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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

Skype

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.

[TMCnet]










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.











Dan Miller New TMCnet Columnist

March 19, 2008

As I mentioned a while back, TMC is experiencing record growth and I promised we would maintain our high levels of quality as we grow. TMCnet currently has just under 50 worldwide columnists and most of them write daily or even more often.

TMC continues to look for the absolute brightest thought leaders to keep you up to date and help you make informed purchasing decisions in the communications and technology space.

To that end, TMC's latest columnist is Dan Miller, an analyst at Opus Research who will write a column titled "Communications in Context."

Miller has over 25 years experience in marketing, business development and corporate strategy for telecom service providers, computer manufacturers and application software developers. He founded the highly respected analyst firm, Opus Research in 1985 and helped define the conversational access technologies marketplace by authoring scores of reports, advisories and newsletters addressing business opportunities that reside where automated speech leverages web services, mobility and enterprise software infrastructure.

More recently he oversaw the launch of research practices covering voice biometrics and local mobile search.

I am thrilled to have such a high quality writer as part of the TMCnet editorial mix and thanks again to all of our readers and sponsors who have made TMCnet so popular over these past years.

Dan's first article is titled Beyond UC: Contextual Communications and you are welcome to bookmark his columnist page so you don't miss any of the important things he has to say.











Where is the TMC Team?

March 17, 2008

Avaya's Huge Unified Communications Push

March 16, 2008

Avaya has certainly made unified communications history today with a suite of announcements that will certainly rattle the competitive landscape. UC will never be the same in my opinion.

The New Jersey-based company's biggest news had to do with affordable unified communications… For a paltry $99/user you can get full-featured UC for your workers. This is in my opinion beyond inexpensive for UC solutions from such a premium name in the business.

And we aren't talking about bare bones solutions here… You get a thick or thin client, integration with Microsoft and IBM and best of all you get access to about 700 or so Avaya communications features via your UC client. The thin client support means your new MacBook Air will be allowed to join the Avaya low-cost UC party.



IBM's Big Unified Communications News

March 16, 2008

Recently I spent a good number of hours at the sprawling Somers, NY campus of IBM where the company announced to the media their intention to spend a billion dollars in unified communications development over the next three years. IBM is a major player in the UC space but the company has been getting beaten up in the marketing department by Microsoft. Microsoft is late to the UC game in fact and some of their products are behind IBM. You wouldn't know any of this from the blitz of a campaign Microsoft is running however.

Simply stated, while spending on R&D is essential, the company will likely have to soon respond to the Microsoft PR and marketing onslaught.

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