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Rich Tehrani
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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.







Book Flights Now For ITEXPO West 2008

August 13, 2008

Many attendees have told me they are getting great deals on airfare to ITEXPO September 16-18, 2008. I happened to just price a flight and the cost was $306. Travelocity has a sale with prices from New York to Los Angeles starting at $285.

Also, many people have told me they will be using JetBlue and landing in Long Beach and Burbank Airports.

Here is a United flight I priced as a reference:

Flight:  United flight 21 on a Boeing 757 Jet <input type=hidden name=javascript_turned_off value=YES>   Depart:  New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK)- Tue, Sep 16 6:30am Arrive:  Los Angeles, CA (LAX) - Tue, Sep 16 9:44am      
Flight:  United flight 840 on a Boeing 757 Jet Depart:  Los Angeles, CA (LAX)- Thu, Sep 18 2:14pm Arrive:  New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK) - Thu, Sep 18 10:38pm  
The great news is that flight costs are dropping pretty rapidly meaning you can come the world's communications event and still have reasonable travel costs.







Leaving Montreal

August 8, 2008

I am am on way back from Canada and am happy to be headed home. As I leave, I just can't help but think that this country is an amazing place as it seems to have more communications companies per capita than anywhere else I know of. Israel could be a close second or could be ahead of Canada but I am not certain which gets the crown.

I have met company after company which is in this sector or that in the market. Lately I have been meeting with lots of companies making a living in wireless such as WiMax, FMC, etc.

It is almost impossible to keep track of them all.

Moreover I have had a great deal of positive feedback on my session yesterday and it was great fun to discuss next-gen marketing with a room full of tech-savvy people who really understand how the marketing world is changing.





IP Fax Still Growing Thanks to Unified Communications (UC)and VoIP

August 7, 2008

Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a partner conference Sagem-Interstar put on in Montreal to help its partners and customers. The conference was attended by a number of resellers/integrators from around the world but the ones I met were primarily based in the US. Some of the takeaways from the conference were that fax is still doing well and although many have predicted its demise, it is alive and well yet going through a dramatic transition.

In fact the company repeated what they have told me in the past - many companies still have no idea how many fax machines they have and how much fax traffic they generate.

Buy ITEXPO Plane Tickets Soon

August 6, 2008

Good news: I have noticed plane fares for trips to ITEXPO this September 16-18, 2008 in Los Angeles have dropped by hundreds of dollars in many cases. As a show organizer, nothing makes me happier than having our event more accessible to everyone.

The Internet Telephony event has really evolved over this past decade and is now the the largest gathering of IP communications companies and decision makers in the world. It is the one place to be if you manage communications for a service provider, enterprise or are a reseller/developer.

You just have to be at this show if you want to network with the industry and see what is next and what is happening right now.

So I am happy to share the good news with you all and I hope to see you in September... In LA.











Facebook Benefits Obama Most

August 2, 2008

As candidates embrace more and more web 2.0 concepts, they begin to outpace many companies in their use of new age tools. Recently in fact the McCain campaign emailed a series of videos which let his supporters choose which video is the better choice at showing the media love affair with Barrack Obama.

Shortly thereafter, the Obama campaign pushed out a video of the candidate making a rousing speech in Germany.

But which candidate do you suppose has the most web 2.0 street cred? In a Google search on the word Facebook, the second result is as follows:

----
Barack Obama | Facebook Welcome to the official Facebook Page of Barack Obama. Get exclusive content and interact with Barack Obama right from Facebook.






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