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August 2007

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Google Bashing

August 31, 2007

John Battelle has some thoughts on a recent Economist article on Google which talks at length about the growing list of Google haters from telcos to television networks. According to the blog entry and article, one of the biggest challenges Google has to deal with is user privacy.   Google’s growth into so many new areas will increasingly make it a target and it is doing exactly the same thing Microsoft was hated for – using its dominant position in one market to wipe away competitors in other spaces. Of course any and every company should do what they need to in the quest to increase shareholder value. The question becomes whether or not this growth into virtually every area of computing, entertainment and telecommunications will be seen as positive or negative by consumers.   Either way, the company is just so strong and has made such great acquisitions; I believe they can afford to be less-liked as long as people still use their various services.

Miss Teen South Carolina

August 31, 2007

It is all about the education. Miss Teen South Carolina hit the nail on the head when she said our education system in the United States needs to improve so as she says, US Americans can one day hope to aspire to be as well-educated as the people of Iraq and South Africa. At least I think that is what she said – you may watch the video for yourself and decide. Of course as she reminds us, we need to also include the Asian countries so we can help build up our future.   If you haven’t seen the video, make sure you are sitting down first.

Robot Mouse

August 29, 2007

Polaris IP

August 29, 2007

Polaris IP is a company you probably never heard of but they have a patent on an e-mail routing system and are using it to sue the Internet’s largest companies. In particular, Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, A9, Borders, AOL and IAC/Interactive Corp among others are named in a suit claiming infringement on patent 6,411,947.   With ITEXPO just around the corner I haven’t had the time to delve deeply into this patent. Here is the abstract:  
A method for automatically interpreting an electronic message, including the steps of (a) receiving the electronic message from a source; (b) interpreting the electronic message using a rule base and case base knowledge engine; and (c) classifying the electronic message as at least one of (i) being able to be responded to automatically; and (ii) requiring assistance from a human operator. The method for automatically interpreting an electronic message may also include the step of retrieving one or more predetermined responses corresponding to the interpretation of the electronic message from a repository for automatic delivery to the source.
  This patent seems to apply to a number of advertising related companies as they all use a machine to determine which ad will be served based on web page content.   The original patent claim was applied for by a company called Brightware.

Inter-Tel

August 28, 2007

Inter-Tel executives Aron Aicard (Director of Product Marketing), Jon Young (Director, Softswitch Technology) and Rick Ringel (Strategic Solutions Engineer), gave me this exclusive interview. They talked to me about Inter-Tel’s new corporate initiatives, the impact of SIP technology, and the future of the market in general.   Recently merged with Mitel Networks Corporation, Inter-Tel is a high-profile provider of business telephone systems and related software products.   It will be interesting to see how Inter-Tel/Mitel does under the leadership of the capable Mitel and Inter-Tel management. This includes of course Sir Terry Matthews who seems to turn everything into gold.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   Now that its merger with Mitel has been concluded, Inter-Tel is working closely with its colleagues at Mitel to broaden its collective suite of solutions to deliver seamless, advanced IP platforms, applications and services to businesses ranging from large enterprises to SOHO environments.        How has SIP changed communications?   We are only in the early stages of SIP acceptance, but Inter-Tel sees SIP—and other industry standards—as integral to the evolution of business communications.

BlueSocket

August 28, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Mads Lillelund, president and CEO of Bluesocket, about the evolution of the IP communications space, its acquisition of Pingtel and the direction his company is taking.   Bluesocket provides open wireless security and management solutions designed to simplify the complexities of mobile enterprises. Bluesocket provides end-to-end product portfolio for universities, healthcare organizations, government institutions, libraries, and enterprises to deploy, secure, manage and profit from their wireless LANs. The company’s products allow its customers to build secure, manageable, global WLAN deployments that support mobile workers simultaneously.   To learn more about the company, read my previous blog entry regarding Bluesocket.   RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives. ML: Bluesocket recently acquired SIP-based enterprise communications solutions leader Pingtel to establish a solid foundation for the delivery of converged mobility and unified communications. Combining Bluesocket’s award-winning WLAN and security capabilities with Pingtel’s SIP PBX technology puts Bluesocket in a leadership position to meet the mobility needs of its customers. As 2007 progresses, look for the release of the next-generation Bluesocket MIMO access point compliant with draft two of 802.11n along with a variety of feature and performance enhancements across our entire WLAN controller and access point product family.

Unlock iPhone get Sued

August 28, 2007

Call Center Outage

August 28, 2007

A call center outage could be disastrous for your business. Some of the largest call centers sell millions of dollars worth of products and services each hour so an outage of minutes can be devastating to the bottom line. According to Boston.com, NStar the Boston gas and electric utility had a four-hour outage in their call center due to AT&T cable failure.   This outage on top of the recent Skype outage written about last week are both wake up calls for any business looking to ensure they can communicate effectively at all times.   Even if you do not have a contact center in your company, dhow would you like to be the person explaining to the CEO why his call to your company’s top client was dropped unexpectedly.   These wake-up calls should be heeded and you should definitely be at ITEXPO in a few weeks to ensure you are aware of the latest technology which can help your company avert communications downtime.   Here are some parts of the event worth noting:  

TorrentSpy Case Ramnifications

August 27, 2007

I just learned of TorrentSpy.com, a site which allows users to search for files on a p2p network named BitTorrent. Typically this isn’t something I would devote brainwaves or electrons to but in this case it seems like an important exception.   You see TorrentSpy.com is going to shut down access to US users. In addition a US judge will soon decide whether the site has to turn over user information to the Motion Picture Association of America.   I went to the site and searched for “John Stewart” and received the following message:  
Sorry, but because you are located in the USA you cannot use the search features of the Torrentspy.com website. Torrentspy's decision to stop accepting US visitors was NOT compelled by any Court but rather an uncertain legal climate in the US regarding user privacy and an apparent tension between US and European Union privacy laws.
  TorrentSpy does not actually host movies on it’s site, has other legitimate uses besides supporting piracy and is located in the Netherlands.   I am not a lawyer but it is difficult to understand how the MPAA has a case against the company.

Dell, Solio, Provia and More

August 27, 2007

Today has been a pretty hectic day for me as I was up late at an uncle and aunt’s 50th anniversary party last night (amazing number of years isn’t it?). This AM I had a meeting with the doctor who tells me I am healthy but have higher blood sugar than I should. I would appreciate any of my readers reminding me to not eat chips or cookies going forward. Yes I am serious.   Tomorrow I have major (for me anyway) dental work and I will be at Pepe’s Pizza later this week with college friends and I will not be dieting.

Virtual Customer Interactions

August 25, 2007

This is my next Customer Interaction Solutions High Priority column. If memory serves it will be the October, 2007 issue. As often happens this will be the unedited version. If this is of any interest be sure to subscribe digitally to the magazine so you don’t miss an issue.   -----   On a blustery day at a Virginia Beach hotel a decade or so ago, a group of call center decision makers gathered to hear Rich Tehrani, Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC speak on the topic of evolving customer service and technology.

