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June 2008

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Podcast: Siemens Dana Rasmussen

June 30, 2008

Telepresence seems to have come out of nowhere and taken the market by storm. Couple this innovation with UC and you have disparate solutions which work very well with one another. To discuss these and other important issues in the communications space, I had a chance to have an exclusive podcast  interview with Dana Rasmussen, President North America of Siemens Communications, Inc.

Based in Boca Raton, Rasmussen focuses on strengthening Siemens' position as an IP convergence leader in the U.S. enterprise communications market.

Podcast: Tangoe Al Subbloie

June 30, 2008

The Telecom Expense Management (TEM) space is doing well and many predict this segment to not only weather an economic downturn but they think TEM will benefit from potential corporate belt-tightening which will increase focus on expense management in the telecom and wireless spaces.

If you are wondering if this is indeed the case, I am happy to say I have just conducted a podcast interview with Al Subbloie, President, CEO and Founder of Tangoe, Inc. This company is a leader in the TEM market and as such Subbloie's views should prove to be quite illuminating.

He speaks candidly about the market, what you should look for in this space and why you would want to consider working with his company.

He also addresses the wireless market and talks about how RIM's Blackberry and the Apple iPhone have changed the TEM space.

Before you make a purchase decision in the TEM area, be sure to listen to this interview very carefully.













On The CounterPath to Success

June 30, 2008

If you want to build a perfect business plan, sometimes it makes sense to look at what has been successful in other markets and apply the same techniques in another space. McDonalds showed the world that a restaurant could become a successful worldwide chain and as such we have many worldwide restaurant chains today. This first successful chain shows the world that it can be done and the followers have an easier time and can even learn from the mistakes of the first.

In communications, we often borrow from the information technology space when looking for successful ideas. There are a few things the tech market has taught us over the years.

Allied Security Trust -- Let The Patent Wars Begin

June 30, 2008

You may remember a while back I wrote about Vocaltec selling some of its patents to what appears to be a firm that will become a patent troll. This scenario is becoming more and more common... Companies are now launching businesses based on buying patents and using them to sue others.

In order to combat such companies, Verizon, Cisco, Google, Telefon AB L.M., Ericssson, HP and other companies have joined together to launch Allied Security Trust -- an organization which will acquire patents and subsequently grant member companies nonexclusive rights to use them.

A quarter million dollars or so will grant you access to this exclusive patent club and another $5 million is required to be placed in escrow to help fund future patent purchases.

There are two interesting points here. One is the fact that there are a number of telecom companies in this group and second is the fact that Verizon sued Vonage recently for patent infringement.





Why Carriers and Microsoft Need Each Other

June 27, 2008

It is evident that society has a different relationship with technology today than ever before. Jon Arnold, one of the most well-respected analysts I know has delved deep into Microsoft's relationship with telcos. He has really thought through the company's  Telco 2.0 offerings.

Arnold makes the point that service providers are likely already Microsoft customers so the software giant is positioned well to have Telco 2.0 permeate carrier networks. He further points out that Microsoft needs carriers in a world where things are changing rapidly, Google is growing and the relationship with the customer has become more important than ever.

Here is an excerpt from his well-written article:   So, what makes Microsoft compelling as a platform play?



Gary Kim on Broadband Speeds

June 27, 2008

Is Wireless Really Opening Up?

June 27, 2008



Is it possible that in front of our eyes, the US wireless market is opening up? It seems this is the case as MetroPCS Communications has just opened its network, allowing customers to bring devices from other networks which will be reprogrammed in the company's stores. The carrier is based on CDMA technology meaning you can bring certain Verizon, Alltel and Sprint phones to your local MetroPCS dealer if you are interested.

According to the AP, MetroPCS's network covers 14 large cities, including Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. It had 4.4 million subscribers at the end of March.



Goodbye Bill Gates

June 27, 2008

Dear Mr. Gates -- I feel I know you well enough to call you Bill. You see, although we have never met, I feel like I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. I started loving technology while playing Pong and Space Invaders and shortly thereafter I became a BASIC programmer. First of all, thanks for ensuring this language was around and simple enough for a person to easily pick up on his own.

It is unclear what the computing industry would be like if it weren't for you and your company. You seem to have had an uncanny way of beating virtually every competitor your company ever had while you were in charge.

ITEXPO TMC University Courses Expanded

June 26, 2008




I promised yesterday that we would be devoting great focus to ITEXPO this week and to kick things off I want to ensure you are aware of the TMC University courses which will be offered at the show September 16-18, 2008 in Los Angeles. We have been running TMCU sessions for many years and we have had hundreds of graduates who walk away from the event better educated on various topics and if they pass the test at the end of the session(s), they also have the bragging rights of a diploma which can boost their resume value and get them valuable consulting/reseller assignments.

The program has focused on open source, SIP and IP-PBX topics in years past and for the first time we have greatly expanded the number of courses provided to ensure we can help you get certified in multiple courses at once. These are the important areas of the market where the seems to be great interest in certification as well as hiring.

Here is the complete list of topics and a page with the details.

