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August 2008

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VoIP Salaries Rise Sharply in Q2

August 31, 2008

The financial news networks seem to thrive on giving us the negative news regarding the economy. Jobs being lost; wages decreasing and all sorts of other negative bits and pieces.

Well there is something you won't hear about if you focus all your time and attention on the network news. It seems in fact that there is some great economic news in the world of IP communications. In fact, VoIP jobs are rising in salary at a time when so many other jobs are not.

OnForce Inc., is an online jobs mart where employers and workers meet on the Internet and agree on an hourly rate and a recent report from the company shows growth in VoIP rates have increased from 1.5 to 1.95 between Q1 and Q2.



Yahoo Mash: Smashed

August 31, 2008

Come to ITEXPO -- Get Famous

August 31, 2008

I made a logical leap in my headline -- inferring you can get famous -- in this case, written up in Popular Science Magazine if you come to TMC's Los Angeles ITEXPO conference in just over two weeks. Let me explain.

About a year and a half ago, Ari Zoldan, CEO of Launch 3 Communications -- a company installing global WiMAX networks came to ITEXPO and won an Toyota FJ Cruiser at the show. Now he seems to be popping up everywhere.

I just read an article in Popular Science Magazine (a great pub BTW) where Zoldan in his new capacity as CEO of Quantum Networks, LLC explains to inventors the best way to go about getting VC money from a firm like his. A few points to consider are -- call the CEO directly and don't give up majority interest.

Here is the article (look to the right side of the page).

Oh, and in just over two weeks, ITEXPO will be in full force and this year we are giving away a Toyota Prius to one lucky winner.







More on Airplane Broadband and VoIP

August 31, 2008

If you haven't been paying attention you just may have missed the fact that bloggers have been going crazy lately about VoIP blocking on planes and the associated ways of getting around said blocking. Long story short -- SIP was being blocked on American Airline flights but Flash widgets were not blocked.

Andy Abramson has an original post on the matter and PhoneBoy has thoughts on why airplane broadband providers can likely block anything thrown at them.

Like I said a while back -- isn't it amazing how much effort airlines throw at stopping passengers from talking on phones when they don't get paid by the minute? I remember how they used to push us to use the in-flight phones in years past. Now it is easier to hack into the Pentagon's IT systems than talk on a flight.



Comcast Caps Usage

August 30, 2008

I have mixed emotions about the Comcast cap of 250 GB/month of bandwidth. On the one hand, it is good the company is telling users what is acceptable and what is not. At least we now have a number and not an arbitrary amount the service provider gods don't share with us. Furthermore, it is good the company will communicate with customers about how much bandwidth is being used if users do actually go over.

Although I am not happy that ISPs limit bandwidth use that is the consumer in me talking.

Skype: Five Years and Counting

August 29, 2008

Seriously... Five years already? That is how old Skype is? Well time has really flown and I agree with Tom Keating that Skype really made VoIP a household name -- thanks to Vonage too of course who reminded us all of VoIP every time we turned on a TV.

I also agree somewhat with Andy Abramson that Skype is more VoIP 1.0 than 2.0 but what are you going to do?

More Bars in Less Places

August 28, 2008

I find the ad campaign by AT&T Wireless regarding more bars in more places to be one of the more interesting ad campaigns because as far as wireless data is concerned, the network's 3G coverage is not nearly as good as Verizon's EVDO.

I've also experienced fast and very slow download speeds with the iPhone 3G - even in 3G mode. All in all the iPhone' UI makes up for connectivity issues but it is understandable that class action suits have developed as a result of the slow 3G performance many blame on AT&T... You see, the wireless carrier forces you to purchase a wireless data plan and then for many, the speed of the network is slower than their expectations.

The question is now, will this lawsuit pave the way for even more lawsuits targeted at service providers.

Blogged via wireless handheld.





Newest Form of Computer Input: Your Tongue

August 28, 2008

If you thought the battle for the newest computer input method was between gesture-based, keyboard, speech, etc -- you would be missing out on one of the more recent advancements in computer input which is being used by the disabled. And that would be your tongue. Using a magnet and sensors, disabled people can communicate quite well with a computer.

I spent some time watching my tongue move in a mirror as I imagined the potentially infinite ways the tongue can move. It is quite possible that the tongue could become a more common method of input but then again, the idea of connecting a magnet to the tip of your tongue is probably not so appealing to the masses.

HTC Dream: It's About The Services

August 28, 2008

While reading Michael Dinan's article on the HTC Dream which discusses the advanced services we can expect on this device, I can't help but wonder if Google's strategy is to ensure their cell phones are able to run Google services better than other phones. Right now, I can't imagine how any device could be more optimized for YouTube videos than the iPhone so I wonder if for Google, the services are more important or the phone.

