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Rich Tehrani
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Unified Communications

Call Center Outage

August 28, 2007

A call center outage could be disastrous for your business. Some of the largest call centers sell millions of dollars worth of products and services each hour so an outage of minutes can be devastating to the bottom line. According to Boston.com, NStar the Boston gas and electric utility had a four-hour outage in their call center due to AT&T cable failure.   This outage on top of the recent Skype outage written about last week are both wake up calls for any business looking to ensure they can communicate effectively at all times.   Even if you do not have a contact center in your company, dhow would you like to be the person explaining to the CEO why his call to your company’s top client was dropped unexpectedly.   These wake-up calls should be heeded and you should definitely be at ITEXPO in a few weeks to ensure you are aware of the latest technology which can help your company avert communications downtime.   Here are some parts of the event worth noting:  

Alcatel-Lucent Changes

August 22, 2007

Oaisys Update

August 22, 2007

If you live vicariously through my travel schedule then you were with me in Arizona during that muggy and super-hot trip I took a while back to see Oaisys and learn about their Talkument voice appliance.   As you may recall, Talkument makes voicemail as useful as e-mail with the ability to annotate them or even pieces of these voice messages.   Here is a full feature list:  
  • Voice Document Sharing — Allows users to share voice documents with other authorized users and temporary guest users.
  • Highlighting — Selected segments of the voice document can be highlighted so whoever is authorized to review the file can simply listen to the pertinent segment and not have to wade through the entire file. 
  • Commenting — An annotation feature helps the user tag certain documents for future retrieval. These comments are visible for other authorized users to facilitate collaboration and communication. 
  • File Management System — Talkument also allows users to store the voice files in its file management system, which contains folders that can be custom-configured and personalized to make it easy to find files at a later date. 

Skype Outage Article

August 21, 2007

Jon Arnold and I were both quoted recently in a San Francisco Chronicle article titled Skype reveals outage source, tells customers it won't happen again. The article is extremely well-written, gets perspective from a number of people and weaves each viewpoint into a cohesive whole.   My quote follows below:  
The technology relies on user computers to route phone calls and handle some of the call authentication. There are thousands of computers and servers that are tapped to act as these supernodes in the Skype network.   That reliance has allowed Skype, owned by San Jose's eBay, to keep phone calls free between members and extremely cheap for calls to nonsubscribers. But an outage like last week's reveals the inherent vulnerability in the system when a large number of computers are affected within a short span of time, said Rich Tehrani, chairman of the Internet Telephony Conference and Expo and president of TMC, a communications and technology media company.   "The fate of the users is not in the control of one company, and that's the problem," Tehrani said.

Parlano

August 21, 2007

Bob Serr, Parlano CTO, took some time to give me this exclusive interview. In it, he gave some fascinating insight on the impact of industry giants like Google and Microsoft on the telecom world, and also let me know why Parlano’s presentation at ITEXPO is something worth looking forward to. One of the leaders in the burgeoning space of persistent group chat, Parlano gives some of the world's most dynamic organizations competitive advantage through more effective cross-functional group communication. You can read more about them in this recent TMCnet article.

How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy? We see our customers moving in this direction and they are demanding integrated voice and text communications, which we are delivering to them via our SIP/SIMPLE based product.   How has SIP changed communications? It’s made possible integration at the application level for text and voice communications—as opposed to gateways that connect systems but do not offer an integrated experience for the user that matches the way they do their jobs.   What is the biggest request coming from your customer base? Seemless integration of persistent group chat with Microsoft’s unified communications platform.   How are you answering their demands?

Acredo

August 21, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Erin Bolton, marketing manager of Acredo Technologies Inc, about IP communications, the company’s customer base and the upcoming ITEXPO.   Acredo Technologies delivers hosted IP phone service to the small business market and the company’s mission is to "Build and manage a recognized brand in the hosted IP-Centrex space for small business in North America.”   This past February TMC chose Acredo Technologies as one of the winners of its prestigious “Best of Show” at its Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. Please read more about it here.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   Acredo Technologies will provide a hosted IP phone service that small businesses can afford and manage. Acredo's offering is a bundled solution integrating technology from our best of breed partners including Avaya, AT&T, HP, Cisco and Oracle. The partners we have chosen will allow us to create the most reliable and highest quality calling experience with VoIP technology.

Ingate

August 21, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Olle Westerberg, chief executive officer Ingate Systems, about his business and the direction he is taking the company.   Ingate Systems produces a range of SIP-capable enterprise firewalls.   Please read the TMCnet article about Ingate Systems SIP Trunking Network for more information on the company.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   Ingate continues to lead the industry in SIP-enabling security technologies. We are once again working with our partners in the IP PBX and ITSP space to educate end-users, resellers and VARs on SIP trunking with the “SIP Trunking Series: Everything You Need to Know” at ITEXPO. We see SIP trunking as a way of making full use of the enterprise IP PBX, making it possible to use the IP PBX functionality outside the enterprise network. It is a critical stepping-stone to true global connectivity when everyone is able to connect with one another (both inside and outside the company) using the Internet.   Looking ahead, we support the trend toward unified communications as it paves the way for true global communications by providing users the flexibility to choose the best way to communicate at any given moment.   How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy?   Ingate has had SIP and IP communications in our strategy from the beginning.

Level 3 Communications

August 20, 2007

Level 3 Communications, Inc., an international communications company, operates one of the largest Internet backbones in the world, connecting 180 markets in 18 countries. The company serves a broad range of wholesale, enterprise and content customers with a comprehensive suite of services including: Internet Protocol (IP) services, broadband transport and infrastructure services, co-location services, voice and voice over IP services, content delivery and media distribution services.   Recently the company announced that it has been selected by Joost to support its Internet television service, providing Joost with network solutions including high-speed Internet access and co-location services in North America and Europe.   I had the chance to catch up with Cary Tengler, Level 3’s director of partner development who told me about the company’s latest initiatives and a bold prediction for where the industry will be in five years.

What We Learned From the Skype Outage

August 20, 2007

As organizations move to VoIP and other forms of IP communications it is imperative they realize the world of IP is far different from the PSTN and circuit-switched networks of yesterday. While Internet Protocol is the protocol of the Internet which was designed to be resilient enough to withstand a nuclear attack, IP networks need proper management to be able to continue operating under a variety of circumstances.   The concept of the always up IP communications network was certainly in the spotlight recently as TMCnet’s Tom Keating broke the story of Skype, the world’s most popular IP communications software company having a major network outage. He surmised that a recent Microsoft upgrade to its operating systems was responsible for the outage.   A few days later, Skype explained that indeed, Microsoft’s operating system update coupled with a bug in the eBay division’s software was responsible for leaving millions without IP communications.   While some journalists have come to the conclusion that VoIP is no longer reliable because of this outage the reality is that a software bug stopped the network from functioning properly and this had nothing to do with the inherent reliability of VoIP.   Still, when you leverage the benefits of IP communications you must also be aware of the responsibilities that come with the technology. Yes, you now have some responsibilities you may not have been aware of.

IP Communications Education

August 20, 2007

Listen, I don’t want to overdo discussion of ITEXPO in my blog but the fact of the matter is this recent e-mail sent by my marketing team is a great document discussing what is important at the show. It is a good guide for you. What to see, where to go, where to be, etc.   You can see below the various aspects of Internet Telephony Conference & Expo which make it unique and the most imitated event in IP communications.
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