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Rich Tehrani
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| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space

February 2006

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GenBand

February 28, 2006

CallMiner

February 28, 2006

Here is a real cool blog entry from fellow blogger Dan Rua, Managing Partner of Inflexion Partners on the future of audio searching. Audio data is voluminous and call center recordings alone present an invaluable resource – a virtual treasure-trove of business intelligence. Within a few years it would be corporate malpractice (thanks to Brooke Greenwald for alerting me to this term – not sure if she coined it) to not have access to all call center conversations when querying the internal database.

Information in text form is growing exponentially and you can expect voice conversations to grow even faster. Will corporations of the future archive and sift through all telephone conversations in a company?

Remote Support

February 27, 2006

Remote support is becoming a bigger part of contact centers and the support process in general. In more and more instances companies are using remote support tools to enable rapid resolution to problems.

In technical fields especially remote support solutions allow support representatives to take control of client computers in order to generate meaningful solutions to customer problems.

This Wednesday, TMC is proud to be working with Citrix on a webinar that should help you learn how you can use the latest remote support solutions to boost customer satisfaction.

Here is an e-mail that we recently sent out announcing this webinar to he world. I hope to see you there.

-------------------------------------------

As an industry professional, we wanted to let you know that a Complimentary Webinar will be occurring this Wednesday, March 1st at 11:00am PT (2:00pm EST). Please feel free to register for the event by the link given below.

-----------------

"Empowering Your People with the Remote-Support Competitive Edge"

Date: March 1st
Time: 11:00am PT (2:00pm EST)
Register here: http://www.tmcnet.com/webinar/citrix

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How can service and support professionals cut costs while significantly improving time to resolution and customer satisfaction?





















Directory Assistance Comes to VoIP

February 27, 2006

For years I have written about how service providers have been charging the public for a non-service. What I mean is charging for the unlisted or non-published service. I think I have been writing about the topic for eight years or so but rather than find my first writing on the topic, I was satisfied locating a reference to the subject in my Internet Telephony Magazine Publisher's Outlook of August 2002.

In my earlier writings I complained about the service and frankly I was never fond of paying to have a non-published number. Later in life I realized that if people will pay $40 a month to keep their number unlisted, they might pay a service provider for anything.

Here is an excerpt from the above article making this point:

ONE WAY OUT


Domestic service providers are in a different situation.






TMC News Snapshots

February 25, 2006

Here is a new service from TMCnet – News Snapshots™ that will allow you to have a single page to go to keep track of important companies and topics in communications and technology. Bill Gates even gets a page. A snapshot of Nortel for example allows you to keep track of news and articles about the company as well as a stock chart.

The service is in beta and we hope that it helps you keep track of the companies and topics you have interest in. Let us know if you have suggestions for improvement.





3COM
3GSM
Adobe Systems
Agere Systems
Alcatel
Apple
Aspect Software
AT&T
AudioCodes
Avaya
BellSouth
Bill Gates
Broadcom
Cablevision Systems
Cingular
Cisco Systems
Comcast
Convergys
Covad
Dell
Earthlink
EMC
Ericsson





















PPLive and Net Neutrality

February 25, 2006

I was a bit harsh when I said it was game over for the LECs in a recent blog entry about content providers providing a Tivo-like service that prerecords a number of programs so as to simulate live TV. This could be done to avoid having to pay LECs for high-speed broadband access to their customers. The point is that if the LECs are going to spend all their time protecting their networks they will lose. It is that simple.

VoIP, Nortel, Blackberry and Google Analysis

February 25, 2006

You can learn a great deal about the VoIP and broader communications and technology markets if you just listen (or in this case read) carefully. For example this week saw the launch of a new VoIP service by the name of TalkDaddy. The company differentiates itself by charging an annual fee of $179 for residential service and $299 for business. While this is not the first company to try an annual VoIP pricing plan it certainly continues a disturbing trend of service providers competing on price and not quality or features.

Top 8 Things to do if Blackberry Gets Shut Down

February 24, 2006

Blackberry Saga Continues

February 24, 2006

The saga that is the NTP versus Rim case may soon be (hopefully) coming to an end. The judge is impatient with the case and it seems that the pendulum is swinging ever so slowly back to RIM’s side. In addition it seems that the Judge won’t want to order a shutdown of the service – even if government workers are excluded. The reason is that it may be impossible to ascertain who the government workers are.

The irony here is that this assumes that government workers have a greater need to access immediate information than a typical Blackberry user.

