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News Tidbits Part 2923

A lot of lit tidbits popping up. If you follow me on twitter, then you may have seen some of this...

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The Business Case for IP Transformation: Realizing The Benefits

By: Steve Blackshaw, IP Transformation Product Line Management, Alcatel-Lucent

Significant investments require significant returns. How do companies ensure their benefits are measured, tracked and realized during IP Transformation Programs? 

Success Is Not Guaranteed

Think about the hardest project you have ever delivered. Just think back… that one ‘special project’, the one that spiraled out of control, the one where the requirements kept changing, the one where the objectives kept moving, the one project that would not de-scope, where the tsunami of work was towering over the team, and impossible deadlines were looming. Yes, that one.

Most of us have experienced THAT project. And we probably sat with our colleagues, asking ourselves how a project under such pressure could even exist. Why would the sponsors not revise the scope, refocus the team, or even reinvest the budget elsewhere?

We all know that technical projects can go awry. IT, Networking and Engineering projects – famously 50% overrun on budget, and many are cancelled altogether.

So, what are the figures for complex Transformation Programs?  For Programs where IT, Network, Operations and Engineering are undergoing change simultaneously. With an objective eye, it’s easy to question how any of them actually deliver results. But indeed they do.

But, how, and what can we measure to be certain we are achieving the desired results?

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WebRTC Customer Service Benefits Retailers and Shoppers - Video Demo

"If you're shopping and need information about a specific product, and you can't find a salesperson around, scan the bar code [of...

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Buck the Trend Be Cool at Convergence India and ITEXPO East January 2016

Investors, entrepreneurs, inventors, early adopters and evangelists want to be a part of every best thing, and much of that is coming...

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What is MANO and why do you need it?

MANO is a confusing topic.  What is it, why is it needed, and how do I get one?  First, let’s talk about...

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iPad Pro Keyboard is Really Poor

The iPad Pro is yet another extension of the iOS family. While some consider its release to be a sign of failure,...

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ISIS Brings Flip-Phone to Crowd-Sourced Cyber-Hacking Fight.

Its an interesting world we live in where a group like Anonymous which likely wasn't thought very highly has become a savior...

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FreePBX World - Just Days Away!

August 12, 2013

The first ever FreePBX World co-located at ITEXPO is just 16 days away, taking place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. I recently wrote about FreePBX and gave a sneak peek of the conference agenda for FreePBX World you should check out.

I'm attending ITEXPO to cover all the latest news on VoIP, WebRTC, Asterisk & FreePBX, cloud communications, and much more. Oh, and did I mention Apple legend Steve Wozniak is keynoting?

ITEXPO is one of the longest running communications shows and it continues to add excellent new content to the conference tracks, exciting new co-located events like FreePBX World & Startup Camp, as well as headliner keynoters like former Apple & Pepsi CEO John Sculley, 3Com founder and Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, and many more.

If you haven't registered already, head over here, but you better be quick, I hear the hotel room block is almost full!

iotum Adds WebRTC VoIP to Calliflower Conferencing

August 7, 2013

iotum today announced some improvements to its Calliflower conferencing service, the biggest of which is a new WebRTC-enabled native SIP client – Calliflower Connect. Previously, Calliflower required you either call in via PSTN or use Skype, but now WebRTC adds yet another dial-in method - a frictionless one at that since you don't need to install anything. PCs or other devices that don't have Skype installed can now take advantage of WebRTC, which is enabled on Google Chrome and Firefox.

I did a quick test and was able to connect to the meeting using WebRTC VoIP technology from my PC and I was also able to dial-in to the Calliflower provided PSTN number and enter a PIN to join the meeting.

Grandstream UCM6100 PBX - Security & GPLv2 Disaster?

August 5, 2013

Last week I wrote Grandstream UCM6100 PBX - Yet Another Aastra & snom Disaster? I was looking at it from a partner and reseller perspective. But I was talking with FreePBX's Tony Lewis and he mentioned he discovered the version of Asterisk running on the UCM6100 was 25 versions old, over a year old and with several security flaws fixed since then.

Ward Mundy over at Nerd Vittles also discovered some major security flaws, including a major one in the IVR that could enable a hacker to springboard out from the IVR to the PSTN via the UCM6100's FXO ports. Putting aside the old version of Asterisk and security flaws, the UCM6100 is impressive in several respects. Perhaps the most impressive is that you can get a 2 port FXO / 2 port FXS for $264!

