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Rich Tehrani
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Unified Communications

ITEXPO Weeks Away

August 3, 2007

I just can’t believe that Internet Telephony Conference & Expo is five short weeks away. I just can’t wait for September 10-12th in Los Angeles. Boy is the summer going by fast. Thankfully I read Ken Kamp’s blog where he talks about the show and it reminded me about the timing of this event.   Tom Keating too reads Ken’s blog and he beat me to writing about Ken’s post.   I am very excited about the show… It is just amazing how much the communications market has evolved in a few short years.

Mitel/Inter-Tel Finally Merge

August 2, 2007

Mitel's proposal to acquire and merge with Inter-Tel has been approved by Inter-Tel stockholders. Here are the details:  
  • US$723 million merger
  • Creates a market leader in SMB IP communications industry with the scale to strengthen and extend its reach in the enterprise market
  • Anticipated revenues of over US$800 million
  • Once the transaction is completed, Mitel will have approximately 3,400 employees in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia, and count an active worldwide distribution channel some 1,500 value-added resellers, distributors and systems integrators covering over 90 countries.
  My take on this is the deal is good for shareholders and customers as they will get the benefit of two strong technology-focused communications companies working synergistically. This does not mean the integration will be smooth as lately we have seen a number of larger telecom acquisitions causing indigestion and poor earnings.   In this case however, the deal size is not so big and the corporate cultures are very similar so I don’t see “M&A indigestion” as a major challenge.

SpinVox and Skype

August 1, 2007

Voicemail transcription otherwise known as voicemail to text has come to the world’s most popular IP communications software package, Skype. SpinVox technology will be used to convert voicemails to text in the following languages to start: English, Spanish, French and German. More from TMCnet.   I just had a lunch with James Siminoff the Founder and CEO of SimulScribe this past Monday and we got to talking about the voicemail transcription market. James is pretty low key when it comes to estimates and it seems I am more enthusiastic about the potential in this market than even he is.   What we did agree to as a baseline is that the market for these services should be as big as the smartphone space.

ShoreTel/Mitel Patent Lawsuit

July 31, 2007

Aastra Intecom/BroadSoft

July 30, 2007

The IP communications market gets more and more exciting by the day and if you aren’t paying attention it even may get confusing. Today’s big news comes in the form of a partnership between two companies who you may not think would work together.   Broadsoft is a company providing applications platforms enabling such services as IP Centrex to be provided. The company typically targets service providers who in turn target businesses.   AAstra Intecom sells call center and PBX systems to large enterprises that typically have 2,500-3,000 seats.   One would imagine these companies have little in common but the two have just come together to provide large enterprises with an IP communications phone system with the power of BroadSoft and Aastra Intecom in a single solution. Service provider solutions are always more reliable and robust than their counterparts in the enterprise so I can only imagine combining the best products from these two companies means an even better solution than either can provide by itself.   Other products which will be sold as part of this solution are IBM blade servers, EdgeWater Networks for remote access solutions, AudioCodes gateways, Extreme Networks for LAN infrastructure and Covergence for SBCs.   Aastra’s all IP solution is called Clearspan and if you want a hybrid solution you can go with their Pointspan product line.   Aastra Intecom now has a broad range of solutions for virtually every large enterprise need.

Ixia

July 29, 2007

As Ethernet gets more complicated, so must the test systems needed to accurately ensure carriers are providing the best quality of experience for their metro Ethernet solutions. A few weeks back I had a chance to sit down with the team at Ixia and discuss their Carrier Ethernet solutions based on Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) and Provider Backbone Bridge (PBB). The company’s Ixia’s test products for PBT/PBB, along with those for Ethernet OAM/CFM provide network equipment manufacturers and carriers with all the tools needed to test the latest Carrier Ethernet solutions.   Ixia announced the above functionality as well as Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) as part of it’s IxNetwork 5.30 release, which is part of its Aptixia test framework.   Many of the largest service providers have adopted PBT/PBB as it reduces the cost and complexity of Ethernet transport while providing mechanisms for enhanced QoS.   “PBT/PBB is an important new part of the Carrier Ethernet solution over switched Ethernet,” said Michael Howard, principal at Infonetics Research. “Many service providers are evaluating PBT/PBB as a cost effective mechanism to leverage their switched metro Ethernet network and offer back haul for access networks, extend L2/L3 VPNs, and point-to-point (ELINE) services.

Radisys

July 29, 2007

One of the hottest areas of telecom is the open standards building block area, especially the ATCA and more recently MicroTCA spaces. The reason for the growth in open standards components is obvious. As technology markets move more rapidly and become commoditized at the same time, many equipment manufacturers are realizing they would rather be in the software business and not hardware.   So a company who once spent millions developing proprietary transcoding hardware will likely decide it makes sense to write transcoding solutions which run on ATCA-based systems instead. Why?

Iwatsu

July 28, 2007

As part of a recent whirlwind Dallas, Texas tour I had a chance to catch up with Iwatsu’s Don Gant and discuss what his company is up to. He tells me sales of the company’s EMA Enhanced Messaging Application service are strong and have accelerated after the tragic Virginia Tech shooting. The system allows e-mails and calls to be made at a rate of 1,000 calls per minute in order to notify family members or workers in an emergency situation.   One of the benefits of the system is the ability to allow called parties to interact with the emergency notification system. For example if you receive an evacuation notice by phone you can set the system to allow the called party to press a button to get the best evacuation route from different parts of a campus.

Bluesocket buys Pingtel

July 24, 2007

One of the fastest growing spaces in communications is the wireless market and it is essential all communications equipment providers address this area. To that end, Bluesocket, a company known in the WLAN and security space has just picked up Pingtel the company behind one of the first open-source PBX projects.   Pingtel started life designing and selling state of the art IP phones. The company won a number of awards for their nice designs but they were way ahead of their time. No one anticipated the IP PBX space having such a market slowdown from 2001-2003.   As the IP phone market did lose traction, Pingtel changed gears and launched an IP PBX and soon thereafter decided to make it an open-source project.

Microsoft Pushes into Communications and Beyond

July 23, 2007

Here is my August 2007 Publisher’s Outlook for Internet Telephony Magazine. It may be one of the longest pieces I have written in a while and it was great fun to put together and hopefully is something you will appreciate.   ----   In 1997 or so I regularly met with Microsoft executives in charge of the company’s telephony initiatives. At the time Mitch Goldberg and Mark Lee were the top spokesmen the Redmond-based software giant offered up to discuss where the company’s products fit into the telephony ecosystem. If you have been in telecom longer than seven years you likely remember the industry was once dominated by computer telephony integration (CTI) technologies allowing PCs and servers to talk with telephone switches.
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