VoIP and CRM Happenings

February 24, 2006

My youngest daughter woke up a few times last night meaning of course I got a late start which translates into blogging late. I have been scanning the net for a while and here are some of the stories that caught my eye.

Ditech Communications Voice Quality Assurance solution was recognized at 3GSM with a “Highly Commended” label. While this award must seem sweet to executives at Ditech it comes without the added calories of this next story involving Dannon Yocream Frozen Yogurt going with a CRM solution from Sage Software. "Our biggest gain from Sage CRM is the ability to share customer and prospect databases with all users," explained Brad Gaylor, information systems manager for Yocream International, Inc. "We were aiming to better manage leads and accomplish more sales growth, which is what we are seeing as a result of implementing Sage CRM."

Frozen yogurt became the “in thing” when I was in college and the University I went to was still using punch cards in some departments when I enrolled.



Radio Handi

February 23, 2006

I have known Brian McConnell for a decade and he is one of the brightest guys in the telecom business. While others were kind of in shock that there was such a thing as a PC PBX market (before we even thought of IP PBXs) he was selling Altigen PC PBXs out of his house!

This was in 1997!

He subsequently sold his company to Hello Direct causing their stock to pop when the news was announced. This transaction took place in the bubble years.

Brian was also a frequent writer for TMC’s CTI publication and our archrival Computer Telephony. Remember them?

Anyway he is now onto a new voice communities project and you know what a fan I am of voice communities.







Google Pages

February 23, 2006

Game Over for LECs

February 23, 2006

I have been meaning top read this article for a few weeks. It is the Verizon view on network neutrality and there are some good points made by the telecom giant. But here is a thought that hasn’t come up yet. Let’s assume that Verizon charges Google for high-speed access to their customers and let’s say that Google tells Verizon to find the deepest lake they can and take a high-dive into it.

Google then sends its customers a Tivo like device that delays broadcasts a bit.

Deltathree

February 23, 2006

There are a handful of IP telephony companies around at the time TMC decided to launch Internet Telephony Magazine back in 1997. That was a long time ago and some of these industry-founding companies are still alive and kicking and even have the same name. Deltathree is one such company and they are one of the pioneers of VoIP and I remember visiting their offices in the mid-nineties.

I am always interested in hearing the thoughts of these early VoIP pioneers. The credit for the success of the VoIP market today has to go to companies like deltathree that had the early vision before more recent companies decided to latch onto the VoIP market.

A great deal has happened in the VoIP market in the last few years but I wonder where we would be if the first few companies that launched IP telephony products and services weren’t around for so many years, trying new things to see what worked and what didn’t.

Moreover, the difficulty in navigating the VoIP market with its ups and downs certainly tests a companies ability to execute under the best and worst possible conditions.





VoSKY

February 23, 2006

NTP Losing Steam

February 22, 2006

Call Center E-Learning

February 22, 2006

Here is an article I came across that talks about e-learning, call centers and service providers. I thought it was good and decided to pass it along. It will run in a future issue of Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine.

The issue of customer satisfaction is important and when you think of the Vonage IPO you realize that customer churn is a major factor in the success of going public, being sold or doing business in general.

As you may have read in my most recent Vonage blog, 11% of new Vonage customers come from referrals. Anything a service provider can do to increase customer satisfaction rates is important.



IMS Forum News

February 22, 2006

I recently wrote about the name change at the IMS Forum and followed up with an interview with IMS Forum founder Michael Khalilian. The momentum is indeed building in this association and the market as I just learned that Convedia will be a founding member of the IMS Forum and moreover Peter Briscoe from Convedia will be named to the board of this leading industry association.

Certainly this is great news for the IMS Forum, Convedia and the IMS market in general!

By the way, I just did a search on TMCnet and found that Sonus is also a founding member.

Here is a recent interview I conducted with Sonus CEO Hassan Ahmed on IMS and other topics. This interview is also going to appear in the first issue of IMS Magazine which is mailing soon.





Ferrari Enzo Destroyed

February 22, 2006

Vonage IPO Analysis

February 22, 2006

Here is my March 2006 Publisher’s Outlook in Internet Telephony Magazine. This is a follow up to my last entry on the Vonage IPO.

If you’ve been following INTERNET TELEPHONY Magazine for a while, you have probably read how challenging it was to start this publication. The challenge wasn’t financial, mind you, but psychological. In 1997 when I attended Comdex and told many of the exhibitors about the new magazine title INTERNET TELEPHONY, I was more or less ridiculed.

