Tomorrow I head out to Our Fall Internet Telephony Conference & Expo which means I am at work on Saturday getting everything prepared for the trip. I am expecting a delivery today of a bunch of equipment. I didnt think it would come today but I was told to expect it. So here I am working and anxiously awaiting new technology to play with Ahem, make me more productive.
Before I tell you what Im expecting, please give me a moment to set the story up.
Mobile Phone Service
Except for a trade show in the basement of some Washington DC hotel 5 years ago, every place I have needed cellular services, Verizon Wireless service was far superior to all others. To be fair, I havent tested the Cingular, Nextel or AT&T network recently; my comparisons are solely based against Sprint and T-Mobile. Living in Fairfield County CT, using Verizon Wireless service is many times better than Sprint or T-Mobile.
The only reason I stay on the T-Mobile network for voice calls is because they use a GSM network, allowing me to talk in most places outside of the US. Perhaps even more important is the bluetooth support of the SonyEricsson T610 phone which allows me use a bluetooth headset instead of a corded one. It also allows me to synch my contacts and calendar with Outlook. Verizon didnt have phones with bluetooth support until recently.
Wireless E-mail on the go
Aside from my T-Mobile phone I also have a Blackberry 7750 on the Verizon network which allows me an alternative network to make calls on if the T-Mobile phone doesnt have a signal. I really dont carry the Blackberry except for business trips and I dont have a voice calling plan so I havent a clue what they charge me for the calls but I am sure the invoices arent pretty.
For those times on the road where there is no WiFi available and I need to download attachments or use applications that require a PC, I have a Sierra Wireless 555 card that works on Verizons Express network. I was one of the first on this network and used to see speeds around 100kbps. More recently I see about half that but the card has really helped me in my job so I have few complaints.
Now that Verizon has a faster network using EVDO technology instead of 1XRTT, you can achieve speeds of around 300 kbps and even bursts of around 2 Mbps if you can believe such claims. Still, even if I average around 100-200 kbps I will be a happy camper. I also have a subscription to T-Mobile hotspot or WiFi service in case I happen to have free time near a Starbucks.
Two new salespeople were added to my team recently so we needed two new blackberries so while we ordered the two 7750s I decided it was time to drop my SonyEricsson in favor of the Motorola v710. Instead of a phone with the form factor of a small bar of soap I will be getting a thicker flip phone which I am not 100% happy with. I like to not have to flip open the phone to talk. Still, as my wife keeps asking me, why is bluetooth so important if you cant use the phone so often? She is right as usual (boy, I hope she reads this). I understand the V710 is intentionally crippled by Verizon; at least that is what a number of sites say. You cant download photos or address books. I hope this isnt true, but I will get to see for myself when the phone comes. On the flipside some of the same sites say that the radio in the phone is excellent and I will have great reception. That will be a welcome change as currently no cell phones work in my house except Verizon in the corner of one room if you stand up on your tip toes, leaning out the window (I am not kidding). My friends Nextel phones seem to work on occasion as well At least the walkie talkie function.
While the phone was being replaced, I decided to upgrade the Verizon Sierra Aircard 555 as well. I should be receiving a Verizon Wireless PC 5220 card any moment. I havent a clue who makes this card for them but it doesnt seem to be Sierra which likely means I need new software to connect to the network. Ahh the joys of upgrading.
Getting back to the show, I am concerned about the distraction from focusing on the event while all this new equipment is being configured, etc. I suppose I could wait till I get back from the show, but that would mean a measure of self-control that I am not sure I possess this particular day.
Where to Find Rich Tehrani at ITEXPO
Ive had a bunch of questions about where Ill be at the show. Here is a recap in case you are trying to track me down.
