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Cisco's Ian Pennell to Keynote ITEXPO in Austin

August 22, 2011

We are thrilled to announce that Cisco's Ian Pennell The Senior Vice President, Small Business Technology Group will be keynoting ITEXPO in Austin, TX, Tuesday, September 13, 2011 between 9:15 AM and 9:45 AM. One reason I am excited to announce his participation is Pennell handles much of the carrier and VAR/channel partner relationships and these are integral parts of the ITEXPO experience.

It should be a great event and Cisco's participation joins a roster of truly crucial tech companies keynoting  such as Mike McCarthy the VP of Cloud Computing Services at IBM, Mark Straton, Senior Vice President Solution Marketing Voice and Applications at Siemens, John Antanaitis, VP of Marketing at Polycom and Matt Groppe, Director of Global Business Development, DHL Same Day.

Update: Another event which takes place the same week at the same convention center as ITEXPO is StartupCamp4 Comms Edition and the keynoter for this event will be Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, VC, professor, cofounder of 3COM and author of the world-famous Metcalfe's Law.

By the way, speaking of DHL - if you doubt a shipping company is really in the tech space - check out this editorial from Marc Andreesen in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend which explains why software is eating the world. Here is an excerpt as a subscription my be required to view.





Death of the PSTN a Major ITEXPO Topic in Austin, TX

August 18, 2011

In 1997 when TMC announced the launch of Internet Telephony Magazine – the world’s first publication on IP communications I met with dozens of skeptics who told me emphatically that the technology was a hobbyist toy and not something you make a magazine out of. People at the COMDEX event I attended were sure it wasn’t the birth of a new industry. Fast forward about 15 years and now because of VoIP and wireless (which when 4G goes mainstream will also be VoIP-based) – not to mention social networking, there is serious talk about killing the traditional circuit-switched telephone network or PSTN by 2018!

This is huge news and the ramifications are massive – not only for investors but for companies in the telecom and datacom spaces looking to figure out how to navigate a changing telecom landscape.

Got Big Telecom Data? You Need Infinity Ear from Empirix!

August 16, 2011

OK, this isn’t a real product name – yet but you could potentially help pick it – be sure to let the company know if you have a name for their new product line.

I sat down with Tim Moynihan and Gordon Eddy of Empirix at SpeechTek and was happy to hear the company has been experiencing double-digit growth. Testing companies like Empirix are a great barometer for the markets they serve as they grow with the percentage of deployments in the spaces are in. In this case, the company is seeing increasing orders as a result of the migration to IP so SIP trunking and SBC deployments have really helped the bottom line.
Moreover, companies are seeking out testing services from Empirix before they deploy CRM, call center and UC services.

Mergers have been another positive factor in the company’s growth as companies have to ensure their disparate systems can interop smoothly before they go live as part of a more seamless network of communications systems.

An interesting area of expansion will be introduced this fall – analyzing “big data” for the telecom space. The point here is big data is being scraped and analyzed with positive results in data centers but there has been a lack of tools to do the same in the telecom space.






Latest Trends in Speech Technology, CRM, IVR, Collaboration and Cloud Computing

August 14, 2011

Speech analytics in greater demand

At the recent SpeechTek 2011 conference in New York I gained some great insight into the state of speech technology. For example, Jeff Schlueter of Nexidia told me his company’s speech analytics solutions have been in greater demand in this current economy as the desire to control costs has led to increased adoption of speech analytics. In addition, the company has released version 9.0 of its Enterprise Speech Intelligence product suite which cuts the TCO in half and allowing for customers to handle even larger amounts of data.

Global Unrest is Tech's Fault

August 12, 2011

Protests, riots and flash mobs are popping up all over the world from Greece to London and Israel to the US. This past week we even saw a global stock market sell-off due to a Paris-based bank’s alleged financial problems – thankfully though the French people are still enjoying their 6+ week vacations and have no plan to strike until they return.

