First Coffee

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the 1946 – 1959 Billie Holiday collection Lady In Autumn: The Best of the Verve Years, an oddly appealing era of emotion shining through her tattered vocal abilities:

Nortel today announced what company officials are calling a “major breakthrough” in enterprise communications, with the introduction of a new multimedia communications plug-in for Microsoft Office Outlook 2003.

Nortel’s new Multimedia Office Client is a stand-alone product using the “Office Anywhere” capabilities of Nortel’s Session Initiation Protocol-based Multimedia Communication Server 5100 and 5200.

The Multimedia Office Client will reside within Outlook 2003 as a toolbar that enables users to manage and personalize voice, video and text communications, and to initiate calls from a desktop phone or headset simply by clicking on a contact name, all from within Outlook 2003.

The Multimedia Office Client allows users to manage incoming calls in real-time –answering, rejecting or transferring calls, accessing voice mail via mouse and creating incoming communications rules to indicate how, where and by whom they can be contacted.

Service providers will be able to use this plug-in to complement hosted Microsoft Exchange services with VoIP and multimedia services, as well as offer integrated VoIP and multimedia services to enterprise-managed e-mail servers.

The Multimedia Office Client is now in customer trials and is expected to be generally available on the MCS 5100 and 5200 during the fourth quarter of 2005. Nortel will be demonstrating the Multimedia Office Client during SUPERCOMM 2005 (booth 39066) in Chicago.

Alan Stoddard, general manager, Multimedia Converged Networks, Nortel said over 400 million people around the world use Outlook.

On Friday the number of Skype downloads topped 100 million, and the company is launching two premium services, according to the Associated Press.

SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail are built into the latest version of the software, which is available for Linux, Mac OS, Pocket PC and Windows platforms, Luxembourg-based Skype Technologies SA said Friday.

SkypeIn offers customers regular phone numbers on which they can receive calls from landline or mobile phones without having to pay roaming charges. “Users can purchase up to three numbers from their home country in Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States during the initial test period,” the AP reports. It will cost $13 for three months and $39 for a year.

Skype Voicemail lets users receive voicemail messages up to 10 minutes long from any phone source. A subscription runs $7 for 3 months or $19 for a year.

Uniden America Corporation is announcing the Packet-8 enabled UIP1868P, a “fully integrated, service-ready whole house VoIP phone system,” according to company officials. It will be available nationwide at several retailers this year including Fry’s, OfficeMax, and

The Packet8-enabled UIP1868P is a 5.8GHz digital expandable corded/cordless phone with built-in VoIP technology and full router functionality. The UIP1868P is expandable with up to ten cordless handsets, deploying VoIP capability to each handset using a single broadband Internet connection.

Using 8x8’s Internet telephony software, the UIP1868P offers plug-and-play access to Packet8’s broadband telephone service.

Fry’s, and will begin offering the product in July of this year. The UIP1868P will also be available at in July and available in all OfficeMax store locations in September.

Switchvox, a provider of VoIP-capable PBX phone systems for small- to medium-sized businesses, today launched the Switchvox Reseller Partner Program to “address the growing need for affordable IP PBX technology,” available immediately, according to company officials.

Switchvox’s flagship solution enables SMBs to create and manage their phone system, using traditional analog lines, as well as VoIP services. It can be peered with other systems to allow free VoIP calls between office locations, in addition to offering reporting tools to monitor the solution’s performance in real-time.

Switchvox is sold as a turnkey solution that includes the server hardware and pre-installed software. Built on open source software, systems start as low as $995. Switchvox offers resellers a discounted price, below its MSRP.

The majority of Switchvox deployments use VoIP, offer self-service installation and a “simple” training process with deployment in hours. The Reseller Program also provides value-added services such as on-site installation, system integration and support through the reseller network.

Leapstone Systems, a provider of intelligent service delivery and content management solutions, is announcing that its CCE serviceBROKER has been tested with the HP OpenCall Home Subscriber Server and integrated with HP technology using Intel building blocks “to create the framework for a truly open IP Multimedia Subsystem” product, allowing service providers to create, deploy and manage synchronized voice, data, and multimedia applications, according to company officials.

Late last week Texas congressman Pete Sessions, a Republican from the Dallas area introduced a bill to prohibit municipally-sponsored networks.

Called the Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act of 2005 (HR 2726), the bill would bar state and local governments “from providing any telecommunications or information service that is ‘substantially similar’ to services provided by private companies.”

First CoffeeSM, you the reader, a slow chimp and the Barbie doll in your daughter’s room recognize this as brute protectionism, as simply trying to outlaw competition.

Wi-Fi Planet reports that Sessions stated “Rather than investing in vital public works projects, some local and state governments are investing their limited funds into telecommunications projects and putting taxpayer dollars at risk.” The fact that a congressman speaks of “limited” funds explains much about the national debt.

Aw, how touching. Pete, former Southwestern Bell district marketing manager really cares about municipal budgeting. Of course the communications industry contributed over $200,000 to Sessions’s last election and just under half a million dollars over his Congressional career, with SBC-associated donors alone kicking in over $74,000 during his five terms. Politicians notice such things.

Municipalities have a point when they say that the services are needed to promote local business and build up areas the industries won’t invest in. Telecoms have a point when they say it’s unfair competition on the one hand, and that they can do a better job on the other. Frankly First CoffeeSM can think of little government does that private industry couldn’t do better anyway.

Municipalities and private business already offer competing services, let this be another one. If the industries can deliver better service at a fair price – under a fair tax structure, of course – they’ll win, if they can’t beat the government’s quality and price they deserve to lose. What’ll probably happen is those who can’t afford the superior private service will use the muni – First CoffeeSM remembers Arthur Ashe learning to play tennis on the muni courts of Richmond, Virginia because the private ones were, ah, unavailable to him.

If read off-site hit for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content placement and thinks lattes are overgrown, overrated cappuccinos.

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