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Rich Tehrani
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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.













Metaswitch Thrutu iPhone App Lets Carriers Become Social Hubs

July 20, 2011

Earlier this year I came across Thrutu from Metaswitch newtorks - an application development platform allowing carriers to leverage rich social features and provide them as services to customers. In short, this is the exact sort of solution wireless phone companies need to try to keep their customers engaged and more importantly paying them.

Of even greater importance for service providers is being able to ensure that the contact database doesn't continue to get moved from the carrier cloud to the social cloud. By that I mean, consumers are relying more and more on Facebook and Twitter as their contact database making the carrier and the phones they sell less important.

Thrutu brings social features such as location, contact and photo sharing as well as prodding via a remote vibration (like Facebook's poke) and more via an API which developers can use to do much more.

I saw a demo of it working on Android phones and was impressed and as of this moment the company has released an iPhone version as well. As you may have guessed, you will be better off using such a service on a network voice and data can be shared such as GSM or in an area where there is WiFi and 3G/cellular.

Of course the question you have to ask is whether it is too late for carriers to basically reinvent social networks which are already dominated by the web giants we all know (and many love).







Off to San Jose, Interactive Airport ads and Boingo: I Love this Service

July 17, 2011

I flew out of JFK as was pretty amazed to see a new interactive ad format which consists of what you may consider to be a giant tablet on the wall allowing consumers to play games on it. I didn't get a chance to see the company behind the great idea but I did see engagement as there was one person on each of the ads I spied and people watching the person play.

Boingo set me up with an account years ago and even though I am not paying for it, I gladly would (please tell me the Boingo public relations doesn't work weekends  and read comments like this ).

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Boingo now works with GoGo Wireless - but you still have to pay extra to get access to internet while in-flight. Anyway - I didn't get charged and more importantly I didn't have to deal with the GoGo interface for logging on. I have found it to be a bit sluggish - I know, I am in a plane, what do I expect?



Did Social Just Make UC Irrelevant?

July 8, 2011

If you are working with a phone system maker who isn’t innovating rapidly, beware - their days could be numbered.

I hate to be sensational but you have to wonder, with real-time video & voice communications embedded into social networks where a billion or spend a good part of their day, is standalone unified communications now much less important? And with Google+ tying together all of Google’s activities from voice to video to Gmail and chat, will people prefer to make calls from their Google toolbar or something a PBX company provides?

Obviously Avaya with its Flare interface and Cisco’s Quad are examples of being ahead of where the consumer market eventually evolved to.

How Skype and Facebook Work Together

July 7, 2011

It is fascinating to hear how Facebook and Skype work together - the news this week that the companies have a solution merging the best of social and video has shaken the industry up a great deal but now the details on how the system works are beginning to emerge.

TMC's Tom Keating has an extensive podcast interview with Chaim Haas with Skype PR and IP communications veteran Jonathan Rosenberg, Skype's Chief Technology Strategist where he learned everything you need to know.

New Skype APIs There are Skype server APIs made available to Facebook users which allow "shadow" accounts to be created with random Skype IDs. This happens even if you have a permanent Skype account.

Stripped down client: The Skype client used in this instance is stripped down (just does p2p no supernode functionality or unnecessary UI or codecs) so it will download quickly. It doesn't use Adobe Flash as some web reports have stated incorrectly.

Thank you Amazon: All the Facebook calling is supported by server supernodes - no PC supernodes - with cloud support from Amazon EC2.

No PSTN just yet: There is no PSTN calling at the moment but in the future there could be. Some interesting use cases are the ability to allow calls to mobile phones based on profile or even e-commerce and click-to-call.

No HTML5: There were rumors of the client being HTML5 - sadly it isn't - that would have been great to see as it could have conceivable run on all platforms like iPads, etc. As you can imagine, the company had to work on scaling this app - as there are over 750M active users on Facebook - even more than Skype users.

Will it scale? The question now is will the Skype network which has had a number of outages these past few years be able to to deal with flash crowds, update issues and more.













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.

Survey: Games Most Popular Smartphone Apps

July 6, 2011

And surprise, most people will pay for apps

Games, weather and social networking apps are where people are spending a tremendous amount of their time followed by mapping, news, music and entertainment. These are the results of a new survey from Nielsen which asks what apps people used in the last 30 days. iPhone users who are mobile gamers play about 30 minutes per day on average or 14.7 hours per month while Android users play 9.3 hours per month.

Nielsen supplied chart of apps which smartphone users have downloaded in the last 30 days


While we see mega deals in the video game world for titles like Angry Birds and social companies like Zynga preparing for multi-billion dollar IPOs - let's keep in mind part of the reason for this is that everyone it seems will pay for games on their phones. Consider in fact Nielsen found 93 percent of app downloaders are willing to pay for the games they play.






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.





Search Marketing: Where it Pays to be Young

July 5, 2011

There is a crisis of unemployment in the US and those aged 16 to 19 are being hit with unemployment rates of 24% or almost three times the rate of adults. Worse yet, minority teens are seeing rates of unemployment as high as 41%.

There are a number of factors at play here - burst bubbles in credit and housing as well as margin compression due to price discovery on the Internet. The trend has gotten even worse as price discovery is now taking place via bar codes read by cellphones allowing consumers to buy from Amazon instead of the brick and mortar shop where they happen to be shopping and doing product comparisons.

Even worse, the Internet allows jobs to be outsourced with a mouse click and IP communications allows call center agents and other BPO jobs to be anywhere in the world. And these jobs are flowing to where there is less regulation and lower costs.

The good news is where the Internet takes away it also gives back.





TMCnet Reviews magicJack Plus

June 30, 2011

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