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Rich Tehrani
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Unified Communications

EU Authorizes Fist Fights on Planes

April 7, 2008

OK I may be a bit over the top with this headline but allowing a plane full of passengers the ability to talk on the phone -- all in different languages... What is the EU thinking?

According to TMCnet's Mae Kowalke, we will have the ability to talk in the air very, very soon. Sure, there are challenges like how will you deal with the fact that rows and rows of people will be talking at the same time while you are trying to nap?

The answer is unclear to me but riding on the trains in New York it seems like yelling at the telephone screamer seems to get them to quiet down a bit.

How do you invest to take advantage of such a change in policy.





Mind CTI Interview: Monica Eisinger

April 7, 2008

In the past few years there has been tremendous interest paid to VoIP and the underlying internet protocol which allows IP communications to take place. For those people who started to pay attention to the communications space in the last few years, you may not be aware that over a decade ago the CTI market heralded the first time telephones and computers communicated with one another.

My long-time readers know that about two decades ago the birth of CTI systems were a result of a collaboration between IBM and Rockwell and if you had a mainframe and a Rockwell ACD lying around and a few hundred thousand dollars to spend on connecting it all together, you could be among the first in the world to take advantage of computer telephony integration or CTI. The first application of such integration? Screen pops or the ability to see the customer record of who is calling.

But for most companies it was the nineties when they could first afford CTI systems based on operating systems from Microsoft and Novell.

The IP communications market was really born from the building blocks of CTI as gateways which allowed the PSTN and VoIP to interconnect were based on boards from leaders in CTI like NMS and Dialogic.





TMCnet Hits 100 Sponsored Community Milestone

April 6, 2008

All I can say is thank you to our loyal readers who visit TMCnet frequently and our sponsors who have launched communities and channels in partnership with TMC on TMCnet.

Furthermore, thanks for your loyalty and the nice testimonials many of you have provided -- comments like working with TMC via our community program has been partly responsible for lifting your stock price (Sangoma, Interactive Intelligence).

Due to your tremendous support, TMCnet has now hit the triple-digit mark in live, sponsored communities online.

We launched our first ever online community back in 2000 and over the years we have developed sophisticated and proprietary technology allowing our channels and communities to contain the most appropriate content at all times.

This is probably why some TMCnet communities have more traffic than other competitive media sites.

Sure, trade shows are great and those of you attending ITEXPO know that these shows are doing amazingly well.

We believe that for all other times during the year you need to work with an experienced third-party media company to build content-specific communities in order to give your potential customers the best parts of the trade show experience 24 hours every day.

And once again, as TMCnet communities are content driven -- the high quality news and analysis TMC provides on a specific subject makes them worth bookmarking and visiting often.

Some samples of our community program are Open Source PBX, IPTV, Mobile VoIP, Hosted Communications, HD VoiceCall Recording, IP Telephony, VoIP Services , Business VoIP, and Contact Center Research.

Thanks to the positive reaction from our many community partners, we have been able to provide the absolute best quality content while covering virtually all news of significance.

As always, you have our promise that our commitment to quality and our customer service levels will continue to be first-rate as we expand.

If this is ever not the case, I invite you to e-mail me directly.

We thank you once again for the opportunity to serve you.

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Starface Looks for US IP-PBX Growth

April 6, 2008

I recently came across a software-based IP-PBX company from Germany that I have never written about before. Vertico Software GmBH makes a product called Starface which comes in a variety of flavors, from software to an appliance or hosted solution.

The company supports SIP trunking and one of the latest news items Vertico Software released in fact is a partnership with Broadvox, one of the leaders in the SIP trunking space.

The communications software company focuses on low-priced, fully-functional solutions which seem like they have all the bells and whistles a growing small to medium needs.

There is extended backup, different music-on-hold based on individual users or groups, an installation GUI for beginners, an XML menu available on SNOM hardware and a client which allows things like screen pops, call deflection, ad-hoc conferencing and more.

There are other advanced features like rules-based call forwarding, LDAP connectivity, virtual conference rooms with PIN-based access, visual conference participant control, presence detection and dissemination, and connectivity with CRM systems.

One thing setting this system apart from many others on the market is support for many languages (6 in total).

The German company is looking to expand in the US so if you are a reseller or small to medium business looking for a flexible and reasonably-priced solution with built-in international support, check out the company's website.











HD Voice goes Hosted

April 4, 2008

I have long mentioned there is an opportunity to start using stereophonic, surround sound quality in IP communications as the quality of phones today is just atrocious.Thankfully, Polycom, Skype, Microsoft and others have embraced this concept with their wideband codecs. Polycom dubs their solution HD Voice and I am happy to report that service providers are beginning to support this new standard in their hosted solutions

According to TMCnet's Tim Gray, IP 5280 is rolling out a hosted solution which supports Polycom devices which specifically support HD Voice.

