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January 2007

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Latest Video Test

January 31, 2007

Toshiba Brian Metherell Interview

January 31, 2007

Toshiba is a company you think about in just about every area of tech. In fact I recently ditched my old laptop from another manufacturer for a Toshiba laptop and so far so good. When you think of this Japanese electronics giant you may not think about VoIP or even communications.   But Toshiba is in fact taking the communications space very seriously and in fact they have had business communications systems for a long while. Generally the company has kept a low profile on their communications products in the US but perhaps that will change going forward.

GizmoCall

January 31, 2007

Michael Robertson over at Gizmo Project has some thoughts on how he expects the world to embrace free advertising supported content. His company SIPphone has launched a new service called GizmoCall.com allowing anyone to speak for free to virtually any phone for up to 5 minutes. If you register you can speak for 10 minutes. If you pay, you can speak longer.   The genius of GizmoCall is that it does not force you to download software – you just use Flash.

ITEXPO Photos and More

January 30, 2007

Here is Ari Zoldan from Launch 3 based in Garfield, NJ. His company is in the investment business - they invest in communications companies worldwide.   On this day he walked away with a great education as well as a new SUV. Wow – now that’s a show.   About 30 minutes later when I accidentally saw him on the road he seemed elated. I think the shock wore off and it turned to happiness.       Note to self.

New Digium CEO

January 30, 2007

Mark Spencer is a competitive weapon at Digium and is well-liked by many in the open source community. It was evident to anyone who knows Mark that he is spread thin as a coder, manager, chief strategy officer and company spokesman. As the company expands the smartest thing the company could do is divide Mark’s responsibilities allowing the company continue its rapid growth rate without having to count on Mark for everything.   I just read on Tom Keating’s blog (he heard it from Alec Saunders) that Mark will become Chairman and CTO and Danny J. Windham, President, Chief Operating Officer and director of ADTRAN will become the new CEO of Digium.   There is a synergistic relationship between ADTRAN and Digium which you can learn about on Tom’s blog. I believe this a great moved for the company and for the open source community as a whole.

Old New AT&T

January 30, 2007

Google Shield Prevents Bombs

January 30, 2007

Google is now providing some relief to the many presidents and others who have been targets of Google bombs. Google bombs work when a number of people get together and decide to use link text as a weapon. I could link the word “miserable failure” to the biography page of a president for example. Search engines would then have a higher propensity to return the linked web page when people search on the term used as link text.   So for example miserable failure once returned search results to Jimmy Carter’s biography page on the White House website.   Over the past years many presidents were targets of these attacks and eventually Google decided to take action and prevent these bombs from being dropped.

Even More Photos

January 29, 2007

A Testimonial and Thanks

January 29, 2007

I received this e-mail testimonial today from Olle Westerberg, CEO of Ingate Systems AB and my first reaction was happiness, satisfaction and then pride followed by gratitude. I will explain each in order.
Happiness
: There is no better feeling in my opinion than delighting customers. I walked away from ITEXPO this past week with great pride knowing the attendees, conferees and exhibitors all thought this was the best IP communications event they have ever attended.

Better Conferencing

January 29, 2007

FCC, Martin and the Democrats

January 27, 2007

I thought this was an excellent article about the Democratically-controlled Congress and how they may clash with the FCC and especially Chairman Martin (read Martin’s past views on broadband competition). The article also touches on the relationship between Chairman Martin and Commissioner McDowell. The democrats could put a great deal on Chairman Martin as he is a Republican who is very close to the Bush administration.   What does this mean to IP communications? Well Martin is generally pro-ILEC and if anything has made life very difficult for cable companies and VoIP companies.

Toyota FJ Cruiser Was Won

January 26, 2007

EarthLink/Vonage News

January 26, 2007

Thanks From Rich Tehrani

January 26, 2007

ITEXPO East Day 4: Harley Davidson, Toyota, Skype, IMS

January 26, 2007

I woke up at 3:30 am this morning after about 4.5 hours of sleep or so. I prefer to get more but it was tough to sleep with all that is going on this week in Ft. Lauderdale. I woke to memories of the previous few days which consisted of a packed exhibit hall and some of the most in-depth networking, deal making and buying I have seen in a long while.   The TMC team has really outdone themselves this week as they really put on a fantastic event.

