Carl Ford : 4G: For Generations to Come
Carl Ford

API of the Week: Stitch Labs Adds Flexibility to Omnichannel Commerce

As the number of sales channels explodes, companies look to automation to help them manage inventory across them all. From Amazon to...

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ITW and the Importance of Services

As many of you know, ITW has historically been about wholesale voice minutes exchange.  But as voice minutes exchange has lessened in...

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All About the API: The One Developer Event You Need

OK, I am going to start off by taking back the headline of this post... There isn't one of anything you need....

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API of the Week: Use Flowroute to Access the Multibillion Dollar Telecom API Space

Flowroute is one of the companies in technology that “gets it” when it comes to APIs. Yes, I know APIs aren’t new…...

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API of the Week: Vidyo APIs Add Value All Around Us

If you want your company to have a tremendous valuation, make it an integral part of a platform which allows others to...

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The Growing Importance of VoWiFi Beyond VoLTE

Last week, I wrote about the importance of VoWiFi as an extension to the VoLTE strategy.  When you look at the chart...

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The Opportunities of the Dark Web

What I learned from the first-ever dark web event. Yesterday, we held the world’s first Dark Web conference called Inside Dark Web...

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4Gee - What happened to Nortel?

June 22, 2009

The road ahead is not as clear cut as people would like to make it.  Case in point is Nortel.  The 3GPP type assets were sold to Nokia Siemens Networks.
Previously the WiMAX side of the shop was scuttled.

So what does this mean for the rest of Nortel?

Candidly I am not sure.

They have other assets they sell to carriers, but I would consider it more marginal and not specifically wireless.  Metro Ethernet, Call Center Solutions including directory, etc.  I would not be surprised if those assets also ended up in other companies.

The part of the company that is enterprised focused is surely in trouble to and acquiring that asset would be best to those who have a weakness in call center capabilities. 

Actually these assets make sense for an Asian buyer.  Although I could make a case for two others.

I can always make the case for Cisco because some of the best assets are in research and I would like to see some people land in the right place. 

As Nortel was failing its R&D was still amazing. 

So what is the lesson for the rest of us?  I would submit that 4G is not a simple migration.  Using the same technologies as the Internet and consumer wireless requires a massive rethink of what a carriers assets are and what they need.

Architectually it looks the same, but in the delivery of services and applications its a new ball game.  Thats been the focus of my travels lately and the speakers that are coming to 4GWE in LA on Sept 1-3 are also focused on the nature of the future.

Nortel had many redeeming qualities and as the assets get integrated natural selection will evolve into something new.

Tags: 3GPP, Call Center, CDMA, Cisco, Directory Services, LTE, MetroEthernet, Nokia-Siemens, Nortel, WiMAX

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Alvarion Open Range Interview.

June 22, 2009

AlvarionOpenRange.mp3  Greg Daily, President of Alvarion, Inc and Ashish Sharma talk to me about the significance of the win with Open Range.

Open Range intends to serve over 6 M in 17 states in the US.  This discussion looks at what was announced and how it can be a lesson for other 4G implementers.

Tags: 4G, Alvarion, Ashish Sharma, Greg Daily, NTIA., Open Range, RUS, Stimulus, WiMAX

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Indirect Consequences - As the FCC settles down

June 19, 2009

Just got off a call on some hiring that I have been advising.  Its been since October and its somewhat political.  Why has it taken so long?  The beauty of Washington Politics is that the change or Parties at the top put a lot of people in flux. 

By in large Washington actually works pretty well the politicians and their lobbyists know each other and act in a civil way (despite the noise you see and hear on TV).

But when the music starts again after an election and everyone has to find a new chair it turns out that in this version of musical chairs, some chairs are better than others.  And that causes a log jam. 

Hiring the right person has been hard since so many candidates are trying for better positions.  And the floor and ceiling is in flux.  Like a person, it may turn out you are their second choice because they are waiting for the appointment of a friend or have their own name in the mix of the administration.

Have a job you may want, it may be held up by the lack of a leader at the department.

So the appointment of the Chairman allows the freeze at the FCC to thaw and for the applicants to have a better understanding of their chances.

Why do I bring this up now, because as the music stops and the chairs get filled the next thing to happen is the noise level is about to increase.  Agendas and lobbying are going to find their pecking order as well.

I have already hinted at what I thought was coming up thats new.  But before we go their Intercarrier Compensation and Special Access are going to become the big stories.

And they have a lot to do with Wireless.  If you see a call with a bad called ID you can suppose that its on purpose and a wireless originator was probably involved (even thought they used VoIP to terminate). imho when Intercarrier compensation gets done this issues should go away.  And as for special access the building out of the wireless backhaul network is looking for relief from these charges.

Assume you see some documents out of the commission by the end of summer,  making for a very active fall.

