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March 2010

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ICMI's Call Center Survey, GoTV IPTV, Microsoft and NetSuite, MyFax and Taxes, VoIP and Mobile Workers

March 30, 2010

The International Customer Management Institute has launched its 2010 Call Center Workforce Management Practices survey to provide an analysis of call center best practices, explore the greatest challenges in forecasting and scheduling, evaluate how workforce management technology is being embraced and examine various staffing strategies such as home agents, outsourcing and staff-sharing.

A recent ICMI look at outsourcing found that selecting the proper vendor is of key importance: "Many times, outsourcing relationships bring disappointment and frustration. When I'm called in to resolve outsourcing problems, I find that most of the time, it comes down to a poor match between the company and the outsourcing vendor," wrote ICMI's Francoise Tourniaire.

This is "something that could have been prevented through a better selection process," she noted.

CoreObjects and Eagle, FoIP and FaxCore, TraceSecurity, 911 Enable, E911

March 30, 2010

CoreObjects, a new product development service provider, earns its bread bringing commercially deployable products to market from both emerging and established technology companies in a smorgasbord of verticals.

Headquartered in Los Angeles with centers in Bangalore and Pune, India, as well as offices in the United Kingdom, CoreObjects was, as you might guess, looking for a telecommunication conferencing partner.

Group communication among employees is largely restricted to e-mail and online chat as these are cost-effective channels. Telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings are doled out grudgingly, with the bean counters, arms crossed over their chests, tapping their feet and glowering at the phenomenally higher cost.

IPad Advertising, New TSA Tech, Dell Servers, DNC Compliance, Verint 360

March 30, 2010

Here's a shocking bit of news: Online advertisers are "planning new advertising methods created specifically for iPad applications."


Who woulda thunk it? Why, they already have "major companies" signed on and are "seeking to promote their goods and services to customers on Apple's forthcoming device," according to AppleInsider's Sam Oliver.


ClickZ said mobile ad platform AdMarvel "has teamed with Gannett-owned rich media ad firm PointRoll to enable expandable and highly-interactive ads on the iPad.

Google Director Pushes for Rules on Internet Fillers

March 30, 2010


Google's director for public policy has called for "rules to put pressure on governments that filter the Internet."

Charging that the practice hindered international trade, Alan Davidson, director of public policy for Google, told a joint Congressional panel that the United States "should consider withholding development aid for countries that restrict certain Web sites," according to The New York Times.

Davidson said censorship had become "more than a human rights issue," and was "hurting profit for foreign companies that rely on the Internet to reach customers."

Wanting to appear as if he wasn't just taking potshots at China, with whom Google has had a well-publicized battle recently, Davidson told the Congressional-Executive Commission on China that "the growing problem for Internet censorship is not isolated to one country or one region. No single company and no single industry can tackle Internet censorship on its own."

Read more now.

Tata and Security, Chordiant and SaaS, Lifetouch's Call Center, 20 Call Center Tips

March 30, 2010

Security has emerged as a major concern for businesses that are storing and sharing more and more sensitive information through IP communications. Recently TMC's Michael Dinan had a chance to speak with Lance Vaughn, director of managed security services sales for the Americas at Tata Communications, a global telecom player.

During a podcast interview that's available on Tata Communications' Data Voice Solutions community on TMCnet, Vaughn discussed the challenges that some telcos encounter when they enter the managed security space, and how the company adds value with its sticky offering.

FCC Broadband, VoIPSwitch Expands, Robin Hood and CRM, New York Life, Neustar

March 22, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission will deliver to Congress today the long-awaited National Broadband Plan, TMC reported last week, setting what the agency terms "an ambitious agenda for connecting all corners of the nation."


"The 10-year plan calls for connecting 100 million households to affordable 100-megabits-per-second service, affordable access to ultra-high-speed broadband of at least 1 gigabit per second at anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, and military installations and making 500 megahertz of spectrum newly available for licensed and unlicensed use," TMC's Erin Harrison wrote.


Some in the industry back the project. Global Crossing applauded the move, with company officials saying they share the FCC's goal of expanding broadband deployment.


Read more now.

No More Big Brother, Embedded Devices, PowerNet Global, XMediusFAX, InContact

March 22, 2010

Physical constraints of embedded devices typically dictate low memory availability for the system and services.


"Both static and dynamic memory consumptions impact the overall system, availability of resources to other services in the system," according to officials from D2 Technologies, a mobile unified communications provider.


However, the company's vPort technology is "rigorously optimized for such environments and it exceeds typical embedded device requirements."