In other words, is it better to have services run well across as many platforms as possible and if so, then what differentiators with the HTC Dream based on Google Android bring to the table? Time will tell of course but this article does discuss what features we can expect in greater detail.

Telepresence Comes to Schools

August 28, 2008

I got an email today with a link to an article in a Ridgefield, Connecticut newspaper discussing how telepresence is allowing a school to continue teaching a language which was thought to be cost prohibitive to learn. This is really big news as it reminds us telepresence has tremendous potential to help children learn about many subjects where cost was once an issue. In addition, the technology allows greater interaction with students in other classrooms around the world and gives access to museums and other interactive exhibits.

All in all this is great news for the telepresence market and moreover gets our children used to advanced technology which will no doubt be commonplace when they enter the workforce.is expense.

Of course school boards need to approve the initial costs of telepresence systems but once they see the potential I would imagine most will.

Thanks to Bob Liu for sending the link.







Digium Building Tour

August 26, 2008

I have often discussed how well the open-source communications market is doing and certainly the success of Asterisk/Digium is a good indication of how the market is today and where it might be headed. A while back I visited Digium's Huntsville, Alabama headquarters just before they were moving to their new building. I even had a chance to take pictures of the building as it was in the process of going up.

Well, fast forward over a year and the building is up, running and just received a visit from TMC. Tom Keating was on hand to take dozens of photos and reminisce about the history of open source telecom and where things are heading.

You don't want to miss his post.





Call Center Software Community

August 25, 2008

Data Exfiltration: Defined

August 25, 2008

Data -- even if it is unclassified, can be a problem for our government or any organization-- if it gets in the wrong hands in sufficient quantities. I was reminded of this fact while reading this article from Kevin G. Coleman on TMCnet.

According to the article:
Cyber attacks, hacking and systems compromises are all too frequent occurrences in a world that has become addicted to electronic information. Targeted attacks using advanced techniques combined with software application exploits have created the chink in our systems' armor that cyber attackers need to go about their snooping and thievery without being detected. Once a computer is compromised, cyber attackers have nearly "at will" access to the massive amount of electronic data stored there.


Outrageous Interactions Contest Counting Down

August 22, 2008

I received an email reminding me the Outrageous Interactions contest has almost come to a close. Only days remain in fact for you to submit your story and potentially win a trip to Hawaii. Here is an email Interactive Intelligence just sent me and I am passing it along as a reminder to those of you with seriously funny stories who haven't had a chance to share them with us yet.

You have to give Interactive Intelligence credit. They are always doing things which make my job and your career more exciting.



How the iPhone Has Changed the Mobile Game

August 22, 2008

Finally, after weeks/months of waiting I got an iPhone 3G. You may recall the mix-up I had at the AT&T Wireless store which seemed like it would keep me from ever getting one. Well, the store manager had been emailing me regularly this past week and when the phone came in yesterday, I thought it better to get it quickly before they give it to someone else again.

The store manager gave me a free iPhone case and screen protector for my trouble and the funny thing is, I really wasn't that upset about the whole situation. After all, it gave me some good writing material.

Nortel Buys DiamondWare

August 21, 2008

For over six years I have been espousing the virtues of 3D, stereo voice conversations with articles  and ITEXPO demonstrations mostly focusing on DiamondWare and the company's patented 3D technology which allows you to have a conference calls with others and place them on the left right, front or rear.

Until you have heard a conference call in 3D stereo, you have not heard a conference call.

In addition, the technology allows the addition of overtones like adding a metallic sound to a speaker or group of speakers on a conference call. This function could be useful if you are looking to find a way to discern what group a person belongs to -- the Los Angeles office for example.

You may recall that on May 15th of this year, I suggested Nortel would even buy DiamondWare. Well today is that day as Nortel did just that... They purchased the company and further explained how they have a portion of their R&D budget devoted to making VC-like investments but of course with a potentially different exit strategy.

Nortel believes the future of communications is likely going to be avatar-based and even if they are partially right -- let's say 5% of all calls, this could be a huge market.

A Nortel Avatar Demo of their web.alive business communications platform:


Nortel is further betting that the technology advantage they have as a result of this acquisition will help insulate them against others in the market who compete. That would be Avaya, Cisco and even to a lesser degree (at the moment) Microsoft.












Yes, FiOS was a Good Idea

August 21, 2008

I find the debate over FiOS to be incredible. Some Investors didn't think the investment made sense and analysts even say there will be no way to get the investment in fiber to the home (FTTH) paid back.

What these arguments miss is the point. Consumers want faster and faster connections to the internet and this will only become more of an issue as homes get even more computers and internet connected devices.

