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Rich Tehrani
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Unified Communications

Here at CTIA in Vegas

March 31, 2008

So here I am in Vegas. I had a 45 minute wait for a cab followed by a 15 minute wait to check in to find out that the hotel I thought I was staying at is not the right hotel but instead I am next door. Check in time is 3:00 but rooms aren't ready so I am at the restaurant just waiting and waiting.

As I wait I am seated next to a table with 15 women.

VPF Winter 2007 Video Interviews

March 30, 2008

Although the temperature near TMC's Norwalk, CT headquarters is below freezing, I am told we are actually in spring. And I am admittedly late in sharing this information with you, frequent readers of these pages know I believe it is better to post late than not at all.

A few months back, Gary Kim and I had the opportunity to conduct video interviews with a number of movers and shakers in the communications market. These interviews took place at the Voice Peering Forum, Winter 2007. It is worth noting that shortly after these interviews TMC was fortunate enough to add Gary Kim as a columnist.

On this page you will find lucid interviews with the following people:







Google's Government Wins

March 30, 2008



Google is slowly but surely racking up government wins and has some pretty big names under its belt so far. For example, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Alabama and Washington, D.C. are just some of the search giant's customers.

What is the government purchasing you ask?



Tax VoIP Illegally, Get a Raise

March 30, 2008

It is a sad day when a city government decides it needs to come after a specific technology -- one that has truly helped and empowered its constituents, in order to generate more revenue.

The city of Los Angeles just passed a nine percent tax on VoIP calls. In California, the voters actually have to approve tax changes and in this case, Measure S was passed by two-thirds.

Consider this however... the measure was placed on the ballot so late that there was virtually no time for anyone to counter it and let consumers know what the downsides are.

In addition, the the measure was packaged with a promise of increased police protection. Who wouldn't vote for that?





Nortel's Recent Wins and More

March 29, 2008

Nortel's Wes Durow
credit SMEI.org

One of the largest if not the largest deployment of VoIP I am aware of has to be Nortel's 10-year, $300 million dollar win with the US Social Security Administration which will support fifty-five thousand virtual workers and support baby boomers worldwide.

Nortel has had a number of DoD wins recently and part of the reason for this is due to the timing of a test network the Canadian telecom giant had at the DoD when a major network outage occurred about seven years ago. Apparently, Nortel's network was the most resilient and stayed up while others did not… Since this time, the company has been doing well supplying myriad government solutions.

In an interview with Wes Durow, who is Nortel's VP, Enterprise Solutions Global Product Marketing, we discussed the fact that the company refreshed the entire Bay Networks line (the data networking division) about seven months back and as they were doing this they had customer requests to develop more energy efficient solutions.

Now Durow proudly tells me the company's data products are much more resilient, have better performance and are extremely energy efficient.

According to Durow, "You can upgrade your data network and pay for VoIP with your energy savings."

This is all good news and Durow says candidly that companies do not buy products for the sake of being green but instead for the energy efficiency. I get the feeling he is right on with this comment.

I just can't imagine the head of IT going into a management meeting and saying I think throwing away our old network is the green thing to do and keeping her/his job.

Wes went on to tell me that there is a great deal of activity in their telepresence sales and they have partnered with Tandberg and Polycom, companies who supply some of the most open solutions on the market.

Durow went on to explain they have a suite of products that extend mobility which they refer to as unified mobile convergence. The solutions have native Microsoft and IBM UC connectivity and they further allow access to IP PBX features from the cell phone and allow you to move between WiFi zones without dropping calls.

We can also expect Nortel to get more active in the developer arena and this is good news for customers as the more developers get on the Nortel bandwagon, the more Nortel customers benefit.




















TMC Growth Update

March 28, 2008

Congratulations to TMC's Kevin Kiley who was just promoted to VP of Finance. Great job Kevin.

In addition I would like to thank TMC readers and our partners who have allowed us to continue our wave of growth.