ITEXPO Relaxation

January 25, 2007

Wounded veterans call center

January 24, 2007

ITEXPO: Aculab Mike Donoghue Speaks

January 24, 2007

ITEXPO Show News Ft. Lauderdale

January 24, 2007

ITEXPO Photos from Ft. Lauderdale

January 24, 2007

Here are some of the latest photos from the show. It is going very well so far as I mentioned and the event is a great way to start the 2007 year of IP communications. I walked through the exhibit hall earlier today and was really blown away at how impressive many of the booths were. The Dialogic booth was extremely impressive.

ITEXPO: VoIP Reseller Solutions Day

January 24, 2007

The second day of ITEXPO is off to a great start. I am in the Reseller Solutions Day room where the panel kicked off at 8:30 am. Here is a shot of the panelists and the audience. Surprisingly most of the room at this show consisted of telecom and not datacom VARs. It was about 70/30 in the direction of telecom VARs.   General themes of the sessions.

Todd Landry from Sphere ITEXPO Keynote

January 23, 2007

Marc Zionts Keynotes ITEXPO

January 23, 2007

ITEXPO Shots From Ft. Lauderdale

January 23, 2007

Dirigo Telecommunications

January 23, 2007

Call centers are responsible for so much but often don’t get the credit they deserve. In the early 1990s it was the call center’s need for screen pops that pushed Novell and Microsoft into pushing the CTI market which for the first time allowed a phone system and a Intel-based server to communicate. These big operating system vendors essentially copied what Rockwell and IBM had done by connecting the former’s ACD to the latter’s mainframe.
Indeed the CTI market eventually spun off IP telephony applications which became today’s better-known VoIP applications.

SIP Trunking at ITEXPO

January 23, 2007

TMC University at ITEXPO doing Well

January 23, 2007

SMB VoIP at ITEXPO

January 23, 2007

WiFi Telephony at ITEXPO

January 23, 2007

Alcatel-Lucent Kicks off Internet Telephony Conference in Florida

January 23, 2007

ITEXPO Kicked off today in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with a keynote from Keith Chappell, Vice President at Alcatel-Lucent. His talk began discussing the concept of transforming services. “What do users want?” He asked.   To that he answered as follows.   Service Agility: The technical agility behind service environment allowing carrier business agility   Service Personalization: Think of ringtones or ringback tones   Service Blending: Services are not connected in a very robust way today according to Chappell. They become much more robust when you can connect them quickly and transparently.

VoIP Supply Affiliate Program

January 23, 2007

Marc Robins and Jon Arnold Join Forces

January 23, 2007

Two esteemed consultants in the IP communications space are Marc Robins and Jon Arnold. The two have known each other for years and toyed with the idea of joining forces. It seems the time has come for this to become reality as the two have officially become a team and will collaborate to develop a joint website, electronic newsletters, etc.   My take? The duo is perfectly positioned to speak to many aspects of the market from the service provider space to the enterprise.

Spirit DSP in 2007

January 23, 2007

Spirit DSP recently announced an enviable portfolio of customers for the 2007 year. They include Adobe, Agere, ARM, Atmel, Compal, Flextronics, Ericsson, HP, HTC, Interwise, Kyocera, LG, Marconi, MediaRing, Microsoft, National Semiconductor, NEC, Nortel Networks, Oracle, Paltalk, Panasonic, Philips Semiconductor, Plustek, Polycom, Quanta, Radvision, Samsung, Siemens, Texas Instruments, Toshiba and Trinity Convergence.   The company provides embedded voice, video and conferencing engines typically taking advantage of VoIP/IP communications. I thought the roster of clients interesting as it is a cross section of communications and computing companies.

ITEXPO: Assorted Shots Before we Open

January 22, 2007

Clouds over Georgia

January 22, 2007

As you may recall from earlier blogs seat 10A has no seat in front of it and thus no place for a laptop. The flight attendant took the computer case and sglhuttled it to row 14. So instead I am reading everything in sight. I decided to take a look outside and I think we may be in Georgia.

