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IBM, Mitel, Wearable Tech round out Latest ITEXPO News

Its been an amazing ITEXPO so far - wow. In case you missed some of the happenings from day 1, here are...

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3 Reasons UC Deployments Fail

Just getting ink on a Unified Communications deal is just the beginning. So many deployments go wrong or worse the company...

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Small Cells are Key to Attracting and Keeping SMB and Large Enterprise Customers

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

To say that operators of macro-cellular physical networks are facing all type of challenges these days would be an understatement.  These range from spectrum scarcity issues, competitive pricing pressures, the need to build out LTE networks ASAP as platforms for new services and to meet the insatiable appetite of users for things like streamed and real-time video, getting ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) etc.  They also are busy figuring out how to keep users, particularly enterprise users on their smart devices always and all ways on their networks in an increasingly fickle world where alternatives abound, including for value-added traffic lost to Over-the-Top (OTT) providers.  

It is to keep enterprise customers on the mobile service provider networks for enhanced services that good in-building wireless solutions are seen as both a powerful business tool and a competitive advantage.  This is particularly true when it comes to retaining small-to-medium business customers (SMBs).

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Changing the SIM game

The iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models comes with a SIM  that “gives you the flexibility to choose from...

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WebRTC and the Enterprise

I was reading an article titled, “How WebRTC can serve the Enterprise” but when I originally saw the headline I thought...

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Jeff Pulver, Andy Abramson, Craig Walker, Alon Cohen, Mike Tribolet, Andy Voss and Danny Windham at ITEXPO Next Week

Panel to celebrate 20 years of IP communications/VoIP and discuss its future. Next week at the 29th ITEXPO, I get the pleasure...

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Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes on Importance of Bringing Ultra-Broadband to Africa

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

It may be almost cliché to say we live in a global economy, but many times when globalization is discussed the focus is on developed and emerging markets and not that often, if at all, on under-developed regions.  In fact, in the past few years until the recent drop in oil prices, much of the financial community’s and economic development interests has been focused on the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).  This leaves out not just most of South America, but the promising rest of Africa which contains a wealth of rare minerals and other natural resources waiting to be literally and figuratively mined.

However, for most of the African continent countries to move from under-developed status, along with toward political stability and having a educated citizenry, infrastructure needs to be in place which it currently is not. This means not just giving the populace access to clean water and energy, but in a digital world ubiquitous and affordable access to businesses and individuals to high-speed broadband communications is now not just a foundation but a pre-condition that is essential for moving ahead.  

In this regard it is enlightening, refreshing and significant that Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes recently wrote a corporate blog stressing the company’s interest in working with governments and commercial interests to help accelerate economic development across the continent.  This about not just about the Oscar winning movie of several years ago “Out of Africa”, but is also about around, into and across Africa. 

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Subaru: the truly green automaker

November 25, 2008

It is rare that I mention green and cars in a positive light given the huge amount of emissions private vehicles produce--and the planet-damaging sprawl the overplanning for them engenders--but in the case I will make the rare exception and praise.

That goes to Japanese-owned carmaker Subaru. Not because it is a leader in bleeding-edge technology like hybrids, or that it makes tiny gas-miserly vehicles like its larger competitors, though its vehicles are very fuel efficient through using advanced proven technology.

Instead Subaru gets the accolade because they have built a low-environmental-footprint plant in Indiana that it is proudly advertising on TV that is a far cry from the creaking and wheezing factories belonging to the dying Big 3.

Greening The Data Center

November 24, 2008

Data centers: data warehouse appliances and servers are the 'boilers' of the information revolution. They enable almost every business process from administration to customer service, decisioning, design/engineering, distribution, manufacturing, marketing/sales, and support. They also require a lot of electricity for operations and cooling to keep these units functional and to limit failures.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter are the key harmful compounds and materials released when burning fossil fuels such as for electric power generation.

Goodbye, GM, Chrysler, Hello Green Alternatives

November 17, 2008

I live in a part of North America that is dependent on the auto industry and I am seeing it break down around me. 