VoEX

August 24, 2007

VoEX, Inc., is a VoIP managed-service provider offering global peering infrastructure, network interoperability, industry-leading quality of service, and advanced applications capabilities for top tier carriers, mobile operators, cable operators, voice service providers, academic institutions and enterprises. VoEX maps the world’s phone numbers to resolvable IP addresses by combining an advanced carrier-grade VoIP peering infrastructure with the world’s largest carrier ENUM registry — now totaling over 250 million phone numbers — to interconnect IP, TDM and hybrid-network service providers.   I recently had the opportunity to discuss industry trends with Cyril N. Matthews, Director of Registry and Network Services at VOEX. For more on the company be sure to check out a March 30th, 2007 discussion between Cyril and Russell Shaw.     RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives. CM: Our company has built our network on IP at the core and we are working with our customers and vendors to push IP to the edge of the network (using ENUM and other technologies) to provide a base for the development of applications that can take advantage of the IP-based environment to drive convergence.   RT: How has SIP changed communications? CM: SIP has opened up communications to the level of flexibility and innovation previously seen in personal computing… creating the ability for personal communications such as Instant Messaging (text, voice & video), as well as other presence- and location-based applications.   RT: What is the biggest request coming from your customer base? CM: Give me something to help me differentiate what I do from my competitors.   RT: How are you answering their demands? CM: We are working with our customers to develop solutions   RT: What do you think the future of the market is? CM: Applications that seamlessly blend voice, video and data with real-time (inter)personal communications.   RT: How does the U.S.

Use Skype, go to Jail

August 24, 2007

OK, I have been writing about Skype almost continually and this is not intentional. There is just a great deal of news about the company lately. For example, George Ou discusses today how a man in the UK was arrested for using a neighbor’s WiFi network. He went on to say he was reviewing a Skype phone which automatically connected to an open WiFi network in an unfamiliar area.

SIP to Skype

August 23, 2007

Skype Usage Declining

August 23, 2007

Ixia on Skype Outage

August 22, 2007

You may have seen my recent blog post about what we learned from the Skype outage. I have had much feedback about this article and I found it important enough to publish in an upcoming TMC magazine. I won’t tell you which as I would like you to read them all of course.   One of the letters I received regarding the post was actually something the author allowed me to publish. The quantity of mail I receive where the author wants me not to publish the comments is astounding actually.   The e-mail below agrees with my thoughts regarding the Skype outage and since it comes from Ixia, a testing company no one should be surprised.

Alcatel-Lucent Changes

August 22, 2007

Google Sky

August 22, 2007

Today Google announced its Google Earth program will allow you navigate stars as well. You can now see constellations and navigate around the cosmos. You can see how planets rotate using an animation tool and more. Here are some of the neat things the program will let you do:   Constellations -- From Cassiopeia to Andromeda, the Constellations layer connects the points of constellations through space, labeling each with its given name.

Oaisys Update

August 22, 2007

If you live vicariously through my travel schedule then you were with me in Arizona during that muggy and super-hot trip I took a while back to see Oaisys and learn about their Talkument voice appliance.   As you may recall, Talkument makes voicemail as useful as e-mail with the ability to annotate them or even pieces of these voice messages.   Here is a full feature list:  
  • Voice Document Sharing — Allows users to share voice documents with other authorized users and temporary guest users.
  • Highlighting — Selected segments of the voice document can be highlighted so whoever is authorized to review the file can simply listen to the pertinent segment and not have to wade through the entire file. 
  • Commenting — An annotation feature helps the user tag certain documents for future retrieval. These comments are visible for other authorized users to facilitate collaboration and communication. 
  • File Management System — Talkument also allows users to store the voice files in its file management system, which contains folders that can be custom-configured and personalized to make it easy to find files at a later date. 

Skype Retracts Microsoft Blame

August 22, 2007

In previous posts it was mentioned that Skype blames Microsoft for the recent outage it had last week. More recently Skype has issued a statement saying it does not diectly blame Microsoft for the problem but instead it clarified the Microsoft update patches caused a chain reaction which caused their network to fail.   Here are the details:

1. Are we blaming Microsoft for what happened?
We don’t blame anyone but ourselves.


Cell Phone Contract Cancellation

August 21, 2007

Videoconferencing

August 21, 2007

TMC is proud to have partnered with SightSpeed to launch a videoconferencing channel on TMCnet which is designed to bring together the community of videoconferencing decision-makers in a single location online.   Expect this channel to be updated frequently and worth bookmarking to keep up to date on the latest in all things having to do with the videoconferencing space.   I have selected some articles from the channel you may find interesting.     Here is some of the current news from the site which could also be of interest:  

Skype Outage Article

August 21, 2007

Jon Arnold and I were both quoted recently in a San Francisco Chronicle article titled Skype reveals outage source, tells customers it won't happen again. The article is extremely well-written, gets perspective from a number of people and weaves each viewpoint into a cohesive whole.   My quote follows below:  
The technology relies on user computers to route phone calls and handle some of the call authentication. There are thousands of computers and servers that are tapped to act as these supernodes in the Skype network.   That reliance has allowed Skype, owned by San Jose's eBay, to keep phone calls free between members and extremely cheap for calls to nonsubscribers. But an outage like last week's reveals the inherent vulnerability in the system when a large number of computers are affected within a short span of time, said Rich Tehrani, chairman of the Internet Telephony Conference and Expo and president of TMC, a communications and technology media company.   "The fate of the users is not in the control of one company, and that's the problem," Tehrani said.

Google Lawsuits

August 21, 2007

Parlano

August 21, 2007

Bob Serr, Parlano CTO, took some time to give me this exclusive interview. In it, he gave some fascinating insight on the impact of industry giants like Google and Microsoft on the telecom world, and also let me know why Parlano’s presentation at ITEXPO is something worth looking forward to. One of the leaders in the burgeoning space of persistent group chat, Parlano gives some of the world's most dynamic organizations competitive advantage through more effective cross-functional group communication. You can read more about them in this recent TMCnet article.

How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy? We see our customers moving in this direction and they are demanding integrated voice and text communications, which we are delivering to them via our SIP/SIMPLE based product.   How has SIP changed communications? It’s made possible integration at the application level for text and voice communications—as opposed to gateways that connect systems but do not offer an integrated experience for the user that matches the way they do their jobs.   What is the biggest request coming from your customer base? Seemless integration of persistent group chat with Microsoft’s unified communications platform.   How are you answering their demands?

Acredo

August 21, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Erin Bolton, marketing manager of Acredo Technologies Inc, about IP communications, the company’s customer base and the upcoming ITEXPO.   Acredo Technologies delivers hosted IP phone service to the small business market and the company’s mission is to "Build and manage a recognized brand in the hosted IP-Centrex space for small business in North America.”   This past February TMC chose Acredo Technologies as one of the winners of its prestigious “Best of Show” at its Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. Please read more about it here.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   Acredo Technologies will provide a hosted IP phone service that small businesses can afford and manage. Acredo's offering is a bundled solution integrating technology from our best of breed partners including Avaya, AT&T, HP, Cisco and Oracle. The partners we have chosen will allow us to create the most reliable and highest quality calling experience with VoIP technology.

Ingate

August 21, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Olle Westerberg, chief executive officer Ingate Systems, about his business and the direction he is taking the company.   Ingate Systems produces a range of SIP-capable enterprise firewalls.   Please read the TMCnet article about Ingate Systems SIP Trunking Network for more information on the company.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   Ingate continues to lead the industry in SIP-enabling security technologies. We are once again working with our partners in the IP PBX and ITSP space to educate end-users, resellers and VARs on SIP trunking with the “SIP Trunking Series: Everything You Need to Know” at ITEXPO. We see SIP trunking as a way of making full use of the enterprise IP PBX, making it possible to use the IP PBX functionality outside the enterprise network. It is a critical stepping-stone to true global connectivity when everyone is able to connect with one another (both inside and outside the company) using the Internet.   Looking ahead, we support the trend toward unified communications as it paves the way for true global communications by providing users the flexibility to choose the best way to communicate at any given moment.   How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy?   Ingate has had SIP and IP communications in our strategy from the beginning.