Vonage V-Access

January 22, 2007

2007 a Banner IP Communications Year

January 21, 2007

It is still not too late to decide to come down to ITEXPO this week in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I have been getting e-mails by the dozen from colleagues and others who are still getting very low airfares to the Miami or Ft. Lauderdale airports.   With the weather getting cold all over the country I can’t wait to be sitting in sunny Florida. Of course it isn’t like I will be getting a chance to do much sitting as I am booked with appointments all week.   What excites me most about the show is seeing what is new for 2007. I hear from virtually every company in IP communications that 2007 will be a record year.

MSNDirect Problems

January 19, 2007

T.J. Maxx Data Breach

January 18, 2007

Heading back from NYC

January 17, 2007

Rockafeller Center View

January 17, 2007

Microsoft and Nortel Stop the Messaging Madness

January 17, 2007

The average employee gets more than 50 messages every day on up to seven devices and today Microsoft and Nortel came together under the banner of the Innovative Communications Alliance to announce to the world that new software will help us manage the deluge of messages across devices, media modes and technologies. According to the companies the goal is to use a single identity across phones, PCs and other devices.   The announcement took place with an energetic Steve Ballmer the CEO of Microsoft and Mike Zafirovsky CEO of Nortel. After an hour spent waiting in line and going through rigorous security, customers, analysts and the press were ushered into studio 8H in New York's Rockefeller Plaza. While waiting, the energetic crowd was treated to breakfast accompanied by a range of new wave classics from Depeche Mode to the Smiths.   Steve Ballmer explained that Microsoft and Nortel have both been in the communications business.

Steve Ballmer and Mike Zafirovski

January 17, 2007

Nortel Microsoft Innovative Communications Alliance

January 17, 2007

Nortel Microsoft

January 17, 2007

Innovative Communications Alliance

January 17, 2007

I am in New York today with Greg Galitzine on my way to the Innovative Communications Alliance meeting which is the new (since this past summer anyway) initiative between Microsoft and Nortel. I haven’t covered this topic too extensively and I am interested to see what the duo from Redmond and Canada can and will do for unified communications in the enterprise and beyond.   Moreover I am interested to learn how this alliance might either include or exclude other communications vendors. Questions floating around my head?

Innovtive Communications Alliance

January 17, 2007

Early AT&T IPTV Complaints

January 16, 2007

Microsoft’s Latest Google Attack

January 16, 2007

Microsoft is putting its billions where its mouth it. It wants to be a serious competitor to Google and it realizes advertising is the best way to get people to try its new Live search service. On the Fox News site they have purchased oodles of contextual keywords in at least the science area. When you hover over the keywords, ads come up allowing you to search on Windows Live at www.live.com.

Open Letter to TMC Team

January 16, 2007

Open Letter to TMC Team,   We had a pizza/cookies lunch today and so many people ate at their desks we couldn’t really talk much.   The point of these lunches is to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays.   We used to have cakes for every birthday in the nineties but so many people complained they were gaining weight we stopped the practice.   Of course Bagel Friday seems to be a happy compromise as it happens only weekly and the bagels aren’t as bad for you as cake.

ID Needed for ITEXPO

January 16, 2007

Please make sure to bring a valid ID – passport, driver’s license, etc to ITEXPO next week. The expo takes place at the port. Yes that is where the convention center is. Homeland Security requires valid identification to get into the convention center.

Communications in 2007

January 16, 2007

Any look at the future of any industry would not be complete without analysis of recent events. In the case of communications, 2006 seems like the transitional year of all time for a number of reasons. Next week, Jan 23-26 marks this year’s first continental US communications trade show, Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. This article is intended to set up the debates and discussions that will take place during this event.   Money   There is more money floating around in this and every other market than at any time during recent memory. As long as the money keeps flowing, the transformation and consolidation of the communications industry will continue to take place.

