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Rich Tehrani
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| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space

March 2019

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Theta Lake Zoom Partnership Brings Compliance to Voice and Video

March 25, 2019

Theta Lake is a machine learning and AI platform analyzing audio and video content for compliance risk. “We focus on regulated industries like financial services,” said Anthony Cresci, VP Business Development & Operations in an exclusive interview.

Certain industries have regulatory requirements around retention and how long companies store electronic communications.

Metaswitch Hits 25M Business Subs, Aims for Many More

March 25, 2019

Metaswitch recently announced they have reached the 25 million business subscriber milestone – which is impressive as the company is very strong in the small to medium carrier space.

 

“Metaswitch is becoming a strong leader in delivering hosted call control exclusively to communications service providers, uplifted by its new operator wins and innovative service offerings, like MaX UC,” said Jeremy Duke, president, Synergy Research Group. “Metaswitch holds the number two position with 18.9 percent market share and growing, second only to Cisco.”

Nureva Collaboration Solutions Empower Teams

March 24, 2019

Nureva Inc. is a Canadian company helping people connect and work more effectively together with Advanced audio conferencing systems and real-time visual collaboration tools.



“People coming together to work can do great things,” said Adrian Doughty, Director North American Sales. We have married the virtual and audio conferencing aspects to not have a point product – but rather an experience.” 

Customers typically want to work differently – it’s about forward-looking end-users looking for change.

Mio is The Much-Needed Enterprise Messaging Interop Tool

March 23, 2019

 

Based in Austin Texas, Mio is working on making teams, Webex Teams, Slack and Microsoft Teams interoperable explained Tom Hadfield, CEO, in an in-person interview.

Tom said, “Typically, a midsize enterprise has all three. Perhaps they can’t’ afford to use Slack for everyone.

NEC Smart Workspace is a Millennial-Friendly UCaaS Solution

March 23, 2019



NEC has transformed their portfolio with the NEC Smart Workplace, Ram Menghani, VP of Product Management explained in an in-person interview. We outlined the company’s progress last year and they come much farther since that meeting.

The company has solutions in UCaaS, team collaboration, contact center and SIP trunking via their UNIVERGE Integration Platform (UIP) RAM explained.

With 120 million global users and 20-30 million in the U.S., the company is looking to migrate the base to the cloud as soon as they can.

Homeland Security and EU Remind us Companies are Not Cybersecure

March 22, 2019

In case the news of constant breaches isn't enough to inform you that most companies are not prepared for cyberattacks, recently, the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. confirms this is the case.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said recently, "We are under siege from transnational criminals…faceless cyber thugs and hackers…and resurgent nation-state rivals.” She continued, “America is not prepared for this. Your average private citizen or company is no match against a nation-state such as China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia."

The EU, after seeing over $10 billion in losses thanks to NotPetya alone - this malware encrypted computer data, rendering them useless, has a plan.

To prepare for major cross-border cyber-attacks, an EU Law Enforcement Emergency Response Protocol has been adopted by the Council of the European Union. The Protocol gives a central role to Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and is part of the EU Blueprint for Coordinated Response to Large-Scale Cross-Border Cybersecurity Incidents and Crises.





Edify Unites Contact Center and Company on a Single Platform

March 21, 2019




“The purpose of Edify is to build a solution that goes from CEO to developer to call center to unite the entire company on one ecosystem, one platform – regardless of internal or external.” Exclaimed Cameron Weeks, Co-Founder and CEO in an in-person interview.


He said, “There currently isn’t a way to unite these things. Other companies are trying to unite platforms via acquisitions.”

We believe acquisitions aren’t the best way to do this – so we built a platform that unites the entire company in one voice ecosystem from the start he explained.



Fuze Touts Rapid Growth and Significant Samsung Partnership

March 21, 2019

Fuze is a global UCaaS provider – in business since 2006. Their average seat size is greater than 3,000 with 40% of customers with headquarters outside of North America. Most recently, they added video and messaging to their voice offerings. 

Infovista Ipanema SD-WAN Now With Nextgen Application Intelligence+ and Cloud-Native Orchestration

March 21, 2019

In an in-person interview, Ricardo Belmar, Sr. Dr. Global Enterprise Marketing, Infovista explained the company’s Ipanema SD-WAN has enhanced application intelligence as well as cloud-native orchestration.

He said, “Our new solution allows QoE control via deep application visibility.” He continued, “It has been enhanced and can now recognize thousands of applications, not just hundreds.”



