November 12, 2008

Trade shows serve as a wonderful opportunity to meet with a large number of companies and individuals in a very condensed time frame. Today I got to meet with a rather large and diverse group of companies operating in the IP Communications space.   First among today's meetings was a visit with Todd Woodstra, vice president of unified communications and emerging markets for SpinVox, the voicemail to text company.   SpinVox captures spoken messages and converts them into text. It then delivers these messages via e-mail.   On Tuesday, SpinVox announced that they were playing a major part in Avaya's new Speech to Text solution, along with Mutare Software's EVM gateway.   SpinVox provides the core recognition technology that provides the conversion of the voicemail file to text.   According to Woodstra, SpinVox is only company in this space that can provide the needed scalability to yield a successful solution. To drive the point home, he told me that SpinVox is already deployed at 13 carriers spanning 5 continents.   The service bridges silos of audio files into text and makes those files actionable and searchable, which empowers end users.   I look forward to trialing the SpinVox solution shortly.     Yesterday I wrote about Mitel and how they were getting into the Telepresence space in addition to offering an upgraded suite of Unified Communications solutions.   Today I spoke with Mitel's Kevin Johnson, director of analyst and consultant relations, who shared more details about the company's announcement.   In addition to the telepresence portion of the announcement, Johnson spoke of several upgrades including a revamped UC desktop client for users (Mitel Unified Communicator) and extended mobile integrations for Windows Mobile and Nokia devices and a similar integration on Blackberry devices, which enable mobile users to access PBX functionality when on the go.   Johnson touched on the economy and mentioned that in these trying economic times, UC solutions must offer fast, well defined payback to be seriously considered.   Johnson said Mitel offers UC Solutions "for the real world" -- marketing speak that underscores the company's pragmatic approach to marketing products and benefits to the real world.     I also met with Mike Storella and Michael Knieling of snom, who were excited with the launch of their latest desk phone, the snom 820.   The new 820 phone includes snom's foray into the wideband audio space, and features the company's klarVOICE technology.   Other features include an HD display, WiFi functionality which offers a way to deploy the phone quickly without having to draw a wire to the desk, secure VoIP with SRTP and TLS as well as all the usual standard advanced business-class calling features one expects on a device of this quality.   Storella mentioned that the phone was competitively priced, and that he has high hopes for this new line.

MItel Expands UC Portfolio, Adds Telepresence

November 10, 2008

Mitel has unveiled some new twists to its Unified Communications portfolio including a brand-new telepresence platform, which will be commercially available in Q109. Mitel's TeleCollaboration Solution is designed to improve the telepresence experience with enhanced collaboration capabilities including desktop sharing and recording for a 'better-than-live' interaction.   Mitel is also introducing several new UC clients that are tailored to different worker needs, including:   Mitel Unified Communicator (UC) Express - a desktop UC client that provides productivity enhancements like click-to-call, incoming caller ID pop-up, call history, speed calls list, plus personal and corporate directory integration with public IM presence engines.   Mitel Unified Communicator (UC) Advanced - a comprehensive client that integrates presence and availability, secure IM, audio conferencing and video and data collaboration. Mitel UC Advanced provides simplified access to commonly used Mitel and third-party applications via a 'launchpad' designed to enhance productivity.

Look! Up in the Sky...

November 10, 2008

It's such a cliché, but I can't help myself.    It's my first Internet experience at 36,000 feet.   I sent an e-mail to my brother in law: "You'll never guess where I am right now..."   I remember those in-flight phones too, back in the day. Yes I called my folks the first time I was able to call from on high...   In any event...  I can finally say I've blogged from 38,000 feet.
American Airlines. GoGo Wireless.

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