Remember that the latest televisions at 1080p can provide a viewing experience which broadcasters are yet to support. This trend will likely continue -- hardware vendors will get farther and farther ahead of broadcasters.



Tell Your Call Center Story: Go To Hawaii

August 21, 2008

Interactive Intelligence has a really interesting contest going on... Outrageous Interactions. The goal is to tell the most unusual but true call center story -- you know when a caller speaks with you and says something so amazing you can't wait to tell everyone you know. I knew someone once who worked as a directory assistance operator and boy did she have some good stories.

Spam, Microsoft Search, American Airlines WiFi and More

August 20, 2008

I have so much to write about today that I just don't have the time for separate blog entries so if you excuse me, here is a list of unrelated but important topics.

Spam Arrest

I get too much spam. I get thousands of emails a day and it is killing my productivity. I now have a challenge/response system on my email which means users have to prove they are humans before I get their emails. I also check a web interface to ensure I don't miss important emails but  things got out of hand with all the spam and this new solution should help.

Text to Speech Gets New Voices

I had a recent meeting with Cepstral and they showed me demos of their service/software which provides a variety of voices for text to speech applications.







Adobe Buzzword... On the Path to a Yahoo Merger?

August 20, 2008

You might have thought there are enough word processors on the market and there is absolutely no reason for any company to go through the expense of developing a word processor when Microsoft owns the market and Google is coming on somewhat strong. If this was your thinking, you may not have heard the latest news.

You see, Adobe has been watching this competition from a short distance away and has subsequently decided they can do an even better job than Google in the desktop application business by bringing their knowledge of graphics to bear on their competitor from the world of search.

A sample Buzzword document which subscribers can access in read-only mode.



Witness the Adobe Buzzword Beta, a SaaS offering meant to compete with Google and Microsoft. I have had a chance to demo the word processor and am very impressed with the graphical capabilities it possesses.







Communications, Speech Markets Have Positive Outlook

August 20, 2008

Two days -- two shows, two cities and two trains which left at dawn. Wow... What a rush. What I picked up from the Channel Partners (Boston) and SpeechTek (New York) shows is  the communications market and the call center market are doing well, based on what companies in the space tell me.

Yes, of course some sectors are doing better than others but some are amazingly strong...

Almost in NY

August 19, 2008

How Social Networking is Transforming Politics

August 19, 2008

Social networking does well when it plays on people's passions. If you agree, then you will further agree that politics is one of those areas that makes people extremely passionate.

Having said that, I should further point out the similarities between a political campaign and a corporate marketing campaign.

Just as your company has to constantly strive to keep up with new communications mediums such as Wikipedia, text messaging and a slew of others, political candidates must do the same.

This is all well and good but it seems that only Barack Obama is utilizing all the tools of integrated marketing in his campaign. In addition it seems the Obama campaign's ability to mobilize micro-support or the support of small clusters of people in different parts of the country will enable him to achieve feats his rivals cannot.

In this case, rival number one is John McCain. To get a better idea of what Obama is doing, read this article. I can't help but wonder why Democrats seem to be so far ahead of Republicans when it comes to technology.

If John McCain wants to win this election, he really needs to be sure to utilize all aspects of integrated marketing such as text messaging while simultaneously engaging in social media via numerous networks.









Heading to SpeechTek

August 19, 2008

Voice Mashups And Your Communications Future

August 18, 2008

What is the future of communications? One acknowledged thought leader in our field is Thomas Howe and his consulting company which bears his name is the place you go when you want to know. Howe and I were recently on a panel together at a conference in San francisco and I was very impressed with what he had to say so I invited him to be be my guest on a podcast.

Some of the takeaways from our discussion are that voice mashups are becoming more common and voice will transcend CEBP or communications enabled business processes to the realm of the consumer as well. As this happens, communications becomes the condiment to virtually all applications.

The excitement here is how this will happen.



Open Source Communications War

August 18, 2008

Behold the open source communications wars. In this corner weighing in at millions of downloads is Digium... A Huntsville, Alabama purveyor of all things Asterisk... From training to support to hardware, you name it.

In the other corner with decades of international experience and engineering and a strong alliance with IBM/Microsoft is Nortel/PingTel.

Last week we saw comments from Nortel on why they acquired PingTel and why this solution is better than the "old Asterisk".

One would imagine this comment was the straw that broke the camel's back:

By the way, these strategies dictated why sipXecs was chosen over Asterisk, a clearly inferior open source environment.
Today, Digium's Bill Miller responds...








