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Unified Communications

Google Gives Away Voicemail to Homeless

February 28, 2008

For those of you who were in telecom back in the day, you may recall that the Computer Telephony show in Los Angeles, CA had a press event where they got together with exhibitors to give away free voicemail to the homeless.

Even before CTEXPO did this, MFS Internet had the same idea.

Giving the homeless access to telephony services and free voicemail is great because it allows them to keep in touch with loved ones and also allows them the potential to communicate with prospective employers more easily.

Google will now also be giving away free voicemail to the homeless in San Francisco and although they aren't first, they will likely do it well.

Hats off to Google for doing this.







Telecommuting Slowdown

February 28, 2008

While I have been espousing telecommuting and moreover discussing frequently how IP communications enables companies to hire remote workers without losing productivity... Even I have been a bit surprised that some companies have such a large number of at home workers.

This man just received an e-mail requesting he start coming to the office


For example call center agents do not necessarily need to collaborate in a face-to-face fashion with their peers and one imagines there is no productivity lost when these workers work from home.

But other workers do benefit greatly from human interaction unencumbered by internet protocol.

So I guess my surprise comes in response to the types of positions that have been assigned to work-at-home personnel.

It seems that some of the companies who were the leading champions of telecommuting are pulling some of their workers back.

I wonder if these organizations think they may have overdone it it when it comes to telecommuting and are now pulling people back in an effort to find the right balance between the two forms of work.

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Nuvio sues Garmin

February 27, 2008

Senate Passes new 911 Bill

February 27, 2008

The Senate just passed the IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Act of 2007 which amends the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 to impose on IP communications service providers engaged in interstate or foreign communication a requirement to provide 9-1-1 service, including enhanced 9-1-1 service, to its subscribers.

Furthermore, this bill requires the FCC to issue regulations granting these providers right of access to 9-1-1 components (read direct PSAP connectivity) that are necessary to provide 9-1-1 service, on the same rates, terms, and conditions that are provided to commercial mobile service providers. It further requires the providers to establish a point of contact for public safety and government officials relative to 9-1-1 service and access.

Finally it authorizes the FCC to delegate enforcement authority to state agencies or programs with emergency communications jurisdiction.

This is good news for IP communications market as providers will no longer be second class citizens when it comes to providing 911 service. Moreover, the stigma that VoIP providers are less secure than traditional carriers will in theory go away.

What needs to happen now is that pure VoIP providers need to provide bullet-proof service to their subscribers.







What Nortel Should do Now

February 27, 2008

Nortel will be cutting 2,100 jobs and shifting about one thousand more to areas which have lower costs. These actions are in response to a wider loss in the fourth quarter.

The company remains optimistic about its long term future and they are in a good position from the standpoint of having an enterprise and carrier business. As I have said in the past, generally, one is strong while the other is weak.

The challenge for Nortel may just be the sheer size of the company which makes it difficult to manage. Having so many divisions and product lines makes it tougher to turn the ship on a dime.

I have a number of strong relationships across the carrier and enterprise sides of the business and as an outsider I feel the company can do better if it brings its various units together even more closely than they currently work.

This is not an easy task of course but the company has solid technology, a great relationship with Microsoft and plays in multiple spaces which should offset one another.

These job cuts along with some restructuring could help the telecom giant become more nimble which should assist them as they head into a tougher economic environment.

And one last point...











Siemens has Large Cuts

February 26, 2008

Close to 8,000 positions will be eliminated at Siemens in their communications division as part of a reorganization which allows the company to shift from being a hardware vendor to one that produces software. Over the past five years the performance of off the shelf computing products has increased to the point that hardware in the communications space has become commodotized.

In such  a market shift, when the music stops, you don't want to be stuck carrying products that require steel and silicon.

While this reorganization is taking place, the company is also divesting itself of a number of worldwide call centers as well.

As global telecom markets become more competitive, this move should help the communications division as it will have less overhead to deal with. They will now have more pricing power and be a stronger global player.

That is always the goal of such cuts anyway.

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Some Webinars to Witness

February 25, 2008

If you aren't aware, it seems like my responsibility to at least mention some webinars worth attending. They happen to all be webinars that are hosted by TMC.

I am going to try to attend them all. Some of the more interesting ones to me have to do with cutting edge tech. So multicore, IMS applications, unified communications, hosting and analyzing success factors are ones I am drawn most to.

Of course, you can feel free to take a look at this list and make your own decisions on which one(s) suit your needs most.



Thank You Kevin Martin

February 25, 2008

It seems as if FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is the champion of the US citizen today at the FCC Forum as he seems genuinely concerned that there is discrimination taking place on the internet. Moreover he seems concerned about the problem of traffic slowing without disclosure.

This is exactly the issue I brought up last night and I agree 100% that Chairman Martin needs to ensure service providers are more forthcoming with what they do behind the scenes.

These providers are in a position of great power and I am all for them making money... I just want to ensure that there is full disclosure when they do things that alter our broadband access behind the scenes.

Here is what I said last night:

For example, I do not have an answer to the issue of service providers slowing down certain applications. If indeed this is done for the good of all users on the network, then is it so bad?

But then again, perhaps the biggest issue is that of transparency.









FCC Forum Starts This Week

February 24, 2008

This week there will be an FCC Forum in Boston where the FCC will be discussing many issues regarding the future of the internet. While the lobbying system of the US is wonderful in that it allows many to have their voices heard in Washington, the problem has been in many industries, the people with the most money scream loudest.

As is so common in many situations, the squeaky wheels get the grease. And let's just say that large phone and cable companies are professional squeakers. Again, not that there is anything wrong with this from a shareholder perspective and even in terms of the law… Lobbying is within a companies' rights.

So it will be with great interest that I watch what happens at the FCC Forum next week.



More SMB Communications Growth

February 22, 2008

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