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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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Incentivize 'GreenWorking'

February 5, 2009

It is gratifying to see many countries, such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. plan to spend money on expanding their broadband networks.
 
The Canadian Parliament passed that country's 2009 budget on Tuesday with C$225 million to be spent over three years to develop and implement a strategy on extending broadband coverage to unserved rural and remote communities. 

Public assistance is needed, says the government, which is controlled by the Conservative party led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, because companies cannot turn a profit on the investments needed to reach out to these individuals and businesses owing to density and distance from major hubs.

Only with broadband can consumers and businesses effectively access information, goods and services, and yes work i.e. telework via the information highway by riding on the equivalent of paved roads to and from their homes, storefronts, and factories as compared with the dirt tracks of dial-up and plank roads of satellite.

Yet it would be nice for governments also to offer tax incentives, either tax deductions to corporations or grants-in-lieu of taxes to nonprofits, to nudge these organizations to provide teleworking i.e. 'GreenWorking'. The Telework Coalition has called for just that, pointing that there are parking and transit deductions but none for telework.

One of the factors holding telework back has been less-than-competent managers who are unable to supervise others without seeing them Victorian-style.









The Next Steps In Cellphone (and Electronics) Recycling: Redesign, Refocus on Software

January 22, 2009

Cellphone recycling is beginning to take off and that's great news for the environment and ultimately for all of us.

The latest such move is Recycle My Cell, a new Web-based nationwide initiative launched by Canada's wireless industry that lets users find out where and how to properly dispose of their cell phones and other wireless devices - regardless of carrier, brand, or condition. 

The free program in the country that brought us the BlackBerry incorporates numerous existing cell phone recycling initiatives is being organized by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) in conjunction with cell phone service providers, handset manufacturers, and recycling companies.

Recycle My Cell can be adopted by provinces and municipalities as part of their initiatives to manage e-waste. Nova Scotia, on Canada's east coast, is the first province to have done so.



Canadian retailers are already on board with cellphone recycling.

Green Jobs?

January 19, 2009

In an exchange on contact center employment, Group Publisher Rich Tehrani expressed skepticism about the numbers of new American jobs, estimated by some sources at 5+ million that going green will produce.

No one has explained to him why the U.S. will make better green products than the Chinese or Japanese if the U.S. can't make better cars, etc.

Why EVs (etc.) are NG

January 15, 2009

I have long been skeptical about electric or other alternative-fueled vehicles as truly green technologies because they all consume vast amounts of life-giving open space to transport comparatively few people and goods, drives more sprawl, which does likewise, and incurs air-killing construction and upkeep and requires hydrocarbon-based paving materials.

Peter Foster, a columnist in Canada's National Post, along with associated commentators have come up with a few more points to consider, in his column Wednesday subtitled 'Today's alternative vehicles are all profit graveyards or subsidy pits'.

Mr. Foster correctly pointed out one of the fallacies behind assuming that people will buy electric vehicles (EVs) and that is it isn't the average amount of driving per day that matters but the farthest that one usually wants to go.

"Apparently, Americans on average drive their cars less than 35 miles a day, but to suggest that this supports the viability of short-range electric cars is like suggesting that a five-foot tall person should be in no trouble if forced to spend alternate one hour periods in water six feet deep and two feet deep.

Canadian Government Funds Green Transportation (Including Telework) Initiatives

January 9, 2009

The Canadian federal government is taking the axiom of 'think globally, act locally' to heart by financing over a dozen local green transportation programs that range from cycling to shared-ride home, public transit, walking to school, and to telework.

Here is the release and the backgrounder:
 
Federal government delivers green transportation initiatives  
 
    OTTAWA, Jan. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird,announced today that the Government of Canada will invest in 14 projects across the country that support environmentally friendly transportation.
 
    The projects will receive a total of almost $3 million under the ecoMOBILITY program. Fourteen municipalities will receive funding for projects that respond to their individual needs and circumstances.





Cut down on E-Waste--Make Hardware Repairable

January 6, 2009


A well-timed (day after Christmas) article in Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper pointed out the obvious--that today's gadgets are meant to be disposable--but also at one part of the solution to curb the consequences i.e. e-waste  that is already in play, which are growing numbers of repair shops.

The paper cited Jesse Hirsh, a Toronto-based technology analyst, who is amazed at what he calls a "boom" in the past couple of years of iPhone/iPod fix-it shops. They allow people to get eight, 10, 12, 18 more months out of products that are really designed to last a year, maybe two at tops."

Even so fixing last year's iPod goes against the grain of consumer technology, which has morphed the masses into a disposable gadget society. 

"There is a tragedy to that," Hirsh told the newspaper. "It makes it more difficult, and sometimes more expensive ...






New Year's Resolution: Enabling Green Access Via New Rapid Transit Systems in 2009

December 30, 2008

For businesses, institutions, and contact centers looking for truly greener fields to cut down on their environmental footprints there will be several new opportunities to do just that, by locating their offices near the stations of new rapid transit lines scheduled to open in 2009.

--Arriving first is the Phoenix metro area's Valley Metro light rail line. It will begin regular service on a 20 mile line route connecting Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa on Jan.1; it had pre-opened to crush crowds last weekend

--Portland, Oregon's Tri-Met will introduce service on WES, a diesel railcar-operated suburb-to-suburb line from Wilsonville to Beaverton, 15 miles, where it will connect with the MAX light rail for downtown Portland, airport, and other communities.

Oregon, Washington State "E-Cycling" Begins Jan.1

December 29, 2008

Beginning Jan.1, 2009 consumers, small businesses, and other similar-sized government entities in Oregon and Washington State will be able to recycle 'e-cycle' much of their e-waste such as computers, monitors, and TVs though not others such as cellphones, mice, and printers. The TV e-cycling is well-timed with the analog-to-digital TV switch in February, 2009.

There are now 17 states with similar programs; the National Center for Electronics Recycling tracks such laws. It estimates that just under 50 percent of the US population is now covered by such measures.

They should be making a dent in the mountains of electronic garbage created in the U.S; in 2007, Americans generated about 232 million units of computer and TV-related E-waste, of which only 18 percent was recycled. 

Washington State estimates that it will collect and process over 20 million pounds of electronic waste in the first year of operations; the state has about 6.4 million residents.



Comparing (green) apples-to-apples

December 19, 2008

It would be very helpful for technology buyers interested in buying green and in doing so saving money if there could be a series of objectively researched-and-well publicized energy/environmental footprint data and costs for these solutions. If such documentation exists please forward that to me.

Yes, it is true, that the suppliers are providing case histories showing such data. A case in point is Netezza, which makes data warehousing appliances. The firm demonstrated that its product at 3 terabytes (TB) enabled a customer, the UK's Orange, to cut power demand by 2/3rds, from 25kW/hour to 7kW/hour and sliced cooling requirements by 72 percent compared with and from the incumbent Informix/Sun/EMC 1.5 TB configuration.

Green Means Green

December 16, 2008


Companies are finally getting it that corporate green projects--once seen by many environmentalist skeptics as PR 'greenwash' to be rinsed off at the earliest so-called 'bottom line' excuse--are worth while even during tough economic times. 

The reason is simple: taking steps like reducing energy consumption cuts costs.


Forrester's largest-ever survey of corporate green IT activities and interest has found that even in the face of the recession twice as many companies are accelerating their green IT initiatives compared to firms that are scaling back green projects. Of the companies surveyed in the report 'Market Overview: A Slowing Economy Won't Slow Down Corporate Green IT Initiatives' nearly half say they will accelerate or maintain their green IT projects. The main reason: saving money.

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