Level 3 Communications

August 20, 2007

Level 3 Communications, Inc., an international communications company, operates one of the largest Internet backbones in the world, connecting 180 markets in 18 countries. The company serves a broad range of wholesale, enterprise and content customers with a comprehensive suite of services including: Internet Protocol (IP) services, broadband transport and infrastructure services, co-location services, voice and voice over IP services, content delivery and media distribution services.   Recently the company announced that it has been selected by Joost to support its Internet television service, providing Joost with network solutions including high-speed Internet access and co-location services in North America and Europe.   I had the chance to catch up with Cary Tengler, Level 3’s director of partner development who told me about the company’s latest initiatives and a bold prediction for where the industry will be in five years.

Arlinx

August 20, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Patrick Young of Arlinx about the company’s customer base, its IP communications strategy and the direction his company is taking.   The Arlinx IP Elite Security and Media Processing Platforms provide opportunities for developers, integrators, and resellers to offer an alternative to mainstream x86 appliances.   To learn more about the company, read this article published on TMCnet from earlier this year.   RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives. PY: Our initiative is to produce an open IP communications application and specific hardware platform with strong authentication, encryption acceleration, a voice optimized media processor and very high energy efficiency.

What We Learned From the Skype Outage

August 20, 2007

As organizations move to VoIP and other forms of IP communications it is imperative they realize the world of IP is far different from the PSTN and circuit-switched networks of yesterday. While Internet Protocol is the protocol of the Internet which was designed to be resilient enough to withstand a nuclear attack, IP networks need proper management to be able to continue operating under a variety of circumstances.   The concept of the always up IP communications network was certainly in the spotlight recently as TMCnet’s Tom Keating broke the story of Skype, the world’s most popular IP communications software company having a major network outage. He surmised that a recent Microsoft upgrade to its operating systems was responsible for the outage.   A few days later, Skype explained that indeed, Microsoft’s operating system update coupled with a bug in the eBay division’s software was responsible for leaving millions without IP communications.   While some journalists have come to the conclusion that VoIP is no longer reliable because of this outage the reality is that a software bug stopped the network from functioning properly and this had nothing to do with the inherent reliability of VoIP.   Still, when you leverage the benefits of IP communications you must also be aware of the responsibilities that come with the technology. Yes, you now have some responsibilities you may not have been aware of.

Tissot High-T Discontinued

August 20, 2007

Sadly, the Tissot High-T has been discontinued. This is terrible news as when the watch worked, it worked very well. It connected with the Microsoft Spot network which is now called MSN Direct. It had a touch screen and vibrate function which made it an exceptional watch as it could remind you of appointments without any sound.

IP Communications Education

August 20, 2007

Listen, I don’t want to overdo discussion of ITEXPO in my blog but the fact of the matter is this recent e-mail sent by my marketing team is a great document discussing what is important at the show. It is a good guide for you. What to see, where to go, where to be, etc.   You can see below the various aspects of Internet Telephony Conference & Expo which make it unique and the most imitated event in IP communications.

Skype P2P Problems

August 20, 2007

By now it seems the whole world is aware Skype had major problems last week. For most people, Skype was down. Tom Keating speculated the cause was a Microsoft patch which rebooted massive numbers of machines. He has a point as my machine coincidentally rebooted just before the Skype problem hit.   Many people thought Tom was incorrect but it turns out Tom nailed the problem.   Phil Wolf has an excellent recap of the problem with his thoughts and questions interlaced within.   For example, when commenting on the following from Skype:  
Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly.
  Wolf wonders:  
If the bug was within the algorithm, in the Skype client, was the bug ever repaired?

Wireless Companies at ITEXPO

August 19, 2007

I happened upon a great article by Mae Kowalke discussing wireless company representation at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. Companies discussed include a la Mobile, Airwide Solutions, Kineto Wireless, MobiTV and MOBIVOX.   The article reminds me just how big the wireless market is becoming with regards to IP communications. Certainly the next few years could be instrumental in this “space” with the 700 MHz auction coming (see also 700 MHz Setback). We certainly have exciting times ahead for both consumers, service providers and business users.   Perhaps most interesting is whether wireless providers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless will see serious competition from internet companies such as Google.

Call Center CRM Stories August, 17 2007

August 19, 2007

While technology has a bewildering effect on the medical industry it seems one of the areas ripest for improvement and change is that of the interaction of patient and doctor. A recent article on TMCnet details how HD videoconferencing is improving patient care.   Another area of change in contact centers is that of outsourcing. A recent article from TMCnet’s Susan Campbell talks about this change. Specifically it discusses a new study by Duke University and the management consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton which found that companies are increasingly moving sophisticated, mission-critical functions to China, India and other offshore locations primarily because these countries are providing the individuals with the necessary skills and education.   Speaking of changes in outsourcing, did you know Egypt is trying to be a major player in this space according to an article from TMCnet’s Brian Solomon?

Junction Networks

August 19, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Avery Glasser of Junction Networks about the evolution of the SMB IP communications space and the direction his company is taking.   Junction Networks provides business class VoIP service to companies without the hassle presented by traditional telephone providers and residential-focused VoIP providers.   By the way any company with a product called the 10-minute PBX is a must-interview in my opinion. Imagine, as an SMB if you go with a 10-minute PBX solution you will have time left over for 8-minute abs.   To learn more about the company you may read this article published on TMCnet from earlier this year. In addition, you can read these comments about the company from esteemed blogger and ITEXPO speaker Ken Camp   RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives. AG: Our goals are really quite simple: Deliver on the promise of the 10-minute PBX, make setup simpler for our users, and add more business applications. Targeting the SMB market requires us to really focus on making the solution usable for companies who don’t have a technical staff member.

Skype Working

August 19, 2007

It seems Skype is indeed up and running once again. As you may recall, TMCnet’s Tom Keating broke the news of the outage last week when he heard many of the TMC team members were not able to communicate with one another.   I recently wrote about Skype stabilizing two days ago. It seems now the software/service has gone from stabilizing to working correctly.   This is an e-mail I received yesterday from Skype’s PR agency:  
Good Morning,   I'm pleased to share the most recent information on the Skype outage with you:   "Take a deep breath. Skype is back to normal."   "On Monday, we’ll provide a more detailed explanation of what happened.

Vocalocity

August 18, 2007

Vocalocity provides customized VoIP phone solutions to small and medium size businesses, specializing in “Micro enterprise” companies with fewer than 25 employees. Vocalocity’s core service offering, VocalocityPBX, is designed to provide customers with the quality and reliability of traditional PBX phone systems, with more features, at a lower cost.   Phil Hill is President of Vocalocity. I recently had the chance to ask Phil several questions about his company, the future of the market and what Vocalocity will be up to at the upcoming Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO, which kicks off in less than a week in Los Angeles California.     RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives. PH: Our goal is to make every employee in what we call the Micro Enterprise — offices of less than 20 people — more efficient through the use of voice. This type of business has very different needs from other Small and Medium Businesses, even those with just 50 or 100 employees, and by making the phone system as easy to setup and use as e-mail we’re opening up a way to change the way these Micro Enterprises exist and do business.   RT: How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy? PH: Our core strategy hasn’t changed from day one; we’re an Internet service company, not a telecom, so this is what VoIP means to us.

