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

Apple

Save Money in a Slow Economy

March 31, 2008

What is one of the best ways to cut costs without cutting heads or disrupting you key business operations? One simple solution is to explore the adoption of a telecom expense management or TEM solutions.

Recently I had a chance to sit down with the team at Anchorpoint to learn just how they are helping companies cut costs in a painless fashion.

One of the biggest problems with how companies currently deal with phone bills is that they put highly skilled workers in charge of what is really a low skill job. In addition, the job of approving telecom bills is time sensitive as phones tend to stop working when bills aren't paid. So as these highly skilled workers deal with the time sensitive job which they often feel is below their skill set they tend not to take the job very seriously and subsequently rubber stamp bills to get them through.

So companies are paying good salaries to people to do a job which doesn't get done too well.

In my conversation at Anchorpoint's headquarters in Massachusetts, we discussed how in some cases companies deploying TEM solutions can cut headcount but this usually pales in comparison to saving perhaps 10 % or more on a 10 million dollar bill.

So instead of focusing on a company's ability to cut heads they explain that these high value workers could do more important things in the company.

Of course I brought up the $99 flat rate bill phenomenon being marketed by the wireless carriers and the team told me that the result of this new marketing approach is that companies now have a metric they must come below.

So a CFO may expect phone bills to be less than $99 and a compensation plan can even be assigned to a worker based on the percentage of savings over this amount.

We further went on to discuss how telecom cost management compares with travel management.















Here at CTIA in Vegas

March 31, 2008

So here I am in Vegas. I had a 45 minute wait for a cab followed by a 15 minute wait to check in to find out that the hotel I thought I was staying at is not the right hotel but instead I am next door. Check in time is 3:00 but rooms aren't ready so I am at the restaurant just waiting and waiting.

As I wait I am seated next to a table with 15 women.

Skype+Keyboard Convergence

March 31, 2008



Everything seems to be coming together -- camera, phones, e-mail devices, etc. It was just a matter of time before a company decided to merge Skype, a keyboard and silicon to develop a VoIP-ready keyboard with microphone and speaker built-in.

It is bendable, waterproof, has a two-port USB hub, a volume control and LEDs to indicate status.

The only downside is that I am not sure where I would use such a product. Perhaps outside in the rain -- assuming my computer and monitor are protected from the elements?

Would this product be the ideal boating accessory? Perhaps.

Would this keyboard be great for parents who want to work at the kitchen table without the fear associated with spills?

You have to hand it to the designer who got my attention by integrating such disparate items into a single waterproof package.

I guess there is now officially no excuse for not blogging or Skyping in the rain.

[USB Fever via GeekAlerts]















TMC Growth Update

March 28, 2008

Congratulations to TMC's Kevin Kiley who was just promoted to VP of Finance. Great job Kevin.

In addition I would like to thank TMC readers and our partners who have allowed us to continue our wave of growth.

In the past few months we have hired the following new team additions:

  • John McInerney, Marketing Projects Manager
  • Tim Bongiovanni, Account Executive, Customer Interaction Solutions magazine
  • Mo Harrim, Web Developer
  • Richard Moavero, Account Executive, IP Communications Group
  • Kevin Lake, Account Executive, Events Division
  • Tullio Gianitti, Account Executive, Webinar Group

This does not include our new writers (Charlotte Wolter, Gary Kim, Jon Arnold, Peter Radzieski, Scott Wharton, David Yedwab, Taran Singh, Rick Graves, Dr. Alan Solheim, Jagan Jagannathan, Phil Hill, Chris Gatch, Dan Miller and eight full-time freelance editorial contributors.)

Once again, I would like to extend my appreciation to TMC readers, sponsors and team members for helping us achieve our current growth levels and we look forward to making 2008 the year when all of our products perform better than ever.

[TMCnet]










Plantronics .Audio 480

March 28, 2008

I just had a chance to test drive the Plantronics .Audio 480 USB Headset also known as the Virtual Phone Booth. While I generally have problems with all in-the-ear headphones, these felt better in my ears than many others I have tried.

For example the Shure E3c Sound Isolating Earphones (currently discontinued) don't fit in my ears well and subsequently I have to resort to the ear plug type adapter that you roll tightly and then let expand in your ear.

The problem with the Shure ear buds is that if your fingers are not absolutely just-washed clean, the buds get dirty and don't work as well -- they then need replacement. This includes the carbon residue from newspapers that you don't even realize is embedded in your fingers.

Another problem is if you take one of these foam ear buds out to speak with someone on a flight you have to take time to roll it again before reinserting it back in your ear.

I am somewhat impressed with the sound quality of the Plantronics headset. In tests of dance, pop and classical music, I thought the range of frequencies transmitted to be good.







