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Rich Tehrani
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Got Big Telecom Data? You Need Infinity Ear from Empirix!

August 16, 2011

OK, this isn’t a real product name – yet but you could potentially help pick it – be sure to let the company know if you have a name for their new product line.

I sat down with Tim Moynihan and Gordon Eddy of Empirix at SpeechTek and was happy to hear the company has been experiencing double-digit growth. Testing companies like Empirix are a great barometer for the markets they serve as they grow with the percentage of deployments in the spaces are in. In this case, the company is seeing increasing orders as a result of the migration to IP so SIP trunking and SBC deployments have really helped the bottom line.
Moreover, companies are seeking out testing services from Empirix before they deploy CRM, call center and UC services.

Mergers have been another positive factor in the company’s growth as companies have to ensure their disparate systems can interop smoothly before they go live as part of a more seamless network of communications systems.

An interesting area of expansion will be introduced this fall – analyzing “big data” for the telecom space. The point here is big data is being scraped and analyzed with positive results in data centers but there has been a lack of tools to do the same in the telecom space.






Latest Trends in Speech Technology, CRM, IVR, Collaboration and Cloud Computing

August 14, 2011

Speech analytics in greater demand

At the recent SpeechTek 2011 conference in New York I gained some great insight into the state of speech technology. For example, Jeff Schlueter of Nexidia told me his company’s speech analytics solutions have been in greater demand in this current economy as the desire to control costs has led to increased adoption of speech analytics. In addition, the company has released version 9.0 of its Enterprise Speech Intelligence product suite which cuts the TCO in half and allowing for customers to handle even larger amounts of data.

Skype for iPad is Baaack

August 2, 2011

Skype for iPad is here!

It was much-anticipated, released, then pulled, then re-released and it works great. The company said there were problems with it causing them to pull and then release it a few hours later. (Update) TMC's Erik Linask thinks the problem is related to chat bug. There isn't much to say except it has better quality than the iPod/iPhone version but the front-facing iPad camera is certainly a major limiting factor in the quality of the video calls you will experience.



An additional feature beyond what you can do on the iPhone is the ability to chat while conducting a video call.





Why Windstream Bought PAETEC

August 1, 2011

Broadband and communications provider Windstream Corp just agreed to purchase communications conglomerate PAETEC for $2.3 billion in order to add scale and drive growth. PAETEC is an interesting company as it not only provides broadband and IP communications services; it also has data center services, is a large telecom reseller/interconnect, provider of telecom expense management (TEM) solutions and more.

Earlier this year I reported that PAETEC CEO Arunis Chesonis was looking for potential acquisition targets in India and elsewhere and in fact the company did just pick up XETA Technologies to boost its cloud-based service offerings. Interestingly his own company may have been in play while PAETEC itself was exploring more acquisition targets.

Living in a Post-OS World

July 28, 2011



Two of the major drawbacks to a perfect cloud-based existence where the browser serves all your needs are speed of remote apps/services and UI flexibility. It just so happens, two news items have coalesced recently to help usher in the post-OS world. You see, while the tech pundits debate the idea of a post-PC world, companies like Google are going a step further and hoping to get rid of the operating system on the tablet, PC, smartphone and just about any other computing device you use.

HTML5 is one of the primary drivers of the flexible new UI allowing truly customizable media to be shown to users.



French Web Precursor Minitel to Shut Down

July 27, 2011

France Telecom is shutting down Minitel - the precursor to the web - a service which provides information services to the carrier's customers. In less than a year, the service will be shuttered despite recently having about 10 million subscribers.

Like so many ideas which are good - a newer technology can come along and make even a well-liked service obsolete. Even though Minitel had a super-long run in tech years - 30 years, it reminds us that no matter how long you have been around - you can be wiped out when a newer and better technology comes along. In this case that new tech is broadband, the web and cheap computers.

One wonders however if France Telecom had focused on improving Minitel and broadening its reach so other global carriers could leverage it - would today's Internet be dominated by France-based instead of US based companies?