Blazar Wireless Speaker Review

July 29, 2013

I took Beacon's Blazar ($149.99) wireless portable speaker for a test drive and compared it vs. the Jawbone Big JAMBOX ($179.99$199), a popular wireless speaker. The first thing I noticed was how heavy the JAMBOX is compared with the Blazar. My co-worker, Rich Tehrani loves his JAMBOX and takes it wherever he goes. Review

July 26, 2013

The Blazar Wireless Portable Speaker Launches on Kickstarter

July 23, 2013

The Blazar Bluetooth portable speaker now has a Kickstarter project page. The Blazar is a wireless speaker with a few innovative features, including stereo pairing and NFC. The Blazar comes from Beacon and features Bluetooth and a microphone that enables speakerphone mode or talking to Siri. It sports a 12-hour rechargeable battery and 1,000 day warranty.

Uniquely, you can pair two Blazars to get true left and right stereo separation. You'll need to purchase two to do so since they're sold separately, but having a portable stereo setup with access to your full Android, Apple iOS, or Windows Phone music library means you get retire your 80s boombox when headed to the beach - if you haven't already!

The NFC feature is used to pair your NFC-compatible phone with the speaker.

Grandstream UCM6100 PBX - Yet Another Aastra & snom Disaster?

July 19, 2013

Is history repeating itself with the new just-launched Asterisk-based Grandstream UCM6100 IP-PBX appliance, which could upset their partners? Back in 2008, I warned Aastra about getting into the IP-PBX game:
Aastra Telecom has entered the IP-PBX game with the AastraLink Pro 160. This is a very interesting move since Aastra Telecom is known for their IP phones used by various IP-PBXs, including many of the Asterisk-based solutions - trixbox, AsteriskNOW, Druid, PBX in a Flash, etc. With the AastraLink Pro 160 Aastra is now competing with IP-PBX vendors that purchase their phones.

How FreePBX is Revolutionizing PBXs - Let Freedom Ring!

July 15, 2013

Asterisk fans know that Asterisk, as its name implies, was designed to do everything in telecom since the name Mark Spencer gave it comes from the Linux wildcard symbol (*), which can match or do just about anything. It's a fantastic name chosen by Asterisk's founder.

Similarly, FreePBX also sports a great name, espousing a truly powerful and "free" PBX with no strings attached. Is it not ironic that America , the nation whose most precious Amendment of the Constitution, the 1st Amendment which established "free speech" as a fundamental right and a nation which invented the most important communications technology - the telephone, also helped establish one of the most closed, proprietary, and expensive pieces of "speech" technology? - namely the PBX.

Free speech you say?

Hilarious Skype Bombing Interrupts George Zimmerman Trial

July 3, 2013

Cheap Skype calling anywhere in the world...
Free video calling to friends and family...
Using Skype to "Skype Bomb" the George Zimmerman trial on live TV - priceless!

Scott Pleasants, a criminal justice professor at Seminole State College was testifying in the George Zimmerman murder trial via Skype, when pranksters watching the case quickly hammered the witness's account with Skype calls.

“I gotta tell you, there’s now a really good chance that we’re being toyed with,” said Zimmerman lawyer Mark O’Mara.

The judge was not amused... Watch the video...

Oh and in the future, if you don't want to be Skype Bombed, it's pretty simple to disable anonymous calls. Go into Skype options, then Privacy, and then check "Only allow people in my Contact list to contact me".

Unless of course the witness's friends in his Contact list were playing a practical joke. Though interrupting a courtroom could result in a "out of order" or "contempt" ruling and jail time, so I'm betting these were anonymous pranksters not in his Skype Contacts.

Logitech H650e Headset Review

June 28, 2013

The Logitech USB Headset 650e "corded" stereo headset is the sister to the H820e "wireless" headset I recently reviewed. Both models target unified communications (UC) with some call control functions like mute and answer call. Like the H820e, the H650e sports a call indicator LED to let co-workers know you're on the phone, as well as wideband audio. Curious how the H650e compared to the H820e I took the H650e for a spin.

One of my observations when testing the H820e was that the bass response - low frequencies was missing from the speakers when playing music.

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