Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

Why Pivot?

In business, a pivot is a strategy change (especially in Lean Startup processes). When you look at brick-and-mortar companies like RadioShack,...

Full Story »

Thoughts on the Industry Right Now

All the forecasts: have any of them been accurate? Or is it just a way to sell reports? If it is,...

Full Story »

Hosted PBX Sales Increasing

Blame some of it on the TDM-to-IP transition, but a lot of the reason that Hosted PBX sales are increasing is...

Full Story »

Intel Buys Way into Tablets While $99 may be Microsoft Sweet Spot

Intel recently reported earnings and the takeaway is the company is going to focus more on Android and ramp up subsidies to...

Full Story »

Why the Fax Isn't As Outdated As You Think

I wrote a blog about faxing a few months ago and got an overwhelming response. Got some comments via email and...

Full Story »

Camera-Phone Opportunity Exists for Samsung

There exists an opportunity for a superior camera with 10x or greater zoom coupled with the traditional things we are used to...

Full Story »

Tomorrow is Purchase Google Glass Day!

If you are a wearable tech fan, tomorrow is a big day as you will finally be able to (if you are...

Full Story »

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.

The Little Graph That Could

March 30, 2010

   On March 9th, Dialogic sponsored a TMC webinar titled, "The Year of HD." If you missed it, you can listen to the archive by going in and registering. During the webinar, the following question was asked: "What Statement about HD Voice do you agree with most?" While everyone on the call didn't vote, more than enough people voted to make this graph valid.

You can see the results in the graph above. I was surprised to see that 22% of voters said that HD Voice was "A feature that I would be willing to pay more for."   I think the service providers would be interested in talking anyone who responded with this answer! As readers of my blog know, at some point during each day, I talk utilizing an HD Voice codec and the sound quality is noticeably better. But I still take the position that carriers that are not number 1 or 2 in their markets will take advantage of a feature like HD Voice to put pressure on the incumbents by offering it at the same plan rate as non-HD Voice. It will help these service providers drive subscribers up. So in that way, yes, it's "just another way for service providers to increase revenue" since they'll have more subscribers.
  I also agree with the 60% statement saying, "a feature that should be standard by 2011." Maybe not everywhere in the world, but I expect that HD Voice will be deployed in various networks and that it will be a standard RFP reply in that timeframe. Dialogic certainly expects to be selling HD Voice enabled media servers and gateways in 2011.

As a follow-up to this webinar, Dialogic will also be hosting a 2nd HD Voice themed webinar on April 14th. While the first webinar was more of an overview, this upcoming webinar brings video into the HD Voice picture so as to paint a more interesting interactive communications experience. If you are interested, please register for this webinar.






Jim Machi blogged about The Old OS Pangs, Only with Mobile Devices Now on Corporate Blog .

March 25, 2010

The Old OS Pangs, Only with Mobile Devices Now

March 25, 2010

In yesterday's blog about CTIA, I mentioned that the iPhone hysteria has disappeared. And that got me to thinking about the developers out there. With different Smartphone Operating Systems, what's a Smartphone developer to do? I remember back in my UNIX days when I'd talk to application vendors about porting to UNIX. They'd talk about whether to port to SCO Unix, AT&T Unix, or Solaris and since I was visiting, I'd state the case to port to the UNIX system that I was working for. Then one year I went in and they'd say only one UNIX, and then Windows NT. And then it was soon only Windows NT and maybe Linux. There were too many choices to make, and the developers needed to ride a horse. They saw the power of a standardized OS. That's when I knew it was time to leave and hence started my career at Dialogic. 
  But it gets me thinking about today. There are many choices today with Apple, Microsoft, Palm, Linux, Symbian and Blackberry. It seems to me that that's similar to what I described above, and some kind of consolidation will be occurring within 2 years. I don't predict what will happen, only that it seems to need to happen. I'll revisit this as some point in the future.

March CTIA Madness and a Mobile Concierge

March 24, 2010

I find myself in the middle of NCAA Basketball March Madness in, of all places, Las Vegas. It turns out I'm leaving before the Sweet Sixteen starts and that's good. If not, I'm sure I'd find myself sitting in one of the betting rooms here, watching the games on TV.
  I hear people talk about CTIA as if it's the America's version of Mobile World Congress. It sort of is, but it's not nearly as big in size. The whole ecosystem is here, from app developers to handset accessories to air conditioning for the Cos.  One thing that is a bit different, beyond the size, is there is more talk about WiMax here. At Mobile World Congress, I didn't see too much about WiMax - it was as if LTE eclipsed it. But because of Sprint and Clearwire's support, WiMax (4G) has a bigger presence here. In fact, they announced additional market plans here at CTIA.
  In between meetings, I had some time to walk the floor a bit. The DoCoMo booth was interesting to me - I saw some very high-def phones, "eye-ball controlled" phone earpieces, and some auto-GPS technology that allows what they call a mobile concierge to let you know what is going on and what you can do - all because of location-based services.
  And clearly the iPhone hysteria is gone.  A lot has happened in a year. Is the iPhone really unique anymore?  Is AT&T the only one offering Smartphone services? No. There are other players such as Android out there now.  And you can feel and see that as you walk around here.




