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Rich Tehrani
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Is it Web 3.0 Time in the Valley?

November 9, 2011

While spending some time here in the Santa Clara Convention Center after Cloud Expo, I just can't but get the feeling the tech world is onto the next big thing. The Cloud Expo was full of activity, a ton of new startups, funding, deployments, revenue growth and all the other positives you would expect from a fast-growing market.

We even had a mini bubble burst that hasn't been discussed much and that is many of the cloud storage vendors have been wiped out - as a result of the fact that competing with Amazon head-to-head is not an easy task. Perhaps that is why there are a bunch of new cloud security startups who are tacking very complex tasks - something that is not commoditized and an area where significant value can be added and charged for.

But what put the icing on the cake as I sit here is a person who handed me a business card for his company RMS. This risk management company is hiring. In fact they have a food truck which they are sponsoring across the street from the convention center.



Plantronics Headset Line Exudes UC Dominance

November 3, 2011

Recently I received a care package from Plantronics with a number of their headsets and other products and when I opened the box it served as a not so subtle reminder of just how dominant the company is. Back in 1982 when my company TMC (I am CEO) launched the first magazine in the call center space, Plantronics was one of the few companies in the market and almost 30 years later they have evolved into an organization delivering unified communications endpoints for virtually every segment of the market.

Blackwire C435

China Telecoms and Incoherent US Foreign Policy

October 28, 2011

China telecom companies growing globally Go to any of the recent shows in technology and telecom such as CTIA Wireless and Interop and you see a huge presence from Chinese telecom companies like Huawei and to a lesser extent, ZTE. Moreover, talk to the competition and you will hear them say these companies are poised to “take over the world.”

This shouldn’t be a surprise because these companies have been able to benefit from the massive build-out of China’s tech and telecom infrastructure and while the rest of the world was experiencing post telecom-bubble burst syndrome, their Chinese competitors were feasting on home-grown growth and rapidly expanding worldwide.

No selling into the US Of course these companies are said to be state-controlled by the US which is why they aren’t allowed to make certain acquisitions or even sales into the US.

ITEXPO West 2011 Austin Highlights

August 23, 2011

Before all ITEXPO events I do a final proofread of the show directory and this one may be the biggest ever at 132 pages with tabs (just doing our part to support the economy). We will post a PDF version soon so you can see what’s in it but until then, here are some highlights that caught my eye:

Keynotes & Exhibits Tuesday, September 13th at 9:15 AM we have Ian Pennell from Cisco and at 4:30 PM-5:30 PM we have keynotes from Siemens and IBM followed by a Grand Opening Networking Reception sponsored by Interact from 5:30-7:30.

Wednesday, September 14th at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM we have keynotes from Polycom and DHL followed by exhibits from 11:00 AM- 4:00 PM. Then at 4:00 PM there is a Cocktail reception sponsored by Rackspace Hosting and at 4:45 you could win a pair of mountain bikes from Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop - an Austin Institution ( I am told).

Cisco's Ian Pennell to Keynote ITEXPO in Austin

August 22, 2011

We are thrilled to announce that Cisco's Ian Pennell The Senior Vice President, Small Business Technology Group will be keynoting ITEXPO in Austin, TX, Tuesday, September 13, 2011 between 9:15 AM and 9:45 AM. One reason I am excited to announce his participation is Pennell handles much of the carrier and VAR/channel partner relationships and these are integral parts of the ITEXPO experience.

It should be a great event and Cisco's participation joins a roster of truly crucial tech companies keynoting  such as Mike McCarthy the VP of Cloud Computing Services at IBM, Mark Straton, Senior Vice President Solution Marketing Voice and Applications at Siemens, John Antanaitis, VP of Marketing at Polycom and Matt Groppe, Director of Global Business Development, DHL Same Day.

Update: Another event which takes place the same week at the same convention center as ITEXPO is StartupCamp4 Comms Edition and the keynoter for this event will be Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, VC, professor, cofounder of 3COM and author of the world-famous Metcalfe's Law.

By the way, speaking of DHL - if you doubt a shipping company is really in the tech space - check out this editorial from Marc Andreesen in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend which explains why software is eating the world. Here is an excerpt as a subscription my be required to view.





