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Rich Tehrani
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March 2012

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Comcast Lets You Text Message from your Home Phone

March 28, 2012

It took about eight years but it seems like SMS has finally come to home phone service

In 2004 in a piece about VoIP 2.0 I wondered why home phone service hadn’t progressed and suggested that they allow instant messaging/SMS. It’s obvious the market would love such a solution and Comcast will be one of the first to bring it to market. In fact, now included with its ‘Xfinity Voice Unlimited Nationwide’ plan, customers get access to free text messaging from the Xfinity Mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note Shipping at a Million a Month

March 28, 2012

Samsung did something unusual recently when it launched its Galaxy Note line of tablets starting at 5.3" and growing from there to a 10.1" edition which was unveiled at MWC 2012 in Barcelona. What was perhaps most unusual was the hybrid nature of the smaller device, allowing it to be not quite smartphone and not quite tablet. The challenge with such a design is that you have potentially created a Jack of All Trades and Master of None or basically a tablet too big to be used with one hand and too small to be used effectively with two hands.

To some degree I see the smaller 5.3" model appealing more to men because well men don' generally carry handbags. Point being you can fit the smartphone which could have been conceived by Lane Bryant in your pocket and have ample surface area to work on.

Then there is the smart pen or S-Pen which allows special functions to be evoked like screen copy and more - expect new apps to take advantage of the S-Pen capabilities according to the company.

So think about it - with the Galaxy Note line, Samsung designed not only a new form factor in hardware but also brought back the stylus - the exact same pointing instrument which Steve Jobs and Apple thought wasn't necessary.

Now it is way early to proclaim these devices a massive and lasting success in the market because the marketing push the company has been making is extraordinary.







A Fountain of Inspiration

March 26, 2012

Social sharing of video has let the world see a cornucopia of inane and empty moments which provide little more than simple entertainment and cheap humor. Someone falling off a skateboard and losing a shoe apparently has mass appeal. But once in a while a video goes viral and inspires us in ways not thought possible. Much of the world has a celebrity fixation, copying them, reading about them and wanting to be them.

But the real heroes aside from people saving lives, defending a nation, keeping us safe from criminals and fires are often under-reported on.

Consumers Tell Mobile Carriers how to Save Millions

March 22, 2012

Wireless carriers spend millions on contact center calls related to device questions from their subscribers and to lean more Amdocs recently commissioned a survey which shows that while 83% of the 2,900 consumers surveyed are aware of self-service options, only 37% of consumers use them. Why? You may think because they don't have access to a PC or perhaps they have an Apple iDevice and are afraid the answer will be in Adobe Flash and all they will see is a series of question marks.

Well, if this is what you thought, you'd be wrong on both counts. The reality is that they expect the answers to be wrong or inaccurate.

So perhaps you are thinking, social media is the solution.



Aito Technologies Helps Carriers Leverage Sentiment Analysis

March 20, 2012

In the US, some of the most challenging times for carrier sentiment had to be when comedians and shows like SNL poked fun at the iPhone for not working properly on the AT&T network. And in such situations where the carrier’s network was slammed with traffic and the company was not able to come up with a solution quickly, there probably want much the company could do to change public sentiment.

But in many cases a reactive carrier can reduce churn due to customer dissatisfaction. And this is one of the goals of Aito Technologies a company in the customer experience analytics (CEA) space.

Monetizing the Mobile Data Explosion with Tektronix Communications

March 20, 2012

Remember when you were in the engineering lab and you relied on a Tektronix oscilloscope to analyze signals? I do and I deeply craved one of my own but could never afford one. But the company once part of Tektronix, Tektronix Communications  does its best to ensure that not being able to afford their products is not a reason to keep you from buying. The company provides solutions for carriers which help with pre-deployment, network operations, customer care, network and RF engineering solutions as well as business performance.

Check out a Webinar on Telecom Visibility 2.0

March 20, 2012

For over 20 years I’ve been tracking Unimax a company that has been the only pure-play moves/adds/changes solutions provider to large enterprises around the globe. Andrew Hunkins was the founder/CTO/CEO throughout the years and my most memorable meetings with him were at the Harry Newton/CMP Computer Telephony EXPOs also known as CTEXPO in Los Angeles, California. A huge accomplishment for the company Hunkins founded was lasting – it’s been around since 1985!! This is a big deal.

