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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

Strobe Keynote at DevCon5

July 27, 2011

iOS Allows Apple to Correct Microsoft "Mistake"

July 27, 2011

If you look back at the early days of Apple, Microsoft has been a major supplier to Cupertino's customers virtually from day one. Even today, Microsoft is the go to software provider for not only Macs but PCs. So whichever platform you choose, Microsoft wins.

Microsoft Exchange too is a sales monster and it licenses ActiveSync to mobile companies who want to connect to it effectively.

Microsoft's operating income by division - Office and business software is a major contributor. Chart courtesy of Silicon Alley Insider

 

This overwhelming dominance however has changed drastically in the world of iOS - and if the momentum of Apple continues, what will become of Microsoft's Office business?

Writing on TMC's TechZone360 site, Rob Enderle asserts that Apple is correcting its "Microsoft Mistake" from its early days and its iWork productivity suite effectively shields Apple from having to rely on Microsoft for anything. From my perspective, ActiveSync is the only exception.

And if you're Microsoft and you have a chance of losing major OS share over time - this is happening now, you need to be sure you have software for major tablets which is so superior that customers have to have it.











Will AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Slow Wireless Innovation?

July 25, 2011

AT&T has done an incredible job of getting special interest group after group to endorse its merger with T-Mobile, saying it will provide better broadband access for minorities, rural subscribers and just about any group of people you can think of. The broader gay community too has endorsed the merger - apparently transgender-Americans have been hoping for the day when there was one less GSM provider to choose from.

Here is how the system works - AT&T has hundreds of thousands of workers and inevitably large numbers of them in myriad groups. This in turn coupled with large contributions to various organizations and associations is rewarded with the reciprocal endorsing of anything AT&T requests.

To help grease the wheels even further, AT&T has further upped its lobbying budget by 58% according to PC Magazine.

AT&T is doing the smart thing by getting rid of its sole GSM provider allowing it better negotiating leverage in its roaming agreements with foreign carriers and gaining the ability to raise rates with one less major competitor to depress market pricing. It will also gain more leverage when negotiating with hardware and software companies.

An anti-merger video by the Free Press Action Fund



If the US government blocks the deal it will be because the remaining major companies AT&T and Verizon will have so much share that they are effectively a duopoly at about 80% - allowing them to raise prices at will.

Again, if you are an AT&T or Verizon shareholder, you likely want this merger to happen and AT&T is serving its short-term  shareholders well by seeking this transaction.

But the challenge I see is that with one less major telecom carrier in the US it becomes that much more difficult for innovative start-ups to launch, get funding and hold their breath long enough for a carrier to buy from them.















TMC Dallas Video Interviews 2011

July 25, 2011

Recently I spent some time in Dallas doing video interviews with companies in the Dallas, Texas area and during the course of the discussions I was able to get a sense of where the markets have been and are going. The vast range of different opinions really comes together into a few themes.

They are simply that wages and turnover rates in India are skyrocketing meaning some jobs may be headed back to the US. This is offset by an interview with  King White of the Site Selection Group - an organization which helps companies decide which countries and states they should locate in. He tells us that states with higher taxes are less attractive and subsequently deter companies from opening there.

Sonos Adds PLAY:3, Lowers Price

July 20, 2011

As a happy Sonos customer, I was delighted to learn the company has added more content (Spotify to be specific) to its system and also added a new music player and lowered its price on the SONOS BRIDGE, a wireless device you can connect to your Ethernet port to enable wireless high fidelity music to be streamed throughout your home. The price has dropped from $99 to $49 on this device.

Moreover, the newly announced PLAY:3 is a $299, 3-speaker, 3-digital amp music player. It can be used in a monaural or stereophonic configuration.

The ZonePlayer S5 has been renamed the PLAY:5 and provides stereo playback in a compact unit.

At first look, the PLAY:3 is a great addition to the SONOS family as it allows a low-cost entry into wireless music playing but I am wondering if $600 for two of these isn't a bit steep. Still, I have to hear it and compare it to the S5 to give a more informed opinion.