Read more now.

Safe Data Exchange, Bleeding Edge Telemarketing, Temperature Monitoring, XO's SIP, TNCI

March 22, 2010

Sam Morris, product marketing manager for Attachmate Corporation has produced a good overview of the problem of exchanging data - safely - "over the Internet and across a variety of platforms including Windows, UNIX, Linux and the IBM mainframe." It's a hot area, with vendors frequently increasing their capacity limits.


This is the price one pays for being able to conduct business anytime, anywhere in the world. On the upside, as Morris says, "the traditional cubicle culture rapidly fading."


One wonders what Dilbert will use for material once that happens.

FoIP Report, Corded PBX Market, Empirix, Flexible Jobs, the Batfax.

March 22, 2010

Would it surprise you to learn that in these days of FoIP there's a vendor who still does a lot of business with analog lines, PRI and T1 digital?


It shouldn't. FoIP is growing fast, sure, but some customers aren't fully VoIP and UC capable. Plus many customers will be implementing VoIP in the near future but need to have analog now, and need a vendor who can work with them on that.

Cisco Eos and Dogwoof, Voice.com Mobile App, Cegedim Dendrite CRM, CRM White Paper

March 17, 2010

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the Grateful Dead's wonderful acoustic album Reckoning. Unplugged before Unplugged existed:
  Cisco has announced its first Cisco Eos customer outside the United States, U.K.-based Dogwoof, a film distributor in the United Kingdom specializing in social issue films and documentaries.   Some of Dogwoof's recent productions are Age of Stupid, the Academy Award-nominated documentaries Food, Inc. and Burma VJ. The company is deploying the Eos platform to "expand and empower its increasing online community, enabling conversations around the social issues raised by the films beyond the initial viewing," company officials say.   Individual Eos-powered sites will be developed for each film that Dogwoof distributes and the social issue it addresses, company officials say, adding that each of the film sites "will tie back to a centralized Dogwoof site called 'Good with Film' that will help audience members interact not only with social films and their content, but also with other people interested in the same topics."   Cisco Eos is a hosted software as a service platform described by company officials as letting media and entertainment companies "create, manage and monetize social entertainment experiences built around their portfolios of branded content."   In addition to the new relationship, Dogwoof is announcing two new sites powered by Cisco Eos: Good with Film: Dogwoof's central online community that ties together all of the social issues their films raise, and Dirty Oil, "a site built around the documentary exposing the exploitation of the tar sands deposits in Canada," Dogwoof officials say.   Dogwoof will release more than six additional sites over the next 12 months; these will include sites for films such as No Impact Man, Videocracy, H2Oil and Budrus.   ...   Voices.com is joining the mobile revolution, its officials say, with its own app to showcase its roster of over 25,000 voice over talents by making MP3 audio samples available "with the touch of a finger."   Voices.com's mobile app is "changing how audio and video producers search for, audition and hire professional voice over talent, company officials say, adding that users can find a complete listing of audio samples organized by category such as audiobooks, movie trailers, podcasts, radio, television, videogames and voicemail recordings.   "Voices.com's services are growing and converging," company officials say, "providing the underpinnings for growth in mobile Internet usage by its customers and access to its Web application via mobile devices."   Some features of the Voices.com mobile app include an optimized browsing experience with smooth screen rotation, audio samples available to play with the touch of a finger, click-to-call functionality to connect with a live Voices.com representative, integration with Google Maps to locate Voices.com's head office and quick links to mobile versions of Voices.com's Facebook and Twitter accounts.   "On the heels of Apple's success with the App Store, other device manufacturers and operating system providers, including BlackBerry and the Android platform championed by Google, will be aggressively marketing their own virtual storefronts where Voices.com will showcase its application," company officials say.   ...   Cegedim Dendrite has announced that sanofi-aventis U.S., a global healthcare company, is continuing its relationship in the U.S. and will upgrade to Cegedim Dendrite's flagship CRM product, Mobile Intelligence.   "Mobile Intelligence was designed to be flexible, and that flexibility will enable sanofi-aventis U.S.