Another Net Neutrality Article

February 22, 2006

There isn’t too much that is new in this Net Neutrality article but it does give a good summary of what is happening and assembles some good quotes in a single place so you can see what high profile people are saying about the matter.

If advocates of an open Internet have reason to be concerned it is because of comments such as the following from Bob Goodlatte a Virginia Republican, “Such a law could also discourage broadband providers from improving their networks.” This comment was in reference to a new Net Neutrality law.

By this very same resonating , broadband providers could easily say that Google and other content providers are causing undo levels of network congestion and subsequently not allow their customers to access Google. They could point to the fact that consumers spend 30% of their time on Google and subsequently this is a tremendous burden on their systems.

One has to wonder why consumers are paying for DSL or cable modem service if this amount of money doesn’t not cover the cost of providing service. Is this whacky or what? The cable and DSL companies could price their service any way they want and they decided to price it in such a way that it doesn’t cover their costs and now they have to go after content providers?

The whole situation seems out of whack and lawmakers who buy such arguments should question the motives of underpricing broadband service so they can extort money form content providers.







IMS Forum Interview

February 21, 2006

I recently had a chance to announce the news that the IPCC was changing its name to the IMS Forum. Since then, TMC has had a chance to interview Michael Khalilian the Chairman of the IMS Forum on his association and the IMS market.

--------

What is the mission of the IMS Forum?

The mission of the IMS Forum is to accelerate the adoption of IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) by providing an environment for discussion and resolution of real-world implementation issues relating to interoperability, best practices, and standards-based architectures in the application layer. In addition, the Forum will provide consultancy to the industry, service providers, and vendors on best practices and approaches for IMS rollouts and interconnectivity. Also of note, is that the IMS Forum will also provide consultancy and expertise to the industry on best practices and approaches for IMS rollouts, interconnectivity and convergence.





Motorola IMS

February 21, 2006

I recently had a chance to interview Srini Rao, Senior Manager, Strategy, Core Networks, Motorola on the topic of IMS. As you may know, TMC is launching IMS Magazine this month and in fact the magazine is being printed as I post this entry.

Here is the interview:

Please describe IMS in 50 words or less.

IMS is an IP-based system that allows network operators to integrate voice and multimedia communications and deliver them across various access networks in real-time.

Judges Rule For VoIP

February 21, 2006

Skypein Japan

February 21, 2006

No EVDO VoIP

February 20, 2006

In case you missed it, Fred Goldstein's article on network neutrality makes the point that LECs aren't thrilled with much of the Internet freedom we all enjoy and love to lock you into using their services. I never noticed that the EVDO terms of service (TOS) have onerous restrictions. For example Verizon's TOS state the following:

Unlimited NationalAccess/BroadbandAccess:
Subject to VZAccess Acceptable Use Policy, available on www.verizonwireless.com. NationalAccess and BroadbandAccess data sessions may be used with wireless devices for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, email and individual productivity applications like customer relationship management, sales force and field service automation).


Chimp/Human Link

February 20, 2006

Scientists are clamoring to have Chimpanzees reclassified in the human Family. For those of you who have forgotten how to classify animals, my high school biology teacher had this word association gem to share with the class:

King
Phillip
Came
Over
For
Grape
Soda

This of course stands for:

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
Species

If I am off here it is only because I learned this stuff over 20 years ago and am on multiple deadlines and don't want to get sucked into a 30-minute Wikipedia time-wasting session.

Getting back to the story, some countries are looking to confer rights on chimpanzees and other primates. For some reason this story makes me think of the early days of The Planet of The Apes.





















Zillow

February 20, 2006

There was an article in the USA Today about Zillow, a site that has millions of homes listed with their appraisals and full home details. According to the article the site ranges from inaccurate to near perfect depending on location. I tried a few houses in Connecticut and in both cases the site was off. In one case it was within 10% and the other case by at least 50%.

Network Neutrality

February 20, 2006

Recently there have been many articles in major newspapers and trade magazines proclaiming we need network neutrality. This means that ISPs should be made to carry all types of content such as, video broadcasts, streaming radio and VoIP and should not be allowed to charge content providers for guaranteed quality of service to their customers. One has to wonder however if network neutrality is the wrong topic to be discussing.

Indeed some are beginning to ask such questions. Why?

Solomon's VoIP World

February 20, 2006

The Search

February 20, 2006

I recently finished reading The Search, How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, a book by John Battle. I have to say that reading this book helped me recall the history of search, the history of many of the dotcoms in the past and it further helped me recall all the missing dotcom pieces I either forgot or just never knew.

