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


TMCnet Gets a Redesign

April 8, 2008

Sprint Pays Klausner

April 7, 2008

Sprint recently signed a deal with Klausner Technologies to enable them to use visual voicemail without the fear of being sued. This news is interesting as Sprint is one of the companies coming after VoIP providers who the company claims is infringing on their patents. It seems more than coincidental that Sprint decided to go after so many VoIP companies around the same time they were in negotiations with Klausner.

Sprint Nextel is the seventh company to date to license the Klausner visual voicemail patents. Other licensees include ISP’s such as Time Warner’s AOL, VoIP providers such as Vonage and the visual voicemail/voicemail transcription company, Simulscribe.

See also:

EU Authorizes Fist Fights on Planes

April 7, 2008

OK I may be a bit over the top with this headline but allowing a plane full of passengers the ability to talk on the phone -- all in different languages... What is the EU thinking?

According to TMCnet's Mae Kowalke, we will have the ability to talk in the air very, very soon. Sure, there are challenges like how will you deal with the fact that rows and rows of people will be talking at the same time while you are trying to nap?

The answer is unclear to me but riding on the trains in New York it seems like yelling at the telephone screamer seems to get them to quiet down a bit.

How do you invest to take advantage of such a change in policy.

Mind CTI Interview: Monica Eisinger

April 7, 2008

In the past few years there has been tremendous interest paid to VoIP and the underlying internet protocol which allows IP communications to take place. For those people who started to pay attention to the communications space in the last few years, you may not be aware that over a decade ago the CTI market heralded the first time telephones and computers communicated with one another.

My long-time readers know that about two decades ago the birth of CTI systems were a result of a collaboration between IBM and Rockwell and if you had a mainframe and a Rockwell ACD lying around and a few hundred thousand dollars to spend on connecting it all together, you could be among the first in the world to take advantage of computer telephony integration or CTI. The first application of such integration? Screen pops or the ability to see the customer record of who is calling.

But for most companies it was the nineties when they could first afford CTI systems based on operating systems from Microsoft and Novell.

The IP communications market was really born from the building blocks of CTI as gateways which allowed the PSTN and VoIP to interconnect were based on boards from leaders in CTI like NMS and Dialogic.

HD Voice goes Hosted

April 4, 2008

I have long mentioned there is an opportunity to start using stereophonic, surround sound quality in IP communications as the quality of phones today is just atrocious.Thankfully, Polycom, Skype, Microsoft and others have embraced this concept with their wideband codecs. Polycom dubs their solution HD Voice and I am happy to report that service providers are beginning to support this new standard in their hosted solutions

According to TMCnet's Tim Gray, IP 5280 is rolling out a hosted solution which supports Polycom devices which specifically support HD Voice.

Of course HD Voice only works if both (or all) parties in a conversation use it. So for now, within the company, call quality will be great. People connected via SIP trunks will also experience this better call quality which transmits 2 or more times the frequencies of traditional toll grade calls.

The next step is to ensure we have transcoding gateways that allow Microsoft's codecs, Skype and any other high quality codecs to be seamlessly connected with one another.

Once this begins to happen, we can have truly high-quality sound on virtually all of our phones.

Of course the one challenge we face as an industry is the devices...

Skype+Keyboard Convergence

March 31, 2008

Everything seems to be coming together -- camera, phones, e-mail devices, etc. It was just a matter of time before a company decided to merge Skype, a keyboard and silicon to develop a VoIP-ready keyboard with microphone and speaker built-in.

It is bendable, waterproof, has a two-port USB hub, a volume control and LEDs to indicate status.

The only downside is that I am not sure where I would use such a product. Perhaps outside in the rain -- assuming my computer and monitor are protected from the elements?

Would this product be the ideal boating accessory? Perhaps.

Would this keyboard be great for parents who want to work at the kitchen table without the fear associated with spills?

You have to hand it to the designer who got my attention by integrating such disparate items into a single waterproof package.

I guess there is now officially no excuse for not blogging or Skyping in the rain.

[USB Fever via GeekAlerts]

Tax VoIP Illegally, Get a Raise

March 30, 2008

It is a sad day when a city government decides it needs to come after a specific technology -- one that has truly helped and empowered its constituents, in order to generate more revenue.

The city of Los Angeles just passed a nine percent tax on VoIP calls. In California, the voters actually have to approve tax changes and in this case, Measure S was passed by two-thirds.

Consider this however... the measure was placed on the ballot so late that there was virtually no time for anyone to counter it and let consumers know what the downsides are.

In addition, the the measure was packaged with a promise of increased police protection. Who wouldn't vote for that?

TMC Growth Update

March 28, 2008

Congratulations to TMC's Kevin Kiley who was just promoted to VP of Finance. Great job Kevin.

In addition I would like to thank TMC readers and our partners who have allowed us to continue our wave of growth.

In the past few months we have hired the following new team additions:

  • John McInerney, Marketing Projects Manager
  • Tim Bongiovanni, Account Executive, Customer Interaction Solutions magazine
  • Mo Harrim, Web Developer
  • Richard Moavero, Account Executive, IP Communications Group
  • Kevin Lake, Account Executive, Events Division
  • Tullio Gianitti, Account Executive, Webinar Group

This does not include our new writers (Charlotte Wolter, Gary Kim, Jon Arnold, Peter Radzieski, Scott Wharton, David Yedwab, Taran Singh, Rick Graves, Dr. Alan Solheim, Jagan Jagannathan, Phil Hill, Chris Gatch, Dan Miller and eight full-time freelance editorial contributors.)

Once again, I would like to extend my appreciation to TMC readers, sponsors and team members for helping us achieve our current growth levels and we look forward to making 2008 the year when all of our products perform better than ever.


Plantronics .Audio 480

March 28, 2008

I just had a chance to test drive the Plantronics .Audio 480 USB Headset also known as the Virtual Phone Booth. While I generally have problems with all in-the-ear headphones, these felt better in my ears than many others I have tried.

For example the Shure E3c Sound Isolating Earphones (currently discontinued) don't fit in my ears well and subsequently I have to resort to the ear plug type adapter that you roll tightly and then let expand in your ear.

The problem with the Shure ear buds is that if your fingers are not absolutely just-washed clean, the buds get dirty and don't work as well -- they then need replacement. This includes the carbon residue from newspapers that you don't even realize is embedded in your fingers.

Another problem is if you take one of these foam ear buds out to speak with someone on a flight you have to take time to roll it again before reinserting it back in your ear.

I am somewhat impressed with the sound quality of the Plantronics headset. In tests of dance, pop and classical music, I thought the range of frequencies transmitted to be good.

Carriers Need Advertising

March 20, 2008

I have been saying for over a decade that carriers need to explore ways to deliver enhanced services.

To be fair, some companies are doing this. AT&T has done an amazing job partnering with Apple (the way I hear it, Verizon declined to work with Apple which is why AT&T had the option) and then they have further offered Pandora radio as a $10/month service.

I got to thinking about these services as I was reading an eComm 2008 wrap up from Jon Arnold where he discusses the future of service providers.

One of the points made by Jon is that advertising revenue pales in comparison to current subscriber revenues and as such carriers need to focus on innovating.

While I agree with this notion, I do believe carriers must consider advertising as a major revenue source. Moreover, advertising revenue models of the old days pale in comparison to what is possible with the web, interactive television and location based services.

I have written before about the potential for mobile providers to supply customers with intimately targeted ads based on location and I am still awaiting the fantastic services of the future.

Perhaps the biggest problem service providers face is cultural.

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