  • Microsoft OCS
  • FMC/Mobility
  • Open Source
  • IP Network Security
  • Unified Communications
  • SIP
  • Software as a Service
  • SIP in the Contact Center
  • Next-Gen Call Center Management

  Date Course        

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Microsoft OCS
Learn More  

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FMC/Mobility
Learn More  

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Open Source
Learn More
 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

SIP in the Contact Center
Learn More   Wednesday, September 17, 2008 IP Network Security
Learn More
  Wednesday, September 17, 2008 SaaS
Learn More
  Thursday, September 18, 2008 Unified Communications
Learn More
  Thursday, September 18, 2008 SIP
Learn More
  Thursday, September 18, 2008 Next-Gen Call Center Mgmt
Learn More


Come to the show and try your luck skill at becoming a happy graduate, along with the hundreds of your peers. Be part of an elite group -- only at ITEXPO.






























Drive And Talk Via WiFi

June 26, 2008

Use that WiFi phone in the car... Good news for those of you who like your WiFi phone but just haven't been able to get it to work properly in the car. Now, you can use a WiFi phone or even take advantage of videoconferencing  while driving 70 MPH down the interstate.

This will come courtesy of Chrysler as many of their future cars will have a new entertainment system called uconnect which also has a 3G connection and in-car WiFi connectivity. The good news, we can really be connected wherever we are...

Searchme Stacks Rock

June 26, 2008

You may recall the relatively new visual search engine called Searchme which allows you to see graphical snapshots of your search results before you click on a page. The theory here is you can get a better idea about a result if you can see what the page looks like first -- before you click on it. This is useful if a search result is a turn-off and you prefer a different result. Similar to the interface popularized by Apple, you drag a slider bar at the bottom of the screen to scroll through pages.

NXTComm, VPF, ITEXPO and More

June 25, 2008

I am back from NXTComm, the Voice Peering Forum and my trip to Vancouver. It is good to be home and I have so much to share. A few things you should know about are the fact that TMCnet was on-hand at NXTComm doing video interviews with a number of the movers and shakers.

Here is one of these interviews with Erik Linask and Sam Lisle from Fujitsu. This interview page has a menu of all the interviews so I hope you enjoy them all.

On another note, my team and I will be gearing up to put the final touches on ITEXPO which takes place September 16-18, 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.



Heading Back From San Francisco

June 25, 2008

New Zultys CEO

June 24, 2008

I know you are busy but I am sure you noticed this week that Zultys appointed a new CEO. Sure you did. I know readers of my blog are voracious and can't get enough of the latest news and analysis in the communications space.

I am sure you are wondering about this Steve Rotherberg Rothenberg fellow... His views on open source, SIP trunking, unified communications and many other issues.

Is Ribbit The Phone Company of the Future?

June 24, 2008



As telephony opens up, many companies are looking to take advantage of the new possibilities  communications offers. One example is Ribbit, an organization which bills itself as Silicon Valley's first phone company. According to Crick Waters (pictured) one of the company's founders, this tongue-in-cheek description is basically a way of saying they look at telecom from a new angle.

To facilitate this new way of looking at telecom, they have developed APIs which let you interface telephony into applications. For example, their service is interconnected to SalesForce.com and subsequently you can make calls from within SalesForce.com which go out through Ribbit's network.



Avoid Vista

June 24, 2008

I have a state of the art Dell Laptop an M1530 with 4 Gb of RAM and it is slow. Very slow. It is slow because of Microsoft Vista. If you think the articles which are negative towards this new OS are sensational and just there to get people to read them, you are incorrect.

Goodbye PSTN

June 24, 2008

The following was written yesterday and did not post. This is my final VPF Summer 2008 post.

Shrihari Pandit got on stage this morning to kick off day 2 of VPF Summer 2008 (1,2,3,4,5) and discussed how the VPF is a distributed Ethernet network which has grown in 9 cities in the US and London. He then explained a bit about the ENUM database and how it is useful in a multilateral architecture. This allows automated [voice] peering - you can send calls to any other network [as long as the number is in the ENUM database] for free.

Still at the Voice Peering Forum

June 24, 2008

Dinner at the VPF SUMMER 2008 Conference

June 24, 2008

Move Avatar Buzz

June 23, 2008

You have heard me go on and on about avatars in the past. Here are some of my recent blog posts in fact:

Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do...

Posted on June 4, 2008 4:55 PM



VPF Summer 2008 Lunch Shots

June 23, 2008

VPF Summer 2008: Where Telecom is Headed Panel

June 23, 2008

This session is fairly interesting as it has to do with where telecom is headed. Gary Kim kicked it off and was followed by Claire Paponneau the excutive VP of Orange Business Services who handed it over to Pete Pattullo the President and CEO of NetworkIP, the company behind Jaduka.

Mario Rojas from Digicel, Dan MacNeil from XO and Mike Lee from Rogers rounded out the program.

This was an interesting panel with no single clear message but what it did was allow the audience to ask numerous questions which were answered by these telecom experts. Perhaps most interesting was question from the audience asking why broadband and triple play services in Europe cost so much less than they do in the US. Shortly after this question, Gary Kim asked the audience if they feel their broadband services are fairly priced.



Live Green in Florida

June 23, 2008

AOL AIM For Windows Mobile

June 23, 2008

VPF Summer 2008 Kicking Off

June 23, 2008





Here are some shots of Shrihari Pandit the chairman of the VPF Summer 2008 conference here in San Francisco and Gary Kim who is keynoting. Shrihari who is standing at the podium thanked us all for coming and Kim explained to use that the service provider market is changing rapidly.