In the past few months we have hired the following new team additions:

  • John McInerney, Marketing Projects Manager
  • Tim Bongiovanni, Account Executive, Customer Interaction Solutions magazine
  • Mo Harrim, Web Developer
  • Richard Moavero, Account Executive, IP Communications Group
  • Kevin Lake, Account Executive, Events Division
  • Tullio Gianitti, Account Executive, Webinar Group

This does not include our new writers (Charlotte Wolter, Gary Kim, Jon Arnold, Peter Radzieski, Scott Wharton, David Yedwab, Taran Singh, Rick Graves, Dr. Alan Solheim, Jagan Jagannathan, Phil Hill, Chris Gatch, Dan Miller and eight full-time freelance editorial contributors.)

Once again, I would like to extend my appreciation to TMC readers, sponsors and team members for helping us achieve our current growth levels and we look forward to making 2008 the year when all of our products perform better than ever.

[TMCnet]










Real Visual Voicemail on your iPhone

March 28, 2008

Grandstream's Grand GXE502X

March 25, 2008

Many of us know Grandstream for their IP Phones which offer great value as well as an assortment of analog gateways, ATAs, videophones, etc. I have spoken with resellers in fact who sell truckloads of Grandstream equipment on the show floor.

So when you make IP phones and are looking to get into new markets, where do you go? If you remember, years back, Pingtel moved from selling IP phones which won design awards into the IP-PBX and later the open-source IP-PBX space.

Grandstream is another company located in Massachusetts who has decided to branch out into the IP-PBX space but in this case they have created a simple-looking device dubbed the GXE502X which can support up to 100 extensions and over 50 simultaneous calls.

The box has many features and is surprisingly robust.

For example, there is a built-in fax server with print-to-fax capability. The server converts faxes to PDFs and e-mails them.







LiteScape's Unified Communications Applications

March 23, 2008


One of the more interesting unified communications companies is Litescape. They are doing new things in the UC space and more importantly, I can't think of another company who does what they do.

The company's Oncast solution enables phones to act like PCs and PCs to act like phones. For example, the company has a corporate directory application which works seamlessly with any phone or PC. To pull this off, LiteScape utilizes the directories of disparate systems such as LDAP, Salesforce.com and your personal address book to name a few.

In addition, Oncast allows Cisco and Avaya phones to have single-touch connectivity to WebEx via phone or PC.




Calabrio's Call Center Solutions Advance

March 23, 2008

The trend towards unification is something you can see everywhere from cellular phones which now include music players, GPS and cameras to desktop software allowing communications with once disparate applications.

One company in the call center space which is surfing the wave of integration is Calabrio as they have just announced a number of improvements to their software suite. The company was spun out of SpanLink Communications about a year ago and is now firmly established as a leader in the workforce and quality management areas.

In a conversation with the company's VP of marketing and Business Development, Tim Kraskey, we got to speaking about all the changes at the company. The first was to enable a single view of the customer and each user's activities.

This includes leveraging IM, presence, Wikis, RSS feeds and tagging as well as traditional workflow processes.



As you may recall, this is not unlike what Nortel was recently discussing with me regarding customer experience 2.0.

The next goal the company has is to present the appropriate "services" to each user's desktop based on their role…agent, supervisor, evaluator, manager, executive or knowledge worker, etc.

The company has a container view allowing widgets to be used within a browser in a manner which allows integration with business applications.



Calabrio WFM is now up to version 8.3 and this 100% web-based release includes things like enhanced vacation planning, strategic planning, reusable scenarios for forecasts and distribution, project scheduling and the workforce management software works with Nortel, Avaya and Cisco platforms.

Quality management improvements include knowledge worker recording, a graphical dashboard, on-demand recording, extended screen-recording for after-call work and custom metadata for recordings which allow there to be a richer set of data identifiers when playing back and analyzing calls.

In the interoperability realm, there are now CRM integrations for Salesforce.com, Siebel Customer Relationship Management and Microsoft CRM

The call center world seems to be rapidly catching up to the web 2.0 world with myriad integrations and features which were once absent from our industry. Although the tools are coming online, I only hope call center managers and CXOs realize that the contact center can be much more useful when fully automated and this will result in higher levels of customer service and increased sales.

See also:

Calabrio Renames Its Unified Interaction Suite



























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