NQ Mobile Protects Android Phones from Malware and Viruses

March 20, 2012

Last year Roger McNamee mentioned that he doesn’t think Android has a bright future because of the malicious apps proliferating on the platform and to his point Android malware is up over 400% with no signs of slowing down. This is where NQ Mobile’s NQ Mobile Security app comes in. I recently met with Kim Titus who described the threat as being greatest over SMS as well as in parts of the world where apps are sideloaded. He believes 10% of Android devices in fact are infected and SQL injection as well as HTML5 are further challenges to securing this mobile OS.

Neustar Aims to Make Mobile App Development Easier

March 20, 2012

With over half a million apps in the Apple App Store alone one might argue that developers have all the tools they have to develop compelling applications but what if there was a way to take traditional apps and integrate them more closely with carrier networks and big data analytics allowing them to be more powerful, spur increased consumer spending while greasing the wheels of mobile commerce and more?

Recently Jean Foster and Steve Edwards at Neustar showed me their Intelligent Cloud service which integrates rich anonymized databases from TARGUSInfo with access to carrier networks and other information to accelerate developer productivity and to frankly enable applications to become better drivers of value for consumers and revenue for advertisers and merchants.

One demo they showed me involved a gift card where a user scans the bar code associated with it. At this point a unique URL is passed to a browser and opened on the mobile device allowing a consumer to check balance information, make a payment and connect their cell phone to the card.

VSS Monitoring Switching Fabric to Reduce Carrier OPEX and CAPEX

March 20, 2012

A major cost to carriers the CAPEX and OPEX associated with network monitoring and test equipment. Andy Huckridge of VSS Monitoring explains carriers spend up to $300,000 dollars on this test equipment and yet they only use the devices at about 20% of their capability. And he should know as he used to work at Spirent where I have met with him over the years at shows like Supercomm, VON and TMC’s ITEXPO (Disclosure: I am the CEO of TMC).

According to Huckridge the solution to skyrocketing costs on tools entrusted with keeping the network purring like a fine Italian sports car (my words not his – but you get the idea) is a layer of intelligence to provide scalable visibility and control of traffic capture.

Amazon Gives Away Money to Promote Local

March 20, 2012

Volubill Helps Carriers Deliver Enhanced Wireless Services

March 19, 2012

The FCC has a web page dedicated to bill shock and encourages wireless users who haven’t achieved a successful resolution with their wireless carrier to call and complain. The same page explains one in six users has at one time or another experienced bill shock – totaling 30 million users in total.

One of the companies helping carriers reduce bill shock for their customers is Volubill, the policy management and charging company has many innovative ideas to help carriers in an era of data caps and ballooning cell phone bills. In a recent conversation with Akil Chomoko Head of Product Marketing at the company he explained the company looks at the business side of things – enabling subscribers to be unrestricted and subsequently free to choose from various options which not only serve the needs of the customer better but potentially can generate more revenue for carriers.

Ascom Wireless Test Solutions Advance to Handle Burgeoning Data Demand

March 19, 2012

The number of people using their cellphone as a primary device is continuing to increase and this includes campus and corporate environments where the ease-of-use of a single device makes using a smartphone running Android, iOS or something similar the preferable corporate interface. In fact more than half of carrier data traffic is consumed from an indoor location making it important for operators to focus on ensuring signal strength is adequate in such environments.

At MWC in 2012 I spent some time with Ascom the network testing and monitoring company to learn about their partnership with iBwave Design software for in-building wireless network design. Through the partnership Ascom’s TEMS mobile network testing solutions enables engineers to use building coordinates to align their in-building presence and provide a baseline for route planning and walk testing. 

Apple's New TV to Force Tech Refresh and Cause More Apple Dominance

March 19, 2012

Early in the year Samsung wowed users at CES with it’s unveiling of the Galaxy Note, a 5.3 inch wonder with WXGA resolution or 1280x800. To put that in perspective, there are many 15 inch laptops with the same resolution. Apple for its part countered with the New iPad sporting a 9.7 inch display with 2048x1536 pixel density or a full 264 pixels per inch – the same as the iPhone 4s. The iPad boasts four times the number of pixels as the iPad 2 and one million more pixels than HDTV at 1920x1080 pixels.