Tags: FCC, Intercarrier Compensation, job hunting, Julius Genachowski, Lobbying, Obama, Special Access

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Up to Orlando for Infocomm

June 18, 2009

I woke up early this morning to keep some obligations and meet with some friends at Infocomm2009.  For some reason this show things vegas and orlando in june are good ideas.

I think the only people who should schedule for this time of year should be ice makers and deodorant conferences.

The candid remark made to me was "Its not as big as last year", which is a sad statement because to me it was looking at the glass half empty.  Last year Nextcomm was in the south hall of vegas, and i think they would kill to have the floor space this event had.

Additionally, I was there becuase of the Samsung, Radvision announcement that is definitely aimed at being a game changer.  $2000 for a video conferencing terminal pushes the video out of the executive board room and to the halls of the company.

That's also the goal, Samsung has in mind and its very well positioned to succeed. Samsung had another of cool solutions displayed and many of them would integrate well with the Radvision stack.

Radvision to their time demoing to me the presence engine and the opportunity for improved interoperabilty.

Likewise, Magor was demoing their offices by actually looking like two offices talking.  It was a very nice demo and showed well when walking buy it.

A few of the others were into these elaborate desks strategies, To me they are meant to impress the user who is an outsider, but the problem is these systems are internal.

We have a ways to go, but thanks to the magor Mitel / samsung and radvision deal we are gaining some momentum.

Tags: Magor, Mitel, Radvision, Samsung

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Alvarion Scores $100 M WiMax Deal With Open Range

June 17, 2009

The press release just hit the Internets -- Alvarion's mysterious $100 million WiMax gear deal is with planned rural WiMax provider Open Range Communications, and not Clearwire as previously rumored.

According to Ashish Sharma, Alvarion vice president for corporate market development (and apparently handler of all late-night phone calls), the deal could eventually be in excess of the stated $100 million total over its planned five-year length -- but even at the stated $100 million, it's a big win for Alvarion, which just posted $68 million in revenues for its latest quarter. Though Open Range was all over government funding before anyone even dreamed of big telecom stimulus bucks, there are still a lot of questions in the industry whether Open Range is all hat, no cattle as they sometimes say out West.

While Open Range's promises and strange makeup -- government funding and a non-standard deal to obtain spectrum -- have made for a lot of industry head-scratching, the Alvarion deal (which calls for radio equipment, customer premise gear and systems integration) seems to put some meat on the Open Range skeleton, so to speak.

As we said earlier, any $100 million deal is a good one for the WiMax industry, no matter which provider is paying the bills. But until and unless Open Range actually starts delivering on its rural broadband promise (Sharma said services are supposed to be available before the end of the year) this one is still probably better marked as incomplete.

Tags: Alvarion, Clear, Clearwire, Open Range, Paul Kapustka, Sidecut Reports

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The Tax Man Backs Down for Now.

June 17, 2009

The IRS earlier this month was looking to tax the personal use of business cell phones.  It was considered a perk!.  To have a wireless tether 24x365 was a perk!  

They have since backed down, but the point is not this instant but what comes next.  What you should understand is that even at the federal level they are looking for new tax revenues.  

But cellphones represent a hornet's nest of issues when it comes to billing.  Its rare that the cellphone is a corporate charge.  Most of the time the billing is personal with expenses.  Its interesting that the IRS did not try to attack this from the opposite direction.  In effect the subsidy is the opposite way with the employee floating their employer. Mind you we have not gotten to the point where the IP-PBX has disappeared and its all wireless.  Lets drag picocells and dualmode into this to while we are at it.

All of these issues are great points of discussion to bring up when next the idea of taxing telecom comes up.  I would expect the issue to come up alot this year.


Tags: Cellphone, dual mode, femtocell, FMC, IP-PBX, IRS, picocells, taxes

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All Glory is Fleeting- The Genachowski / McDowell Hearings

June 17, 2009

Finally the hearings happen, but what a strange love fest.   In some ways it reminds me of the old adage, everyone hates congress but loves their congressman (95% of the incumbents got reelected last election).

Future Chairman Genachowski, was praised by Senate Committe Chairman Jay Rockerfeller with the telling line, 'If you do not have the credentials to be the Chairman, I don't know who would".

But the love fest was full of the reminder that all glory was fleeting and within the hearing were statements that made it clear the committee had their priorities of agendas.

The one that caught my ear (and seemed to have a rough concensus), was the desire for a nationwide emergency service system. 

NENA is ready with a next generation design that needs funding and it would be interesting to see if somehow the rules for $ 6.7 B stimulus can be modified to include the support of this build out. 

Whenever I think of the next generation of 911, I remember what a kludge funding for the existing network was and in this country every state's 911 is testament to how taxation has worked in the past.

