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Mediaware Communications: the new Blue Silicon

December 6, 2007

In 2000 my team at TMC received a call from a new company named Blue Silicon that received around 70+ million dollars to form a company that would integrate voicemail across disparate systems. The company launched at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo and in a keynote session the response from the audience was very very encouraging.   It seems the problem the company was solving intersected with a corporate need.   Shortly thereafter, the telecom bubble burst and funding for many new companies in telecom and datacom was ceased. Blue Silicon closed was forced to cease operations.   I couldn’t help but think of Blue Silicon when I read this Wall Street Journal story about Mediaware Communications, a new company allowing a user to have a web browser interface to a variety of telecommunications services from disparate providers.   In the article there is a comparison of this solution to the way Slingbox works – in both cases you are able to remotely access a service. But in the case of Mediaware, you are able to access your voicemail via a web browser and in so doing you are able to dramatically improve it.   I tried to access the company’s service but could not find them on the Internet.

FCC Upholds Metro Competition

December 6, 2007

At yesterday’s VPF meeting a number of people had trouble believing that Verizon opening its network is an authentic move to help consumers. This is partly because the company while on the one hand was opening was on the other, petitioning the FCC to decrease deregulation -- meaning they would be able to effectively block competition in major metropolitan areas.   If accepted, the petition would have subjected 34 million Americans in broad areas surrounding Boston, Providence, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Virginia Beach to fewer choices and higher prices for telecommunications services, according to COMPTEL (News - Alert) CEO Jerry James.   But then again, the two news items are not really related. Although there is a lack of details regarding what Verizon means when it says it is opening its network, the move is for the company’s own benefit. In the end, companies do what is best for their own interests and subsequently we need to applaud Chairman Martin and the FCC for upholding the best interests of consumers and businesses by ensuring adequate competition.   See also:  

Telecom Growing Nicely

December 5, 2007

It’s a good time to be in telecom. With all the housing gloom and doom it is nice to see that at least the telecom market is doing exceedingly well. Of course you have to pick your battles… Consumer VoIP is a rough space to be in (just ask Vonage) but companies focusing on the enterprise are as happy as pigs – well let’s keep this semi clean – Pigs in subprime mortgages.   Case in point, after a sluggish second quarter in 2007, enterprise telephony equipment manufacturers saw an 11 percent jump in worldwide sales in 3Q07 to reach $2.6 billion, according to a recent study.   “The Big Three (Avaya, Cisco, and Nortel) had excellent quarters, all growing well into the double digits,” said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research.   Worldwide sales of service provider next-gen voice equipment are up 5 percent in 3Q07 from 2Q07 to $956.4 million, says Infonetics Research in its "Service Provider VoIP and IMS Equipment and Subscribers" report.   “The bump this quarter was partially due to seasonal factors, as the third quarter tends to be strong, but also because of increased demand across the board, even in the TDM segment.

Speaking at VPF Winter 2007 Today

December 5, 2007

I am speaking today by the way. I forgot to mention it. Here is the session you can see me at later today –4:00 PM in fact.   Keynote Panel   Web, Media and Telecom Market   Panelists include Bhupender Kaul from Time Warner Cable and Hunter Newby from Telx. See below for some of the discussion points.   The panel will be an informal discussion on how these various markets are intersecting, and potentially merging into a single industry. Specifics include:  
  • Opportunities and disruptive influences of the Web and Media on Telecoms industry
  • Open standards, interoperability, peer-to-peer are viewed with concern by the telecom and media industry
  • Strategies carriers are taking in their "home" markets and in global markets
  • The transition of CableTV to Video over Internet and IPTV and its impact on the MSO market
  • What will the role of a traditional telecom company look like in 2, 5 and 10 years?
  • How will Google's 700Mhz bid change the industry?
  • Is the Web the new "telecom" industry?
  I know it is a bit late but assuming you are reading this blog entry on your mobile device while jogging in Central Park you can make it here by 4:00PM EST.  

Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007 Kicks Off

December 5, 2007

At the Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007 conference the attendance is very good which indicates tremendous interest in this burgeoning market. So far it seems clear that Stealth Communications, the company behind this event has yet another successful conference under its belt.   Perhaps the best indication of how this market has evolved is the fact I am sitting in a session on wholesale VoIP meaning the Voice Peering Forum is not just about peering but has evolved to the point where it focuses on more general service provider topics – not just peering.   The session really focuses on international long distance growth and is being chaired by Stephen Beckert, Research Director at TeleGeography Research is speaking. Here are some of the session points worth noting:  
  • Aggregate wholesale revenues are growing 2-3% annually while traffic is growing 20-30%.
  • The impact on carriers net is not as bad as on gross.

Off to the Voice Peering Forum New York

December 4, 2007

Tomorrow I am off to the Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007 hosted by Stealth Communications. Shrihari Pandit the VPF Founder asked me to help with some video reporting which is always very exciting. If you know Hunter Newby from Telx, you know Hunter has been evangelizing video interviews for at least a year. So tomorrow I get the privilege of being a reporter and instead of the printed word I will be dealing with the video frame.   When you get used to dealing with words all day your mind seems to know that when you interview you can go back and modify things later.

Certified WiFi Telephony

December 4, 2007

Good news for those vendors looking for 3rd-party certification of their WiFi solutions as well as companies and consumers looking for the authentic “WiFi telephony” seal so glaringly absent from the marketplace today.   Russell Shaw’s blog discusses how the WiFi Alliance has established a Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice Personal Initiative and discusses how you can get involved.   Why would such a seal make sense you ask? Well, not only does WiFi telephony have all the inherent challenges associated with packetized voice such as having to deal with bandwidth issues, latency and jitter… It has to deal with wireless issues as well. Examples include seamless hand-off of calls between base stations and eventually seamless hand-offs between base stations and cellular, WiMax and who knows what other sorts of wireless standards.   This new initiative should be very good for the WiFi telephony market.

Shawn Lewis Leaves VoIP Inc.

December 4, 2007

Blackberry 9000: The Real iPhone Killer?

December 4, 2007

If LG/Verizon can’t come up with an iPhone killer can RIM? Will the next Blackberry due in Q1of 2008 – the 9000 -- be the real iPhone killer? Moreover as a business device will the newest Blackberry have all the best features of an iPhone (sans iTunes connectivity of course) with the best of business functionality?   Will RIM give us the ultimate consumer/business gadget? There is a lot of potential here.
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