For example, do you remember that AltaVista was Google before there was a Google? This search engine had a clean interface and focused on returning the best results rapidly. The Search details how DEC botched making this search engine a success.

VoIP URLs for Feb 18, 2006

February 19, 2006

Here are some of the latest VoIP URLs. My favorite are coffeevoip.com as it makes me think of having a VoIP conversation in Starbucks over WiFi. Seems like the ones with Google in the name are just politely asking for legal action from the search giant. By the way, I checked and Google didn’t register these names. The same goes for the Yahoo! and MSN.

Sugarvoip? Sounds sweet.

Tremendous IMS Article

February 18, 2006

Here is a truly wonderful article detailing how carriers are going to be deploying IP Multimedia Subsystem technology and how this will allow consumers to do so much more with their telephony. This article also touches on the underlying technology and mentions that no one has a full IMS based network yet. Many service providers are going in that direction but to date there just aren’t enough IMS ready products to build a full network.

It would seem based on this article that Lucent is doing well so far in selling IMS systems to the largest US based carriers. I have been speaking with other companies that are also beginning to sell many IMS based products.

Oracle in SIP Market

February 18, 2006

I am pretty surprised by the news of Oracle entering the SIP market. 'The addition of Hot Sip's technology will allow Oracle to build on its leadership in middleware and in carrier-grade communications infrastructures,' said Thomas Kurian, senior vice president, Oracle Server Technologies.

Oracle is in just about every other business so why not VoIP and SIP. This is a big deal in my opinion and more importantly it signals that Oracle is serious about telephony. I have had 2 people drop hints in the last two weeks about Oracle looking into acquiring an open-source PBX company.

I don’t know if these hints were just me reading into casual comments or not but this announcement certainly sets the stage for more acquisitions by the software titan.

In the CRM market Oracle made a few acquisitions so I would not be surprised to see further M&A activity in VoIP as well.





Dinosaur News

February 17, 2006

IDT and Net2phone Merge

February 17, 2006

Nokia Predicts Massive IMS Growth

February 17, 2006

According to this article Nokia thinks the IMS market will be huge. There are a number of reasons including the need for more revenue creation opportunities and services. Services like mobile video and fixed mobile convergence are discussed in the article.

Here are some excerpts:

IMS has been a focus at this year's mobile industry trade show in Barcelona, with announcements from firms such as TeliaSonera, Ericsson, Vodafone and Nokia on plans for the technology.

IMS is a platform that allows telecoms providers to quickly rollout new services, such as video calling, and it allows consumers to use one phone which automatically switches between mobile and fixed-line networks.

"The IMS market is not big yet, but it is of strategic importance," said Kai Konola, head of strategy at Nokia's networks unit.

"In 2006 I would expect it to be in the ballpark of 100-200 million euros. In 3-4 years time it will be an over 1 billion market," he said.

Electronics manufacturer Flextronics said in a statement more than 200 fixed-line and mobile telecom operators were running trials using IMS.

Every major technology firm, including the world's top network maker Ericsson and U.S.













Rumsfeld on eBay

February 17, 2006

Rumsfeld says that terrorist groups have mastered getting media attention. The US government is well behind. Here are some direct quotes from the article:

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but ... our country has not adapted," Rumsfeld said.

"For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world," Rumsfeld said, referring to old-fashioned U.S. retail stores and the online auction house respectively.





The Bush administration has not been the most technically savvy and I am proud to see that someone who is a senior member of the administration is acknowledging how important technology is.

Sea Levels Could Increase by 25 Meters

February 17, 2006

Greenland's ice caps are apparently melting at a rapid clip. Here is a story that discusses the potential problems of this happening. In addition there is discussion about how current climate models may not be able to predict how high sea levels can go. The article says that sea levels can increase by 25 meters!

Skype Eavesdropping

February 17, 2006

It is generally assumed that Skype calls cannot be tapped and since the company uses 256 bit encryption Skype calls are twice as secure as many internet credit card transactions. According to this story, Kurt Sauer, Skype’s chief security officer says, there are no "back doors" that could let a government bypass the encryption on a call. At the same time, he said Skype "cooperates fully with all lawful requests from relevant authorities." He would not give particulars on the type of support provided.

So if the government has an IP address of a person on a Skype call and the cooperation of the ISP they are able to record all packets going to that address. They may even be able to do this without proactive ISP cooperation.