Consona's AXIS, DirecTV's Ratings, IBM and Whitney, Metatron and MJ's HIStory

March 12, 2010

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Miles Davis's 1975 live album Agharta. Some pretty blistering fusion work - most '70s fusion didn't stand the test of time, heck most of everything doesn't stand the test of time, but Davis's genius ensures that this does:   CRM and ERP vendor Consona Corporation has announced that its AXIS product line has achieved "exceptional customer support satisfaction levels," according to company officials, adding that AXIS is Consona's ERP software designed "specifically for the unique requirements of manufacturers and distributors in the metals, wire and cable industries."   According to what Consona officials say are regularly tracked metrics, since October 2008, AXIS ERP software customers have expressed "100 percent satisfaction with their support service experience with Consona - nearly 18 consecutive months." Hard to improve all that much on100 percent.   "For the entirety of 2009, customer feedback was 100 percent positive, and has maintained this record thus far into 2010 as well," Consona officials assert, crediting their business model that places significant importance on providing an efficient, effectual support experience for customers, in which cases are resolved.   In 2009 alone, in fact, Consona handled 2100 support cases - "down from 2600 cases in 2008," company officials say - with "only four in backlog at the end of the calendar year." Throughout this period and into the present time, they say, AXIS customer support "is able to maintain an average of less than three days' backlog of support cases."   Consona officials say the backbone of their support model consists of proactive educational materials the company provides through a database of online courses, Knowledgebase articles and discussion forums in the searchable Expert network that customers can access at any time: "Consona encourages customers to take advantage of this resource, and likewise share experiences and feedback with peers to enable information sharing among the customer base and support staff."   In addition, 33 new recorded classes on the AXIS ERP solution were produced in the past two years. ... Parents are about to get a new resource: DirecTV, which is offering what company officials call "common Sense Media's age-based content reviews on its TV programming guide."   The service is designed to provide parents with what DirecTV officials describe as "detailed, age-based information and reviews so they can make the right programming choices for their families."   DirecTV and Common Sense Media have been making kid-friendly ratings information available on directv.com since early last year. Now DirecTV customers will be able to access this information on the electronic program guide via the "info" button on their remote control.   Doing so will give users access to Common Sense Media's information on the program's violence, sexual content, positive messages, topics for family discussion and more.   Saying it's "based on childhood development criteria," DirecTV officials say Common Sense Media's age-based ratings system complements traditional ratings services by providing more detailed, easy-to-understand information."   Eric Shanks, executive vice president, DirecTV Entertainment, says DirecTV "believes that finding appropriate TV choices for your kids should be simple and straightforward. Common Sense Media reviews go well beyond the current TV ratings system and actually give parents the information to make decisions about the TV choices in their home."   Not only does it give practical information about individual TV shows, he added, "but it also presents ideas of how to discuss the shows or movies with your kids."   "We applaud DirecTV for being the first to integrate our ratings into their on-screen guide," said Anne Zehren, president and COO of Common Sense Media.   Customers can continue to access ratings information on directv.com by clicking on a TV show or movie title on the directv.com programming guide and use the "Parental Ratings" tab to link directly to the Common Sense Media information.   After reviewing the ratings, parents can use DirecTV's DVR Scheduler by simply clicking on the "record to receiver" tab and scheduling the program to record on their DVR at home - only at directv.com. ... IBM has announced that Whitney National Bank, an independent business bank, is deploying IBM technologies to "integrate and speed the delivery of specialized services to its growing customer base."   IBM officials say the move is intended to provide "new levels of efficiency and intelligence to both the bank and its customers."   Whitney officials say they recognize the need to compete in today's dramatically altered financial playing field by using "smarter banking strategies to achieve new levels of risk control, efficiency and customer service."   Bank officials say using the IBM tools, they will be able to extract key intelligence to obtain a full view of a customer's transaction history -- including a comprehensive analysis of sales trends and costs -- to deliver more customized services and offerings: "Increased visibility to this account data also empowers the bank's customers to regulate their activities and expenses."   They're hoping for new operational efficiencies as well, given their recent growth: "After acquiring more than a dozen banks, Whitney faced the challenge of consolidating customer information and reducing IT applications such as those supporting checking and savings account management, online bill payment and loan processing."   In the past, if a customer requested a report of daily transactions, the information had to be pulled from a dozen different systems that could take a few days to deliver, bank officials explained, saying that has now been reduced to hours and minutes.   By deploying the IBM Banking Industry Framework, a portfolio of pre-built financial reports and dashboards, Whitney officials say they expect to be able to cut their banking applications in half, be able to retrieve customer information instantaneously, improve service levels by automating routine processes, reduce costs and eliminate redundancies across the enterprise.   Thomas "Stan" Limerick, Whitney's Senior Vice President and Director of Strategy and Architecture, Operations & Technology Division, says the bank is also migrating to IBM Power System with DB2 in its data centers in Allen, Texas and Prattville, Alabama, adding that the new Power System enables Whitney to cut disaster recovery times between its data centers from hours to seconds. ... Metatron has announced that it will release the appMovie "Michael Jackson HIStory World Tour Live" concert on iTunes, Android and Blackberry under license from Soul Legends and Darryl Payne Productions.   The concert was recorded from the third and final world concert tour by Michael Jackson as a solo artist, which grossed a total of $165 million, included a total of 82 concerts with a record-breaking attendance of 4,500,000 fans.   Metatron officials say this has never before been seen in the US: "This is the first and only High-Definition recording of Michael Jackson performing all of his hits live."   The video quality is described as "extremely high." It was shot with fifty cameras and is two and a half hours long.

