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Rich Tehrani
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Consumer Electronics

Inhance Trade from Inhance Technology Keeps Mobile Customers Coming Back

September 24, 2015

One of the most important aspects of the wireless market is the smartphone trade-in program as evidenced by recent news that Apple now offers its own upgrade program and Sprint tried to outdo the entire industry with a paltry $1 per month upgrade plan for customers with iPhone 6 trade-ins purchasing a 6s.

In a conversation I had recently with Inhance Technology, I learned 90% of customers don’t come back to the same retailer they purchased a device from. The company has a solution to help improve the odds of attracting a customer back into the store to upgrade. Their recently announced the Inhance Trade program which uses a variety of mechanisms to target specific devices, plan a specific action and determine when the action should take place.

Nuance Brings Artificial Intelligence to the Omnichannel World

September 3, 2015

"The robots aren’t coming, they are here," is all I could think of today as I mulled over my notes from a recent meeting with Gregory Pal, Vice President, Marketing, Strategy & Business Development at Nuance Communications. Coincidently I also happened upon an article yesterday about how robots are doing more of the writing of the stories you read from the Associated Press - saving them time and money and more importantly allowing them and others to share stories which are of interest to various groups but which couldn’t previously be covered profitably.

To me, it seems the technology used to write stories is similar, in some ways, to the natural language understanding, or NLU technology, Nuance has been working on for many years. In fact, the company handles over 14 billion customer engagements per year with 80% of its OnDemand customers taking advantage of NLU as well as 1.7 billion mobile and web conversations processed through virtual assistant solutions.

Versay Solutions Moves to Support the Omnichannel World

August 31, 2015

A company known for professional services in the contact center –
Chicago-based Versay Solutions has more recently applied its skills in analytics and more to the world of omnichannel. According to Stephanie Laureys, Client Services Manager for the company – they are able to leverage leading-edge tech and assimilate it into existing technologies quite easily. For example, a demo she showed, consisted of an Amazon Echo speaker integrated with its middleware to allow a user to ask the speaker to send a text or make a conference call.

The company has deep experience in speech app and IVR design using open standards such as SIP, VXML and others.

App Designed by 14-Year-Old Girl Could Help Fuel Diversity in Tech

August 12, 2015

A huge talking point in the media is how to get more girls interested in technology as a career.

Just this month, in fact, President Obama made a push to get more diversity in tech, Intel touted its diversity numbers and Tesla promoted  its female engineers on Twitter with the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer. 

We build cars #ILookLikeAnEngineer

— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) August 12, 2015

The explosion in smartphone and app use, is a universal phenomenon - everyone has been exposed to the wonders of tech. Still, there are far more boys than girls entering the fields of science and technology.

This is why I hope 14 year-old Naomi Benenson's new social-wishing app wish2wish becomes a smash hit. 

The Gaming Evolution, from Touch to Buttons

May 15, 2015

Now that touch screens have permeated all sorts of computer form factors from watches to phones and tablets, its worth mentioning touch interfaces can be good for some games and poor for many others. First person shooting games for example benefit from buttons. Moreover, on-screen touch buttons require fingers to get in the way of screen real estate.

MFI controllers alleviate many of these issues by bringing what users love in their console games to touchscreens. Recently, a new company launched on Kickstarter called Bluewhale hoping to produce the ultimate controller for your gaming life.

I reached out to the company to learn how this prodyuct compares to others on the market which are liked by reviewers such as the Mad Catz C.T.R.L.

Extreme Networks Puts the SDN in Skype for Business

May 13, 2015

As Skype for Business continues to gain traction in the enterprise – regardless of how many name changes Microsoft’s UC solution has gone through, the one constant is the need for bandwidth on corporate networks to handle the increased load of voice and video calls. For this reason, Extreme Networks has been focusing on helping customers set up software-defined networks allowing for bandwidth to be requested and granted on-demand in order to ensure communications has the required bandwidth it needs via OpenDaylight integration.

The Extreme Networks OneController... An Open, Standards-Based SDN Controller Providing Simple, Fast, and Smart Automation and Orchestration

In addition, at Interop 2015, Extreme touted a bunch of SDN enhancements it has made including:

  • Group Based Policy - Integrates Extreme Networks' NetSight management application with OpenDaylight Group-Based Policy (GBP) to deploy consistent network policies across a multivendor network.
  • SDN Applications Store - Offers an online repository of paid and free apps for customers and technology solution partners' Software Defined Networks.
  • SDN Developer Portal - Provides third-party developers of SDN applications with the necessary information needed for developing, submitting and managing their applications in the Extreme Networks app store.

At the show I met with a number of people from the company including: Markus Nispel, Vice President Solutions Architecture and Innovation, John Hanahan, VP Product Management and Marketing and Derek Granath, Senior Director Product Management and they seemed quite enthused about recent wins such as a 32-school system in the town of Enfield, Connecticut and University of New England in Australia.

Exclusive Interview with Aricent's Frank Kern at MWC 2015

April 3, 2015

It’s been a few years since I've covered Aricent (2012, 2009, 2006) but as fate would have it I was fortunate enough to interview Frank Kern, CEO at MWC 2015. This is one of the companies behind many of the products we use and one you likely don’t know a great deal about. It’s owned by KKR and Sequoia and is a pure-play product innovation services company – Kern explained his they don't do IT and BPO like others in the space.

Another differentiator is the company’s core strength is connectivity and there is a great demand for such services at the moment.

Fring Alliance Aims to Become Carrier VoIP Cooperative

April 3, 2015

Fring may be one of the more interesting stories in the telecom space. The company launched one of the first VoIP apps I used on the iPhone – if not the first. They then sold to GENBAND some years later to be the core enabler of a hosted VoIP platform carriers could purchase from GENBAND and resell to their customers. In short, a simple cloud-based white-label way to compete with OTT without massive investment.

Nespresso and Keurig Shows Carriers How to Increase ARPU and Customer Stickiness

April 1, 2015

Amdocs shows carriers how they can take a commodity business and make it better

Technology has taken the coffee business to a new level. Nespresso capsules and Keurig K-Kups have brought premium coffee to the masses while simultaneously bringing billions of dollars of new profits to the companies that took a commodity business and found a way to add value. Perhaps the only thing as addictive than substances you ingest or breathe-in are mobile devices. It goes without saying that morning coffee and gadget usage are two things most people wouldn’t want to be without.

Will YipTV do to TV What Vonage did to Voice Calls?

March 11, 2015

The VoIP market literally revolutionized the way communications worked – allowing among-other-things, a company to provide over-the-top services which were decoupled from the phone company. For the first time you could go out and buy broadband from one company and phone service from another. The poster-child for this movement in the US had to be Vonage, and the company did a great deal for the fledgling VoIP market at the time. Thanks to Vonage, AT&T launched a competitive service called CallVantage out of fear.

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