On Monday October 4th from 4:40-6:00 Ill be moderating the roundtable VoIP Opportunities in the Military Environment. I have been ordained the TMC expert in military VoIP because I wrote some articles on the topic. At 7:30 that evening I will be at Bernards Restaurant, 506 South Grand Ave in LA for the VoIP Service Provider Award Dinner. The restaurant is located in the show hotel the Millennium Biltmore. Thanks once again to Netrake and the IPCC for sponsoring this event.
On Tuesday, October 5th at 8:30 I will be introducing our Grand Opening Session speakers, Bernd Kuhlin of Siemens and Katherine Bagin of AT&T. The same day at 12:00 I will be introducing the keynoters, Dieter Rencken of Polycom and from 4:00-5:00 introducing Steven Mihaylo of Inter-Tel and Susan Bailey of Avaya. Following the keynotes, we go right into The Future of IP Telephony at around 5:15. I am pretty excited about the participating companies in this panel, we have Cisco, NEC, 3COM, Lucent, Nortel, Quintum, Qovia, Snom, Brix Networks and Digium participating. I dont think we can have a better grouping of large, small and diverse VoIP companies representing the entire industry. Immediately following, I will be at the reception in the exhibit hall probably eating some high protein/low carb foods. By the way, if you send me an e-mail this day, I may not respond immediately for obvious reasons :-).
On Wednesday October 6th, at 7:00 AM I have the honor of Introducing Niklas Zennstrom the founder and CEO of Skype as a keynoter of Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. This is an amazing human being and a personal idol of mine. After all, he is also the developer of Kazaa which transformed the way the world dealt with digital music. Well napster did first but he did the industry one better. His ingenious peer to peer technology allows millions of users to transfer files among each other without the need for central servers. Similarly, Skype has taken the world by storm and has millions upon millions of VoIP users. I am very excited about hearing his views on VoIP. The keynote will take place via Videoconference which is provided by Polycom. Thank you Polycom! At10:00 AM I will be moderating the IP PBX Shoot Out. Again, an all star panel of presenters representing Covad, EADS, M5 Networks, Sphere Communications, Sylantro, Artisoft, Viper Networks, NEC, and Vonexus. Immediately afterwards I hope to be helping my staff managing the huge crowds we are expecting. We are still on track to have about 5,000 attendees which will mob the exhibit hall. Interesting, no other communications event has the ratio of attendees to exhibitors that Internet Telephony has. Not even close! We bring in massive quantities of buyers to meet with vendors. This show is the Worlds Largest VoIP Marketplace as our tagline says. Getting back to my schedule. I will be Introducing John Meyer, Lucents President of Worldwide Services at 4:45 and I will follow up with my now famous Tehranis IP Telephony Killer apps session at 5:30. Generally the format is that each company gets 5 minutes to demo their product and no PowerPoints are allowed. This is the only real session you will see at any show, it is real because it is not scripted. You cant compare this to PowerPoint product demos where speakers may be tempting you to doze. This session is exciting because it is totally live. Anything can happen. In the past, companies have tried to demonstrate and couldnt get their network card working or the AV system didnt cooperate completely. When a demo goes smoothly, it is incredible and blows PowerPoints away. Best of all, the crowd cheers. Ive never heard cheers at the end of a canned presentation. The goal as you guessed is to SHOW you how something works, live Not tell you. Hope youll be there. Immediately following, around 6:30, there is a reception in the exhibit hall that I will be attending and Id like to thank our sponsor NEC for participating.
On Thursday, October 7th at 9:00 AM I will be introducing Michael Durance, the VP and General Manager of Toshiba followed by Thomas Burger, the CEO of NEC Unified Solutions. I will likely be in the conference lunch all three days including this one which takes place in the Gold room. The sessions go until 5:05 this day weve saved the best sessions for last so hopefully you will stay to the end so you dont miss any crucial VoIP information.
Once again, I would like to thank all of you for attending and exhibitors and sponsors for making this show such a success. We are blown away by the pre-registration numbers and Internet Telephony Conference & Expo remains the Worlds Largest VoIP Marketplace.