HP Is #1, RFIDTags.com, CDC and SmartAction, NEAS and Proforma

March 12, 2010

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is whatever pop song is on the house system here at The Sharing Shed near Ruakaka just off State Highway 1 between Kaiwaka and Whangarei, can't quite make out what the song is:   HP is ranked No. 1 on Corporate Responsibility Magazine's (formerly known as CRO Magazine) 11th annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, climbing from fifth place in last year's rankings.   HP, which likes to call itself "the world's largest technology company," Moving from fifth place in last year's rankings, HP gained the No. 1 spot by the result of its scores in seven criteria categories: environment, climate change, human rights, philanthropy, employee relations, financial and corporate governance.   "Global citizenship is integral to the success of HP's business," said Michael Mendenhall, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, HP. "At HP we strive to harmonize our business goals with our impact on society and the world around us, working with multiple stakeholders including customers and suppliers."   Mendenhall said HP holds themselves "to high standards of transparency and accountability, and I'm proud that this award recognizes our continued commitments in this area." ... If you're looking for tags for your RFID project, it would stand to reason you would want to check out RFIDTags.com, for their information on RFID tags and now sample packs for testing.   "For any RFID project, RFID tag testing is an integral piece," company officials say, adding that a major pain point for end users is "finding, ordering and testing possible RFID tags."   RFIDTags.com has a selection of RFID tags and, hopefully, in company officials' words, "makes it painless to locate RFID tags for your project by providing multiple search options" and online sample pack order fulfillment.   "The new interface is much more user-friendly, placing the RFID tags under four groups: Vertical Market, Application, Frequency and Tag Type," says BlueBean President Gregg Maggioli. "We feel that the new upgrades will make it easier for RFID users to identify, order and receive RFID sample packs."   RFIDTags.com is part of BlueBean's suite of RFID-related Web sites.   The vendor is offering a special on RFID tag sample packs where end users and systems integrators can purchase the tags in small quantities - and get free 2-day shipping as well. All tags are in stock and ready to be shipped, company officials say.   Users can find passive RFID tags, active RFID tags, RFID labels and RFID cards for their specific applications.

New SAS Analytics, Mplayit and Android, Wi-Fi Hotspot Concerns, NextiraOne and Cisco

March 12, 2010

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Lou Reed's Live In Italy, which is an almost great album - yes it's the best band he ever had but they were a year or so past their prime, yes it's a great setlist but not the best. Almost one of the truly great live albums in rock:   As consumers interact more frequently through text messaging, calls and online channels, marketers - particularly communications service providers - are "considering the importance of this social aspect of decision making when developing strategies," SAS officials believe.   Saying "simple demographics fall short" for responding to demand for customer insight in such a situation, SAS has introduced SAS Customer Link Analytics.    SAS Customer Link Analytics includes SAS analytics, visualization, dashboards and reports, and as company officials explain, "lets decision makers use previously unknown connections between leaders, followers, and others" in social communities.   "Social network analysis lets communications service providers not only prevent customer churn, but also personalize marketing messages for greater cross-selling and up-selling opportunities," said Jon Paisner, Senior Analyst, Yankee Group.    Dr. Carlos Andre Reis Pinheiro, a customer analytics expert at the School of Computing, Dublin City University, said SAS Customer Link Analytics would be a tool for "revealing customers' influence in virtual communities inside telecom networks."    The product incorporates role-based variables into segmentation models to help marketers create more cost-effective campaigns, reduce customer attrition, and make messages more relevant, company officials say: "When marketers understand how products and ideas diffuse through social networks, they can determine how and when to target influencers, test campaigns and introduce new products and services."    Communications service providers "need to better understand how customers are using their products and making buying decisions," said Ken King, Director of SAS Telco and Media Convergence, noting that although marketers knew some customers had significant influence over others, "with SAS Customer Link Analytics, they can finally quantify that influence and leverage those insights for competitive advantage." ... As Google will try to win over prospective Android developers at next week's Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco, Mplayit's latest data from its cross-platform app store on Facebook shows that "games are four times as popular among iPhone users than among the Android user base."   BlackBerry users are twice as likely to be looking for game content than Android users, despite the device's strong business reputation.   The data shows that the iPhone is used for games 64 percent of the time, BlackBerry 33 percent and Android 17 percent. Android is used for mobile apps 83 percent of the time and BlackBerry 67 percent, whereas the iPhone is used for mobile apps 36 percent of the time.   "Android is a powerful platform of compelling APIs, but Google needs to persuade both gamers and game developers to get on board," said Michael Powers, Mplayit CEO, adding that in his opinion, "GDC will be a critical opportunity for Google to build the all-important developer momentum that will in time fan out to the ordinary consumer. "   Many industry observers see the growing consumer interest in Android devices, as well as Google's outreach to the game developer community, as evidence of an opportunity for game developers to tap into a growing market.

