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Rich Tehrani
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Sprint Telehealth and M2M Event 2011

July 26, 2011



Last week I spent time at the Sprint Telehealth and M2M Event which they call Emerging Trends and Solutions in Telehealth, Remote Patient Monitoring and Wellness Forum. It was an intimate event but full of partners like Digi and many others who were thrilled to show off their solutions which work in-part with Sprint's networks. BTW - for those of you who go back to the UNIX days of dumb terminals - you may remember DIGI used to be a player in the space of allowing many terminals to attach to a PC-based UNIX system. Yes, we are talking pre-Linux here - in the late eighties/early nineties.

The mood was upbeat and positive, this part of Sprint's business is doing well and a wave of partners are enthusiastic about the future of telehealth, telemedicine and the machine-to-machine (m2m) markets.



Will AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Slow Wireless Innovation?

July 25, 2011

AT&T has done an incredible job of getting special interest group after group to endorse its merger with T-Mobile, saying it will provide better broadband access for minorities, rural subscribers and just about any group of people you can think of. The broader gay community too has endorsed the merger - apparently transgender-Americans have been hoping for the day when there was one less GSM provider to choose from.

Here is how the system works - AT&T has hundreds of thousands of workers and inevitably large numbers of them in myriad groups. This in turn coupled with large contributions to various organizations and associations is rewarded with the reciprocal endorsing of anything AT&T requests.

To help grease the wheels even further, AT&T has further upped its lobbying budget by 58% according to PC Magazine.

AT&T is doing the smart thing by getting rid of its sole GSM provider allowing it better negotiating leverage in its roaming agreements with foreign carriers and gaining the ability to raise rates with one less major competitor to depress market pricing. It will also gain more leverage when negotiating with hardware and software companies.

An anti-merger video by the Free Press Action Fund



If the US government blocks the deal it will be because the remaining major companies AT&T and Verizon will have so much share that they are effectively a duopoly at about 80% - allowing them to raise prices at will.

Again, if you are an AT&T or Verizon shareholder, you likely want this merger to happen and AT&T is serving its short-term  shareholders well by seeking this transaction.

But the challenge I see is that with one less major telecom carrier in the US it becomes that much more difficult for innovative start-ups to launch, get funding and hold their breath long enough for a carrier to buy from them.















TMC Dallas Video Interviews 2011

July 25, 2011

Recently I spent some time in Dallas doing video interviews with companies in the Dallas, Texas area and during the course of the discussions I was able to get a sense of where the markets have been and are going. The vast range of different opinions really comes together into a few themes.

They are simply that wages and turnover rates in India are skyrocketing meaning some jobs may be headed back to the US. This is offset by an interview with  King White of the Site Selection Group - an organization which helps companies decide which countries and states they should locate in. He tells us that states with higher taxes are less attractive and subsequently deter companies from opening there.

Sonos Adds PLAY:3, Lowers Price

July 20, 2011

As a happy Sonos customer, I was delighted to learn the company has added more content (Spotify to be specific) to its system and also added a new music player and lowered its price on the SONOS BRIDGE, a wireless device you can connect to your Ethernet port to enable wireless high fidelity music to be streamed throughout your home. The price has dropped from $99 to $49 on this device.

Moreover, the newly announced PLAY:3 is a $299, 3-speaker, 3-digital amp music player. It can be used in a monaural or stereophonic configuration.

The ZonePlayer S5 has been renamed the PLAY:5 and provides stereo playback in a compact unit.

At first look, the PLAY:3 is a great addition to the SONOS family as it allows a low-cost entry into wireless music playing but I am wondering if $600 for two of these isn't a bit steep. Still, I have to hear it and compare it to the S5 to give a more informed opinion.

Until then, the company has produced a well-designed video which will show you how the system works and how the new PLAY:3 integrates with it.













Are you using Lync or USING Lync?

July 18, 2011

Thought leader and noted UC analyst Blair Pleasant is skeptical that 70% of the Fortune 500 are implementing and using Lync. But Steve Ballmer tells us that 70% are on Lync. As we all know, there is a difference between using something and really USING it. Especially when you consider how many workers a typical Fortune-class company has - does a few people per 100,000 constitute real use? We need more accurate usage numbers to back up his claim.