Video growth is happening at an exponential rate he says and for wireless carriers this is a huge deal. These carriers will need to figure out new ways to charge for providing this bandwidth he says. 

He further says service providers need to manage devices in homes (TVs and computers) and if they are too small, they will need to partner with other companies to make this happen. 





VPF Summer 2008

June 23, 2008

Critical Links Choses Digium

June 23, 2008

Big news for Digium as the company will be the exclusive supplier of Asterisk-compatible analog and digital PCI and PCIe telephony boards for the Critical Links' edgeBOX solution.

If you aren't familiar,edgeBOX is an office-in-a-box appliance that provides a complete voice, data and IT solution for SMEs and enterprise branch offices. The multi-function gateway appliance includes VOIP/IP-PBX, VPN, security, NAC, QoS and a WiFi access point as well as a fax-server, Web server, e-mail server, print server and data storage. The solution is designed to support up to 300 users, with different form factors and a host of broadband interfaces such as BRI/PRI(T1/E1), FX0/FXS, Ethernet, etc.

If you are interested in learning more, check out this article from Greg Galitzine.



RIP George Carlin

June 23, 2008

When I was around 12, I was exposed to George Carlin comedy for the first time. I was always fascinated by this man. He thought of things which were so obvious but only after he told you they were obvious. I followed Carlin over the years, seeing him live and watching him in various movies and on TV.

The Latest in Carrier Testing

June 22, 2008

Mu Dynamics Adam Stein
As service providers grapple with providing more complex individual services as well as converged services, the need to test these systems grows as well. Providers need to ensure their subscribers receive high levels of service quality as well as reliability. One of the companies addressing the reliability of service issue is Mu Dynamics. Adam Stein (pictured), the company's VP of Marketing recently sat down with me to explain how his company's Mu 4000 analysis platform is able to test for variations of service traffic, known vulnerabilities and DoS attacks.

A Possible Sea Change at the FCC

June 22, 2008

For the last eighteen months I felt as if the FCC thought the cable companies were too powerful as a result of many rulings which seemed to be in favor of the telcos. It seemed even when the telcos were in the wrong they wouldn't really get in trouble and the cable companies seemed to have to walk on egg shells.

Now it seems that cable companies are going to see something come out the FCC which is to their benefit. BusinessWeek reports that the FCC is backing the cable companies over Verizon in a alleged marketing scheme having to do with Verizon not porting numbers immediately to cable companies but instead reaching out to the switching customers and offering them gifts and discounts to stay with Verizon.

What is interesting is that Chairman Kevin Martin was the lone dissenter on a 4-1 vote meaning all other commissioners were for this ruling.

Here is an excerpt from the article worth reading:

In an unusual move, on Saturday morning FCC member Robert McDowell released his formal statement that will accompany the formal announcement of the vote.

"Consistent with Congress's intent and Commission precedent in the long-distance context, today we carry out Congress's unambiguous mandate to protect consumer privacy in local markets as well," he wrote.









Vancouver Photos

June 22, 2008

Anda Networks News

June 22, 2008

You can never have too much performance or too much bandwidth it seems. Regardless of how fast our broadband connections get, we develop applications which need more. SaaS, Telepresence and other forms of video are just a few examples of applications which corporations are adopting which take up more and more bandwidth.

Service providers constantly work to ensure they can supply the bandwidth their customers need and most recently the jump has been from 1 Gbps connections to 10 Gbps. If you are Greg Gum (pictured), a Vice President at Anda Networks, you know about these issues firsthand as your company supplies the equipment which service providers use to power their networks.

Emerson Network Power News

June 21, 2008

Emerson Network Power picked up the Motorola Embedded Computing Group last September and since that time, the company has made great progress in rolling out new products. I recently had a chance to sit down with Brian Carr Strategic Marketing Manager Embedded Computing to learn more about the company's products.

Carr explained that Emerson got interested in the embedded computing market when they purchased Artesyn. Emerson is a very large company -- $22 billion dollars and the Network Power division is $5 billion dollars making it quite a substantial player in the market.

Airplane Tray Ads

June 21, 2008

Why JetBlue Flight 197 Was Really Delayed

June 21, 2008

If you are a reader of my blog you know that from time to time I write about things that don't have to do with telecom. Sometimes all the things I cover coalesce into a story which is hard to -- dare I say swallow? Perhaps dissolve is a better word.

What am I talking about? Well you see, last week I was delayed on the runway with other passengers of JetBlue flight 197 on my way to NXTComm.

The Importance of Communications

June 21, 2008

Do we realize the importance of what we do? I have been thinking about this question a great deal lately. I see the amazing technology being developed by the entire industry and I just can't help but wonder - do we realize how important we are to the world economy. I am far from an economist but I know that when productivity improves so does the standard of living.

House of Nanking

June 20, 2008

Hotel Nikko

June 20, 2008

Leaving Vancouver

June 20, 2008

Leaving Vancouver

June 20, 2008

I feel weird writing this entry as I never told you I was in Vancouver to begin with. After leaving NXTComm, I came to the west coast of Canada because there are a number of companies in the area worth seeing. I have learned a great deal about Vancouver these past days and I had no idea what to expect before arriving.

