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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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Skype: Five Years and Counting

August 29, 2008

Seriously... Five years already? That is how old Skype is? Well time has really flown and I agree with Tom Keating that Skype really made VoIP a household name -- thanks to Vonage too of course who reminded us all of VoIP every time we turned on a TV.

I also agree somewhat with Andy Abramson that Skype is more VoIP 1.0 than 2.0 but what are you going to do?

Nortel Buys DiamondWare

August 21, 2008

For over six years I have been espousing the virtues of 3D, stereo voice conversations with articles  and ITEXPO demonstrations mostly focusing on DiamondWare and the company's patented 3D technology which allows you to have a conference calls with others and place them on the left right, front or rear.

Until you have heard a conference call in 3D stereo, you have not heard a conference call.

In addition, the technology allows the addition of overtones like adding a metallic sound to a speaker or group of speakers on a conference call. This function could be useful if you are looking to find a way to discern what group a person belongs to -- the Los Angeles office for example.

You may recall that on May 15th of this year, I suggested Nortel would even buy DiamondWare. Well today is that day as Nortel did just that... They purchased the company and further explained how they have a portion of their R&D budget devoted to making VC-like investments but of course with a potentially different exit strategy.

Nortel believes the future of communications is likely going to be avatar-based and even if they are partially right -- let's say 5% of all calls, this could be a huge market.

A Nortel Avatar Demo of their web.alive business communications platform:


Nortel is further betting that the technology advantage they have as a result of this acquisition will help insulate them against others in the market who compete. That would be Avaya, Cisco and even to a lesser degree (at the moment) Microsoft.












Yes, FiOS was a Good Idea

August 21, 2008

I find the debate over FiOS to be incredible. Some Investors didn't think the investment made sense and analysts even say there will be no way to get the investment in fiber to the home (FTTH) paid back.

What these arguments miss is the point. Consumers want faster and faster connections to the internet and this will only become more of an issue as homes get even more computers and internet connected devices.

Remember that the latest televisions at 1080p can provide a viewing experience which broadcasters are yet to support. This trend will likely continue -- hardware vendors will get farther and farther ahead of broadcasters.



Communications, Speech Markets Have Positive Outlook

August 20, 2008

Two days -- two shows, two cities and two trains which left at dawn. Wow... What a rush. What I picked up from the Channel Partners (Boston) and SpeechTek (New York) shows is  the communications market and the call center market are doing well, based on what companies in the space tell me.

Yes, of course some sectors are doing better than others but some are amazingly strong...

Voice Mashups And Your Communications Future

August 18, 2008

What is the future of communications? One acknowledged thought leader in our field is Thomas Howe and his consulting company which bears his name is the place you go when you want to know. Howe and I were recently on a panel together at a conference in San francisco and I was very impressed with what he had to say so I invited him to be be my guest on a podcast.

Some of the takeaways from our discussion are that voice mashups are becoming more common and voice will transcend CEBP or communications enabled business processes to the realm of the consumer as well. As this happens, communications becomes the condiment to virtually all applications.

The excitement here is how this will happen.



Patent Negotiation Handbook

August 16, 2008

Motorola Turnaround?

August 15, 2008

Motorola will be breaking up the company, bringing in new management and launching over 30 new products in the near future. Analysts remain very impressed but one wonders if they will be able to turn things around after over a decade of problems. This is a company which had challenges hitting numbers in the late nineties when other companies were booming.

Perhaps the best article headline on the topic is Motorola's Funeral Canceled: On Slow Road To Recovery, Says Citi (MOT).

It is the emphasis on new product development which is supposed to be the ultimate salvation for Motorola. You see, the theory goes the more products you have, the better you do.



VoIP Growing at 53% to $24 Billion

August 15, 2008

The VoIP opportunity is still huge according to a new report from Infonetics Research. At a time when many industries are really hurting, hosted VoIP and managed IP PBX services grew 53% to $24 billion in 2007 after surging 66% in 2006.

Obviously much of this growth is as a result of PSTN replacement but it should be noted that once IP is in place, the potential to add services increases greatly. The great news is Infonetics anticipates growth in the strong double-digits until at least 2011.

Interestingly, IP communications boosts productivity and saves money at the same time. This makes it a great technology to invest in when times are good and times are bad.

Sadly, many companies get the deer in the headlights feeling when they see an economy slow and they sometimes stick with the status quo instead of making decisions which will save them money, boost performance and generate rapid ROI.

Interestingly I have noticed an increased focus on contact center and CRM solutions these past months which leads me to believe companies have finally figured out that if you serve your customers efficiently and well, you make more money.

Contrast this to the last slowdown in 2000 when companies decided to offshore their call centers to save money.









Communications and Technology Stories August 14, 2008

August 14, 2008

Please enjoy some communications and technology stories while having your morning (or evening) tea or coffee. My thoughts in brief -- Extreme is smart to jump on the energy efficient bandwagon, Jajah claims to have over 10 million users in the story below which is substantial. They also have a service which translates short English phrases to Chinese. Very cool but I am not sure this can be monetized.

Virtual PBX now allows callers to be pulled out of voicemail -- this great news and not easy to pull off for a hosted vendor.

McCain To Support Technology

August 14, 2008

It has been pretty shocking to me to see that the Bush Administration did not embrace technology in a more grand fashion. After all, Vice President Al Gore was so enthusiastic about the Internet he even claimed to invent it.

So while it seems like the companies of importance in the Bush administration have to do with energy, commodities and defense, we may see a McCain presidency focusing at least a little on technology.

In fact there will be a 10% R&D tax credit and opposition to internet taxes. In addition there will be an increase in H1-B visas (thankfully). McCain does not think we should have federal net neutrality laws -- the FCC and other regulators should deal with these issues he believes.

See this New York Times article for more.







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