Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
Rich Tehrani
CEO
| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space

AT&T

Anthropomorphized Ads Go Mainstream.

July 29, 2011

Anthropomorphism or assigning human characteristics to nonhuman objects is alive and well in the world of advertising. Perhaps the best example of advertisements which embody this technique are of the “Mac Vs. PC” variety where the Mac character is young and hip and the PC is cross between Bill Gates and Seinfeld's George Costanza.

Back in 2007, voicemail transcription service PhoneTag, formerly SimulScribe put out an anthropomorphized video as well which is a take-off on Apple’s ads.

 

Expert Opinion: Pandora is Less Engaging

July 28, 2011

For well over half a decade, radio has been a one-way medium allowing you to listen to a station or change it. Until Pandora and other streaming radio stations like Slacker and Spotify, radio spoke to you and you basically took what it gave you. If your favorite DJ got on your nerves or the music mix was not what you wanted, you had little choice.

Moreover, if you wanted to know what song was playing or to see the album art, you were stuck.

Living in a Post-OS World

July 28, 2011



Two of the major drawbacks to a perfect cloud-based existence where the browser serves all your needs are speed of remote apps/services and UI flexibility. It just so happens, two news items have coalesced recently to help usher in the post-OS world. You see, while the tech pundits debate the idea of a post-PC world, companies like Google are going a step further and hoping to get rid of the operating system on the tablet, PC, smartphone and just about any other computing device you use.

HTML5 is one of the primary drivers of the flexible new UI allowing truly customizable media to be shown to users.



French Web Precursor Minitel to Shut Down

July 27, 2011

France Telecom is shutting down Minitel - the precursor to the web - a service which provides information services to the carrier's customers. In less than a year, the service will be shuttered despite recently having about 10 million subscribers.

Like so many ideas which are good - a newer technology can come along and make even a well-liked service obsolete. Even though Minitel had a super-long run in tech years - 30 years, it reminds us that no matter how long you have been around - you can be wiped out when a newer and better technology comes along. In this case that new tech is broadband, the web and cheap computers.

One wonders however if France Telecom had focused on improving Minitel and broadening its reach so other global carriers could leverage it - would today's Internet be dominated by France-based instead of US based companies?

I guess we will never know.

TMC's Peter Bernstein has more.







Sprint Telehealth and M2M Event 2011

July 26, 2011



Last week I spent time at the Sprint Telehealth and M2M Event which they call Emerging Trends and Solutions in Telehealth, Remote Patient Monitoring and Wellness Forum. It was an intimate event but full of partners like Digi and many others who were thrilled to show off their solutions which work in-part with Sprint's networks. BTW - for those of you who go back to the UNIX days of dumb terminals - you may remember DIGI used to be a player in the space of allowing many terminals to attach to a PC-based UNIX system. Yes, we are talking pre-Linux here - in the late eighties/early nineties.

The mood was upbeat and positive, this part of Sprint's business is doing well and a wave of partners are enthusiastic about the future of telehealth, telemedicine and the machine-to-machine (m2m) markets.



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.















News Corp. PhoneGate Analysis and Suggestions

July 21, 2011

Based on the constant media coverage you should all be aware that reporters at a now shuttered News Corp. newspaper broke into voicemail accounts in order to get scoops. News Corp is certainly center-right in its reporting - depending on which brand of course. And it is also a very successful company with products like Fox News being monsters in terms of viewership.

But journalists are generally liberal and before you dispute my assertion, please recognize I hire and work with them for a living and as such, media outlets across the world have gone out of their way to focus on what isn't such a huge story.

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).







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.



PSTN Death is Near

July 7, 2011

I vividly remember driving my car in 1999 – two years after the company where I am CEO, TMC decided to launch Internet Telephony Magazine and thinking VoIP was going to change the way communications works and eventually kill the PSTN. It seemed to me that within five years most of the world would make the transition as the cost disparity at the time was quite large between the PSTN and VoIP connections. Moreover, there were a myriad of free calling services using VoIP such as Dialpad which were ad supported, putting even more pressure on traditional telecom networks.

Within a few years the dotcom and telecom bubbles burst (we collectively said goodbye (details) to Dialpad and its competitors) and the cost for using the PSTN dropped substantially in order to better compete with IP communications alternatives.

Featured Events