Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

April 2010

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Dialogian Thought on DiaStar and OpenSource Comms

April 28, 2010

Dialogic is not just the name of the company I work for. It is also some kind of philosophical word relating to reenacting what has come before, and what will come in the future. Whether that is common sense or deep philosophy I do not know, but it probably helps explain why I went into engineering - you design the widget and it either works or it doesn't.    At any rate, Dialogic's DiaStar project is very Dialogian indeed - since it certainly has roots and influence both from our many years of experience in providing high quality media engines in the form of software and boards and is looking forward with expectation of being a player in the OpenSource telecommunications space.   Yes, the OpenSource space.   Dialogic has started to introduce specific products to serve the OpenSource space. Martyn Davies of Dialogic wrote the words below in one of his blogs on our Corporate Blog space. Given they say what I would have said, and probably better, I just reproduce them here.
  The idea behind DiaStar is to create a product that acts as a bridge between Asterisk and some of the powerful technology that Dialogic makes.  You configure a Woomera driver (chan_woomera) in the Asterisk box, and this connects (e.g. via Ethernet) to the DiaStar media server, which contains our clever software, and also possibly one or more TDM boards, where the physical PSTN interface is needed.  DiaStar adds value in several key areas, including;

·         Video (e.g. record, playback, IVVR) ·         Call Progress Analysis (for outbound calling) ·         SS7 (ISUP) for large/scaleable call center apps ·         Load balancing/resilience across multiple servers

On the Asterisk side, the system is programmed using the conventional Asterisk approach, i.e. AGI or call plan, so this makes a nice extensible Asterisk solution that brings some of the benefits Dialogic is famous for with its proprietary telecom APIs.  Please do take a look if you're into Asterisk and / or open source.  

Bringing advanced features that we know well to a space that needs them. Very Dialogian indeed.

Talking on Planes, Trains and Automobiles

April 22, 2010

If you can talk on a mobile phone on a train, and in a car, why can't you talk on a plane?   Is it a technical reason, or a "for everyone's benefit" reason?  Personally, I'm all for not talking on a mobile phone in a plane, even if it is technically feasible. Imagine sitting one inch from someone who's talking on a phone for 2 hours, 3 hours, or even worse. I just don't even want to imagine it. It's just a diabolical proposition to me.   I figure even without checking, it is technically feasible due to WiFi. I have been on a plane where there were trials of WiFi. And where there's WiFi, there's broadband VoIP. Once WiFi service is installed, we'll have the instance of someone talking on a "phone" on a plane, but it won't be a mobile phone - it will be through a computer, though my Blackberry also has a WiFi channel so it could be on that kind of device as well. Once I start using WiFi on the plane, I will give this VoIP a try and see how it works. It is very possible though that the quality will be poor. I will report back once I try that. At any rate, I just don't want to be on that plane.   Let's get back to using mobile cell phones on planes. There are technical issues and there are potential safety issues. Wikipedia has a good overview of this if you want to read more. Essentially, the cell network wasn't designed for such quick hand-offs between cell towers, even though you can connect to them (haven't all of us travelers turned on our phones when we're low to the ground to get our email?), so there are concerns about network integrity. 

The Bestest Mobile Video Contest Ever!

April 19, 2010

Last year, Dialogic held a contest to create the most innovative mobile application. This year, we are doing it again. Except this time it's better because we're awarding a $10,000 grand prize, with 1st runner-up getting $5,000 and 2nd runner-up getting $2,500. In fact, it's really the bestest contest ever!
  We saw some very innovative and interesting applications last year from around the world, many incorporating video as a value-added service. This year, we think focusing on a sports-related mobile video application will not only yield some extremely interesting applications, but more importantly, some money-making applications.
  Entries will be accepted until August 31st, and a judging panel consisting of the following will determine the winners. There will also be on-line voting open between July 1st and September 10th that will help "influence" the judges.
  •         Rob Bamforth, Principal Analyst Communication, Collaboration and Convergence, Quocirca Ltd. •         Konstantin Chervyakov, Head of Java Development, Next Media Group (Shamrock Games) •         Dr. Sven Hischke, Vice President Innovation and Technology Management, Deutsche Telekom •         Jim Machi, SVP of Marketing, Dialogic •         Roberta Prescott, Editor, Infomationweek Brasil •         Roderick Snell, President, Video Convergence Forum •         Rich Tehrani, CEO, Technology Marketing Corporation
  Please visit our contest website to learn more and please sign up for specific tweets regarding the contest as well.

A Big News Week for Spectrum Auctions - Germany's 4G Auction

April 15, 2010

The other day, I wrote about India's 3G wireless auction. Turns out Germany has started auctioning off spectrum that will likely be used for LTE-based networks. The bidders include E-Plus, Telefonica O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone. It will be interesting to see how much the government makes from licensing the spectrum but it is likely to be much less than the 3G auctions that occurred in 2000, as times are much different now - the internet bubble had not quite burst yet.
  What will be the impact of LTE on the consumer? It's speed of the experience. I have written in the past about LTE being roughly 20 times faster than 3G. With 3G technology improving, assume LTE is roughly 10 times faster than the latest 3G technologies. 10 times faster will certainly improve the data and video utilization in mobile devices and will spur the advance of mobile value added services with these devices. We will see more and different kinds of video applications, and we will see more video usage.