He further explained, this includes cloud apps and the updates also are delivered via the cloud.

Moreover, these updates used to be delivered during software maintenance upgrades.

Sharpen Technologies Agent Experience Score Improves Contact Center Performance

March 20, 2019

Sharpen Technologies believes better contact center and ultimately corporate performance depends on contact center agents. Their unique call center solution is microservices and cloud-based. They have 70 employees, 250 global customers and are strong players in retail, ecommerce, tech and financial services.

Sharpen pricing ranges from $5-$109 per agent.

New x.ai Chrome Extension Seamlessly Integrates Scheduling Into Workflows

March 20, 2019



The future of work is here!

Lightweight and easy to install, the x.ai Chrome extension integrates their AI scheduling assistants even more seamlessly into your daily workflow. The moment you identify the need for a meeting is the moment they're there to help you out, no tab-hopping required.

Click the extension on the upper-right hand side of your browser to instantly edit your calendar and access your schedule.

Composing an email? Just click on the new icon in Gmail to insert a link to any of your calendars using an event name, a URL, or a sentence with the click of a button. Your guests can use the link to schedule a specific type of meeting with you.







CallMiner Makes AI-Fueled Speech Analytics a Reality

March 19, 2019



CallMiner allows organizations to extract intelligence from customer interactions,” said Scott Kendrick, VP of Marketing

In an in-person interview. You may know their existing product line – Analyze, Coach, Alert and Redact.

They improve sales performance, measure effectiveness of marketing campaigns, call center efficiency, etc.

Omilia Conversational AI Expands into Cloud

March 19, 2019

Omilia is a software company focusing on customer service automation. They have an AI system commercially deployed at large scale. They handle 100% of Royal Bank of Canada’s traffic with a fully conversation voice assistant.







They provide on-premise and cloud solutions – with the latter becoming more strategic, thanks to customer requests.

PCM Enhances Collaboration Portfolio

March 18, 2019

PCM is the 2.3 billion dollar a year organization you may not have heard of. They were once PC Mall – remember those catalogs we all used to get? Actually, remember catalogs?

About four years ago they spun out professional and consultative practices focusing on security, hybrid data center, Microsoft and more recently, collaboration.



Beware of New Zealand-Related Scams and Malware Campaigns

March 18, 2019



Please make note of this important warning from DHS:

---

In the wake of the recent New Zealand mosque shooting, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advises users to watch out for possible malicious cyber activity seeking to capitalize on this tragic event. Users should exercise caution in handling emails related to the shooting, even if they appear to originate from trusted sources. Fraudulent emails often contain links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware-infected websites.

AT&T Launches API Marketplace

March 18, 2019



The new AT&T API Marketplace provides prepackaged code to allow companies, ISVs and others to integrate more functionality into their apps and websites.

APIs include:

  • click-to-connect voice
  • video
  • text
  • 2-factor authentication

“Even the largest enterprises struggle with securing the time and resources needed to deploy capabilities that can enhance customer service and create personalized experiences,” says Roman Pacewicz, chief product officer, AT&T Business. “In today’s omnichannel communications environment, customers expect timely responses. By giving businesses a consistent experience and easy-to-use tools, we can help address common pain points efficiently and effectively.”

Built on Ribbon Communications’ Kandy platform, the AT&T API Marketplace offers turnkey applications and self-service APIs for developers to create custom applications.

Turnkey applications are plug-and-play communications services that can easily be incorporated into business applications and websites. Self-service APIs are available for customers who prefer to integrate these capabilities into their own environment.










XMedius Empowers Teams with Enterprise-Grade Call Center Solution

March 18, 2019

XMedius Solutions Inc. just announced that it has made its XM TeamQ informal call center solution easier to adopt for teams looking to manage workflows and enhance collaboration. XM TeamQ is now offered as a standalone application or as an add-on to XM Connect (formerly CX-E), the company’s unified communications platform.

As workers become more distributed, teams of IT help desk and technical support groups, sales support and service departments, as well as hospital administrators and university staff, find themselves juggling multiple tasks and balancing numerous interactions each day.

Ransomware is a Plague - Here are Some Cures

March 17, 2019

Ransomware costs corporations and individuals billions of dollars per year yet many companies seem to care about the threat after they have been hit. Investing resources in this fashion is similar to waiting to be robbed before installing an alarm - or even locks.



