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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

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Sprint Pays Klausner

April 7, 2008

Sprint recently signed a deal with Klausner Technologies to enable them to use visual voicemail without the fear of being sued. This news is interesting as Sprint is one of the companies coming after VoIP providers who the company claims is infringing on their patents. It seems more than coincidental that Sprint decided to go after so many VoIP companies around the same time they were in negotiations with Klausner.

Sprint Nextel is the seventh company to date to license the Klausner visual voicemail patents. Other licensees include ISP’s such as Time Warner’s AOL, VoIP providers such as Vonage and the visual voicemail/voicemail transcription company, Simulscribe.

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EU Authorizes Fist Fights on Planes

April 7, 2008

OK I may be a bit over the top with this headline but allowing a plane full of passengers the ability to talk on the phone -- all in different languages... What is the EU thinking?

According to TMCnet's Mae Kowalke, we will have the ability to talk in the air very, very soon. Sure, there are challenges like how will you deal with the fact that rows and rows of people will be talking at the same time while you are trying to nap?

The answer is unclear to me but riding on the trains in New York it seems like yelling at the telephone screamer seems to get them to quiet down a bit.

How do you invest to take advantage of such a change in policy.





Mind CTI Interview: Monica Eisinger

April 7, 2008

In the past few years there has been tremendous interest paid to VoIP and the underlying internet protocol which allows IP communications to take place. For those people who started to pay attention to the communications space in the last few years, you may not be aware that over a decade ago the CTI market heralded the first time telephones and computers communicated with one another.

My long-time readers know that about two decades ago the birth of CTI systems were a result of a collaboration between IBM and Rockwell and if you had a mainframe and a Rockwell ACD lying around and a few hundred thousand dollars to spend on connecting it all together, you could be among the first in the world to take advantage of computer telephony integration or CTI. The first application of such integration? Screen pops or the ability to see the customer record of who is calling.

But for most companies it was the nineties when they could first afford CTI systems based on operating systems from Microsoft and Novell.

The IP communications market was really born from the building blocks of CTI as gateways which allowed the PSTN and VoIP to interconnect were based on boards from leaders in CTI like NMS and Dialogic.





Mossberg: 3G iPhone in 60 Days

April 6, 2008



Who am I to doubt Walt Mossberg the Wall Street Journal tech reviewer who gets his hands on gadgets before most others. According to Mossberg, we will have an iPhone capable of 3G speeds in less than 2 months.

This news would potentially confirm the wild rumors which have circulated as a result of these devices being sold out as of late.

This is great news for those who have been waiting for the iPhone to surf at speeds they can tolerate.

Of course one of the reasons this device didn't arrive sooner was due to battery life. One would imagine (and hope) faster and more consolidated processors will help this phone be similar in battery consumption to the model it replaces.

[Gizmodo]









The Coming Mobile WiMAX Revolution

April 2, 2008

Over the past fifteen years the world has become smaller as a result of the internet and more recently broadband connectivity allowing IP communications consisting of voice and video to flourish. As connectivity has improved, entire industries were transformed. For example, emerging markets began to harness the internet as a way to provide outsourced services to more developed parts of the world.

It is fair to say the entire world has improved as a result of the net… Just a single example is the hoards of ambitious people worldwide who have leveraged the internet to do things like start businesses where they sell myriad products on eBay or their own websites.

Yet for all the progress we have made over the years, the potential is far greater. In a recent conversation with Lars Johnsson, the VP of Business Development at Beecem I was able to learn how his company - a four year old fabless semiconductor chipset company has been improving mobile WiMAX.

If companies like Intel are responsible for the computing revolution and the benefits we enjoy from microprocessor improvements, then companies like Beceem will be responsible for the coming mobility revolution.

You see, Beceem (pronounced "beseem" which means "without wires" in Farsi) has just released its BCSM250 mobile WiMAX chipset whose surface area is about the size of a stick of gum.







Motorola's Helpful Help Desk Solution

March 31, 2008

As carriers look to add more and more services to their portfolio of products, it is apparent that support costs will continue to increase in direct proportion to the concurrent services offered. Sure, there are some services which have fewer problems than others but generally speaking the following formula applies:

# of services * average support call ratio * #of subscribers = total #of support calls

Of course not every subscriber gets every service which means this formula is not entirely accurate but what is important to note - as stated above -- is that as the number of services increases, the number of support calls increases in proportion.

For communications providers these increased problems come at a time when their call centers are trying to increase service levels and first call resolution ratios.

One simple way to achieve these goals is to use a web conferencing solution.

I recently had a chance to discuss one company's solutions to these problems. In a conversation with Tom Elam - Director of Software Marketing for Motorola's Broadband Solutions Group I got to learn how Motorola is helping service providers and call centers of various sizes with their support issues through the use of web conferencing.

The company has a product called eCare which provides web conferencing with the intention of improving customer support levels.

In order to activate the service, a URL is pushed to the client or generated on a web page. Once activated, the 128-bit security enabled java application is downloaded and activated on the client's desktop allowing the support center to help the customer via customer approved actions.

The customer retains total control and they can kill the session at any time they like.















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.















Sprint Success

March 31, 2008

Polycom's Software Play and More

March 31, 2008

Depending on the era, if I asked people what the name Polycom makes them think of they would give me different answers. In the nineties it was video conferencing and audio conferencing devices. Around 2000 you could add IP phones to this list. With the Spectralink acquisition you then could add wireless phones to this list.

Starting in 2008, the company will also be known for software solutions and in a recent meeting with company execs I got to learn about their new Productivity Suite which retails for a reasonable $11.99/seat.

So what void did Polycom see in the market that would have them go out and start selling software solutions?



OnRelay's Mobile PBX Solution

March 31, 2008

Years ago I realized that mobile phones would get cheaper and cheaper and eventually cause a threat to the PBX vendors of the world. Of course… trends are generally easy to spot but timing technology adoption is generally very difficult.

My friends, the time has come for PBX vendors to fear the mobile phone as a company called OnRelay is embarking on a super-aggressive campaign to get us to scrap our desk phones for mobile devices.

In a conversation with company President and CFO Marie Wold I got to see her configure her phone settings right from an application on her Nokia phone. When I asked her repeatedly if you could also use a web portal to change the settings of the phone service, she repeatedly answered, "Why would you need a web browser?" At first I thought she was being difficult but then I realized in most cases she is likely right. Besides, it is tough to argue with a company whose marketing says they will help eliminate 47 million Kg of e-waste.



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