The first thing that is interesting is that all my meetings were near the center of town where my hotel is located. I have a rental car which I never used.

Learn From Skype

June 19, 2008

I have noticed something counter-intuitive and it has to do with quality of experience as compared to the cost of a product. What I mean is that generally speaking when you pay more for something you get better service. First class service on an airline consists of fresh baked cookies, champagne and pampering.

Starbucks coffee costs more than other coffee but for the extra money , the customer receives an experience which is far different from McDonald's and other competitors.

Generally, the more you pay for something the better the service level.

But why is Skype such a glaring exception to the rule? You see, it seems quite often when I conclude a Skype call, a survey pops up asking me how the quality of the call was.





Making Communications Practical

June 18, 2008

SMS Advertising

June 18, 2008

Robby Benedyk Senior Manager Global
Product Marketing at Tekelec
For service providers on the cutting edge, you should be exploring placing ads in the text messages your subscribers send to one another. While there is a 160 character limit on SMS messages, most messages are far shorter and the opportunity to place ads in the unused character space can help service providers looking to be ahead of the curve and make more money.

While  is unclear what the best solution is to placing advertising in text messages -- one assumes that providers will make more money from the ads they sell and be able to offer lower cost text messaging plans which translates into more customers using SMS services on their network.

In a way, text messaging is the perfect mobile advertising vehicle because it doesn't rely on web browsers on the phone. In fact, every phone can receive such text ads and the possibilities here are limitless... For example, ads can link to a short code or web address.





Ditech Networks Update

June 18, 2008

The latest at Ditech Networks is that the company has hired Hossein Eslambolchi as a technical advisor. Generally, hiring a technical advisor is not big news but Eslambolchi is a bit of a celebrity having a distinguished career in engineering and his best-known role was perhaps his tenure at AT&T where he held multiple titles including CTO.

What this does for Ditech Networks is give them access to someone who lived deep in the trenches with intimate knowledge of all things telecom. The markets Ditech plays in specifically are transcoding, session border control and its more recent messaging has focused on voice quality improvements for wireless carriers.

The company has shown that increased voice quality leads to reduced carrier churn and they are obviously right.

In order to help get this message out and penetrate wireless carriers more effectively expect  Eslambolchi to open doors at carriers worldwide.

For the famous engineer, this move puts him back in the semi-spotlight and for Ditech, this move adds a prominent name to a company looking to lift sales.









Mark Spencer and Kill Bill

June 17, 2008

PAETEC Update

June 17, 2008

Cisco's Managed Services Push

June 17, 2008

It has been an interesting day so far here at NXTComm. The first meeting of the day was with Cisco who plans on becoming a much bigger player in the managed services space… Al Safarikas the Sr. Director, Wireline Segment Service Provider Marketing at the company shared some thoughts on how Cisco is helping service providers worldwide deploy managed services.

One issue that came up is what precisely is the definition of managed services. From Cisco's point of view it is as follows:

Information technology which is remotely managed and provisioned, delivered as a finished product - operated by skilled professionals from a NOC.

Safarikas mentioned where the equipment sits is immaterial and this makes good sense.

Other points worth noting from our conversation are as follows:
  • Predefined SLAs that are negotiated with end users
  • It does not matter where the box sits or who owns them
  • Companies want managed services to support business initiatives

From there we discussed how Cisco helps its partners deliver managed services.

The company has expanded on the popular Cisco Powered program and helps its partners with sales and marketing, providing channel managers and other services to ensure a partner's success. AT&T Telepresence is a great example of this.

I asked what pain Cisco takes away for customers and to this Safarikas replied, "Partner with Cisco and improve your chance for success with managed services - We have the best technology, understanding of the marketplace, best capability of building [our customer's] operating capabilities through Cisco professional services."

This was a pretty memorable meeting and Cisco should be commended for looking to help the industry by defining terms such as managed services.















Shots of the Vegas Strip

June 16, 2008

Made it to Vegas for NXTComm 08

June 16, 2008

111 Degrees in Vegas

June 16, 2008

A Passenger Called in The Threat

June 16, 2008

Final Police Shots

June 16, 2008

More JetBlue Flight 197 Shots

June 16, 2008

The Police Delayed The Plane

June 16, 2008

Headed to NxtComm 2008

June 16, 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE BURCEAG FAMILY FUND

June 16, 2008

I received this email recently and it certainly speaks for itself. The least I could do is pass it along.   ---     Rich -

You may have heard by now our company has suffered an irretrievable loss through the passing away of Edward Burceag this week in a terrible mountain incident.

Edward was a very good friend and one of the most active Linux evangelists I’ve ever known. Just a week ago, we celebrated his success with the Product of the Year Award that Edward received from TMC.

XM and Sirius to Merge

June 16, 2008

It took a long time but the XM Sirius Satellite merger proposal now has backing from the FCC. The two will have to divest themselves of some stations and agree to keep a lid on prices for a few years in order to get this transaction done. Both firms are winners here and in the short term, consumers win as well since they will have access to greater content as a result of forthcoming radios which work with satellites from both companies.

In the long-term, consumers will be losers as prices will increase more quickly than they would with two satellit competitors.

