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Unified Communications

Covad Acquired by Platinum Equity

October 29, 2007

Covad was recently sold to private equity and this could be a good thing. The company made a big splash in the business VoIP segment years back but more recently Covad seemed to stop focusing on offering converged services and instead shifted the bulk of its messaging to broadband.   Part of the reason for this shift may have been service issues as I have heard complaints of poor voice quality from some of my readers over the years.   As a point of comparison -- during the last year, when Covad stopped focusing on the VoIP market, a competitor who is in the pure-play hosted VoIP space Cbeyond saw its shares rise over $11 or 36%. Cbeyond is now valued at $1.18 billion dollars in fact while Covad is valued at $191 million.   The new owner of Covad is Platinum Equity and some advice to the new company would be stay consistent. Promoting yourself as the ultimate IP communications solutions provider and then going dark for over a year sends a poor message to potential customers.   I started off this entry by saying this purchase could be a good thing and this is why.

DiVitas Networks

October 28, 2007

If you take a long walk through lower Manhattan you could very well end up in Greenwich Village, SOHO, Chinatown, Little Italy, the Meatpacking district or any other area of Manhattan bearing an interesting name and unique culture. Indeed, you can notice distinct differences in each of the above neighborhoods. In most cases the people in these different areas even look different.   Although we refer to this little island as the Big Apple, it is really an assortment of small apples of varying varieties. These separate pieces could just as well be located on different continents.   This is exactly how I feel about the communications space.

Communications Enabled Business Process

October 26, 2007

You may have heard the term Communications Enabled Business Process or CEBP. I always wonder where new acronyms come from so I did some digging. This particular term was developed by engineers who were bored by the current state of telecom terms. After all, there are only about 100,000 of them and it has been proven a single person can learn them all in a lifetime.   This of course was the impetus to develop CEBP as research showed most people will not even be able to remember what Communications Enabled Business Process stands for, let alone means.   Of course I kid and this is because I can’t believe we have yet another acronym to discuss, deliberate, explain, have conference sessions and webinars about, etc.

NET Acquires Quintum

October 26, 2007

On the face of it you might not see a merger between NET and Quintum as something predictable. NET is on the west coast, while Quintum is on the east. Quintum has had a consistent branding message over the past decade or so and NET has not.   But there is an area where both companies do play and that is in unified communications and specifically how UC relates to Microsoft. You see, both companies are working closely with the Redmond-based software company.   This is where there is some overlap.

Phone Calls without Subject are Rude

October 26, 2007

Polycom and Ekahau Partner

October 23, 2007

As the world becomes more interconnected (read: smaller), the need for increases in productivity grows exponentially. The reason is simple. The more countries get into the act, the more competition each company has to deal with.   Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue once again and to that end I would like to point out that WiFi telephony makes companies more productive in more ways than one. We all understand users can use a wireless LAN phone to hook into a PBX so as to not miss important phone calls.

Presence vs. Stalkers

October 21, 2007

Presence is a really great technology because it keeps people from playing phone tag – among other things. It is an absolute productivity accelerator as it allows people to know what people are up to 24x7. But therein lies the problem. I am not sure I am 100% comfortable with everyone knowing when I am online, on the phone, in a meeting, etc.   So the solution to this problem proposed by most people in the industry is to allow different people to know differing amounts of information about us.

Open Source Unified Communications

October 19, 2007

More Bad Motorola News

October 19, 2007

You may recall Motorola was a partner with Apple in developing the ROCKR phone which was supposed to be the best of Apple and Motorola technology in one sleek device. The only problem was the device was not the best of anything and subsequently didn’t sell. Oh and by the way – it wasn’t even sleek.   The experience taught Steve Jobs that Apple needs to develop its own phone if it wants to do the job (no pun intended) right. This is how the iPhone came to be.   Now, the iPhone is about to overtake Motorola’s best-selling RAZR phone.   This is sad because if Motorola had played its cards right it might still be an Apple partner instead of getting annihilated by the Apple onslaught.

Which PBX Manufacturers will Survive?

October 17, 2007

The following is a sidebar to the Publisher’s Outlook Column Microsoft’s Big Unified Communications Launch in the November, 2007 issue of Unified Communications Magazine.   ---   There are many PBX companies – well over 25. I am surprised how many of these companies survive “under the radar” thanks to their strong dealer network. Telephony is an interesting business in that relationships can be more important than technology and, oftentimes, price.   Having said that, it is obvious that more and more companies will start looking for UC solutions and not just a plain vanilla IP-PBXs. This means every PBX company must immediately have ready UC solutions either capable of adding value on top of Microsoft’s solutions or else sold as a viable alternative. They must find a way to position themselves for the future and convince customers they are leading, not trailing, in UC technology.   From there, they need to start producing leading-edge software.
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