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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



Critical Links Choses Digium

June 23, 2008

Big news for Digium as the company will be the exclusive supplier of Asterisk-compatible analog and digital PCI and PCIe telephony boards for the Critical Links' edgeBOX solution.

If you aren't familiar,edgeBOX is an office-in-a-box appliance that provides a complete voice, data and IT solution for SMEs and enterprise branch offices. The multi-function gateway appliance includes VOIP/IP-PBX, VPN, security, NAC, QoS and a WiFi access point as well as a fax-server, Web server, e-mail server, print server and data storage. The solution is designed to support up to 300 users, with different form factors and a host of broadband interfaces such as BRI/PRI(T1/E1), FX0/FXS, Ethernet, etc.

If you are interested in learning more, check out this article from Greg Galitzine.



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.

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.















Packet8 Virtual Trunking

June 12, 2008

Last month I discussed a rumor regarding 8x8/Packet8 providing SIP trunking services. It turns out this rumor was true as today the company released the news they will not only provide SIP trunking but a more comprehensive product they call Virtual Trunking.

Virtual Trunking performs just like SIP trunking - assuming you have an IP PBX which supports SIP. For those of you who do not, you can still take advantage of many of the benefits VoIP has to offer as 8x8 will provide equipment courtesy of Carrier Access to connect your older PBX to their IP communications network.

It is important not to confuse this service with a double-play offering which may bundle DSL or cable but instead you can consider it to be nomadic - so you can easily move the equipment to any Ethernet line meeting the quality criteria.

The service is available throughout the US except Alaska and Hawaii where the company currently does not have telephone numbers. Competition to the service comes from ILECs, Cbeyond, M5 and a number of others.

More than one 8x8 investor has asked me about whether this is a good move for 8x8 and I think it is because it allows the company to extend its customer base to larger companies meaning more opportunity to monetize its existing network.







Hyperconnectivity, Live and in Person

June 11, 2008

You can't escape the reality that interconnectivity between humans will increase at a more rapid pace as time goes on. The myriad ways in which we connect with one another, e-mail, social networks, blogging, IM, SMS, telephone, voicemail and others are mushrooming.

It seems obvious that today's teens will demand social networking in the workplace meaning IT departments will have to support these myriad communications mechanisms while dealing with the repercussions of compliance management. Not allowing social networks into your company may even be a deal-breaker when hiring the best talent in the market. We may see a time where publicly traded companies fearful of social networks will lose workers to smaller companies who are more social-network friendly.

Another challenge is web browsers on phones.



Sipera Looks To The Channel

June 11, 2008

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.







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.





Flat Rate Voice/Data Plans for SMBs

June 3, 2008

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