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Rich Tehrani
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Blackberry

Move Avatar Buzz

June 23, 2008

You have heard me go on and on about avatars in the past. Here are some of my recent blog posts in fact:

Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do...

Posted on June 4, 2008 4:55 PM



The Importance of Communications

June 21, 2008

Do we realize the importance of what we do? I have been thinking about this question a great deal lately. I see the amazing technology being developed by the entire industry and I just can't help but wonder - do we realize how important we are to the world economy. I am far from an economist but I know that when productivity improves so does the standard of living.

SMS Advertising

June 18, 2008

Robby Benedyk Senior Manager Global
Product Marketing at Tekelec
For service providers on the cutting edge, you should be exploring placing ads in the text messages your subscribers send to one another. While there is a 160 character limit on SMS messages, most messages are far shorter and the opportunity to place ads in the unused character space can help service providers looking to be ahead of the curve and make more money.

While  is unclear what the best solution is to placing advertising in text messages -- one assumes that providers will make more money from the ads they sell and be able to offer lower cost text messaging plans which translates into more customers using SMS services on their network.

In a way, text messaging is the perfect mobile advertising vehicle because it doesn't rely on web browsers on the phone. In fact, every phone can receive such text ads and the possibilities here are limitless... For example, ads can link to a short code or web address.





Cisco's Managed Services Push

June 17, 2008

It has been an interesting day so far here at NXTComm. The first meeting of the day was with Cisco who plans on becoming a much bigger player in the managed services spaceā€¦ Al Safarikas the Sr. Director, Wireline Segment Service Provider Marketing at the company shared some thoughts on how Cisco is helping service providers worldwide deploy managed services.

One issue that came up is what precisely is the definition of managed services. From Cisco's point of view it is as follows:

Information technology which is remotely managed and provisioned, delivered as a finished product - operated by skilled professionals from a NOC.

Safarikas mentioned where the equipment sits is immaterial and this makes good sense.

Other points worth noting from our conversation are as follows:
  • Predefined SLAs that are negotiated with end users
  • It does not matter where the box sits or who owns them
  • Companies want managed services to support business initiatives

From there we discussed how Cisco helps its partners deliver managed services.

The company has expanded on the popular Cisco Powered program and helps its partners with sales and marketing, providing channel managers and other services to ensure a partner's success. AT&T Telepresence is a great example of this.

I asked what pain Cisco takes away for customers and to this Safarikas replied, "Partner with Cisco and improve your chance for success with managed services - We have the best technology, understanding of the marketplace, best capability of building [our customer's] operating capabilities through Cisco professional services."

This was a pretty memorable meeting and Cisco should be commended for looking to help the industry by defining terms such as managed services.















Sipera Looks To The Channel

June 11, 2008

Keep In Touch

June 11, 2008

If you haven't noticed, there will be more and more touch-enabled devices in your future. The craze seemed to get the biggest boost from the popularity of the iPhone interface which spawned a number of similar interfaces from competing phone companies and even from the companies making mobile browsers.

Stacey Higginbotham, goes into detail on some of the new touch developments on her blog over at GigaOM. She further speculates that touch can be a great way to control things like lighting and HVAC.

I don't disagree but I would like to point out that it is great to see the potential of a new UI being realized because of the success of a phone. People have told me Apple is not a tech company but an interface company applying their unique perspective on various markets.



Build Communities With Google's Help

June 10, 2008

Let's say your company plays in a few different spaces such as information technology, security and storage. And let's say your company has decided to build a community of interest which is dedicated to a specific subject area as you are hoping like-minded people will visit the community regularly and begin to associate your company as a leader in the space and hopefully some of these people will become new customers.

In this example, your resources are limited and even if they aren't, you need to choose one of these above areas to build your community. Assume each of them has equal market sizes and growth rates and you need to determine where the highest level of search interest lies.

Using the updated Google Trends, you can now see a graph over time of search volume on a relative and absolute basis and this information can be exported for analysis.

You may find for example that storage interest spikes around the year-end holidays but also seems unusually high in May of each year... This information can be useful in your business as it helps you see how people are searching for various terms.

If you have read my blog before, you know TMC has been building communities (Global Online Communities, Channels) for companies in the communications and technology space for some time now.







Talkswitch Interview: Jan Scheeren

June 9, 2008

Right now the small business market is the shining star in communications -- plenty of growth is predicted in this space and small businesses for the most part are behind the tech curve -- meaning they need to catch up. For over a decade, Talkswitch has been serving this space with innovate, small PBXs designed to be easy to install and support.

Jan Scheeren the President & CEO of the company has been to TMC headquarters frequently to tell us about new products and upgrades. Scheeren knows the small business communications market better than most and on this podcast I was able to pick his brain on the SMB communications space and learn a great deal about his thoughts, the competitive situation, etc.

It is definitely worth a listen.



T-Mobile Suing Starbucks

June 7, 2008

T-Mobile is already not thrilled AT&T will replace them as the service provider of choice in Starbucks stores, now the GSM-based service provider who was early to embrace WiFi is losing revenue due to the new AT&T/Starbucks promotion of free WiFi in its stores.

While the news came out around February 11th that AT&T and Starbucks would provide free WiFi service, according to these court documents T-Mobile learned of this arrangement on or around March 30th.

Here are the salient points from this lawsuit:

  • In early 2008, Starbucks, AT&T and T-Mobile negotiated some agreements allowing a structured and seamless transition allowing AT&T to replace T-Mobile as the WiFi provider in Starbucks stores.
  • During the transition period, T-Mobile and AT&T would each promote the other brand via web pages which are displayed when a user logs onto the wireless network.
  • In addition, this page would allow customers to be authenticated by an existing subscription with either service provider.
  • AT&T and T-Mobile would not pay each other for using one another's networks.
  • Starbucks rolled out a promotional plan allowing its customers using a Starbucks card to register the card at starbucks.com and at this point the customers are directed to an AT&T page.
  • Since every US market is covered by T-Mobile except for Bakersfield, CA and San Antonio, TX, T-Mobile loses the opportunity to be marketed in front of these customers in other markets.
  • In addition, these cards are available to everyone, not just AT&T customers.
  • The agreement stipulates only AT&T customers are to have this right.
There is more but you get the idea... The point is if you have a T-Mobile account today, why not cancel it and use these cards instead to ensure you have access to the internet for free.

Based on the documents it is apparently T-Mobile thinks that Starbucks and the relationship they have with the behemoth of a coffee house is important to their success. Om Malik finds it funny that a coffehouse is a key pawn between two telecoms. He has a point.







Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

June 4, 2008

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do you think we could see a time when we all have avatars -- or even multiple avatars used when communicating with different people?

Think about it... A work avatar in a suit, a casually dressed avatar for hanging out with your friends and yet another more "elegantly dressed" avatar for communicating with members of the opposite sex.

I recently wrote that Nortel, Dialogic and NMS are in this space but I forgot to mention that IBM too is deploying a virtual world communications system for US intelligence agencies. (Credit goes to Tony Rybczynski for reminding me yesterday of this).

Nortel recently espoused how we will one day use avatars on our mobile phones and it seems they were right on -- at least in theory.





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