Acme Packet University Live Blog

March 15, 2012


Acme Packet is hosting their Acme Packet University at Harvard University in Cambridge. I spoke with the company's Co-Founder, CEO & President Andy Ory before the session kicked off and the topic of Sonus came up. The two companies partnered for many years and eventually Sonus reached out to Acme to purchase them however Acme had begun the filing to go public and Sonus had taken a hit to their market cap so the deal never happened.

According to Andy, the idea today is to explain to the world how complicated the SBC space is - one part switch, security device and softswitch. These are separate disciplines in most companies - making it more complicated to build a good SBC.

He then briefly outlined the future and what we will learn today - how hosted-IMS based solutions will help move the industry forward.

9:00 Session kicks off

Marianne Budnick, CMO kicked things off and set the tone for the day.


Patrick MeLampy
Co-Founder and CTO began with a history of the
markets and Acme.

Net2Phone NetMeeting had problems - in part because they wouldn't work through NAT and this derailed the company.

The company started in Andy's house and the workers were day trading as well as working - this was 2000 after all.

Lots of talk of the alphabet soup of standards IP communications had to deal with until around the time of 9/11.

The partnership with Sonus Networks helped them a great deal back in the day.

People like Henry Sinnreich and Jonathon Rosenberg "hated" Acme because they didn't want the carriers to be able to control the endpoints.





















Twitter Buys Posterous: Point, Counterpoint with Peter Radizeski

March 13, 2012

Twitter just announced it has picked up blogging service Posterous and as a past user of the service I must say, did find it useful at the time I used it. Before I continue however I'd like to set up a point counterpoint where TMC blogger Peter Radizeski will present the negatives of this deal while I present the positives.

Here are Peter's thoughts:

  1. So Twitter, the micro-blogging platform, acquired a macro-blogging platform, Posterous.
  2. According to the Twitter blog,  the key to the acquisition was the staff?
  3. They wanted the talent. How often does the talent stick around after the culture shifts?
  4. Sachin Agarwal, founder and CEO of Posterous, goes from being a CEO to a Product Manager. In some cases, that is okay of Agarwal gets to pursue a passion or a goal he was seeking. 




In Crony Capitalist Move, Germany Threatens to Tax News Aggregation

March 13, 2012

New aggregators have been singled out in Germany as a market worth taxing. The idea it seems is that these companies are benefiting based on the hard work of old media or newspapers. The challenge is aggregators will gladly allow publishers to opt-out of being highlighted but by doing so companies get less web traffic which actually can damage them.

To many this is an example of crony capitalism - or having a company (or group of companies) in a potentially slowing market use its power to have the government "level the playing field."

A tax is a penalty or fine - and discourages a certain behavior. When you are late to the library with a book you pay a fine.



Satellite 2012 In DC is High Energy

March 13, 2012

Broadvox Shows Big Ambitions With New Hire

March 13, 2012

Broadvox just announced that Bruce Chatterley the former MegaPath President and Speakeasy CEO will become the President and CEO of the company. Chatterley has distinguished himself by growing Speakeasy and eventually selling it to Best Buy in 2007 and more recently integrating MegaPath, Covad and Speakeasy.

Broadvox is an innovative company – they were early in the sip trunking space and made a name for themselves quickly. They haven’t been afraid to acquire to grow and this move is designed to take the company to the next level.

Forget Disney, Head to Finland for Angry Birds

March 10, 2012

Angry Birds has certainly taken the world by storm and over Thanksgiving while visiting Disney World I was surprised to see how many people were wearing Angry Birds related clothing - especially shirts. Now, Rovio, the company behind the addictive game the author of this post was forced to delete because of its addictiveness will launch its own theme park in Finland.

We all know that the world is more competitive and companies like Google and Facebook have grown very rapidly in terms of name recognition and number of users.

The question is whether an entertainment company can leverage an app to build a media empire which rivals what Disney took many decades to develop. In other words, is there any limit on what digital-era companies can disrupt?