Time Inc Layoffs

January 15, 2007

I saw this New York Times (registration required) article today about Time Inc. the publishing division of Time Warner cutting 150 people – half in editorial jobs. The cuts are surprising as they include editorial talent. This could be considered a very bad sign but in reality the editors have to go because the company is streamlining how it reports on news.   Instead of having several correspondents send files to a writer in New York and then having a fact-checking department, the stories will be researched, written and fact checked by one person.   Larry Hackett, managing editor of People, said the new reporting model would not preclude putting several correspondents on one piece when the news warrants it.   Why is this an interesting development? Because this is what many websites and bloggers do today.

USF Benefits Who?

January 15, 2007

The San Jose Mercury News has an in-depth article on the Universal Service Fund with a slant on California and their particular funds. The article hints at abuse and discusses exactly who benefits from the fund. The biggest beneficiary is AT&T by the way and this is not surprising as it is the largest phone company. "This program isn't a windfall to us," said Diamond.

Network Security and Home Based Agents

January 13, 2007

I am at a good friend's house today and they have a problem with their laptop. My friend is a lawyer and while we debate the merits of the Cisco vs. Apple iPhone case I am also helping fix their new Dell laptop which seems to have frequent memory dumps. I am installing antispyware tools and for some reason Microsoft Defender won't download at all.

Cisco Lost the iPhone Trademark

January 13, 2007

So it seems Cisco did not keep the trademark for the iPhone name. Why? No use. If you don’t produce a product with the named trademark you lose it. Makes sense right?

ITU Complements FCC

January 13, 2007

I thought it was interesting to read the director-general of the International Telecommunication Union, Hamadoun Toure said the agency would be just one of many organizations involved in shaping the Internet's development.
"It is not my intention to take over the governance of the Internet," Toure told reporters in Geneva at his first press conference. "There is no one single issue that can be dealt with by one organization alone."   He said the ITU would work with other agencies such as the quasi-independent Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, which manages the day-to-day flow of data across the Internet from its Marina del Rey, Calif., headquarters and oversees key rules that govern how computers communicate.   He further praised the U.S. Federal Communications Commission as a model regulatory body, saying the FCC was "one of our very dynamic members ... with a very positive attitude" toward solving technical issues.   I was pretty impressed to hear a member of the ITU/UN backing the FCC with such a nice complement.

Musings: Apple, AT&T, Zultys, M&Ms, Ubiquity, Avaya

January 12, 2007

While the world is going iPhone lawsuit crazy (posts from Andy, Jeff and Aswath) there is a bit of news that seems to be under the radar but crucial. What is it you ask? It is that eBay/PayPal will start distributing key fobs with random security codes. The goal will be to increase security.

Purple Heart Alpha 911 Keynote

January 12, 2007

I just finished up my keynote presentation for the Alpha 911 class of the Purple Heart Foundation and got a chance to thank the disable veterans of this country for all they have done to keep America safe and Secure. I felt very humbled by the opportunity to speak to such a distinguished group of people.   I spoke a bit about the how the call center market has evolved over the years and how TMC launched the first magazine in the world about call centers in 1982. I also mentioned how TMC launched the first publication on VoIP in 1997.   I explained how these veterans are on the front lines of customer contact and in today’s day and age the call center agent is many times the only person you can speak with at a company.   I mentioned how these people will grease the wheels of international commerce for years to come.   Ken told me some of the family members of people who lost their lives on 9/11 at the Pentagon were on the web conference. Also in attendance was the Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

iPhone Vs. iPhone: Cisco Vs. Apple

January 11, 2007

Tom has done a great job on this article and he is right on here – on many fronts. This is a must read if you are interested the iPhone vs. iPhone case. He cites trademarks and the shell company called Ocean Telecom Services which Tom figures must be an Apple shell company.   This morning Bloomberg was discussing that this company is an Apple shell company by the way.   This part of Tom’s argument shows tremendous insight:  
The most compelling or likely attack on Cisco's trademark is on "a family of marks".