I guess we will never know.

TMC's Peter Bernstein has more.







Sprint Telehealth and M2M Event 2011

July 26, 2011



Last week I spent time at the Sprint Telehealth and M2M Event which they call Emerging Trends and Solutions in Telehealth, Remote Patient Monitoring and Wellness Forum. It was an intimate event but full of partners like Digi and many others who were thrilled to show off their solutions which work in-part with Sprint's networks. BTW - for those of you who go back to the UNIX days of dumb terminals - you may remember DIGI used to be a player in the space of allowing many terminals to attach to a PC-based UNIX system. Yes, we are talking pre-Linux here - in the late eighties/early nineties.

The mood was upbeat and positive, this part of Sprint's business is doing well and a wave of partners are enthusiastic about the future of telehealth, telemedicine and the machine-to-machine (m2m) markets.



Will AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Slow Wireless Innovation?

July 25, 2011

AT&T has done an incredible job of getting special interest group after group to endorse its merger with T-Mobile, saying it will provide better broadband access for minorities, rural subscribers and just about any group of people you can think of. The broader gay community too has endorsed the merger - apparently transgender-Americans have been hoping for the day when there was one less GSM provider to choose from.

Here is how the system works - AT&T has hundreds of thousands of workers and inevitably large numbers of them in myriad groups. This in turn coupled with large contributions to various organizations and associations is rewarded with the reciprocal endorsing of anything AT&T requests.

To help grease the wheels even further, AT&T has further upped its lobbying budget by 58% according to PC Magazine.

AT&T is doing the smart thing by getting rid of its sole GSM provider allowing it better negotiating leverage in its roaming agreements with foreign carriers and gaining the ability to raise rates with one less major competitor to depress market pricing. It will also gain more leverage when negotiating with hardware and software companies.

An anti-merger video by the Free Press Action Fund



If the US government blocks the deal it will be because the remaining major companies AT&T and Verizon will have so much share that they are effectively a duopoly at about 80% - allowing them to raise prices at will.

Again, if you are an AT&T or Verizon shareholder, you likely want this merger to happen and AT&T is serving its short-term  shareholders well by seeking this transaction.

But the challenge I see is that with one less major telecom carrier in the US it becomes that much more difficult for innovative start-ups to launch, get funding and hold their breath long enough for a carrier to buy from them.















News Corp. PhoneGate Analysis and Suggestions

July 21, 2011

Based on the constant media coverage you should all be aware that reporters at a now shuttered News Corp. newspaper broke into voicemail accounts in order to get scoops. News Corp is certainly center-right in its reporting - depending on which brand of course. And it is also a very successful company with products like Fox News being monsters in terms of viewership.

But journalists are generally liberal and before you dispute my assertion, please recognize I hire and work with them for a living and as such, media outlets across the world have gone out of their way to focus on what isn't such a huge story.

Metaswitch Thrutu iPhone App Lets Carriers Become Social Hubs

July 20, 2011

Earlier this year I came across Thrutu from Metaswitch newtorks - an application development platform allowing carriers to leverage rich social features and provide them as services to customers. In short, this is the exact sort of solution wireless phone companies need to try to keep their customers engaged and more importantly paying them.

Of even greater importance for service providers is being able to ensure that the contact database doesn't continue to get moved from the carrier cloud to the social cloud. By that I mean, consumers are relying more and more on Facebook and Twitter as their contact database making the carrier and the phones they sell less important.

Thrutu brings social features such as location, contact and photo sharing as well as prodding via a remote vibration (like Facebook's poke) and more via an API which developers can use to do much more.

I saw a demo of it working on Android phones and was impressed and as of this moment the company has released an iPhone version as well. As you may have guessed, you will be better off using such a service on a network voice and data can be shared such as GSM or in an area where there is WiFi and 3G/cellular.

Of course the question you have to ask is whether it is too late for carriers to basically reinvent social networks which are already dominated by the web giants we all know (and many love).







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