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Communications Developer

Ribbit Sold to BT

July 29, 2008

Seems like the rumors were true. Ribbit was sold to BT for $105 million according to ZDnet. Here are some thoughts on the matter from Andy Abramson as well.

Why would BT buy a company focused on communications development? The primary reason is that they see communications changing rapidly and they want to be on the leading, not trailing edge of this trend.

Fuel Cells Power Base Stations

July 27, 2008

We live in a world obsessed with treating the environment better. While this statement does not apply to the entire world, the green technology movement in Europe and the US seems to be growing faster than ever. Still, when ensuring your carrier network has redundant power, you have options which are not really environmentally friendly. Diesel generators and batteries are but a few examples.

Too Many Mobile Phones Dissapointing?

July 24, 2008

HTC Touch Diamond
Photo Courtesy of Akihabara News
The dream device of all time based on specs has to be the HTC Touch Diamond (or the Pro model which has a keyboard) if for no other reason than the 640x480 resolution screen that fits in your pocket. This is much better than even the industry trend setting Apple iPhone. As with all HTC devices I have reviewed, the Touch Diamond is moderately flawed.

Every HTC device I have ever used wows me at first but every day use makes you realize the product didn't have much usability testing.

According to this review from Akihabara News the device is slow, has problems receiving wireless signals and a clunky interface. Ironically these are the same problems other HTC products have (the XV6800 comes to mind) as well.

But problems like these are certainly not unique to HTC.







Panama and IP Communications

July 23, 2008

Robert Messer recently took what I hear was a spectacular trip to Panama. You remember Robert -- he has been on many panels with me at ITEXPO focused on how to make money selling IP communications products and services. His company, ABP is a well-respected distributor in the communications market and he tirelessly educates the channel on how to be more successful.

In fact, next week he has a show called IP Sizzles (formerly VoIP Sizzles) which focuses on reseller education. I have the distinct pleasure of being part of this event and I will be keynoting in fact.

ITEXPO: Exhibits 90% Sold Out

July 21, 2008



There has been more interest in ITEXPO Fall 2008, Los Angeles, CA September 16-18 than any other Internet Telephony Conference & Expo I can remember in recent years. It seems people are beginning to realize this show is the only major IP communications event left -- it is growing quickly and it draws attendees from around the world.

If you are looking to reach service providers, enterprise customers, SMBs, resellers or the communications industry at large -- you should consider being at this show.

A participating companies list I picked up from an upcoming TMC press release is as follows but really, every important company in telecom will be represented in multiple ways. (please do not get offended if your company is not here. If I added all participating companies -- my readers would get fired because they would spend their work day trying to get through it all -- instead of getting their jobs done).





Recover Blocked Caller-ID

July 21, 2008

Did you know Caller-ID information is still potentially being sent -- even when Called-ID is blocked? If you have an Asterisk box and use certain SIP trunking providers, you can actually recover Caller-ID information that was not supposed to be sent in the first place.

Flowroute is one SIP trunking provider which sends Caller-ID and other information with calls.




According to the video above, you need to take the call information from such a service provider, strip out the privacy bits and forward the number.

You then take the configuration information, copy it into Asterisk and make some modifications using VI or other visual editor.

You then forward the call to another phone number and voila, the private call becomes a non-private call.

Isn't telecom cool? For more information on geeky things like this and also tips on how to make money when developing telecom apps, be sure to be at the the Communications Developer Conference September 16-18, 2008 in LA. See you there.

Video Credit: Kevin Mitnick and referral thanks to phant0ms1gnal and engadget.

I should point out the sound went in and out for me on this video in both IE and Firefox so if it happens to you, you aren't going crazy.
















Show Me the Opportunities!

July 19, 2008

This past week has had me thinking a great deal about telecom and how it is evolving. I have come to some conclusions worth sharing. The first is that customers could care less about walled gardens. Sure, we hear complaints from some about how walled gardens are bad - but consumers don't care.

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.







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