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February 2006

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First Coffee for 28 February, 2006

February 28, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is John Cage’s compositions Music For Prepared Piano, Vol. 2, performed by Boris Berman. A little break from the Louis Jordan and Robert Earl Keen, the way William Gaddis is a little break from John Grisham or Stephen King:

Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. has announced that Vodafone K.K., a mobile operator in Japan and a subsidiary of Vodafone Group Plc, which bills itself as “the world’s largest mobile community,” has selected Oki’s face recognition middleware for their mobile phones.

The “Face Sensing Engine” enables instant face recognition using the camera on mobile phones to restrict access to mobile phones.

First Coffee for 27 February, 2006

February 27, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is “What’s The Use of Gettin’ Sober (When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again)?” by Louis Jordan:

Fueled by continued demand for ERP and CRM equipment, small and medium businesses in the United States are on track to spend $2.2 billion on enterprise software this year, up 10 percent from last year, according to a recent report from AMI-Partners.

“More MBs in the U.S. now seek to streamline and automate business processes and thereby maximize the value from their current assets,” says Sau Lam, New York-based research analyst at AMI-Partners.

Lam thinks the healthy growth” for enterprise software spending comes mainly from medium businesses, defined as those with 100-999 employees. He suggests that “many of these MBs also want to ensure they meet new regulatory requirements and see automation as the best way to do that.”

The halcyon days of the huge, multi-million dollar land grabs, installing IBM, Coca-Cola or First CoffeeSM with CRM systems are long gone, the sweet spot for ERP and CRM vendors these days is the SMB market, emphasis on M.

ERP itself is becoming a mainstream application for MBs, AMI’s research finds. Currently, 31 percent of MBs use ERP products, a percentage which will only go up with “close to a quarter of MBs indicating their interest in adopting ERP products in the next 12 months.”

CRM adoption is also higher among MBs than among SBs. Over half of MBs currently use and/or plan to use CRM products in the next 12 months, compared with 23 percent of SBs. Although ACT!

First Coffee for 25 February, 2006

February 25, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan’s The Bootleg Series, Vols. I – III (Rare and Unreleased), 1961-1991.

Boy, it’s another sign of just how great this guy is that songs like “She’s Your Lover Now,” “Moonshiner” and “Blind Willie McTell,” which would be career highlights for most any other singer-songwriter of the past 50 years, are throwaways which end up on the cutting room floor until they’re swept up and put in bootleg anthologies ten, twenty, thirty years later. Astounding.

We’ll move on to other things soon, but just to wrap up the comments First CoffeeSM has been getting on the GlobeTel coverage. Again, like salesforce.com’s AppExchange, I don’t vouch for any of these comments, they might be true and they might not, I’ve weeded out the obvious loons but that’s the thing about loons and liars, they’re pretty tricky. If you make any investment decisions based on what somebody said anonymously, well, I guess you probably do a lot of other stupid things too:

Incidentally, GlobeTel CEO Tim Huff has not responded to my requests for an interview, and the law firm GlobeTel claims represents them in Moscow, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, has not gotten back to me to confirm the representation one way or the other, they don’t list GlobeTel on their web site’s chronology of recent clients.

And there’s a good summary of GlobeTel’s stock on Zachary Prensky’s Upside Surprise stock-tracking blog, that’s an area First CoffeeSM doesn’t cover as such, my interest is in their $600 million Russian Wi-MAX deal, see Zach’s blog for the stock market part of things.

Oh, and happy birthday to Sharon Sims. Love you, Mom.

Kicking off:

“Good bit on GlobeTel, right on the mark.

Second Cup of Coffee for 24 February, 2006

February 24, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

A second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby?” to the delight of my colleague Michelle Pasquerello here at TMC, one of the enlightened individuals who appreciates Louis Jordan’s genius:

Amazingly, it seems the tinfoil-lined baseball hat brigade has decided to stop hassling me about my GlobeTel coverage (“Why are you criticizing this company I’ve invested in? Who are you really working for? Send me your biography.” I swear I’m not making this up), and, I don’t know, go protest global warming for interfering with their Studebaker stock or something.

