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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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Tax VoIP Illegally, Get a Raise

March 30, 2008

It is a sad day when a city government decides it needs to come after a specific technology -- one that has truly helped and empowered its constituents, in order to generate more revenue.

The city of Los Angeles just passed a nine percent tax on VoIP calls. In California, the voters actually have to approve tax changes and in this case, Measure S was passed by two-thirds.

Consider this however... the measure was placed on the ballot so late that there was virtually no time for anyone to counter it and let consumers know what the downsides are.

In addition, the the measure was packaged with a promise of increased police protection. Who wouldn't vote for that?





Nortel's Recent Wins and More

March 29, 2008

Nortel's Wes Durow
credit SMEI.org

One of the largest if not the largest deployment of VoIP I am aware of has to be Nortel's 10-year, $300 million dollar win with the US Social Security Administration which will support fifty-five thousand virtual workers and support baby boomers worldwide.

Nortel has had a number of DoD wins recently and part of the reason for this is due to the timing of a test network the Canadian telecom giant had at the DoD when a major network outage occurred about seven years ago. Apparently, Nortel's network was the most resilient and stayed up while others did not… Since this time, the company has been doing well supplying myriad government solutions.

In an interview with Wes Durow, who is Nortel's VP, Enterprise Solutions Global Product Marketing, we discussed the fact that the company refreshed the entire Bay Networks line (the data networking division) about seven months back and as they were doing this they had customer requests to develop more energy efficient solutions.

Now Durow proudly tells me the company's data products are much more resilient, have better performance and are extremely energy efficient.

According to Durow, "You can upgrade your data network and pay for VoIP with your energy savings."

This is all good news and Durow says candidly that companies do not buy products for the sake of being green but instead for the energy efficiency. I get the feeling he is right on with this comment.

I just can't imagine the head of IT going into a management meeting and saying I think throwing away our old network is the green thing to do and keeping her/his job.

Wes went on to tell me that there is a great deal of activity in their telepresence sales and they have partnered with Tandberg and Polycom, companies who supply some of the most open solutions on the market.

Durow went on to explain they have a suite of products that extend mobility which they refer to as unified mobile convergence. The solutions have native Microsoft and IBM UC connectivity and they further allow access to IP PBX features from the cell phone and allow you to move between WiFi zones without dropping calls.

We can also expect Nortel to get more active in the developer arena and this is good news for customers as the more developers get on the Nortel bandwagon, the more Nortel customers benefit.




















TMC Growth Update

March 28, 2008

Congratulations to TMC's Kevin Kiley who was just promoted to VP of Finance. Great job Kevin.

In addition I would like to thank TMC readers and our partners who have allowed us to continue our wave of growth.

In the past few months we have hired the following new team additions:

  • John McInerney, Marketing Projects Manager
  • Tim Bongiovanni, Account Executive, Customer Interaction Solutions magazine
  • Mo Harrim, Web Developer
  • Richard Moavero, Account Executive, IP Communications Group
  • Kevin Lake, Account Executive, Events Division
  • Tullio Gianitti, Account Executive, Webinar Group

This does not include our new writers (Charlotte Wolter, Gary Kim, Jon Arnold, Peter Radzieski, Scott Wharton, David Yedwab, Taran Singh, Rick Graves, Dr. Alan Solheim, Jagan Jagannathan, Phil Hill, Chris Gatch, Dan Miller and eight full-time freelance editorial contributors.)

Once again, I would like to extend my appreciation to TMC readers, sponsors and team members for helping us achieve our current growth levels and we look forward to making 2008 the year when all of our products perform better than ever.

[TMCnet]










LiteScape's Unified Communications Applications

March 23, 2008


One of the more interesting unified communications companies is Litescape. They are doing new things in the UC space and more importantly, I can't think of another company who does what they do.

The company's Oncast solution enables phones to act like PCs and PCs to act like phones. For example, the company has a corporate directory application which works seamlessly with any phone or PC. To pull this off, LiteScape utilizes the directories of disparate systems such as LDAP, Salesforce.com and your personal address book to name a few.

In addition, Oncast allows Cisco and Avaya phones to have single-touch connectivity to WebEx via phone or PC.




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

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