Of course HD Voice only works if both (or all) parties in a conversation use it. So for now, within the company, call quality will be great. People connected via SIP trunks will also experience this better call quality which transmits 2 or more times the frequencies of traditional toll grade calls.

The next step is to ensure we have transcoding gateways that allow Microsoft's codecs, Skype and any other high quality codecs to be seamlessly connected with one another.

Once this begins to happen, we can have truly high-quality sound on virtually all of our phones.

Of course the one challenge we face as an industry is the devices...









Packet8 Links With SalesForce.com

April 3, 2008

In the race to differentiate IP communications services, a natural area  for service providers in the business market to look is the CRM space. Integration with customer relationship management systems is common in large enterprises and even medium companies have embraced the concept.

Now, small business customers utilizing a hosted solution can take advantage of one of the cream of the crop hosted CRM packages -- SalesForce.com. You see, Packet8 service will now seamlessly integrate with Mark Benioff's creation.

What does this mean for the market? Simple...



The Coming Mobile WiMAX Revolution

April 2, 2008

Over the past fifteen years the world has become smaller as a result of the internet and more recently broadband connectivity allowing IP communications consisting of voice and video to flourish. As connectivity has improved, entire industries were transformed. For example, emerging markets began to harness the internet as a way to provide outsourced services to more developed parts of the world.

It is fair to say the entire world has improved as a result of the net… Just a single example is the hoards of ambitious people worldwide who have leveraged the internet to do things like start businesses where they sell myriad products on eBay or their own websites.

Yet for all the progress we have made over the years, the potential is far greater. In a recent conversation with Lars Johnsson, the VP of Business Development at Beecem I was able to learn how his company - a four year old fabless semiconductor chipset company has been improving mobile WiMAX.

If companies like Intel are responsible for the computing revolution and the benefits we enjoy from microprocessor improvements, then companies like Beceem will be responsible for the coming mobility revolution.

You see, Beceem (pronounced "beseem" which means "without wires" in Farsi) has just released its BCSM250 mobile WiMAX chipset whose surface area is about the size of a stick of gum.







Plantronics Discovery 925: is it Jewelry?

April 1, 2008



If you have a doubt that your bluetooth headset is becoming more and more like jewelry, take a look at the new Discovery 925 line by Plantronics. The new headset reminds more of an earing than a headset and one wonders if the company is targeting the female consumer more heavily with this product.

The answer to this question could be best summed up with the fact that the headset comes in numerous colors which have super-fancy names such as Onyx Black, Alchemy Gold and Cerise Pink.

The device is not short on function either... You get five hours of talk time and days of standby time.

So welcome to your new future... One in which you not only have to match your belt color to your shoe color (yes, my fellow engineers, this is a fashion rule ) but now your headset needs to match as well.







Save Money in a Slow Economy

March 31, 2008

What is one of the best ways to cut costs without cutting heads or disrupting you key business operations? One simple solution is to explore the adoption of a telecom expense management or TEM solutions.

Recently I had a chance to sit down with the team at Anchorpoint to learn just how they are helping companies cut costs in a painless fashion.

One of the biggest problems with how companies currently deal with phone bills is that they put highly skilled workers in charge of what is really a low skill job. In addition, the job of approving telecom bills is time sensitive as phones tend to stop working when bills aren't paid. So as these highly skilled workers deal with the time sensitive job which they often feel is below their skill set they tend not to take the job very seriously and subsequently rubber stamp bills to get them through.

So companies are paying good salaries to people to do a job which doesn't get done too well.

In my conversation at Anchorpoint's headquarters in Massachusetts, we discussed how in some cases companies deploying TEM solutions can cut headcount but this usually pales in comparison to saving perhaps 10 % or more on a 10 million dollar bill.

So instead of focusing on a company's ability to cut heads they explain that these high value workers could do more important things in the company.

Of course I brought up the $99 flat rate bill phenomenon being marketed by the wireless carriers and the team told me that the result of this new marketing approach is that companies now have a metric they must come below.

So a CFO may expect phone bills to be less than $99 and a compensation plan can even be assigned to a worker based on the percentage of savings over this amount.

We further went on to discuss how telecom cost management compares with travel management.















Polycom's Software Play and More

March 31, 2008

Depending on the era, if I asked people what the name Polycom makes them think of they would give me different answers. In the nineties it was video conferencing and audio conferencing devices. Around 2000 you could add IP phones to this list. With the Spectralink acquisition you then could add wireless phones to this list.

Starting in 2008, the company will also be known for software solutions and in a recent meeting with company execs I got to learn about their new Productivity Suite which retails for a reasonable $11.99/seat.

So what void did Polycom see in the market that would have them go out and start selling software solutions?



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