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60 Crucial IP Communications Interviews

September 5, 2008

Whenever I go to a conference, I learn a tremendous amount from the people I meet at the show. I really enjoy the impromptu networking which takes place at events as it allows me to learn so much about what is happening in the market. Ironically, I generally learn things I didn't think I would learn ahead of time. Quite often, I wish I would have known more about peoples' experiences before I met with them as it would allow me to be better prepared to ask pertinent questions.

I further wish I knew who was coming to events and and moreover I wish I could get a "brain dump" from them before the event so I could have a frame of reference before our conversations take place.

Imagine how much better networking at a show would be if I had an idea what people were generally thinking about the market before I even say hello.

In less than two weeks the world with gather at ITEXPO -- The World's Communications Conference to help select products for purchase, learn about the latest events in the telecom market and network with peers.

It is this last area where this blog entry should be of maximal benefit.







Fonality Gets More Funding

September 4, 2008

Fonality just received a $12 million financing round by Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth Fund. This is a powerful statement by this top fund that they really beleive in the open source communications story and to be quite honest, it is tough to disagree that this is a great space to be in as most every vendor in the space is doing well.

I have covered Fonality before -- the company makes quality PBX products and I have had a chance to test the Trixbox PBX for a number of months and remain impressed.

Getting back to Draper -- the fund has had some great investments including Hotmail, Baidu, Focus Media (advertising in China), Skype, Overture, Divx and many others. Some of the lesser known, current investments include Jobfox in the recruitment space, Kajeet -- in mobile services and Visto in wireless email.

But getting back to Fonality, the company has employed an interesting twist in the communications space as their PBX has taken some of the best parts of open-source and fused this with a hosted model -- allowing for example the recording of phone calls on Fonality servers which do not reside in your office.



At this point it should be obvious the open source communications market remains one of the most exciting spaces in telecom.

If you are interested in the open source market be sure to come to ITEXPO in two weeks in Los Angeles where you will see all the open-source leaders such as Digium/Asterisk, Pika, Sangoma and of course Fonality. You can also take advantage of Fonality/Trixbox certifications which will be held at the show.

See Also: trixbox Pro 2.0 review













John Chambers on Visual Networking

September 3, 2008

I missed John Chambers on CNBC this morning. I wanted to hear what he had to say but unfortunately I was being interviewed about ITEXPO at the exact same time Chambers was on TV. Thankfully, Michael Dinan, a TMCnet editor was on hand to listen to Chambers and write up what he had to say.

Chambers seems relatively bullish on technology and anticipates growth between 12-17% for the long-term. In addition, the world's largest networking company announced a net of over 10 billion dollars for the fourth quarter.

Election Technology News

September 1, 2008

One of the most fascinating advances in political systems worldwide is the advent of technology like blogs and other web 2.0 initiatives such as social networking and video. But even the old technologies like SMS are coming into play as candidates look for any and every advantage to distance themselves from one another.

As you can imagine, with so much technology swirling around, making candidates more productive and efficient, we at TMC became mezmerized by it all. It got so interesting to us in fact we decided to categorize all of the stories we ran having to do with election technology. Afer a while we realized we had developed an entire website focusing exclusively on election technology and how it transforms poltics.

Come to ITEXPO -- Get Famous

August 31, 2008

I made a logical leap in my headline -- inferring you can get famous -- in this case, written up in Popular Science Magazine if you come to TMC's Los Angeles ITEXPO conference in just over two weeks. Let me explain.

About a year and a half ago, Ari Zoldan, CEO of Launch 3 Communications -- a company installing global WiMAX networks came to ITEXPO and won an Toyota FJ Cruiser at the show. Now he seems to be popping up everywhere.

I just read an article in Popular Science Magazine (a great pub BTW) where Zoldan in his new capacity as CEO of Quantum Networks, LLC explains to inventors the best way to go about getting VC money from a firm like his. A few points to consider are -- call the CEO directly and don't give up majority interest.

Here is the article (look to the right side of the page).

