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VoIP/IP Communications Stories August 6, 2007

August 6, 2007

In case you are behind on your reading or perhaps were away and want to catch up quickly; I have assembled some of the top stories from last week and today. Topics of interest include Cisco’s purchase of an equity stake in VMware, Inter-Tel’s small business push and the article on VoIP call recording.  

Loving Asterisk

August 3, 2007

ITEXPO Weeks Away

August 3, 2007

I just can’t believe that Internet Telephony Conference & Expo is five short weeks away. I just can’t wait for September 10-12th in Los Angeles. Boy is the summer going by fast. Thankfully I read Ken Kamp’s blog where he talks about the show and it reminded me about the timing of this event.   Tom Keating too reads Ken’s blog and he beat me to writing about Ken’s post.   I am very excited about the show… It is just amazing how much the communications market has evolved in a few short years.

Call Center/CRM Stories August 3, 2007

August 3, 2007

Here are the call center/CRM stories for the week of August 3, 2007. Enjoy. I really don’t have a favorite but if you press me I might say the Argentina and Central American call center stories are of interest.   Report Shows Contact Centers Still Fighting High Attrition The Unified Agent Desktop: An Inside Look Call Center Furniture: How to Buy the Right Chair Report Shows Growth Expected in Argentina Contact Center Applications Market Implementing CRM Software the Right Way Study Examines the Contact Center Market in Central America Phone Systems in Today's Business Predictive Dialer for the Small Business Research Indicates UK Companies Not Ready for New Year OFCOM Change Loquendo TTS to Power Voice Messaging Solution for Ontario Systems

Mitel/Inter-Tel Finally Merge

August 2, 2007

Mitel's proposal to acquire and merge with Inter-Tel has been approved by Inter-Tel stockholders. Here are the details:  
  • US$723 million merger
  • Creates a market leader in SMB IP communications industry with the scale to strengthen and extend its reach in the enterprise market
  • Anticipated revenues of over US$800 million
  • Once the transaction is completed, Mitel will have approximately 3,400 employees in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia, and count an active worldwide distribution channel some 1,500 value-added resellers, distributors and systems integrators covering over 90 countries.
  My take on this is the deal is good for shareholders and customers as they will get the benefit of two strong technology-focused communications companies working synergistically. This does not mean the integration will be smooth as lately we have seen a number of larger telecom acquisitions causing indigestion and poor earnings.   In this case however, the deal size is not so big and the corporate cultures are very similar so I don’t see “M&A indigestion” as a major challenge.

IP communications Earnings Strong

August 2, 2007

Let’s give a round of applause to 8x8, the parent company of Packet8 VoIP service. They have just announced a profitable quarter. For the first time since the Company launched its Packet8 VoIP service in November 2002, 8x8 posted GAAP net income of $508,000, or $0.01 per share, compared to a net loss of $2.9 million, or ($0.05) per share for the previous quarter and $1.8 million, or ($0.03) per share for the same period of fiscal 2007.   This news is important as the company had far fewer dollars to spend on marketing their service when compared to many others in the market; they still beat many others to this important milestone.   The company has focused on a methodical system of results-driven marketing and moreover recognized early that the hosted SMB space has plenty of promise.   This news is a great counterbalance to the management problems at SunRocket which caused their demise. The fact that SunRocket didn’t sell its company is somewhat mind-boggling actually.

ShoreTel/Mitel Patent Lawsuit

July 31, 2007

Aastra Intecom/BroadSoft

July 30, 2007

The IP communications market gets more and more exciting by the day and if you aren’t paying attention it even may get confusing. Today’s big news comes in the form of a partnership between two companies who you may not think would work together.   Broadsoft is a company providing applications platforms enabling such services as IP Centrex to be provided. The company typically targets service providers who in turn target businesses.   AAstra Intecom sells call center and PBX systems to large enterprises that typically have 2,500-3,000 seats.   One would imagine these companies have little in common but the two have just come together to provide large enterprises with an IP communications phone system with the power of BroadSoft and Aastra Intecom in a single solution. Service provider solutions are always more reliable and robust than their counterparts in the enterprise so I can only imagine combining the best products from these two companies means an even better solution than either can provide by itself.   Other products which will be sold as part of this solution are IBM blade servers, EdgeWater Networks for remote access solutions, AudioCodes gateways, Extreme Networks for LAN infrastructure and Covergence for SBCs.   Aastra’s all IP solution is called Clearspan and if you want a hybrid solution you can go with their Pointspan product line.   Aastra Intecom now has a broad range of solutions for virtually every large enterprise need.

ActionTec

July 29, 2007

Many of us are familiar with VoSky Technologies the company behind the business class Skype gateways allowing a company to leverage the myriad benefits of Skype within their corporate communications infrastructure. If you need to catch up, I invite you to read an article written on the topic of Skype trunking by yours truly about a month ago.   So while Skype and VoSky are likely familiar names, most people are likely not aware of the fact that the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Actiontec Electronics, a leading provider of broadband connectivity solutions for consumers and broadband service providers.   In a recent meeting with Lesley Kirchman Director of Marketing and Brian Henrichs VP of Business Development for the company I became aware the company’s tagline is “Solutions For a Digital Life.”   The company has been around since 1993 when it was in the analog modem business. Over time they evolved to do what a few companies have been successful at… Listening to telco needs, delivering on them and actually having the telcos buy.   The company has sold over five million devices and has roughly 300 people in their Sunnyvale, CA headquarters in the US. I think of the company as the Linksys of the service provider world as they sell gateways in countless DSL varieties, IPTV solutions and even FiOS solutions for Verizon.   Some of the more recent products allow you to transport data and entertainment within a house via wireless, HomePlug and numerous other technologies.   Another area of focus is technologies such as TR69 and WT140 which help can enhance the consumer experience.

Ixia

July 29, 2007

As Ethernet gets more complicated, so must the test systems needed to accurately ensure carriers are providing the best quality of experience for their metro Ethernet solutions. A few weeks back I had a chance to sit down with the team at Ixia and discuss their Carrier Ethernet solutions based on Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) and Provider Backbone Bridge (PBB). The company’s Ixia’s test products for PBT/PBB, along with those for Ethernet OAM/CFM provide network equipment manufacturers and carriers with all the tools needed to test the latest Carrier Ethernet solutions.   Ixia announced the above functionality as well as Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) as part of it’s IxNetwork 5.30 release, which is part of its Aptixia test framework.   Many of the largest service providers have adopted PBT/PBB as it reduces the cost and complexity of Ethernet transport while providing mechanisms for enhanced QoS.   “PBT/PBB is an important new part of the Carrier Ethernet solution over switched Ethernet,” said Michael Howard, principal at Infonetics Research. “Many service providers are evaluating PBT/PBB as a cost effective mechanism to leverage their switched metro Ethernet network and offer back haul for access networks, extend L2/L3 VPNs, and point-to-point (ELINE) services.
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