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Rich Tehrani
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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.





Phybridge Has a new Angle on IP Communications

March 23, 2008

Sometimes the most simple concepts make for the most incredible opportunities. In a recent meeting with Oliver Emmanual President and John Croce CEO of Phybridge I came away wondering why I didn't think of the idea these guys have just introduced to the market.

The concept driving the company is that you can create great value if you can deliver IP and PoE over CAT3 telephone cabling.

Phybridge takes advantage of this concept with its Uniphyer Layer 2 Ethernet appliance which sits in the telecom closet and connects to existing telephone lines. At each telephone you then connect a phyndMe IP Phone Jack which completes the PoE Ethernet connection.

As far as the phone and other devices are concerned, you are connected directly to the network.

Why would you need such a solution? Well, the obvious answer might be to ensure QoS.







Microsoft's Call Center Push

March 22, 2008

There is a level of excitement in the call center space I haven't witnessed since VoIP began transforming the call center into the contact center. Over the years, we have seen technology after technology change the way contact centers work and we are the point today where IP communications affords us the opportunity to distribute call centers and agents at will.

But VoIP seems so yesterday. The latest revolution to come to contact centers is that of unified communications and about a week ago I wrote about how Aspect introduced a unified communications platform that will allow call centers to increase service, sales and first call resolution levels.

Just a few days after my article, Microsoft decided to invest in Aspect and moreover the two companies decided it made sense to collaborate on a suite of contact center solutions integrating the best of Microsoft OCS and Aspect's UC solutions.

In an interview with Mike Sheridan, SVP of Strategy for Aspect and Microsoft's Clint Patterson, Director of PR for Unified Communications I had a chance to learn more about this agreement between the operating system and contact center software leaders.

The duo believe that the synergies afforded by this collaboration will be great and they really see it as transformational… They see peoples' lives improving because of better call center service levels.

 While on the surface it is easy to dismiss such comments as PR speak, one of the most frustrating experiences many of us deal with on a regular basis is communication with rock bottom contact center agents who are still digging. Even an improvement of a few percentage points will likely make our lives a bit better.

  The two companies are in a five year agreement which encompasses a collaborative roadmap between Aspect Unified IP and OCS.











Communications To Fuel Global Economy Growth

March 20, 2008

Infonetics pegged PBX growth at 7% last year and they further mentioned that companies are beginning to slowly see the benefits of IP-PBX systems beyond the typical costs savings associated with lower phone bills.

With unified communications software now available and the meshing of such systems with business process software, perhaps we can expect even more market growth in 2008.

Most people I talk with in the communications space tell me they are seeing great promise in 2008 and moreover they believe companies will spend money in a slow economy if they see this spending paying off in some way.

Still, all is not rosy in the communications market as the once high-flying, recently IPOed ShoreTel has had some recent earnings trouble, share price pain and downgrades by Piper Jaffray and  Janney Montgomery Scott.

Of course ShoreTel is not alone but they signify the reason why all communications companies have to look into other areas to ensure they grow.

For example, CEBP is one way to justify increased spending on equipment, software and consulting. After all, increased productivity can be directly correlated into cost savings. In addition, in many companies the people with the largest technology budgets are the ones who purchase applications.

In a recent meeting with Nortel execs in fact they made a great point... Five years ago they said, the telecom manager got swallowed up by the datacom manager who began to own the budgets.











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.











Where is the TMC Team?

March 17, 2008

Avaya's Huge Unified Communications Push

March 16, 2008

Avaya has certainly made unified communications history today with a suite of announcements that will certainly rattle the competitive landscape. UC will never be the same in my opinion.

The New Jersey-based company's biggest news had to do with affordable unified communications… For a paltry $99/user you can get full-featured UC for your workers. This is in my opinion beyond inexpensive for UC solutions from such a premium name in the business.

And we aren't talking about bare bones solutions here… You get a thick or thin client, integration with Microsoft and IBM and best of all you get access to about 700 or so Avaya communications features via your UC client. The thin client support means your new MacBook Air will be allowed to join the Avaya low-cost UC party.



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