Which is why I think the glory for poor Julius is fleeting.  The rules are old and the needs are new.  Its a bad combination and he will need to be adept at bringing the telecom act of 2010 into some useful model.

Congress wants him to succeed as do I.

Commissioner McDowell was very gracious and put his role in perspective.  I was very impressed with his opening remarks.

From Congresses perspective they have a monkey on their back with the issues of media ownership.  It was clear that their were expectations of shot clock of 6 months for the approval process for all future mergers and acquistions. 

Like Genachowski, McDowell was given the we want you to succeed despite our conflicting objectives (save the newspapers expand the ownership).

I also want to concur with the praise of Acting FCC Chairman Copps, he was the half vote on the pulver order and am glad to have as much of his guidance as possible.

Now that they are about to take their seats I want to put in my own two cents on their priorities.  I want to echo Senator Hutchison's call for the unserved to take priority over the underserved when it comes to broadband.  The Yellow spots on the map can fit into the definition of underserved even though if you were to use the cable model of homes passed the bandwidth is greater than the need.  Fix the problem for the unserved first. The underserved need solutions that are not directly associated with high cost and the need for tax dollars.  (imho A few rules in support of network neutrality might do the trick).


Tags: Broadband Policy, Commission McDowell, Commissioner Copps, Congress, Congressman, Julius Genachowski, Media Ownership, Net Neutrality, NextGen 911, Senator Hutchison, Senator Rockerfeller, Stimulus

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Dear Apple, Calm down.

June 16, 2009

The new iPhone 3GS has been declared sold out by Apple as it continues to take orders.  Perhaps they have adopted the record industry method of counting retail inventory as sold rather than available.  Whatever is going on its a very disturbing methodology and perhaps is an over reaction to Rubenstein's defection to Palm. 

The company has been so good for so long making it look like Steve was in total control, the fact that the emperor's clothes are fraying right now is disturbing.

Everyone likes the new price points.  I myself and thinking of expanding my owner ship of Apple gear, (though my Linux gear is non-existent right now and Ubuntu would give me access to some interesting mobile OS strategies.)

But the issue is that Wall Street is playing with stock based on the chatter.  Watching CNBC I have gotten Apple advise every fifteen minutes (or at least it has felt that way).

I want to buy technology for its value to me, not based on artificial stock manipulation.  And as we know from Kramer's past, Apple is a darling to play with.  I am hoping that the noise out of Cupertino calms down soon.


Tags: Apple, CNBC, iPhone, Jim Kramer, Linux, Ubuntu

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India - Tech Centers and guess what #1 Trend they want

June 16, 2009

Mobile Apps!

Looking at the Times of India (a good place to read to get away from the skew of US politics but perhaps hard for those who are used to a more US centric view).  One of the lead articles is on the tech center build outs going on in India. 

What are the trends will fill those offices?
  1) Mobile Applications
  2) Green Energy
  3) Green Lighting
  4) Global Positioning Systems
  5) Next Generation Networks
  6) Green Mobile
  7) Netbooks
  8) New Interfaces
  9) Content Delivery
10) High Definition TV

Most interesting is the fact that the story is no longer outward facing.  The article highlights the 400M mobile subscribers internal to India. Also highlighted is the use of SMS with ecommerce, Widgets and the mobile web.  The expectation is that SMS spam will be a big problem as well.

Saying all that the trend on the phone in India is take advantage of its recent upgrades to 3G made the 41st country to get 3G (though they consciously want to catch up to Japan and Korea in their WiMAX and LTE rollouts).

The best part of the discussion was the topic of the Set Top box offering WiFi access to the HD Video it was receiving.  Interesting concept and makes the Femto disucssion alot more interesting.

Tags: 3G, 4G, Applications, Femtocells, GPS, Green Mobile, HD Video, India, LTE, LTE Advanced, Mobile Apps, Times of India, WiMAX

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HD Video Samsung and Radvision Gear up for the Next Wave

June 15, 2009

Lots of talk about HD these days and I have been waiting for this announcement to put in my own two cents.

My personal view point is that HD Voice needs HD Video to lead the way. 

The first reason is that HD voice has very little chance of gaining new revenue.  Video Conferencing is becoming a very fertile marketplace.  It can blame the user generated content side for some of it, but the bigger picture is the bandwidth is becoming available globally.

So the ability to use presence with HD Video is huge and will eventually hit the tipping point for migration.  I am not saying that every call will be a video call, but at some point in our lives our goal will be to accept video as easily as we pick up a call.

So the VC240 product by Samsung a world leader in HD TV sets with the communications suite of Radvision is a great combo that should be considered in strategies for collaborative services.

Tags: Collaboration, HD Video, HD Voice, Radvision, Samsung, Telepresence, VC240, Video Conferencing

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