Voxbone

August 17, 2007

As you may recall, Voxbone had announced a developer contest a while back and in my blog post about the contest I mentioned the three winners will get:  
  • Recognition as a Voxbone certified developer. Recommendation to customers and partners in need of a third-party developer for integrating the Voxbone API.
  • Marketing and promotion of winning projects to the specialized press and to Voxbone contacts
  • Listing and description of winning projects on the Voxbone website
  Now, I am told the winners have been named. I am sure you are on the edge of your seat, waiting for the winners.

Fonality

August 17, 2007

TMC Gets Some Press

August 17, 2007

Having your cake and eating it too is how it think about this article in the San Francisco Chronicle with a quote from TMC’s Tom Keating and TMC friend Om Malik. Here is an excerpt:  
Tom Keating, chief technology officer for Internet Telephony Magazine, said he's heard from a number of businesses that rely on Skype to keep workers in touch with each other as well as clients. He said the instant-messaging feature is particularly popular with users because it works around many company firewalls.   Keating said the outage may be related to some maintenance work Skype completed Wednesday night. He said it's unlikely the problem was caused by an outside attack from hackers.   "It's very possible that the change they did with maintenance could have had some unanticipated cascade affect," said Keating.

Skype Update

August 17, 2007

You may recall yesterday that I wrote about Skype having problems. It seems most of the service is back to normal according to Skype’s Heartbeat Blog. Here is the latest blog post:  
As Europe has woken up to a new day and Asia is entering the evening hours, here’s the latest on the sign-on problem.

We’re on the road to recovery.

Covergence

August 16, 2007

Ken Kuenzel, Founder, VP Engineering and CTO for Covergence recently chatted with me about the impact of wireless technology, and the way in which SIP has changed communications, among other topics.   Offering its customers “the edge in SIP”, Covergence specializes in a variety of communications solutions. Read this story on TMCnet to find out more about them.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   One of the most exciting trends we are seeing in the market is the rise of voice and other real-time communications embedded into business applications. We had a number of customers that were using Eclipse, our next-generation session border controller, and wanted to add real-time capabilities into customer-facing applications to improve the customer experience and streamline complex customer interactions.

Reef Point

August 16, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Woody Ritchey, CEO of Reef Point Systems, about the future of IP communications and the challenges his business will face over the next five years. Reef Point is a provider of IP-based fixed-mobile convergence connectivity solutions that connect devices to networks — and networks to networks — enabling high-quality voice, data, video and multimedia sessions to flow, efficiently, securely and reliably. Reef Point offers an access-edge-to-peering-edge solution for wireless and wireline operators, which allows them to build IP-based network infrastructure to deliver today's network services and continue building on that same foundation for future applications. To see more about the company, please see TMCnet coverage here and the article titled: The FMC Border Architecture. Please outline your new corporate initiatives. Reef Point develops and delivers flexible, scalable and efficient fixed-mobile connectivity solutions that enable operators to securely navigate the ever-evolving access edge. Reef Point is the first to demonstrate session management across fixed and mobile networks through their Integrated Border Gateway. Additionally, Reef Point introduced the first IP Base Station Gateway.

Skype Outage

August 16, 2007

UK Outsourcing in the US

August 16, 2007

A keen eyed blog reader of mine pointed out American outsourcers could do well by taking jobs from the UK by taking the country’s call center work. This article published months ago by the BBC shows just how bad customer satisfaction is in the UK.   In fact, just 4% of people have had a good experience when dealing with a call center, according to a recent survey by YouGov. Over half of those asked said their biggest gripe was having to contact call centers outside the UK and more than a third admitted to shouting and swearing at agents because they got so frustrated.   On the bright side, at least agents in the US will be able to understand the profanity being directed at them.

Tissot

August 16, 2007

Here is a long term update on my Tissot High-T watch which when working properly is a technological marvel. My original review which was quite favorable can be found here.   While the watch is certainly state of the art… It does break often. Mine has broken twice in about eighteen months. The first time the watch took 2-3 months to repair and get back to me.   The watch recently broke again and I am going through the same waiting period it seems.

Radisys

August 15, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ray Adensamer of RadiSys about the evolution of the IP communicationsspace, the company’s application-enabling platforms and more.   RadiSys specializes s in developing open standards building blocks, especially in the ATCA and more recently MicroTCA spaces.   To get some more background the company, read my recent blog entry detailing the company’s success.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   RadiSys is a leading provider of application-enabling platforms for next-generation networks. Our Promentum ATCA (AdvancedTCA) family is built around the industry’s first fully integrated 10 Gigabit platform and modular building blocks, with the most recent family addition being our new high-density ATCA-9100 media resource blade. Through our 2006 acquisition of Convedia, RadiSys now also offers a comprehensive product family of Internet Protocol (IP) media server products and technology.

Packet Island

August 15, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Packet Island President Praveen Kumar about VoIP, the IP Communications space and more.   Packet Island provides the a micro-appliance based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that enables service providers and VARs to deliver managed IT services like VoIP lifecycle management at disruptive price points.   To get some history on the company, be sure to read this blog entry I wrote earlier this year about how the company has redefined network management.   What pains does your company solve for customers?   We enable service providers and VARs to design solid converged media networks for the SMB market. Our solution solves the quality problem that has been hobbling the VoIP industry.   How has SIP changed communications?   SIP has been a boon for SMB customers because it has commoditized the VoIP equipment market. Now that SIP interoperability issues are gradually going away, the next phase of the industry will see a variety of SIP-based advanced communication and collaboration services becoming available to the SMB mass market.   How do you think the future of the market looks?   The future looks very exciting.

Dialexia

August 15, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Mohamed El Mohri, CTO at Dialexia Communications, about the evolution of the IP communicationsspace and the direction his company is taking.   Dialexia Communications is best known for its next generation communication software and services. The company develops and markets a complete suite of IP-Telephony software and applications. It also provides advanced IP communications solutions to enterprises, service providers as well as resellers.   To get some more background the company, read this TMCnet article.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   For the next few years, Dialexia’s new initiatives will turn around the IMS architecture, core technologies, and services.   Our current products will migrate to IMS-readiness. The main outcome is expected to be more sophisticated and attractive IP communications services that will be able to run on various IP and legacy networks agnostically of the underlying access technology.   How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy?

Telrex

August 15, 2007

I recently got the chance to sit down with Bob Cordes, Vice President of Product Management for Telrex. We discussed his company’s business strategy, as well as the future of the IP telephony market in general.   Telrex is a leading provider of IP call recording and contact center optimization solutions. Their CallRex platform provides easy and affordable software solutions for companies of all sizes to protect, grow and optimize their business.