CNBC Plus Sucks

June 14, 2008

I never ever thought I would be one of those bloggers who wrote a post with the word "sucks" in the title.  I am not sure why but I just didn't think I would get so upset about something that it would drive me to blog such an entry. I have my easygoing side I suppose but I have limits and some things apparently are important to me.

Case in point is having a service I pay for, work properly.

Smell, Don't Drink That Coffee

June 14, 2008

Call Centers Aid Iowa

June 13, 2008

Time and time again, today's call center industry -- especially outsourcing companies such as West, APAC, Infocision and others have helped benefit mankind by offering their services to help with worthy causes. For example, many charity events have incoming donation calls fielded by outsourcing companies. In times of disasters too, call center companies have donated their telecom equipment and agents.

Today in fact, there is a calamity in Iowa that some are equating in magnitude to hurricane Katrina... According to written reports, rising water from the Cedar River forced the evacuation of a downtown hospital Friday after residents of more than 3,000 homes fled for higher ground. A railroad bridge collapsed, and 400 city blocks were under water. In this case, a fundraising arm for a nonprofit agency is fielding emergency calls from local residents.

Yahoo Looks to Google

June 13, 2008

Yesterday's news regarding the talks breaking down again between Yahoo! and Microsoft leads very nicely into today's news that Yahoo will be displaying Google ads on select portions of its site. Yahoo estimates about $800 million in revenue from this deal and if the regulators bless it it will be good news for Google.

It is obvious Microsoft is threatened by Google and moreover they have suggested the search leader is a monopoly. This new agreement between the world's first search engine and most-popular search engine will just add to Microsoft's concern about Google. Although Yahoo shareholders are hurt in the short-term by Yahoo's decision not to sell to Microsoft, it would appear that Yahoo got the message and has taken a bold step to increase profits. This could be a good sign for the future but I continue to hear stories about how there is a culture of complacency at Yahoo and if this hasn't changed as a result of this ordeal, shareholders will be long-term losers as well.

Web Democratizes Auto Repairs

June 12, 2008

It is amazing to see how the internet has changed industry after industry. The latest to feel pressured by the power of a mouse, broadband connection and monitor is your local mechanic who now needs to worry that his/her prices are outrageous compared to other mechanics. As this article states, auto repair is one of those areas where the consumer is really at an informational disadvantage.

The new site focusing on democratizing auto repairs is called RepairPal and it is in beta at the moment and in some ways may even be a guide for mechanics who aren't charging enough for their repairs.

If the site helps you, be sure and comment or drop me a line as I am very interested in seeing how the web is changing business after business.



Yahoo/Microsoft Deal Off

June 12, 2008

It seems any chance of a deal between Microsoft and Yahoo! is over. The number of billionaire Yahoo investors who are likely furious about this state of affairs which is trashing Yahoo's stock can't be counted on a single hand.

The latest talks between the companies centered around Yahoo selling its search technology to Microsoft. As was expected by some, Yahoo did not want to part with technology it considers essential to its future.

What is perhaps most interesting about the talks breaking down is that it shows Microsoft places little value on display ads and page views as compared to search technology. This means Microsoft likely thinks search ads are really more valuable than display eyeballs.

It will be very interesting to see if the frenzy over search ads is not just a part of the natural change that comes into the advertising market from time to time.





Packet8 Virtual Trunking

June 12, 2008

Last month I discussed a rumor regarding 8x8/Packet8 providing SIP trunking services. It turns out this rumor was true as today the company released the news they will not only provide SIP trunking but a more comprehensive product they call Virtual Trunking.

Virtual Trunking performs just like SIP trunking - assuming you have an IP PBX which supports SIP. For those of you who do not, you can still take advantage of many of the benefits VoIP has to offer as 8x8 will provide equipment courtesy of Carrier Access to connect your older PBX to their IP communications network.

It is important not to confuse this service with a double-play offering which may bundle DSL or cable but instead you can consider it to be nomadic - so you can easily move the equipment to any Ethernet line meeting the quality criteria.

The service is available throughout the US except Alaska and Hawaii where the company currently does not have telephone numbers. Competition to the service comes from ILECs, Cbeyond, M5 and a number of others.

More than one 8x8 investor has asked me about whether this is a good move for 8x8 and I think it is because it allows the company to extend its customer base to larger companies meaning more opportunity to monetize its existing network.







Hyperconnectivity, Live and in Person

June 11, 2008

You can't escape the reality that interconnectivity between humans will increase at a more rapid pace as time goes on. The myriad ways in which we connect with one another, e-mail, social networks, blogging, IM, SMS, telephone, voicemail and others are mushrooming.

It seems obvious that today's teens will demand social networking in the workplace meaning IT departments will have to support these myriad communications mechanisms while dealing with the repercussions of compliance management. Not allowing social networks into your company may even be a deal-breaker when hiring the best talent in the market. We may see a time where publicly traded companies fearful of social networks will lose workers to smaller companies who are more social-network friendly.

Another challenge is web browsers on phones.



Sipera Looks To The Channel

June 11, 2008

Keep In Touch

June 11, 2008

If you haven't noticed, there will be more and more touch-enabled devices in your future. The craze seemed to get the biggest boost from the popularity of the iPhone interface which spawned a number of similar interfaces from competing phone companies and even from the companies making mobile browsers.

