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SpinVox

April 8, 2007

When I first came across a company called SpinVox I thought it had a niche product not really aligned with my core readership. The first product the company introduced to me was SpinmyBlog which is something I could definitely use at my blog at Tehrani.com. But I thought – who else would even care?   Oh, wait a minute – I am sorry… I didn’t even tell you what SpinmyBlog does. Amazingly it uses speech recognition to convert your voice to a blog entry.

Cantata Gets New CEO

April 6, 2007

You may have seen the news about Cantata hiring a new CEO and could possibly be wondering why they would do such a thing. After all, Mark Zionts was involved in building Cantata into the company it is today with the combination of Brooktrout and Excel.   This is the story based on my conversation with Peter Vescuso the VP of Marketing at Cantata. It seems that Mark is acknowledged as the talented entrepreneur that took the company to where it is today. The goal now is to take Cantata to the next level.   The new CEO is Tim Murray and Tim is an AT&T veteran having worked as Executive Vice President and President of various divisions of the Telecom giant.

Unified Communications Magazine

April 6, 2007

Response Point

April 4, 2007

In case you weren’t aware, Microsoft unveiled a small business phone system recently called Response Point. TMCnet’s Tom Keating has a well thought-out blog entry on what Microsoft is doing as well as a bit of history on Microsoft and other players in IP communications going back to the nineties.   The SMB space continues to be a very sweet spot for VoIP. There is no question this market is huge and Microsoft wants to make billions in this space.   Will the Redmond, Washington based company be successful this time? I would say there is room in the market for many players.

Altigen News

April 3, 2007

Big news over at Altigen. Jerry Fleming who ran the Vonexus division of Interactive Intelligence is at Altigen now and will focus on building the US operations of the company. I haven’t had a chance to talk with Jerry yet but his title will be President and COO.   Gilbert Hu will continue to lead AltiGen Communications as Chairman & CEO.   A word of history. Back in 1995 or so Altigen really wowed the telecom market with the world’s first PC PBX.

Cisco's Real Strengths

March 31, 2007

Cisco’s incredible strength comes from being able to leverage its strong brand and enourmous salesforce to sell virtually every sort of product in telecom and datacom. This report makes it seem like the outlook for the competition is bleak.   It is worth pointing out however that if you focus on a niche, you can likely make better products in your specific area than a larger company with broader focus. This is basic business and has been shown time and time again to be true.   However the report should not be taken lightly. Cisco is a fierce competitor and as an acquisition machine – they do it better than any other company I have ever seen.   Having said that, the company is getting bigger and bigger and when that happens, invariably size works to the company’s disadvantage.   In addition I am beginning to hear stories about how the Cisco salesforce is inundated with new products to sell and just can’t do justice to all of them.

Hosted Unified Communications

March 30, 2007

Recently Microsoft and Nortel expanded their efforts to bring unified communications to the world. In this case, they have tackled the tough job of bringing unified communications to service providers who will in turn be able to bring UC to small and medium businesses. This collaboration makes a lot of sense as I am seeing a tremendous amount of growth and interest in the hosted communications space.   Serving up UC backed by Nortel and Microsoft could be a relatively easy sell but there's a chance that service providers will brand the service exclusively as their own. Having these 2 companies working with service providers will be a great benefit to the entire market.

Octware

March 27, 2007

Sounds Great, Less Filling   Octasic is well known in the world of echo canceling – a market which is not discussed too often but is important for enabling crystal clear, echo-free conversations. The company is known for providing echo cancellation for devices, IP PBXs as well as high-end echo cancellation boards with fixed function DSP-based hardware.   Recently the company realized there is a whole world out there of smaller companies who enjoy the benefits of echo-free conversations (sounds great) but who aren’t fans of paying for hardware which is basically overkill for their small company (less filling).   In fact hardware-based echo cancellers are typically 16 channels at a minimum and if you need less then you have basically wasted money. So a software solution makes a great deal of sense and this software-based solution will come from a new Octasic subsidiary known as Octware.   Software-based echo canceling is an economical $10/port and works with Asterisk-based systems. The only negative to this approach is for systems that are underpowered.

TrixBox Appliance

March 26, 2007

The rage these days seems to be that of communications appliances as installing software seems to be so last year and plug-and-play seems just so 2007. To that end Trixbox has a new – you guessed it – appliance for the masses. Formerly Asterisk@Home the Trixbox appliance is based on Asterisk open-source PBX software and as I just discussed, Trixbox marketing tells us this device makes installing an open-source PBX both fast and simple.   Now you may be confused about all these different open-source PBX companies – many of whom are based on Asterisk and at least one is indeed Asterisk. Chris Lyman the CEO of Trixbox likes to explain his products versus the competition as follows:   Asterisk is the raw materials – the hammers, nails and wood if you will.

Asterisk Appliance

March 26, 2007

  Once of the more interesting areas of growth in the VoIP market has been that of open-source appliances. I had a chance to see the Asterisk Appliance from Digium which they deem is a full-featured and cost-effective way to provide the under 50 user SMB with VoIP – or as their press release espouses, Internet Telephony. The appliance is about the size of a typical home router.   Some of the functions included in the $995 device include: 
  • Complete Asterisk server
  • Support for VoIP and analog phones to allow customers to use the legacy equipment they already own
  • Full-featured PBX, interactive voice response (IVR), voicemail, conferencing and automatic call distribution (ACD) software
  • Administrative features such as a setup wizard and autoprovisioning of Polycom IP phones
  • Call queuing functionality
  • Hardware-based echo cancellation
  • Compact flash card or MMC to support voicemail and wireless applications with no major parts
  • Craft port for debug for field technicians
  • Five Ethernet ports (1 WAN, 4 LAN)
  • Built-in router ideal for small offices
  • Eight analog ports supporting a mix of foreign exchange station (FXS) and foreign exchange office (FXO) interfaces to standard telephones
My take? This is a great idea.
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