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Roku IPO Reminds us Tech is an Oligopoly

September 3, 2017



Roku is a company that defied the odds - competing in a market with Apple, Google and Amazon and somehow persevering by making superior products in what is without a doubt a highly commoditized space. To make matters worse, Google and Amazon really don't seem to care too much about profitability - Amazon in general and Google/Alphabet for its businesses beyond search.

Still, despite the challenging competitive environment, Roku has persevered and done well.

The company's investors are about to partially cash out via an IPO and in its filing documents it tells us that two of its most popular services, YouTube and Netflix pay them virtually no money.

Tech is an oligopoly of sorts. In 2015, Om Malik wrote about the winner-take-all nature of Silicon Valley.

Here is an excerpt:

This loop of algorithms, infrastructure, and data is potent. Add what are called network effects to the mix, and you start to see virtual monopolies emerge almost overnight.











Help Nominate Agents of Digital Transformation

May 25, 2017

We have some very exciting news to share! 

The Agents of Change recognition program was developed to identify the leaders within companies that are helping transform vision and innovation into reality.

Nominate leaders you believe deserve special recognition for their ability to initiate and drive change in the industry. Your nominee could be from a large company, where change is often harder to implement, or from a smaller company or startup where, this particular Agent of Change has taken technological innovation to heart and is creating opportunities that have the potential to change not just a company, but the world, for the better. 


Konftel Goes BIG and small in Conferencing

April 16, 2017


The BIG news from Konftel is they hope to solve the huge headache most people experience when trying to set up the conference phone in a meeting. How? The Konftel 300IPx (we will refer to this as hardware) and Konftel Unite mobile app (we will refer to this as software) work together so a single click is all it takes to join a meeting.

Many of us techies have in-car navigation which could costs thousands of dollars yet we prefer an app - Google Maps, Waze, etc. This is the same idea but the 300IPx does have a small screen as well if you want to use it.



We had a recent discussion with Torbj√∂rn Karlsson and Stefan Eriksson and they told us all about the solution and how it works.

The hardware has NFC, allowing a quick connection with your phone - unless it's an iPhone, because Apple has decided the masses don't need NFC at the moment. 








Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Rainbow Powers Digital Transformation

April 15, 2017



Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is making progress becoming a communications enabler and thereby an enabler of digital transformation via Open Rainbow, their "enterprise Whatsapp" solution which allows a company to customize communications solutions for various markets.

We first covered it in 2016 and there are now 40-50 low-level APIs allowing integration with applications in hospitality - room service for example, retail and more.



Moreover, the company tells us their solution is superior to OTT solutions such as social networks as the customer relationship stays within the control of your organization. Also, with routing, scheduling and communications control - you can be sure you're on the right side of various regulations which your industry may have to comply with.

The company's "no-memory APIs" allow fully anonymized calling for solutions which require such privacy. For example public services in France...

New 8x8 Communications Cloud Enables Digital Transformation

April 9, 2017

Bryan Martin of 8x8 told us the company's new Communications Cloud is analogous to the other clouds companies have in place - marketing and sales for example. The service combines UC, collaboration, contact center and analytics into a single streamlined package.



The company's Team Collaboration is an open solution connecting to other communications platforms such as Slack and Hipchat - allowing them to interoperate. Bryan tells us they can connect 50 of these services together. 

The openness angle is a very interesting one - is it better to be connected to all the various solutions on the market or try to acquire one of your own and lock customers in?





It's NEVER too Late to Start Digital Transformation

April 8, 2017

Is it ever too late for your company to start a digital transformation process? Let me answer that with another question. Are you ever too old to run a marathon? Interestingly, in 2011, a 100-year-old did run one and finish in over eight-hours.

Free HBO Content Makes the AT&T Pipe Smart

April 5, 2017



For years, communications service providers like AT&T and Verizon discussed their need to to not be dumb pipe sellers but instead add value with various services. It turns out one of the major ways to add value to a dumb pipe is with content - lots of it. Comcast owns NBC and Universal, Verizon owns Yahoo! and AOL and AT&T owns DirectTV.

Thanks to T-Mobile and Sprint, there is real price competition in the wireless space and differentiating can be more difficult. Tremendous credit goes to to T-Mobile for immediately offering Pokemon Go with no data charges - soon enough to capitalize on the trendy new game.

Amazingly, carriers are more nimble than they've ever been. 





Sennheiser Shows the Future of Work in NYC

April 3, 2017


Sennheiser
and furniture company Wilkhahn recently held a press conference at their pop-up store in Greenwich Village, NY where the audience was treated to great content and the ability to try some of the company's high-end audio products.

The presentation started with pictures which showed the evolution of the office - from tightly packed desks, to offices, to cubes and now more casual informal settings replete with couches, huddle rooms and a few quiet areas for serious work. In other words, our collaborative future.

The takeaway? Well, it wasn't all that different from what many of us heard in the keynote room of ITEXPO in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Companies are changing to suit the tastes of millennials.



Vidyo Expands its Service into Banking

March 21, 2017

Read to the end to see why future call center agents may need to start hitting the gym

We've covered Vidyo news before - the company has video solutions serving numerous industries with powerful solutions which work over a wide-range of of bandwidth situations. Recently they have been focusing more on banking solutions as research has shown the timing is good. In fact, 90% of banking industry respondents expect video collaboration to positively impact customer satisfaction, and 80% are planning on deploying a video collaboration tool in the near future.

To learn more, we spoke with Eran Westman, CEO of Vidyo.

The chief executive sees financial as a natural extension of the company's success in healthcare. He thinks using video when getting a mortgage, establishes trust with the customer and will become more common.





Why Apple's Dropping its Pants With New iPad Price

March 21, 2017

This new device is a dramatic departure for the company... Here's why



If you look at the innovations of the iPad over the years, the device has gotten significantly more powerful as well as lighter with each iteration. The company pioneered a Smart Cover and a Smart Keyboard and even launched a pencil - although, they didn't pioneer that... In fact it was avoiding the use of a stylus that got the company to where it is today...



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