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Quad: The Death of E-mail and Cisco's Social Enterprise Ambitions

June 20, 2011

Quad moves to the cloud, has native Cius tablet support and offers better interoperability

Last week I took a train into the city from TMC’s Connecticut HQ to spend time with the Cisco Quad collaboration team – using Cisco telepresence technology and it was a fascinating look into the company’s foray into a post-email, collaborative enterprise world. First things first, I wrote about Quad and spoke with Murali Sitaram VP/GM of Cisco's Enterprise Platforms unit last September and since then Quad has not been talked about much in the media and has limited buzz in the market. Moreover, Cisco is repositioning itself – lightening up on consumer products meaning much of the company’s messaging has been in other areas of the market including launching consumer telepresence product UMI – something which should never should have gotten the green light.

Telecommuting Tax: Now The States Are Killing Jobs

June 16, 2011


In August of last year I explained why there are so few jobs – in part the problem revolves around demonizing the successful by our politicians and in-part because of excessive taxation. Part of the support for my post was an opinion piece from Michael Fleischer of Bogen Communications – a company in the telecom space I have followed for over a decade-and-a-half. Some of you may think Fleischer is complaining too much and he needs to give back more of the money he earns to be fair – but you should know that in New Jersey he has to pay $74,000 so a worker can take home $44,000.  He doesn’t mention this but I will – if he then is lucky enough to make profit he could pay 50-60+% of that money back out to the government through federal and state tax as well as various fees – real estate taxes, regulatory compliance, etc.
Watch the latest video at video.foxbusiness.com

This week Fleischer was on Fox Business and isn’t any happier with the state of the US economy and has nothing for venom to spew at politicians who make it more difficult for his company to succeed.




Top 20 VoIP Innovators

June 13, 2011

CradlePoint Wireless N 4G CTR35 Impresses

June 6, 2011


CTO and founder of CradlePoint Gary Oliverio just sent me the company's CTR35 - wireless N portable router allowing you to plug in a USB dongle and light up a room with WiFi - where up to 16 devices can share a wireless broadband connection. And the great news is this gadget can now share a 4G connection.

I tested it with a Verizon 3G EVDO card and was able to achieve average download speeds of 1.9 Mbps downloads and 500 kbps uploads which is respectable considering I did the tests from TMC's HQ where 3G coverage isn't generally super-strong.

The router supports devices from AT&T, Bell Canada, Clearwire,
icket, Rogers, Rover, Sprint, T-Mobile, Telus, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless (Alltel), & Virgin Mobile and claims its range is about 350 feet - for WiFi. I did test the range inside of TMC's headquarters and got to about 100 feet of dense metal and electronics and found the signal started to drop dramatically. This is in line with all other WiFi APs I have seen - more or less so I would say the range of this device is comparable to any other generic AP out there and all this with a small size - about the same as two iPhones stacked. So basically - 350 feet of open air range is well within within reason based on my tests.

The device allows you to have dual SSIDs - in case you want to share a second one with guests and it has bulletproof installation - you plug it in and it works.







Mitel Business Partner Conference 2011 Live Blog

June 2, 2011

A great primer on Mitel's new strategy can be found here.


President and CEO Rich McBee kicks off the event. 1,000 people here - 50 exhibitors. In the past we have had competition between us - in the future "You won't be competing with Mitel." this is the start of something new.

Strategy outline:

Simplify the business. Focus the portfolio.






Mitel to Come Out Swinging, Will They Connect?

June 1, 2011

This past January I wrote a piece which compared Mitel to ShoreTel titled Is ShoreTel filling the Nortel Void and since the post Mitel has been in a state of flux with a new CEO Rich McBee recently joining. When the opportunity presented itself to come to the Mitel Business Partner Conference titled Mitel Freedom – in Florida, I jumped at it in order to get more perspective on Mitel’s strategic direction and future.

The conference officially kicks off tomorrow morning but I wanted to give my readers as much information as possible before things got going. Tonight I had a sashimi (no, the other one – without the rice) dinner with Ron Wellard, GM and EVP of Mitel Communications Solutions, Jim Davies the CTO and Jay Nichols the VP of Sterling Communications – the PR firm handling Mitel.

An Honest Critique of Microsoft and Steve Ballmer

May 26, 2011

For the last five years there have been calls for Steve Ballmer to step down from Microsoft and I have refrained from comment until today because a confluence of news and events has made commentary necessary. Specifically, David Einhorn, an influential hedge fund manager – whose firm Greenlight Capital owns almost 9M shares of Microsoft, said (video) Ballmer is stuck in the past and is ruining Microsoft’s stock.

Technologist Vs. Businessperson: One compliant about Steve Ballmer is that he is more a businessperson than a technologist and as a result, new and innovative products have been developed much more slowly. This point is very tough to argue with and more importantly, what is Ballmer’s vision for Microsoft?

Skype For Asterisk to Shut Down

May 25, 2011

One of the more exciting announcements in the open communications space was when Digium inked a deal with Skype to allow the most popular open source communications server to work natively with the most popular Internet telephony software.

But yesterday Digium put out a note telling users that Skype for Asterisk will no longer be available after July 26th, 2011. Current users should be able to use it for a period of two years after that date.

The question worth asking is whether this announcement marks the end of Skype support for non-Microsoft platforms. As Erik Lagerway asks - will Skype Connect for various PBX vendors be next?

In the past I've have heard there were scaling issues with Skype for Asterisk so this move could be a result pruning products which didn't meet certain standards or requirements.

Obviously we will know more as time goes on but this move likely won't be welcomed by the legions of open-source fanboys out there. And Microsoft needs to be careful to not alienate the influencers in the market if it doesn't want to intentionally reduce the value of an acquisition which many say cost too much.

Update May 26, 2011

Skype sent me their official comment regarding Skype for Asterisk from Jennifer Caukin, spokeswoman for Skype.













Avaya Touts People-First Model

May 24, 2011

This week at IAUG - the Avaya user group event in Las Vegas the company launched a new program called Ace Your Apps with the goal of making communications more people centric while allowing corporations to integrated their UC solutions with a number of IT company solutions from IBM, Microsoft and others. David Yedwab breaks the news on TMCnet here.

Enjoy an excerpt:

At the heart of this program is a compelling offer for enterprises with Avaya Aura or Avaya Communication Server 1000 and Microsoft or IBM (News - Alert) instant messaging and presence clients. Enterprises current versions of Avaya Aura or Avaya CS 1000 are entitled to one free desktop integration user license for each UC-entitled user (up to $140/user in value).   This adds up to a significant savings – up to 87 percent for 5,000 deployed users – plus the ability to establish a communications-enabled business process (CEBP) platform that can further drive innovation and workflow efficiency by integrating critical business processes in order to grow competitive advantage through both the extension of productivity growth within the enterprise to desk-bound and mobile workers and across the supply chain.  





VocalTec adds magicJack to Name

May 22, 2011

In Life and Internet Telephony, Timing is Everything

VocalTec will now become magicJack VocalTec Ltd. – a nod to the fact that most Americans see more magicJack ads than they do even McDonalds and name recognition for VocalTec is virtually zero – except for the handful of us in the VoIP space in the nineties.

The personal irony for me is that Microsoft NetMeeting was an Internet telephony software package which was given away for free by Redmond shortly after VocalTec announced a paid product. As a result, VocalTec had to refocus completely on hardware gateways and Microsoft became the leader in VoIP.

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