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Unified Communications

Julius Genachowski Makes Brilliant Move at FCC in Hiring Henning Schulzrinne as CTO

December 29, 2011

Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the appointment of Henning Schulzrinne as Chief Technology Officer – a major move forward for the FCC and the US communications regulatory environment. This move was made in-part because the FCC has had to keep up with fairly rapid changes in the communications and networking worlds. Telephony was once a circuit-switched service provided by a handful of large telecommunications companies and a number of regional players.

It was relatively easy to understand and regulate.

Ultrabooks, Kindle Fires and the New World Apple Must Compete in

December 27, 2011

I have had many friends and relatives share their gadget purchase decisions with me these past weeks and none of them were Apple products. Most were Kindle and one Nook. Based on my informal questioning it seems the only reason to not buy an iPad and instead a gadget from Barnes & Noble or Amazon is price.

In other words I get the sense these purchases would all be iPad 2s if the prices were similar.

Ignoring Increased Accident Evidence, NTSB Pushes Gadget While Driving Ban

December 17, 2011

Recently the NTSB voted this week to recommend all 50 states and the District of Columbia enact laws banning the use of personal electronics including hands free and handheld devices while driving. While it is obvious to all of us that using a smartphone to surf the web and text while driving is a major distraction I should also like to point out that perhaps the NTSB is focusing on the wrong area. After all, fixing your hair, daydreaming, dealing with kids in the back seat, eating, drinking, sneezing, coughing, crying, laughing, dealing with difficult radio controls which often by the way manifest themselves in the dashboards of German automobiles are potentially more distracting than texting. At least that’s my take on the issue.

Avaya's Top Communication Trends in 2012

December 16, 2011

Recently I had a chance to have an in-depth conversation with Avaya about the trends they see for 2012 in the communications space. In particular I spoke with George Humphrey a Director and Line of Business Owner at Avaya and Diane Royer, Senior Marketing Services Manager.

The trends below are at times augmented or enhanced with my thoughts.

1) Mobility raises the expectation of availability

Nokia says we are Fed up With iPhones

December 13, 2011

In an interview with Pocket-lint, Niels Munksgaard, director of Portfolio, Product Marketing & Sales at Nokia Entertainment Global said the youth of today are fed up with iPhones and Androids are too complicated and insecure. My informal analysis of the situation shows that yes, many people do think Android is too complex but I am not sure security on mobile devices is a main concern of consumers. Regarding Apple, it is very possible he is right but the flipside to this argument is that Apple consumers are locked in.

Consider the fact that once you switch to another phone manufacturer, your apps no longer work and your chargers don’t either.

Altigen's iFusion: Fuses the Desk Phone & iPhone

December 2, 2011



The smartphone and tablet are taking the world by storm and this information isn’t lost on Altigen Communications the company who literally revolutionized the communications space in the nineties by merging the best of the PC and telephone into an office phone system for small companies. I remember meeting the company’s VP of Marketing Gary Andresen in 1996 as he showed the fascinating concept of merging the best of the PC and telephony worlds. For the next ten years or so Altigen evolved and went upmarket but in the past few years they’ve been very quiet. Part of the reason for the slowing in PR and marketing has to do with the company retooling its portfolio and evolving its strategy.

Will Rockit Redefine Social CRM?

November 18, 2011

What happens when you merge social CRM, location based marketing, mobile marketing, loyalty rewards and targeted social marketing? The answer is Rockit – a new company whose goal is to prove to the world that managing customers in the new multichannel, multimedia world is far from “rocket science” (get it?).

The company provides a loyalty-enabled platform allowing customers to sign up for offers in categories of interest or by company and these companies can use the platform to track customer loyalty, communicate and push out special offers and incentives.

I Use Google and You Siri are no Google Killer

November 14, 2011

I worry more it will kill the public’s interest in speech rec

I have been reading with great interest all of the back and forth chatter on the web regarding Apple’s Siri and its merit as a Google killer and as I read these articles I wonder if many of the people writing these stories have followed the speech technology space these past decades. In 2000, I ran a show called Communications Solutions and on stage I did a live demo of General Magic’s Portico calling it a killer app – the next big thing. It was incredible to me and it worked pretty similarly to Siri. Sure, Apple’s speech rec “wizard” Siri has enhanced functionality allowing you to do information searches but in a decade you would expect such advancements, right?

But one has to wonder why is Siri the Google killer and why now?

Some US Offices Being Closed by Mitel

November 3, 2011


I just got word that a number of US offices have been closed by Mitel. A source tells me 60 people were let go, 40 technicians and engineers and there are now only 16 branches in the US. I reached out to Mitel PR who wouldn't comment due to the quiet period so I did some digging and found a Mitel employee in a supervisory capacity who confirmed US offices were being closed but wouldn't specify how many.

Mitel has had challenges for a number of years and I won't go into what they are in this piece. If you are curious see my past pieces in order or pertinence, ShoreTel Filling the Nortel Void?, Mitel to Come Out Swinging, Will They Connect? and Mitel Business Partner Conference 2011 Live Blog.

What is worth mentioning is the new CEO Rich McBee has outlined a plan and part of it consists of aligning its channels.




Plantronics Headset Line Exudes UC Dominance

November 3, 2011

Recently I received a care package from Plantronics with a number of their headsets and other products and when I opened the box it served as a not so subtle reminder of just how dominant the company is. Back in 1982 when my company TMC (I am CEO) launched the first magazine in the call center space, Plantronics was one of the few companies in the market and almost 30 years later they have evolved into an organization delivering unified communications endpoints for virtually every segment of the market.

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