Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Why Aren't You My Customer?

COMPTEL had a sales training session for attendees with Stephen Schiffman. Schiffman has written 50+ books in his 35 year career...

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How Imagine Communications is Bringing Video Distribution to the cloud and Beyond

At the end of 2014 I declared Imagine Communications one of the companies to watch in 2015, specifically stating: The video industry...

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The Race to Gigabit is About Business

The cable companies racing to Gigabit networks isn't about delivering ultra-fast broadband to consumers. The Gigabit announcements get them good PR...

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Four Ways Cable Operators Can Boost the Customer Experience

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The customer experience has always mattered, but its importance has grown in recent years. This has been driven by increased global competition, including the almost instant availability of alternations, and the rising expectations by fickle and informed consumer. Yet, cable operators have a long way to travel if they want to deliver the customer experience (CX) that consumers demand.

The Temkin Group’s Q3 2014 survey of 10,000 US consumers’ opinions about goods and services registered the lowest ranking average Net Promoter Score (NPS) for pay TV providers, a telling statistic. Internet service providers did almost as poorly, coming in only one position higher.

“As technology innovations drive shifts in consumer behavior and open new service opportunities, operators must start eliminating pain points,” stressed Alcatel-Lucent’s Nicholas Cadwgan in a recent TechZine article, Cable MSOs transform the customer experience. “This includes any obstacles that will impede their ability to launch and provide adequate care and quality assurance for those services.”

Cadwgan lays out four customer experience management (CEM) areas that cable operators should focus on.

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HP Can't Compete in Public Cloud as Amazon Machine Learning Launches

There are long-term trends in technology we all know are happening. Computers will get more powerful. More devices will be connected. Finally,...

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Citrix and Grasshopper Make a Good Pair

Citrix has many products - DaaS, NetScaler, ZenApp, SingleSignon and the GoTo suite of products: GoToAssist, GoToMyPC, GoToMeeting, GoToTraining, GoToWebinar, Podio...

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Digium's Billy Chia Speaks to Packed AstriCon Session

October 8, 2013


The first session I checked out was by Billy Chia, the Asterisk Marketing Manager for Digium and it was a packed house. I didn't count people, but it must have been at least 80-100 people. Billy gave a live demo running Asterisk on a virtual machine on his Mac where he ran into a minor snafu where restarting Asterisk wouldn't fix his sip reload command. Nothing Bill Gates BSOD during a demo cringe-worthy, and Billy handled it well.

Xorcom Launches CXE4000 CompletePBX

October 8, 2013


At AstriCon, Xorcom today released a new hybrid (VoIP + PSTN) telephony solution called the CXE4000 featuring Xorcom's CompletePBX distro (based on Asterisk and FreePBX). The CXE4000 is a heavy-duty, stand-alone, pre-configured, out-of-the-box IP PBX It is optimized for businesses with extremely high call volumes and / or additional communication applications.

At the last ITEXPO in Las Vegas I spoke with Xorcom's Ruth Bridger who talked about their CompletePBX solution, which is based on Asterisk and FreePBX with Xorcom's secret sauce added in. I recall her mentioning how they use USB to add scalability and redundancy to their product line. Indeed, the new CXE4000 supports various combinations of telephony ports via Astribank units connected via USB2: up to 960 PSTN/analog phones ports, up to 24 E1 R2 / T1 CAS PRI ports, up to 1500 users and up to 750 concurrent calls.



10th Annual AstriCon Kicks Off!

October 8, 2013

I’m excited to be attending the 10th annual AstriCon, which also happens to nearly coincide with my 10 year wedding anniversary back in August of this year.  AstriCon has changed over the years, new people, new exhibitors, but a lot has also stayed the same. Asterisk legends like Mark Spencer and Joshua Colp are speaking at AstriCon. FreePBX project leader Philippe Lindheimer is here and keynoting this week, as is WebRTC evangelist Phil Edholm, and Edvina’s Olle E. Johansson.