Iwatsu Update

August 18, 2008

Dallas is home to one of the largest assortments of communications companies anywhere. Sure, Israel, Silicon Valley, New Jersey, Canada and even Massachusetts have many companies in the space as well but you know what they say about Texas - everything is bigger.

Contrasted to Silicon Valley where companies seem to pop up and then get acquired by Cisco or Oracle faster than the time it will take you to read this article, Dallas has some telecom companies which have been around for years.

So as you can imagine -- in order to do my job well as traveling editor, covering all that's important in communications and technology, I stop by Texas often.

One of my stops on my latest Dallas area road-trip was at Iwatsu, a 70+ year-old Japanese phone maker catering to the SMB. The company has high-quality phone systems and although they are not as well known in the US as they are in Japan, Iwatsu has a reputation for designing solid products.

Scenes of New England

August 18, 2008

Traveling Today to Boston

August 18, 2008

Application Session Controllers and Why You Need Them

August 17, 2008

As service providers look to upgrade their infrastructure and build new networks, they have many decisions to make. One of these has to do with the revenue producing applications which currently exist on their network. Do they all need to be rewritten to work with the new network?

In many cases they do but if one company has it's way this will no longer be the case. A company named AppTrigger is looking to bring the old applications into the new world of next-generation networks while simultaneously allowing many of the next-gen services to be available to subscribers on legacy networks.



SaaS -- The Tide is Turning The Wrong Way

August 17, 2008

Without listing them all as their are too many, the recent outages of services from Amazon, Google and many others have people worrying about switching to hosted applications and moreover, some jobs may be at risk over decisions to go hosted.

Remember the good old days when no one got fired for buying IBM. Seems like the saying still goes for Microsoft and other non-hosted vendors.

For hosted providers, the tide is turning and if these companies don't get their collective act together, they will ensure a slower migration to software as a service or SaaS.

The problem is of course that a single hosting company having an outage such as SalesForce.com, Google or Amazon will scare potential customers away from even considering the move to servers which they do not control.

Sure the infrequent outage isn't a problem but we seem to be hitting a critical mass of these things and there is a record number of outages and worse -- record numbers of stories about hosted service outages.

Let's just say it seems like the SaaS space may soon take a pause if these outages don't stop soon.

See Also:

Gmail leaves Google Apps admins nervous


Apple, Amazon cloud snafus leave Microsoft sitting pretty
Google Docs Outage
Outages Force Cloud Computing Users To Rethink Tactics
















HTC Dream Coming Soon

August 16, 2008

The much anticipated Google Android phone looks like it will finally see the light of day on the T-Mobile network. It is worth noting that some of the more interesting developments in the world of mobile phones have come from traditional computer companies. First, HTC a company known for making really leading-edge PDAs around the turn of the century got into the smartphone business and provided a solid alternative to traditional cell phone makers and phone from Treo/Palm/RIM (all three of which could be considered computer companies as well).

Then it was Apple and now Google. (I may lump Samsung in here as well but let's leave them out for now.

Patent Negotiation Handbook

August 16, 2008

Podcast Interview Tata Communications

August 15, 2008

Tata's View of Communications

Tata is a global company which is perhaps closest to what General Electric is in the US or Siemens is in Germany. The company is absolutely massive, having over 5,000 employees and engages in businesses such as building cars, providing chemicals, energy, materials and even consumer products like tea.

In addition, the company is a major player in telecom and has a global fiber network which is worth taking note of as it is large and growing. Tata has been aggressively pursuing US and international business and for this reason I knew my audience would be interested in learning more about how Tata Communications can help service providers, schools, the government and other US based concerns solve their communications problems.

On a podcast interview with Anthony Rossabi, Vice President of Carrier Services for the Americas I had a chance to ask questions about what the company is up to and how it can help carriers worldwide.

A good deal of our discussion centered around TCTS or Tata Communications Transformation Services which provides specific back office functions for carriers such as provisioning, network design, access and access pricing. The company has been focusing on landline but is moving into the wireless space as well.







Motorola Turnaround?

August 15, 2008

Motorola will be breaking up the company, bringing in new management and launching over 30 new products in the near future. Analysts remain very impressed but one wonders if they will be able to turn things around after over a decade of problems. This is a company which had challenges hitting numbers in the late nineties when other companies were booming.

Perhaps the best article headline on the topic is Motorola's Funeral Canceled: On Slow Road To Recovery, Says Citi (MOT).

It is the emphasis on new product development which is supposed to be the ultimate salvation for Motorola. You see, the theory goes the more products you have, the better you do.



Sheraton Gets Surface from Microsoft

August 15, 2008

Microsoft has this new computing initiative (Tom Keating's take with sound) which focuses on surface technology with hand-based gestures. Announced a few months back it is now in production and available at select Sheraton hotels (Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle).

