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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

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Spam, Microsoft Search, American Airlines WiFi and More

August 20, 2008

I have so much to write about today that I just don't have the time for separate blog entries so if you excuse me, here is a list of unrelated but important topics.

Spam Arrest

I get too much spam. I get thousands of emails a day and it is killing my productivity. I now have a challenge/response system on my email which means users have to prove they are humans before I get their emails. I also check a web interface to ensure I don't miss important emails but  things got out of hand with all the spam and this new solution should help.

Text to Speech Gets New Voices

I had a recent meeting with Cepstral and they showed me demos of their service/software which provides a variety of voices for text to speech applications.







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...

How Social Networking is Transforming Politics

August 19, 2008

Social networking does well when it plays on people's passions. If you agree, then you will further agree that politics is one of those areas that makes people extremely passionate.

Having said that, I should further point out the similarities between a political campaign and a corporate marketing campaign.

Just as your company has to constantly strive to keep up with new communications mediums such as Wikipedia, text messaging and a slew of others, political candidates must do the same.

This is all well and good but it seems that only Barack Obama is utilizing all the tools of integrated marketing in his campaign. In addition it seems the Obama campaign's ability to mobilize micro-support or the support of small clusters of people in different parts of the country will enable him to achieve feats his rivals cannot.

In this case, rival number one is John McCain. To get a better idea of what Obama is doing, read this article. I can't help but wonder why Democrats seem to be so far ahead of Republicans when it comes to technology.

If John McCain wants to win this election, he really needs to be sure to utilize all aspects of integrated marketing such as text messaging while simultaneously engaging in social media via numerous networks.









Motorola Turnaround?

August 15, 2008

Motorola will be breaking up the company, bringing in new management and launching over 30 new products in the near future. Analysts remain very impressed but one wonders if they will be able to turn things around after over a decade of problems. This is a company which had challenges hitting numbers in the late nineties when other companies were booming.

Perhaps the best article headline on the topic is Motorola's Funeral Canceled: On Slow Road To Recovery, Says Citi (MOT).

It is the emphasis on new product development which is supposed to be the ultimate salvation for Motorola. You see, the theory goes the more products you have, the better you do.



Sheraton Gets Surface from Microsoft

August 15, 2008

Microsoft has this new computing initiative (Tom Keating's take with sound) which focuses on surface technology with hand-based gestures. Announced a few months back it is now in production and available at select Sheraton hotels (Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle).

Microsoft says there are vertical applications for this technology such as retail, healthcare, automotive and I am sure they are right. My question is will people use these things in a hotel?

Somehow I doubt they will because I have seen so many technologies in the US which are in public locations not make it. Remember internet kiosks?



Trixbox Certification

August 15, 2008

The open source world of communications is growing rapidly. Recently I discussed the Nortel acquisition of PingTel and what this means for our markets.

Ironically the competition in open source was once between Digium and PingTel and when Asterisk became the the dominant player in the space, it seemed that Digium won the war. It turns out that while PingTel lost steam, a new wave of compeitors in the open source space emerged, basing their products on Asterisk.

One such company is Fonality and their Trixbox platform has become a popular alternative in the open source space. It just so happens that Fonality is collocating their training session in Los Angeles at ITEXPO in a  few weeks.

If you are looking to see all the communications companies that matter in the market and also get a chance to receive certification on a number of topics, be sure to come to the show.





VoIP Growing at 53% to $24 Billion

August 15, 2008

The VoIP opportunity is still huge according to a new report from Infonetics Research. At a time when many industries are really hurting, hosted VoIP and managed IP PBX services grew 53% to $24 billion in 2007 after surging 66% in 2006.

Obviously much of this growth is as a result of PSTN replacement but it should be noted that once IP is in place, the potential to add services increases greatly. The great news is Infonetics anticipates growth in the strong double-digits until at least 2011.

Interestingly, IP communications boosts productivity and saves money at the same time. This makes it a great technology to invest in when times are good and times are bad.

Sadly, many companies get the deer in the headlights feeling when they see an economy slow and they sometimes stick with the status quo instead of making decisions which will save them money, boost performance and generate rapid ROI.

Interestingly I have noticed an increased focus on contact center and CRM solutions these past months which leads me to believe companies have finally figured out that if you serve your customers efficiently and well, you make more money.

Contrast this to the last slowdown in 2000 when companies decided to offshore their call centers to save money.









Communications and Technology Stories August 14, 2008

August 14, 2008

Please enjoy some communications and technology stories while having your morning (or evening) tea or coffee. My thoughts in brief -- Extreme is smart to jump on the energy efficient bandwagon, Jajah claims to have over 10 million users in the story below which is substantial. They also have a service which translates short English phrases to Chinese. Very cool but I am not sure this can be monetized.

Virtual PBX now allows callers to be pulled out of voicemail -- this great news and not easy to pull off for a hosted vendor.

McCain To Support Technology

August 14, 2008

It has been pretty shocking to me to see that the Bush Administration did not embrace technology in a more grand fashion. After all, Vice President Al Gore was so enthusiastic about the Internet he even claimed to invent it.

So while it seems like the companies of importance in the Bush administration have to do with energy, commodities and defense, we may see a McCain presidency focusing at least a little on technology.

In fact there will be a 10% R&D tax credit and opposition to internet taxes. In addition there will be an increase in H1-B visas (thankfully). McCain does not think we should have federal net neutrality laws -- the FCC and other regulators should deal with these issues he believes.

See this New York Times article for more.







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