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Rich Tehrani
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AT&T

Real Visual Voicemail on your iPhone

March 28, 2008

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.



Comcast and BitTorrent Collaborate

March 27, 2008

In a dramatic turn of events, two companies that seemed to be at each other's throats just a few months back, Comcast and BitTorrent have decided to join forces and work together to advance ways in which rich media can be shared on the internet.

As you may recall there has been much attention paid to the fact that Comcast slowed BitTorrent packets on their network.

BitTorrent wasn't happy about having their packets slowed and as you can imagine, Comcast was embarrassed when they were caught slowing the aforementioned bits of data.

BitTorrent is a software program that allows users to download files of any size by using a peer to peer mechanism (p2p). The way the software works is to download a file in a non-sequential order meaning files cannot be used until they are downloaded in full.

Instead of thinking of BitTorrent as a file sharing solution, think of it as sharing chunks of files at a time.

Network operators have complained that BitTorrent is an extremely inefficient way to share data and this explains why some operators worldwide are either slowing this p2p traffic or halting it altogether.

For slowing these p2p packets, Comcast was recently vilified at an FCC conference and it seems as a result of all the negative publicity, the company decided to embrace the industry and perhaps even improve it.

In fact, Comcast will now work with BitTorrent on standards and protocols that allow more efficient p2p dissemination of content on networks.

For Comcast, this could be a great move as embracing p2p file sharing could actually allow the company to share files more efficiently in the future without relying as much on their own servers to push all the data to customers.

For BitTorrent, this move cements its position as king of file sharing software programs and moreover puts it at the center of the evolving industry.

A side benefit of this collaboration could potentially be that these companies will come together to ensure copyrighted content does not get transferred on p2p networks. You can be sure that record labels, software companies and other media companies are looking at this relationship very carefully and there will likely be a lawsuit or two as a result.



















Grandstream's Grand GXE502X

March 25, 2008

Many of us know Grandstream for their IP Phones which offer great value as well as an assortment of analog gateways, ATAs, videophones, etc. I have spoken with resellers in fact who sell truckloads of Grandstream equipment on the show floor.

So when you make IP phones and are looking to get into new markets, where do you go? If you remember, years back, Pingtel moved from selling IP phones which won design awards into the IP-PBX and later the open-source IP-PBX space.

Grandstream is another company located in Massachusetts who has decided to branch out into the IP-PBX space but in this case they have created a simple-looking device dubbed the GXE502X which can support up to 100 extensions and over 50 simultaneous calls.

The box has many features and is surprisingly robust.

For example, there is a built-in fax server with print-to-fax capability. The server converts faxes to PDFs and e-mails them.







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.





Vermark's Big Telecom Expense Management Ambitions

March 23, 2008

One of the fastest areas of growth in the communications market has got to be telecom expense management as TEM solutions are needed to better manage corporate telecom spend levels. The sheer variety of communications services like PSTN, SIP trunking and wireless account for billions of dollars of cost each year. In many cases, companies are unsure how to make heads and tails of disparate bills from various providers which oftentimes overlap with one another.

I often come across new vendors in the TEM space and the latest one is Veramark Technologies, a company who has its roots in call accounting. According to President and CEO Tony Mazzullo, Veramark is 25 years-old with seven thousand installations and over 200 resellers.

They recently rolled out Communications Management Suite software, version 7.0 which has enhanced user-configurable dashboards, as well as more seamless integration with Microsoft solutions and the ability to deal better with disparate business groups and carriers.

Today, the company's software manages telecom TCO including maintenance and service levels.





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.











HTC Shift Vista UMPC does EV-DO

March 19, 2008



What is amazing to me is just how small full featured devices are getting. The HTC Shift ultra mobile PC or UMPC packs the Microsoft Vista OS, WiFi and now EVDO. Sure it has a weak processor, battery and WiFi but what do you expect for a full featured laptop that fits in your pocket?

[Gizmodo]

Update:

I came across a great review from Laptop Magazine of the HTC Shift X9000 which does a good job of explaining why it barely justifies its $1,499 price tag. Can you believe this little device has the ability to switch from 800x480 and 1024x600 pixel resolution modes in a seven-inch screen?

This is an example of just how powerful these pocket-sized plus devices are these days.









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