Tech Musings: Apple, Cisco, Blackberry

January 11, 2007

I am musing a bit later into the day and as I was pressed for time – At this hour it is completely plausible that I may not even muse effectively. If you find today’s musings substandard, please come back tomorrow where the musing will start all over again. This is of course unless I get another case of muser’s block.   Yes, writers block can be very real. Sometimes people (writers, bloggers, etc) miss deadlines or just make mistakes such as forgetting to muse before noon.

First ITEXPO East ’07 News

January 11, 2007

A Banner Blogger Day

January 11, 2007

It is good to be a blogger today with the news that for the first time in a federal court, two of the press seats will be reserved for bloggers. After two years of negotiations with judicial officials across the country, the Media Bloggers Association, a nonpartisan group with about 1,000 members working to extend the powers of the press to bloggers, has won credentials to rotate among members at the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.   Part of this Washington Post article is a bit disturbing but accurate and follows below:  
"Blogs are first and foremost a conversation, people talking," said Jeff Jarvis, a journalist-turned-blogger who created a forum called BuzzMachine. Blogs, he said, have a "different biorhythm" where postings that are initially inaccurate or unfair are corrected online through readers comments and updated blog entries. "This is a world," he said, "where you publish first and edit later."
In reality people are looking for their news to be faster and faster. Sometimes they don’t mind inaccuracies if they get the news first and it gets corrected by the community.   While the concept of blogging material that could be potentially incorrect disturbs many, the world is changing.   In the end, the consumer dictates what they want and they have spoken.   This past weekend I was at a birthday party and one of my relatives was thanking another relative because he hooked her on the Perez Hilton blog.

800Free411

January 11, 2007

This morning I needed a phone number while driving to work. I despise paying whatever the cost is to get a phone number from information. Perhaps this is because the same information is freely available on the web. I was going to just look up the number on the phone’s browser at a traffic light but I remembered someone recently told me about 800-Free411.   I think I may have heard this at the last ITEXPO in San Diego but I am not 100% sure.

Is the Microsoft Zune Toast?

January 10, 2007

It is very tough to disagree with this honest assessment of the competitive landscape between the new Apple iPhone and the Microsoft Zune. In the real world the Zune is now probably toast. Why? Well the new Apple iPhone does everything the Zune does and better. It doesn’t do the file sharing yet but it has the potential to duplicate Microsoft’s efforts.

Tech Musings: CES, Dell, Microsoft, YouTube

January 10, 2007

The world has gone gadget crazy this week and the media seems to be focused exclusively on MP3 players, video games and phones. But our obsession with toys is flooding the media with news that is taking the place of perhaps other more newsworthy items like troop surges in Iraq and CEO severance packages gone wild. Now I have nothing against CEOs – some of my best friends and indeed family members occupy this lofty position. But one wonders if getting a severance package of $210 million dollars for six years of lackluster performance makes sense in any universe.

CES: Whoops I Forgot

January 9, 2007

OK this story probably has you thinking what was forgotten at CES. Did Apple forget to deliver a new iPod that is so small, Steve Jobs also used it onstage as a toothpick? Did Bill Gates forget to mention his new Windows everywhere campaign was renamed at the last second from reboot everywhere?   But of course I am kidding – only slightly of course. More plausible items I forgot to mention about CES this year are Apple’s new bluetooth headset that looks like a diamond stud or the new SlingBox contact lenses letting you beam your favorite TV shows directly to your eyeballs.

Sununu on FCC Flag Raising

January 9, 2007

Occasionally you see politicians slap the wrists of the FCC in public. Today is one of those occasions as U.S. Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) pledged Monday to introduce legislation to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from imposing either broadcast or audio flags on electronics makers.
Major content providers, such as Hollywood studios and music publishers, heavily endorse the technology as a way to prevent consumers from making unauthorized copies of digital movies and music. Flags are embedded code in broadcast or audio streams that block further retransmission.

"Whether well-intentioned or not, the FCC has no business interfering in private industry to satisfy select special interests or to impose its own views," Sununu said in a statement.