Barablu Free WiFi/GSM Calls

February 16, 2006

TMC Webinars

February 15, 2006

Education Olympics

February 15, 2006

According to Cisco CEO John Chambers, America has fallen behind in math and science. Here is a direct quote from an article appearing on CNET: Education and research. It is no longer accurate to say America is falling behind on education. We have fallen behind.

AT&T Overcharging Troops

February 14, 2006

NexTone on IMS

February 14, 2006

Getting Paid to VoIP

February 14, 2006

It seems that many of the predictions of the dotcom days are coming true. Online ads are a multibillion dollar industry and the industry is not slowing down. Virtually all companies sell online and all industries sell using the web in large quantities.. Perhaps one of the few industries that failed at selling online was the pet trade where 60 pound bags of food just didn’t make sense to ship.

Not Making Money in Tech

February 13, 2006

It would seem that today is a bad day to make money. As funny as that sounds there are people that are upset with Apple for selling products that scratch. Now I am not sure who these people are but they obviously not noticed that are buying artwork and not something rugged. Sure you pay a lot for an iPod but if you want something that is scratchproof try a rugged MP3 player.

If you are Blackberry and trying to make a buck selling $400+ corporate devices and a server that can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, “Fugedaboutit.” Mob boss (not meant in a derogatory way – I am just staying on theme) Microsoft is about to take RIM out.

3GSM, Skype, Oracle, Nokia and Other News

February 13, 2006

It’s been a busy morning already. There is just so much news and the morning is just starting. It should be a great week as TMC digs out from the two feet of snow we had this weekend. Personally my driveway is a solid sheet of ice and I am sure I will find kids playing hockey on it when I get back.

China Censorship

February 13, 2006

The US government has concerns about critical servers being housed in China as the Chinese government could potentially gain access to information on their shores. In addition the US government is concerned about human rights in China and elsewhere.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.

But let’s wait a minute here. China has been taking over manufacturing from the US for decades.



IMS Forum

February 12, 2006

The IPCC announced they will be changing their name and altering their coverage to IMS becoming the IMS Forum. Michael Khalilian and his team at the IPCC have done an amazing job for the VoIP industry. The association started as the Softswitch Consortium and has now evolved into the IP Multimedia Subsystem. This is huge news and is great for those companies looking to get into IMS as this association should further the needs of service providers and equipment providers alike.

For more information check out the IPCC website until the new IMS Forum site is up and running.

RIP Jeeves

February 12, 2006

Cheney Shoots Man

February 12, 2006

VoIP Magazine

February 11, 2006

VoIP Magazine has an article about VoIP Growth. Excerpt:

The sales of VoIP equipment to carriers will increase from 2004's $1.6 billion to $4.7 billion by 2010, according to a recent report by Dell'Oro Group.

While class 4 switches drove the market when next-generation equipment was first introduced, sales of class 5 switches are now playing a significant role in the market's growth.

Both class 4 and class 5 products are expected to have an increase in sales over the next few years as the interest in upgrading the circuit-switched PSTN to the IP-based NGN continues to increase.





As the article touches on, IMS is certainly going to be a huge driver in this growth. Many service providers are looking to upgrade equipment immediately to take advantage of IMS and the benefits that come with it.



Olympics

February 11, 2006

I guess I am a bit jaded. I saw the opening of the Olympic games last night and was impressed with the intro -- especially the legions of performers who emulated a giant skier. After that it was pretty boring watching a bunch of people hold flags from each country. I must admit it lets you get a better sense of all the countries in the world.

Internet Precursor Ends

February 10, 2006

Internet Providers Not Responsible

February 10, 2006

Discrimination is unacceptable but you can't hold a website accountable for what people post. Pity poor Craigslist who is trying to police all listings but misses a few in the many hundreds of thousands if not millions they deal with. Government entities need to stop thinking of ISPs and other publishers as the ones propagating information and instead come to realize they are merely providing a forum for others to provide ads.

Excerpt:

Several Internet law experts said the suit seems likely to fail, citing a 1996 federal law that says an online service provider isn't considered a publisher or a speaker when it merely passes along information provided by someone else.

Jennifer Rothman, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, called it "a complete nonstarter" despite legitimate concerns about discrimination.

"Congress decided it was more important not to chill speech on the Internet and not to shut down these Internet providers," she said. "If you start holding them responsible, essentially you shut down the business."

"From a moral standpoint, of course, people will expect that if you're going to run a site like that you ought to police it," said Houston-based attorney Jeff Diamant.









