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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

Apple

Roku: The Apple of TV?

May 21, 2008



Without a doubt, the new Netflix Player by Roku set top box will become a serious contender for the title "iPod of the world of television." I haven't seen this device yet but based on what I have read on Tom Keating's blog and on the New York Times, it is a killer offering.

Here are the details... A $100 set top box, a sub $10/month subscription and a web-based interface which helps you narrow down movie selections from a total of 10,000 Netflix offerings which are ultimately made by remote control.

At these price points some could be tempted to give up cable TV service altogether and if the box gains traction, it can become the TV delivery mechanism of the future -- worldwide.

I am not naive enough to think Roku will easily take over the world as Apple, Microsoft, the cable companies and phone companies will be looking to do everything short of hiring hitmen (is hitpersons more PC?).

Expect the box to eventually support YouTube, streaming TV and perhaps newer movies.

Really, everyone should be gunning for Roku except for content providers (including Yahoo! and Google) and chip manufacturers who can benefit from lower cost distribution and the sale of product to this consumer electronics company.

It is not hard to see Roku becoming a telephony provider in the future by upgrading these boxes with ATA functionality.

Expect this company to be included in net neutrality discussions of the future and if they aren't purchased in six months I will be very surprised. If Vonage had the finances or access to capital -- their brand would be a huge help in getting this box in millions of homes as fast as possible. They should consider a merger.

Then there is Google who could get broader YouTube penetration.

















MindWireless Podcast

May 20, 2008

MindWireless is focused on the wireless expense management space which as you might imagine is an area of growing importance inside telecom expense management. Just think about how complicated it is to manage wireless gadgets as employees have become obsessed with having the latest and greatest devices and moreover, many consumers pick the provider they want as they need to have cell phone service at home, etc.

MindWireless helps companies organize and optimize their wireless devices. In addition, they help with outsourcing and client engagements.

One of the areas of change in the wireless device space is obviously the iPhone... This and other smartphones have changed the face of wireless device management but are users getting smarter?

In reality, users are getting devices which are more and more complicated and they are oftentimes confused about how to best use them.





CBS Picks up CNET

May 18, 2008

Virtual Worlds, The Future of Communications

May 15, 2008



I am here at Nortel R&D headquarters in Ottawa, Canada where the Nortel incubation team is showing us a bunch of the latest technologies they are working on in the labs. This is the first day the media has been allowed to see the next-gen products the Canadian-based communications company is working on.

We are an hour or so into the demo and so far we have seen a Nortel specific virtual world where all avatars use their corporate identities. In addition, there is voice collaboration with 3D stereo built-in.

If this sounds familiar it is because Diamondware has similar technology. Nortel cannot comment on whether they are working with the Arizona-based company but regardless (I would say they are working together and even will even potentially buy the company), the demo was impressive as it reinforces how the quality of audio really is more important than we realize.

We use a single ear to listen to one another while on the phone and we compress the audio and filter out most of the feeling.







What the HP/EDS Deal Means

May 13, 2008

When you look around the tech market you see factors which suck the profit out of every nook and cranny. In hardware there is a trend towards standards-based hardware which is not slowing down. As this trend continues, prices shrink and more competition exists in building computers, etc.

Moreover, as computers get more powerful they suck the life out proprietary solutions. It is very difficult to build a proprietary hardware system and not get undercut by a competitor who uses PC-based technology.

Software should be immune to this trend but open-source has made this segment of the market more challenging.



UMAThought Leader Steve Shaw on TMCnet

May 9, 2008

SkyFire: The Cure for iPhone Envy

May 8, 2008

Do you have iPhone envy? I do. In fact, just this past Sunday I walked into the AT&T store and I browsed TMCnet on the iPhone and was blown away at how easy it was to surf on this phone compared to a Windows Mobile 6 device. I then asked if there was a firm ETA on the 3G iPhone (there isn't) and as I walked into the nearby Starbucks with my family I debated with my wife the pros and cons of switching to the Apple device from my HTC 6800 on Verizon.

I was close to deciding to switch to Apple (you already know I hate the soft keyboard) when I received my text message invite to the Skyfire Beta 0.6 release of their new browser.

Skype as David, Telcos as Goliath

May 7, 2008

OK, now I have heard it all. Large, incumbent telephone companies are going to launch a competitor to Skype.

But before I proceed with my thoughts, as often the case with such amazing speculation, it is good to air out the details before dismissing them outright. After all, an informed reader may think they know better than me and I have been wrong in the past. Pobody's nerfect as they say.

The Details

Apparently ThinkPanmure, a research firm has been speculating for years that incumbent telecoms from around the world will work together to make a software package that will interoperate on various networks and leverage 3G and wired broadband investments.





Google Pushes Verizon on 700 MHz Open Access

May 6, 2008

Many of us thought the open access provisions of the 700 MHz auction were taken care of and this was the reason Google got involved in the auction in the first place. It seems now that Verizon is saying that open access means open access to any application on their approved devices.

This as opposed tot he concept of bring whatever device you want to the party and it will work fine.

Google's attorneys are writing letters tot he FCC about the matter and this debate underscores the different points of view held by carriers and and Internet companies.

Matthew Lasar over at  ars technica has a great article on the matter.

See Also:

Update: Google concerned about Verizon's open access









Avtech Software Protects Data Centers

May 4, 2008

Companies spend incredible sums of money on their communications and technology infrastructure but all too often they do not focus enough attention on protecting the investment in such equipment. As telepresence, unified communications, handheld devices, mobility and IP communications turbocharge corporate productivity; a simple air conditioner malfunction can put an end to racks of equipment which house the tools many corporate workers need to get their jobs done.

Having said that there are companies whose main focus is to ensure your data center functions at all times regardless of humidity, fire, flood or other factors which generally do not mesh well with your typical server.

I recently caught up with Michael Sigourney, the founder of Avtech Software to discuss how his products are helping companies protect their investments in technology and productivity.

The company’s flagship product is the 26W and for a list price of $1,195 you get hardware, a web interface, alerting and the ability to begin corrective action such as initiating a system shutdown in the case of triggered events.

The Ferrari red colored box (which not coincidentally contains a bright red circuit board) allows connections for a variety of external sensors such as power, flood, smoke, motion, air flow, room entry, sound, light, panic buttons and more.

The data the box collects is output into an unmodifiable file which is great for companies who need such a feature to help them with regulations relating to compliance. And yes, of course you could export this file and modify it elsewhere if needed.

Sigourney proudly tells me that every branch of the US government and the majority of the Fortune 1,000 use his products and even some military aircrafts and missiles have his technology in them.

The company’s latest product the Signal Tower is fairly unexciting as it is essentially a traffic light which can be seen any angle and set to signal problems. Green, yellow and red lights can blink, etc in conjunction with an alarm depending on network and other events.

But having a product that is boring does not mean it is not useful.















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