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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.

NextPoint is Born

December 4, 2007

TMCnet’s Greg Galitzine announced the rumor on October 19th that NexTone and Reef Point were to merge. Today the news becomes real as the companies are combining to create NextPoint. Here are some quick facts and quotes according to the companies:  
  • Combined Companies to Deliver First Integrated Border Gateway, in Addition to Full Suite of Products Under the new NextPoint Name
 
  • Woody Ritchey Named CEO; David Walsh Named Chairman
 
  • JP Morgan Chase’s One Equity Partners Leads $20 Million Investment Round To Address Accelerating Market Demand
  “The integration of session border controllers for both fixed and mobile networks with a security gateway enabled by the merger of Reef Point and NexTone will create a powerful product family for next generation networks,” said Malcolm Wardlaw, Director, Converged Services, Intelligence and Applications, BT. “The IBG has the potential to simplify network design as well as reduce the total cost of ownership in a converged world, supporting the needs of our customers in an all-IP world.”   “The increasing demand for secured IP-based mobility services in a multi-access environment is creating a need for a new category of equipment called the multi-access convergence gateways that provides intelligent interaction with subscribers, services, and transport mechanisms,” said Stéphane Téral, Principal Analyst, Service Provider VoIP, IMS & FMC, Infonetics Research.

Consumer Gadgets Eclipse Business Phones

December 1, 2007

The maddening division between consumer and business mobile devices continues to grow and as the trend picks up steam it is apparent consumers are the winners and businesspeople suffer. This is not to say the problem isn’t in some ways necessary.   Case in point was the amount of time it took for Research in Motion to put cameras on their Blackberrys. Many corporate customers actually didn’t want cameras on phones it purchased and this is the reason many of these e-mail workhorses seemed so featureless for so long.   This weekend however it really hit me. Consumers are getting unbelievable products and businesspeople are left wondering why our devices are so boring and devoid of features.

FCC: Worry about TVoIP not Cable

November 29, 2007

As the FCC vs. Cable struggle continues, I can’t help but wonder if Chairman Kevin Martin isn’t spending too much time worrying about a problem which will be irrelevant at some point in the future.   Martin is trying to get cable companies to inexpensively lease their lines to independent programmers. He is also trying to reduce the cost of cable service and ensure a la carte delivery of channels to consumers.   But I wonder if Martin is fighting the right fight at the right time.   You see, the cable lobby is very strong and they exert influence on politicians who in turn do their best to minimize the influence Martin has. In other words by taking on cable companies head on – even if this is best for customers, he will find himself losing prominence and having more of his initiatives second guessed in the future.  

Moreover it should be clear that soon, an Internet television revolution will take place allowing consumers to view programming over the internet and subsequently rely less on cable for distribution.   Voice over IP was rolled out rapidly with the advent of Vonage and others paving the way.

COTS to the Service Provider Rescue

November 20, 2007

There was a time when service providers had to purchase massively expensive proprietary equipment in order to deploy telephone service. Class 4 and 5 switches required enormous investment and could be justified as this equipment would be depreciated over many years in a well-known and slow-moving competitive environment.   Then along came VoIP and the market shifted into high gear. All of a sudden customers wanted more services and they wanted to spend less money for it all. Competition seemed to come from every direction with crazy “woohoo” ads from companies like Vonage and more sober ads from the cable companies.   Even worse, the wireless companies began to take share making it that much more difficult to pay for the massive iron sitting in central offices worldwide.   Just before VoIP became popular, new architectures such as CompactPCI and later Advanced TCA emerged allowing service providers to benefit from technologies being popularized in the enterprise and consumer markets.   As voice becomes a cheaper and cheaper commodity, service providers must look for other services to replace lost revenue.

Don’t Vote Until You read This

November 20, 2007

I am unhappy to hear that 24 House Republicans are delving into the FCC’s plan to regulate the cable companies more closely. FCC Chairman Martin is acting in the best interest of consumers by fostering competition in the cable industry and in doing so will likely lower consumer costs and allow more competition in the market.   While it is true that increased video competition is coming from phone companies and consumers can stream video over the internet, any support the FCC can give to increase the pace of video competition is good for all cable customers.   While House Republicans are in the information gathering phase at the moment, comments from Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, regarding her concern about the FCC moving away from light-touch regulation seems to show more concern for cable company shareholders than the citizens of the United States.   Recently I mentioned it would make more sense for the FCC to mandate network neutrality rather than get into the nitty gritty of regulating individual cable channels. I still think in the long run this direction makes the most sense.   However I must commend Chairman Martin for taking on cable companies and much of the government in an effort to increase the rate of competition in the cable business and subsequently help consumers.   I recommend voters keep an eye on the politicians and the party they represent in this dialogue and use this information when making voting decisions in the future.   See Also:   WSJ: FCC's Cable Plans Draw Fire

On-Screen Caller-ID

November 15, 2007

Living in Connecticut, quite often I get to see the rest of the country or world get exciting new technologies before I do. It seems Connecticut is not the leading place for companies to roll things out. AT&T for example rolled out its triple-play offering in Texas – more than a stone’s throw from my house.   So imagine my delight in letting my readers know about a new technology being rolled out which I can actually try out very soon.   What is this technology you ask? Simply, on-screen Caller-ID.

ITEXPO East 2008 Brochure Available

November 8, 2007

Ditech Networks

November 8, 2007

In the many IP communications demos I hear each year I am consistently amazed at just how good the quality of VoIP can be. With today’s wideband codecs the sound is remarkably better than the PSTN. This is especially true when I listen to 3D stereo VoIP.   The first issue of Internet Telephony magazine which was the first publication in the world focusing on IP communications came out in February, 1998 and in all the years since we have seen the IP communications space explode with growth. Sure there have been ups and downs but we can safely say at this point the technology behind internet telephony has changed the world for the better.   But this does not mean every VoIP call today sounds fantastic.

Tellabs CEO Steps Down

November 8, 2007

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