3CX

August 15, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask 3CX CEO Nick Galea about the evolution of the IP communicationsspace and the direction his company is taking.   3CX is well known for its SIP-based 3CX Phone System for Windows, a software-based IP PBX that replaces a traditional proprietary hardware PBX/PABX.   To learn more about the company, read this TMCnet article from earlier this year.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   We have launched version 3.1 of our phone system recently, which is a complete software based small business phone system running on Windows. Our main drive for Q4 of this year is the release of version 4, which will include a SIP VOIP client and have many innovations.   How is IP communications changing your company's strategy?   Our company is based on the future potential on IP Communications, so it’s pretty fundamental to our company strategy.   What pains does your company solve for customers?   The pain of the traditional proprietary phone system shackle. It is expensive, difficult to manage and entirely outdated. We remove that shackle-bind by liberating the PBX from the proprietary hardware.

The State of Telecom Competition

August 15, 2007

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a great story on telecom competition. It is worth a read if you want to understand the plight of CLECs and the industry in general.   Here is an excerpt:  
Greensburg-based Remi Communications, which competes with Verizon in both the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets, could end up being charged more to access the delivery lines than it would if it signed up for Verizon's services as a regular customer, said David Malfara, company CEO. "That's above retail rates," he said.

Higher prices would reduce not only competition, but also, possibly, the incentive and money available for improving broadband access.

Telecom Cost Management

August 15, 2007

One of the fastest areas of growth in communications – and there seem to be so many these days, is telecom cost management. In recognition of this fact, TMC has launched a Telecom Cost Management channel which is being sponsored by Optelcon.   Why is telecom cost management an important area? PSTN calls, VoIP calls, FMC, wireless calls, broadband communications, etc have made it challenging to understand phone bills, let alone manage the cost of them.   What sorts of articles might we see on this micro-community? Boy am I glad you asked.   Here is a list of some of the latest content on the site:  

UK Trains Get Free WiFi

August 15, 2007

Living on the east coast of the US I am lucky to have access to a rail system which is not the best in the world but definitely acceptable. As a side note I took a Metro North train to Westchester and was pretty surprised how the cars on the Westchester line are so much nicer than those going to Fairfield County. Surprisingly Metro North also runs the trains to TMC’s home city of South Norwalk which is located within the county of Fairfield.   But I digress. For US citizens looking for yet another thing to envy about the rail systems in other countries… Today I learned that you will receive free WiFi on trains going from London to Scotland.

TransNexus

August 15, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Jim Dalton of TransNexus about his business and the direction he is taking the company. As you may recall, I was on a VoIP peering panel with Jim over a year ago.   TransNexus provides  Operations and Billing Support (OSS/BSS) software platforms for VoIP Peering and network interconnect management.   How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy?   TransNexus was founded in 1997 to provide VoIP interconnect and settlement solutions. IP communications is the basis for our existence and has not changed our strategy.   How has SIP changed communications?   SIP applications are easier to develop than H.323. Therefore there are a lot of inexpensive SIP devices and plenty of competition.   What is the biggest request coming from your customer base?   The need to simplify operations and eliminate costs.   How are you answering their demands?   More automation, more intuitive interfaces and more tools for optimizing profits from the network.   What do you think of Google and Apple entering the telecom market?   This is good for companies that are challenging the traditional telecom model before telcos.

Aperio CI Interview

August 15, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to speak with William Mich, chairman and chief executive officer of Aperio CI, and get his thoughts on where the market and his company is headed.   As you may recall, the company has a unique way of generating more revenue for service providers and moreover can reduce churn while increasing ARPU. To get some history on the company, be sure to read this article I wrote last year about how Aperio CI can help service providers generate more revenue.   ----   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   Aperio CI is focusing on helping service providers better understand the propensities and behaviors of their customers, which ultimately will enable them to deliver more targeted and compelling offers that result in longer customer lifecycles, enhanced brand loyalty and greater profitability.   How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy?   IP communications gives providers many more options in terms of delivering value-added content. As a result, our company has become more refined in mapping customer attributes to help providers deliver the right offer to the right customer at the right time.   What is the biggest request coming from your customer base?   Finding solutions to reduce churn and build brand loyalty.   How are you answering their demands?   We have developed a comprehensive suite of technologies to help customers understand the attributes of both desirable and less than desirable customers, and customize offers that will motivate good customers to stay with the brand.   What do you think the future of the market is?   We are extremely optimistic that providers will pay equal -- if not more -- attention to retention. Savvy providers understand that keeping good customers is much more profitable and operationally sound than having to acquire a significant base each year.   How does the US growth rate in the U.S.

Smoothstone

August 15, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Jeff Wellemeyer, chairman and CTO of Smoothstone, about the most recent call center solutions and the path Smoothstone is taking to create greater customer satisfaction.   Smoothstone is an IP communications provider that designs, integrates and services specifically tailored solutions including VoIP for medium-sized enterprises. The company’s IP communications platform provides next generation, centrally managed and enterprise strength solutions over a private nationwide network.   Please read more coverage of Smoothstone in TMCnet.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   Smoothstone continues to add new clients and to introduce new services. The most recent initiative is the introduction of our new Smoothstone Intelligent Call Control (ICC) platform.

TMCnet New Traffic Record

August 15, 2007

Thanks to all our readers and visitors who have allowed TMCnet to achieve a new traffic record in July 2007.   Here are the numbers:   Page Views 30,977,147 Average Visit Length 35:45 Unique Visitors 3,078,409   Page Views refers to actual pages viewed. So if you look at three articles a month on TMCnet you represent 3 page views. Our prior average was 20 million.   30,977,147 represents a 50+% increase over the prior record.   Average Visit Length represents how much time a person spends on the site   Unique Visitors represents how many unique viewers came to TMCnet in the entire month.   Thank you also to the TMC team for continuing to produce content our audience finds compelling.

Morgan Stanley Carbon Offset News

August 15, 2007

As Greg Galitzine mentions, follow the money if you think the green movement is just a fad. Greg reports Morgan Stanley will be investing up to $3 billion in environmental markets consisting of among other things, carbon offset trading.   According the Morgan Stanley, the system will work as follows:   Under the new service, clients will compile their emissions inventory and calculate their carbon footprint by applying the monitoring standards of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, which has provided the accounting framework for many mandatory greenhouse gas programs across the world, including the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. DNV will then verify these emissions inventories and calculated carbon footprints.   Carbon quantification, monitoring and verification will be conducted consistent with ISO 14064 standards. Morgan Stanley’s Commodities Group will procure and cancel carbon credits equivalent to a client’s verified carbon footprint.

ITEXPO Call For Papers

August 14, 2007

Please be advised that if you are interested in speaking at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in Miami this January the deadline to submit abstracts is tomorrow. Please be sure to forward the following letter immediately to all who are interested.   Once the speakers are chosen you have to wait fore the next event to be considered so time is of the essence.   Here is the official notice:   Dear Colleague,   I want to remind you that the deadline for submitting a proposal to be considered for a speaking slot at INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO East 2008 is tomorrow, August 15, 2007.   Internet Telephony Conference & Expo (ITEXPO) is the premier event in the IP Communications industry, featuring four days of high level educational sessions covering up to one dozen different tracks. ITEXPO will be held January 22-25, 2008 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, FL, and is expected to attract over 7,500 attendees from all over the world (www.itexpo.com).

