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Alexa Competitor: Consumer Input

February 4, 2006

I have noticed a huge surge in Alexa popularity on the net and it seems to be a direct result of financial sites using Alexa to determine how a company is doing via its web traffic. Furthermore the advent of Million Dollar Home Page and its competitors has brought Alexa to the spotlight once again as the various pixel ad sites compete with each other to see who has the best rank (lower numbers are better). Alexa is not perfect but it seems to be a great way to evaluate website traffic for free.

I just learned there is a new Alexa competitor on the web named Consumer Input. To be honest between the Google Toolbar and Alexa Toolbar I am pretty much maxed out on toolbar real estate.

VoIP Trends

February 2, 2006

I have now been asked three times in one day what the trends were from the last Internet Telephony Conference & Expo last week in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. I would have to say that the fixed mobile convergence and IMS conference tracks had a tremendous amount of energy and were standing room only. These sessions were just about as exciting as it gets and conferees and speakers seemed to feel that the audience was thirsty for more information. We have been asked by more than one speaker to dedicate more time to these sessions just to allow for the large amount of Q&A.

At the opposite end of the VoIP spectrum is IP contact centers where the sessions were also standing room only. The contact center market had seemed to slow for a few years.

Google Buys TellMe

February 1, 2006

One of the predictions The Deal made on CNBC today is that Google will buy voice portal pioneer Tellme. This is a logical acquisition as Tellme is a very strong player in voice portals and as a bonus is profitable. The acquisition would allow people to access Google's services from telephones almost as easily as they do on the web. As a bonus, their office is not too distant from Google's.

West Buys Intrado

January 30, 2006

TMC's Customer Interaction Solutions (CIS) Magazine has been ranking the teleservices outsourcers for more than two decades bestowing the coveted Top 50 award to these companies. Another of our business units is the Internet Telephony brand. Sometimes these two brands cross over. This happens in the case of IP contact centers or hosted contact center solutions or call centers dedicated to telecommunications carriers.

Now we have yet another example as West Corporation a world leader in teleservices outsourcing has purchased Intrado a world leader in 911 solutions.

Toll Booth Advertising

January 29, 2006

While driving in Florida I noticed a number of toll booths with ads from Geico. I have nothing against the company. As Warren Buffet is a fan of TMCnet, I naturally am a fan of Geico.

My thoughts don't really pertain to Geico anyway but I got to thinking about how the public sector competes with the private sector. I suppose advertising on toll booths is a great way to get to the same audience you would reach with billboards.

What is happening in VoIP

January 27, 2006

If there is a single trend I have observed this week it is that VoIP is really happening. I spent a good deal of time interviewing companies exhibiting at the Internet Telephony show and they told me that the buyers at this show are more serious than ever. Many companies are selling product on the show floor.

I am further blown away by the international nature of VoIP. This week I have seen more and more service providers and enterprises coming from Africa, Asia, Latin America and everywhere else.

At the networking receptions the most frequent discussions I heard were about SIP, IMS, SOA and VoIP security.



Meeting Ron Insana

January 25, 2006

I am really looking forward to meeting Ron Insana today. I have been an avid CNBC fan for years – perhaps a decade or so. I can’t wait to hear what Insana has to say. I have noticed that many of the big-name keynoters at ITEXPO are really loose on stage and seem much less scripted than on TV.

Asterisk's Mark Spencer Speaks

January 24, 2006

The keynotes at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo keynotes kicked off today, the first day of this four-day event, with Mark Spencer of Digium/Asterisk to a huge audience.
 Mark started his talk by saying that his company runs VoIP on a network that is as he calls it "the the worst case scenario" and doing so allows them to find out if products are broken before others find problems. As developers they are thrilled to run on a network not designed for perfect voice delivery but not everyone in the company is as excited by this strategy (for obvious reasons).

Spencer says he also has to be sensitive to customer calls as people associate telephone quality with the products you make. Mark mentioned that his phone system was recently inundated by callers looking for a very funny message (Mark indicated the sound clip is available on CD and did not explain how you could hear it if you missed the conference). The message is a funny take off on a busy call center.


Bush to Nominate Robert McDowell to FCC

January 23, 2006

President George W. Bush is expected to nominate telecommunications lawyer Robert McDowell to fill the third Republican seat on the five-member Federal Communications Commission according to a story from Reuters. This news is crucial to the future of telecommunications because McDowell serves as senior vice president and assistant general counsel at Comptel, a group representing companies that primarily compete against big telephone carriers like AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications.

It may not be common knowledge that AT&T was a powerful lobbying force against the incumbent telephone companies and the acquisition of the company by SBC has reduced the competitive lobbying burden on all LECs proportionately.

It goes without saying that if McDowell is nominated it will be a big win for consumers in 2006 as I expect McDowell to be pro competition. Not faux competition with concepts like tiered-Internet services being thrown around in an effort by incumbent providers to hold content providers and consumers hostage.

In the worst case scenario McDowell will be outvoted repeatedly but at least will ensure the American people have a strong ally in the FCC. Comptel has been perhaps the most vocal critic of FCC Chairmen Michael Powell and Kevin Martin and as such it may be a bit awkward to have McDowell as a commissioner at all.

Still, I hope the commissioners and the Bush administration realize that putting a pro competition pro CLEC representative on the commission is exactly what we need to ensure we have balanced dialogues in the FCC and the interests of the average Joe are always represented.







Interesting Reading

January 23, 2006

I am flying down to Ft. Laderdale for ITEXPO now and read some things worth sharing. Currently I am reading the Janary 2006 issue of Poplar Science magazine.

We will see the first 4G networks in 2010 and they will transmit at 1 Gbps. One wonders how much such a connection will cost.

The Gennum nXZEN bluetooth headset has great noise canceling techology but is expensive and uncomfortable.



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