Stacey Higginbotham, goes into detail on some of the new touch developments on her blog over at GigaOM. She further speculates that touch can be a great way to control things like lighting and HVAC.

I don't disagree but I would like to point out that it is great to see the potential of a new UI being realized because of the success of a phone. People have told me Apple is not a tech company but an interface company applying their unique perspective on various markets.



iPhone Adoption and Women

June 10, 2008

Build Communities With Google's Help

June 10, 2008

Let's say your company plays in a few different spaces such as information technology, security and storage. And let's say your company has decided to build a community of interest which is dedicated to a specific subject area as you are hoping like-minded people will visit the community regularly and begin to associate your company as a leader in the space and hopefully some of these people will become new customers.

In this example, your resources are limited and even if they aren't, you need to choose one of these above areas to build your community. Assume each of them has equal market sizes and growth rates and you need to determine where the highest level of search interest lies.

Using the updated Google Trends, you can now see a graph over time of search volume on a relative and absolute basis and this information can be exported for analysis.

You may find for example that storage interest spikes around the year-end holidays but also seems unusually high in May of each year... This information can be useful in your business as it helps you see how people are searching for various terms.

If you have read my blog before, you know TMC has been building communities (Global Online Communities, Channels) for companies in the communications and technology space for some time now.







iPhone: More Walled Gardens

June 10, 2008

Podcast: AudioCodes Mediant 1000 MSBG

June 10, 2008

Recently, AudioCodes released the Mediant 1000 MSBG (Multi-Service Business Gateway) a device which combines the following: media gateway, enterprise class session border controller, data router, firewall, LAN Switch, WAN access, Stand Alone Survivability and an on-board general purpose server.

This is a big product release for the company and from what I hear there has been positive reaction from the market. In addition, this release shows the progress AudioCodes has made expanding on the solutions acquired from NetRake a few years back.

In order to learn more about this product I conducted a podcast interview with Nimrod Borovsky, Vice President, Marketing, Enterprise Business Group at AudioCodes. In the interview, we discuss how this product fits into the competitive landscape and we also delve into the benefits the gateway affords Service Providers, Businesses, OEM and ISV Customers. It is worth a listen and I hope you enjoy it.



Google and Apple News

June 10, 2008

I go on a podcast soon but before I go, it is worth pointing out a few articles I perused this morning. One is focused on Google making us stupid -- and the concept is that reading on the web has changed the way we work. We are now all able to ingest information small bite-sized chunks and can no longer read books or long articles like the good old days. I tend to agree.

Then there is the Apple news.

T-Mobile Lawsuit Repercussions

June 10, 2008

Rob Adler has an interesting take on the T-Mobile/Starbucks WiFi lawsuit at his Vantage blog. His point? That the PR hit of winning a lawsuit which takes away WiFi from millions of users will be extreme. I can't help but wonder if the general public would ever be aware of the lawsuit.

UC Hot in UK

June 9, 2008

Talkswitch Interview: Jan Scheeren

June 9, 2008

Right now the small business market is the shining star in communications -- plenty of growth is predicted in this space and small businesses for the most part are behind the tech curve -- meaning they need to catch up. For over a decade, Talkswitch has been serving this space with innovate, small PBXs designed to be easy to install and support.

Jan Scheeren the President & CEO of the company has been to TMC headquarters frequently to tell us about new products and upgrades. Scheeren knows the small business communications market better than most and on this podcast I was able to pick his brain on the SMB communications space and learn a great deal about his thoughts, the competitive situation, etc.

It is definitely worth a listen.



Amazon Down Again

June 9, 2008

Switchvox AA300

June 9, 2008



Greg Galitzine  broke the news regarding the new Digium Switchvox AA300, a new appliance dedicated to companies with about 150 users. The box also supports 45 simultaneous calls, 10 recorded and 15 simultaneous conference calls.

Tom Keating speculates about how this product may compete with the Digium Asterisk Appliances such as the AA50 but to me it seems the distinction is the flexibility and complexity of the Asterisk Appliances is greater. If this is not your cup of tea, chose Switchvox instead.

The small business segment of the market has the most activity and this move makes good sense for Digium and the company's resellers as it allows the them to offer solutions for companies who don't want to pay for a system which is bigger than their current needs.

In fact the Switchvox family now has three members, the AA60 which is smaller than the AA300 and the AA350 which is larger. In addition, there are also hosted and free editions of this product line and it seems that Digium's purchase of Switchvox has turned out to be quite successful as new products are rolling out and they seem to be able to cover virtually all your communications needs.







Voice Recognition Alarm Clock

June 9, 2008

Conflicting iPhone Rumors

June 8, 2008

Amazon Fights for First Amendment

June 7, 2008

The scary part about so much information about people being in a single place is that the government knows where to look. This is a good thing when they are investigating a suspect but when they start to investigate the reading habits of people who are not under any suspicion, it becomes troublesome.

In short, Amazon was asked by the government to hand over which products were purchased by a large group of people in the hopes that one or more of these customers would testify against the seller (in this case Amazon did not sell the products directly -- they were purchased through Amazon Marketplace).

Amazon refused. The government narrowed the list to 230 -- Amazon refused again.