Until then, the company has produced a well-designed video which will show you how the system works and how the new PLAY:3 integrates with it.













Metaswitch Thrutu iPhone App Lets Carriers Become Social Hubs

July 20, 2011

Earlier this year I came across Thrutu from Metaswitch newtorks - an application development platform allowing carriers to leverage rich social features and provide them as services to customers. In short, this is the exact sort of solution wireless phone companies need to try to keep their customers engaged and more importantly paying them.

Of even greater importance for service providers is being able to ensure that the contact database doesn't continue to get moved from the carrier cloud to the social cloud. By that I mean, consumers are relying more and more on Facebook and Twitter as their contact database making the carrier and the phones they sell less important.

Thrutu brings social features such as location, contact and photo sharing as well as prodding via a remote vibration (like Facebook's poke) and more via an API which developers can use to do much more.

I saw a demo of it working on Android phones and was impressed and as of this moment the company has released an iPhone version as well. As you may have guessed, you will be better off using such a service on a network voice and data can be shared such as GSM or in an area where there is WiFi and 3G/cellular.

Of course the question you have to ask is whether it is too late for carriers to basically reinvent social networks which are already dominated by the web giants we all know (and many love).







Nosh from Google a P2P Foursquare Meets Zagats

July 19, 2011

I just met with Craig Walker the Founder & CEO of Firespotter Labs and he went over where his Google-backed companies will be innovating in the future. As you may recall, Walker founded Dialpad and Grandcentral which eventually got acquired by and became the foundation of Google Voice. Walker explained his new company will be looking to disrupt markets where there is an opportunity to disrupt.

We can for example expect more disruption in telephony and the hospitality market was referenced by him as a space worth $600 billion/year and yet there has been little innovation beyond the buzzing pagers they give you when there is a line to get a seat.

His company's new app, Nosh available on iOS and Android aims to merge the best of Foursquare and Zagat with the p2p elements of having reviews done by users who could be your friends. You can rate food at the restaurant where you eat and you can share the rating with others - the scale is 1 to 5 stars.



Dragon Go! Shows Speech Tech is Alive and Well

July 14, 2011

One of the most interesting mini-reviews I have done was with Dragon Go! from Nuance - an iPhone app which I found to be deadly accurate in my testing. Not only did it recognize my voice with a moderately loud air conditioning unit in the background, there were occasional interruptions courtesy of gadgets and fax machines all around TMC headquarters as I tested.

Here are examples of the tests I did - you can see, I couldn't trip it up. See for yourself how it went and how this app compares to similar ones from Bing and Google.

Since Chipotle Mexican Grill opened literally next-door to TMC's HQ, I had to try a search for nearby Chipotle restaurants.The first three results were dead on.



FlipIt! USB Charging Innovation Continues

July 13, 2011



I thought I had seen it all but today I came across the FlipIt USB Stealth Charger which utilizes power outlets already in use. Specifically it has a thin contact pad which rotates 270 degrees allowing the user to plug it into an outlet which has another plug in it at the same time.


It provides 1,000 mA or 1A of power at 5V which is double the amperage and power of a USB port and as a bonus can work with 100-240V power outlets making it a great addition to your travel kit. I have a high-speed Targus iPad charger which puts out 2.1A or more than twice the output of the FlipIT!




Did Social Just Make UC Irrelevant?

July 8, 2011

If you are working with a phone system maker who isn’t innovating rapidly, beware - their days could be numbered.

I hate to be sensational but you have to wonder, with real-time video & voice communications embedded into social networks where a billion or spend a good part of their day, is standalone unified communications now much less important? And with Google+ tying together all of Google’s activities from voice to video to Gmail and chat, will people prefer to make calls from their Google toolbar or something a PBX company provides?

Obviously Avaya with its Flare interface and Cisco’s Quad are examples of being ahead of where the consumer market eventually evolved to.

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