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AT&T

SMS Advertising

June 18, 2008

Robby Benedyk Senior Manager Global
Product Marketing at Tekelec
For service providers on the cutting edge, you should be exploring placing ads in the text messages your subscribers send to one another. While there is a 160 character limit on SMS messages, most messages are far shorter and the opportunity to place ads in the unused character space can help service providers looking to be ahead of the curve and make more money.

While  is unclear what the best solution is to placing advertising in text messages -- one assumes that providers will make more money from the ads they sell and be able to offer lower cost text messaging plans which translates into more customers using SMS services on their network.

In a way, text messaging is the perfect mobile advertising vehicle because it doesn't rely on web browsers on the phone. In fact, every phone can receive such text ads and the possibilities here are limitless... For example, ads can link to a short code or web address.





Ditech Networks Update

June 18, 2008

The latest at Ditech Networks is that the company has hired Hossein Eslambolchi as a technical advisor. Generally, hiring a technical advisor is not big news but Eslambolchi is a bit of a celebrity having a distinguished career in engineering and his best-known role was perhaps his tenure at AT&T where he held multiple titles including CTO.

What this does for Ditech Networks is give them access to someone who lived deep in the trenches with intimate knowledge of all things telecom. The markets Ditech plays in specifically are transcoding, session border control and its more recent messaging has focused on voice quality improvements for wireless carriers.

The company has shown that increased voice quality leads to reduced carrier churn and they are obviously right.

In order to help get this message out and penetrate wireless carriers more effectively expect  Eslambolchi to open doors at carriers worldwide.

For the famous engineer, this move puts him back in the semi-spotlight and for Ditech, this move adds a prominent name to a company looking to lift sales.









Cisco's Managed Services Push

June 17, 2008

It has been an interesting day so far here at NXTComm. The first meeting of the day was with Cisco who plans on becoming a much bigger player in the managed services spaceā€¦ Al Safarikas the Sr. Director, Wireline Segment Service Provider Marketing at the company shared some thoughts on how Cisco is helping service providers worldwide deploy managed services.

One issue that came up is what precisely is the definition of managed services. From Cisco's point of view it is as follows:

Information technology which is remotely managed and provisioned, delivered as a finished product - operated by skilled professionals from a NOC.

Safarikas mentioned where the equipment sits is immaterial and this makes good sense.

Other points worth noting from our conversation are as follows:
  • Predefined SLAs that are negotiated with end users
  • It does not matter where the box sits or who owns them
  • Companies want managed services to support business initiatives

From there we discussed how Cisco helps its partners deliver managed services.

The company has expanded on the popular Cisco Powered program and helps its partners with sales and marketing, providing channel managers and other services to ensure a partner's success. AT&T Telepresence is a great example of this.

I asked what pain Cisco takes away for customers and to this Safarikas replied, "Partner with Cisco and improve your chance for success with managed services - We have the best technology, understanding of the marketplace, best capability of building [our customer's] operating capabilities through Cisco professional services."

This was a pretty memorable meeting and Cisco should be commended for looking to help the industry by defining terms such as managed services.















XM and Sirius to Merge

June 16, 2008

It took a long time but the XM Sirius Satellite merger proposal now has backing from the FCC. The two will have to divest themselves of some stations and agree to keep a lid on prices for a few years in order to get this transaction done. Both firms are winners here and in the short term, consumers win as well since they will have access to greater content as a result of forthcoming radios which work with satellites from both companies.

In the long-term, consumers will be losers as prices will increase more quickly than they would with two satellit competitors.

Packet8 Virtual Trunking

June 12, 2008

Last month I discussed a rumor regarding 8x8/Packet8 providing SIP trunking services. It turns out this rumor was true as today the company released the news they will not only provide SIP trunking but a more comprehensive product they call Virtual Trunking.

Virtual Trunking performs just like SIP trunking - assuming you have an IP PBX which supports SIP. For those of you who do not, you can still take advantage of many of the benefits VoIP has to offer as 8x8 will provide equipment courtesy of Carrier Access to connect your older PBX to their IP communications network.

It is important not to confuse this service with a double-play offering which may bundle DSL or cable but instead you can consider it to be nomadic - so you can easily move the equipment to any Ethernet line meeting the quality criteria.

The service is available throughout the US except Alaska and Hawaii where the company currently does not have telephone numbers. Competition to the service comes from ILECs, Cbeyond, M5 and a number of others.

More than one 8x8 investor has asked me about whether this is a good move for 8x8 and I think it is because it allows the company to extend its customer base to larger companies meaning more opportunity to monetize its existing network.







Sipera Looks To The Channel

June 11, 2008

Keep In Touch

June 11, 2008

If you haven't noticed, there will be more and more touch-enabled devices in your future. The craze seemed to get the biggest boost from the popularity of the iPhone interface which spawned a number of similar interfaces from competing phone companies and even from the companies making mobile browsers.

Stacey Higginbotham, goes into detail on some of the new touch developments on her blog over at GigaOM. She further speculates that touch can be a great way to control things like lighting and HVAC.

I don't disagree but I would like to point out that it is great to see the potential of a new UI being realized because of the success of a phone. People have told me Apple is not a tech company but an interface company applying their unique perspective on various markets.



iPhone Adoption and Women

June 10, 2008

Build Communities With Google's Help

June 10, 2008

Let's say your company plays in a few different spaces such as information technology, security and storage. And let's say your company has decided to build a community of interest which is dedicated to a specific subject area as you are hoping like-minded people will visit the community regularly and begin to associate your company as a leader in the space and hopefully some of these people will become new customers.

In this example, your resources are limited and even if they aren't, you need to choose one of these above areas to build your community. Assume each of them has equal market sizes and growth rates and you need to determine where the highest level of search interest lies.

Using the updated Google Trends, you can now see a graph over time of search volume on a relative and absolute basis and this information can be exported for analysis.

You may find for example that storage interest spikes around the year-end holidays but also seems unusually high in May of each year... This information can be useful in your business as it helps you see how people are searching for various terms.

If you have read my blog before, you know TMC has been building communities (Global Online Communities, Channels) for companies in the communications and technology space for some time now.







T-Mobile Lawsuit Repercussions

June 10, 2008

Rob Adler has an interesting take on the T-Mobile/Starbucks WiFi lawsuit at his Vantage blog. His point? That the PR hit of winning a lawsuit which takes away WiFi from millions of users will be extreme. I can't help but wonder if the general public would ever be aware of the lawsuit.
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