Death of the PSTN a Major ITEXPO Topic in Austin, TX

August 18, 2011

In 1997 when TMC announced the launch of Internet Telephony Magazine – the world’s first publication on IP communications I met with dozens of skeptics who told me emphatically that the technology was a hobbyist toy and not something you make a magazine out of. People at the COMDEX event I attended were sure it wasn’t the birth of a new industry. Fast forward about 15 years and now because of VoIP and wireless (which when 4G goes mainstream will also be VoIP-based) – not to mention social networking, there is serious talk about killing the traditional circuit-switched telephone network or PSTN by 2018!

This is huge news and the ramifications are massive – not only for investors but for companies in the telecom and datacom spaces looking to figure out how to navigate a changing telecom landscape.

Got Big Telecom Data? You Need Infinity Ear from Empirix!

August 16, 2011

OK, this isn’t a real product name – yet but you could potentially help pick it – be sure to let the company know if you have a name for their new product line.

I sat down with Tim Moynihan and Gordon Eddy of Empirix at SpeechTek and was happy to hear the company has been experiencing double-digit growth. Testing companies like Empirix are a great barometer for the markets they serve as they grow with the percentage of deployments in the spaces are in. In this case, the company is seeing increasing orders as a result of the migration to IP so SIP trunking and SBC deployments have really helped the bottom line.
Moreover, companies are seeking out testing services from Empirix before they deploy CRM, call center and UC services.

Mergers have been another positive factor in the company’s growth as companies have to ensure their disparate systems can interop smoothly before they go live as part of a more seamless network of communications systems.

An interesting area of expansion will be introduced this fall – analyzing “big data” for the telecom space. The point here is big data is being scraped and analyzed with positive results in data centers but there has been a lack of tools to do the same in the telecom space.






Latest Trends in Speech Technology, CRM, IVR, Collaboration and Cloud Computing

August 14, 2011

Speech analytics in greater demand

At the recent SpeechTek 2011 conference in New York I gained some great insight into the state of speech technology. For example, Jeff Schlueter of Nexidia told me his company’s speech analytics solutions have been in greater demand in this current economy as the desire to control costs has led to increased adoption of speech analytics. In addition, the company has released version 9.0 of its Enterprise Speech Intelligence product suite which cuts the TCO in half and allowing for customers to handle even larger amounts of data.

Apple Market Cap, Cisco Earnings Beat and Amazon Sidesteps Apple

August 11, 2011

I am up in Mass visiting some companies in the area and doing a presentation on the state of communications and tech markets - so while I am offline feel free to visit other parts of the TMC network to check out the latest news and analysis.

But before I sign off - some of the most interesting stories recently have to be Apple becoming the most valuable public company in the world, Cisco beating lowered expectations and Amazon leveraging HTML5 to allow Kindle reader access via web browsers.

Let's start with Cisco first - the company has put out so much bad news lately, the fact that this bellwether had a beat actually helped the entire stock market regain confidence.

If you missed it this morning, it seems hedge funds and others who are short the markets are pushing rumors of European banks having tremendous problems. This is exactly what happened with the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008. Markets have the ability to drive companies into insolvency by stoking the flames of fear, uncertainty and doubt. The good news for those who are looking for stable financial markets is that as of this writing, the networking giant is up over 16% to $16.02.

The other two news items are huge as well - Apple, a company in the hardware space - an area we all consider a commodity has used a combination of leading-edge supply-chain management, a massive cash horde and brilliant design and usability to become more valuable than any other company in the world.

And with their locked-in ecosystem, the amount of revenue it will continue to generate via its music and app stores will continue to grow for years.









Did Social Just Make UC Irrelevant?

July 8, 2011

If you are working with a phone system maker who isn’t innovating rapidly, beware - their days could be numbered.

I hate to be sensational but you have to wonder, with real-time video & voice communications embedded into social networks where a billion or spend a good part of their day, is standalone unified communications now much less important? And with Google+ tying together all of Google’s activities from voice to video to Gmail and chat, will people prefer to make calls from their Google toolbar or something a PBX company provides?

Obviously Avaya with its Flare interface and Cisco’s Quad are examples of being ahead of where the consumer market eventually evolved to.

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