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Rich Tehrani
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| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space

Microsoft

MangoSpring MangoApps For Better Corporate Collaboration

December 21, 2010

Months back you may recall I covered Cisco Quad, a corporate social networking solution for truly massive companies. While many organizations use Microsoft SharePoint as a social solution, another option is to turn to MangSpring’s MangoApps, a solution which takes the best elements of Facebook, Yammer, Quad and others and combines them into an easy-to-use app that the company proclaims is a powerful open communication and project execution solution for Fortune five-million companies.

The company, founded in 2007, has over 35 employees and I had a chance to speak with CEO and founder Anup Kerjiwal as well as Mike Jensen VP of Customer Engagements a few months back and it was like drinking from a fire hose. The company supplies a solution that answers so many corporate needs and it is priced at only $2-$7 per user per month (based on total users).

Callvine Simplifies Mobile Conferencing

December 19, 2010

Yesterday I was at a party where one of the guests was telling me about her job managing real estate for her family. I inquired about where her office is and she held up her cell phone and said my car is my office. This conversation reminded me about a recent conversation with Callvine Founder and COO Mark Dzwonczyk who tells me his company has found the secret ingredient to take conferencing to the mobile professional. After a couple of years of work, the company has an app which I tried on an iPhone (iTunes preview) allowing you to quickly set up groups which you can use to SMS and conference.

Delicious: A Mess Yahoo Doesn't Need

December 18, 2010

While Google, Yahoo! and Twitter are looking to expand their services into every conceivable area imaginable, Yahoo is going in the other direction as rumors swirl regarding the company shutting down social sharing site Delicious. It is fascinating really and it shows how companies with positive momentum seem to be able achieve anything and those with negative momentum have an incredible battle when they compete on the Internet.

As InformationWeek recently reported, a leaked internal slide from a Yahoo presentation shows the company was targeting AltaVista, Delicious and other services for elimination. The news spread like wildfire.

MagicTalk and MagicJack Plus Coming Soon

December 14, 2010

I’ve followed the IP communications business for well over a decade and in 1997 my company TMC decided to launch a publication called Internet Telephony to focus on what we believed would be a massive trend towards IP communications. At first we were ridiculed because there was a point in time when the technology was seen as a replacement for Ham radio only. It took some years but the industry caught fire and saw incredible innovation – even a bubble or two grew and exploded on the way to where we are today.

And as amazing as the market has been for 12 years or so, we didn’t see VoIP-on-a-stick become ultra-popular until a few years ago.

Grandstream GXV3175 a Solid IP Multimedia Value

December 14, 2010

Grandstream's Khris Kendrick discusses the GXV3175 as well as the company's other products such as a new cube camera

Grandstream has just released the GXV3175, a multimedia phone which features HD voice and video with the ability to connect the output of the video conference to an HDTV. Moreover, the Linux-based desk phone which sports an easy to use seven-inch touch-screen interface supports widgets for checking things like the weather or stock quotes.



There is support for  IM from Google, MSN and Yahoo! as well as social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Another great feature is integration with Photobucket and Flickr and other photo sharing services. This phone could very well replace a Sony Dash on a desktop as it not only does much of what that device does but adds real-time multimedia communications.



There are lots of other features including a 1.3 megapixel CMOS camera with privacy shutter as well as dual USB ports, integrated PoE, WiFi and memory card support.









TMC Seeks Product Marketing Manager

December 13, 2010

How TMCnet Global Online Communities look online (Click to enlarge or go to TMCnet to see a larger version) (Channels run along the left border)


Due to great success achieved by TMC's customers, we have seen massive growth in our online community-building products and as a result, we are in the middle of a search for a product marketing manager - someone whose focus will be to articulate the value proposition of these products to a broader audience.

An established product-line, our keyword-based Global Online Communities (GOCs) and channels have grown to over 200 and many of our customers are coming to us to purchase more terms to help them with organic search engine rank, news search rank, community building, social network needs and numerous other reasons.

We believe we have the largest collection of sponsored, news-generated communities on the Internet and as a result it makes sense to focus more resources on this product-line so more companies in more industries can learn how such products can assist them in their growth.

