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Vonage

Some Webinars to Witness

February 25, 2008

If you aren't aware, it seems like my responsibility to at least mention some webinars worth attending. They happen to all be webinars that are hosted by TMC.

I am going to try to attend them all. Some of the more interesting ones to me have to do with cutting edge tech. So multicore, IMS applications, unified communications, hosting and analyzing success factors are ones I am drawn most to.

Of course, you can feel free to take a look at this list and make your own decisions on which one(s) suit your needs most.



Thank You Kevin Martin

February 25, 2008

It seems as if FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is the champion of the US citizen today at the FCC Forum as he seems genuinely concerned that there is discrimination taking place on the internet. Moreover he seems concerned about the problem of traffic slowing without disclosure.

This is exactly the issue I brought up last night and I agree 100% that Chairman Martin needs to ensure service providers are more forthcoming with what they do behind the scenes.

These providers are in a position of great power and I am all for them making money... I just want to ensure that there is full disclosure when they do things that alter our broadband access behind the scenes.

Here is what I said last night:

For example, I do not have an answer to the issue of service providers slowing down certain applications. If indeed this is done for the good of all users on the network, then is it so bad?

But then again, perhaps the biggest issue is that of transparency.









FCC Forum Starts This Week

February 24, 2008

This week there will be an FCC Forum in Boston where the FCC will be discussing many issues regarding the future of the internet. While the lobbying system of the US is wonderful in that it allows many to have their voices heard in Washington, the problem has been in many industries, the people with the most money scream loudest.

As is so common in many situations, the squeaky wheels get the grease. And let's just say that large phone and cable companies are professional squeakers. Again, not that there is anything wrong with this from a shareholder perspective and even in terms of the law… Lobbying is within a companies' rights.

So it will be with great interest that I watch what happens at the FCC Forum next week.



Skype Serves up 100 Billion Minutes

February 20, 2008

What can you say about a company that has generated 100 billion minutes of telephone traffic. Skype has been around for 4.5 years by the way making this milestone an even greater accomplishment.

While these minutes were all free, it shows just how Skype has changed the way the world communicates.

I remember when long-distance calls in the US were about 25 cents. If you assume that Skype could charge this amount per minute of calling this would amount to a cool $25 billion in cash.

Of course this exercise is kind of ridiculous -- especially when you consider all these minutes of use are due to the service being free.

Then again, I use Skype video because it is convenient. I would pay may $10/month if I had to for such a service.

Many will look at Skype as the ultimate company that has brought the telecom companies to their knees but it is amazing to me that they are also the company with the most video users.

Why did it take a start-up from Europe to give us the most popular videoconferencing software in the world?

It goes to show you how disruptive companies are generally the greatest innovators as well.













The Problem with Triple-Play Providers

February 20, 2008



I am a cable quadruple customer. VoIP, broadband, TV and the reason I switched from standalone VoIP to cable had to do with dropped packets on my network. After spending days trying to figure out what the problem was with the network I finally threw in the towel and went with cable because I figured they would now own any problems I had. Surprisingly my problems went away as soon as I switched, leading me to believe that either my old cable modem was at fault or the ATA from my VoIP service provider which intercepted every packet on the network.

Yesterday I wrote about Jon Arnold's analysis of Vonage and I said it would be sad if Vonage was to go away.



Jon Arnold on Vonage

February 19, 2008

Jon Arnold has done a great job of analyzing how Vonage is doing and according to the Arnold, the latest quarter had some ups and downs. Jon spells out why Vonage may not make it into 2009 and I for one would be sad to see this happen as Vonage does a great job with its services and web interface.

In addition, if Cable becomes one of the few choices left for residential service, we all lose as Vonage allowed the ATA to move with the customer. In addition, the ability to block calls at certain hours of the day has not been widely matched by the cablecos, etc.

Here are some excerpts of an article which is worth a close read:

Vonage is trying to strengthen its value proposition with new features such as visual voice mail and virtual phone numbers, and planned features such as outbound fax and ContactBook, but it essentially remains a landline replacement service.






TMCnet Continues to Grow

February 19, 2008

Thanks once again to our loyal TMCnet readers. Because of you, TMCnet has broken more online records. In January of 2008 TMCnet experienced 38,368,961 page views (meaning total number of web pages viewed on TMCnet in January alone.

The total number of unique visitors on our site in January was 2,446,403 which is not an all time record but it is higher than recent months. Average Visit Length per person on TMCnet in January was 28 minutes and 59 seconds this past month.

Sony's VoIP Headsets

February 18, 2008

Intel's Skulltrail Motherboard

February 18, 2008

I just have to wonder if Intel's latest motherboard code named SkullTrail will be useful beyond the gaming market. The device can be outfitted with two quad-core processors and multiple graphics chips from AMD (yes, AMD) and Nvidia.

Obviously the gaming market is all over this news -- awaiting it like subprime borrowers wait for rate cuts.

But one has to wonder if the IP communications space won't be able to take advantage of this motherboard for serious call processing via HMP-based software. Hopefully Nick Jensen and Alan Pound are mulling this over already.

It will be interesting to see what applications are enabled by a motherboard which is expected in systems that cost no less than $6,000!

In addition I yearn for the days when parents had to shell out no more than a quarter for their kids who wanted to play video games.

Oh, and one last point.









SMBs Embrace FMC

February 17, 2008

Huge news comes from Nortel as they recently commissioned a survey which found SMBs are more technically savvy than some might have imagined. SMBs seem to be screaming for FMC solutions and unified communications -- especially as it relates to integrating mobile devices with traditional computer solutions like laptops, etc.

900 SMBs responded to a web survey to generate these results. Unfortunately this skews the survey a bit as the people taking the survey had to be web savvy and also it is unclear what site users went to find the survey.

Still, this is a good sign that at least web-savvy SMBs are looking for the absolute latest in communications products and services. For vendors, it is just a matter of figuring out how to position your solutions in the most appealing fashion possible while ensuring that the leading edge features are in your products.

Only a marriage of excellent R&D coupled with effectively targeted marketing/PR/branding and positioning will guarantee vendors can effectively penetrate this market.

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