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Unified Communications

Jamie Siminoff on The Big Idea

February 21, 2008

The Problem with Triple-Play Providers

February 20, 2008



I am a cable quadruple customer. VoIP, broadband, TV and the reason I switched from standalone VoIP to cable had to do with dropped packets on my network. After spending days trying to figure out what the problem was with the network I finally threw in the towel and went with cable because I figured they would now own any problems I had. Surprisingly my problems went away as soon as I switched, leading me to believe that either my old cable modem was at fault or the ATA from my VoIP service provider which intercepted every packet on the network.

Yesterday I wrote about Jon Arnold's analysis of Vonage and I said it would be sad if Vonage was to go away.



Jon Arnold on Vonage

February 19, 2008

Jon Arnold has done a great job of analyzing how Vonage is doing and according to the Arnold, the latest quarter had some ups and downs. Jon spells out why Vonage may not make it into 2009 and I for one would be sad to see this happen as Vonage does a great job with its services and web interface.

In addition, if Cable becomes one of the few choices left for residential service, we all lose as Vonage allowed the ATA to move with the customer. In addition, the ability to block calls at certain hours of the day has not been widely matched by the cablecos, etc.

Here are some excerpts of an article which is worth a close read:

Vonage is trying to strengthen its value proposition with new features such as visual voice mail and virtual phone numbers, and planned features such as outbound fax and ContactBook, but it essentially remains a landline replacement service.






TMCnet Continues to Grow

February 19, 2008

Thanks once again to our loyal TMCnet readers. Because of you, TMCnet has broken more online records. In January of 2008 TMCnet experienced 38,368,961 page views (meaning total number of web pages viewed on TMCnet in January alone.

The total number of unique visitors on our site in January was 2,446,403 which is not an all time record but it is higher than recent months. Average Visit Length per person on TMCnet in January was 28 minutes and 59 seconds this past month.

Sony's VoIP Headsets

February 18, 2008

Intel's Skulltrail Motherboard

February 18, 2008

I just have to wonder if Intel's latest motherboard code named SkullTrail will be useful beyond the gaming market. The device can be outfitted with two quad-core processors and multiple graphics chips from AMD (yes, AMD) and Nvidia.

Obviously the gaming market is all over this news -- awaiting it like subprime borrowers wait for rate cuts.

But one has to wonder if the IP communications space won't be able to take advantage of this motherboard for serious call processing via HMP-based software. Hopefully Nick Jensen and Alan Pound are mulling this over already.

It will be interesting to see what applications are enabled by a motherboard which is expected in systems that cost no less than $6,000!

In addition I yearn for the days when parents had to shell out no more than a quarter for their kids who wanted to play video games.

Oh, and one last point.









Aastra Acquires Ericsson's Enterprise Business

February 18, 2008

Ericsson has divested itself of its Enterprise communications business and this move reminds me a great deal of Lucent spinning off its enterprise division in 2000 or so. For Ericsson the logic behind the move is sound as it wants to focus on the service provider space and the company has never been able to penetrate the US enterprise market effectively anyway.

Truth be told, the company seemed to never have the will to become a player in the US. They never had a consistent branding message or seemed to really want to sell PBXs on our shores.

This is sad because the company is a part owner of Sony Ericsson and the synergies between these devices and corporate PBXs is immense. Somehow the company could not capitalize on this powerful differentiator.



Quickorder for Starbucks

February 18, 2008

Check it out... I was scanning engadget and came across Quickorder software which enables the iPod Touch to let customers order their coffee at Starbucks without human interaction. I think this is a great idea and in many areas of the country such software could certainly increase business at the world's largest coffee chain.

But if Starbucks really wants to generate more revenue they should enable call ahead ordering via e-mail, chat and phone so you can have your mocha steaming and ready when you get to your local corner coffee house.

As you can imagine, another idea is to VoIP enable Apple devices allowing a quick call to a call center which will no doubt be located in Bangalore, India.

I think this move would drastically increase business and allow customers to quickly order when they see the line in front of them is just unbearably long. They could then just walk to the side of the restaurant and wait for their order to be called.

Here is a shot of how the software looks in "real-life.











SMBs Embrace FMC

February 17, 2008

Huge news comes from Nortel as they recently commissioned a survey which found SMBs are more technically savvy than some might have imagined. SMBs seem to be screaming for FMC solutions and unified communications -- especially as it relates to integrating mobile devices with traditional computer solutions like laptops, etc.

900 SMBs responded to a web survey to generate these results. Unfortunately this skews the survey a bit as the people taking the survey had to be web savvy and also it is unclear what site users went to find the survey.

Still, this is a good sign that at least web-savvy SMBs are looking for the absolute latest in communications products and services. For vendors, it is just a matter of figuring out how to position your solutions in the most appealing fashion possible while ensuring that the leading edge features are in your products.

Only a marriage of excellent R&D coupled with effectively targeted marketing/PR/branding and positioning will guarantee vendors can effectively penetrate this market.

More







Regulators Reshape the Internet

February 15, 2008

It is pretty amazing to see how many separate issues are surfacing that could affect the future of the internet. The FCC and government have their plates full deciding what to do with telcos and their potentially anti-competitive practices.

The first issue at hand is net neutrality. Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the  “Internet Freedom Law” this week.

Rather than detailing specific regulations, the new Markey bill calls on the FCC to conduct a “thorough inquiry” to determine “broadband policies that will promote openness, competition, innovation, and affordable, ubiquitous broadband service for all.”   Part of the commission’s task is to conduct an “Internet freedom assessment” to determine whether or not service providers are adhering to “the Commission’s Broadband Policy Statement of August, 2005,” which prohibits actions that might interfere with users’ ability to access or use lawful content and services over the Internet and to attach any legal device that does not harm the network.

Next up is the case of BitTorrent and specifically, the fact that Comcast has been caught throttling traffic from this peer to peer file sharing network often used to send and receive videos. Comcast says they are within their rights to throttle bandwidth as needed to ensure things like voice get the proper quality of service while others are concerned that throttling bandwidth relating to applications violates the concept of net neutrality.

Finally, the issue of short codes has surfaced once again as Verizon has denied the use of these codes to Rebtel, a competitive service provider and others.

This month could be looked back upon as a pivotal one in the world of Internet freedom and the shaping of the world's net policies.









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