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Talkswitch Interview: Jan Scheeren

June 9, 2008

Right now the small business market is the shining star in communications -- plenty of growth is predicted in this space and small businesses for the most part are behind the tech curve -- meaning they need to catch up. For over a decade, Talkswitch has been serving this space with innovate, small PBXs designed to be easy to install and support.

Jan Scheeren the President & CEO of the company has been to TMC headquarters frequently to tell us about new products and upgrades. Scheeren knows the small business communications market better than most and on this podcast I was able to pick his brain on the SMB communications space and learn a great deal about his thoughts, the competitive situation, etc.

It is definitely worth a listen.



Switchvox AA300

June 9, 2008



Greg Galitzine  broke the news regarding the new Digium Switchvox AA300, a new appliance dedicated to companies with about 150 users. The box also supports 45 simultaneous calls, 10 recorded and 15 simultaneous conference calls.

Tom Keating speculates about how this product may compete with the Digium Asterisk Appliances such as the AA50 but to me it seems the distinction is the flexibility and complexity of the Asterisk Appliances is greater. If this is not your cup of tea, chose Switchvox instead.

The small business segment of the market has the most activity and this move makes good sense for Digium and the company's resellers as it allows the them to offer solutions for companies who don't want to pay for a system which is bigger than their current needs.

In fact the Switchvox family now has three members, the AA60 which is smaller than the AA300 and the AA350 which is larger. In addition, there are also hosted and free editions of this product line and it seems that Digium's purchase of Switchvox has turned out to be quite successful as new products are rolling out and they seem to be able to cover virtually all your communications needs.







Conflicting iPhone Rumors

June 8, 2008

T-Mobile Suing Starbucks

June 7, 2008

T-Mobile is already not thrilled AT&T will replace them as the service provider of choice in Starbucks stores, now the GSM-based service provider who was early to embrace WiFi is losing revenue due to the new AT&T/Starbucks promotion of free WiFi in its stores.

While the news came out around February 11th that AT&T and Starbucks would provide free WiFi service, according to these court documents T-Mobile learned of this arrangement on or around March 30th.

Here are the salient points from this lawsuit:

  • In early 2008, Starbucks, AT&T and T-Mobile negotiated some agreements allowing a structured and seamless transition allowing AT&T to replace T-Mobile as the WiFi provider in Starbucks stores.
  • During the transition period, T-Mobile and AT&T would each promote the other brand via web pages which are displayed when a user logs onto the wireless network.
  • In addition, this page would allow customers to be authenticated by an existing subscription with either service provider.
  • AT&T and T-Mobile would not pay each other for using one another's networks.
  • Starbucks rolled out a promotional plan allowing its customers using a Starbucks card to register the card at starbucks.com and at this point the customers are directed to an AT&T page.
  • Since every US market is covered by T-Mobile except for Bakersfield, CA and San Antonio, TX, T-Mobile loses the opportunity to be marketed in front of these customers in other markets.
  • In addition, these cards are available to everyone, not just AT&T customers.
  • The agreement stipulates only AT&T customers are to have this right.
There is more but you get the idea... The point is if you have a T-Mobile account today, why not cancel it and use these cards instead to ensure you have access to the internet for free.

Based on the documents it is apparently T-Mobile thinks that Starbucks and the relationship they have with the behemoth of a coffee house is important to their success. Om Malik finds it funny that a coffehouse is a key pawn between two telecoms. He has a point.







Will Steve Jobs Wow Us?

June 7, 2008

It seems that if you do not blog about the iPhone this weekend you will be out touch with the blogging and news gathering communities. It is just that important. On Monday we will have a new Apple mobile device to drool over and I wonder if the company has any surprises up its sleeve such as higher screen resolution?

We know the new iPhone also called Jesus Phone by some will have 3G but will it also have a keyboard?

HTC Touch Pro

June 5, 2008

The HTC Touch Pro may be the ultimate Blackberry killer. I know the term "killer" is used very often but let's look at this situation carefully... People who type a lot benefit from a keyboard. Sure, an on-screen keyboard works but it is not ideal.

Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

June 4, 2008

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do you think we could see a time when we all have avatars -- or even multiple avatars used when communicating with different people?

Think about it... A work avatar in a suit, a casually dressed avatar for hanging out with your friends and yet another more "elegantly dressed" avatar for communicating with members of the opposite sex.

I recently wrote that Nortel, Dialogic and NMS are in this space but I forgot to mention that IBM too is deploying a virtual world communications system for US intelligence agencies. (Credit goes to Tony Rybczynski for reminding me yesterday of this).

Nortel recently espoused how we will one day use avatars on our mobile phones and it seems they were right on -- at least in theory.





Will LTE Fuel IMS?

June 3, 2008

Will LTE fuel IMS? Bob Emmerson seems to think so and he has a great point. With similar elements defined in WiMAX, LTE and IMS, the chances that carriers will have to install more and more IMS components are good. Similar to how you put a few pieces of a puzzle together at a time only to find your entire puzzle is solved before you know it, expect carriers to look at their networks and say that with a few more dollars they will have full-fledged IMS and the benefits such a framework allows.

Another point worth making is that IMS is due for a revival as we have already gone through the hype phase and there is less buzz around this term than there has been since its inception.

Flat Rate Voice/Data Plans for SMBs

June 3, 2008

Headed to Telx CBX 2008

June 3, 2008

Later this week I will be a video reporter at the Telx CBX (customer business exchange) event in New York. I always like the CBX events and am looking forward to meeting with the companies in the carrier hotel space (many lease space in the Telx interconnection facilities throughout the US) who come to network and exchange ideas and do business with one another.

I reached out to Telx to get a quick quote on why you should be at the show and Tesh Durvasula, Chief Marketing Officer of Telx had this to say,"With over 400 NANOG attendees at the Marriott and by moving CBX to Thursday to accommodate those traveling in for ITW and GTM in Washington which ends on Wednesday, our theme 'all roads lead to the CBX' is the final networking event of a week filled with major international meetings featuring ISPs, Carriers, Service Providers and more."

Here are some more notes on the  event from the CBX website:

This year's event is shaping up to be the biggest in Telx history. 2007 was a year of tremendous growth and change at Telx as we integrated various acquisitions that included 10 Meet Me Room Facilities from Digital Realty Trust and NYC Connect, the Meet Me Room at 111 8th Avenue.

2008 offers to an aggressive start as we integrate our latest acquisition, 21,000 of Colocation Space in Dallas at 8435 Stemmons Freeway. Our growth doesn’t stop at acquisitions though, we were recently announced as the first company to Host a NANOG in New York City.

Attendees will have the unprecedented opportunity to network with over 1,000 industry decision makers in one of New York's most spectacular boroughs.

See you there this Thursday, June 5th, 2008.











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