As a result, I’m getting intelligent comments from people with money invested in the company, as opposed to stupid comments from morons with money invested in the company.

Some of them write a lot about what technology they claim GlobeTel has, or the great plans GlobeTel has, and while it’s interesting, I don’t have the expertise, time or inclination to verify if what these people say is true or not, my interest in GlobeTel is in their audacious $600 million Russian Wi-MAX bid, since that’s the market I cover, I’m not a stock analyst or company analyst, I report on interesting things happening with wireless.

But these folks, who in most cases do have a financial interest in the company, remember, seem to be a distinctly more literate and informed breed than the first onslaught I got when I dared criticize some pennystocker’s baby, so I offer them, unvouched for and uncorroborated, nothing herein should be construed as an offer or buy or sell securities, act before midnight tonight, batteries not included, these are trained professionals, don’t try this at home:

“As a GlobeTel shareholder. I wanted to say that I enjoyed your article today.

First Coffee for 24 February, 2006

February 24, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is - here’s a surprise, something you’ve never seen here on First CoffeeSM before, better be sitting down – Robert Earl Keen’s What I Really Mean:

Sage Software has been busy with the ol’ publicity mill here recently, trumpeting their Dublin deal a couple days ago and now announcing that Yocream International, Inc., a leading producer of frozen yogurt marketed under the Dannon Yocream Frozen Yogurt brand, has implemented Sage CRM to “automate sales processes and enable consistent information sharing for its on-premises and field sales representatives,” according to Sage officials.

Yocream also uses the Sage Accpac ERP system to manage its general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory control and order entry processes.

“Our biggest gain from Sage CRM is the ability to share customer and prospect databases with all users,” explained Brad Gaylor, information systems manager for Yocream International, Inc. “We were aiming to better manage leads and accomplish more sales growth, which is what we are seeing as a result of implementing Sage CRM.”

Yocream provides frozen yogurt and beverages for food service distributors who sell to customers at convenience stores, restaurants, schools and hospitals.

Twenty-four Yocream employees use Sage CRM, including nine sales team members who are equipped with the Sage CRM Solo client for remote synchronization. Field representatives use the system on wireless laptops, at home and during travel by synchronizing prospect and customer data to the company database whenever convenient to their schedules.

“There has been a significant increase in communication among our sales team,” Gaylor said. “Our rep in Florida, for example, knows what our rep in Michigan is doing without having to pick up the phone.”

Demand for front and back office applications continues to be strong among growth-oriented small and mid-sized businesses, said Bob Neeser, vice president of CRM sales for Sage Software.

In a related development, according to Datamonitor, Sage has “bought non-exclusive rights to certain Timeline Inc. software patents that automate the design of data marts and OLAP cubes, a move that will guard against possible patent infringement lawsuits down the road.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Datamonitor says, Sage will be provide integrated data mart capabilities within its ERP, accounting, CRM and business intelligence products which are aimed at small and medium-sized firms.

“Timeline, which is based in Irvine, California, is a curious company to say the least,” the research firm writes. “Its corporate boilerplate bills the company as a developer and marketer of patented Microsoft Windows-based financial management reporting software… however it seems the company also makes a fair living out of defending its patents in court, rather than selling software.”

In 2004 the company won $1.75 million from Canadian business intelligence firm Cognos, and has also filed successful suits against Oracle, Sagent Technology and Clarus.

Hey, why get your hands dirty working?

Second Cup of Coffee for 23 February, 2006

February 23, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is still the Louis Jordan collection Let The Good Times Roll, this might last in the changer a while, it’s always fun to make new musical discoveries like this:

Junction Networks today announced the release of enhanced hosted PBX services including Voicemail and Failover Routing. These features can be added to existing inbound SIP and IAX2 business trunking services already available and in use by – Junction claims – over 1,000 business customers.

