Blab Bloopers + ITEXPO East with Xorcom Bridger and TMC Tehrani

Suzanne Bowen : Monetizing IP Communications
Suzanne Bowen
32 yrs in telecom, teaching, blog & grant writing, biz development, marketing, & PR. Favorite moments in life involve time w/ family & friends, networking, IP communications industry verticals & horizontals, running, traveling, foreign languages
| 1. "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition..." Barack Obama ..... 2. "One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain." By Thomas Sowell

Blab Bloopers + ITEXPO East with Xorcom Bridger and TMC Tehrani

A first Blab Dot IM included brave communications industry friends Xorcom's Ruth Bridger and TMC's Rich Tehrani. Topic: Getting the Most out of face-to-face ITEXPO East conference and exhibition Jan. 25 - 28, 2016 in warm Fort Lauderdale, FL. 

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The following includes the edited Blab video embedded, Blab bloopers to avoid and a transcript of the talk. Though the bloopers will make you LOL, don't be afraid. Blab dot IM is a pretty cool interface that uses WebRTC we have all been hearing about.

Blab dot IM questions I would like answers to and Blab bloopers to avoid:

1. Where should your eyes look while being the only speaker and also while being one of two or more speakers? As the only speaker...at the "audience" of listeners? As one or more speakers...look toward whoever is speaking at any given point?

2. Lock video speaker spots because you may end up with one filled with a mystery guy eating chicken in Hollywood Square 4 (about 10:27 into the original, uncut Blab) with Ruth Bridger, Rich Tehrani and Ahsan Saleem. I see you laughing.

3. Be sure to make one of the other video speakers a co-host so if you, the main host gets booted off, the Blab continues and someone is leading.

4. Find a way to make it where people do not have to hear your tapping out messages on your keyboard. (I was guilty...trying to answer the Blab listeners' questions and comments.)

5. Be careful that you don't accidentally decrease the % view of your screen during the Blab to the point that you can't figure out what is going on. I didn't even know that was the problem until 3/4 of the way into the 35 minute talk. My laptop has some shortcut for that which I keep accidentally executing. 

Anyways, I see value in Blab dot IM as well as mixed WebRTC and SIP solutions such as  FreeConferenceCall's new video conferencing and ZIPDX audio conferencing. Please enjoy, whether you prefer to watch us talk or read the transcript about ITEXPO East, IP PBX, IDEA startups, face-to-face vs virtual networking, unified communications and more. 

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: We decided that it was time to bring a lot of the changes and advantages out to the web and to the management system of the IP PBX. We have a speaking session on that [titled "Creating a New GUI for Asterisk" with Xorcom CTO Leonid Fainshtein during Asterisk World, a collocated conference with ITEXPO East, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 at 3 PM, venue Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center.] That's going to the basis of our systems going forward. I am sure it is going to be very useful for

We are very excited about the prospects of unveiling this and get feedback from our partners and customers. We have a very good feeling that we are bringing out something like this.

DIDX Suzanne Bowen: I am glad you brought up Asterisk World because it is one of the collocated conferences in collaboration with ITEXPO...also Channel Vision Expo, and the MSP Expo. What I think is pretty cool about those two as well as Asterisk World...Asterisk World is where you will find the developers [to hire], the equipment. You can decide if you want to do hosted or on your premises just for your own business or if you want to go into the [VoIP] business and maybe you don't have much experience.

There will be information about careers, starting up your own business and get the help from these experts like Xorcom. All you need is your niche you are going to market to. There is also an IDEA showcase...

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: It is really exciting. You have all these young people with just fabulous ideas. They have a very limited amount of time to try and get your votes and to get awarded the prize.  

DIDX Suzanne Bowen: This conversation may diverge into different directions but the Blab is mainly about ITEXPO conference which is scheduled Jan. 25 - 28, 2016 in Ft. Lauderdale where I've read over and over on Weather Underground that the temp will be about 70 °F. You can't beat that.

So, Ruth just spoke about Xorcom will participate in the Asterisk World conference during ITEXPO. We've finally got Rich back on. Rich, I started recording a little late, so I am just going to introduce him again. We've been talk with Ruth from Xorcom. She's the VP of marketing. Rich Tehrani is the CEO of TMC and founder of Apex Technology Services (an MSP, managed service provider). He's also #7 of top 50 Unified Communications experts to follow on Twitter according to GetVoIP 2015. We're happy to have both of you with us...

TMC Rich Tehrani: What I like about you also is not only your deep industry knowledge but your ability to be on the leading edge of social. You were doing video before it was mainstream. You're on Blab a few months after it came out. You're ahead of your time.

DIDX Suzanne Bowen: Thank you. I do remember my first ITEXPO event, I don't know. What was the first year? That will help me remember.

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: It was 1998.

DIDX Suzanne Bowen: I think 2001 was on my first one, and I had this cheap, little digital camera, and I was going around videoing everybody, not me in it. I would video right up on their faces and let them talk about their company or whatever they wanted. Old [ITEXPO VoIP] stuff is there.

DIDX Suzanne Bowen: I see a gentleman Halima Ozimova who has posted the question: will Rich decode the acronym ITEXPO?