Microsoft says there are vertical applications for this technology such as retail, healthcare, automotive and I am sure they are right. My question is will people use these things in a hotel?

Somehow I doubt they will because I have seen so many technologies in the US which are in public locations not make it. Remember internet kiosks?



Trixbox Certification

August 15, 2008

The open source world of communications is growing rapidly. Recently I discussed the Nortel acquisition of PingTel and what this means for our markets.

Ironically the competition in open source was once between Digium and PingTel and when Asterisk became the the dominant player in the space, it seemed that Digium won the war. It turns out that while PingTel lost steam, a new wave of compeitors in the open source space emerged, basing their products on Asterisk.

One such company is Fonality and their Trixbox platform has become a popular alternative in the open source space. It just so happens that Fonality is collocating their training session in Los Angeles at ITEXPO in a  few weeks.

If you are looking to see all the communications companies that matter in the market and also get a chance to receive certification on a number of topics, be sure to come to the show.





Nortel's PingTel Strategy

August 15, 2008

Google Vs. Apple

August 15, 2008

Everyone likes a good fight and even though there really isn't a fight going on here it is worth noting Apple's market capitalization is now ahead of Google's (reminder I own shares in Google).

According to this story, by the close of trading on Wednesday, Apple's market value had edged up to $158.8bn - a shade ahead of Google's $157.2bn.

My take is that while Apple is obviously on fire, Google has a monopoly in search advertising and at the moment the world is in love with the model. Over the past years, Google has hired thousands of engineers to develop innovative products and services. Google's advertising model will be embedded into virtually all of these new services.

Gmail is an example of Google's ad model expanding onto a new service.





VoIP Growing at 53% to $24 Billion

August 15, 2008

The VoIP opportunity is still huge according to a new report from Infonetics Research. At a time when many industries are really hurting, hosted VoIP and managed IP PBX services grew 53% to $24 billion in 2007 after surging 66% in 2006.

Obviously much of this growth is as a result of PSTN replacement but it should be noted that once IP is in place, the potential to add services increases greatly. The great news is Infonetics anticipates growth in the strong double-digits until at least 2011.

Interestingly, IP communications boosts productivity and saves money at the same time. This makes it a great technology to invest in when times are good and times are bad.

Sadly, many companies get the deer in the headlights feeling when they see an economy slow and they sometimes stick with the status quo instead of making decisions which will save them money, boost performance and generate rapid ROI.

Interestingly I have noticed an increased focus on contact center and CRM solutions these past months which leads me to believe companies have finally figured out that if you serve your customers efficiently and well, you make more money.

Contrast this to the last slowdown in 2000 when companies decided to offshore their call centers to save money.









Google's Traffic Numbers Inaccurate?

August 15, 2008

Over the years, TMC has tried many third party measurement sites and without a doubt, Google Analytics under reports traffic numbers as compared to other independent measurement services by an order of magnitude in many cases. Why is anyone's guess but this article confirms that Google's in-house numbers are lower than virtually all other measurement methods. This includes the well-respected Comscore.

In addition as John Battelle points out, there should be natural suspicion of measurement practices of any company which also runs an ad network. Here is an excerpt of his post which discusses Google Ad Planner in detail:
 

In short: If you were a media planner using Google Ad Planner, and you were looking for larger sites, you would be led to sites that are running Google AdSense, on average, over sites that do not.




Communications and Technology Stories August 14, 2008

August 14, 2008

Please enjoy some communications and technology stories while having your morning (or evening) tea or coffee. My thoughts in brief -- Extreme is smart to jump on the energy efficient bandwagon, Jajah claims to have over 10 million users in the story below which is substantial. They also have a service which translates short English phrases to Chinese. Very cool but I am not sure this can be monetized.

Virtual PBX now allows callers to be pulled out of voicemail -- this great news and not easy to pull off for a hosted vendor.

One Man's iPhone Journey (phone not included)

August 14, 2008

A few weeks back I was at the VoIP Sizzles 2008 event in Dallas and the day it was over I told Robert Messer the founder of ABP and the Sizzles events that I have been trying to get an iPhone for the longest time. He told me he had a few on order and an extra one even. He said if I wanted I could come with him to the AT&T Wireless store that night and get one.

I was pretty worn out from travel and had to get up at 4:00 AM the next day so I passed on the opportunity. Messer is convincing but I was just too tired to go.

Speech Recognition Licence Savings

August 14, 2008

If you aren't aware - I run a media company. My company's website -- TMCnet.com gets between 2-3 million unique visitors from around the world each month and up to 40 million pages are viewed each month as well. In addition, TMCnet is ranked in the top 3,100 sites in the world.

