By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is The Kinks' Sleepwalker. I can't decide if this 1977 effort is an uninspired record or simply The Kinks refocusing their career as an arena rock band. Certainly Ray Davies has written better -- far better -- songs than most of those here, but three or four are gems:
EtherSpeak Communications has announced the development of a product for ShoreTel's UC system to connect to SIP trunking services "natively," EtherSpeak officials say, meaning ShoreTel customers can now get IP-enabled communications "without any additional investments, hardware or even new firewall or gateway requirements."
EtherSpeak's new product, dubbed "SureTrunk," lets ShoreTel customers connect SIP networks with traditional fixed-line PSTN directly. EtherSpeak's product has been certified through ShoreTel's Technology Partner Program and is available to ShoreTel resellers.
"We recognized the need in the market for a product that offers added flexibility through integration, yet hedges the risk of additional hardware investments," explains Neil Darling, managing partner at EtherSpeak Communications.
As a certified TPP product for ShoreTel's UC products, SureTrunking means customers can mitigate the risk associated with SIP trunking by migrating with or without an enterprise edge device such as local PSTN gateways, ISDN Basic Rate Interfaces or Primary Rate Interfaces.
EtherSpeak's SureTrunk is certified for ShoreTel's UC system, version 8.0 and is expected to fully support future software builds.
Sandra Gustavsen, senior analyst at TelecomTactics, the Telecom Intelligence Group, noted that "U.S. businesses considering a managed SIP trunking option are motivated primarily by the financial benefits of the product, so a managed product with a predictable monthly cost is appealing."
Small businesses, in particular, will appreciate "the ease of adoption -- no start up costs with the EtherSpeak product -- and the benefits that SIP trunking can bring," Gustavsen said, adding that a hosted option may prompt a smaller business to take advantage of SIP trunking since "they can do so without costly risks."
SpeechTrack.com, an online hosted call recording system, has announced improvements to its Web service during SpeechTrack's beta program.
The SpeechTrack service allows users to record, track and access telephone conversations anytime and anywhere using any phone. "If you can get a dial tone, you can use SpeechTrack," states Jim Stockert, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
The product lets the user sort through recorded files online so they can find a file easier. Users can delete files that they no longer need and keep their files better organized and up to date.
The search functionality also was built out of feedback from the SpeechTrack beta users. It allows SpeechTrack users to search on five different call information tags associated with the recordings -- Call ID, User ID, Phone Number, Date of the Statement, and the Name that the SpeechTrack user assigned to the recording.
This lets users who record several calls access and find their calls quickly and easily.
The SpeechTrack service offers hosted call recording self service. Monthly membership is $2.99 and recording is $0.10 a minute.
SpeechTrack is owned and operated by Calibrus, a vendor of customized hosted business products.
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MobileSphere has introduced slydial, described by company officials as a free voice messaging service that connects you directly to someone's mobile phone voicemail. MobileSphere officials say "it's the best way to save time, avoid an awkward conversation or relay information without interrupting your friends, family or business contacts."
Checking in with a boss, friend, "significant other" or parent has never been easier as slydial, in one of the finest statements in support of any product released this year, "provides the illusion of communication without the hassle of engaging in a time-consuming conversation."
To slydial someone, simply dial 267-SLYDIAL (267-759-3425) and follow the voice prompts.
Users can join MYslydial for free, company officials say, and become a registered user to use offered features, including "Dial By Name." Once you add someone as a slydial contact, you don't have to remember or enter their full phone number anymore -- "just dial 267-SLYDIAL and enter the first four digits of their slydial nickname to connect to their mobile voicemail."
There's also "Click 2 slydial." From your computer click on the "Click 2 slydial" icon next to your slydial contact and slydial will call your phone. Once you answer, you will be connected directly to that contact's voicemail.
Slydial is "easy to use, connects to all major U.S. wireless carriers and calls can be placed from any mobile or landline phone," the Slydialers say.
"Unlike standard text messages, which limit users to only 160 characters and do not convey emotion, leaving a slydial message allows users to control their message length and context with a personalized voice message," company officials say, pointing out that "while not everybody uses text messaging, voicemail is universal."
There are rewards to this job, and discovering products like slydial is one of them.
"Over the past few months as part of a successful test program, thousands of people have slydialed and discovered various uses for the service, such as canceling a date they never wanted to go on in the first place, confirming appointments with business contacts and avoiding a lengthy conversation with a chatty relative," the company said.
Slydial is the first application launched using MobileSphere's new patent-pending VMS 2.0 mobile voice messaging technology.
First Coffee's Product Of the Year so far. Hard to imagine anything topping this one.
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StrongMail Systems, a vendor of products for marketing and transactional e-mail, has announced that Lasso Data Systems, which sells on-demand CRM software for the real estate industry, has implemented StrongMail.
The "number one feature" of Web-based real estate software is "its ability to handle large volumes of e-mail," said Rick Talbot, vice president of client services for Lasso. "With StrongMail, we have complete control of our on-premise product, allowing us to achieve full integration with Lasso software."
Prior to StrongMail, Lasso relied on an in-house developed mass mail product that had limited reporting capabilities. Lasso's R&D team knew how many e-mails were sent, opened, and invalid, but they could not see why or how many e-mails were blocked or bounced.
With StrongMail, said Talbot, "from domain throttling to detailed reporting, we get everything we need, plus the ability to control the server in our data center, integrate with our software, and scale to meet our future needs."
Appirio, a vendor of products for the adoption of on-demand products, has announced it has secured Series B financing of $5.6 million. The funding was led by Sequoia Capital, the investment firm behind Google, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, and PayPal.
This round of financing follows a Series A investment earlier this year, which brought in $1.1 million from Salesforce.com and angel investors.
Appirio, founded in 2006, sells both products and professional services using Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service technologies from such as Google and Salesforce.com.
The company's service offerings are billed as helping users lower operational costs and improve business agility through on-demand systems. It also offers a product portfolio that "connects the clouds" between Google, Salesforce and Amazon, company officials say, letting customers "adopt and extend these on-demand products within their organization."