TMC Rich Tehrani: Actually way back in the 90s, it was Internet Telephony. But it's evolved now to become a communications marketplace and a lot of mainstream technology

(Lots of tapping is heard because I was trying to keep up with the questions and messages that the 41 Blab participants were sharing with us.)

TMC Rich Tehrani continues: As information technology, the IT department swallowed up communications, it's really kind of all merged together. ITEXPO is just the single place that you need to come to find out what's happening in the world of communications and the world of technology, not only how to implement solutions that are available today but you really have to know what's coming down the pipe because the worst thing you can do is make a major purchasing decision or whether it is your company or whether you are a carrier...you make a major decision and then you find out a few months later that your choice was the wrong one like maybe it doesn't interoperate with the software you need or  it doesn't move to the cloud or it doesn't interoperate with the cloud. I think things like. You really need to be on the leading edge to be aware of what's happening while implementing solutions available today.

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: It's amazing. [ITEXPO] had given us the opportunity to be connected to people that are far away, different cultures and different languages and still once or twice per year, we meet up at ITEXPO or other conferences face to face with the people we have been corresponding with via social media or VoIP. It really adds that extra dimension. It makes it so much more pleasant to do business.

I have to admit that at the beginning, with all the opportunities of webinars and online video conferencing and being able to simply pick up a phone and dial somebody halfway around the world...I thought, "Is that going to be the end to face-to-face interaction?"

It turns out that it does not. It compliments it. It makes our work more efficient, and yet, we still preserve that periodic, in-person meetup. I think we need that to cement the relationships.

TMC Rich Tehrani: I would like to add to that if I may. Technology is becoming such an important foundation of every company. Companies are differentiating themselves on how well their technology works whether it's customer-facing technology, how they serve their customers, or how they boost their productivity...how they get things done. In such an important area to restrict yourselves to just one or two different kinds of information whether it's news on a website or just webinars and not immerse yourselves a few times per year among your peers to see what works and what doesn't work and spend for the best, might be best overall but in say, the hospitality space...those are challenging things to find out with your peers, and having discussions with groups, collaboration and networking. (9:32 point...more transcription soon)

About 16 minutes in:

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: Suzanne, are you still there? We lost your video.

DIDX Ahsan Saleem: Yeah. I think there is some kind of issue because now, I cannot see Suzanne Ma'am. 

TMC Rich Tehrani: Suzanne's gone. Have to love technology. (Laughter by all.)

DIDX Ahsan Saleem: Rich, sir, I have one question if you don't mind. How would you differentiate between last year's event and this year's event?

TMC Rich Tehrani: The technology evolves so much. Every month in communications, there are so many new things. One of the new things that we have launched at this event [ITEXPO] is the IDEA Conference. It is an area of the conference focused on startups.

We'll bring a number of startups to the stage. Many of them have applied. We have a bunch of judges who pick out the best and then the audience is going to help pick a winner. There will be financial people. VCs will be there to help judge. They'll be in the audience. It's a new area of the show. It's something we've experimented with in the past.

A big part of the market this year is the open source world with Asterisk, Microsoft and what's happening with Skype for business, unified communications in general, wireless, mobility...communications is such an exciting space to be in.

DIDX Ahsan Saleem: This will be the first time that you will be giving the startups a chance to showcase their services on the stage, right?

TMC Rich Tehrani: The event is new. It is called IDEA. I've only had a couple of cups of tea, so let me see if I can remember. It's innovation, disruption, acceleration...it was a really cool acronym. We're really into acronyms at ITEXPO...innovation, disruption, evolution, acceleration.

Some of these guys are looking for funding. Some of them have just been funded and they just want recognition and what's been exciting to me about technology is that as app stores have proliferated, and as the cloud has become less and less expensive, these startups for the first time...in the last 3 - 4 years,  start their company on a shoe string to get an idea tested to see if there is any adoption. From there, they can scale tremendously. That to me makes the world of startups more exciting than it has ever been because the cost to launch a startup is almost nothing.

When Yahoo started, they had to buy Sun servers that were a million dollars each. They had to buy a lot of them to support their infrastructure and now, you don't need to have any infrastructure. You can have everything in the cloud to launch your company and then you can decide to bring stuff in-house later if you want. The point is that there has never been a more exciting time in terms of all the startup activity.

We are really excited about the IDEA showcase. Everyone is going to want to participate in that. It's going to be Wednesday January 27 at 4:30 PM at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.

DIDX Ahsan Saleem: We are also excited, excited to meet you, the customers, new opportunities with businesses.

TMC Rich Tehrani: Should we worry about Suzanne? Suzanne seems to be gone.

DIDX Saleem: Ahh. I think Suzanne ma'am is available. I can see her messages on the right-hand side, and she said that she made you as a cohost, so if you leave the conversation, it will be all over.

TMC Rich Tehrani: The way my computer has been today. It says, "Suzanne can't get back in." I don't know if she can hear us...

DIDX Saleem: Let me close my video call, let me try and see if Suzanne ma'am can try and get connected again.

TMC Rich Tehrani: So, Ruth, what else is going that's exciting that people should know about with your company and the industry in general?