First of all, thanks for reading this blog and visiting TMCnet and being part of the world's largest communications and technology community.

Now that I got all of that out of the way in the interest of disclosure and all that, I wanted to be sure you knew that TMCnet has a webinar which took place today, focused on how JetBlue replaced $1,000 speech recognition licenses for $15.

You will soon be able to listen to this archived webinar and I have been meaning to write about it before but didn't have the time. Seems like a no-brainer to check out if you run a call center or are in the market for speech recognition solutions.

Hope you enjoy it.









McCain To Support Technology

August 14, 2008

It has been pretty shocking to me to see that the Bush Administration did not embrace technology in a more grand fashion. After all, Vice President Al Gore was so enthusiastic about the Internet he even claimed to invent it.

So while it seems like the companies of importance in the Bush administration have to do with energy, commodities and defense, we may see a McCain presidency focusing at least a little on technology.

In fact there will be a 10% R&D tax credit and opposition to internet taxes. In addition there will be an increase in H1-B visas (thankfully). McCain does not think we should have federal net neutrality laws -- the FCC and other regulators should deal with these issues he believes.

See this New York Times article for more.







Buy iPhone 3G Online

August 14, 2008

If you are an AT&T Premier customer you can now buy the iPhone 3G online. This is much better than having to stand in line but of course it seems that only business customers qualify. Sorry.

I guess that means there will be less complaining from me but why the secret? I suppose there is still a great benefit to the shots of all those people standing in line but isn't this getting old?

Do you qualify for this program?



3G iPhone Problems... AT&T to Blame or Infineon?

August 14, 2008

Are you a new iPhone user who is having problems with the device switching between networks? Are you browsing at slower speeds than you should? Are you getting dropped calls at a higher rate than you are used to?

If you are having any of these problems you will be happy to know there is great debate about whether the cause is a congested AT&T data network or a chip made by Infineon. Company spokesman Guenther Gaugler won't discuss the chip's performance in the Apple phone but he does say the chip works fine in other cell phones.

Other speculation is that AT&T hasn't upgraded its network fast enough and of course AT&T denies this allegation.

Either way, there is a software fix in the works which should minimize the problem.





Book Flights Now For ITEXPO West 2008

August 13, 2008

Many attendees have told me they are getting great deals on airfare to ITEXPO September 16-18, 2008. I happened to just price a flight and the cost was $306. Travelocity has a sale with prices from New York to Los Angeles starting at $285.

Also, many people have told me they will be using JetBlue and landing in Long Beach and Burbank Airports.

Here is a United flight I priced as a reference:

Flight:  United flight 21 on a Boeing 757 Jet <input type=hidden name=javascript_turned_off value=YES>   Depart:  New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK)- Tue, Sep 16 6:30am Arrive:  Los Angeles, CA (LAX) - Tue, Sep 16 9:44am      
Flight:  United flight 840 on a Boeing 757 Jet Depart:  Los Angeles, CA (LAX)- Thu, Sep 18 2:14pm Arrive:  New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK) - Thu, Sep 18 10:38pm  
The great news is that flight costs are dropping pretty rapidly meaning you can come the world's communications event and still have reasonable travel costs.







Nortel Buys Pingtel

August 13, 2008

Years back -- in the mid-late nineties in fact I came across Pingtel, a company who saw the oncoming VoIP revolution (we called it IP telephony back then) and decided to place their bets on this burgeoning market by making IP phones. Investors loved the idea and the company had to actually turn down funding. This was a genius idea as Polycom will tell you today but at the time, there were precious few VoIP installs so making money selling razor blades didn't work since no one had razors.

Fast forward a few years and the telecom bubble burst and Pingtel decided to get into the IP PBX business.

More New York Boat Shots

August 12, 2008

New York Cruise Shots

August 12, 2008

Training Into New York

August 12, 2008

iPhone Vs. Kindle Magazines

August 12, 2008

Audrey Audix on CNBC

August 12, 2008

iPhone Vs. Kindle?

August 11, 2008

Citigroup recently upgraded Amazon, saying more kindles will be sold than previously thought. The leading etailers stock zoomed upwards on the news in fact.

The analyst estimates Amazon will sell up to 380,000 Kindles in 2008, up from a previous forecast of 190,000. It expects Kindle-related revenue of $1 billion by 2010, compared with a previous view of $400 million to $750 million.

Many have surmised that Bezos wants the kindle to be the iPod or iPhone of books. Question is, do we already have an iPod of books and is it the iPhone?

Obviously there are trade offs between the iPhone and Kindles -- the iPhone has a color screen and worse battery life while the Kindle is better for reading large amounts of content.

I got to thinking about this as I noticed that Frommer Travel Guides are now available (press release) on the iPhone.