Every day it seems the local media has a story on another layoff, if not of the Big 3 but of the many hundreds of firms that supply them. Every day it appears that one more factory has a For Sale or For Lease sign up. Every day one more track in the local railroad yard is taken up by a string of empty auto-rack railcars.

So I am not without sympathy to the families, indeed neighbors who are being hurt by what is happening in that industry.

America voted 'green'

November 11, 2008

Last Tuesday a majority of Americans 'voted green'. They voted for, and the Electoral College is duty-bound to select Senator Barack Obama as President, whose platform contained an extensive list of green energy and employment initiatives, along with funding for Amtrak and mass transit along with highway improvements. 

President-Elect Obama appears to be strong believer in technology, and has promised to place resources in R&D and in rural broadband. There is every reason to believe that of all the policy stances produced that he will deliver on this one, because technology delivered for him. He and his team successfully used advanced communications and marketing technology to create, mobilize, and bring on home one of the most successful grassroots-based election campaigns in modern times.

President-Elect Obama wants action on climate change but he also is seeking energy security, which according to an editorial in The (Toronto) Star may mean accepting Canada's 'dirty oil' from the Alberta tar sands in exchange for Canada adopting his tougher emissions policies.



(One wonders just how 'filthy' Alberta tar sands-derived oil really is: from source to refinery compared to shipping 'cleaner' crude from the Middle East on diesel-burning and pollutant-spewing tankers.

The Green Side of Ontario's Proposed Handheld Device Law

October 28, 2008

There is an interesting side to the Province of Ontario's just tabled legislation that would restrict using handheld devices while driving: a provision that would allow informal carpools.

The bill is actually called the 'Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act of 2008'. The Ministry of Transportation says it will, if passed (that's assured-the ruling Ontario Liberal party has a majority) update the Public Vehicles Act that will promote carpooling in Ontario by removing the barriers and red tape associated with forming carpools. This will include amending the definition of a carpool vehicle to recognize informal, irregular carpools that operate between municipalities for purposes other than just home-to-work and work-to-home trips. 

The big benefit here is that these informal carpools will be able to use the province's small but growing network of HOV lanes. Ontario also has many carpooling lots located just off its 400-series expressways.

Also, if you're in a carpool and you're driving you can ask someone else to take the calls for you...

--BR













New Green Solar Flashlight Available

October 15, 2008

Not only is it important for people to begin taking responsibility for the environment by going 'green', it's also important to make use of alternative energy sources to further sustainability and reduce costs.

One product, Hybrid Solar Lite, a super bright LED flashlight, is making it possible to have a flashlight handy whenever you need it that will work and that doesn't require
expensive bulbs or batteries which can pollute landfills and water supplies.   The Hybrid Solar Lite generates "a great amount of light using the least amount of effort" thanks to a super bright lifetime LED with 40 lumens of light (equal 1 Watt of power).    The flashlight is also environmentally safe and solar powered and can hold its charge for years because it generates power from the sun and stores it for later use in a NiMh capacitor.   Because it includes a monosilicon solar panel, the solar power is also continuously rechargeable, so users will never have to worry about a dead flashlight at times when they need it the most.   If this wasn't great enough, the flashlight is also able to float and is water proof to depths of 80 feet.   For a discount on the product use the promo code "Blog08" at checkout.   Also check out the company's other products HERE.


Here's How To Make Airports Really Green...

September 23, 2008

I applaud the airports for taking steps to use less energy, generate fewer emissions, and recycle more, as reported in a USA Today story last week that I had perused while at ITEXPO West.

Yet if these facilities, and their airline masters truly want to go green they should:

* Invest in European-styled electric high-speed rail links to replace short-haul flights. 

A Hydro-Quebec report published in 2006 revealed that such air travel can release as much as 340 grams of CO2 per passenger-kilometre as compared with zero for a passenger in a high-speed electric train, powered from hydroelectric dams. In contrast, long-haul flights, for which there is no competition (other than the ultraclean choice of conferencing) release as little as 102 grams.

Short haul flights also eat up runway space, whose expansion chews up life-giving greenspace. More runway wear-and-tear also means more pollution-adding construction and maintenance.

