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Communications Developer

The Local Starbucks is Closed

July 19, 2008

If you were wondering whether your favorite Starbucks will be one of the 600 stores the company is about to close, the entire list (PDF) of stores to be closed has been made available.

California will see just under 90 stores shut down while Florida and Texas just under 60. TMC's home state of Connecticut will lose five stores -- the closest is about ten miles away from TMC and a store I have never visited. Digium will lose one store in its home city of Huntsville, Al (Madison Square Mall), Manhattan will lose six and Southhampton is the only location in the prestigious Hamtons to be whacked. Expect stores to close early next year.

There have been petitions circulaing to save specific locations and government officials are trying to persuade the company not to shut certain stores.

What I find amazing about these incidents is that many used to complian that Starbucks killed off the local coffee shop and made coffeee a chain-like experience.





Contact Center and Service Provider Similarities

July 17, 2008

I have been seeing an interesting trend in the communications space. In the last 2-3 years, more and more companies who used to focus on service providers have expanded their focus into the call center space. Acme Packet and NextPoint are a few examples of such companies. This is not so surprising mind you when you realize how remote agents resemble service provider customers and the theing they have in common is the need for an SBC.

In addition there has been growth in the hosted contact center market and as more service providers have become interested in providing such services worldwide they need to work with call center vendors who can supply them with the solutions they need.

Google's Interfaces, A Hindrance?

July 17, 2008

TechhrunchIT has an interesting story about how companies that Google acquires generally do not do well. This is not unique to Google of course but the problem engineers face is dealing with the proprietary interfaces Google uses such as BigTable and MapReduce. These and other programming interfaces allow a typical application to be clustered and distributed making it more resilient and scalable.

According to the article, it can take six months for an engineer to learn these interfaces and as you can imagine this programming knowledge is of little use outside Google.

The article points out that some of the best programmers are currently working for Google but what it doesn't mention is the fact that Google could easily open up these APIs and sell cloud computing services like Amazon. With so many programmers already familiar with these interfaces, one wonders if there isn't hidden gold in doing so.

Disclosure: The author owns Google shares.







VON Shows Over

July 16, 2008

A Community Service Message

I have been pretty silent about what has happened with Pulvermedia and the VON events because frankly, everyone else seemed to be covering the fact that the events are no longer taking place.

Also, TMC used to compete head to head with thee VON events so I thought it poor taste to discuss their demise. Having said that, I was at a recent event where I heard horror stories of people showing up for VON Amsterdam -- only to find out there was no VON Amsterdam. Commenters in the blogosphere have echoed the same sentiments.

So I wanted to make sure I went on record letting people in the communications industry know that Pulvermedia is shut down.





ITEXPO Prius Giveaway

July 16, 2008

I have had a number of positive comments about the fact that we are giving away a Toyota Prius at ITEXPO in LA, September 16-18, 2008. Most of the comments are thanking me/TMC for being environmentally friendly and more importantly this car seems to be so hot right now that everyone is excited to come to the show, learn about IP communications and hopefully walk drive away with the new car.

As always, we are excited to help educate the market and as a token of appreciation, we try to do nice things for attendees like give them an energy efficient automobile.

For full details about the show check ITEXPO's website and also be sure to check out the other events taking place at the same time -- Communications Developer and Call Center 2.0.



Google's Android Plays Favorites?

July 16, 2008

It seems that if you were a finalist in the google Android Developer Challenge you have the option to sign an NDA which allows you access to SDK updates. This is all well and good unless of course you are not a finalist. So basically, the typical developer is at a disadvantage according to this Ars Technica article.

How was this discovered if the developers were under NDA? Simple -- Google employee David McLaughlin accidentally sent notification of a new SDK release to a public Android mailing list.

Expect a new interview question from the search leader which delves into mailing lists.

Suffice it to say, developers are upset by this news and Google now has a PR problem on its hands.

With the success of Apple's iPhone App Store, one wonders if Google will be able to compete with Apple for the attention of mobile developers going forward.

I am looking forward to discussing the matter further with developers at the Communications Developer Conference, September 16-18, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA.









Sun, Intel Have Positive News

July 15, 2008

Leslie Conway Joins Digium

July 10, 2008

An entire ecosystem in the communications market revolves around Asterisk and the company behind this open source communications wonder is Digium. I have seen this Huntsville, Al organization take off since I first covered them in January 2004 in Internet Telephony Magazine.

Over the years, Mark Spencer, the founder of the company transitioned from CEO to CTO and during the transition Digium tapped Adtran for talent as needed. Adtran was an early investor in Digium and this may have been one of the smartest investment decisions a company can make.

Getting back to Digium, Danny Windham (podcast) was brought in in 2007 from Adtran and Bill Miller rounded out the company's management team, bringing years of experience from 3COM and a host of other tech companies based in Mass.

Now, Miller who had a dual role in product management and marketing will hand over the marketing reins to Leslie Conway who also comes from Adtran. Her resume is impeccable and I am  looking forward to speaking with her in this new role.







Aspect Buys BlueNote Networks

July 9, 2008

Why would Aspect, a company which is the largest pure-play contact center equipment and software player in the world buy BlueNote Networks? I am glad you asked. I had met with Aspect execs about this deal a month or so ago under embargo and have had a good amount of time to mull the reasons over.

In my opinion the need for this acquisition is due to a continuing convergence of industries. We have seen this firsthand...

The GUI Becomes the GBUI

July 5, 2008

It seems Apple has seen so much success with multitouch that it is expanding this UI. A series of patents applied for by the company show how the Cupertino company's gesture-based interface will potentially be able to determine when your device is being removed from your pocket, being held against your ear or near other body parts.

Just as Apple blazed a new trail with the mouse and the GUI with the Mac (yes I know they didn't invent the GUI) they will now apparently do the same with the gesture-based UI or GBUI.

It is also interesting to note that such an interface could perform different actions based upon whether a finger or fingernail is touching a screen. This would be similar to the right click button on many mice.

It will be very interesting to see if the rest of the world follows Apple's lead. It seems that if Apple's interface does become the defacto input mechanism for mobile devices and other vendors don't get on board soon...





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