Today is the pre-conference, so the exhibits open tomorrow. Companies that utilize Asterisk and are participating including Elastix, Xorcom, YeaLink, snom, Grandstream, Schmooze / FreePBX,  Sangoma, Algo, PBX in a Flash, and more.

Odyssey Telecommunications The Mecca of Used Telecom Equipment?

September 24, 2013

Odyssey Telecommunications is a relatively new company started up in Buffalo, New York. Odyssey Telecommunications helps telecommunications and VoIP manufacturers, resellers and service providers liquidate overstock, used and new equipment through its online and offline channels.

Odyssey Telecommunications was recently named to Inc Magazine’s annual list of the fastest growing companies in the United States. With three year sales revenue growth of 1,140%, Odyssey Telecommunications was ranked the #388 on the list and had $3.3 million in revenue in 2012. Ironically, VoIP Supply is also in Buffalo, NY, so I pondered to myself, since when/how/ and why did Buffalo, NY become the mecca of both used (Odyssey Telecommunications) and new (VoIP Supply) telecom equipment?

To find out more I interviewed Justin Wekenmann, Co-Founder and EVP of Odyssey Telecommunications.

1)      Tell me a little bit about your founding members, where they came from, and how Odyssey Telecommunications got started





FreePBX Acquiring Major Developer Talent

September 23, 2013

The FreePBX and Schmooze Communications team have been on a tear, acquiring some legendary FreePBX and Asterisk talent! Derek Peloquin, joined Schmooze in August taking with him his nearly 8 years of experience with the Asterisk Project and Community. In his previous role as Senior Technical Trainer at Digium Inc, Derek provided Instructor Led Training and seminars as well as developing classroom curriculum, certification exams and online training videos.

Also in August, Jason Parker joined the FreePBX/Schmooze team. Jason is a former Asterisk developer at Digium and was responsible for leading the creation and maintenance of the FreePBX-based distro AsteriskNOW. Jason also known as “Qwell” on IRC has given presentations at Asterisk events such as AstriCon where I even took some video of his 2011 AstriCon speaking engagement.

Now if these two big names in the Asterisk/FreePBX space weren't big enough, Rob Thomas, the former lead developer & project manager of FreePBX is a FreePBX legend and has returned!



How Skype Changed the World!

September 17, 2013


Want to hear the story of how an Estonian startup changed the communications landscape forever? With the 10 year anniversary this year, Microsoft has written an online history book on Skype with the following intro, "In one rather turbulent decade, Skype transformed itself from a rowdy Estonian startup to a multibillion-dollar Microsoft asset. Skype has significantly changed the way the world communicates, obliterating the notion of distance, whether it’s a soldier using Skype to experience the birth of his child, an explorer speaking to a classroom of children from beneath the ocean, or pair of young lovers who leave Skype running as they fall asleep hundreds of miles apart – but still together."

It's a fascinating read complete with pictures, infographics, slideshows, paginated chapters and more. If you are a Skype aficionado, go take a gander.


Steve Wozniak Keynote Video

August 29, 2013


Steve Wozniak "the Woz", Steve Job's right-hand man was the featured keynote speaker at ITEXPO. I captured a few videos of him speaking. My plan was to capture just a single video, but my iPhone 4S rang (on vibrate) in the middle of me video recording and it stopped the video recording! Why did Apple put calling priority higher than video recording?

FreePBX Booth Showcases 200 VoIP Devices

August 29, 2013

Applied Global Technologies - Best Kept Cloud Video Conferencing Secret?

August 29, 2013


At ITEXPO I met with Applied Global Technologies (AGT), which was founded in the early 1990s, making it one of the oldest video conferencing solutions on the market, even if it isn't very well known. AGT offers managed video services and cloud video services that can be white labelled by service providers. They mentioned Level3 whitelabels their solution, as well as AT&T.

They currently support 720p resolution with support for mobile, Mac, PC, Polycom.

Yealink has an Amazing Booth at ITEXPO!

August 28, 2013

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