Apple Phone and TV

January 9, 2007

By now you may have heard of the Apple announcements regarding their new TV and iPhone. The news is everywhere from places like Greg’s blog, to all of the stories below:   Apple CEO "Steve Jobs" unveils long-awaited phone - TV set-top box Apple: Thumbs Up to "iPhone" Jobs Unveils Long-Awaited Phone, TV Box Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils long-awaited cell phone, Apple TV Apple Computer CEO Jobs unveils long-awaited phone, Apple TV CEO Jobs unveils long-awaited Apple TV Apple Computer CEO Jobs unveils along-awaited Apple TV   This one is from CNN   This could be very big news for the mobile phone industry and the worst case scenario would be Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, RIM and others take a massive beating. In my estimation this phone better be one amazing device to do all that Jobs says it will do. But I do have supreme confidence in Apple and in addition I see how the user interfaces on most mobile devices can be improved greatly.   Apple TV is yet another idea that makes great sense and if done right will eliminate competition from anyone else such as SlingBox or TiVo. Why?

Business Continuity and VoIP

January 9, 2007

This past year’s mild hurricane season is something many in the Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana are certainly very happy about. But if you are a business in any area of the world, now is not the time to let your guard down.   In today’s day and age, technology has advanced to such a degree that IP communications can minimize the impact of natural disasters on businesses.   In October 2005, ITEXPO held a press conference with the Disaster Planning Communications Forum (DPCF). TMC continues to work with associations and companies to ensure attendees at ITEXPO becomes a major location where attendees can be educated on disaster planning and business continuity.   It should be noted regardless of your company size, disaster planning is something you should be aware of and implement.

Catching up with Jon Arnold

January 9, 2007

The Days Musings

January 9, 2007

Here is a smattering of news and views of recent events:   Great news – We may have found and killed life on mars. How does one analyze such news? This could be one of the biggest discoveries of our lifetimes and – we accidentally kill it? Ok let’s just hope we don’t get extraterrestrial visitors to our planet who don’t realize humans are life forms.   Yahoo!

ATS new cordless VoIP phone

January 8, 2007

Florida is on Sale for ITEXPO!

January 8, 2007

  It is not too late to book your flights to ITEXPO   I just went to Expedia and checked the airfares for the upcoming Internet Telephony Conference & Expo coming up in a few weeks. Boy was I surprised. I have never seen such low fares just two weeks from any show. And this is with no Saturday night stay requirement.

Who is CRM Player Infor?

January 8, 2007

I didn’t think it was possible to have a 2 billion dollar company in the software market that I didn’t know about but Infor is such a company focusing on enterprise applications such as CRM and more. The company competes with the likes of SAP and Oracle and has grown revenue by 300% in the past year. Infor has had a string of acquisitions as of late and the result is a company with 70,000 application customers. I decided it would make sense to have an interview with the company’s Global Director, CRM Product Marketing Patric Timmermans so we could all get a better Idea about who the company is and where they are going.   1) Before we discuss CRM, who is Infor and what are you doing different in the market? Infor recognizes there has been a large gap in the enterprise software market.

PhoneHog

January 8, 2007

Solace Systems

January 7, 2007

Yet another Terry Matthews company I recently visited is Solace Systems who provides products for service providers and large enterprise customers. The company is in the value-added services routing system business and in case you are wondering what this means it is simply adding intelligence to service provider networks so that application services can be provisioned and managed just like today’s network services. The goal is to allow service providers to get into the business of supplying a number of advanced services and not just dumb pipes.   So if you are looking for a more lucid explanation imagine the logic in an IBM Websphere or BEA WebLogic application being provided by you, the service provider.   The obvious question is whether the enterprise of today is ready to outsource application layer routing. Solace Systems executives tell me the service provider has followed the enterprise down the road to providing IP networks and then the path of providing VPN services.

Mitel

January 7, 2007

By now it is no secret I spent some time in Canada recently and met with a number of companies in the Terry Matthews family. One of these companies is Mitel and over the decades this company has proven to be far ahead of the technology curve. They haven’t been the marketing leader mind you but they always focused on technology and innovation and this allowed them to do well throughout a telecom market having its share of ups and downs.   In the early 1990s I remember Mitel at shows like ICA and TCA in places like San Diego, California exhibiting converged solutions integrating the PC and the phone system. Mitel has always been innovating.

