Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

The SmartHome, The Service Provider, and Connectivity

The SmartHome market is important for consumers for many reasons - energy savings, additional security and improved quality of life to name...

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Part 3 of Pros and Cons of Hosted vs. CPE Phone Systems

In part 2 of this series I discussed price. Now let’s wrap up this series and talk about Unified Communications, features and...

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How to Prepare for The Future of Work

The future of work continues to change and the predictions of mass joblessness as a result of AI and robotic automation have...

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Pros and Cons of Hosted vs. On Premise Phone Systems (Part 2)

In Part 1 we discussed some of the considerations that would affect a cloud vs on-premise solution. Now I’d like to start...

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Pros and Cons of Hosted vs. On Premise Phone Systems

Purchasing communications infrastructure equipment for your business, whether it’s data routers, SBCs or phone communication systems is difficult.  There are many vendor...

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Making Sense of Blockchain and Nothing Can Be Hidden in it?

The Bitfury Group and First Block Capital, on January 11, 2018, announced they had invested in Emercoin and would support the ground-breaking...

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Openpath Intros Next-Gen Access Control System

As everything in our lives has become smart; the phone, speaker, lights, cities, thermostats and doorbells, the reality is that pretty much...

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3G Video + Humidity = Singapore

June 2, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I visited Singapore for some press meetings. One good thing about Singapore is that there is a 3G network here and when we talked to the press, we were able to demonstrate some live 3G video applications that have been built on Dialogic video enabling platforms. 
  One bad thing about Singapore is that anytime you move when you are outside, you sweat. And since you have to move when you are outside, well, you sweat. In case you haven't figured it out if you've never been there, it's super humid. I guess that is your lot in life when you are on the equator next to an ocean. Luckily for me, I found a place called the "Eski Bar." This is a bar that has been set up essentially in a meat locker environment. So it's coooooooooooooool inside.
  But back to the 3G video apps. If you go to the Dialogic YouTube channel you can see some interesting videos of some of these apps, but it was nice actually showing live demonstrations of Video Value Added Service apps that our partners have built - such as Voice SMS, Video Portals, 3G video call completed to a non-video 3G phone, and IVVRs. Showing these in action to the press is very powerful.

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.

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.
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