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Rich Tehrani
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| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space

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MagicTalk and MagicJack Plus Coming Soon

December 14, 2010

I’ve followed the IP communications business for well over a decade and in 1997 my company TMC decided to launch a publication called Internet Telephony to focus on what we believed would be a massive trend towards IP communications. At first we were ridiculed because there was a point in time when the technology was seen as a replacement for Ham radio only. It took some years but the industry caught fire and saw incredible innovation – even a bubble or two grew and exploded on the way to where we are today.

And as amazing as the market has been for 12 years or so, we didn’t see VoIP-on-a-stick become ultra-popular until a few years ago.

Grandstream GXV3175 a Solid IP Multimedia Value

December 14, 2010

Grandstream's Khris Kendrick discusses the GXV3175 as well as the company's other products such as a new cube camera

Grandstream has just released the GXV3175, a multimedia phone which features HD voice and video with the ability to connect the output of the video conference to an HDTV. Moreover, the Linux-based desk phone which sports an easy to use seven-inch touch-screen interface supports widgets for checking things like the weather or stock quotes.



There is support for  IM from Google, MSN and Yahoo! as well as social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Another great feature is integration with Photobucket and Flickr and other photo sharing services. This phone could very well replace a Sony Dash on a desktop as it not only does much of what that device does but adds real-time multimedia communications.



There are lots of other features including a 1.3 megapixel CMOS camera with privacy shutter as well as dual USB ports, integrated PoE, WiFi and memory card support.









TMC Seeks Product Marketing Manager

December 13, 2010

How TMCnet Global Online Communities look online (Click to enlarge or go to TMCnet to see a larger version) (Channels run along the left border)


Due to great success achieved by TMC's customers, we have seen massive growth in our online community-building products and as a result, we are in the middle of a search for a product marketing manager - someone whose focus will be to articulate the value proposition of these products to a broader audience.

An established product-line, our keyword-based Global Online Communities (GOCs) and channels have grown to over 200 and many of our customers are coming to us to purchase more terms to help them with organic search engine rank, news search rank, community building, social network needs and numerous other reasons.

We believe we have the largest collection of sponsored, news-generated communities on the Internet and as a result it makes sense to focus more resources on this product-line so more companies in more industries can learn how such products can assist them in their growth.

These products are very dear to me as I knew in the nineties that every company would need someone to help them with content generation - text, audio and video. I realized every website had to eventually become broadcast TV stations and newspapers in one.

And now, that is exactly what TMC provides sponsors - a third-party content-generating machine which creates targeted news which in-turn brings a large, laser-focused audience based precisely on specific terms and concepts.

The benefit for readers is we continue to reinvest our resources - many of which come from this cloud-based community building and SEO model right back into more reporters, editors and designers meaning more targeted and in-depth news and analysis for people looking to make purchasing decisions.

What is most gratifying is the smallest companies choose to work with us to grow their brands and we also have major players as customers such as RIM and Alcatel-Lucent.

Obviously I am biased but I see this community concept as the most underestimated product on the Internet. Most people don't understand it.
















Finally Headsets Get Smart

December 10, 2010

You get a call, you pick up the headset and put it on your ear and then turn on the headset to connect the call.

One of these steps is not needed.

The Apple iPhone popularized the motion sensor/accelerometer and Sonos uses this technology to keep its remote control powered down until it is picked up.

Now headsets can join the motion sensing party and the latest one from Plantronics, the Voyager UC Pro which ships early next year will acknowledge the fact you have picked it up by switching the call to the device.

What could be better than a world filled with smarter devices, making our lives easier? Thanks Plantronics... This is a really good idea.

TMC broke the story earlier today for more on this new bluetooth headset.









Digium Asterisk World Returns to ITEXPO East 2011

December 10, 2010

Digium Asterisk World Demo Theater from Past ITEXPO Event in Miami, FL


TMC is thrilled to have Digium Asterisk World return to ITEXPO this February 2-4, 2011 in Miami, FL. Here is a quote from Digium from a press release which just went out today:
 “Hosting Digium|Asterisk World at ITEXPO East 2011 allows us to share the vision and power of Asterisk with a wide community of developers and carriers – even some who are not completely familiar with open source,” said Mark Spencer (News - Alert), CTO and founder of Digium, and the creator of Asterisk. “The upcoming Digium|Asterisk World will help developers, resellers, and anyone interested in Asterisk learn more about the opportunities emerging today. It will provide the hands-on training needed to capitalize on these opportunities,” he continued. 




Gogobeans Wants to Manage Your Digital Life

December 6, 2010

My digital life is a mess and I’m not afraid to admit it. I have videos on a few sites and photos on a few others. I’ve got numerous hard disks with photos and I am not 100% sure they are all synced with the online vendor I use – actually I am pretty sure they aren’t synced.

