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Rich Tehrani
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AT&T: From Dumb Pipe to Security and Home Automation

April 26, 2013

There has been talk within the telecom industry for many years regarding whether communications service providers would eventually just become providers of dumb pipes or provide added value they can charge for. The move to IMS in-part was supposed to allow these companies to add more apps and services to their offerings, allowing them to generate more revenue.

When Apple opened up its iPhone platform, hundreds of thousands of apps began to do many of the things telcos would have liked to provide. Moreover, many functions which telcos used to charge for like SMS were given away for free from the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook.

How a Call Center Translation Service Went Mainstream

April 24, 2013

Virtually everything in our lives has gotten more expensive over the years such as housing, cars, postage stamps, food and energy and yet telecommunications and broadband service costs continue to plummet. This state of affairs is in-part due to Moore’s Law and a side benefit of the declining connectivity costs has been bringing the world closer together. In the nineties you could bankrupt yourself quite easily if you direct-dialed from one country to another yet today IP communications has lowered the price of such calls to zero or a few pennies a minute depending on your location and device.

In 1982 a company called LanguageLine Solutions was founded to focus on helping translate conversations via telephone and since then, the company has grown to 6,000 interpreters who speak 98.6% of the 6,809 languages spoken in the world today.

On Screen Size, Apple is From Mars, Samsung from Venus

April 24, 2013

For many years now I have waxed poetic about the need for Apple to create a large screen phone. With the latest iteration of the iPhone, the “5” they decided to elongate the device but not make it wider. To me, this mistake is the worst that Apple has made since ignoring the market for seven-inch tablets and then playing catch-up with the iPad mini.

At first, when asked about larger screen phones, Apple said that they didn’t fit in the hand.

Interactive Intelligence Explores Small Call Center Roots

March 18, 2013

Interactive Intelligence is an example of a disruptor which went mainstream and in the process changed the way contact centers operated. Soon after launching in the mid-nineties the company would attract huge crowds to its booths at trade shows as it showed off all-in-one solutions which combined the dialer, ACD, PBX and more into a complete solution which operated seamlessly together. The company was first to espouse the concept and is responsible for getting the competition to emulate them.

In a recent meeting with Joe Staples, CMO and Senior VP of Marketing he told me the company has successfully acted upon its growth strategy from 2006 which was designed to increase its sales to large companies such as Rolex, BMW, Crutchfield, Sony Honda and many others.

Comverse Gets Social at MWC2013

February 28, 2013

Comverse showed me their Share solution at Mobile World Congress 2013 which allows carriers to deliver a Facebook app giving the user a portal into their subscriber account. Once you enter the app, you are prompted to enter a phone number and are subsequently sent a text message allowing you to get a code which enables authentication.

At this point you can check your account balance, send notes to customer care and more. The operator benefits as well because they can mine the user likes and preferences allowing them to determine for example if they may be a candidate for a bundle or special offering.

Smith Micro Extends MDM Standard to Chipset Level

February 28, 2013

Smith Micro's main message at Mobile World Congress 2013 was that wirelss broadband connectivity is going to become easier. Carla Fitzgerald, VP Marketing Wireless & Mobility explained how the company has worked with chipset vendors to get its QuickLink MBIM Middleware installed at the chip level in various computer systems.

She said, "Connectivity originally started as an application where the user was once forced to be an IT administrator." She continued, "But now with standards like MBIM and Smith Micro working with chipset vendors, connectivity will be automatic regardless of operating system."

The benfits for users will be the ability to have backward and forward compatability across not only operating system versions but operating systems as well meaning you could take a USB stick modem and seamlessly have it work regardless of your system. Currently the middleware supports just about anything you would want to use such as Windows 7, Vista, XP, Mac OSX and Linux.

Teoco Shows Predictive Geotargeting at MWC2013

February 27, 2013

At Mobile World Congress 2013 Teoco explained how they have carved out a niche in the market focusing on BSS and OSS analytics while taking advantage of geolocation to ensure operators not only serve their customer with greater profitability, they can also capture new revenue models.

The Virginia-based company has provided carrier solutions in the past such as service assurance such as capacity planning, managing network congestion, etc. They also provide network optimization like suggesting what direction a tower should tilt. Finally, margin assurance is a big area of focus - which in one case they say saved a customer half a billion dollars in five years through a variety of analytics projects such as reducing access charges, modifying contracts with suppliers, fixing uneven roaming scenarios, tower location analysis, network routing and other projects.

Mobidia Tackles Bill Shock at MWC2013

February 27, 2013

 

Chris Hill (pictured) the VP of Marketing at Mobidia was euphoric in telling me about the growth of the company's new app My Data Manager which has had 3.5 million downloads in the past 12 months. As bill shock becomes a larger problem which is amplified by the speed of 4G networks, users - especially when roaming, are literally a movie away from being hundreds of dollars above their typical monthly costs if they aren't careful.

The app runs in the background on iOS and Android and monitors app usage and cellular usage anonymously sending data back to the company if the user agrees to it. To date, over one million people have signed up to allow their data to be tracked meaning Mobidia has some incredible information about mobile use trends.

Vantrix Optimizes Media Delivery at MWC2013

February 26, 2013

As audio and video traffic over wireless networks has grown exponentially, operators around the world have struggled to deal with managing the challenge. Enter Vantrix who focuses on bandwidth management and more specifically media optimization according to company execs execs at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona.

 

The company showed off its solution running on the QuickFire Networks T-Video line - an offering which deals with ever-more complex video by attacking the problem with a combination of hardware and software. Using Intel 2.3GHz Core i7 processors the T-Video V1100 reduces the footprint of video transcoding solutions by a factor of five using 44 cores per rack unit. As H.265 video becomes prevalent, Mark Hopper, the VP of Product Line Management (pictured) for the company says video systems will have to increase their footprint size by 20-30x to keep up with video which has ten times the complexity factor - referring to the differences between H.265 and H.264 video.

Ciena Launches New Services Play

February 25, 2013

Ciena has some exciting news when it comes to the world of service provider networks. We know the company as an equipment provider which has had years in the business but now they have branched out from not only upgrading networks but businesses. Chuck Kaplan VP Industry Marketing (pictured above) spent some time with me at Mobile World Congress 2013 explaining how his company has spent years helping customers not just spend money on their solutions but make it as well through a new consulting initiative.

The first step in the process is to redefine carrier services for a new world where data usage has tremendous spikes which are caused by things like cloud service utilization.

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