As the FCC has increased penalties for violating CPNI, service providers are improving their policies regarding the requirement. Customer information such as name, address and billing telephone number, is known as "Customer Proprietary Network information," or CPNI. Additionally, service features, class of service, phone charges, billing and call records are considered elements of CPNI. The FCC has issued a requirement that all parties with access to CPNI must give the customer the option of disallowing the information to be used for certain marketing activates and certainly restricting its resell to third parties. The penalties are such that each violation carries a substantial fine.
Cost savings continues to lead as the reason for transitioning from TDM to SIP based facilities. The decision may be driven by the lower cost per voice path or the fact that SIP Trunks can be provisioned in units of one up to the capacity of the available broadband. This is in contrast to a T1, which is deployed in units of 24 and normally turns up as a fractional T (approximately 12 voice paths) or a full T. SMBs and enterprise branch offices can be deployed and supported much more efficiently and cost effectively with a SIP Trunking based network architecture than a TDM architecture.
In Infonetics' most recent study, they also concluded that two additional reasons are offered by IT Directors.
Congressmen Rick Boucher (D-VA) Chairmen of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and Lee Terry (R-NE) have introduced a bill to address the outdated priorities, contribution participants and recipients of the Universal Service Fund. As expected, the bill will add broadband to the mix of mandatory services for unserved markets.
According to the two congressional representatives, "The measure will expand who pays into the Fund, control the growth of the Fund and modernize the Fund by allowing its use for the deployment of high-speed broadband service."
Exactly what this means to ITSPs like Broadvox and the currently participating CLECs and ILECs is unknown. However, I always get a little bit suspicious when I see that AT&T, Verizon and Qwest endorse an effort.
The latest research from Frost and Sullivan regarding the enterprise telephony market contains some expected data and one bit of surprising news. It is expected that during a recession sales of telephony equipment dropped. Frost and Sullivan estimate the reduction in growth from 2008 to 2009 is 20.4%. The surprise was the decline in the market for converged and native IP systems.
On several flights recently taken, I have noted that Wi-Fi is available. On one flight in particular I was quite please to see it as I desperately needed to complete a proposal and send it within the next hour or so. Before boarding, I had explained that it would be after I landed. Imagine their surprise to receive it while I was still in flight.
I always enjoy seeing the sales team but conducting an effective two-day sales meeting every quarter is very difficult and exhausting. It is very important not waste anyone's time with a boring and predictable meeting. It is also very important to use the time to educate and drive home the goals for the quarter and, of course, the year. I often have solicitations from pay to speak people and OEMs wanting to address the group.
Reputation Management is the practice of monitoring and managing the opinions and information that that are posted about your company on the Internet. It is a developing practice but vital for long-term success for online marketing. By utilizing available tools, companies have the ability to interact directly with what customers are saying about them and fix potential problems from the outset. Trendistic and Google Alerts are primary tools that can help cast a wide net for reputation management include.
Trendistic is a fantastic tool for monitoring communication on twitter. Many customer concerns and reviews are communicated on social networking sites like twitter. By utilizing Trendistic, companies can monitor everything posted about them immediately. By monitoring these posts, companies can react and respond immediately to the concerns of a disgruntled customer and generally change a potentially negative situation into a positive. This not only helps customer retention, but also assists in priceless branding that other customers and prospects will see.
Social media has helped revolutionize the way people connect in unforeseeable ways. 10-15 years ago archaic chat boxes peppered AOL accounts as users began interacting with unknown counterparts in the online space. Today, users utilize their phones, laptops, or tablets, to give their friends and followers up to the second information from anywhere in the world. In other words "Social Media isn't a fad, it's a fundamental shift in the way we communicate."
As Social Media has moved into the main stream, businesses have been finding ways to monetize these tools to increase retention and customer interaction. It is now desirable to have a presence on multiple social media services including Facebook, twitter, flickr, LinkedIn, and YouTube, in order to respond to opportunities and concerns that may arise from customers and partners. Broadvox has established presence on all of these sites to support our product offering and sales. These media services allow unobtrusive access to our clients to let them know the goings on of Broadvox and details pertaining to new products or updates without spamming their inbox with emails.
Our endeavor into the social landscape is still very experimental. We are continually testing new services and new ways to utilize these platforms to increase our advertising and market share. We have found that twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube offer the best access to provide information about the company to our VARs and customers. These 3 websites provide a great avenue for information distribution and interaction. We have also seen success using Facebook, but Facebook is inherently geared to avoid the business to consumer interaction. I anticipate in the coming months that Facebook will make major changes to their platform in order to allow businesses greater access to their customer base. In order to compete with the upcoming Google me social media product, Facebook will have to find new ways to monetize their brand and customer interactions. By allowing businesses greater direct access to their database, they will be able to stay competitive with Google's ambitious venture into social media.
Today I will discuss how Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can help our VARs in their marketing efforts. Please keep in mind that this is not a walkthrough, but some ideas to keep in mind if you are going to attempt your own SEM paid search campaigns in the near future.
When setting up your first SEM campaign you must remember that SEM is a form of "Pay per Click" advertising. This means that you are placing ads on the search engines and although many people can see those ads, you only pay if your ad is actually clicked. This type of advertising can be beneficial twofold. First, if your ad receives a click, it means that you're getting your message across and have the potential to land new business. Second, even if a person doesn't click your ad, they still saw your ad or in web parlance generated an impression. This helps to build long term branding for your company and help associate you with larger competitors who may be spending greater sums on advertising.
Another benefit of search engine marketing is scalability. Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines have created an advertising platform that is scalable from a 10-mile radius to global advertising. This is very beneficial. Campaigns can be created to only show up locally or regionally and gear a message to a specific area or audience. This provides an advantage over others that are peppering the entire nation with advertising. Another option is to utilize the "long-tail" approach for generating online leads. This concept consists of adding more specific terms to the search campaign to lower the cost and execute GEO targeting. For example, instead of the key term "business voip" or "hosted voip" you would incorporate a location such as "business voip dallas" or "hosted voip dallas".