I am currently not backing up to the cloud but selectively back up important folders and documents.

Skype Shows us Closed Can Win

December 3, 2010

Dan York at a recent ITEXPO - specifically the collocated Cloud Communications Summit - Dan is on the right and Thomas Howe is on the left
 

Yesterday I discussed how open always wins referring to the competition between Apple and Google's Android and a side conversation was started on Facebook questioning my assertion. I took the opposite viewpoint in a comment and mentioned that Apple does have a lock on customers via iTunes as well as the App Store which have a tremendous lead in the market.

I was reminded of this discussion when I read how Dan York of Voxeo is espousing the virtues of Skype - a closed provider of communications - when Voxeo and Dan are huge proponents of open ecosystems.

As I read the piece, I became fascinated at how Voxeo has chosen to use Skype as a way to make the company's operations better - utilizing persistent group chats which focus on various subjects.

The point is that using these chats, the company which consists of many people located all over the world and some who travel are able to not only communicate effectively but are able to rapidly be brought up to speed on various topics after getting off an airplane by just logging onto Skype.

Dan mentions that there are other alternatives but it seems from the outside anyway that habit will keep the company using Skype for a long while - even if a better solution comes along immediately.

And this gets us to the counter of the open always wins argument - if you have loyal fans and/or people who habitually uses your interface and are happy with it - or some other differentiator, it becomes tough for competition to come in and take the market over. Even if the new competition is open.

Let's recall that compared to Apple and iOS, Windows Mobile was very open - it just wasn't as good as Apple's OS - and there was no contest from a marketing perspective either.

Apple definitely put together a more pleasing experience and were able to do so in part because they owned the stores, hardware and  packaging.

But now, Windows Phone 7 and Google's Android are taking some of the best parts of the Apple experience and replicating and in some cases improving them.

This in and of itself may not be enough to win against Apple but what the open approach has is a slew of hardware partners making devices in a variety of form factors. Some of these device sizes may catch fire.




















NSN Boosts Apple Performance with iOS 4.2

November 30, 2010

Has mobile phone signaling been reborn?


A smart move by Nokia Siemens networks was to upgrade its network equipment so that mobile devices can have faster data access while increasing battery life and decreasing network bandwidth use. Apparently Nokia mobile phones and Apple phones with iOS 4.2 software are able to leverage this new way of working to make their devices better.

In one case, as a result of this upgrade, NSN claims an operator has found mobile devices have almost double the battery life. In another, a carrier was found to have up to half the signaling traffic!

These are important steps in the right direction and I am interested in learning whether there is increased or decreased value for heavy data users as opposed to light users. Moreover, is music streaming which is constant assisted more by this technology than web surfing and/or app usage?

The move on the part of NSN is a very good one and now that handset makers have bought in (well it isn't a surprise than Nokia did) I hope to see more collaboration between NEMs and handset providers to enable even more benefits for end-users and carriers.








Astricon Asterisk Videos Posting

November 26, 2010

Will VocalTec and Skype Merge?

November 22, 2010

One of the major factors that led TMC to decide to launch Internet Telephony magazine back in 1997 was that we saw VocalTec launching products in the space which allowed telephony to travel over IP networks - and just like that the IP communications market was born.

Prior to this point, voice over frame relay was the preferred way to transmit voice over a packeted network.

When we launched Internet Telephony, we invited VocalTec co-founder and CTO Lior Haramaty to write a column in the publication - after all, no one knew more about the technology he helped invent than well, him!

Getting back to present-day Vocal-Tec, the company has merged with magicJack parent Ymax Corp. and recently raised its revenue guidance slightly and is looking to officially launch magicTalk - a PC-based service offering free US calling.

Back in August, TMC ran a piece on magicTalk and now the company says it has 100,000 beta users and 10,000 downloads per day. The magicTalk one-month Alexa rank is 386,430 up from 893,141 (lower numbers correspond to higher rank) and their Alexa chart is certainly improving as the chart below shows.



My two cents are it is tough to compete with Skype and Google in the VoIP space with a new offering but magicTalk has used television advertising to sell VoIP service in a way which turned an unknown company into a household name overnight. They used marketing well and although they have had some controversy surrounding them, I have always considered Ymax to be great promoters.

One of the past issues the company had was when they launched, they made some claims about their technology which were a bit over the top and many industry bloggers went ballistic in response. Moreover, the company has been called out about its inability to provide live voice service calls - but in reality if live support calls cost about $15 per interaction, how can you expect to get these bundled into service which costs about $40/year?

I reached out to the company for more information about what they're up to but they weren't immediately available for comment.















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