India's 3G Auction Finally Started

April 12, 2010

India is one of the largest mobile subscriber markets in the world, and on April 9th, bidding for the 3G slots started. Two slots are already been awarded to the government agencies MTNL and BSNL, with essentially 3 other slots available. Obviously, the emergence of 3G networks in India, which would be set to start on September 1st for these bidders, means infrastructure spending also has to follow to install the 3G networks. So there is a lot at stake here with regards to the bids and pricing as the winners will need to monetize their win over time. It will be interesting to see how they go about this, but obviously data and multimedia/video traffic and applications will be key parts. With huge subscriber growth per month in India, the 3G networks also will play a key role in simply having bandwidth available for subscriber growth. So the 2G networks will play a key role for some time, likely for the lower ARPU customer base. However, I'm also sure other kinds of business models will emerge in India.
  In terms of this auction, it seems to me that the government sets the price, and bidders either OK it or reject it. And based on that, the price goes up or down. If you go to http://dot.gov.in you will see the state sponsored website. If you click on the "auction update" button, you will see a daily report for the different regions. 
  Above that, you'll see something called "Spectrum Auction" and then if you click on that, it takes you to some interesting information, such as the list of bidders. The bidders include Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Etisalat, Idea Cellar, Reliance Telecom, S Tel, Tata Teleservices Videocon and Vodafone. 

The Rise of the Machines

April 8, 2010

This is my last blog about CTIA, at least for now.  Outside of all the 3G/4G network noise and whose network is faster (I wonder when we will see 5G hype) and Android phones, the show had a good business rhythm. 
  Since Shaun White was on display at one side of the show floor and I didn't want to get caught up in that, I went to the other side of the show floor. And lo and behold I ran in the M2M (Machine to Machine) area. Given the Terminators are the ultimate in M2M communication, I thought they should have had a life-size Terminator there to counter Shaun! 
  Well, most of that part of the floor was more about asset tracking. I'm sure to those people it is uber interesting - even the pill container (like an aspirin container) tracker.  And even dog tracking. Units on dogs talking to a unit tracker someplace so you can find Fido. The ultimate in machine to machine. But I also saw a company called WindTrac that had some cool M2M technology. Interestingly enough, they were not in this area but some other part of the show floor. They had a bullet-proof vest with a tracker on it - so if the vest was hit and the wearer went down, someone would know his/her location. Very cool. I don't know if they were going to sell any at CTIA, but they did say they go to law enforcement type tradeshows and sell them there. Good for them. I'm looking forward to seeing more and more M2M applications in the years to come.

Do Safe Driving and Vegas Go Together?

April 6, 2010

Luckily, yes, given the abundance of taxis out here. But even beyond that, the wireless industry is taking steps to ensure people don't text and drive, and Vegas was at the forefront of this during CTIA a couple of weeks ago. CTIA sponsored a "Safe Driving Pavilion" and since I figure I can always learn something, I went over there to check it out. While there were many little booths, I deduced two different types of schemes to keep drivers from texting and driving.
  One type of scheme tries to decide if the texter is a driver or passenger by applying some kind of "rules." For instance, if there are a short number of characters and if the car is moving, it's probably a driver who's doing the texting. If so, the software refuses to send the text if it thinks you are texting and driving. Not exactly a hard science here! But if some company figures out the right kind of rules/formula that works pretty accurately, there might be a winner. I wonder if this will end up being just as dangerous as texting when cell phones start to fly out of car windows due to frustration. But seriously, this is a good initiative.
  Another type of scheme understands you will text, but enables you to do it in a driver-friendly fashion. It uses speech-to-text and text-to-speech software to enable texting by speaking and vice-versa. This scheme is a "hands free assistant." Talking cars, at least high-end cars, are fairly commonplace so maybe this will work. I talked to a company called DIAL2DO. Using cloud computing, they have 25 phone numbers around the world that can do speech recognition.  In order to do this, you would just call the number and any texts you receive as well as texts you want to send are converted to spoken word. Interesting, but if you have to call the number, will it all take too long? Will people have patience?
  Anyway, good initiatives and I'm glad I took the walk over there.

5G is Here!!

April 1, 2010

Today is April Fool's Day, and I wanted to write my blog about the wonders of 5G. I was going to describe a 5G installation in Tibet and I was going to describe 100 gigabit/second speeds, how a bazillion gigabyte file downloaded in less than 5 seconds, and wireless backhaul from mountaintop to mountaintop.

The reason I picked Tibet was because when I was in my early 20's I remember reading a classic April Fool's article in Sports Illustrated about Sidd Finch, a pitcher for the New York Mets who could supposedly throw over 125 miles per hour, if not more.  I was pysched but soon figured out this was an April Fool's joke!  If I remember correctly, the Mets found Finch in Tibet.
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