Toll Tag Privacy Concerns

August 14, 2007

Getronics

August 13, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Emmitt Wells of Getronics about their business and the direction they are taking as a company.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives   Getronics, building on its dominance in desktop managed services has developed a subscription model for communications/computing environment of the worker. The service, named Future-Ready Workspace incorporates the modular addition and selection of options that include: PDA/Smartphones, VOIP services, Core Communications like email, voicemail, etc… The result is a rapidly deployable optimized infrastructure. At the same time, Getronics wireless group has unveiled an architecture for wireless infrastructures that embodies survivability and security into an ongoing operations model. The architecture called WISDOM, incorporates the best of ITIL, ITO, IEEE and ISO standards in security and wireless. 

Grandstream

August 13, 2007

Grandstream Networks Seeks Growth in SMB VoIP   The SMB VoIP market shows no sign of slowing down and so many companies are vying to get a piece of this market which is projected to grow for many years to come. One player in this area is Grandstream Networks, specializing in delivering easy to use products for SMBs and service providers.   The company says 50% of its revenue comes from selling devices into the business sector and based on the growth of this market they expect this percentage to grow.   Grandstream Chairman & CEO David Li tells me in a recent face-to-face meeting that his company’s products are affordable, have an uncompromised feature set, high quality and interoperate with many major players such as Sylantro, 3COM, Lucent & Avaya. Finally, Li says his company provides excellent support.   I asked where Li sees the company in the next five years and he told me they want to be a major player in voice and video devices for consumers and businesses.   When asked about competition, common names such as Polycom, Linksys and the more specialized Snom came up.   One interesting part of our discussion was regarding a recent customer which is a political candidate. Currently there is a thousand or so phones being used by this politician and it could scale to over ten thousand.

EVDO Rev. A Update

August 13, 2007

I can’t say enough good things about EVDO Revision A. I am using the Verizon variant and was able to work at broadband speeds up the New England coast. I could use OWA and remote desktop while streaming audio. I did have some trouble with high speed video as my connection just was not fast enough but I am still very thrilled with the service. The coverage area of Verizon’s EVDO is truly staggering.   Really what surprised me most was the hotel’s WiFi. I thought I was using it and then realized I wasn’t.

New England Tour

August 13, 2007

Acme Packet

August 12, 2007

Kevin Mitchell, Director of Solutions Marketing for Acme Packet, gave me this exclusive interview. Take a look at what he told me about VoIP security, the impact of wireless technology, and a particularly surprising prediction on the future of communications.   A leader in session border control solutions, Acme Packet prides itself on delivering trusted, first-class interactive communications across network borders. Find out more about them and their business solutions here.   How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy?
IP interactive communications is central to our company's strategy and direction.

NetXUSA

August 12, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask NETXUSA CEO Tom Boone about his business and the direction he is taking the company.   NETXUSA, Inc. is a distributor of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products and services and has a distribution channel of independent resellers throughout the United States and foreign countries that provide the local end-user installation and support services.   The company distributes products from companies such as Digium, Epygi, PBXnSIP and many others. Tom is one of the more colorful figures in the IP communications space and if you get a chance to meet him, you should take advantage of it.

Super Technologies

August 11, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Super Technologies Vice President Suzanne Bowen about her business and the direction she is taking the company.   You may recall Suzanne was nice enough to post a video interview of me a while back. My interview of Suzanne follows below. Before we get started, here is some info on Super Technologies.

Touchstone Technologies

August 11, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Touchstone Technologies CEO Mark Stacy about his business and the direction he is taking the company.   Touchstone is a Hatboro Pennsylvania based test and measurement company specializing in software-based solutions for active testing (load generation, stress testing, feature/function testing) and passive testing (network monitoring, analysis, QoS determination, back-office integration for SLA’s, etc.) of IP communications networks.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   Touchstone is currently focusing development on testing solutions that are aimed at technology deployers (e.g. integrators, installers) and SLA monitoring and diagnostics. While traditionally, the "nuts and bolts" were de rigueur for lab environments, there is a definite trend towards more simplistic solutions that can be plugged into a network, discover other test components, and begin a prescribed testing and analysis function. 

HBF Group

August 11, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask HBF Group, Inc. / 911 Services Executive Vice President of Business Development Jim Shepard about his business and the direction he is taking the company.   HBF/911 Services focuses on the design, development, implementation and support of Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) emergency telecommunications systems.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   HBF is focused on true Next Generation 9-1-1 products which will allow real-time routing of 9-1-1 calls based off of both consumer and network provided location information.

IVR Technologies

August 11, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask IVR Technologies Vice President of Business Development Barry Sher about his business and the direction he is taking the company.   IVR Technologies is a software development company providing integrated application, media and billing server to next generation networks. The company is the first vendor to develop a commercially available SIP compliant IVR and billing server.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   IVR Technologies is focused on providing innovative enhanced services and real-time billing solutions to next generation service providers that serve to help build profit margin and revenue while attracting and retaining the subscriber base. Through innovation it is our primary goal to develop applications that greatly differentiate the new SIP-based communication networks from that of the legacy PSTN   How is IP communications changing your company's strategy?   With the overwhelming adoption rates of VoIP for both businesses and consumers our solution reaches closer to the consumer than ever before. 

AudioCodes Interview

August 10, 2007

Anyone in the IP communications business knows quite well that Alan Percy is one of the most well-connected and knowledgeable players in the space. Alan’s day job is Director of Business Development at AudioCodes and I swear his night and weekend job is to travel this great country of ours and the world at large and attend any and every communications event known.   There are few events I go to where Alan is not present. Even I envy his frequent flyer account.   Percy’s years in the business have given him deep relationships at companies making networking equipment, PBXs, ACDs, call center software, softswitches and just about anything and everything in communications.   AudioCodes is a provider of communications enabling equipment, gateways, SBCs and so much more. As the market evolves; I thought it made great sense to pick Alan’s brain about the future of communications.

Call Center/CRM Stories August 10, 2007

August 10, 2007

Big news this week in call centers and CRM as we find call center quality is improving. This is great news. There is more below so take a read if you want to learn about peace in the Middle East and other interesting areas relating to communications and technology.   Cincom on the Pursuit of the Perfect Customer Experience Research Shows Insurance Industry Lacking in Call Center Customer Satisfaction The Virtual Contact Center and the SMB Study Shows Perceived Customer Service Driving Market Share HD Videoconferencing Brings Peace to Youth in the Middle East Loquendo Debuts Kerem, New Male Turkish Voice Interior Concepts Launches Two Executive Wood Furniture Lines Call Centers Can Gain More Value from Call Recording Investment When Positioned Properly VendorGuru.com Helps Business Phone Systems Go Mobile

Office Communicator Voice Quality

August 10, 2007

American Airlines WiFi

August 10, 2007

For better or worse I spend a great deal of time on airplanes. Interestingly the airplane is the last place where I can work with limited interruptions. Of course this doesn’t include flight attendants telling me to put my backrest up or down and the passenger next to me who may need to get up or spill a drink on my leg.   I write much of the content you read on airplanes and with limited interruptions; I can get quite a lot of writing done in this fashion.   It seems these days may come to an end as American Airlines will now offer broadband access on their flights.   I view the news with mixed-emotions but am sure the productivity of the nation will increase when knowledge workers who travel have full access while in the air.   So the upside is I will respond to e-mails more rapidly but be able to generate less content. Such is life I guess.

