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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

Conferencing

Polycom's Software Play and More

March 31, 2008

Depending on the era, if I asked people what the name Polycom makes them think of they would give me different answers. In the nineties it was video conferencing and audio conferencing devices. Around 2000 you could add IP phones to this list. With the Spectralink acquisition you then could add wireless phones to this list.

Starting in 2008, the company will also be known for software solutions and in a recent meeting with company execs I got to learn about their new Productivity Suite which retails for a reasonable $11.99/seat.

So what void did Polycom see in the market that would have them go out and start selling software solutions?



Polycom's Durable 8002 VoIP Phone

March 31, 2008

I have to be frank… I have never been in a meeting where I saw a product launch accompanied by a phone being slammed on a table. So I was a bit surprised when Polycom's Ben Guiderian did just that with the company's new 8002 phone.

As it flashed before my eyes on the way to making a big bang on the table, I was told by Ben the new phone is an 802.11b WiFi device which is priced lower than the company's higher-end solutions. The 8002 costs just $349 for a phone, handset and charger and for another $50 you can get an extra charger and battery meaning the phone will always be functional.

On a typical AP you can get 3-4 simultaneous calls. This compares to Polycom's higher-end solutions which can potentially quadruple the number of calls.

So why would I even bother writing about a WiFi phone from Polycom at $349 when for about $150 less you can get a consumer WiFi telephony device which also supports the more robust 802.11g?

Simply stated because this device has a removable battery, Polycom has a great experience with SIP interoperability and if you break one of the consumer WiFi phones, you have now paid more than the virtually indestructible Polycom.







NEC's New Vision

March 31, 2008

Recently I had a chance to sit down with NEC Unified Solution's new president Jeffrey Kane and talk shop. Kane has an extensive background in systems integration having worked at firms like Perot Systems and EDS. Most importantly, he has a passion for success I haven't seen in my NEC telecom contacts over the past fifteen plus years.

He talks of unleashing the power of the 43 billion dollar company and bringing communications and computing together. The company purchased Sphere a while back for its SOA technology and Active Voice too is owned by the computing and telecom giant.

Still, with all that's going for them, in my experience it is always difficult for large multinational companies with non-US headquarters to compete against the likes of Cisco and Avaya.



OnRelay's Mobile PBX Solution

March 31, 2008

Years ago I realized that mobile phones would get cheaper and cheaper and eventually cause a threat to the PBX vendors of the world. Of course… trends are generally easy to spot but timing technology adoption is generally very difficult.

My friends, the time has come for PBX vendors to fear the mobile phone as a company called OnRelay is embarking on a super-aggressive campaign to get us to scrap our desk phones for mobile devices.

In a conversation with company President and CFO Marie Wold I got to see her configure her phone settings right from an application on her Nokia phone. When I asked her repeatedly if you could also use a web portal to change the settings of the phone service, she repeatedly answered, "Why would you need a web browser?" At first I thought she was being difficult but then I realized in most cases she is likely right. Besides, it is tough to argue with a company whose marketing says they will help eliminate 47 million Kg of e-waste.



Skype+Keyboard Convergence

March 31, 2008



Everything seems to be coming together -- camera, phones, e-mail devices, etc. It was just a matter of time before a company decided to merge Skype, a keyboard and silicon to develop a VoIP-ready keyboard with microphone and speaker built-in.

It is bendable, waterproof, has a two-port USB hub, a volume control and LEDs to indicate status.

The only downside is that I am not sure where I would use such a product. Perhaps outside in the rain -- assuming my computer and monitor are protected from the elements?

Would this product be the ideal boating accessory? Perhaps.

Would this keyboard be great for parents who want to work at the kitchen table without the fear associated with spills?

You have to hand it to the designer who got my attention by integrating such disparate items into a single waterproof package.

I guess there is now officially no excuse for not blogging or Skyping in the rain.

[USB Fever via GeekAlerts]















VPF Winter 2007 Video Interviews

March 30, 2008

Although the temperature near TMC's Norwalk, CT headquarters is below freezing, I am told we are actually in spring. And I am admittedly late in sharing this information with you, frequent readers of these pages know I believe it is better to post late than not at all.

A few months back, Gary Kim and I had the opportunity to conduct video interviews with a number of movers and shakers in the communications market. These interviews took place at the Voice Peering Forum, Winter 2007. It is worth noting that shortly after these interviews TMC was fortunate enough to add Gary Kim as a columnist.

On this page you will find lucid interviews with the following people:







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]










Grandstream's Grand GXE502X

March 25, 2008

Many of us know Grandstream for their IP Phones which offer great value as well as an assortment of analog gateways, ATAs, videophones, etc. I have spoken with resellers in fact who sell truckloads of Grandstream equipment on the show floor.

So when you make IP phones and are looking to get into new markets, where do you go? If you remember, years back, Pingtel moved from selling IP phones which won design awards into the IP-PBX and later the open-source IP-PBX space.

Grandstream is another company located in Massachusetts who has decided to branch out into the IP-PBX space but in this case they have created a simple-looking device dubbed the GXE502X which can support up to 100 extensions and over 50 simultaneous calls.

The box has many features and is surprisingly robust.

For example, there is a built-in fax server with print-to-fax capability. The server converts faxes to PDFs and e-mails them.







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.




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