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Rich Tehrani
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Call Center

Asterisk Fuels Speech Technologies

May 11, 2007

If open-source telephony is going mainstream as I recently wrote about, then the subsets of open-source telephony are also booming. For example, speech recognition in the open-source world is becoming more and more important. Case in point, a company called LumenVox has been working closely with Digium to provide speech recognition to Asterisk users.   Using a speech API (in the world of Asterisk it is called an AGI or Asterisk Gateway Implementation) Asterisk users can now have access to LumenVox speech technology. In addition, Asterisk developers can use the familiar Asterisk Dial Plan environment for programming.

Skype for Salesforce

May 9, 2007

One of the stories which caught my eyes recently was Skype and Salesforce.com coming together to launch Skype for Salesforce. In the article there is a discussion of more and more call centers looking for ways to integrate Skype into their centers allowing any Skype user to seamlessly call in.   This story shows the growing need for companies to evaluate Skype compatibility in the products and services they purchase. There are certain segments of the market where this makes more sense than others.   In other words if your call center has wealthy American customers, Skype support may not be so important. If you have young international customers however, Skype support makes sense.   Is a Skype a must in your call center?

Open-Source Telephony Goes Mainstream

May 8, 2007

In the last few years the communications industry has been taken by storm through the invention of an open-source communications platform named Asterisk invented by Digium (www.digium.com) founder Mark Spencer. An article written for the January 2004 issue of Internet Telephony magazine by yours truly was titled, “Open Source Telephony. . .

VoIP Stories May 7, 2007

May 7, 2007

Here are some interesting stories worth reading. Incidentally, I now have a Plantronics CS70N installed at my desk. It is about the same size and weight as the popular Plantronics Voyager 510 with the difference being slightly more weight and thickness as well as a long voice tube which reaches your mouth.   I have been able to walk a few hundred feet (with massive amounts of RF emitting equipment in-between) from my base station before sound quality degrades.   Enjoy:  

Open-Source Call Center

May 4, 2007

Marketing in the New World Order

April 29, 2007

Tomorrow I will be speaking in sunny Phoenix, Arizona on “Marketing in the New World Order”. I often write about a plethora of new technologies and tomorrow I get a chance to weave together my knowledge of marketing and technology together and in doing so I hope to shed light on opportunities many companies are not yet taking advantage of.   Building communities, blogging and sites like Twitter will be mentioned as well as Web 2.0 and mashups. I am really looking forward to talking about this subject matter as it is an area I have a tremendous amount of passion for.   I am speaking for a company called Teledirect and the event is open to Teledirect sponsors and customers. If you fit one of these categories I hope to see you there.   Here is a link for more details.

Skype Announcements at Communications Developer

April 28, 2007

I was just perusing an article on Skype development from Greg Galitzine which consists of an interview with head of development for the world’s most successful VoIP software company. The interview is with Paul Amery the Director of the Skype Developer Program.   Here are some of the salient comments from Paul:   The breadth of developers who work with Skype is extraordinary. They range from 15-year old techies who are coding in their bedrooms to CEOs with more than 30 years of experience developing software applications. The uniting factor is that they all love Skype, and constantly want us to enhance the platform to help them do more.   The most popular application [Skype Extra] overall is CrazyTalk for Skype from Reallusion.

Ed Whitacre Jr.

April 27, 2007

Congratulations to Ed Whitacre Jr. for building a great big telecommunications company from an assortment of smaller ones. Certainly in this case the sum was greater than the parts.   Ed is about to retire and he can consider this my retirement present.   While I have perhaps had a rant or two over the years about net neutrality comments made by Mr. Whitacre, there is not a single person who can deny this man has achieved greatness in the world of communications and technology.   Ed Whitacre Jr. put AT&T back together again and left it in great shape.   The Board of Directors has chosen Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T's chief operating officer, to succeed Whitacre as chairman and CEO.   Randall has tremendous shoes to fill and it may be very tough to keep AT&T’s massive momentum going without even more acquisitions. These could consist of content plays such as perhaps satellite radio, internet companies and even advertising networks. Yahoo!

Mitel Acquires Inter-Tel

April 26, 2007

In a $723 Million transaction two of the leaders in the mid-market communications space have teamed up as Mitel has just acquired Inter-Tel. Both companies were very strong players in the mid-size PBX space and both were leaders in staying ahead of the technology curve   Going back to the days of CTI over a decade ago, Mitel and Inter-Tel are established players in IP communications and unified communications.   “We believe this is an outstanding transaction for our stakeholders,” said Inter-Tel CEO Norman Stout. “Mitel and Inter-Tel have state-of-the-art products and complementary channels to market. In particular, we are excited about the opportunities this partnership represents for Inter-Tel’s associates and partners, who we believe will benefit from being part of a larger, growing and dynamic organization that can compete more effectively in the marketplace. We look forward to working with the Mitel team to ensure a rapid and seamless transition.”

The combined company, including Inter-Tel international subsidiaries such as Inter-Tel Europe, Swan Solutions and Lake Communications, will have solutions to address the needs of very small to large businesses globally.

Interactive Intelligence and Alliance Systems

April 23, 2007

Interactive Intelligence announced today it has purchased the professional services group of Alliance Systems and I had a chance to speak with the president of Alliance Systems Rusty Cone about this deal. Rusty deferred to Alliance Systems chairman Jon Shapiro about the reason for this transaction.   According to Jon: “Our core server and infrastructure business has been growing very rapidly and we wanted to focus our resources on increasing our manufacturing capacity, engineering resources and our global logistics and support business.”   I did get a chance to find out a bit more about the transaction however. Rusty explained he is happy for the 14 people who will now be part of Interactive Intelligence as they now have more opportunity to move up in the organization.
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