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Rich Tehrani
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Toshiba

September 6, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask David Fridley, senior product manager of IP Telephony at Toshiba America Information Systems, about the evolution of the IP communications space and the direction his company is taking.   To learn more about the company, read this TMCnet article published earlier this year. Interestingly I am writing this on a Toshiba laptop and I subsequently found the last answer very interesting.     RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives? DF: Toshiba has reinvented itself from a provider of key/hybrid TDM systems to a provider of IP communication solutions for enterprises.

Excendia

September 6, 2007

It is difficult to start this column without a reference to Wildfire the personal assistant launched in the nineties we all thought would take over the world. Of course by “we” I mean the people attending trade shows in the telecom space in the nineties. Wildfire was an auto attendant system allowing you to speak to the machine as if it was human. It would understand you and perform many functions for you.

Call Center Consolidation

September 5, 2007

There is more and more talk of call center consolidation and suites of products from single vendors seem to be what analysts and many companies are clamoring for. I came across an interesting twist on getting educated on this space via a webinar focused on a term I never heard before. Specifically: Consolidation 2.0.   As call centers have become more sophisticated so too have they gotten larger and more complex and especially difficult to manage. For example hiring agents may mean entering their information into myriad databases and disparate systems.

Fonality FtOCC Training

September 5, 2007

Miss Teen South Carolina

August 31, 2007

It is all about the education. Miss Teen South Carolina hit the nail on the head when she said our education system in the United States needs to improve so as she says, US Americans can one day hope to aspire to be as well-educated as the people of Iraq and South Africa. At least I think that is what she said – you may watch the video for yourself and decide. Of course as she reminds us, we need to also include the Asian countries so we can help build up our future.   If you haven’t seen the video, make sure you are sitting down first.

Polaris IP

August 29, 2007

Polaris IP is a company you probably never heard of but they have a patent on an e-mail routing system and are using it to sue the Internet’s largest companies. In particular, Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, A9, Borders, AOL and IAC/Interactive Corp among others are named in a suit claiming infringement on patent 6,411,947.   With ITEXPO just around the corner I haven’t had the time to delve deeply into this patent. Here is the abstract:  
A method for automatically interpreting an electronic message, including the steps of (a) receiving the electronic message from a source; (b) interpreting the electronic message using a rule base and case base knowledge engine; and (c) classifying the electronic message as at least one of (i) being able to be responded to automatically; and (ii) requiring assistance from a human operator. The method for automatically interpreting an electronic message may also include the step of retrieving one or more predetermined responses corresponding to the interpretation of the electronic message from a repository for automatic delivery to the source.
  This patent seems to apply to a number of advertising related companies as they all use a machine to determine which ad will be served based on web page content.   The original patent claim was applied for by a company called Brightware.

Inter-Tel

August 28, 2007

Inter-Tel executives Aron Aicard (Director of Product Marketing), Jon Young (Director, Softswitch Technology) and Rick Ringel (Strategic Solutions Engineer), gave me this exclusive interview. They talked to me about Inter-Tel’s new corporate initiatives, the impact of SIP technology, and the future of the market in general.   Recently merged with Mitel Networks Corporation, Inter-Tel is a high-profile provider of business telephone systems and related software products.   It will be interesting to see how Inter-Tel/Mitel does under the leadership of the capable Mitel and Inter-Tel management. This includes of course Sir Terry Matthews who seems to turn everything into gold.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   Now that its merger with Mitel has been concluded, Inter-Tel is working closely with its colleagues at Mitel to broaden its collective suite of solutions to deliver seamless, advanced IP platforms, applications and services to businesses ranging from large enterprises to SOHO environments.        How has SIP changed communications?   We are only in the early stages of SIP acceptance, but Inter-Tel sees SIP—and other industry standards—as integral to the evolution of business communications.

Virtual Customer Interactions

August 25, 2007

This is my next Customer Interaction Solutions High Priority column. If memory serves it will be the October, 2007 issue. As often happens this will be the unedited version. If this is of any interest be sure to subscribe digitally to the magazine so you don’t miss an issue.   -----   On a blustery day at a Virginia Beach hotel a decade or so ago, a group of call center decision makers gathered to hear Rich Tehrani, Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC speak on the topic of evolving customer service and technology.

VoEX

August 24, 2007

VoEX, Inc., is a VoIP managed-service provider offering global peering infrastructure, network interoperability, industry-leading quality of service, and advanced applications capabilities for top tier carriers, mobile operators, cable operators, voice service providers, academic institutions and enterprises. VoEX maps the world’s phone numbers to resolvable IP addresses by combining an advanced carrier-grade VoIP peering infrastructure with the world’s largest carrier ENUM registry — now totaling over 250 million phone numbers — to interconnect IP, TDM and hybrid-network service providers.   I recently had the opportunity to discuss industry trends with Cyril N. Matthews, Director of Registry and Network Services at VOEX. For more on the company be sure to check out a March 30th, 2007 discussion between Cyril and Russell Shaw.     RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives. CM: Our company has built our network on IP at the core and we are working with our customers and vendors to push IP to the edge of the network (using ENUM and other technologies) to provide a base for the development of applications that can take advantage of the IP-based environment to drive convergence.   RT: How has SIP changed communications? CM: SIP has opened up communications to the level of flexibility and innovation previously seen in personal computing… creating the ability for personal communications such as Instant Messaging (text, voice & video), as well as other presence- and location-based applications.   RT: What is the biggest request coming from your customer base? CM: Give me something to help me differentiate what I do from my competitors.   RT: How are you answering their demands? CM: We are working with our customers to develop solutions   RT: What do you think the future of the market is? CM: Applications that seamlessly blend voice, video and data with real-time (inter)personal communications.   RT: How does the U.S.

Oaisys Update

August 22, 2007

If you live vicariously through my travel schedule then you were with me in Arizona during that muggy and super-hot trip I took a while back to see Oaisys and learn about their Talkument voice appliance.   As you may recall, Talkument makes voicemail as useful as e-mail with the ability to annotate them or even pieces of these voice messages.   Here is a full feature list:  
  • Voice Document Sharing — Allows users to share voice documents with other authorized users and temporary guest users.
  • Highlighting — Selected segments of the voice document can be highlighted so whoever is authorized to review the file can simply listen to the pertinent segment and not have to wade through the entire file. 
  • Commenting — An annotation feature helps the user tag certain documents for future retrieval. These comments are visible for other authorized users to facilitate collaboration and communication. 
  • File Management System — Talkument also allows users to store the voice files in its file management system, which contains folders that can be custom-configured and personalized to make it easy to find files at a later date. 
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