CEO Michael Oeth said that as part of the company’s VoIP offerings, “we have expanded our offering to include hosted services such as Voicemail and Failover Routing.”

Customers can now add voicemail accounts to their existing inbound service from Junction Networks. Additionally, customers can shelter their VoIP communications from internal network failures by forwarding calls to alternate IP PBXs, traditional landlines or cell phones should there be a local network problem.

“Rather than implement their own systems, many SMBs would rather put the management of voicemail in the hands of a company that obsesses about VOIP services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” thinks Robert Wolpov, president of the company.

First Coffee for 23 February 2006

February 23, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Robert Earl Keen’s What I Really Mean, an album which is, if possible, even better than I had thought at first:

One thing that’s been missing in this whole GlobeTel deal so far is how it looks from the other side. So I decided to get an industry opinion on the Russian angle, since that’s been virgin ground in the journalistic coverage so far.

Of course I have no stake in the company at all, financial or otherwise, and I don’t cheer for companies to fail. I’d like to see these guys pull this off, it’d be a massive coup and shake the Wi-MAX industry up in a good way. If it all turns out to be hot air, that’s no good for anybody – bad for the shareholders, bad for the industry, bad for Russian investment.

First Coffee for 22 February, 2006

February 22, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Louis Jordan’s Let The Good Times Roll anthology:

Haven’t heard from the tinfoil hat brigade who think I’m on a personal mission to repossess their houses on the news that Sir Christopher Meyer, GlobeTel’s Non-Executive Chairman, has quit that job to ratchet down to “Independent Director.”

First CoffeeSM’s been interested in GlobeTel since their out-of-nowhere announcement of a $600 million Wi-MAX deal in Russia. Curiously, GlobeTel CEO Tim Huff refuses to talk to the press about it.

Refuses to talk to First CoffeeSM, anyway, or Motley Fool’s Seth Jayson; he hasn’t replied to this column’s request for an interview and told Jayson he’d talk only if Jayson personally visits Huff at GlobeTel’s home offices, a ridiculous stipulation immediately raising the question why.

It’s a shame, because GlobeTel has already missed their January deadline for getting the financing from their Russian partner completed, refuses to identify their Russian partner beyond one individual who has no background whatsoever in telecommunications, and have doubled their bet from getting $150 million of the funding to getting $300 million in place with their Russian partner by the end of February, and we’re sure GlobeTel shareholders would like to get Mr. Huff’s perspective on those developments.

The company itself has a quite, ah, colorful past, a reputation for talking big (Colombian blimps, anyone?), a history of interesting dealings with their stock and subsidiaries, and have one of the most swashbuckling bets in the Wi-MAX world on the table right now, but the tinfoil hatters think that a journalist who covers Wi-MAX anyway has questionable motives for being interested in writing about such a fascinating story.

Anyway, last Friday Sir Christopher Meyer, GlobeTel’s Non-Executive Chairman, requested a change in his status, effective March 19, 2006, to that of an Independent Director.

I can’t tell you how many GlobeTel shareholders, suffering from the usual American credibility insecurity/inferiority complex in the face of any Brit with “Sir” in front of his name, have written to me since I started covering GlobeTel to point out that if such a distinguished soul as SIR Christopher Meyer, a former ambassador (but a man with no track record in successful telecommunications), was in with GlobeTel, why, of course I was all wet to criticize the company.

Never mind that diplomats and politicians rarely make good businessmen (and businessmen rarely make good diplomats or politicians, remember Clark Clifford and BCCI, Alexander Haig’s Sky Station, etc.), how could I, an untitled American, a mere plebe, a colonist, doubt Ye Olde Brit who had actually met the Queen? Would a serf joust with Sir Launcelot?

Wonder what they’re reading in the tea leaves now that Sir Chris has decided he doesn’t want the job after all? I don’t know, I haven’t gotten too many e-mails from those who sent such snide, condescending, sniggering ones when Sir Chris was on board.