Taming the Mobile Wild Boar

March 18, 2010

A couple days ago, I wrote about data problems on the mobile network and LTE helping to resolve it. One thing to remember about LTE riding to the rescue is that given the increased bandwidth, and given the increased marketing activities likely to occur once these LTE networks start to be deployed, the marketing hype might actually contribute towards getting more data onto the networks, so perhaps will ultimately not help anything you are experiencing today (say if you are on an iPhone in New York City living amongst many mobile feral hogs in such a close vicinity to each other). Given this thought, what can be done?

Since LTE is faster, and given there will undoubtedly be more and more data on the mobile networks, is simply deploying an LTE network the answer? As per my blog on Tuesday, while it's part of the answer, no, it isn't the entire answer.

Creating Mobile Feral Hogs!

March 16, 2010

All of these network and network infrastructure improvements, as well as likely tiered pricing options in the future, will help get us to improved mobile network service. The mobile internet marches on, and there will be increasingly more and more usage of it, and technology will solve the problem ultimately. Just don't expect the ride to be so smooth.
  I've read a few articles recently about domesticated pigs who get loose, and in the wild very soon turn into wild boars, eating everything in their path. I know they are a big problem in Texas and Arkansas and many other states, and have started to become a problem in southern New Jersey. I actually saw one of these beasts a long time ago in Hawaii when I was hiking. The thing was huge. 
Kind of like some of us who are going hog wild on our mobile networks?   We were all nice and pink like a domesticated pig and used our mobile phones according to the known statistical analysis, but now there are some people using mobile networks all the time, such as streaming Pandora all day onto their smartphones. And the mobile wild hog is born!
One response I've seen about the mobile network issues has been more and more PR from the operators in the form of articles and data coming out about the small percent of users who "hog" the networks by taking full advantage of their flat monthly data fee.   These people, they say, are the mobile feral hogs and these people are causing YOUR mobile network access to be in jeopardy. And in some respects they are right. But in other respects, some people are just utilizing their pay plans to the fullest, right?
So what can be done about this?   When I wrote my blog about attending Mobile World Congress a couple of weeks ago, two themes I mentioned were LTE and Femtocells. LTE is all-IP network, and depending on uplink/downlink measurements, is between 8 and 20 times faster than 3G HSPA. So it will help to reign in these feral hogs living on the mobile broadband network. And given the increased simplicity in its network architecture (being more flat), LTE should be lower CAPEX/OPEX for the operators. So it should all be good, right? Well, sure, but LTE is not exactly right around the next corner.



Cloud Computing - The Terminator Movies Had it Right!

February 24, 2010

In one of my last blogs, I talked about why the concept of Cloud Computing has taken hold now and what's involved from a technical and non-technical standpoint. Cloud Computing sounds so easy, so all companies should just do this, right? Wrong. There are perspectives out there that say "we aren't ready for this yet." And people should respect these perspectives. There is a lingering concern about outsourcing of key data by IT departments and whether the data would be "safe." That's why I say whether the march is inexorable or not. The first successful hosting apps that I remember were really outsourcing and hosting of the website. Security of key data wasn't as big an issue since, well, what you're putting on the website is for all to see.   Let's take a basic enterprise application, such as voice mail. Is voice mail something that should be totally secure? It's not something for me to answer since it depends on your company, depends on your job, and depends on who is leaving you voice mails. We've seen some famous people recently who wished voice mails didn't become public.   So let's look at the data you have on premise in your office. Is the data there really more secure than in some big hosted "cloud" facility? That's also really hard to say, as it likely depends on each specific facility. I have read many instances in the newspaper relating to break-ins at some office where computers are stolen, and on those computers are employee social security numbers and the like. On the other hand, Los Angeles decided to move it's email to Google and was met with some criticism due to security concerns.   Both are real issues and both will remain valid. Data is not automatically more secure on your premise compared to a "cloud" facility though.   Additionally, there are still issues to be worked regarding interoperability. If you create an application using Infrastructure as a Service, and you call on some remote "function" as I called it above, what if that company goes out of business and the "function" disappears? What if some other "function" suddenly replaces it out of the blue, but it's not exactly the same? All of a sudden, your application may not work, or may not work as it used it, and you'd be somewhat flummoxed by it all.   And, with regards to uptime, if you are sharing a computer system through virtualization with other applications, or simply being in a facility and the facility has power issues, someone else's problem may affect you. So it's not all nirvana.   And finally, if you are a fan of The Terminator movies, Skynet is the epitome of Cloud Computing. From Software as a Service to Machine to Machine computing to Machine thinking to Machines as a Service, The Terminator movies show a possible ending to all this Cloud Computing. The Cloud gets smart and The Cloud wants to be the master. So let's all beware of Cloud Computing.   My point is, there will always be good reasons for people to use Cloud Computing, and there are always going to be good reasons for people to use premise computing. As time goes on though, Cloud Computing becomes more and more of an option. It's certainly more of an option now than it was five years ago, and it will be even more of an option in five years than it is today.
Featured Events