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Avatars: The Cursor in Communications 2.0

October 10, 2008

One of the people with a long history in the communications space is Neal Shact (pictured) -- CEO of Communitech Services. In the past, Shacht has been a distributor in the headset market and has been early in many new markets such as VoIP, call centers and others.

Shact points out it is impossible for customers to know what they want in UC. He mentions the old story that Henry Ford once said people when asked what they wanted in transportation said, a faster horse.

His point: you need a communications roadmap. Don't rely exclusively on your UC vendor to dictate what you want and need.

You want to check out this podcast as it is rife with references outside communications -- and the tie-ins are fascinating.





HTC WiMAX-Based T8290 Comes to Russia

October 10, 2008

ZeeVee's Localcasting Solution Merges Internet, TV

October 8, 2008

As the convergence of television and the internet continues, there is still a basic challenge in finding a simple way to connect the massive stores of internet video content seamlessly with the traditional television. There are a number of devices which tackle this problem but none I've seen which seem to have the momentum to become mainstream. The marriage of the internet and TV is a huge opportunity and if done correctly, it will change numerous industries.

Recenty I heard from old friend Brian Mahony (pictured), the VP of marketing at localcasting (in-home broadcasting) company ZeeVee. Mahony has worked at a number of companies on the cutting edge of technology in the decade in a half or so I have known him. When I met him in the nineties, he was working for Tundo - one of the first IP PBX companies which like so many others, ran out of funding during the dotcom/telecom meltdown.

Apple's Developer Can of Worms

October 7, 2008

In a perfect world, a company who decides to control which applications can be downloaded to its devices would have no problem doing so. We live however in a world which is far from perfect and Apple is having serious issues controlling what can be downloaded and what cannot.

Recently the Cupertino-based company decided that a program called Podcaster which allows multimedia files to be downloaded wirelessly should no longer be downloaded to iPhones because as the company says, the software duplicates the functionality of iTunes. It would seem to someone like me who is not allowed to "legally" download the software anymore that this ruling is to protect Apple from a software program which seems superior to iTunes.

After all, it makes little sense to have to plug a wireless device into a PC when you want to download music, podcasts and other files.

I have a theory that iTunes will soon go wireless as well and this move by Apple is a defensive play to ensure the market for wireless multimedia downloads is there when Apple is ready.

But that article will have to wait for another time. For now, Podcaster has turned to Cydia, the open-source iPhone application installer and will focus on installing on phones which have been jail-broken -- referring to the concept of breaking the walled garden locks Apple has placed on its devices.

The question worth asking here is whether the negative PR buzz is worth it for Apple and should they open up?









AudioCodes a Barometer of Communications Markets?

October 7, 2008

Verizon Loses VoIP Patent Case: Justice Served?

October 7, 2008

One of the last companies to jump on the VoIP bandwagon is Verizon. Yet -- our legal system allows larger companies with deep pockets who focus more on patents than providing users with new technology to easily sue new competitors into oblivion.

This is the case with Vonage -- the company paying over a hundred million dollars for patent infringement to Verizon. Cable companies are another matter as they have large legal teams and deep enough pockets to defend themselves from patent suits which may or may not be frivolous.

Recently, a jury decided Cox Communications did not infringe Verizon patents. This is great news for Cox and regardless of who is right or wrong in a complex legal case like this, having a jury trial where six patents are in question and winning all six is surprising.



WiMAX World 2008 Update

October 6, 2008

WiMAX has gone through an overhype stage and now is like so many other technologies - VoIP included, at a stage where the markets are trying to figure out where the opportunities lie. Indeed, trying to determine what is real and what is hype is difficult to do and to cut through the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) I spent time at WiMAX World in Chicago to learn more from the movers and shakers in the space.

I came armed with questions about deployments and the threat of LTE - the evolutionary technology theoretically enabling 2-3G operators to ignore WiMAX. In the last six months there have been numerous articles and technical white papers written about whether WiMAX is necessary.

To cut to the chase, I spoke with VP Chair, Marketing Working Group of the WiMAX Forum, Dr. Mo Shakouri who explained that the transition to LTE is more than a simple software upgrade as carriers need to go from CDMA to OFDM - which obviously requires hardware. They believe there is a strong marketing campaign being waged by mobile operators and some hardware providers who want to sow FUD in the WiMAX market.

In order to combat the threat from LTE the WiMAX Forum is feverishly working with companies to develop lower cost CPE devices as carrier profitability is tied to device cost.





Asterisk World Comes to ITEXPO

October 6, 2008

As a major supporter of open source -- especially in the communications market, I cannot be more thrilled to announce that Digium will be co-hosting Digium/Asterisk World at ITEXPO this February in Miami.

It is well-known that open source companies consider ITEXPO an important event and one where they come to meet service providers, resellers and other companies looking to deploy open-source solutions. This news solidifies TMC's commitment to open source as a solid choice for companies looking to not only purchase today's solutions but to resell and develop tomorrow's breakthrough products.

Mark Spencer, founder and CTO of Digium and original creator of Asterisk had this to say about this news. "Hosting Digium|Asterisk World at ITEXPO East 2009 will allow us to share the vision and power of Asterisk with a broad set of customers who might not be familiar with open source. By giving them their first taste of Asterisk, we empower them to not only save money but to use and create new technologies that never existed before."

For my part, I salute Mark and his company which has brought open source communications so far, so quickly.





Dream WiMAX Phone Coming to Russia

October 5, 2008


I have it on good authority that this new WiMAX phone designed by Art Lebedev will be coming to Russia -- in about 30 days. Apparently, no one wants to go on record but multiple sources tell me this phone is going to be a game changer. As engadget discusses in their prototype article, this phone will have a touchscreen which supports 850x480 (I could not confirm these specs sadly  ) which should blow the iPhone away. In addition, those who have used prototypes tell me this phone will blow away the iPhone because it will give you access to broadband speeds without the need for a WiFi hotspot.

Sure, that is what AT&T is supposed to provide with their 3G network but the reality is their 3G network does not seem to be able to handle the massive subscriber data load at the moment.


Navigating the Financial Crisis

October 4, 2008

I have been getting more and more questions on where the communications market stands in light of macroeconomic conditions. It is a constant in my frequent conversations. In most cases, when I get this question, people tell me their business is good but they wonder if the housing market problems will trickle down into the telecom space.

The answer is simply, I do believe there is risk to all sectors of the global economy. For the first time in my memory, US and other political leaders have come on TV and mentioned the term global crisis on a frequent basis.

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