*Shift access to mass transit and shared-ride away from private vehicles. Invest in rapid transit and subsidize off-site airport buses to transit centers, like existing commuter rail/bus stations near where users live.









Green Ideas Overheard At ITEXPO West

September 22, 2008

Several ideas/observations overheard at ITEXPO West last week in Los Angeles...

1. Get rid of the ethanol subsidy 

Ethanol production--from grains as opposed to biowaste--is being criticized for generating more pollution than it solves through processing and transportation.

Kind of like LEED buildings being erected in car-oriented office parks, gouged out of what had been environmentally-beneficial fields, wetlands, forests...

2. Go nuclear, like France has done. Get away from coal, heavy oil, natural gas, hydro...

There is some logic here.









Going Green To L-A...To ITEXPO West

September 10, 2008


The headline above sounds like an oxymoron, given that Los Angeles has for 60 years come to represent everything brown and ugly as opposed green and bright in the environment. For "L-A" was the first city--and far from the last--to buy into the 1930s urbanist vision of dispersed sprawling communities linked by car-occupied freeways, popularized at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City.   The car and the wide, fast roads to accommodate it represented individual freedom, the escape from dirty, fetid cities into fresh countryside and wide open spaces, once the province of farmers and the elite. Unfortunately like most visions it overlooked the consequences, like smog, which began to be inflicted by cars on Los Angeles as early as the late 1940s, and traffic congestion that has proven to be impossible to build out of.   There is a plaque in the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, (also known as Union Station used by Amtrak and the Metrolink commuter rail that discusses the deliberate freewayization of Los Angeles that destroyed what was the world's greatest mass transit network, the  Pacific Electric interurbans or 'Red Cars'. This figured as a subplot in the hit animated/real action comedy film 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?'  The city also had an extensive narrow gauge urban streetcar system, which shared tracks with the Red Cars with inside rails for the trolleys.   Since the early 1990s "L-A" has been pouring money if by fits and starts into returning the 'Red Cars' now known as light rail transit or LRT, plus in subways, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit that have proven popular especially with high gas prices.

Travel Green: Free Yourself From the Labor of Driving

August 29, 2008

This Labor Day weekend, literally walk the walk on going green, and keep the car at home or at least minimize its use. Here are some ideas:

--Walk, cycle, and yes, take transit (even the lowly bus) to local parks, historical sites, shopping, attractions, and to special events in your community. It is amazing how much more you see and experience, especially with your family, when you're freed from 'looking out for the other guy'.

--Consider taking the train, bus or ferry as a foot passenger (s) to out-of-town destinations that have attractions that are easy to get to on foot. 

Many 'commuter rail' networks and 'commuter buses' have excellent weekend service; there are often connecting local buses and/or taxi service to downtowns/activity centers.

Some of my favorite, and transit accessible communities with weekend commuter rail/bus are, in no particular order:

* Rockport, MA (Quaint fishing/artist village in northeast suburban Boston, MBTA commuter rail from North Station)

* Woods Hole, MA (Walkable village, home of the oceanographic institute, buses from Boston with ferries to Martha's Vineyard)

* Provincetown, MA (famed, loud, proud, historic, beach tourist and fishing town with direct summer ferry service from Boston, plus buses via Hyannis)

* Burlington, VT (Vermont's largest city, great downtown, train ride plus ferries across Lake Champlain, Amtrak and Greyhound from New York, Greyhound from Boston over the gorgeous I-89 north west of Concord, NH)

* Cold Spring, NY (Quaint community, onetime military arsenal town that lies across the Hudson from West Point, Metro North from Grand Central Terminal, New York City--the train ride alone is worth it)

* Watch Hill Beach, Fire Island, NY (Long Island Rail Road to Patchogue, ferry to Fire Island--inquire about beach packages--Watch Hill is the nicest and the quietest of the barrier beaches)

* Ocean Grove, NJ (NJ Transit commuter rail to Asbury Park, short cab ride or walk into town. Ocean Grove is a quaint, and dry, family community founded by the Methodist Church)

* Old Unionville, Ontario [near Toronto] (TTC subway to Finch then York Region Transit.























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