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Avaya’s Unified Communications Future

December 17, 2007

When you think of enterprise communications Avaya is certainly one of the first names that comes to mind. A huge player in the space, the company has a tremendous amount of influence in the future shape of things to come in telecom.   As we all know by now, one of the fastest-growing segments of the market is unified communications. In order to get a read on Avaya’s positioning in the UC space I decided my readers would benefit from a high level Avaya interview.   The following is that interview with Stuart Wells, President, Global Communications Solutions at Avaya. I was pretty interested in many of his thoughts and especially in how Avaya is evolving to become a software company.

Nortel Sues Vonage

December 17, 2007

Vonage just can’t catch a break these days and seems to be the target of more lawsuits related to patent infringements than just about any other company out there. The latest patent fight is with Nortel, a company who says Vonage is infringing on twelve of its patents.   ``Defending our intellectual property rights is a top priority for Nortel,'' said Nortel spokesman Mohammed Nakhooda. ``That's why we are seeking damages and to put an injunction on the use of our technology with respect to Vonage.''   ``The litigation is ongoing and both parties have filed and will continue to file papers,'' said Vonage spokesman Charles Sahner. Nortel's filing ``is a countersuit in defense.''   Generally speaking when a company becomes as high profile as Vonage they also have an arsenal of patents.

NextPoint Analysis

December 11, 2007

If you meet David Walsh a partner with One Equity Partners, you immediately think banker. For those of you who may not frequent the tiny (and blisteringly cold when I was there) island of Manhattan, banker generally means investment banker. At a telecom conference you can always pick out the bankers because they dress nicer than most telecom types.   I recently had a chance to meet with Walsh and discuss the formation of NextPoint with him. Generally the “money people” are shielded from the communications and technology media as there are generally more technical people who are better at communicating with the “trade” media.

Genesys Buys Informiam

December 11, 2007

Genesys– once called Genesys Labs is one of the companies at the head of the CTI (computer-telephony-integration) revolution of the nineties. Often referred to as a middleware company, Genesys always seemed to fight the designation. In reality, Genesys was just so good at connecting call centers consisting of disparate equipment; they never entirely shook this “middleware” reputation.   Eventually acquired by Alcatel and later merged with Lucent to form Alcatel-Lucent the company became a smaller part of a large parent.   Until today, the Genesys division has been quiet for a company of its size. This is not unusual in such situations but today the company made an acquisition which may signal more moves to come.   Genesys purchased Informiam a company focusing on reporting and analytics.

Security: The Best IP Topping of All

December 11, 2007

The Internet Protocol is one of the largest enablers of the last decade. It allows communications to take place wherever there is broadband connectivity. Voice over IP, video over IP, fax over IP… Just about everything runs over IP it seems. But this is old news – right?

It’s Google Vs. the Carriers

December 8, 2007

This past week at the VPF Winter event in Manhattan on a panel dedicated to the intersection of the internet, media and telecom I made the prediction that the company with the biggest advertising network will win the media and telecom war. My comments went unchallenged for a while the audience asked questions relating to fiber capacity and the like. Thankfully, Hunter Newby was sitting to my left and the rest of my esteemed panelists handled optical questions while I wondered silently why no one said anything about comments. Did the whole room agree with my thoughts I wondered?   And then suddenly, someone in the audience asked if anyone wanted to challenge my assumptions and then all hell broke loose as questions started to pour in regarding Google’s ability to be a serious telecom threat.   Here are some points made by both sides:  
  • Google is giving away many services for free and they are ad supported.
  • Many of these services don’t make money.
  • How can Google be a threat to telecom if none of their new services seem to be successful?
  • It doesn’t matter because the mere threat of Google in many industries is enough to make VCs wet themselves and scamper away like hurt children.

Telecom Growing Nicely

December 5, 2007

It’s a good time to be in telecom. With all the housing gloom and doom it is nice to see that at least the telecom market is doing exceedingly well. Of course you have to pick your battles… Consumer VoIP is a rough space to be in (just ask Vonage) but companies focusing on the enterprise are as happy as pigs – well let’s keep this semi clean – Pigs in subprime mortgages.   Case in point, after a sluggish second quarter in 2007, enterprise telephony equipment manufacturers saw an 11 percent jump in worldwide sales in 3Q07 to reach $2.6 billion, according to a recent study.   “The Big Three (Avaya, Cisco, and Nortel) had excellent quarters, all growing well into the double digits,” said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research.   Worldwide sales of service provider next-gen voice equipment are up 5 percent in 3Q07 from 2Q07 to $956.4 million, says Infonetics Research in its "Service Provider VoIP and IMS Equipment and Subscribers" report.   “The bump this quarter was partially due to seasonal factors, as the third quarter tends to be strong, but also because of increased demand across the board, even in the TDM segment.

Titanium Watches? What about Headsets?

December 3, 2007

Recently I picked up a titanium watch. In fact I now am the proud owner of two titanium watches. I just love the stuff… More durable than steel and much lighter. What if everything in the world was made out of titanium…?

Open Communications is the Future

December 3, 2007

If there is one thing Avaya is doing exceedingly well it is courting developers. Out of all the PBX vendors, Avaya has decided they will be the leader in this space. Cisco and Inter-Tel (now Mitel U.S.) have also done an admirable job but no one has matched the six thousand plus members in the Avaya DevConnect program.   Why is this important you ask? In the computer industry the size of the developer program is what determined the success of a vendor.

Sprint Turns Down $5 Billion Offer

November 29, 2007

Sprint Turns Down $5 Billion Offer CNBC is reporting Sprint Nextel turned down a 5 billion dollar offer (according to It is not clear who made this offer as of yet. As you may recall I wrote a blog entry lately regarding the potential of Google purchasing the wireless carrier. Stay tuned.   Update:   According to the Wall Street Journal:  
Sprint Nextel Corp. rejected an offer by South Korea's SK Telecom and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners to invest $5 billion in the company and install its former chairman, Tim Donahue, as chief executive, according to people familiar with the matter.   Mr. Donahue and the investment consortium proposed the deal before Thanksgiving, sending its bid to Sprint's board in the form of a letter, these people say.
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