TGLO and VoIP 2.0

February 10, 2006

IMS Questions

February 10, 2006

As part of my first Publisher’s Outlook in the upcoming IMS Magazine I asked some industry experts what they thought about the IMS market. Here is the result of our e-mail discussions:

Please describe IMS.

Grant Henderson, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, Convedia -

The IMS is the most recent refinement of an IP-based enhanced services architecture. The 3GPP, by embracing proven technologies from early wireline VoIP service architectures, and then adding important IP-based mobility service features, have defined an enhanced services architecture with universal industry relevance and appeal.

Paul Longhenry, VP Business Development, Sonim Technologies -

IMS is a standardized application delivery framework designed to provide a common switching element that wireless, wireline, and cable carriers can use to rapidly deploy, integrate, and manage all SIP-based services.

Kevin McCracken, Director of Product Management, NewStep Networks -IMS is a core network framework that is intended to enable the development and delivery of new services that can be delivered across any type of access network to any type of device. IMS capitalizes on IP and SIP to break free of proprietary, vertically integrated, core network platforms (e.g., voice switches) that restricted what services could be deployed, and how they could be deployed.







IMS is our Future

February 10, 2006

This article will be a portion of my first column in Volume 1, Issue 1 in the new TMC launch, IMS Magazine.

-----------

Never before in my history in the telecom space have so many agreed on something so quickly. IMS is supposed to take over the world. It will unify wireless, wireline and all communications like never before. It will allow small developers to develop applications and deploy them to networks with millions of subscribers overnight.



Zoom Technologies

February 10, 2006

I spoke with Terry Manning, VP of Sales & Marketing at Zoom Technologies for a while at the last ITEXPO and I was intrigued by the discussion. I asked Terry to follow up with an e-mail so I can share some of his points in my blog. There are some great thoughts here and I think this hybrid solution Zoom offers makes sense for many situations – especially where 911 is a concern.

Here is the e-mail and article on the product:

This morning the Internet Telephony news reminded me that I owe you a follow up on a discussion we had at the most recent Internet Telephony show. At that time, I asked you why the industry persisted in trying to convert users as opposed to migrating them to VoIP.



Hedge Funds on Vonage

February 10, 2006

Hammacher Does VoIP

February 10, 2006

There comes a time in the life of any technology where you can say it has truly reached mainstream. Perhaps 2003 was the year the iPod went mainstream. I wonder if 2006 is the year we can look back on and say, you know this was the year that virtually everyone knew what VoIP was and what it can do for them.

As I went through my volumes of e-mail this morning I noticed one of my e-messages was from Hammacher Schlemmer. Now I can never pronounce this name or spell it without spell checker but I have ordered products from the company before and noticed they carry virtually any product you can think of from gadgets to outdoor accessories.

Perhaps my favorite toy from the company’s most recent catalog is the levitating hover scooter (Anyone see Back to the Future II?).



Salesforce.com Downtime

February 9, 2006

Iotum Wins

February 9, 2006

Oracle Open-Source

February 9, 2006

Web 2.0 Applications

February 9, 2006

Blogs, Conflict of Interest and Disclosure

February 9, 2006

For a few years there have been complaints by many in the media that bloggers are being paid by companies to write positive stories. For example, car companies and political parties have been found to have paid bloggers to write favorable articles about them. There are many bloggers who get special favors from companies they write about.

Media companies such as TMC have had to deal with this conflict of interest problem for years. Do advertisers get written about more than non-advertisers?

Blackberry Workaround

February 9, 2006

This is great news for everyone that depends on Blackberries to be productive as well as those people concerned about the state of the US economy in the wake of all Blackberries simultaneously being disconnected. In a stressful game of patent cat and mouse it seemed that Blackberry parent company RIM has been a breath away from death for the last few months. Now finally the announced workaround plan has been rolled out and there are many details and even new patent applications RIM has filed to ensure that they aren’t harassed about this issue again.

One wonder if this problem will go away so easily. How narrow are the NTP patents that a workaround is even possible?

San Jose Mercury News

February 9, 2006

Vonage IPO

February 8, 2006

Vonage IPO
Vonage needs more cash… Lots more. It seems they have gone to many VCs for more and didn’t get it and as such are forced to do an IPO. The rumored multi-billion dollar IPO isn’t happening and to be honest, I am surprised at how little this IPO will bring -- only $250 million to the company.