First Coffee for 21 February, 2006

February 21, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Loudon Wainwright III’s “Dead Skunk.” Ever cranked this song up and sung along, with appropriate hand motions? Gives your kids a whole new window into your personality:

Choice One Communications Inc. has announced that Easton Telecom Services L.L.C., a Cleveland-based telecommunications service provider, has signed a multi-year agreement for Choice One’s UNE-P Alternative Access service.

The agreement with Choice One gives Easton a choice of provisioning options and provides them with an alternative to the ILEC.

First Coffee for 20 February, 2006

February 20, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue:

Sokymat SA, a supplier of RFID transponders, has developed a 13.56 MHz RFID label specially designed as an anti-counterfeiting tool for printer ribbons.

Printer ribbons? Mais oui. The label attaches directly to the core of the printer ribbon, making it “impossible” to tamper with. So a printer with integrated reader module can now distinguish between an original ribbon and unauthorized counterfeits.

The company says the system is good for high-end printers used to produce bank cards or official ID documents, where the use of non-original printer ribbons can endanger the print quality.

The transponder is available both as a standard label, which comes in a material with the same printing characteristics as paper, or customized, such as a PET laminated ring label.

First Coffee for 18 January, 2006

February 18, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is… you know how they say there’s something good in everything? Picking through the wreckage and detritus of mid-80s New Wave, over in the disco slag heap, one finds ABC’s The Lexicon Of Love album, and realizes that y’know, musically the ‘80s weren’t a total loss. Close, but not total, and this from a guy who can’t stand disco, New Wave or the ‘80s:

Advanced ID Corporation, an RFID vendor, has announced that it has been collaborating with Goodyear Vehicle Systems to develop and manufacture the RFID tags embedded in the tires used in the 2006 NASCAR season.

Didn’t know they did that, did you? We’ve come a long way from North Carolina moonshiners and Junior Johnson on the NASCAR circuit, folks.

This includes the Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series races. The Daytona race on February 19 will feature the tires with the embedded RFID tag on all the cars.

Goodyear worked with Advanced ID to develop a RFID tag to meet the extremely harsh environment of NACAR racing.

First Coffee for 17 January, 2006

February 17, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is U2’s “Beautiful Day:”

Watched the Olympics last night, the exhibition event some misguided folks consider a sport, figure skating. Oh I don’t have anything against it, skating’s entertaining but any time a bunch of “judges” decide who wins instead of the competitors themselves winning and losing among themselves according to clearly-understood rules it’s not a sport. Especially when the “judging” is so obviously corrupt and biased, as the Salt Lake City Olympics proved – Marie-Rene Le Gougnet, anyone?

Fun to watch, quite athletic, skillful and difficult, but about as much of a sport as ballroom dancing, ballet or cheerleading. Now if they had three or four skaters all do their routines at the same time, and allowed body-checking, especially on pairs, with a points system that’s a sport I could get into.

First Coffee's Special Speech Edition

February 16, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news on speech recognition technology as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Beggar’s Banquet by The Rolling Stones, the 1968 kickoff album to their great five-album run culminating with 1972’s Exile On Main Street:

We’ve been rather neglectful of speech technology here at First CoffeeSM, it’s recently been brought to our attention, and for this we apologize. So here’s a special edition dedicated solely to the news in speech technologies:

SoftMed Systems, a provider of healthcare information products, has announced the release of ChartScript ASP, a hosted product for transcription, speech recognition and computer-aided medical transcription.

ChartScript ASP lets healthcare facilities and transcription providers use transcription technology without incurring the resource expense and capital investment costs of maintaining a large transcription portal and speech recognition server, company officials claim.

And the fact that it’s a hosted product means the investment costs can be shared among multiple enterprises.

The problem is that healthcare facilities – what we used to call “hospitals,” I guess – today are faced with rising transcription costs, a shrinking labor pool of transcriptionists, and increased documentation demands. There’s your hot career for the ‘00s, kids – transcriptionist. Earn the big bucks, meet girls, avoid college loans, learn to drive the big rigs in the privacy of your own home, make money while you sleep, step right up, if you act before midnight tonight (slap) whew. Thanks.