Diamonds are For... the Web

January 7, 2007

If you are interested in how a dotcom company made it through the bubble and emerged as a leading diamond retailer -- one of the top three in fact, check out When Buying a Diamond Starts With a Mouse by Gary Rivlin of the New York Times. The story focuses on Blue Nile and the online diamond behemoth says nearly every day, the company sells a ring costing $20,000 to $40,000. Last month alone, more than a dozen people bought diamonds that were so expensive — $50,000 or more — that Blue Nile delivered them in armored trucks with armed guards. The article didn’t mention Amazon.com who is also looking at becoming a major force in the jewelry business.

Sony VAIO Micro PC VGN-UX280P

January 6, 2007

Even though it is a beautiful day I ended up in the Westchester Mall where I got to see a demo of Verizon FiOS but there was no IPTV because Verizon has no TV franchise here in Westchester. They expect to have TV in the spring and according to the salespeople here it is good news because many customers are waiting for the TV to come before they make the switch.

Next up was Brookstone where I saw a new stereo system (I didn't catch the name) that has iPod compatibility, the ability to play MP3 CDs and a variety of memory card options. You could put an SD card in the stereo for example.

Temperature Record

January 6, 2007

VoIP Changes the Lives of Disabled Veterans

January 5, 2007

Many people know how VoIP has changed lives and how it has allowed communications to take place among people who previously could not afford to communicate. Voice over IP is obviously disruptive but at the same time it has changed the world in many ways. We know about cost savings and how service provider business models have evolved over the years but we have not seen enough media attention on how VoIP is changing lives by enabling people who could not previously be employed to finally get jobs.   There are hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans in the world and in these distinguished American citizens are often unable to contribute to the workforce because they aren’t able to commute to a job.   In May of last year I wrote about how call centers are changing lives and specifically about the excellent work Ken Smith is doing as Program Manager at the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH).   Here is a refresher from the above article:   In November of 2005, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation or MOPHSF started its first class of 15 disabled, combat wounded veterans in an online call center training program called Veterans Business Training Center or VBTC.

This training was 15-weeks, 600-hours long and focused on the Five9 dialing platform. As it turns out, Five9 gave this agency very favorable rates for their service and they should be commended for doing so.

The foundation allowed the trainees to use this platform to call prospect donors on behalf of the foundation to solicit contributions in the state of Virginia.



Mobile Carriers Cash in

January 5, 2007

Service providers are looking for more revenue sources as voice becomes less and less of a cash cow. Ringtones, games and video programming are obvious areas of growth but search may not be something you think of as a mobile killer application.   In reality search can and will be a killer application for mobile users. In many parts of the world the mobile device is the primary form of internet access for individuals. In addition there is just a such a vast opportunity to connect buyers and sellers when people travel.   Finally the ability to combine information from mobile providers with the customer needs and vast information archives of a search company will lead to many more sales for all involved.

Channels

January 4, 2007

One of the fastest growing areas of TMCnet is the channels program which are micro-communities of interest. These channels focus on so many topics I can’t list them all but a few of the more recent ones are here for your perusal. The span virtually every area of communications and they are to me the future of the internet. Why?

Smith on TMCnet

January 4, 2007

Smith on VoIP was extremely complimentary calling TMCnet the King of all VoIP Sites. Thank you Garrett. He wrote a blog entry discussing the TMCnet redesign I mentioned yesterday. Generally the comments about the new look have been good.

Call Recording

January 3, 2007

I recently noticed the new VoIP call recording channel on TMCnet and thought it was worth checking out as VoIP call recording is becoming a fast growing area? Why? Well call centers need to record as many calls as feasible to protect themselves and also to ensure they comply with myriad regulations.   In addition – and speaking of myriad regulations – Sox regulations are quite onerous and public and private companies need to consider recording all calls to comply with various state and federal laws.   This channel will be a good resource for call recording in the world of IP communications and as I perused it just now I learned In-Stat says 7.9% of US households use a VoIP service. Pretty amazing.