Interactive Intelligence on Contact Center Growth and More

August 10, 2008

One of the most innovative communications companies around certainly has to be Interactive Intelligence. Consider the company saw the unification of communications happening in the mid-nineties and launched products to take advantage of what they saw as a huge opportunity. While the rest of the communications space was awash is individualized, siloed solutions, Interactive Intelligence was busy building solutions which minimized the traditional box overload most call centers had to contend with.

Specifically, they focused on eliminating the need for a separate PBX, ACD, IVR, ACD, etc.

Leaving Montreal

August 8, 2008

I am am on way back from Canada and am happy to be headed home. As I leave, I just can't help but think that this country is an amazing place as it seems to have more communications companies per capita than anywhere else I know of. Israel could be a close second or could be ahead of Canada but I am not certain which gets the crown.

I have met company after company which is in this sector or that in the market. Lately I have been meeting with lots of companies making a living in wireless such as WiMax, FMC, etc.

It is almost impossible to keep track of them all.

Moreover I have had a great deal of positive feedback on my session yesterday and it was great fun to discuss next-gen marketing with a room full of tech-savvy people who really understand how the marketing world is changing.





Dinner at Tatami in Montreal

August 8, 2008

Record Quarter at Digium

August 7, 2008

Time For Google to Buy Sprint?

August 7, 2008

IP Fax Still Growing Thanks to Unified Communications (UC)and VoIP

August 7, 2008

Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a partner conference Sagem-Interstar put on in Montreal to help its partners and customers. The conference was attended by a number of resellers/integrators from around the world but the ones I met were primarily based in the US. Some of the takeaways from the conference were that fax is still doing well and although many have predicted its demise, it is alive and well yet going through a dramatic transition.

In fact the company repeated what they have told me in the past - many companies still have no idea how many fax machines they have and how much fax traffic they generate.

Malicious Gadgets

August 7, 2008

The gadgets are coming... The (malicious) gadgets are coming. Sure we all know about gadgets/widgets and how they foster cross-site integration and the ability for users to take the best of various applications and data and meld them together in a single user interface.

While the concept of gadgets and widgets is not new, their growing popularity has become a target for hackers and this article points out some of the risks. Moreover it contains comments from Google on how gadgets are useful and their gadgets are generally safe.

My take is that gadgets and widgets are important parts of the future of the web and moreover, as technology gets more complex, the ability to fight off hackers becomes more important and at the same time, more difficult.





Almost in Canada

August 7, 2008

Buy ITEXPO Plane Tickets Soon

August 6, 2008

Good news: I have noticed plane fares for trips to ITEXPO this September 16-18, 2008 in Los Angeles have dropped by hundreds of dollars in many cases. As a show organizer, nothing makes me happier than having our event more accessible to everyone.

The Internet Telephony event has really evolved over this past decade and is now the the largest gathering of IP communications companies and decision makers in the world. It is the one place to be if you manage communications for a service provider, enterprise or are a reseller/developer.

You just have to be at this show if you want to network with the industry and see what is next and what is happening right now.

So I am happy to share the good news with you all and I hope to see you in September... In LA.











Cloud Computing Showdown

August 5, 2008

Cloud computing has so many benefits and the market is poised to continue its momentum. Companies like Amazon and Google were early players in this market but the early success of these companies has not gone unnoticed. Case in point, AT&T and soon (WSJ: subscription required) Verizon will be players in the space and AT&T already has a major customer.

Cloud computing is not perfect and Amazon has had a few high profile outages lately. It is worth watching to see if the industry will get to a point where outages will cease and moreover whether the increased competition will help grow the market in larger.

My take is there will be rapid growth in this area for many years to come -- barring more serious and high-profile outages of course.





DVR Ruling Good For Web Video and Cable

August 4, 2008

This past weekend the DVR in my house started to make an odd and intermittent buzzing noise. Suffice it to say it needs to go back to my cable operator. As I recall, the last time I had a DVR problem, a technician was sent to my house to bring a new box.

Having to deal with a truck roll every few years for a customer with one DVR doesn't seem like a smart proposition for a carrier. There just isn't enough profit margin to justify this cost.

The good news for Cablevision the company providing service in my area is that an appeals court just ruled that network DVR I just like CPE DVR but with a very long cord.

Media companies fought and won a court case which blocked Cablevision from providing such service and in April of last year Cablevision decided to appeal.





Shots of Downtown Syracuse

August 4, 2008

Speaking at Sagem-Interstar Conference

August 4, 2008

I am on the plane now reading the Wall Street Journal, watching CNBC and responding to email. It seems to be a productive flight so far and a bit later I will be working on my presentation which I will give in Montreal later this week.