The court records regarding this case were recently unsealed.





T-Mobile Suing Starbucks

June 7, 2008

T-Mobile is already not thrilled AT&T will replace them as the service provider of choice in Starbucks stores, now the GSM-based service provider who was early to embrace WiFi is losing revenue due to the new AT&T/Starbucks promotion of free WiFi in its stores.

While the news came out around February 11th that AT&T and Starbucks would provide free WiFi service, according to these court documents T-Mobile learned of this arrangement on or around March 30th.

Here are the salient points from this lawsuit:

  • In early 2008, Starbucks, AT&T and T-Mobile negotiated some agreements allowing a structured and seamless transition allowing AT&T to replace T-Mobile as the WiFi provider in Starbucks stores.
  • During the transition period, T-Mobile and AT&T would each promote the other brand via web pages which are displayed when a user logs onto the wireless network.
  • In addition, this page would allow customers to be authenticated by an existing subscription with either service provider.
  • AT&T and T-Mobile would not pay each other for using one another's networks.
  • Starbucks rolled out a promotional plan allowing its customers using a Starbucks card to register the card at starbucks.com and at this point the customers are directed to an AT&T page.
  • Since every US market is covered by T-Mobile except for Bakersfield, CA and San Antonio, TX, T-Mobile loses the opportunity to be marketed in front of these customers in other markets.
  • In addition, these cards are available to everyone, not just AT&T customers.
  • The agreement stipulates only AT&T customers are to have this right.
There is more but you get the idea... The point is if you have a T-Mobile account today, why not cancel it and use these cards instead to ensure you have access to the internet for free.

Based on the documents it is apparently T-Mobile thinks that Starbucks and the relationship they have with the behemoth of a coffee house is important to their success. Om Malik finds it funny that a coffehouse is a key pawn between two telecoms. He has a point.







Will Steve Jobs Wow Us?

June 7, 2008

It seems that if you do not blog about the iPhone this weekend you will be out touch with the blogging and news gathering communities. It is just that important. On Monday we will have a new Apple mobile device to drool over and I wonder if the company has any surprises up its sleeve such as higher screen resolution?

We know the new iPhone also called Jesus Phone by some will have 3G but will it also have a keyboard?

How Business Can Learn From Obama

June 6, 2008

Gmail Gets New Features

June 6, 2008

Tech Overload For Rich Tehrani

June 6, 2008

You may hear less from me than usual over the next week as I have a new Laptop -- a Dell M1530, a new desktop from Dell and a new HTC XV6800 (my old one had an unfortunate encounter with a toilet. )

I find that technology makes me productive. This is likely no surprise as I write about this topic so often. Tech allows me to communicate and work anywhere and everywhere.

Amazon Outage

June 6, 2008

Parting Brooklyn Shots

June 5, 2008

Telx Channel Program

June 5, 2008

CBX 2008 News and Analyis

June 5, 2008

Telx CBX has kicked off and I am going to be doing all the video reporting in about 20 minutes. Here is my quick take on the news breaking from the show so far:

WBS Connect will provide telepresence service and more importantly provide a global gateway allowing customers to interconnect private telepresence networks. This is a no brainer idea and certainly fills a need in the market. It may be early to call it a need but there is a proliferation of telepresence rooms at the moment and this obviously means interconnecting them all will be more important.

Tiscali International will be deploying new POPs in Toronto, Seattle, Atlanta and Dallas.



CBX 2008 Morning Photos

June 5, 2008

On The Way To CBX

June 5, 2008

HTC Touch Pro

June 5, 2008

The HTC Touch Pro may be the ultimate Blackberry killer. I know the term "killer" is used very often but let's look at this situation carefully... People who type a lot benefit from a keyboard. Sure, an on-screen keyboard works but it is not ideal.

Plantronics Calisto Pro Series Review

June 4, 2008



I have had a few months to use the Plantronics Calisto Pro Series wireless telephone and bluetooth headset and I remain tremendously impressed by this solution which I say is perfect for the small business who wants maximum flexibility with excellent call quality. As a side benefit you get a phone which looks pretty slick.... More like a cell phone than home phone.

In addition to the typical phone features you expect like Caller-ID, etc. it can also download Microsoft Outlook contacts and has a 300 foot range thanks to DECT 6.0 technology.



Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

June 4, 2008

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do you think we could see a time when we all have avatars -- or even multiple avatars used when communicating with different people?

Think about it... A work avatar in a suit, a casually dressed avatar for hanging out with your friends and yet another more "elegantly dressed" avatar for communicating with members of the opposite sex.

I recently wrote that Nortel, Dialogic and NMS are in this space but I forgot to mention that IBM too is deploying a virtual world communications system for US intelligence agencies. (Credit goes to Tony Rybczynski for reminding me yesterday of this).

Nortel recently espoused how we will one day use avatars on our mobile phones and it seems they were right on -- at least in theory.





Headed Back

June 4, 2008

I am headed back now -- and gearing up for my video reporting at CBX later this week. An interesting point about airlines is that their rules (on some of the older airlines anyway) are so complex that they have become like the IRS.

I had a connecting flight to Dallas and was able to go standby from NY on a direct flight. On the way back to NY this didn't work -- there was a fee that is probably double what the ticket cost.