Amazon has helped kill off retailers like Circuit City, the digital photograph helped kill off thousands of photo processing stores, the web has helped kill off newspapers and magazines.





Taqua Leverages WiFi, Introduces Backhaul Product at MWC 2012

March 10, 2012

Taqua has a made a name for itself serving carriers of all sizes with products like the T7000 for wireless and wireline switching, the T7100 for media management, trunking and peering as well as the TCS6100 for small cell and voice messaging services over 4G/LTE.

At Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona I had a chance to speak with Payam Maveddat the company’s EVP of Product Line Management about the fact that carriers have become very interested in WiFi solutions. A frequent discussion at the show in fact was that carriers who wouldn’t even discuss WiFi with you a few years back are now actively asking for the technology to help alleviate the spectrum crunch they are all facing.

Maveddat explained that his customers are happy that they can leverage VoLTE, VoWiFi and femtocells with the company’s solutions.

Ubidyne Shows Active Antennas Help Optimize 4G LTE

March 10, 2012

One of the biggest challenges facing the communications industry is lack of wireless spectrum. Wireless carriers are already struggling to keep up with users who download more and more content with ever-faster devices sporting more processors and higher-resolution screens. Just this year alone Samsung has rolled out its Galaxy Note 5.3 smartphone/tablet hybrid and Apple has released its new iPad sporting a much-anticipated retina display, a quad-core processor and 4G.

Recently at MWC at 2012 I spoke with Michael Frankle, CEO and Frank Oehler VP of Marketing and Sales at Ubidyne about the company’s active antenna systems (AAS) LTE 700MHz uB700™ and 900MHz uB900™ Antenna Embedded Radios designed to alleviate many of the challenges carriers face while providing increased benefits to consumers.

Vocalocity: One Cloud Provider's Path to Growth

March 10, 2012

Cloud computing providers are all the rage these days and cloud communications is no exception. Witness the growth of 8x8 as well as the M&A interest in the space evidenced by the recent acquisition of M5 Networks by ShoreTel and the acquisition of Aptela by Vocalocity.

I recently had a chance to speak with Wain Kellum the CEO Vocalocity to get a sense of how his company is differentiating itself from other hosted/cloud providers in the space. First off the combined company has over 15,000 customers and over 100,000 network endpoints.

AirWatch Highlights MDM in a Post-PC Era

March 8, 2012

Yesterday Apple CEO Tim Cook showed a chart of how the iPad alone is selling more unites than PCs from any other individual vendor. This is an amazing achievement when you consider the iPad is a few years old and that HP swallowed up Compaq making it the largest vendor in the PC market. Of course with so much device proliferation the question of mobile device management or MDM has to rear its head. As this market is so crucial I am happy I had a chance to sit with Alan Dabbiere the charismatic Chairman of MDM leader Airwatch at MWC 2012.

Are Switch Lighting's LED Bulbs the Future of Lighting?

March 8, 2012

With a heat dissipating aluminum heat sink as well as a proprietary liquid which not only cools the bulb but throws light in a very natural manner, it could be that Switch Lighting will be the GE of LED lighting. My editorial team and I were very impressed with what the company showed us at this past CES. One point worth making is these LED lights can work fine when hanging upside down making them useful for corporate/industrial applications. Other LED solutions have had overheating problems when they hang upside down and as a result the bulbs burn out quickly.

How Aricent Group Enables Rapid LTE Adoption

March 8, 2012

One of the most important companies in the wireless space you may never have heard of is Aricent Group, the product engineering, carrier services and design company which renamed itself last year by combining Aricent and frog (formerly Frog Design). The name change was not done for cosmetic reasons, Aricent Group’s customers are carriers, and equipment providers who live in a brave new world requiring ever-faster time to market. In addition, in an increasingly standardized world of LTE, companies have to be able to provide bullet-proof interoperability and product and service stability while simultaneously adding value in order to reduce the brutal effects of commoditization which plagues virtually all markets where standards take hold. So faster product integration is necessary to keep up with evolving and hypercompetitive markets.

New iPad Being Released by Apple

March 7, 2012

Update - the new iPad will be called "The New iPad." Not the iPad 3 or the iPad HD.

