Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

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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ITEXPO will help Explain the Coming Cloud Upgrade

The cloud is changing how technology is bought, sold and used. The very economics of business have shifted as a result. When...

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Using Your Phone to Help with Comparison Shopping

December 1, 2010

For the past few years, I’ve enjoyed Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving in the US when the best shopping sales are) from the relative safety of my computer.  For yes, even the Black Friday deals are found on the internet.  But I did venture out.  And amid the chaos, as I stood around waiting for my wife to find something, I noticed someone else doing something seemingly very strange. 

Bridging 3G and 4G Services in Budapest

November 24, 2010

As I wrote in my last blog, last week I was in Budapest.  Budapest is a great place.  Turns out some time ago, there were two different cities on the banks of the Danube – one called Pest and one called Buda.  They were then unified to create a single city called….drum roll please…Budapest! 

Budapest, Dialogic EMEA Connections, and how our industry doesn't really change while it's changing

November 19, 2010

Earlier this week, I was in Budapest for our EMEA Connections event.  If you want a very good overview of the event, please read Rich Tehrani’s blog at http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/rich-tehrani/4g/dialogic-connections-2010-live-blog.html.  Rich was not able to blog live while he was in action (he was interviewing Dialogic’s Doug Sabella and Kevin Cook in a talk-show format) and he was a little leery of me blogging for him from his computer, but he did a great job .  I think Rich has a future in TV and/or politics!

One of the underlying themes at the event is that while we are undergoing tremendous change within the telecommunications industry, because of various technological enhancements such as broadband wireless, cloud computing and VoIP -- who will be the big service providers in 10 years, how will people generally communicate in 10 years, what are the revenue models going to be -- there is huge opportunity for everyone in this change. 

Mobile Coupons

November 17, 2010

In my last blog, I described a location-based advertisement example with an example of a coupon for your morning coffee.  It got me thinking about that status of mobile coupons.

The first thing I did was see what was going on in the web about this.  The Mobile Marketing Association offers a good overview of Mobile Coupons and how they work. And predictably, there is a website called Mobile Coupons.com (http://www.mobilecoupons.com/). 

Follow-Up on Context-Aware Services

November 10, 2010

If Location-Based Services indeed might be moving to be more “context” based (and in last week’s blog I described “context” as having to involve some kind of database to make the service more relevant to you), then are there any potential privacy issues associated with this?  Likely there are, and many of them can be resolved if the user wants “context” and therefore opts in to obtaining this context since the user would see a value to it.

With the advertisement example, I can see a user opting in for certain types of restaurant ads or promotions. 

The Difference Between Location-Based Services and Context-Aware Location-Based Services

November 3, 2010

I've written about Location-Based Services a few times, most recently on September 28th, and I came across the term Context-Aware Location-Based Services. In doing research on this topic, I found the top results from a web search are some academic papers, including this academic paper which goes into much detail. But there are many of them and it appears this is hot academic research topic.   If I had to boil it down, the difference between LBS and Context-Aware LBS would involve a database of some sort that "knows" something about you. For instance, in the LBS example I showed in the September 28th blog, an advertisement for a restaurant appeared on the user's mobile phone. Perhaps that advertisement was sent to anyone within a certain amount of blocks of the restaurant. That would be an example of a location-based advertisement. But perhaps also that ad only appeared on that user's mobile phone since the owner of that mobile phone had been there before and/or had opted in to some future advertising promotion. So the ad appearing was much more in context.    I can also envision some kind of service that is integrated with your calendar. For example, I am constantly changing the type of ring tone of my mobile phone depending on what I'm doing. Why do I really need to do that - why can't the mobile phone integrate with my calendar and change the ring tone to either what I've done in the past in certain situations, or change it depending on the type of activity I'm doing on my calendar.