The point is if you get an agent who doesn't know the rules you are better off. From the customer's standpoint you feel like the airline is just taking advantage of you.

It seems airlines need more transparency as I never seem to understand their complex jargon and description of rates, etc.

Sorry about the early-morning mini-rant but I haven't had coffee yet.







Will LTE Fuel IMS?

June 3, 2008

Will LTE fuel IMS? Bob Emmerson seems to think so and he has a great point. With similar elements defined in WiMAX, LTE and IMS, the chances that carriers will have to install more and more IMS components are good. Similar to how you put a few pieces of a puzzle together at a time only to find your entire puzzle is solved before you know it, expect carriers to look at their networks and say that with a few more dollars they will have full-fledged IMS and the benefits such a framework allows.

Another point worth making is that IMS is due for a revival as we have already gone through the hype phase and there is less buzz around this term than there has been since its inception.

Flat Rate Voice/Data Plans for SMBs

June 3, 2008

Telephony Hardware Community

June 3, 2008

Be sure to visit TMC's newest Global Online Community (GOC), Telephony Hardware sponsored by Pika Technologies. Why would you visit? Simply because regularly visiting a TMC community is an ideal way to learn about a specific topic such as in this case "telephony hardware."

As always, we promise the best editorial quality of any site. We do our best to blend in-depth articles with an overview of the most important news taking place in the market.

If you are researching or looking for products to buy, we hope there is a TMC channel (micro-community) or GOC that addresses your needs.



Why Microsoft Needs to Worry About Firefox

June 3, 2008

Mozilla's Firefox is on schedule to break 20% share next month and this is very bad news for Microsoft. If we are to play out what the next 5-10 years will look like in the world of technology, one of the knowns is that SaaS will become a bigger market and as such less companies will care about the OS and the applications on local machines.

Knowing what we know now, we can expect most new computers to have Intel and AMD chips but from there, the OS is becoming less important. Soon enough we could see machines with no operating system per se but just a browser. This is a revisit on the web-only devices made popular for a short time during the dotcom boom.

As this happens, Microsoft needs to be worried about which browser customers get comfortable with.



Headed to Telx CBX 2008

June 3, 2008

Later this week I will be a video reporter at the Telx CBX (customer business exchange) event in New York. I always like the CBX events and am looking forward to meeting with the companies in the carrier hotel space (many lease space in the Telx interconnection facilities throughout the US) who come to network and exchange ideas and do business with one another.

I reached out to Telx to get a quick quote on why you should be at the show and Tesh Durvasula, Chief Marketing Officer of Telx had this to say,"With over 400 NANOG attendees at the Marriott and by moving CBX to Thursday to accommodate those traveling in for ITW and GTM in Washington which ends on Wednesday, our theme 'all roads lead to the CBX' is the final networking event of a week filled with major international meetings featuring ISPs, Carriers, Service Providers and more."

Here are some more notes on the  event from the CBX website:

This year's event is shaping up to be the biggest in Telx history. 2007 was a year of tremendous growth and change at Telx as we integrated various acquisitions that included 10 Meet Me Room Facilities from Digital Realty Trust and NYC Connect, the Meet Me Room at 111 8th Avenue.

2008 offers to an aggressive start as we integrate our latest acquisition, 21,000 of Colocation Space in Dallas at 8435 Stemmons Freeway. Our growth doesn’t stop at acquisitions though, we were recently announced as the first company to Host a NANOG in New York City.

Attendees will have the unprecedented opportunity to network with over 1,000 industry decision makers in one of New York's most spectacular boroughs.

See you there this Thursday, June 5th, 2008.











Shots from Nortel's INNUA Conference

June 3, 2008

Mike Zafirovski Kicks off INNUA

June 3, 2008

Nortel User Group 2008

June 2, 2008

One More Reason To Vacation in the Bahamas

June 1, 2008

Recently the Bahamas Telecom Company (BTC) decided to migrate its existing countrywide wireline network to IP using Sonus and Calix gear. The move to IP will reduce the amount of equipment that needs managing and in addition, the Bahamian phone company expects to save over one million dollars a year in electricity as a result of this switch. Another million or more is expected to be saved in reduced upgrade and maintenance costs.

In addition to replacing the existing infrastructure, the plan includes a disaster recovery site in Miami which will enable the carrier to quickly recover the island’s communications network in case of a natural disaster or other emergency.

What is interesting about this news is that Hassan Ahmed, CEO and chairman at Sonus Networks mentioned that the Bahamas is ahead of many major carriers in its adoption of IP-based telephony. While most of us in the telecom field know this to be true, it is still baffling to me.



Of IP Communications and Broadband Reliability

June 1, 2008

I came across an interesting article in the New York Times by Randall Stross which discusses consumer VoIP services, the differences in quality between them and the general trend towards multiple services of lower reliability replacing a single service (PSTN) of extreme reliability.

What is interesting is comments by Comcast regarding the reliability of the company's service as compared to Vonage. The cable company stresses that their quality is better. They go on to say, because they have control of the network, they can provide better service. This is a true statement of course -- any internet telephony service can potentially be inferior to the quality of IP telephony -- where packets do not flow across the public internet.

Then again, as broadband speeds get better and better, the quality of internet telephony improves as well.



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