ChartScript ASP is designed to help facilities maximize transcription productivity, reduce costs and turnaround time, and improve transcription quality and accuracy with deferred speech recognition.

The product is advertised as allowing hospitals to augment their transcription services without large upfront costs and the ongoing IT support costs associated with owning technology.

First Coffee for 16 February, 2006

February 16, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Maurice Ravel’s orchestration of Modesto Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition:

Sorry there was no column yesterday, let’s just say the privatization of Turk Telecom can’t come too fast for me.

RightNow Technologies has announced that it’s decided to strengthen its focus on the public sector needs. Maybe they read the recent First CoffeeSM column on how the Department of Defense decided what the heck, let’s double this guy’s contract from $200-odd million to $400-odd million. Great kind of customer to have, government.

RightNow is already hitting the sector pretty hard, they have over 125 public-sector customers around the world already, including the Army Corps of Engineers, Canberra Connect ACT Government, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration… all the way down to the State of Colorado Department of Revenue, and Sydney Water.

Efficiencies do result. At the Environmental Protection Agency, RightNow quickly produced a 70-plus percent reduction in email volume in participating offices RightNow officials claim.

First Coffee for St. Valentine's Day, 2006

February 14, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a Tom Waits gem I’d overlooked for years, the album Alice:

Salesforce.com, an on-demand CRM vendor, is announcing that Dexterra, Inc., a vendor of mobile business software, has selected salesforce.com CRM and is using applications from salesforce.com’s AppExchange for its data management needs.

Salesforce.com officials say AppExchange “unites all of Dexterra’s on-demand applications, including CRM, Project Management, Time Tracking, Professional Services, Bug Tracking and Product Management,” with a single data model, single security model and a single user interface.

18,700 companies comprise salesforce.com’s customer base as of October 31, 2005.

Dublin-based report vendors Research & Markets have issued yet another report, this one on the global market for consumer VoIP services.

It counts total VoIP subscribers worldwide to date at 16 million, and projects the market will grow to over 55 million in 2009. “But despite an impressive 62 percent year-over-year subscriber growth rate in 2005, few consumers have ever heard of the term ‘VoIP’,” they write.

First Coffee for 13 February, 2006

February 13, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Robert Earl Keen’s Farm Fresh Onions:

Well, the big news is that Microsoft has decided it has what it takes to give Blackberry another kick when it’s down.

It’s being widely reported in the early morning media, and unfortunately this reporter doesn’t have the expense account required to stake out the Barcelona GSM conference 24/7 and wine and dine Microsoft officials for ye olde inside scoop, so let’s see what’s being said about the venture around the world:

From the good ol’ U.S.A., the nation’s News McNuggets vendor, USA Today, using an Associated Press report:

“Microsoft Corp. has won backing from major cellular networks for a new generation of phones designed to transform mobile e-mail from executive accessory to standard issue for the corporate rank-and-file.

“The partnerships, with operators including Vodafone and Cingular, to be announced Monday at a mobile industry gathering in Spain, could spell more trouble for the embattled Blackberry and other niche e-mail technologies, analysts say.”

Microsoft today announced that its Microsoft Connected Services Framework has been adopted by more than a dozen of the world’s communications companies, including Bell Canada, BT Retail and Celcom Malaysia. France Telecom is currently trialing the product.

Introduced last year about this time, Connected Services Framework is a software product that lets operators aggregate, provision and manage converged communications services for their subscribers, regardless of network or device.

So is Microsoft simply copying what others have done well, like Macintosh, etc.? Evidently they’re adding a wrinkle here and there:

“Unlike the Blackberry and its peers, phones running Microsoft’s latest Windows Mobile operating system can receive e-mails ‘pushed’ directly from servers that handle a company’s messaging –  without the need for a separate mobile server or additional license payments.”