Here is an excerpt from an excellent article on the topic:

The IPO filing offers key metrics of the Vonage’s business for the first time, which competitors, analysts and market participants in general have been anxiously awaiting. Of its 1.4 million subscribers, Vonage said that more than 95 percent of its subscriber lines are U.S. customers.




Google on the Desktop

February 8, 2006

Russell Shaw has some great analysis on what Google could be up to. It seems logical based on his analysis that we will soon see Google competing with Microsoft Office. It would further seem that this software could indeed be free meaning Microsoft’s cash cow is in jeopardy of being slaughtered.

Ouch. There are few choices you have when your competition takes something you charge for and makes it free. Microsoft has undercut the prices of so many rivals over the years and has given away software that others charge for that they may have put more companies out of business than the bubble bursting.

Anyone remember paid VocalTec Internet Telephony software being put away by Microsoft’s NetMeeting?

Google is now in the position to return this favor.

It looks as if the search leader is on track to become a bigger and bigger part of our software purchases and in so doing further reinforcing their dominance on the desktop.







Catastrophic E-Mail Failure

February 8, 2006

If you are so connected to e-mail that you feel compelled to purchase a Blackberry and an EVDO card so you can access e-mail at all times, you really are addicted. We call Blackberries Crackberries because they are just that -- as addictive as it gets. While crack is illegal and detrimental to your health, using a Blackberry excessively is at least legal. Of course the NTP case could change all that but I wonder if Blackberries and e-mail in general is waning on the health of the digitally connected world.

I don’t know the exact number but I get about 600-800 e-mails of importance each day.

Apple iPod Nano for $149

February 7, 2006

Chris Savage on Two-Tiered Internet

February 7, 2006

I subscribe to a telecom regulatory list CYBERTELECOM.ORG and there are some lively regulatory discussions that take place on this list around the clock. One of the current hot topics is how the LECs are after content providers to provide payment to be able to have access to quality connections to consumers. After all LECs and cable companies have monopoly positions and can get away with this pretty easily if the government doesn't intervene. Chris Savage did an amazing job discussing the two-tiered Internet and raises some excellent points.

Paris Peeved at Google

February 7, 2006

Let’s face it, the French don’t like when their culture gets overrun by cultures from other countries such as let’s say those countries where people show a proclivity to wear cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats. Perhaps Chirac had a bad experience while watching Dallas a few decades back and he never got over it. You know I ate French fries once while coming down with the flu and I couldn’t eat fries for a few months. In Chirac’s case it is obviously more serious.

So obviously seeing Google control the Internet is upsetting the French and French businesses.

Google and Dell Billion Dollar Deal

February 7, 2006

This morning, CNBC reported that Google is in close talks with Dell to install Google software on all Dell computers for a one billion dollar fee. CNBC continued to theorize that this will be a huge threat to Microsoft, a company whose stock is already languishing.

The debate then went into whether Google has an operating system and what it is exactly company will be installing on these Dell machines. I should point out that the report said that the talks were in a fragile stage at the moment.

One has to wonder exactly what software Google has that is worth paying a billion dollars to distribute. Is it a browser?



BMW Spams Google

February 7, 2006

In the search to optimize pages for search engines some sites use techniques described as spamming the search engines. There are a number of things you can do to be considered a search engine spammer and I have seen a few VoIP companies spanked by Google meaning their site no longer shows up on Google – even when you search for the company by name!

I was surprised however to find out that the German division of BMW was recently found guilty by Google of spamming as well. This means that the German language BMW is now dropped from Google! Ouch.

One of the challenges webmasters cite is that they aren’t sure what practices are allowed and aren’t allowed.



E-mail Tax

February 7, 2006

Perhaps I an now spoiled by the open and free nature of the Internet but I am pretty annoyed that Yahoo! and AOL are considering taxing e-mail by charging money to ensure messages are not marked as spam. Sure the service they say is optional but it is to the advantage of both these companies that control over a hundred million e-mail addresses to err on the side of sending legitimate e-mail to the spam filter. After all, the more mistakes they make the more often legitimate companies will be forced to pay this tax.

A lot has been made of the concept of Web 2.0 but I am wondering if a more apt description of it is the web with taxes. After all SBC and BellSouth are looking to charge content providers for access to high quality connections to their customers and e-mail companies will charge businesses to send e-mail.

It seems anywhere you turn someone with control is leveraging it to make a buck.



