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OnStar Shut Down

December 24, 2007

For those cars with analog cellular cell phone OnStar connections you have until February 18, 2008 before your service will stop working. Some who have complained to GM about this problem have received a $500 gift certificate towards the purchase of a new vehicle.   What is amazing to me is the fact the electronics for the cellular connection are hard-wired into vehicles. Today, cell phones are dirt cheap and even come in the disposable variety; can you believe you need to throw away the car because the network was upgraded?  

Cars made on or around 2002 upgraded to digital cellular networks and will not be affected by the shut down. About 500,000 OnStar users have cars made prior to this time.   See Also:   AP: Users Left in Lurch by Network Shutdown

In-Flight Internet Access Update

December 24, 2007

I think I want internet access when I fly. I really do. Yes, the plane is usually a quiet time to reflect and write compelling content… Still, I can now feel comfortable flying during the business day from the west coast to east because I will not miss anything that is happening. While in the air, I can participate in decisions and stay on top of the latest news without missing anything.   JetBlue really kicked off the latest round of stories about in-flight internet access and now it seems many airlines have an internet strategy of one sort or another.   Some which fly over land have base stations and others use satellite.   According to the Wall Street Journal:  
JetBlue's LiveTV subsidiary paid the Federal Communications Commission $7 million for wireless spectrum that one test JetBlue aircraft has been using since Dec. 11 to communicate with about 100 cell towers spread across the continental United States.

VoIP Banned on Some Flights

December 24, 2007

Perhaps the best holiday gift for people who enjoy peace and quiet on their flights is an all out ban on VoIP in the sky. The AP is reporting on the sorts of things we may be allowed to do in the sky like view porn or talk.   It is too soon to know which airlines will allow what but I am sure there will be extreme pressure on airlines to allow talking if they can monetize it effectively. The question is how to allow talking without disturbing passengers who want quiet.   Will airlines have talking sections like they used to have smoking sections?   Then again, what happens when you are seated in a row that has a baby crying? Is talking more annoying than a baby crying?   As a frequent Metro North train traveler I can sympathize with how annoying some callers can be.

Lobbyists Writing US Telecom Policy?

December 20, 2007

Predicting Future Work Behavior

December 20, 2007

Many of my readers grew up in a generation where e-mail became common. Some of us might even remember the time when there was no Web or e-mail and communications was done in-person, with paper and/or using the telephone.   E-mail has immeasurably increased productivity in the workforce but with e-mail has come a barrage of spam that has made e-mail less efficient.   So if we look to the future of communications in the workplace it is probably logical to look at the next generation of workers to see what they are doing. Recently the Pew Internet and American Life Project conducted a survey of teenagers which should shed some light on how the younger generation communicates.   In the less than surprising category is the fact that nearly 40 percent of teens say they talk to friends on a traditional wired phone every day, and 35 percent say they do so on a cell phone.   In the less than surprising category is the fact that thirty-one percent of teens say they spend time in person with friends every day. Perhaps the reason I am not surprised is because kids go to school and hang out after class, etc.   Even a smaller percentage say they use social networking sites on a daily basis.   E-mail has lost favor among teens.

GENBAND UK Win

December 19, 2007

GENBAND has a nice UK win with its The M6 Communication Application Server which will help UK-based BNS Telecom Group PLC provide mobile PBX and PBX trunking services.   Paul Gill, head of BNS marketing said “After one demonstration of the M6 product, we immediately saw how easy it was to use, and we recognized the revolutionary, market-moving aspect of the platform.”   BNS as an alternative to international roaming is deploying their voice over Wi-Fi service, branded WiDial, allowing users to make mobile phone calls across wireless broadband networks when in Wi-Fi hotspot areas.   With solutions like those provided by GENBAND, next generation carriers utilizing IP communications are truly able to compete aggressively against incumbent providers for customers. IP communications continues to level the playing field for the telecom market and continues to benefit consumers worldwide.

The Latest on Mitel

December 17, 2007

Avaya’s Unified Communications Future

December 17, 2007

When you think of enterprise communications Avaya is certainly one of the first names that comes to mind. A huge player in the space, the company has a tremendous amount of influence in the future shape of things to come in telecom.   As we all know by now, one of the fastest-growing segments of the market is unified communications. In order to get a read on Avaya’s positioning in the UC space I decided my readers would benefit from a high level Avaya interview.   The following is that interview with Stuart Wells, President, Global Communications Solutions at Avaya. I was pretty interested in many of his thoughts and especially in how Avaya is evolving to become a software company.

Nortel Sues Vonage

December 17, 2007

Vonage just can’t catch a break these days and seems to be the target of more lawsuits related to patent infringements than just about any other company out there. The latest patent fight is with Nortel, a company who says Vonage is infringing on twelve of its patents.   ``Defending our intellectual property rights is a top priority for Nortel,'' said Nortel spokesman Mohammed Nakhooda. ``That's why we are seeking damages and to put an injunction on the use of our technology with respect to Vonage.''   ``The litigation is ongoing and both parties have filed and will continue to file papers,'' said Vonage spokesman Charles Sahner. Nortel's filing ``is a countersuit in defense.''   Generally speaking when a company becomes as high profile as Vonage they also have an arsenal of patents.

OCS Training

December 13, 2007

It goes without saying that unified communications was one of the most exciting growth areas in the communications market this past quarter. Microsoft continues to be a major driver of this technology with its Office Communications Server (OCS) product. In fact, not only has Steve Ballmer been on stage to promote UC and OCS but recently Bill Gates was brought out to tout the technology as well.   The launch of OCS represents a watershed event in telecom and as I have mentioned earlier, never in the history of telecom has there been a new product roll-out supported by over 50 other companies.   To be sure, Microsoft OCS is THE communications product of 2007. Whether you plan on installing OCS in your organization or not, you should be aware that the marketing push Microsoft is putting behind this product has showed no signs of slowing down.
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