While we don't have a name for this new device yet - iPad 3 or iPad HD are what the rumor mill says, Tim Cook has verified the display will be a retina display at 264 pixels per inch. Apple says this is a million more pixels than a home HDTV. Moreover it will have an A5X quad-core processor.

CEO Tim Cook went on to differentiate the iPad from Android tablets showing how apps from Yelp and Twitter look like smartphone apps blown up when used on an Android tablet while on the iPad they look much better.

There will also be support for AT&T and Verizon 4G and more bundled apps. In addition, there will be dictation software included.

There will also be HD video recording at 1080P as well as a 5 megapixel camera and HD video conferencing and personal hotspot capability.







VMware Mobile Virtualization Helps Secure Consumerized IT

March 7, 2012

A great step forward for enabling security and management of devices in the brave new world of consumerized IT

Virtualization has certainly been a hot space over the last few years in-part due to the increased reliance on cloud-computing as well as the need to make data centers more energy efficient. Of course there is also cost savings associated with virtualization – allowing companies to squeeze out maximum performance from each server.

And mobile devices these days are as powerful as servers of less than a decade ago so it is natural to assume that there may be reasons to predict virtualization in the mobile world will become standard.

7 Wireless Data Cap Winners

March 7, 2012

Yesterday I outlined 7 Wireless Data Cap Losers and today I thought I would explore the flipside – in other words, who might win as a result of carriers becoming far stingier with their bandwidth allotments. After all, devices are becoming far more powerful and quad-core tablets and smartphones could become the norm by the middle of next year if not sooner. So with all this power and limited supply of bandwidth, how might user behavior change?

Here is my list of the 7 wireless data cap winners.

The 7 Wireless Data Cap Losers

March 6, 2012

We are in uncharted territory when it comes to mobility as this year we will see a slew of productivity-boosting 4G, quad-core smartphones like the Ascend 4D Quad from Huawei which I saw at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. Moreover, while devices get more powerful, we will only want to do more with them and quite often this means relying on wireless networks from carriers.

The only problem is these providers are rapidly running out of bandwidth and this means they have decided the best course of action is to cap users and slow their connections once they hit a certain threshold. Their other strategy is to just charge for bandwidth being used.

Big News: Marc Andreessen to Support Romney

March 4, 2012

The biggest issue the US currently faces is a lack of jobs and perversely we have a President who has never actually worked in the private sector. To keep this from becoming a partisan post, President Bush was in the private sector but didn't appear to actually be successful there.

So if the next election has to do with getting Americans back to work, many people believe the best person to achieve this goal is someone who has been successful in business and has hired and fired people in their career.

Contrary to popular belief, a presidential candidate who laid people off is in the best position to understand why businesses lay off and subsequently help foster a climate where less companies consider parting with workers. A candidate who hired overseas instead of in the US is in the best position to understand why the US and US workers in particular are at a disadvantage when it comes to competing internationally.

For these and other reasons, Silicon Valley's Marc Andreessen is endorsing Romney and even if he isn't the most conservative person from a social perspective he understands business, global competition and has the greatest potential to help the US compete against the emerging global powerhouses of India and China.











Samsung Opens Galaxy Note Attraction in Barcelona During MWC

March 1, 2012

In Barcelona this week Samsung had a giant booth-like structure at Plaza Catalunya where they showed off the 5.3" and 10.1" Galaxy Notes. The lines were massive the entire week this structure was in place and the manager told me they closed the line down a full two hours before closing due to the fact there are only nine artists working at once. I would say the store and the atrium would fit about 100 people or so.

Aside from Apple-like displays of devices on white tables there were also many artists "painting" caricatures of the visitors.

AudioCodes Shows MailVision "Carrier Skype" Solution at MWC 2012

March 1, 2012

AudioCodes is showing a VoIP client which is a Viber or Bria-like app which also connects with many third-party solutions. It is designed to be superior to typical consumer solutions as it connects with many social networks and also has the backend systems which integrate nicely with large-scale carriers. There is also XMPP support as well as connectivity with MS Lync and Facebook. There is multi-language capability - there are 2M users now in APAC and they expect this number to grow to 20M by the end of the year.

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