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Communications, Speech Markets Have Positive Outlook

August 20, 2008

Two days -- two shows, two cities and two trains which left at dawn. Wow... What a rush. What I picked up from the Channel Partners (Boston) and SpeechTek (New York) shows is  the communications market and the call center market are doing well, based on what companies in the space tell me.

Yes, of course some sectors are doing better than others but some are amazingly strong...

Voice Mashups And Your Communications Future

August 18, 2008

What is the future of communications? One acknowledged thought leader in our field is Thomas Howe and his consulting company which bears his name is the place you go when you want to know. Howe and I were recently on a panel together at a conference in San francisco and I was very impressed with what he had to say so I invited him to be be my guest on a podcast.

Some of the takeaways from our discussion are that voice mashups are becoming more common and voice will transcend CEBP or communications enabled business processes to the realm of the consumer as well. As this happens, communications becomes the condiment to virtually all applications.

The excitement here is how this will happen.



Open Source Communications War

August 18, 2008

Behold the open source communications wars. In this corner weighing in at millions of downloads is Digium... A Huntsville, Alabama purveyor of all things Asterisk... From training to support to hardware, you name it.

In the other corner with decades of international experience and engineering and a strong alliance with IBM/Microsoft is Nortel/PingTel.

Last week we saw comments from Nortel on why they acquired PingTel and why this solution is better than the "old Asterisk".

One would imagine this comment was the straw that broke the camel's back:

By the way, these strategies dictated why sipXecs was chosen over Asterisk, a clearly inferior open source environment.
Today, Digium's Bill Miller responds...








Podcast Interview Tata Communications

August 15, 2008

Tata's View of Communications

Tata is a global company which is perhaps closest to what General Electric is in the US or Siemens is in Germany. The company is absolutely massive, having over 5,000 employees and engages in businesses such as building cars, providing chemicals, energy, materials and even consumer products like tea.

In addition, the company is a major player in telecom and has a global fiber network which is worth taking note of as it is large and growing. Tata has been aggressively pursuing US and international business and for this reason I knew my audience would be interested in learning more about how Tata Communications can help service providers, schools, the government and other US based concerns solve their communications problems.

On a podcast interview with Anthony Rossabi, Vice President of Carrier Services for the Americas I had a chance to ask questions about what the company is up to and how it can help carriers worldwide.

A good deal of our discussion centered around TCTS or Tata Communications Transformation Services which provides specific back office functions for carriers such as provisioning, network design, access and access pricing. The company has been focusing on landline but is moving into the wireless space as well.







Trixbox Certification

August 15, 2008

The open source world of communications is growing rapidly. Recently I discussed the Nortel acquisition of PingTel and what this means for our markets.

Ironically the competition in open source was once between Digium and PingTel and when Asterisk became the the dominant player in the space, it seemed that Digium won the war. It turns out that while PingTel lost steam, a new wave of compeitors in the open source space emerged, basing their products on Asterisk.

One such company is Fonality and their Trixbox platform has become a popular alternative in the open source space. It just so happens that Fonality is collocating their training session in Los Angeles at ITEXPO in a  few weeks.

If you are looking to see all the communications companies that matter in the market and also get a chance to receive certification on a number of topics, be sure to come to the show.





Nortel's PingTel Strategy

August 15, 2008

VoIP Growing at 53% to $24 Billion

August 15, 2008

The VoIP opportunity is still huge according to a new report from Infonetics Research. At a time when many industries are really hurting, hosted VoIP and managed IP PBX services grew 53% to $24 billion in 2007 after surging 66% in 2006.

Obviously much of this growth is as a result of PSTN replacement but it should be noted that once IP is in place, the potential to add services increases greatly. The great news is Infonetics anticipates growth in the strong double-digits until at least 2011.

Interestingly, IP communications boosts productivity and saves money at the same time. This makes it a great technology to invest in when times are good and times are bad.

Sadly, many companies get the deer in the headlights feeling when they see an economy slow and they sometimes stick with the status quo instead of making decisions which will save them money, boost performance and generate rapid ROI.

Interestingly I have noticed an increased focus on contact center and CRM solutions these past months which leads me to believe companies have finally figured out that if you serve your customers efficiently and well, you make more money.

Contrast this to the last slowdown in 2000 when companies decided to offshore their call centers to save money.









Communications and Technology Stories August 14, 2008

August 14, 2008

Please enjoy some communications and technology stories while having your morning (or evening) tea or coffee. My thoughts in brief -- Extreme is smart to jump on the energy efficient bandwagon, Jajah claims to have over 10 million users in the story below which is substantial. They also have a service which translates short English phrases to Chinese. Very cool but I am not sure this can be monetized.

Virtual PBX now allows callers to be pulled out of voicemail -- this great news and not easy to pull off for a hosted vendor.

McCain To Support Technology

August 14, 2008

It has been pretty shocking to me to see that the Bush Administration did not embrace technology in a more grand fashion. After all, Vice President Al Gore was so enthusiastic about the Internet he even claimed to invent it.

So while it seems like the companies of importance in the Bush administration have to do with energy, commodities and defense, we may see a McCain presidency focusing at least a little on technology.

In fact there will be a 10% R&D tax credit and opposition to internet taxes. In addition there will be an increase in H1-B visas (thankfully). McCain does not think we should have federal net neutrality laws -- the FCC and other regulators should deal with these issues he believes.

See this New York Times article for more.







Book Flights Now For ITEXPO West 2008

August 13, 2008

Many attendees have told me they are getting great deals on airfare to ITEXPO September 16-18, 2008. I happened to just price a flight and the cost was $306. Travelocity has a sale with prices from New York to Los Angeles starting at $285.

Also, many people have told me they will be using JetBlue and landing in Long Beach and Burbank Airports.

Here is a United flight I priced as a reference:

Flight:  United flight 21 on a Boeing 757 Jet <input type=hidden name=javascript_turned_off value=YES>   Depart:  New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK)- Tue, Sep 16 6:30am Arrive:  Los Angeles, CA (LAX) - Tue, Sep 16 9:44am      
Flight:  United flight 840 on a Boeing 757 Jet Depart:  Los Angeles, CA (LAX)- Thu, Sep 18 2:14pm Arrive:  New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK) - Thu, Sep 18 10:38pm  
The great news is that flight costs are dropping pretty rapidly meaning you can come the world's communications event and still have reasonable travel costs.







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