Derrick Wlodarz is a seasoned IT Specialist who owns Des Plaines, IL-based Managed IT Service firm FireLogic. He has some sold thoughts on how to protect yourself which we summarized below:


1) Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Are “Need To Have” Business Requirements

One aspect that all major ransomware incidents seem to have in common these days is the fact that Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) are either not present, never tested, or incapable of being relied upon. This client we came in to save was no different.








Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 Follows the Active Speaker's Voice

March 17, 2019

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to collaboration sessions is handling the one or more speakers who are mobile during a meeting, drawing on the board or whatever they happen to be doing.

Meetings are tough enough with poor cellular and VoIP connections, having substandard equipment at the endpoints only makes things worse. 



The new Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 automatically focuses on the active speaker within a room. Integration of the ceiling microphone is easy and straightforward thanks to redundant Dante ports, Power over Ethernet, compatibility with the Sennheiser Control Cockpit app and an open media control protocol.

This is the company's flagship A/V conferencing solution, employing the company’s patented automatic, adaptive beamforming technology — which follows the active speaker wherever he or she moves in the room.

Beamforming is also used in advanced WiFi access points and will be a huge part of 5G networks when they finally deploy.

TeamConnect Ceiling 2, which is available from April 15th 2019, can be used together with existing analog conference systems or integrated into fully digital systems, where it can also be controlled and monitored via the IP network.













Coffee is the Latest aaS Offering Thanks to Burger King

March 17, 2019



Coffee as a Service is here thanks to Burger King who will allow you to have one coffee per visit per day for $5 per month via the company's app.

As Karen the Deal Hunter points out, that is 17 cents per day.

Burger King Coffee Every Day for $5/mo?

That's 17¢ per day, per cup! https://t.co/tQXYCDNFp0 https://t.co/eS36oMkyrV

— Karen The DealHunter (@DigiDealHunter) March 15, 2019

The application service provider market or ASP for short was launched in the late nineties towards the latter part of the dotcom boom. It became the precursor to aaS - also referred to as cloud. At the time, investors threw hundreds of millions of dollars at these ASPs, hoping that this new market was the future of everything.

The investors and ASP founders were ALL right but when the dotcom bubble burst, all the funding left the market.

Mark Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce was one of the only companies to make it through and he details the hell his company went through in his book Behind the Cloud.

Before coffee as a service, carwash as a service was the most interesting offline aaS model we came across. 












The Future Of Unified Collaboration And Communication

March 15, 2019

Here is a Guest Blog from a long-established thought-leader and telecom expert Von Bedekian, Co-founder & CRO of VisibilityOne.


Consider the way corporate communications worked a mere decade ago -- each component was a separate entity, and when you looked at the system as a whole, it sometimes felt held together by digital duct tape. Desk phones used standalone voicemail systems, and maybe they forwarded to cell phones. Email applications were isolated from chat or the phone network. Launching to video conferencing was basically impossible.

Future of Work: Humans are Underrated

March 11, 2019

The experts tell us there will be no jobs in the future but they also told us we would run out of:

  • Oil 

  • Food 

  • Working computers (Y2k)

  • Fresh air due to smog 

  • Copper 

  • Nitrogen in the soil 

  • Oxygen in the water 


They further say, as a result, we need to rely on the government to support the population via universal basic income or UBI.

Even Bill Gates who has transformed the world through tech innovation argued we should tax robots to slow innovation and use the money to hire people. Virtually all the other top tech billionaires and Warren Buffet seem to agree.

But as we mentioned above, the experts seem to be very wrong about so many major predictions. It is actually very difficult to think of predictions that they got right.



Over time, improvements in agricultural techniques and technology meant an industry which created almost all the jobs went to creating almost no jobs. In the developed world, the same thing happened to manufacturing and mining.

Why didn't we need to slow these transitions?












Eversource Switching Scam, Beware!

March 9, 2019

Customers are complaining of being scammed by unscrupulous companies looking to switch customers from Eversource.

The scam goes like this: 

A robocall is placed letting the "target" customer know they will have their electricity cut off due to lack of payment.

The target is then given a number to call.

The call is made and an agent picks up and negotiates with the target.

If the target says they have autopay set up, they say that they recently changed payment processors and the target hasn't updated their account.

Pressure is applied by the company - saying the power will be turned off soon. They then ask if you want to set a time to reconnect the service.

Watch out for this phone number in particular: 877-438-6086.