Oh, and in just over two weeks, ITEXPO will be in full force and this year we are giving away a Toyota Prius to one lucky winner.







Nortel Buys DiamondWare

August 21, 2008

For over six years I have been espousing the virtues of 3D, stereo voice conversations with articles  and ITEXPO demonstrations mostly focusing on DiamondWare and the company's patented 3D technology which allows you to have a conference calls with others and place them on the left right, front or rear.

Until you have heard a conference call in 3D stereo, you have not heard a conference call.

In addition, the technology allows the addition of overtones like adding a metallic sound to a speaker or group of speakers on a conference call. This function could be useful if you are looking to find a way to discern what group a person belongs to -- the Los Angeles office for example.

You may recall that on May 15th of this year, I suggested Nortel would even buy DiamondWare. Well today is that day as Nortel did just that... They purchased the company and further explained how they have a portion of their R&D budget devoted to making VC-like investments but of course with a potentially different exit strategy.

Nortel believes the future of communications is likely going to be avatar-based and even if they are partially right -- let's say 5% of all calls, this could be a huge market.

A Nortel Avatar Demo of their web.alive business communications platform:


Nortel is further betting that the technology advantage they have as a result of this acquisition will help insulate them against others in the market who compete. That would be Avaya, Cisco and even to a lesser degree (at the moment) Microsoft.












Adobe Buzzword... On the Path to a Yahoo Merger?

August 20, 2008

You might have thought there are enough word processors on the market and there is absolutely no reason for any company to go through the expense of developing a word processor when Microsoft owns the market and Google is coming on somewhat strong. If this was your thinking, you may not have heard the latest news.

You see, Adobe has been watching this competition from a short distance away and has subsequently decided they can do an even better job than Google in the desktop application business by bringing their knowledge of graphics to bear on their competitor from the world of search.

A sample Buzzword document which subscribers can access in read-only mode.



Witness the Adobe Buzzword Beta, a SaaS offering meant to compete with Google and Microsoft. I have had a chance to demo the word processor and am very impressed with the graphical capabilities it possesses.







Communications, Speech Markets Have Positive Outlook

August 20, 2008

Two days -- two shows, two cities and two trains which left at dawn. Wow... What a rush. What I picked up from the Channel Partners (Boston) and SpeechTek (New York) shows is  the communications market and the call center market are doing well, based on what companies in the space tell me.

Yes, of course some sectors are doing better than others but some are amazingly strong...

Voice Mashups And Your Communications Future

August 18, 2008

What is the future of communications? One acknowledged thought leader in our field is Thomas Howe and his consulting company which bears his name is the place you go when you want to know. Howe and I were recently on a panel together at a conference in San francisco and I was very impressed with what he had to say so I invited him to be be my guest on a podcast.

Some of the takeaways from our discussion are that voice mashups are becoming more common and voice will transcend CEBP or communications enabled business processes to the realm of the consumer as well. As this happens, communications becomes the condiment to virtually all applications.

The excitement here is how this will happen.



SaaS -- The Tide is Turning The Wrong Way

August 17, 2008

Without listing them all as their are too many, the recent outages of services from Amazon, Google and many others have people worrying about switching to hosted applications and moreover, some jobs may be at risk over decisions to go hosted.

Remember the good old days when no one got fired for buying IBM. Seems like the saying still goes for Microsoft and other non-hosted vendors.

For hosted providers, the tide is turning and if these companies don't get their collective act together, they will ensure a slower migration to software as a service or SaaS.

The problem is of course that a single hosting company having an outage such as SalesForce.com, Google or Amazon will scare potential customers away from even considering the move to servers which they do not control.

Sure the infrequent outage isn't a problem but we seem to be hitting a critical mass of these things and there is a record number of outages and worse -- record numbers of stories about hosted service outages.

Let's just say it seems like the SaaS space may soon take a pause if these outages don't stop soon.

See Also:

Gmail leaves Google Apps admins nervous


Apple, Amazon cloud snafus leave Microsoft sitting pretty
Google Docs Outage
Outages Force Cloud Computing Users To Rethink Tactics
















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