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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.

ITEXPO Video

March 25, 2007

MyTMCnet

March 21, 2007

Thanks to readers like you, TMCnet has been blessed with 1-2 million unique visitors every month and last month over 20 million pages were viewed on this site. We are truly grateful to our readers, sponsors and advertisers who support this site and all other TMC products and initiatives.   Of course hats off to the TMC team who nurtures the development of our beloved communications and technology portal.   At TMC we are always innovating. We always look for ways to serve our audience better.   A number of months back an advertiser came to us and said according to his research, TMCnet is not only the top communications site in the US but the world.   The interesting part of this conversation is it seemed that not everyone knew just how popular TMCnet was outside of the US.   To rectify this situation and moreover to make it easier for those people around the world to get access to news pertaining to their interests, we embarked on developing TMCnet for various continents.   But instead of hard coding this project, we decided it would be better to build a framework which was customizable.   This would take longer but what it would allow is a fully customizable news portal by specific topic or even specific keywords.   Once this project dubbed myTMCnet was launched and working we could then easily extend it to be continent specific, country specific, topic specific, etc.   Yesterday we rolled out the beta of myTMCnet.   TMCnet has 3,000-4,000 articles, press releases and other content pouring into it daily.   We have now given the world a custom interface so they can see this news in any way they choose.   For example, if you are interested in IMS news you can add a custom box dedicated to IMS. Or perhaps you want to track SanSay or Avaya or unified communications.   It doesn’t matter.   I have found MyTMCnet is an invaluable competitive research tool allowing me to see what they are up to.
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