AT&T Mobile TV

March 28, 2008

In May, millions of AT&T subscribers will have access to television via AT&T Wireless. Credit Qualcomm's MediFlow whose technology will be responsible for this service and expect it to compete with with a similar service from Verizon Wireless.

What sorts of programs might we see on mobile TV? How about CBS Mobile, Comedy Central, ESPN Mobile TV, FOX Mobile, MTV, NBC 2GO, NBC News2Go and Nickelodeon?

Will the iPhone support AT&T mobile TV? No. But the Vu from LG and the Access from Samsung will.



Plantronics Doing Something Big

March 23, 2008

Plantronics is planning something big. I have discussed this before and they are staying pretty quiet about what they are working on. Moreover whatever they are doing has been in development for over a year and they aren't close enough to a launch to even drop serious hints.

Two things I do know is they want to be big in CEBP space and they are also looking to extend the headset paradigm.

It is tough to know what they have up there sleeves but the only hint I have is that when I asked if they are looking to add a heads up display to the headset, they say they did consider this idea but decided against it.

So I can only conclude they will be getting more deeply into the mobile device market. I suppose there is room for the company in the space occupied by Polycom.





700 MHz Auction Concludes

March 21, 2008

The FCC 700 MHz auction concluded recently and the major winners were Verizon and AT&T. While this may seem like bad news to those who would have preferred more competition as a result of this auction, FCC Chairman Martin explains that a number of smaller competitive companies did indeed win a large chunk of spectrum.

For example, 99 bidders who were not AT&T or Verizon won 754 licenses representing 69 percent of the 1,090 licenses sold. For example, Frontier Wireless, won 168 licenses in the E block to establish a near nationwide footprint for its services.

In a press release, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin had this to say:

Even in a difficult economic climate, revenues raised in this auction exceeded congressional estimates of $10.182 billion by approximately 187 percent – nearly twice the amount Congress had anticipated would be raised to support public safety initiatives, the digital television transition and $7 billion in budget deficit reduction.


I suppose from the FCC's perspective this is great news and moreover it is a nice shot in the arm for the US government at a time when we could use the revenue.

The problem here is that this money and much more will now be extracted by the winning companies who the last time I checked were not non-profit organizations.

In other words, the government has just ensured the price of broadband will be substantially more than it could have been.

If you want to understand the power of free wireless spectrum, just think about life before WiFi. Think about how much it has improved and how much more productive the world economy is as a result of WiFi using unlicensed spectrum which was blessed by the FCC.

How many WiFi devices have been sold in the US these past years? Tens of millions?














Carriers Need Advertising

March 20, 2008

I have been saying for over a decade that carriers need to explore ways to deliver enhanced services.

To be fair, some companies are doing this. AT&T has done an amazing job partnering with Apple (the way I hear it, Verizon declined to work with Apple which is why AT&T had the option) and then they have further offered Pandora radio as a $10/month service.

I got to thinking about these services as I was reading an eComm 2008 wrap up from Jon Arnold where he discusses the future of service providers.

One of the points made by Jon is that advertising revenue pales in comparison to current subscriber revenues and as such carriers need to focus on innovating.

While I agree with this notion, I do believe carriers must consider advertising as a major revenue source. Moreover, advertising revenue models of the old days pale in comparison to what is possible with the web, interactive television and location based services.

I have written before about the potential for mobile providers to supply customers with intimately targeted ads based on location and I am still awaiting the fantastic services of the future.

Perhaps the biggest problem service providers face is cultural.











Dan Miller New TMCnet Columnist

March 19, 2008

As I mentioned a while back, TMC is experiencing record growth and I promised we would maintain our high levels of quality as we grow. TMCnet currently has just under 50 worldwide columnists and most of them write daily or even more often.

TMC continues to look for the absolute brightest thought leaders to keep you up to date and help you make informed purchasing decisions in the communications and technology space.

To that end, TMC's latest columnist is Dan Miller, an analyst at Opus Research who will write a column titled "Communications in Context."

Miller has over 25 years experience in marketing, business development and corporate strategy for telecom service providers, computer manufacturers and application software developers. He founded the highly respected analyst firm, Opus Research in 1985 and helped define the conversational access technologies marketplace by authoring scores of reports, advisories and newsletters addressing business opportunities that reside where automated speech leverages web services, mobility and enterprise software infrastructure.

More recently he oversaw the launch of research practices covering voice biometrics and local mobile search.

I am thrilled to have such a high quality writer as part of the TMCnet editorial mix and thanks again to all of our readers and sponsors who have made TMCnet so popular over these past years.

Dan's first article is titled Beyond UC: Contextual Communications and you are welcome to bookmark his columnist page so you don't miss any of the important things he has to say.











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