But seriously – what the heck is happening in the world? The answer is quite simple really, technology is continuing to make the world a better place for the “have nots” – at the expense of the “haves”.

LNP Still a Problem After 7 Years

August 4, 2011

Years back I had problems with number porting to a VoIP provider and now - seven years later the problem still exists as evidenced by TMC's Tom Keating who recently tried to and couldn't port his number to a VoIP carrier.

Interestingly I recently got to know an LNP specialist at a SIP trunking provider who was telling me about LNP horror stories. Certain carriers in rural areas just didn't have to port. I couldn't get anyone from the provider to go on record so I never wrote about the situation.

Here is my article from 2004 complaining about LNP, one from Tom Keating in 2006 and here is Tom's latest story about the trouble he just had with a number port.



Skype for iPad is Baaack

August 2, 2011

Skype for iPad is here!

It was much-anticipated, released, then pulled, then re-released and it works great. The company said there were problems with it causing them to pull and then release it a few hours later. (Update) TMC's Erik Linask thinks the problem is related to chat bug. There isn't much to say except it has better quality than the iPod/iPhone version but the front-facing iPad camera is certainly a major limiting factor in the quality of the video calls you will experience.



An additional feature beyond what you can do on the iPhone is the ability to chat while conducting a video call.





Why Windstream Bought PAETEC

August 1, 2011

Broadband and communications provider Windstream Corp just agreed to purchase communications conglomerate PAETEC for $2.3 billion in order to add scale and drive growth. PAETEC is an interesting company as it not only provides broadband and IP communications services; it also has data center services, is a large telecom reseller/interconnect, provider of telecom expense management (TEM) solutions and more.

Earlier this year I reported that PAETEC CEO Arunis Chesonis was looking for potential acquisition targets in India and elsewhere and in fact the company did just pick up XETA Technologies to boost its cloud-based service offerings. Interestingly his own company may have been in play while PAETEC itself was exploring more acquisition targets.

Will AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Slow Wireless Innovation?

July 25, 2011

AT&T has done an incredible job of getting special interest group after group to endorse its merger with T-Mobile, saying it will provide better broadband access for minorities, rural subscribers and just about any group of people you can think of. The broader gay community too has endorsed the merger - apparently transgender-Americans have been hoping for the day when there was one less GSM provider to choose from.

Here is how the system works - AT&T has hundreds of thousands of workers and inevitably large numbers of them in myriad groups. This in turn coupled with large contributions to various organizations and associations is rewarded with the reciprocal endorsing of anything AT&T requests.

To help grease the wheels even further, AT&T has further upped its lobbying budget by 58% according to PC Magazine.

AT&T is doing the smart thing by getting rid of its sole GSM provider allowing it better negotiating leverage in its roaming agreements with foreign carriers and gaining the ability to raise rates with one less major competitor to depress market pricing. It will also gain more leverage when negotiating with hardware and software companies.

An anti-merger video by the Free Press Action Fund



If the US government blocks the deal it will be because the remaining major companies AT&T and Verizon will have so much share that they are effectively a duopoly at about 80% - allowing them to raise prices at will.

Again, if you are an AT&T or Verizon shareholder, you likely want this merger to happen and AT&T is serving its short-term  shareholders well by seeking this transaction.

But the challenge I see is that with one less major telecom carrier in the US it becomes that much more difficult for innovative start-ups to launch, get funding and hold their breath long enough for a carrier to buy from them.















TMC Dallas Video Interviews 2011

July 25, 2011

Recently I spent some time in Dallas doing video interviews with companies in the Dallas, Texas area and during the course of the discussions I was able to get a sense of where the markets have been and are going. The vast range of different opinions really comes together into a few themes.

They are simply that wages and turnover rates in India are skyrocketing meaning some jobs may be headed back to the US. This is offset by an interview with  King White of the Site Selection Group - an organization which helps companies decide which countries and states they should locate in. He tells us that states with higher taxes are less attractive and subsequently deter companies from opening there.

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