Teletruth Comments

February 6, 2006

Teletruth’s Bruce Kushnick is the most vocal person I know opposing just about everything the telecom companies are doing. Here are some of his latest comments calling for a boycott. Most people probably aren’t familiar with terms like Astroturf so as a primer, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia on the term:

A form of propaganda, industry astroturfing attempts to selectively affect the emotions of the public. Whether trying to win a campaign, be the top music record seller, the top book seller, or gain political support, the industries are constantly in search of new means of accomplishing these goals.

The most frequently identified cases of astroturfing are found in recent political history.



AYS from Voxilla

February 5, 2006

A good while back I learned about AYS, Voxilla's fully integrated provisioning, fulfillment and support resource for ITSPs. I was fascinated by the concept as I realized immediately that this could speed the time it takes for new ITSPs to get into the market. Furthermore I knew Marcelo Rodriguez the founder of Voxilla well and wanted to have him answer some questions about the service for me. I am sure that there is an update to this interview that Marcelo can provide me with and I promise to post much more rapidly the next time I speak with him.

Can this initiative lower costs for service providers?

[Marcelo Rodriguez] Absolutely. For a new outfit, AYS provides a turnkey operation allowing a provider to begin offering service without having to assemble a shipping operation, a team to handle device configuration manually, deployment of pricey provisioning servers and the pre-purchase of end-user device inventory.



Eroding Privacy

February 4, 2006

There is the assumption of anonymity on the Internet. When you surf alone in a room you might be inclined to think no one knows what you do or what sites you visit. To the surprise of many, there are so many subpoenas coming to today's ISPs and search engines that these companies have subpoena management departments to deal with the influx of requests for information. Here is an excellent account on how privacy on the Internet is nonexistent.

The types of requests vary from what users have searched for to the content of their e-mail and even requests for map related searches.

Yet, many people still feel that the Internet is anonymous and don't realize that law enforcement officials are able to find who is doing what and use this information to arrest and convict criminals.



Alexa Competitor: Consumer Input

February 4, 2006

I have noticed a huge surge in Alexa popularity on the net and it seems to be a direct result of financial sites using Alexa to determine how a company is doing via its web traffic. Furthermore the advent of Million Dollar Home Page and its competitors has brought Alexa to the spotlight once again as the various pixel ad sites compete with each other to see who has the best rank (lower numbers are better). Alexa is not perfect but it seems to be a great way to evaluate website traffic for free.

I just learned there is a new Alexa competitor on the web named Consumer Input. To be honest between the Google Toolbar and Alexa Toolbar I am pretty much maxed out on toolbar real estate.

IPv6

February 2, 2006

Panasonic wants to take the lead in IPv6 and has rolled out a host of new products that are IPv6 compatible. It looks like the company will integrate IPv6 IP PBX with a slew of other products aimed at increasing productivity in the office.

As a result of the Internet's explosive growth in recent years, the world is running out of IP addresses. To solve this, IPv6 is being developed to replace the current protocol. Upgrading to IPv6 will not only make trillions of new addresses available, it will also enable thousands of new operational applications and business opportunities.

The government has targeted 2008 as the year it will roll out IPv6 in its agencies and as with other standards, the government's lead could result in industry following closely.



VoIP Trends

February 2, 2006

I have now been asked three times in one day what the trends were from the last Internet Telephony Conference & Expo last week in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. I would have to say that the fixed mobile convergence and IMS conference tracks had a tremendous amount of energy and were standing room only. These sessions were just about as exciting as it gets and conferees and speakers seemed to feel that the audience was thirsty for more information. We have been asked by more than one speaker to dedicate more time to these sessions just to allow for the large amount of Q&A.

At the opposite end of the VoIP spectrum is IP contact centers where the sessions were also standing room only. The contact center market had seemed to slow for a few years.

Google Buys TellMe

February 1, 2006

One of the predictions The Deal made on CNBC today is that Google will buy voice portal pioneer Tellme. This is a logical acquisition as Tellme is a very strong player in voice portals and as a bonus is profitable. The acquisition would allow people to access Google's services from telephones almost as easily as they do on the web. As a bonus, their office is not too distant from Google's.

IMS Expo

February 1, 2006

Thank You

February 1, 2006

Thank you for attending ITEXPO last week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and giving us testimonials any show producer would be proud to have. What consistently amazes me about Internet Telephony Conference & Expo is that a wide variety of exhibitors are happy and conferees are thrilled as well. Thank you all for attending and for the nice words. These testimonials are unsolicited and I am told a huge batch more just haven't been put on our site yet.

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