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Rich Tehrani
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John Chambers

June 19, 2007

John Chambers the CEO of Cisco is getting ready to speak here in Chicago and John is generally one of the more dynamic speakers the industry has. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard John speak as often as I like as I seem to always have a scheduling conflict. at events he speaks at. I heard a bit of his talk at Interop and it was great. Today, I am not sure what to expect but think telepresence will be part of the message.

Packet Island

June 19, 2007

Packet Island Redefine Network Management   “It is not just about kbps” is the statement ringing in my head after a discussion I had at TMC’s Communications Developer Conference in Santa Clara, CA last month with Praveen Kumar the co-founder and president of Packet Island. As Praveen pointed out, a network can become flooded with packets when VoIP is deployed. In some cases, packet volumes can increase by a factor of ten or more.   To help companies cope with the ever-increasing number of packets on a network the company makes an appliance which can sit in front of the PBX and monitor quality metrics. For those of you interested in the open-source world, the company also makes a software agent for Asterisk.

Cantata IMG/MSP

June 19, 2007

Cantata's IMG/MSP Speeds Application Delivery Times for Service Providers.   Recently I spoke with Peter Vescusi about Canata’s latest IMG roll out… Verison 10.3.3. As you may recall this is a pretty feature-driven release with more SIP methods, SIP and SS7 translation and load balancing allowing a single IP address to represent a farm of IMGs.   At the Communications Developer Conference a few weeks in Santa Clara, CA I had a chance to catch up with Cantata’s James Rafferty who told me the new release has been seeing positive deployment in the telecom world.   For example, service providers are thrilled to be able to do multiple ENUM registry lookups with up to four DNS servers. This is great for peering fabrics which of course explains why I frequently see James at voice peering events.   Since we were at a developer show I suppose this was the reason we got to talking about the MSP 1010 which is similar to the IMG (he calls it a sister product) but has API hooks allowing a developer to build things like transcoding under API control.   You can also write TCAP-based applications allowing lookups for LNP. You can also write a CNAM look-up for Caller-ID.   From there we discussed time to market which Jim tells me is about 90 days with the MSP and he contrasts this with developing with boards which can take 6-9 months according to James.   An interesting topic which came up again and again at the show is fax support.

PhoneGnome

June 19, 2007

Is PhoneGnome from Televolution the ultimate CLEC 2.0 Enabler?   We know the story all too well. Thousands of CLECs backed by the venture capital market flooded the telecom space in the hopes of all becoming the next AT&T. The goal back in the late nineties was to roll out fiber as fast as possible with no regard for getting any customers.   If you remember, at the time, the stock market didn’t even value profit… It was all about eyeballs, miles of fiber and potential for future profit. Profit was an “evil” word as it allowed markets to place a valuation on your company.

Sangoma: From Open Source to Unified Communications

June 19, 2007

I recently had a chance to speak with David Mandelstam at the Communications Developer Conference last month in Santa Clara, CA. Sangoma was one of the highlights at the show as the company had produced a few record quarters in a row just prior to the event. Even more impressive the company turned in yet another record-breaking quarter of 24% growth quarter over quarter.   It was great to catch up with David and hear his thoughts on where the company is going. One thing I mentioned to David is how his customers consistently tell me how great the voice quality and reliability is of their cards.

Skype Trunking

June 19, 2007

VoSKY Technologies Enables Skype Trunking and More

Many companies are using Skype in their business but generally speaking these are Skype islands which do not interconnect with the plethora of telephony equipment in the organization. For example the ACD is an integral part of many an enterprise yet native Skype does not have access to such niceties. For example, there is no centralized auto attendant on Skype calls coming into an enterprise.   A few years back when there was talk of eBay purchasing Skype and many critics who said eBay spent too much on the VoIP software company, I countered by saying Skype is one of the world’s largest and still fastest-growing telephone companies. This idea still holds true and the one thing most every pundit forgot to mention is the Skype opportunity in business.   There is a tremendous SMB and enterprise market for Skype to exploit by offering its network for the benefit of businesses everywhere.   At a keynote speech at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in 2005, Skype CEO Niklas Zennstrom told the world for the first time that Skype is doing very well in the business world.

Nuvoiz: Unified Communications Grows Up

June 19, 2007

The interest in unified communications is not slowing down and I can tell from the subscription interest to TMC’s Unified Communications Magazine the future looks very bright for this burgeoning technology.   A few months back I wrote about mid-market unified communications and more specifically a company called Nuvoiz which is aiming squarely at this market as it rolls out its UC strategy.   The founder of the company Chong-Jim Koh is an energetic and passionate entrepreneur who seems to have the drive to be a player in the space. Of course UC is a wide open market and there will be no lack of competition.   To stay a step ahead of the competition, Koh showed me the slick UI of his UC application. If I had to say what it looks like… I would say it is more Skype-like than other solutions I have seen. This by the way is a complement.   In addition, the company offers a mobile client which runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile Devices.

RingCentral Update

June 18, 2007

If you have any doubt the hosted communications market is growing, you need to look no further than RingCentral who tells me their customer acquisition rate has grown at twice the rate of last year. The company does not offer VoIP but instead, a virtual office service allowing you to have the features and functions of a much larger company on a less expensive and pay as you go basis.   The service works with any phone system, such as a cell phone allowing a full featured auto attendant to front end calls. The company is focusing on the under 10 user market and Boris Elpinier the company’s VP of Marketing tells me they have tens of thousands of customers.   Boris and I met at the recent Communications Developer Conference in Santa Clara where he went on to tell me his service has the benefit of allowing you to start with a single client and doesn’t force you to use VoIP. Boris went on to say the SMB space uses fax more than he initially thought they would and thankfully his service supports fax.   Elpinier went on to say the value proposition for prospective customers is that for the price of a featureless 800 number or a fax service you can have both using RingCentral.

Borderware's SBC Strategy

June 18, 2007

MidMarket Session Border Contoller   Over the past few years the Session Border Control market has seen some change. At the high end of the market there are companies like Acme Packet and Nextone. These companies generally focus on features, features oh and more features. In fact a recent meeting with Seamus Hourihan of Acme Packet was one of the most information-packed discussions I have ever had.

Lifesize

June 18, 2007

Near Telepresence at a Fraction of the Cost   There seems to be no doubt if your company has corporate jets you can afford and will likely embrace a telepresence system from a company like Cisco or Polycom and spend up to $300k per unit to do so. But for those companies who might think twice about spending the equivalent of the average US house on their videoconferencing solution, there are choices.   One such choice comes from a company called Lifesize who has been making lots of noise in the HD videoconferencing market. Lifesize sits in the market at the midrange, providing excellent video quality at a fraction of the cost of the big boys. The goal of the company is to be the price/performance leader and I can vouch for the quality of their technology as I had a chance to see it for myself.
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