The interesting thing is you can likely argue that almost all companions use Skype in some capacity - and as it merges with Lync - you could say virtually all companies of any size use Lync. I wonder what Blair will have to say about that.



PSTN Death is Near

July 7, 2011

I vividly remember driving my car in 1999 – two years after the company where I am CEO, TMC decided to launch Internet Telephony Magazine and thinking VoIP was going to change the way communications works and eventually kill the PSTN. It seemed to me that within five years most of the world would make the transition as the cost disparity at the time was quite large between the PSTN and VoIP connections. Moreover, there were a myriad of free calling services using VoIP such as Dialpad which were ad supported, putting even more pressure on traditional telecom networks.

Within a few years the dotcom and telecom bubbles burst (we collectively said goodbye (details) to Dialpad and its competitors) and the cost for using the PSTN dropped substantially in order to better compete with IP communications alternatives.

Cell Phones Now Pose no Cancer Risk

July 5, 2011

The studies go back and forth and a few weeks ago the World Health Organization or WHO said there was an increased cancer risk as a result of cell phone use. Now, another study says the opposite is true.

The review was conducted by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Standing Committee on Epidemiology* chaired by Professor Anthony Swerdlow from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). The ICNIRP committee analyzed all published studies that have examined whether there is a link between mobile phone use and the main types of brain tumour, glioma and meningioma and determined that although there is some uncertainty, there is no link between cell phone use and brain tumors in adults.

The professor and his team analyzed data from thirteen countries going back 10-20 years.

We live in a world full of radio signals - a typical tech trade show for example could have dozens if not hundreds of WiFi access points. Add to that satellite, FM and myriad other radio signals coursing through our bodies at all times and you have to wonder if the addition of one more radio emitter near our heads will have any major effect on our likelihood of getting cancer.





Sprint Tries Desperately to Block AT&T, T-Mobile USA Merger

June 28, 2011



At a time when wireless broadband is becoming so important to US consumers and businesses, how can it make sense to have less choice in the market? Moreover, as carriers shift from all-you-can-eat pricing to a tiered system, isn't it obvious that wireless charges for consumers are going to skyrocket?

These are some of the arguments opponents to the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA are making but AT&T spends so much on lobbying and is so well-connected, they seem to be close to getting their deal done.

The situation for Sprint is so dire, the company's CEO Dan Hesse is doing virtually anything he can to prove the deal is bad for consumers. This includes an 18-state push and tripling of the time he spends in front of Congress and regulatory bodies.

Generally any action has positives and negatives associated with it and Hesse has to prove that on balance, AT&T will either provide inferior service or higher prices as a result of this merger.

Certainly the momentum is on the side of AT&T and not Sprint but the government does need to sign off on this deal and if he can find enough sympathetic listeners he may be able to kill this deal or at least make AT&T have to give up some very painful items to get it done.

More from Bloomberg BusinessWeek.











Avaya's Support Strategy Emulates Successful Cancer Diagnostic Systems

June 23, 2011

It is an unusual occurrence for me to receive a call from any company to discuss their support. Generally the media gets all warm and fuzzy about tangible things like new product launches – scoops and items you can put in the category of breaking news. Ironically though if you ask most companies what differentiates them from the pack, service and support is typically the most common answer. Yet, I can’t remember other companies asking me to meet their new head of global services.

Quad: The Death of E-mail and Cisco's Social Enterprise Ambitions

June 20, 2011

Quad moves to the cloud, has native Cius tablet support and offers better interoperability

Last week I took a train into the city from TMC’s Connecticut HQ to spend time with the Cisco Quad collaboration team – using Cisco telepresence technology and it was a fascinating look into the company’s foray into a post-email, collaborative enterprise world. First things first, I wrote about Quad and spoke with Murali Sitaram VP/GM of Cisco's Enterprise Platforms unit last September and since then Quad has not been talked about much in the media and has limited buzz in the market. Moreover, Cisco is repositioning itself – lightening up on consumer products meaning much of the company’s messaging has been in other areas of the market including launching consumer telepresence product UMI – something which should never should have gotten the green light.

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