Natural Convergence

January 3, 2007

About ten years ago I was waiting to be seated at a restaurant when a man came to the area in which I was waiting and started to open the vending machines. He had a few empty sacks with him and after about five minutes had filled the sacks with money. It was at this point I realized the value of making small amounts of money in massive volume. I figured if it can be done with gumballs you can do it with anything.   After a recent meeting with David Cork the CEO at Natural Convergence I think telecom holds another vending machine opportunity service providers are wise to pay attention to.

Prediction: $100 Laptop to Create Billionaire

January 3, 2007

TMCnet Redesign

January 3, 2007

Today is a pretty big day for me personally. As you know, TMCnet is the world’s leading site for communications and technology information, community building, etc. In fact this past December 2006 saw our traffic reach just under 2 million unique visitors. Our previous record was just over one million.   This is a number unheard of in the competitive space in which we play and we are proud of this fact.   So while our site is not only successful it continues to shine, we knew it also was a busy site.

Kanata's Landlord

January 3, 2007

A sidebar to: Sir Terry Matthews

Aside from being a successful serial entrepreneur Terry owns much of Kanata, Ontario and is a major landlord owning seemingly every building in site -- some were sold to Alcatel a few years back. In addition to the buildings he also owns a four diamond hotel which I had a chance to stay in named the BrookStreet Hotel.   The hotel was fantastic and contains a gourmet restaurant with amazing food. Be sure to try the bread and olive oil if you get a chance. The hotel is filled with artwork from local students and to my untrained eye it all looked great.

Sir Terry Matthews

January 3, 2007

Terry Matthews is a living legend in communications and I suppose the only person I will get to meet with a “Sir” in front of their name. For years many people have told me I must meet Terry and for one reason or another we just never connected. Over the years Terry has started 66 companies and only 3 have been unsuccessful meaning they were subsequently rolled back into other companies in the “Matthews family.”.   We often hear of serial entrepreneurs but what separates Terry from virtually all others is his staggering success rate. He not only starts companies at a rapid pace he starts companies that succeed.

Microsoft to Trump Ferrari Laptopgate

January 3, 2007

With all this talk of net neutrality and AT&T’s recent concessions is it possible a much greater net neutrality problem will come not from Texas based AT&T but Redmond’s Microsoft. According to Scott Cleland and the Wall Street Journal, there is huge potential for web discrimination against small companies when using Microsoft’s Vista operating system.   You see the browser has software to spot phishers and the system does not classify over 20 million legitimate small businesses as “phish free” so they have deployed a guilty until proven innocent model.   In my view this is not an intentional way to stop small companies from being successful as this blog entry suggests.   Still the effects of this filter could be disastrous to small business and I suppose Microsoft will be forced to deal with this problem in some way soon before this becomes a media fiasco rivaling Ferrari laptopgate.

The AT&T/BellSouth/FCC Soap Opera

January 2, 2007

The AT&T BellSouth merger has gained FCC approval after AT&T decided to make some concessions and many are hailing this as a win for net neutrality. Below are some of the recent articles – a massive amount for a telecom merger --  I found on TMCnet regarding this soap opera of a merger:     Most of the articles have a positive spin but at least one critic of this merger is Dave Burstein at DSL Prime who thinks AT&T's net neutrality concession has no meaning. Why?   According to Dave this seemingly innocuous later sentence -- following the 2-year net neutrality pledge -- effectively makes it almost meaningless.   “This commitment also does not apply to AT&T/BellSouth's Internet Protocol television (IPTV) service.” AT&T has always intended to give paying customers priority by routing them over the “IPTV” part of their network, with Alcatel routers and Microsoft software designed for QOS.   Basically AT&T says it won't favor one type of traffic on its network over another -- the essence of net neutrality, it then adds this statement that negates their concession.   Many fear service providers will favor some services over others and also restrict competition with pricing which makes it prohibitive to launch a new service that in any way competes with a service provider offering.   After all, would YouTube have stood a chance if they had the service providers stacking the deck against them from the beginning?
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