Here is more from the Eversource site:

RECOGNIZE COMMON SIGNS OF A SCAM
  • Threatening phone calls demanding immediate payment to avoid shutoff, without prior notification.
  • Asking for personal or account information.
  • Insisting on a specific, often non-traceable, form of payment.
  • Providing an unfamiliar callback number.
IMPORTANT FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW
  • Eversource representatives never ask for instant payment in person or over the phone.
  • Eversource representatives do not require the use of pre-paid debit cards (such as Green Dot MoneyPak, Vanilla or Reloadit).
  • Eversource representatives never request customers meet at a payment center, such as a department or grocery store, to make a payment.
  • Eversource does not solicit door-to-door or on the phone on behalf of third-party energy suppliers.
  • Eversource representatives always carry company-issued photo identification and will always provide it when asked.
  • Contractors working for Eversource always carry documentation explaining the nature and location of their work.
  • Customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive written notice via the U.S. mail which includes the actions they can take to maintain service.
  • Eversource almost never makes unsolicited house visits. Exceptions might include accessing, maintaining, or ensuring the reliable and safe operation of our equipment.
  • If you’re not sure the person is an Eversource employee, call us.


















Elizabeth Warren's Plan to Break Up Big Tech

March 8, 2019


Elizabeth Warren penned her detailed opinion today, telling us it is time to break up Amazon, Google and Facebook, implying they are defacto monopolies. She is correct, they are. Whether they meet the classical definition today or not is secondary, they all have enough market power to effectively block competition and continue to wipe out current foes.

We agree in principle but not with many of the specifics. Here is the objective analysis of the salient points of her writings:

In the 1990s, Microsoft — the tech giant of its time — was trying to parlay its dominance in computer operating systems into dominance in the new area of web browsing.




After Bomb Cyclones and Tornadoes, is Your Company Prepared?

March 6, 2019

In the last few weeks alone the United States alone has witnessed numerous catastrophic weather events from bomb cyclones in the Midwest to tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia.

Sadly, many businesses are not prepared for such events – too many rely on a single location without proper backup systems to run their company when the weather or other emergency hits like ransomware or worse, something like the NotPetya attack which made files inaccessible forever. This single piece of malware alone caused over $10 billion in damage based on corporate public filings.

Triton Industrial Cyber Attacks are Coming and We're Not Ready

March 5, 2019



In 2017, a Middle Eastern petrochemical facility had the unfortunate distinction of being the first known victim of malware specifically targeted at process safety systems. Thanks to this malicious software named TRITON, the oil and gas industry became ground zero for the convergence of SIS process safety and ICS cybersecurity. Suddenly, the relatively obscure world of process safety systems, which had never seriously been considered a cyber vulnerability, was in the spotlight.

This malware is thought to have come from the Russian government - it can cause catastrophic accidents and it is spreading around the world.

The hackers appear to have been inside the petrochemical company’s corporate IT network since 2014. From there, they eventually found a way into the plant’s own network, most likely through a hole in a poorly configured digital firewall that was supposed to stop unauthorized access.






A Foldable Phone More Than $1,500 is Just Stupid

March 5, 2019



It brings tears to our eyes, but we really don't need a foldable phone. We were blown away by Samsung's entry into the space, the Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X with its even larger screens blew us away again (below).



There seems to be great concern about the durability of these new plastic, foldable phones. Will they hold up to key scratches when they are in your pocket or purse? Will there eventually be a line or crease where the fold is, distracting from the user experience?





StaffAlerter Adds Personal Alerting Device for Enhanced Safety

March 4, 2019

Instant communication is becoming more important in business, schools, municipalities and the federal government. After 9/11 this became more apparent than ever and school shootings and other emergencies have only reinforced the need.

Yet most schools and cities haven't solved the problem. Why? Perhaps because they don't know what company to turn to. 

UCONN Gets Cybersecurity Lab

March 1, 2019

Great news for Connecticut and New England as The University of Connecticut launches a new Cybersecurity Instructional Lab funded by alumni brothers Samuel ’50 and Stephen Altschuler ’54, who earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering. 



The Altschuler brothers with scholarship recipients. 

The $1 million Altschuler Cybersecurity Lab will be located on the first floor of the Information Technology Engineering (ITE) Building, this summer.

“We chose to make this gift because of the support we received from UConn when we were engineering students in the early 1950s,” said the brothers in a joint statement. “Our training enabled us to advance our careers to the point where we are financially able to make a gift of this size.








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