Hughes Systique Corp Interview

August 9, 2007

I recently had a chance to interview Arjun Roychowdhury, Director, IMS & Broadband Applications Hughes Systique Corp. Arjun will be a speaker at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in September and I thought it worth getting his thoughts on a number of issues.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   We have started a SIP & IMS Technology consulting service that has hit a niche in the market. There are many market IMS services (VDC, In-Stat, Gartner etc.) but no pure 100 percent technology consulting solutions. To address this space, my company consults in SIP & IMS technologies, helping OEMs migrate to IMS, architecture consulting and standards update via subscription services.

Jesus Phone

August 9, 2007

Vonage Does Better

August 9, 2007

T-Mobile VoIP

August 9, 2007

Andy Abramson really likes T-Mobile’s VoIP plan based on a potential new device the company could be rolling out soon in the US. What is the device? Something which allows FMC for the home and small business market. It allows up to two SIM cards to be embedded in it meaning it can likely support two mobile phones.

Pandora Radio

August 8, 2007

Without a doubt one of the most interesting websites I have used these past months is Pandora, a site which allows you to rapidly assemble a customized radio station for yourself. Initially, you are presented with a form where you can enter an artist name and the site plays music from the artist and others who are similar. It tries to guess the kind of songs you like. I have only been using Pandora for a few days but it is pretty amazing as it is able to blend genres to pick songs I really like from artists I have specified.   I really like the site’s user interface.

Voice Peering Growth

August 8, 2007

Last year I proclaimed it the year of VoIP peering. 2007 is becoming the year of rapid VoIP peering growth. Case in point is the Voice Peering Fabric or VPF who recently stated they have reached a 200 billion minute run-rate up from a 100 billion minute run-rate in October 2006.   I recently had a chance to see the VPF’s New York location at the Telx carrier hotel at 60 Hudson Street. Believe it or not, this was my first trip to 60 Hudson.

AudioCodes Has Good Quarter

August 7, 2007

Cisco made a big splash with their earnings news today and subsequently it may be worth pointing out Audiocodes too released great numbers with growth on a year over year of 15.5%.   “AudioCodes’ second quarter financial results were highlighted by our return to sequential revenue growth coupled with continued strength in our networking business,” the company’s chairman, president and CEO, Shabtai Adlersberg, said in a statement to the press.   Adlersberg continued: “Underscoring our strong performance was our ability to generate $2.7 million of net cash from our operating activities. During the quarter we made solid progress towards increasing operating efficiencies and initiated a company wide cost reduction program aimed at improving bottom line performance during the second half of 2007 and beyond.”   Many of the AudioCodes partners I speak with are extremely happy with the partnerships they enjoy with the company. I have never heard a negative comment about AudioCodes and in this business this is unusual.   The one area the company has enormous potential to exploit is the tremendous arsenal of new technologies they have acquired from the likes of Netrake, CTI Squared and Nuera.   Purchasing so many companies in various telecom spaces so rapidly is certainly a big undertaking for any organization but over time if they can get each of these businesses to fire on all or even most cylinders, the company’s growth should be far greater than 15.5%.   This assumes the core network equipment and gateway markets continue to be solid. I have no reason to believe this won’t be the case and in addition AudioCodes is doing something very smart by diversifying into other areas.   Much of the company’s revenue was once dependant on communications equipment providers but now that Audiocodes is a more serious player in the service provider market, they are in a position to have a second revenue stream which should provide cushion if one of the markets was to soften for some reason.

Rich at the Dentist

August 7, 2007

Cisco Beat Earnings

August 7, 2007

Cisco beat earnings by $120 million dollars and they say enterprise earnings are strong.   Scientific Atlanta also produced outstanding results for the company.   Emerging markets are growing at 40%   Here are some statements I just wrote up for a TMCnet article that should be coming out soon:   John Chambers is on record as saying has never seen such a surge in technology since 1990. This bodes very well for the industry. I would imagine Cisco should have a blow out quarter with most of the revenue growth coming from outside the US.   In addition, I would expect the company’s IP communications growth to be strong. This bodes well for the industry but as Cisco gets stronger it may become tougher for the smaller players to compete.   Update:   Here is a great article from TMCnet’s Tim Gray on Cisco beating the earnings.

Apple iPhone

August 7, 2007

I finally went to the AT&T store this past weekend and played around with the iPhone. Amazingly the store in Norwalk, CT had both models in stock. I was very surprised by this fact as the building is right next to Costco and the cost-conscious retailer has thousands of people streaming into the store daily.   I was surprised at how few people were in the AT&T store actually. It seemed the kiosk for Verizon and Sprint in Costco was busier than the AT&T store.   My impressions of the phone are exactly what I thought they would be.

Apple vs. SP Technologies

August 7, 2007

TMC White Papers

August 7, 2007

Telephone System Channel

August 6, 2007

If you aren’t aware, TMC has built with its partners, the largest collection of business to business online communities in the communications and technology space. Channels are micro communities which live on the left navigation of TMCnet menus. Global Online Communities are in yellow and live in the top navigation area of TMCnet’s home and other pages.   The latest channel/micro community we have built is in partnership with IPitomy and is called obviously enough the Telephone System Channel. On this channel you will find all the information on telephone systems you could ever want.   For example, here is an article which discusses research firm ABI’s thoughts on SIP and how it is transforming telephone systems today.

Unified Communications Magazine Debuts

August 6, 2007

Here is the unveiling of the first issue of Unified Communications Magazine (PDF). It has not been through final proofing but I have been so excited to share this new publication with the word I just had to post the magazine today.   This publication is different from every other magazine you may have every read. Why? It is the first (or one of the first – I haven’t found another) horizontally designed magazine that is printed and also available via PDF.   The magazine is formatted for computer screens.

VoIP/IP Communications Stories August 6, 2007

August 6, 2007

In case you are behind on your reading or perhaps were away and want to catch up quickly; I have assembled some of the top stories from last week and today. Topics of interest include Cisco’s purchase of an equity stake in VMware, Inter-Tel’s small business push and the article on VoIP call recording.  

WiFi not Secure – Clarified

August 6, 2007

I just received this e-mail from Francois Doremieux, Senior Program Manager, Product Group: Customer Experience in response  to my WiFi is Insecure post from last week. I thought it worth sharing.   ----   Hello Rich It was a pleasure meeting you in Redmond last month.   I just read your "WiFi is not secure" article and I wanted to add a brief comment.   As we discussed in Redmond, the notion of security and quality at the network layer is only one way to look at it. I agree that it’s possible to snoop and intercept the packets over WiFi. Therefore, one cannot trust the network layer alone for security (as we had discussed in Redmond that it is not possible to trust the network layer alone for management of quality). That is why the approach we have taken with Microsoft UC is to provide security at the application layer, with strong authentication, non repudiation, signaling and media encryption (in the same way we did it for quality with the adaptive media stack).   Transport is a very important element of the stack, but it can’t solve all issues (and its solutions tend to not have the flexibility software brings to the application layer).

Open Letter to Warren Buffet

August 5, 2007

I receive many e-mails every day in reference to my blog at tehrani.com. A while back I wrote about Warren Buffet as he sent a testimonial letter to TMCnet. Somehow many people looking at my blog think Warren and I are fishing buddies. While I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. Buffet, what I do not have is an invite from him to fish. Besides, I really do not have much time for fishing these days.

