Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

May 2010

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Not Oxymoronic Part II

May 26, 2010

Last time, I wrote about mobile video and whether it had a place in the enterprise application space. Yes! To continue that thought, think about some of the applications that might be possible.    Mobile banking is gaining in popularity. If you can look at a menu and see the choices - how much money to do you have in savings, how much do you have in checking, do you need to move money into checking to cover a check you just wrote - it would be so much easier and faster to see all that on a screen and then make whatever decision you needed to make. The bank wouldn't have to use an agent to do all that and it would enhance the whole self-service aspect of the IVR.   Or think about the insurance industry. If you could take pictures of a damaged house or car, and email them in or MMS them into the insurance company, it would certainly speed the process.    Speech portals were the rage at one time. They have now become pretty well integrated into a contact center.   The next step will be to put videos into the contact center - video portals if you ask me will proliferate and then like speech, the technologies will allow full integration. But video portals again would be a business application.    My point is that when people hear video and the enterprise, they automatically think of your CEO sending a streamed video message that you have to listen to. Just remember that there are many access points to an IVR or a contact center, and increasingly these access points are mobile devices. And these mobile devices are video capable. Your enterprise application also needs to be video capable to confidently address these inquiries.

Mobile Video and Enterprise Communications are Not Oxymoronic

May 21, 2010

I still feel amazed when some people don't get that video will be an important medium in enterprise communications. When they hear someone from Dialogic talk about mobile video, they automatically associate that with a service provider business. Think about it - is Blackberry an enterprise application or not? I remember when the Blackberry forced thousands of CIOs and IT directors to just deal with it, because the CEO loved having a portable device on which to get email. And now it's fairly ubiquitious.   So why is that any different from mobile video having an impact on the enterprise? More people are now, or will soon be, accessing the internet from a mobile device. It's natural that IVRs will need to add video - the devices can deal with it, and it can improve the user experience. If you can see the menu, instead of just hearing the menus choice, it would make the experience easier and faster. Clear ROI for the contact center.   Take an example of checking your seat on a flight with your PDA. If you could see the picture below, you could easily determine if you wanted to move your seat. Thanks to technology such as this, you'll no longer have to call in and talk to an agent, be put on hold for 10 minutes, and then in the end, just keep the same seat.

Which "Spent" is Applicable to the 3G India Auction?

May 17, 2010

I am in Singapore right now, and one of the big telecommunications topics is the India 3G license auction. The bidding is apparently close to coming to an end and once it ends, the winning companies will get to spend what they bid, for the right to utilize the license(s) they won. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one definition of spent is also "drained of energy or effectiveness."  And after all the spending going on with regards to India and the 3G license auction, one has to wonder about the ability of the operators to actually deploy the infrastructure within a decent amount of time, mainly because the infrastructure causes more money over and above the license.
  If you go to http://dot.gov.in, you will see the state sponsored website regarding the status of the auction. As of May 16th, a company winning a license in each of the 22 zones would pay 15815 crores or $3.5 billion if I read the tables right and did the math right. Remember there are multiples licenses to be awarded.
Are these bids realistically priced or not? Well, India is one of the largest mobile subscriber markets in the world. If a company wants to "win" in India, it has to have a 3G license. And as I wrote about 6 weeks ago, 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. And the 3G networks, as we know, will play a critical role in the higher ARPU mobile data and video services that can come with them.
  I will be in India for VAS Asia 2010 in July and I will report back on what's going on there. Should be interesting.

Dialogic Deals More Cards

May 12, 2010

Well, it's a very exciting day for all of us in the Dialogic community! Some of you may have noticed a press release we issued and/or some press activity regarding Dialogic and Veraz Networks announcing a definitive agreement to merge. The deal is expected to close sometime in the 2nd half of 2010, subject to regulatory approvals, shareholder approvals, and customer closing conditions.

Anyone who knows Dialogic knows we have been a very active participant in M&A since Dialogic Corporation (then named Eicon Networks Corporation) bought the "Dialogic assets" from Intel in 2006. We followed this up by the purchase of EAS Group (Cantata and Excel Switching) in 2007, the OpenMediaLabs business in early 2008 and the NMS Communications Platforms Business in December 2008. Nope, you didn't miss anything in 2009!

This deal continues in the same vein of strengthening the service provider portfolio. The combined company would have an unparalleled product portfolio addressing a span of control of a "bit through the network" from inception to delivery of that bit - enablement of value added services, through to gateways, and softswitches, all with session border control and bandwidth optimization throughout. This ability to service the media (whether video, voice or data) end to end is very unique in the industry and we are excited about the product and service opportunities going forward. 

We see the the future clearly, and we are taking steps to address it so that we can continue to serve our customers. Nick Jensen, the Dialogic CEO said it best in the press release, "We will be creating a company with innovative products that will enable our customers to unleash the profit of video, voice and data for 3G/4G networks." 

And while we are strengthening our service provider portfolio, it does not mean we are de-emphasizing the enterprise market segment. That is still a strong business that we are investing in and that investment will continue. On a pro-forma basis, our enterprise business would still have been about 40% of the revenue of the combined company in 2009. The enterprise initiatives, such as Project DiaStar, remain important to us.

While I will have more to say in this blog space on the deal once it closes, in the meantime, please come and visit us at the various marketing events we have planned. You can find them on the events part of our website. There have been no changes to any planned activities and we'll be very happy to talk to you. 

The Business of Video Messaging

May 5, 2010

I have no doubt that mobile video messaging and mobile video calling/messaging will grow. Cisco's February report "Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2009-2014" highlights that very well. The report separates out growth by application, including video messaging, video calling, video streaming and various forms of PC based mobile communications. It is clear according to this report that video and PCs/smart devices will be key drivers for the increase in global mobile data traffic.    The report shows the traffic by terabytes/month, which is interesting in a way. For instance, you can compare that in 2010 there is forecasted to be 14 terabytes/month of text messaging compared to 50 terabytes/month of video messaging. Yes, you can compare and wrongly assume that video messaging is about 3.5 times the business of text messaging. But while the report is saying that the video data traffic is about 3.5 times the text traffic, it is not saying anything about business revenues.   We can make some assumptions about business revenues, though it's tricky business to figure out video messaging revenues since it depends on the payment plans. So let's look at the sheer number of messages as a way to look at the overall business.  Let's make the following assumptions - the average text is 35 bytes and the average video message is 70 kbytes. They are likely wrong, but directionally correct, which is all we're going for here.      Going back to the 14 terabytes/month for text messaging, if you do the math above, that comes out to 400 billion text messages/month globally. Considering in March the CTIA put out their Semi-Annual Wireless Survey results for the United States, where it says almost 5 billion text messages per day were sent in the US last year, that's 150 billion/month last year just in the US.   So 400 billion is in the ballpark, probably the low end of the range actually.
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