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: It's kind of interesting. We are a manufacturer and we have always been on the hardware side, ramping up and going to larger and larger enterprise type installation. Just a couple of months ago, we came out with what we call the Spark which is just a little tiny PBX with support for two users. It's the low end of the scale. It's really different from everything we have done until now, but one thing that we realize is that even with rather large installations, we have companies that 1000 - 1500 employees, we also have branch offices. They need something that is very modest.

We realize we were missing out on giving a complete solution because we didn't have that very low end. True to its name, Spark is a fire. It has a great appeal to our partners all over the world. We are going to be showing that off as well.

TMC Rich Tehrani: That's really awesome. Branch offices, you know a lot of companies are in the branch office space and are looking to move into voice over IP to save money obviously, so there are a lot of synergies there for their business.

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: What's great about it is that you have this tiny IP PBX. You can tap into all the potential like...they are all in the same type of configuration. We are going in a different direction instead of just high end. It is really exciting.

TMC Rich Tehrani: Now, you'll be showing this, Ruth, at ITEXPO later this month?

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: Right. We are going to be at booth 616 on the main floor and then as Suzanne said, there is an Asterisk World pavilion, all about Asterisk. We'll be able to get in touch with our developer partners and show off our new vanity platform for Asterisk as well.

TMC Rich Tehrani: I remember the first time I met you guys, maybe 8 - 9 years ago in South Florida.

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: I know I have been in telecom for many years for many different companies. Definitely, ITEXPO is a high point for our event calendar. It's like I mentioned before. It has such a strong pull internationally. It is really important to us. Xorcom products are installed in over 100 countries worldwide. This is like our opportunity to really come face to face with those who have purchased this equipment and also selling it.

 

DIDX Suzanne Bowen: And Ruth, you talk about IP PBX (Internet protocol-based business phone system)...for those who don't, companies would like to have an IP PBX because it is less expensive, has lots of features that usually come at no extra cost, and it makes you look and sound much bigger than what you actually are.

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: Cost is really a big thing. You've got so many obstacles when you are in business with so many things to take care of. You want really to be able to focus on your main line. You know. You're in hospitality, manufacturing, whatever...you don't want to have to be worried about your communications but like you say, to look big, even if you are small...a voice over IP PBX will allow you to do that because when you think back to the legacy phone system...where every new extension that you add or every new feature like voicemail or call recording or conferencing...you know, these cost extra. But with the voice over IP world, especially for products that are based on Asterisk, it's all in the bundle. It's already all in the same package.

It's a question of putting a check mark to say that they want that. It's mindboggling that just a few years ago, what cost 1000s of dollars that at the click of your mouse, take advantage of call-forwarding, set up a conference bridge, and I think this is giving opportunities to smaller companies to look big even if they are not. To be able to reach those customers at the end of the day, like you say, it is the service that they provide, not how big they are. It is how they respond, and voice over IP lets them do it more efficiently and much less expensively. 

DIDX Suzanne Bowen: We are talking about ITEXPO.com which is much more than voice over IP and as you were listening to Ruth Bridger of Xorcom, there is the IP PBX, unified communications which is like a combination of ways to communicate with each other and anyone want to add anything to that? I think a lot of people don't really understand what unified communications is as opposed to voice over IP or video over IP.

Xorcom Ruth Bridger: I think it is just the option to be able to communicate and be found in the most efficient way possible. It could be as simple as somebody calls into your desk at work, but you're kind of out of the office that day. You still are ready to do business and can forward the call to your cell phone or having a presence indicator and you will know if somebody is available.

Being able to do something like send and receive faxes over the Internet all from your single station. So it is being able to provide all of the communication tools from one central spot to send out messages and to receive messages and to have the information about availability just to make it as efficient as possible.

DIDX Suzanne Bowen: And for everyone listening, I didn't know if you realize, but you can click in and ask questions, leave comments and then that way, when you are in a Blab, it is more interactive rather than you just looking at people and listening to what they say. We see that many people are taking advantage of that. We really appreciate it. I see that two more just came in.

We're talking about ITEXPO.com which is January 25 - 28 in Fort Lauderdale, FL; [Asterisk World portion starts January 25.] You need to go sign up, everybody, at www.itexpo.com. Prizes...Rich, what are the prizes this year 2016?

TMC Rich Tehrani: There will be an entertainment package which is a Netflix gift card for $100, a PlayStation 4 bundle, a coolest cooler award, Hyatt and Delta gift cards of $500 each, a smart carry on...I don't know what a smart carry on is. I hope you don't have to charge it. I'm assuming it is some kind of suit case. There is a home package, an iRobot Roomba vacuum, smart lock, smart doorbell...actually the founder of Ring James Siminoff has spoken at many expos in the past. It's very cool. He got his start in the communications space several years ago...also a $15,000 grand prize giveaway...

We love to give back. We want to thank the ITEXPO sponsors who help to underwrite some of the expense such as Airespring, Grandstream Communications, Netsapiens and Taqua.

Sign up at www.itexpo.com to sponsor, exhibit, and actively participate in the expo and conference sessions as well as the breakfast, lunch, reception and All Conference activities.



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