Loving Asterisk

August 3, 2007

700 MHz Setback

August 3, 2007

Just when youthought it was safe to jump into the 700 MHz frequency with your own device along comes the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) who says initial testing of the prototype devices showed they failed to swiftly track and avoid interference with other, licensed broadcasts.   The report stated the technology coalition behind the tests had hoped the use of so called white spaces - an unlicensed spectrum between TV channels -- would pass muster with regulators as early as October. The coalition effort is one of several efforts on the part of large companies offering Internet services and devices to expand options for consumer access to the Web.   The group includes companies such as Microsoft Philips, Google, Intel Corp., and Dell Inc. Members of the coalition want the ability to offer devices and services that don't have to be used on licensed networks operated by traditional telecom or cable companies.   But the OET’s test results put a damper on the group’s hopes, noting that "the sample prototype white space devices submitted to the commission for initial evaluation do not consistently sense or detect TV broadcast or wireless microphone signals."   Hopefully there will be a way to solve this dilemma. After all, the above companies represent some of the smartest technology minds in the world.

ITEXPO Weeks Away

August 3, 2007

I just can’t believe that Internet Telephony Conference & Expo is five short weeks away. I just can’t wait for September 10-12th in Los Angeles. Boy is the summer going by fast. Thankfully I read Ken Kamp’s blog where he talks about the show and it reminded me about the timing of this event.   Tom Keating too reads Ken’s blog and he beat me to writing about Ken’s post.   I am very excited about the show… It is just amazing how much the communications market has evolved in a few short years.

Eminem Sues Apple

August 3, 2007

Call Center/CRM Stories August 3, 2007

August 3, 2007

Here are the call center/CRM stories for the week of August 3, 2007. Enjoy. I really don’t have a favorite but if you press me I might say the Argentina and Central American call center stories are of interest.   Report Shows Contact Centers Still Fighting High Attrition The Unified Agent Desktop: An Inside Look Call Center Furniture: How to Buy the Right Chair Report Shows Growth Expected in Argentina Contact Center Applications Market Implementing CRM Software the Right Way Study Examines the Contact Center Market in Central America Phone Systems in Today's Business Predictive Dialer for the Small Business Research Indicates UK Companies Not Ready for New Year OFCOM Change Loquendo TTS to Power Voice Messaging Solution for Ontario Systems

WiFi is not Secure

August 3, 2007

George Ou has an excellent write-up about how insecure Web 2.0 applications are over WiFi. The problem? Unencrypted traffic which can be recorded, analyzed and used against you. He starts with a basic example of a Gmail account getting hijacked. Even worse, using this technique you can potentially have your home address and your e-mail known to others who are lurking nearby and recording your traffic.

Kiosks

August 3, 2007

iPhone, U-Phone, Everybody G-Phone

August 2, 2007

This year has been the absolutely most tumultuous ever in terms of wireless communications and these changes can and will have a dramatic effect on your business. You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing Apple’s iPhone in action. Kids have them, Mac loyalists have them and most importantly, your coworkers have them.   The question is… How do you support them and what policies and procedures do you need in place to ensure you are ready for the onslaught of questions and interoperability issues this phone will bring to the market.   What about security? How will we deal with the potential for these devices to get lost without the ability to remotely wipe confidential corporate data?   If a single-industry changing phone wasn’t enough for telecom and IT managers to deal with, we now have Google’s G-Phone (or it could be called Google Phone… Time will tell) looming in the telecom wings just waiting to disrupt the service provider business model and potentially the way you plan and negotiate your wireless telecom contracts.   Then there is the 700 MHz spectrum with it’s potential to enable an army of devices on new wireless spectrum.

Mitel/Inter-Tel Finally Merge

August 2, 2007

Mitel's proposal to acquire and merge with Inter-Tel has been approved by Inter-Tel stockholders. Here are the details:  
  • US$723 million merger
  • Creates a market leader in SMB IP communications industry with the scale to strengthen and extend its reach in the enterprise market
  • Anticipated revenues of over US$800 million
  • Once the transaction is completed, Mitel will have approximately 3,400 employees in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia, and count an active worldwide distribution channel some 1,500 value-added resellers, distributors and systems integrators covering over 90 countries.
  My take on this is the deal is good for shareholders and customers as they will get the benefit of two strong technology-focused communications companies working synergistically. This does not mean the integration will be smooth as lately we have seen a number of larger telecom acquisitions causing indigestion and poor earnings.   In this case however, the deal size is not so big and the corporate cultures are very similar so I don’t see “M&A indigestion” as a major challenge.

IP communications Earnings Strong

August 2, 2007

Let’s give a round of applause to 8x8, the parent company of Packet8 VoIP service. They have just announced a profitable quarter. For the first time since the Company launched its Packet8 VoIP service in November 2002, 8x8 posted GAAP net income of $508,000, or $0.01 per share, compared to a net loss of $2.9 million, or ($0.05) per share for the previous quarter and $1.8 million, or ($0.03) per share for the same period of fiscal 2007.   This news is important as the company had far fewer dollars to spend on marketing their service when compared to many others in the market; they still beat many others to this important milestone.   The company has focused on a methodical system of results-driven marketing and moreover recognized early that the hosted SMB space has plenty of promise.   This news is a great counterbalance to the management problems at SunRocket which caused their demise. The fact that SunRocket didn’t sell its company is somewhat mind-boggling actually.

Nokia N800 Question

August 2, 2007

I received the following question today regarding the Nokia N800:   I'm seriously thinking of purchasing the Nokia N800. Since it is strictly a wireless device is there really enough free public wireless to make the purchase worthwhile. I'd be using it in Central Florida (Daytona Beach, Orlando, Tampa)and Louisiana (New Orleans Metro)areas mostly. Also, along Interstate 10, between Jacksonville, FL and New Orleans.

Google Phone

August 2, 2007

SpinVox and Skype

August 1, 2007

Voicemail transcription otherwise known as voicemail to text has come to the world’s most popular IP communications software package, Skype. SpinVox technology will be used to convert voicemails to text in the following languages to start: English, Spanish, French and German. More from TMCnet.   I just had a lunch with James Siminoff the Founder and CEO of SimulScribe this past Monday and we got to talking about the voicemail transcription market. James is pretty low key when it comes to estimates and it seems I am more enthusiastic about the potential in this market than even he is.   What we did agree to as a baseline is that the market for these services should be as big as the smartphone space.

Behavioral Targeting at Google

August 1, 2007

Google has recently begun using behavioral targeting to help it display more relevant ads based on keywords.   According to Nick Fox, Google's group business product manager for ads quality. Fox said the new feature, aims to capture a more robust understanding of user intent and thereby deliver a better ad.   "The current query the user is issuing is pretty useful, but in some cases it misses the context of what the user is doing," said Fox. By studying the larger context of queries relating to a consumer's "overall task," he said, Google can boost relevance.   ClickZ has good analysis on the news.   None of this is unexpected to anyone who has read The Search, How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, a book by John Battle.   Behavioral targeting has the potential to really reshape how marketing is done. If you are looking to learn more about this space be sure to read my behavioral targeting entry from April of this year.   This is really interesting stuff and hopefully will result in more targeted marketing. The result?

SunRocket and Star Trek

August 1, 2007

If you like VoIP and Star Trek do I have a blog entry for you. TMCnet’s Tom Keating writes up (turn down your speakers) what is happening with the shut down of SunRocket. Somehow he gets numerous Star Trek references in the post.   One issue he discusses is how the company is or is not notifying customers. I personally don’t know any of the company’s customers so I am unaware of what the company has done in this area.
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