By David Sims
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Willie Nelson’s 1978 album Stardust, his heartfelt tribute to Tin Pan Alley:
The next version of Microsoft Office will center on VoIP, IM and XML technology, according to Ina Fried.
It adds up to an emphasis on collaboration, Fried thinks, and Microsoft’s “gotten some help in that effort from Groove Networks, the Ray Ozzie-led company that Microsoft acquired earlier this year, strategy executive Bill Hilf said at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in San Francisco.”
Hilf says Microsoft is building the ability to handle VoIP technology as “one of the core features in the next version of Office.”
Microsoft promises that the so-improved Office 12 will ship next year, and First CoffeeSM knows how reliable Microsoft ship dates are, of course.
Hilf refused to discuss details or specifics, but said for an idea of what Office is going to look like consider Microsoft Office Communicator 2005, the instant messaging add-on currently in beta.
Fried notes that with the program, “out-of-office messages pop up automatically, as does a user’s IM presence information. If companies integrate the software with their traditional or VoIP gear, workers can also start phone calls through their PC and redirect incoming calls when they are going to be away from their desk.”
Disturbing little news bit on the invaluable Engadget: Donald Melanson posts that “a Redwood City-based tech start-up called Rosum has found a way to track individuals using television signals, reaching places even GPS can’t (like inside buildings).”
Melanson claims that “Q-Tel, the investment arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, is one of the investors in the company.” The first actual working device using this capability is still in prototype, but Rosum does expect “commercial navigation products using the technology to start showing up next year.”
So the CIA gets this technology, but when an organization that knows what it’s doing gets ahold of it, such as New York City parking enforcement, First CoffeeSM will be concerned.
The Israeli telecom provider ECI Telecom is opening a subsidiary office in Moscow, in the words of company officials, “to further broaden and establish ECI’s direct presence in Russia in addition to a local support company.” The office should open in June.
ECI, which has been working in Russia for twelve years, says there is “increasing customer demand for ECI’s solutions in the Russian market,” a market which has grown extensively over the past few years.
ECI must think pretty highly of the Russian market, they held a recent Board of Directors meeting in Moscow, and it probably wasn’t for the food or scenery. The company specializes in metro optical networks, broadband access, bandwidth management and carrier-class VoIP solutions.
Continuing with First CoffeeSM’s coverage of the former Second World (you knew what First World and Third World were, “Second World” was used to refer to the Soviet Union and its satellite states), Teleunit Spa, an Italian telecom wholesale service provider has signed a direct interconnection agreement with Albania Online SP Ltd.
Albania Online, frequently confused with America Online, was founded in 1997 and provides Internet connection through dial-up, leased lines, ADSL and Wireless, VOIP, VPN, E-mail and hosting solutions. It’s the only private entity in Albania that has fiber-optic interconnection with state operators Albtelecom and Telecom Montenegro, which in that part of the world is technically known as “one heck of a competitive advantage.”
Teleunit and Albania Online will exchange international voice and IP traffic, and Teleunit has put in place a new Internet Protocol gateway direct to Albania to transmit voice data using VOIP technology.
Gianfranco Cimica, Chief Executive of Teleunit explained that “a large amount of voice traffic is directed to Albania due to the historical relationship between Italy and Albania and the large Albanian population in Italy.”
Shifting back to the First World, in an interview with Renai LeMay security vendor Check Point’s Australia manager, Scott McKinnel, argues that voice and Internet “camps” have different security priorities.
According to McKinnel, when implementing VoIP-based systems traditional telephony experts “try to address the primary concerns as they would see them in a telephony world – which are latency, PABX and voice-mail functionality, quality of service, things of that nature.”
McKinnel doesn’t see security as a pressing issue, saying that telephony gurus “haven’t even had encrypted voice circuits,” let alone anything more sophisticated than that – “there’s never been a shared network infrastructure.”
In his completely unvendorly-influenced opinion, Internet security experts could show their telephony counterparts the way.