These products are very dear to me as I knew in the nineties that every company would need someone to help them with content generation - text, audio and video. I realized every website had to eventually become broadcast TV stations and newspapers in one.

And now, that is exactly what TMC provides sponsors - a third-party content-generating machine which creates targeted news which in-turn brings a large, laser-focused audience based precisely on specific terms and concepts.

The benefit for readers is we continue to reinvest our resources - many of which come from this cloud-based community building and SEO model right back into more reporters, editors and designers meaning more targeted and in-depth news and analysis for people looking to make purchasing decisions.

What is most gratifying is the smallest companies choose to work with us to grow their brands and we also have major players as customers such as RIM and Alcatel-Lucent.

Obviously I am biased but I see this community concept as the most underestimated product on the Internet. Most people don't understand it.
















Finally Headsets Get Smart

December 10, 2010

You get a call, you pick up the headset and put it on your ear and then turn on the headset to connect the call.

One of these steps is not needed.

The Apple iPhone popularized the motion sensor/accelerometer and Sonos uses this technology to keep its remote control powered down until it is picked up.

Now headsets can join the motion sensing party and the latest one from Plantronics, the Voyager UC Pro which ships early next year will acknowledge the fact you have picked it up by switching the call to the device.

What could be better than a world filled with smarter devices, making our lives easier? Thanks Plantronics... This is a really good idea.

TMC broke the story earlier today for more on this new bluetooth headset.









A New Tech Bubble?

December 4, 2010

Are we in a new tech bubble which most of us aren't even aware of? It is certainly quite possible and one thing we have all learned from experience is it is better to be overly cautious than to get burned in yet another frothy explosion.

One observation worth sharing is the rapid spread of information through the Internet means bubbles seem to grow bigger and faster as information flows more freely to those people who want to invest in whatever the latest craze is.

A recent New York Times article discusses the sky-high valuations of so many of today's startups from Twitter valued at $4B to Zynga valued at $5B! Then there is Groupon at over $6B. 

VentureBeat has an article on the matter worth reading as well.

In short, these aren't public companies that are witnessing these massive valuation increases - most are private and are seeing their values increase as VCs are stepping over each other to be part of the next Facebook.







FTC Do Not Track = Unintended Consequences?

December 3, 2010

Skype Shows us Closed Can Win

December 3, 2010

Dan York at a recent ITEXPO - specifically the collocated Cloud Communications Summit - Dan is on the right and Thomas Howe is on the left
 

Yesterday I discussed how open always wins referring to the competition between Apple and Google's Android and a side conversation was started on Facebook questioning my assertion. I took the opposite viewpoint in a comment and mentioned that Apple does have a lock on customers via iTunes as well as the App Store which have a tremendous lead in the market.

I was reminded of this discussion when I read how Dan York of Voxeo is espousing the virtues of Skype - a closed provider of communications - when Voxeo and Dan are huge proponents of open ecosystems.

As I read the piece, I became fascinated at how Voxeo has chosen to use Skype as a way to make the company's operations better - utilizing persistent group chats which focus on various subjects.

The point is that using these chats, the company which consists of many people located all over the world and some who travel are able to not only communicate effectively but are able to rapidly be brought up to speed on various topics after getting off an airplane by just logging onto Skype.

Dan mentions that there are other alternatives but it seems from the outside anyway that habit will keep the company using Skype for a long while - even if a better solution comes along immediately.

And this gets us to the counter of the open always wins argument - if you have loyal fans and/or people who habitually uses your interface and are happy with it - or some other differentiator, it becomes tough for competition to come in and take the market over. Even if the new competition is open.

Let's recall that compared to Apple and iOS, Windows Mobile was very open - it just wasn't as good as Apple's OS - and there was no contest from a marketing perspective either.

Apple definitely put together a more pleasing experience and were able to do so in part because they owned the stores, hardware and  packaging.

But now, Windows Phone 7 and Google's Android are taking some of the best parts of the Apple experience and replicating and in some cases improving them.

This in and of itself may not be enough to win against Apple but what the open approach has is a slew of hardware partners making devices in a variety of form factors. Some of these device sizes may catch fire.




















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