First Coffee for June 16, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for June 16, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Daughters Of the Lonesome Isle, the 1994 John Cage collection of piano compositions played by longtime Cage pianist Margaret Leng Tan:

Pegasus Wireless Corporation is announcing today the signing of an agreement to supply its complete line of 802.11 WiFi broadband wireless networking products to Ukrainian company Walrus Ltd. Walrus Ltd has agreed to carry Pegasus Wireless’s 802.11 WiFi line exclusively for a period of two years.

Jasper Knabb, President of Pegasus Wireless, calls Ukraine a “a virgin market.” He said upon his first visit toUkraine “it was clear that they have the entire technology infrastructure, except for 802.11 WiFi products. There are no wireless products on their shelves at all.”

First CoffeeSM has friends who’ve tried to make money in Ukraine, one of whom, safely back home drinking a decent beer, implied that its business ethics diverge slightly from America’s. First CoffeeSM wishes Pegasus all the luck in the world.

Yet Alex Tsao, CEO of Pegasus is correct when he says “Eastern Europe has been overlooked as a market in general. We have been in the Chinese market for five years now, and it is a long term investment. Eastern Europe’s infrastructure is more advanced.”

Ontario-based – Niagara Falls, to be precise – Telephone Magic Inc. is announcing the addition of the TalkSwitch line of phone systems to its telecom website.

The TalkSwitch 48-CVA is an all-in-one hybrid PBX that combines PSTN and VoIP trunks, allowing companies with one to 32 phone users per location In addition to features common to the entire TalkSwitch line of phone systems, the combination of PSTN lines and built-in VoIP trunks in the TalkSwitch 48-CVA allows businesses with one to 32 phone users per location to use the public telephone system for local calls and automatically switch to VoIP for long distance and inter-branch calling.

Jeff Jackson, President of Telephone Magic Inc.  said the TalkSwitch 48-CVA “and indeed, all TalkSwitch phone systems” are “affordably priced and designed to be installed by non-technical users.” In other words, it’s aimed at small businesses.

TalkSwitch supports all regular analog and cellular phones. Software updates are free.

“The VOIP industry is energizing local economies around the country,” proclaims TMONE Director of Sales Andy Cecil today as the Iowa City-based company announce their fourth expansion in three years.

“VOIP companies such as Vonage are proving that one day broadband phone service customers will out number traditional wire line customers,” Cecil thinks.

Iowa City-based TMONE is an all inclusive direct marketing company that caters to CLEC’s, ISP’s and VOIP providers looking to make their marketing more accountable for acquisition. “Branding is a secondary objective for most of TMONE’s clients,” explains John Burchert, TMONE Chief Operating Officer.

“VoIP is an electrifying emerging technology that possesses a need for customer acquisition” says Director of Sales Andy Cecil. TMONE sees VoIP customer acquisition as a cash cow which will “continue to advance TMONE as the company is called upon to assist in acquiring new persistent VoIP customer bases.”

You know how most of the truly useful things in our daily lives – Velcro, laser technology, the Internet, Tang – were started as government-funded military or domestic security things? CRM might benefit from Saffron Technology’s “associative memory” technique, currently being used by the American intelligence community.

In a great article in the Triangle Tech Journal Elliott West writes that Saffron’s technology is “giving the U.S. intelligence community the ability to make connections from reams of data.” Sound like a familiar task?

Using a technique called “associative memory”, West writes, “Saffron Technology’s software uses leaps of logic and makes associations that might otherwise be missed.” The company’s working with some government agencies including the FBI, who are participating in a pilot program with its software.

Saffron was founded in 1999 by former IBM hands Dr. Manny Aparicio and Jim Fleming, who set out to develop intelligence software: “The software allows [users] to see the big picture by putting the pieces together...from data,” Baldwin told West, adding that “it really learns more like the human brain does. It absorbs patterns and learns from what exists in the data.”

Baldwin calls this approach an “associative memory” technique, not the “rules based” methods commonly used to search data – “Find everyone with an Arabicky-sounding name living in Lackawanna who’s traveled to Pakistan in the past six months.”

“With the associative memory techniques,” West explains, “the software can recognize patterns and make connections between pieces of data that the human user may have missed or didn’t know existed. With this method, it can discover relationships quickly between data points found in massive amounts of data. ‘It gives you things that are related that maybe you didn’t ask for,’” said Baldwin.

With Saffron’s technology, Army and intelligence analysts “don’t have to read every single piece of information that is sent in,” which is physically impossible since “hundreds of thousands” of reports are generated daily, “but can examine trends and view the patterns the software found,” Baldwin says: “Our software can read all of that data and show them a quick picture of what happened overnight.”

Customer relationship management users are salivating already, of course. Patience – “Saffron is also investigating non-intelligence uses for its software and not surprisingly, one of those areas is in the customer relationship management field,” West says.

Its uses are obvious: Instead of tracking terrorists’ aliases, the software can make connections among reams of customers transactions currently underanalyzed or un-analyzable using current procedures to find “previously unknown trends.” Maybe there’s another diapers-and-beer gold mine lurking out there?

David Holtzman, former CTO of Network Solutions has an opinion piece in yesterday’s BusinessWeek arguing for a Constitutional Amendment ensuring “privacy.” Sounds like Mr. Holtzman got one too many spam e-mails last week.

He cites the examples of Citigroup losing a box of computer tapes containing financial information of almost 4 million customers and similar “lapses” at Time Warner, Lexis/Nexis, Bank of America and the credit bureau ChoicePoint, which “unknowingly sold 145,000 customer records to a criminal enterprise.” Which is more of a case for an amendment against stupidity. Invest in prison futures, everyone.

“The needs of commercial interests and national security are antithetical to a citizen’s desire to be left alone,” he writes. Right. Welcome to 2005 America. First CoffeeSM will accept some national security intrusion – the CIA-generated spam is still at tolerable levels. Commercial intrusion is being dealt with as we speak.

“The solution is to guarantee the right to privacy to all citizens by amending the Constitution, which has no such safeguard today,” Holtzman writes. “In fact, the word “privacy” is never mentioned in the document, even in an amendment… The lack of a Constitutional mention of privacy relegates its defense to lawyers and legislators who are free to define it in any way that suits them and their constituents.”

Which is exactly what happens today with things that are specifically mentioned in the Constitution. As Dave Barry said “The Bill of Rights says Americans have the right to bear arms. The Supreme Court has interpreted this to mean that Americans do not have the right to bear arms.” So what’s the point?

If  read off-site hit for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content placement, but “appreciates” a kilo of Jamaican Blue Mountain Peaberry whole bean coffee.

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