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Rich Tehrani
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Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds, The Future of Communications

May 15, 2008



I am here at Nortel R&D headquarters in Ottawa, Canada where the Nortel incubation team is showing us a bunch of the latest technologies they are working on in the labs. This is the first day the media has been allowed to see the next-gen products the Canadian-based communications company is working on.

We are an hour or so into the demo and so far we have seen a Nortel specific virtual world where all avatars use their corporate identities. In addition, there is voice collaboration with 3D stereo built-in.

If this sounds familiar it is because Diamondware has similar technology. Nortel cannot comment on whether they are working with the Arizona-based company but regardless (I would say they are working together and even will even potentially buy the company), the demo was impressive as it reinforces how the quality of audio really is more important than we realize.

We use a single ear to listen to one another while on the phone and we compress the audio and filter out most of the feeling.







My Canada Trip and Nortel Wrap Up

May 16, 2008

I am back from Canada and the first thing I did when turning on my phone was praise the engineers who came up with the awkward-sounding acronym called EVDO. By the way in my discussions in Canada it seems the people who told me Rogers will be offering EVDO are wrong as Rogers uses GSM/GPRS and their evolution is to LTE - which coincidentally stands for long term evolution.

Bell Mobility is going to be upgrading to EVDO according to my sources and moreover the high price for wireless access is explained by Canadian analysts as the problem of providing access to an entire country where only a fraction of the land is inhabited. Apparently country-wide access is mandated. Oh - and it also seems that Bell Mobility is intentionally throttling bandwidth to what I would have to say are inhumane levels.

One of my most memorable moments these last few days was driving from Ottawa to Montreal and back.



Cisco EMC Merger Rumor

May 19, 2008

With a majority stake in VMware and a commanding lead of the storage space, what's not to like about EMC. If you are Cisco, it makes sense to pick up EMC now because the stock is down a bit and moreover Cisco would be able to immediately expand its product line beyond networking, telepresence and networking.

Overnight, Cisco could become a leader in storage and a very strong security player.

Remember that Cisco was an early VMware investor and they likely want to expand their ownership of the company.

Remember also that Cisco is doing some amazing things with virtualization in their routers and owning a premiere name in the virtualization space can only help their core offerings.

At this point the rumor is just that but I have been pretty amazed at just how many of these speculative discussions have become reality.

One of the exceptions was the Microsoft/Yahoo merger and even that one seems to be happening in some capacity again.

I think there is little room for complaint if this rumor is true as shareholders may be better off with Cisco stock and customers would likely want to consolidate their purchasing with less vendors. At this point such a deal -- even if hypothetical, makes sense for most involved.











Post Memorial Day Communications Update

May 27, 2008

It has been a long weekend for many in the US as the weather these past few days was fantastic and based on the level of incoming e-mail I received, it seems many in the tech and telecom industries took the time off to barbeque and do whatever else they do with their families on long holiday weekends.

This week, TMC roars back to its super-productive non-vacationing self with an abundance of articles designed to help you get the most out of today's communications systems.

I have outlined a few of them here for your perusal and if you want a full list of original TMCnet articles as they happen, please visit this page and check out our services page for the latest and greatest TMCnet updates.

But getting back to the articles, if you are looking to bring the benefits of Microsoft OCS to your Nokia smartphones, you may be interested to hear what WebMessenger is doing to make this a reality.

If you are wondering what is happening outside the US with respect to communications you may not be surprised to hear that Asia and the surrounding areas are investing heavily in the latest in audio and video communications technologies. This article speaks of staggering growth rates in the region and is worth a read.

By the way, TMCnet has a dedicated communications and technology research page which you may be interested in checking out as well.

Many of you you in the communications market for some time are aware that NMS has been an early innovator in telecom and more recently the company has become a mobile player. This is why I read with interest the comments of Maggie Smith, NMS Director of Product Marketing in an interview she had with TMCnet.

Of special note were estimates she quoted about the size of the mobile video market. In fact, Frost and Sullivan estimates revenue from mobile video services in the United States are expected to reach $1.6B by 2011 and IDC has reported that revenues from mobile video and mobile TV applications in Western Europe are expected to reach nearly $2 Billion by 2009.

Another interesting part of this interview is how customers are using NMS technology to provide avatars in the communications mix.















SIP Forum Growth

May 28, 2008

The SIP Forum seems to be making some nice progress in attracting a broad swath of companies to its organization.

In case you aren't aware, The SIP Forum is a non-profit IP communications industry association that engages in numerous activities that advance and promote SIP technology, such as the development of industry recommendations, the SIPit interoperability and testing events, special interoperability workshops, and general promotion of SIP in the industry.

One of the Forum's recent technical activities is the development of the SIPconnect Technical Recommendation -- a standards-based recommendation that provides detailed guidelines for direct IP peering and interoperability between IP PBXs and VoIP service provider networks, and the SIPconnect Compliant Certification Program through which eligible companies can gain SIPconnect validation and the right to license the use of the SIP Forum's 'SIPconnect Compliant' certification mark.

What sort of progress are they making you ask? Well, they have recently told the world they are experianceing 100% 100% growth compared to the last quarter of 2007. The organization now has
46 Full Member companies and more than 5,000 individual members from around the world.

Why do people join the forum? Well Ken Kuenzel, Founder and CTO, Covergence, Inc. says his company joined the SIP Forum because of its efforts to build on existing IETF standards to define a standards-based approach that will enable seamless IP peering between IP PBXs and VoIP service providers.

Eric Swift, Senior Director of the Office Communications Group at Microsoft Corporation said We at Microsoft have long embraced SIP as an important standard and foundation for interoperability...










Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

June 4, 2008

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do you think we could see a time when we all have avatars -- or even multiple avatars used when communicating with different people?

Think about it... A work avatar in a suit, a casually dressed avatar for hanging out with your friends and yet another more "elegantly dressed" avatar for communicating with members of the opposite sex.

I recently wrote that Nortel, Dialogic and NMS are in this space but I forgot to mention that IBM too is deploying a virtual world communications system for US intelligence agencies. (Credit goes to Tony Rybczynski for reminding me yesterday of this).

Nortel recently espoused how we will one day use avatars on our mobile phones and it seems they were right on -- at least in theory.





Will Steve Jobs Wow Us?

June 7, 2008

It seems that if you do not blog about the iPhone this weekend you will be out touch with the blogging and news gathering communities. It is just that important. On Monday we will have a new Apple mobile device to drool over and I wonder if the company has any surprises up its sleeve such as higher screen resolution?

We know the new iPhone also called Jesus Phone by some will have 3G but will it also have a keyboard?

The Importance of Communications

June 21, 2008

Do we realize the importance of what we do? I have been thinking about this question a great deal lately. I see the amazing technology being developed by the entire industry and I just can't help but wonder - do we realize how important we are to the world economy. I am far from an economist but I know that when productivity improves so does the standard of living.

Move Avatar Buzz

June 23, 2008

You have heard me go on and on about avatars in the past. Here are some of my recent blog posts in fact:

Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do...

Posted on June 4, 2008 4:55 PM



NXTComm, VPF, ITEXPO and More

June 25, 2008

I am back from NXTComm, the Voice Peering Forum and my trip to Vancouver. It is good to be home and I have so much to share. A few things you should know about are the fact that TMCnet was on-hand at NXTComm doing video interviews with a number of the movers and shakers.

Here is one of these interviews with Erik Linask and Sam Lisle from Fujitsu. This interview page has a menu of all the interviews so I hope you enjoy them all.

On another note, my team and I will be gearing up to put the final touches on ITEXPO which takes place September 16-18, 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.



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