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Rich Tehrani
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Strategy Change: Make Money

October 21, 2008

In my conversations with a number of CEOs of small tech and communications companies, one thing has become clear. The market for exiting businesses has become tougher. This is common sense and the added challenge is with today's stock market valuations, there are thousands of bargains out there. This just means the odds of a start-up or existing concern getting picked up at significant valuations has been considerably decreased.

There are a number of company heads who have recently come to the conclusion that while hoping for an acquisition by Google, Cisco and others they need to simultaneously work on getting customers.

Dialogic: Video is the New Voice

October 21, 2008

One of the more exciting conferences I have attended lately has to be the Dialogic One Event at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, CA. Rob Martinez, VP Sales Americas kicked off the event, speaking to global partners from over 125 companies who were in attendance at the kickoff session last night (see pictures throughout). Martinez thanked the enthusiastic crowd and sponsors and explained what we would see over the next few days. After a short intro, Martinez handed the microphone and stage over to Nick Jensen, the President and CEO of Dialogic.

Jensen was right at home on the stage and as always, was full of passion and enthusiasm.



Dialogic One -- Day Two

October 21, 2008

Dialogic One 2008 San Diego

October 17, 2008

I will soon be heading out to the Dialogic One event in San Diego and hope to see my friends and colleagues there. Dialogic has been and continues to be a major communications infrastructure player. As the markets have evolved, the company has shifted its business model to respond to areas which require more DSP processing and along the way picked up a number of former competitors.

Now the company has a complex array of solutions which can be used to solve a variety of communications challenges.

I always like to hear what Nick Jensen has to say about the market and his perspective is always unique and generally optimistic. I am curious to hear how current economic variables are meshing with his outlook.

Aside from Dialogic, you can come to the show and meet with the company's partners.





Avatars: The Cursor in Communications 2.0

October 10, 2008

One of the people with a long history in the communications space is Neal Shact (pictured) -- CEO of Communitech Services. In the past, Shacht has been a distributor in the headset market and has been early in many new markets such as VoIP, call centers and others.

Shact points out it is impossible for customers to know what they want in UC. He mentions the old story that Henry Ford once said people when asked what they wanted in transportation said, a faster horse.

His point: you need a communications roadmap. Don't rely exclusively on your UC vendor to dictate what you want and need.

You want to check out this podcast as it is rife with references outside communications -- and the tie-ins are fascinating.





ZeeVee's Localcasting Solution Merges Internet, TV

October 8, 2008

As the convergence of television and the internet continues, there is still a basic challenge in finding a simple way to connect the massive stores of internet video content seamlessly with the traditional television. There are a number of devices which tackle this problem but none I've seen which seem to have the momentum to become mainstream. The marriage of the internet and TV is a huge opportunity and if done correctly, it will change numerous industries.

Recenty I heard from old friend Brian Mahony (pictured), the VP of marketing at localcasting (in-home broadcasting) company ZeeVee. Mahony has worked at a number of companies on the cutting edge of technology in the decade in a half or so I have known him. When I met him in the nineties, he was working for Tundo - one of the first IP PBX companies which like so many others, ran out of funding during the dotcom/telecom meltdown.

AudioCodes a Barometer of Communications Markets?

October 7, 2008

Verizon Loses VoIP Patent Case: Justice Served?

October 7, 2008

One of the last companies to jump on the VoIP bandwagon is Verizon. Yet -- our legal system allows larger companies with deep pockets who focus more on patents than providing users with new technology to easily sue new competitors into oblivion.

This is the case with Vonage -- the company paying over a hundred million dollars for patent infringement to Verizon. Cable companies are another matter as they have large legal teams and deep enough pockets to defend themselves from patent suits which may or may not be frivolous.

Recently, a jury decided Cox Communications did not infringe Verizon patents. This is great news for Cox and regardless of who is right or wrong in a complex legal case like this, having a jury trial where six patents are in question and winning all six is surprising.



WiMAX World 2008 Update

October 6, 2008

WiMAX has gone through an overhype stage and now is like so many other technologies - VoIP included, at a stage where the markets are trying to figure out where the opportunities lie. Indeed, trying to determine what is real and what is hype is difficult to do and to cut through the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) I spent time at WiMAX World in Chicago to learn more from the movers and shakers in the space.

I came armed with questions about deployments and the threat of LTE - the evolutionary technology theoretically enabling 2-3G operators to ignore WiMAX. In the last six months there have been numerous articles and technical white papers written about whether WiMAX is necessary.

To cut to the chase, I spoke with VP Chair, Marketing Working Group of the WiMAX Forum, Dr. Mo Shakouri who explained that the transition to LTE is more than a simple software upgrade as carriers need to go from CDMA to OFDM - which obviously requires hardware. They believe there is a strong marketing campaign being waged by mobile operators and some hardware providers who want to sow FUD in the WiMAX market.

In order to combat the threat from LTE the WiMAX Forum is feverishly working with companies to develop lower cost CPE devices as carrier profitability is tied to device cost.





Navigating the Financial Crisis

October 4, 2008

I have been getting more and more questions on where the communications market stands in light of macroeconomic conditions. It is a constant in my frequent conversations. In most cases, when I get this question, people tell me their business is good but they wonder if the housing market problems will trickle down into the telecom space.

The answer is simply, I do believe there is risk to all sectors of the global economy. For the first time in my memory, US and other political leaders have come on TV and mentioned the term global crisis on a frequent basis.

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