The problem many see is that while Microsoft certainly has the technology, and now, evidently, the desire to do well in this market, there’s the issue of data security. RIM’s done pretty well in this, and Microsoft… hasn’t.

First Coffee for 10 February, 2006

February 10, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and for the music I ferreted out good CDs I haven’t heard in a while – Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy, Mary Lou Lord’s Got No Shadow, The Kinks’ Something Else, Johnny Cash’s God and U2’s Achtung Baby:

Here in Turkey the Council of State’s Board of Administrative Case Departments has “paved the way for continuation of privatization of 55 percent stake of the Turk Telekom,” according to local reports.

Haber-Is (the Turkish postal, telegram, telephone, radio and television labor union) had objected to the block sale of 55 percent stake of Turk Telekom on the grounds that their membership would suffer.

But the Board of Administrative Case Departments decided to let the privatization go ahead, sending the file to the Council of State Department (you wouldn’t believe the bureaucracy here). If they approve the move, which is expected, the file goes back to the Council of State’s Administrative Cases Board.

55 percent of Turk Telekom’s shares was sold to Oger Telecom for $6.5 billion in an auction held last July, and were transferred to Oger in recent days.

Happy birthday to the man who wrote Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak. According to a good write-up in The Writer’s Almanac, he was a published poet (who are taken much more seriously in Russia than in the West) who supported the revolutions of 1917 “until he began to witness the political persecution and censorship under the government of Stalin.”

From 1934 to 1943 censorship kept him from publishing original work, but he did publish many translations of Shakespeare, Keats, Shelley, Schiller and Goethe. He began work on Doctor Zhivago in secret when World War II ended, planning it as “an epic novel that follows the lives of over sixty characters through the first half of twentieth century Russia.”  He finished it in 1955 and smuggled it out to a publisher in Italy.

The novel came out in 1957, was immediately banned in the Soviet Union but sold seven million copies worldwide. The next year Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature but he was forced to refuse it.

First Coffee for 9 February, 2006

February 9, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music, even though I downloaded another Robert Earl Keen album last night, Farm Fresh Onions, is the Best of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Never heard of ‘em? Mid-70s band, kind of Eagles Lite, or Flying Burrito Brothers, but with more of a sense of humor:

Business Objects, a business intelligence vendor, has announced a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Firstlogic, Inc., a vendor of enterprise data products.

Building on the company’s enterprise information management strategy, Business Objects officials say the acquisition is part of an effort to improve the company’s products, to help them do a better job providing a single, consistent view of customers’ business, improve the trust and confidence in the information needed to make better decisions, and accelerate compliance initiatives.

The acquisition will be an all-cash transaction of approximately $69 million, is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2006.

Philip Russom, senior manager of research at The Data Warehousing Institute has said that data integration” inexorably reveals data quality issues, whether problems to be fixed or opportunities to be leveraged… tight interoperability between data integration and data quality (is essential).”

Firstlogic, which has been in business for over 20 years, is a privately held company with 2005 revenues in excess of $50 million.

Firstlogic and Business Objects have been technology partners since April 2004 and currently support joint customers including Harry & David Operations Corporation, National Offender Management Service (UK), and Omnium Worldwide.

First Coffee for 8 February, 2006

February 8, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and we’ll try to give the Robert Earl Keen a rest, leavening the CD changer with the likes of… The Best of The Byrds, for instance.

Stratos Global Corp., a global communications vendor and distributor of Inmarsat satellite services, has introduced its SecureComms VoIP service for secure data and voice communications.

SecureComms VoIP, designed, surprisingly enough, to work with Stratos mobile and fixed satellite products, is aimed at allowing government and military users to use IP networking and satellite communications to establish an on-demand, global secure voice and data network “with the reliability and performance of traditional terrestrial services,” Stratos company officials say.

The service features a small, mobile SecureComms Interface, based on the WHISPER Secure VoIP platform from DTECH LABS, and using SHOUT IP software from Network Equipment Technologies.