I will be speaking at a Sagem-Interstar Partner Conference where I will be talking about advanced lead generation.

As part of my talk I will delve into all aspects of marketing. I will be discussing the benefits of integration, and how integration can actually increase lead close rates.

I am excited about this talk because it gives me a platform to discuss how technology companies can be most successful. Most tech companies are run by techies who generally do not understand branding or positioning.

In my career I have seen hundreds of companies with fantastic products fail.







Search Engine Note to Self

August 4, 2008

Gadgets Guilty Until Proven Innocent

August 4, 2008

Why Translation Needs Humans

August 3, 2008

Facebook Benefits Obama Most

August 2, 2008

As candidates embrace more and more web 2.0 concepts, they begin to outpace many companies in their use of new age tools. Recently in fact the McCain campaign emailed a series of videos which let his supporters choose which video is the better choice at showing the media love affair with Barrack Obama.

Shortly thereafter, the Obama campaign pushed out a video of the candidate making a rousing speech in Germany.

But which candidate do you suppose has the most web 2.0 street cred? In a Google search on the word Facebook, the second result is as follows:

----
Barack Obama | Facebook Welcome to the official Facebook Page of Barack Obama. Get exclusive content and interact with Barack Obama right from Facebook.






magicJack Changes VoIP Positioning

August 2, 2008

It is early on a Saturday morning and a I flip through channels on the TV I noticed an infomercial for magicJack and I just can't believe how good it is. I have been hearing that the magicJack has been selling lots of these devices and the company's competitors tell me often that they are a very tough competitor.

The concept is simple. Use a USB-based ATA and connect any analog phone. The device gives you the best features of Skype and Vonage in one.

See Bill Kelly at ITEXPO in LA

August 1, 2008

Many of my blog readers know Bill Kelly well from his years of work building partner programs in the industry for companies like Excel and Cantata (after the company merged with Brooktrout).

Add to this a brief stint at Pulvermedia and Kelly becomes the perfect person to help improve the quality of ITEXPO conference content.

With Bill's vast experience he is the perfect person in fact to be at the show.

What will Bill be doing at ITEXPO? He will host two courses in the TMC University program, which is open to all conference attendees.  Bill's classes include "FMC/Mobility" on Tuesday September 16th and "IP Network Security" on Wednesday September 17th.

What are Kelly's thoughts on the show? Here is a quote from him:

"From an educational perspective, TMC University offers a unique opportunity for attendees to obtain third-party certification that recognizes their competence in selecting, installing and managing important communications solutions. As a part of ITEXPO, TMC University also provides a tremendous networking opportunity, and I'm looking forward to the entire event, catching up with colleagues and learning more about the latest solutions on the expo floor."  

And of course, much of the networking at the show might actually involve Bill as he is so connected .











Nortel Earnings August 2008

August 1, 2008

In a podcast conversation with Joel Hackney, President of Enterprise Solutions Business at Nortel I had a chance to discuss Nortel's earnings which were a mixed bag for the quarter. On the one hand there were eight quarters of year over year profit increases and revenue and gross margins increased compared to the same quarter (Q2) last year.

On the down side there was a wider net loss of $113 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $37 million, or seven cents a share, a year earlier.

Hackney did explain that the economic environment has been challenging, citing a "tough economy" and he mentioned work needs to be done to improve operational effectiveness and margins in the business.

Hackney went on to say, "Not only are we looking to become more effective and efficient, internally within Nortel from a cost perspective, we're taking our solutions externally and helping our customers do the same thing."

Other important takeaways were thoughts on the LG-Nortel JV, the Siemens acquisition by the Gores Group and what the rest of the years' earnings will look like.

Here is the podcast  for more.























80% of E-Mail Illegitimate or From Unknown Source

August 1, 2008

A look at my inbox confirms the findings of research which tells us that 80% of e-mail comes from illegitimate or unknown sources.

Officials say the study relies on a sample of 2.3 million IPs pulled from the Return Path Reputation Data Network, a cooperative data network that collects and analyzes e-mail data from more than 20 ISPs and other data providers representing more than 100 million mailboxes.

The spam problem is not going away and as I came back from Dallas yesterday I happened to be on a rental car shuttle bus around 6:00 AM in the morning. On the bust was a group of people with Blackberrys frantically clicking and scrolling. I could almost feel the spam being deleted from their devices as we drove the 15 or so minutes from the rental car areas to the terminal.

I kept thinking how much wasted time we all have in our lives because of spam.

Please don't tell me about spam filters. Yes I have one of these like many of you but if you have ever looked at what gets filtered you will see that there are occasional real and important emails in there that you need to receive.







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