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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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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

Leaked RIM Letter: Apple Nailing us, Our Apps Suck

June 30, 2011

A leaked letter from a RIM worker discusses how the company is getting beat by Apple and how its apps are sub-par. Suggestions on how the company can improve include focusing on the user experiance, recruiting senior software leaders and enable them to make critical decisions. Moreover the suggestions include cutting projects to the bone - focus more on end-users and less on carriers. The video below was used as reference.



The letter goes on to say to say there needs to be more marketing to drive consumer demand and Canadians are too nice - get rid of the dead wood and non-performers.



The Real Story on Grasshopper Phone Service

June 30, 2011

Earlier this month I wrote about a service from Grasshoper called Spreadable which was shut down by the company. Unlike most companies which shut down a division or brand, Grasshopper decided to write a four-part series on why they did it. Anyone else would have tried to kill the news. I called the company either marketing geniuses or marketing morons - mentioning that they did get me to write about the story and give them some extra publicity.

Since then I have had time to speak with the company - specifically the company's Ambassador of Buzz Stephanie Bullis who gave me many answers to the questions I had and more.

Spreadable was shut down without being sold because the company decided it could devote its resources more effectively to Grasshopper than Spreadable - the social sharing/referral/marketing company.



How Social Networking Could Change Amusement Parks

June 28, 2011

I’ve been fairly consistent in saying that video conferencing would take off when mobile devices became powerful enough to allow users to show their surroundings on the go. Amusement parks in particular seemed like an obvious place where video conferencing would be of use. This has been my feeling since around 2002 and it’s been great to see the industry get to a point where a smartphone is as powerful as a laptop of just a few years earlier and virtually everyone with a smartphone or tablet has Skyped on the go by now.

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