WiFi Offload from 3G

October 27, 2010

In the past couple of weeks, I've had a couple of experiences with using the WiFi feature of my Blackberry. Last week, I wrote about attending Interop in New York and when I attended the keynotes, which were deep within the recesses of the Javitz Convention center, my cell phone dropped to EDGE. So during one of the keynotes (that I didn't find particularly interesting), I started playing around with my Blackberry to get the WiFi going.  Whoa! It was awesome. I got onto the internet and I was flying. Definitely faster than 3G from my perspective. My email also worked great. Definitely a good experience and I will likely use WiFi more often now with my Blackberry when I'm in areas where I can get it.   On a sour note, I also tried WiFi at the new Giants Stadium during the Lions game on October 17. I know officially it's called "New Meadowlands Stadium" but I still call it Giants Stadium. I had read articles about this stadium being the most technologically advanced and having a stadium-wide public WiFi. Well, I found WiFi when I checked. But all the networks I found needed access codes, which doesn't make too much sense to me. I don't know what they're thinking with that.

Clouds and Pall on a Sunny Day at Interop New York

October 20, 2010

When I went into the Javitz Center this morning to attend Interop, it was a bright sunny day. But soon clouds started rolling in. One type of cloud was the pall that comes from bad baseball. Yes, the Yankees have been under the specter of one big, bad, dark, forboding, cumulonimbus cloud right now. Yes, they've been playing like the Mets so now they know what that feels like. It doesn't feel good and it's coming at a bad time considering it's the baseball playoffs. Still a glimmer of hope though.   But another type of cloud comes from Cloud Computing and that was a major theme of Interop. Interop, to me, has roots in the old Network+Interop shows that I used to attend when I worked for Novell. At that time, it was all about networking of course, and the ability to hook up printers to networks!    Now, this is the Business Technology show so enterprise issues such as cloud computing, network and wifi security, storage and telepresence were themes at this show. UC is also here, but from this show's perspective, it's mature and so doesn't quite get the messaging here.   If you are in IT and need to get schooled on the latest goings-on in your area, this is the place to go!

Video on the Bosphorus

October 13, 2010

A few weeks ago, I was in Istanbul with some customers and prospects. As I've written many times in this blog, the promise of adding video to an already existing voice and/or text mobile application is compelling to use, and compelling as a value-added service to offer.  So it's a win-win given the right business model.    Given the 3G networks available in Turkey, I figured it would be a snap to actually demo a mobile video app to these customers and prospects so I called into a customer IVVR demo that shows your airplane seat visually and how to change it from your phone. But alas, there was the error message "no video service, video call failed." Huh?   Well, I just so happened to be with the service provider that my phone was using at the time and they made a few phone calls. It was indeed not offered yet since they haven't figured out the payment plan. Would it be part of the monthly fee? Would it be charged per use? Would you have to buy video prepaid cards to use the service? Since I was roaming, how would the roaming charges work?    These issues will all be worked out, but it was an important reminder to me about why video telephony, like most new technologies, takes a little longer to become ubiquitous than some might think. It's the same to me as VoIP was 10 years ago, and that's why I'm bullish on mobile video.

IT Expo West Action

October 6, 2010

As I write this, I'm at IT Expo West in Los Angeles. The convention center is located right next to the Staples Center (where the Lakers play basketball) and there is much action right around this site. And action inside the convention center with IT Expo going on as well.   This is a memorable site for me since in the late 90's I would come here with 200 other Dialogic colleagues for CT Expo and descend upon the place in a swarm of blue shirts. This is an excellent venue for a conference.   I sat in the beginning of day two of the SIP Trunking and UC Summit day sponsored by InGate. I wasn't able to spend all day in here due to other commitments, but the day looked interesting given the discussion to be had on UC in the service provider market, hosted UC, Enterprise UC and even going over a case study. I also spent some time in the 4GWE part of this conference, heard Avaya speak at lunch about innovation, and also spent time in the Mobile Communication track piece of the conference I spoke it.  This all just confirmed my belief that this is a good conference to attend. 
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