The SecureComms VoIP service supports up to four simultaneous secure calls per 64 kbps of bandwidth using Secure Telephone Unit, Secure Terminal Equipment and Future Narrowband Digital Terminal/Secure Communication Interoperability Protocol devices, as well as data over a variety of satellite platforms, including Inmarsat GAN and BGAN, and VSAT.

Over the satellite connection, callers can dial direct to any user on any network – PSTN, private line, ISDN, satellite, what have you – using the Stratos SecureComms gateway as a switch.

Scott Hoyt, Stratos’ senior vice president and chief marketing officer and a man who knows his company’s market, says “this service introduction demonstrates our commitment to meeting the evolving needs of our government and military customers in the areas of secure, global communications.”

SecureComms VoIP from Stratos is, in fact, currently available for use by U.S. government and military users.

Cygcom Inc.

First Coffee for 7 February, 2006

February 7, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is… well, I’m afraid you might get tired of this in a few days, but right now there simply isn’t any better way to start the morning than Robert Earl Keen’s What I Really Mean:

Nortel is announcing that it has achieved the industry’s first simultaneous uplink and downlink high-speed wireless calls between two mobile devices at uplink speeds four times faster than current UMTS services.

Nortel’s demonstration uses its commercial UMTS Base Transceiver Station and Aeroflex’s TM500 handset simulator to exchange VoIP, videos and files at uplink speeds of 1.4 Mbps.

This achievement illustrates, according to Nortel officials, “the potential viability of next-generation wireless technologies for high-bandwidth applications between mobile devices such as VoIP, video streaming, real-time high-definition mobile gaming and large file exchange.”

High-speed uplinks are particularly valued by media agencies transferring high-definition images and video content from locations with no broadband wireline access.

Nortel’s HSDPA technology is already being rolled out by operators to improve the downlink capacity of commercial 3G networks. Nortel’s HSUPA is expected to be available from the beginning of 2007 and it’s designed by the company to deliver a higher uplink throughput, reduced latency, and higher capacity, with a software upgrade of commercial networks.

Nortel achieved the industry’s first HSDPA mobile call in January 2005.

Nortel and LGE completed the first live test calls using a commercial handset for HSDPA in March 2005. In June 2005, Nortel became the first wireless network supplier to complete the TL9000 registration standard for Quality Management System Requirements and Measurements across its HSDPA, UMTS and GSM wireless infrastructures.

First Coffee for 6 February, 2006

February 6, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

Due to incredibly frustrating technical glitches the news as of the third or fourth coffee this morning, and the music is Steve Martin’s “King Tut:”

There you go, I told you at the beginning of the year that not only would the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl, but Antwaan Randle El would have more touchdown passes than Ben Roethlisberger and the game would have the longest interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl history.

No doubt you bet big on that advice and are today out pricing yachts. You’re welcome.

...

In a move that Verizon officials say “enables customers to experience it first-hand,” Verizon is offering a free three-month trial of the iobi call-management service.

Verizon iobi is a service designed to provide access to and control of calls, voice mail, e-mail and wireless text communications from any location. It connects multiple devices, such as a user’s PC, laptop and phone, offering: access to Caller ID and Verizon’s Home Voice Mail service (not included); routing of incoming calls to voice mail or another number in real time; pre-scheduling of call forwarding; sending of e- mail and text messages; address book and calendar management; and other features.

Iobi Home also has many of the calling features that computer-based digital calling (VoIP) offers, such as interactive call logs; contact and calendar management; selective forwarding or blocking of only certain calls; playing voice mails on the computer with no dialing or codes; and forwarding voice mail as e-mail.

The user decides where to receive calls and messages and when and how to respond to them. The content of the messages is also pretty much left up to the user.

“Iobi is such a new concept, such a major leap forward, that the only way customers can fully appreciate all of the advantages the service has to offer is to try it for themselves,” said Margo Howell, product manager for iobi Home.

