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Unified Communications

Asterisk Hits One Million Downloads

December 19, 2007

If you have any doubt that there is tremendous interest in open source communications consider the fact that Digium has recently announced the one millionth download of Asterisk – the open-source PBX.   Yes, that is “One million!”   This is a staggering number as after all; we are talking about a product which most people use as a PBX. This just shows the incredible need for this software – the brainchild of Mark Spencer.   In a press release the company made this announcement with a laundry list of other accomplishments.   TMCnet’s Tom Keating was blown away by the fact that Digium is now 24+ quarters old. In his own words, “When I heard that number - 24 quarters, I couldn't believe it's been that long. That's 6 years!

The Latest on Mitel

December 17, 2007

SIP Trunking Training

December 17, 2007

If you have attended any of TMC’s Internet Telephony Conference & Expo’s in the past eighteen months you are no doubt aware that one of the very well attended workshops focuses on SIP trunking.   The reason for this is obvious as there are so many IP PBXs that are still connected to the PSTN with gateways and subsequently not taking advantage of SIP to the fullest extent. As companies embrace SIP trunking they are able to save tremendous amount of money on phone calls while improving quality and reducing latency.   As we have done in previous events, TMC will once again partner with Ingate to bring you this excellent SIP trunking training at ITEXPO taking place January 23-25 in Miami, FL.

  As time has evolved, so has this session. Expect lots of new content at the event.   Here is the schedule:   Wednesday, January 23   SIP Trunking Professional Development Program   10:00am          Introduction to SIP Trunking                  ** Live demo of a SIP Trunk deployment to be featured ** 12:30pm          The Service Provider Perspective   2:30pm           The Enterprise Infrastructure   Thursday, January 24   Shattering the Myths of SIP Communications   8:30am           Myth: VoIP is Not Secure   1:15pm           Myth: Enterprise VoIP is Difficult to Deploy                  ** Live demo of a SIP Trunk deployment to be featured **   3:00pm           Myth: SIP Trunking is a Dead End   Friday, January 25   10:00am          SIP Forum SIPconnect Compliance Workshop     Speakers include:      -- IP-PBX vendors Avaya, Bluesocket, BroadSoft, Objectworld, ShoreTel    -- SIP trunking service providers BandTel, Bandwidth.com, Broadvox,       Cbeyond    -- Thought leaders from the SIP Forum, etc.   Here are the details and registration information for the SIP Trunking Workshop.

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.

Net Neutrality 2.0

December 12, 2007

Should service providers be allowed to alter your web pages? The issue came up yet again when Toronto-based Rogers decided to insert messages containing sales messages in web pages they display on their customer’s browsers.   "We are concerned about these reports," Google said in an emailed statement to the Toronto Star.   "As a general principle, we believe that maintaining the Internet as a neutral platform means that carriers shouldn't be able to interfere with Web content without users' permission," the Google statement said. "We are in the process of contacting the relevant parties to bring this to a quick resolution."   Without a doubt, this is the sort of issue that begs for politicians to ensure there is network neutrality.   If service providers are allowed to display messages in web browsers, there are virtually unlimited things they can do to destroy other businesses. They could for example only show messages on Google search pages thereby giving users the incentive to switch search engines.  

They could reformat pages in such a way that they look unattractive.

What Toshiba is Doing Right

December 12, 2007

Wow! A while back I commented that Toshiba’s products were not very well known in the telecom space. This is an excerpt from that blog entry:  
My point is the company is well-known in computing but virtually unknown in communications. What if they installed soft client telephony applications on all their computers and devices?

Mediaware Communications: the new Blue Silicon

December 6, 2007

In 2000 my team at TMC received a call from a new company named Blue Silicon that received around 70+ million dollars to form a company that would integrate voicemail across disparate systems. The company launched at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo and in a keynote session the response from the audience was very very encouraging.   It seems the problem the company was solving intersected with a corporate need.   Shortly thereafter, the telecom bubble burst and funding for many new companies in telecom and datacom was ceased. Blue Silicon closed was forced to cease operations.   I couldn’t help but think of Blue Silicon when I read this Wall Street Journal story about Mediaware Communications, a new company allowing a user to have a web browser interface to a variety of telecommunications services from disparate providers.   In the article there is a comparison of this solution to the way Slingbox works – in both cases you are able to remotely access a service. But in the case of Mediaware, you are able to access your voicemail via a web browser and in so doing you are able to dramatically improve it.   I tried to access the company’s service but could not find them on the Internet.

Telecom Growing Nicely

December 5, 2007

It’s a good time to be in telecom. With all the housing gloom and doom it is nice to see that at least the telecom market is doing exceedingly well. Of course you have to pick your battles… Consumer VoIP is a rough space to be in (just ask Vonage) but companies focusing on the enterprise are as happy as pigs – well let’s keep this semi clean – Pigs in subprime mortgages.   Case in point, after a sluggish second quarter in 2007, enterprise telephony equipment manufacturers saw an 11 percent jump in worldwide sales in 3Q07 to reach $2.6 billion, according to a recent study.   “The Big Three (Avaya, Cisco, and Nortel) had excellent quarters, all growing well into the double digits,” said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research.   Worldwide sales of service provider next-gen voice equipment are up 5 percent in 3Q07 from 2Q07 to $956.4 million, says Infonetics Research in its "Service Provider VoIP and IMS Equipment and Subscribers" report.   “The bump this quarter was partially due to seasonal factors, as the third quarter tends to be strong, but also because of increased demand across the board, even in the TDM segment.
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