Customers who order iobi Home online now can get it free for the first 90 days.

First Coffee for 4 February, 2006

February 4, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Robert Earl Keen’s great recent album, What I Really Mean:

Great to see Martina Hingis back in action. Always a classy, respectful champion, so unlike the bratty, lying about why they pulled out of tournaments to avoid playing each other Williams sisters who followed her, Hingis (named after Martina Navratilova) has just beaten Russian phenom and world #4 Maria Sharapova to make it to the final of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

Injuries forced Hingis out of the game a few years ago, otherwise she’d have a lot more Slam titles and the overrated Williamses, who “dominated” probably the thinnest women’s tennis field since some German lunatic took the superior Monica Seles out of action and left Steffie Graf unobstructed to pile up a gaudy record, a lot fewer.

The Williamses are yesterday’s news now, losing in the earlier rounds more frequently and dropping in the rankings as they care less and less about tennis and more about fashion, and today’s news is a rejuvenated class act from the past, Martina Hingis.

Okay, pick out the newsworthy hook in the following statement Wireless Association President and CEO Steve Largent made yesterday in response to the nomination of Robert M. McDowell to the Federal Communications Commission:

“Robert McDowell is in an excellent choice for a seat on the FCC. His considerable knowledge of the telecommunications industry and his firm belief in policies that promote free market competition make him an exceptional choice for this important post at this current time.

“We hope the Senate will act quickly on his nomination and look forward to working with him in the near future.”

What’s the salient point there?

First Coffee for 3 February, 2006

February 3, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is one of the better covers of an obscure Bob Dylan song, Jennifer Warnes’s “Sign On The Window:”

As I was writing to a friend earlier this morning, it’s part of my business philosophy that almost any business concept or truth can be best illustrated in a coffee shop.

So let’s look at what salesforce.com, RightNow Technologies, NetSuite and other pure on-demand CRM vendors are facing with SAP and Microsoft announcing they’re going to swagger onto the on-demand turf, kick some butt and take some names.

The situation reminds me of something I’d read in The Wall Street Journal a few years ago, at the height of the anti-Starbucks fervor. Hey, I take the retail coffee shop industry pretty seriously. As I said, it’s my personal metaphor for American business in general. You tend to keep tabs on something like that.

I can take or leave Starbucks personally, I’m not one of these yo-yos who think it’s the Antichrist, a Wal-Mart with better cappuccino, but their coffee’s not as good as it could be either.

First Coffee for 2 February, 2006

February 2, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Byrds’ “Ballad Of Easy Rider.” Hey, the ‘60s weren’t a total loss:

Today’s topic is “Gee, Why Aren’t The On-Demand CRM Vendors More Concerned About Microsoft And SAP Eating Their Lunch?”

Witness the latest gloatings ‘n’ ramblin’s from the master of the art, salesforce.com’s Dear Leader Marc Benioff. We business journalists love this guy the way sportswriters loved Charles Barkley, a walking quotable quote. When Barkley was asked if he had any regrets about throwing a bar patron who’d been hassling him through the front window of the bar, he said “Yeah, I regret we weren’t on the eighth floor.”

First off, they see it as a vindication of their business model.

“Fellow employees,” Benioff starts off, probably because “fellow workers!” was already taken. “First Siebel, then Oracle, then Microsoft.

First Coffee for 1 February, 2006

February 1, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Gustav Holst’s The Planets:

Japan’s Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. today announced the expansion of the mobile Centrex system delivered to Itoki Corporation. The system, based on Oki’s IP Convergence Server SS9100, provided to Itoki’s Tokyo headquarters since 2005, has been expanded to the Osaka area.

Both the Tokyo and Osaka headquarters also function as a showroom for the general public, where visitors can see what Itoki officials are calling the “non-territorial office,” the “next generation office environment, allowing employees to pick their own desk every day.”

I guess First CoffeeSM’s question is, why is it necessary to open up another whole avenue of conflict in the work place? Pick a new desk every day?

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