Privus Mobile, Pronexus and Aumtech, Sonoma Partners and Microsoft, StrongMail and SAP

March 12, 2010

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is a Hayes Carll mix on iTunes. What a maddening artist Carll is - good enough of a red dirt country artist with a wide blues-rock streak to spark high expectations, but still not fully able to meet them. We look forward to his musical development:   Since its 2008 launch, Privus Mobile has been a mobile Caller ID service provider for sales representatives, real estate agents and numerous professionals. Now the firm, in conjunction with Accudata Technologies, is launching a new corporate enterprise service to makes it easier to use Caller ID screening and caller name lookup services on company smartphones.   Privus Mobile's new enterprise service includes special volume licensing rates for businesses as well as support for IT deployments for pushing the service "without needing to purchase the service for each phone individually," company officials say.   It's being billed by Privus officials as a way to let corporate enterprise customers see the full caller details of incoming calls, from unknown numbers to callers that aren't in the contacts list, as the call comes in or on a missed call: "Customers also can input any complete phone number and receive the person's or company's name registered to the number."   Privus Mobile President Greg Smith said since many of their customers use the service at work, "we wanted to make it simple to experience better call management.

Zebbo.com, Elite Customer Winners, Hughes and IPhone, Spark Radio, VA Call Center, Weekend Work?

March 1, 2010

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Gustav Holst's The Planets suite. Yeah it was kind of a cheesy gimmick, but the music's nicely complex and satisfying:   Zebbo.com has announced the launch of its new payment product introducing carrier billing using mobile platforms.   The app can be used to pay for downloads of applications, digital content and services purchased on mobile smart-phones, company officials say, adding that with it, "the self-funded startup provides a way for mobile developers to monetize their applications."   Malik Yacoubi, CEO of Zebbo.com, says the Zebbo team noticed the lack of a straightforward mobile payment method in the market," so decided to create one: "Zebbo now offers an easy, fast and convenient check-out to pay for your mobile apps and other services purchased on a mobile phone. The purchase simply gets billed on the users' carrier bill."   Company officials claim developers get a higher conversion for paid app downloads by offering consumers a simple process: "Zebbo offers direct carrier billing that replaces complicated multi-step third party billing that can deter users from purchasing apps.   Zebbo works on all smart-phones and services the three major mobile platforms iPhone, Blackberry and Android. Zebbo is also integrating with Amazon Payments and more traditional payment methods like, credit and prepaid cards which will be available shortly, company officials say, adding that "integration of a virtual currency platform is expected soon."   Currently Zebbo covers the USA, Canada and 21 European countries. ... Customer Relationship Metrics has announced its Elite Customer Experience Award Winners for 2010, noting those who "have made a proven commitment to customer-centricity and consistently delivered elite performance throughout the year," CRM officials say.   The winning organizations were measured on "outstanding customer service" in several categories including Utility Provider of the Year, Product Support Provider of the Year, Agent of the Year, Team of the Year, Outsourced Center of the Year, In-house Contact Center of the Year and the Elite Customer Experience Award.   Jodie Monger, CEO of CRM, announced the 2010 award winners and honorable mentions:   ·         Elite Customer Experience Award - Otter Tail Power Company; Honorable Mention - Portland General Electric. ·         Utility Provider of the Year - Otter Tail Power Company; Honorable Mention - Portland General Electric. ·         Product Support Provider of the Year - HP Home and Home Office Store; Honorable Mention - Black & Decker. ·         Agent of the Year - Joyce Sanders, Cincinnati Children's Hospital; Honorable Mention - Tracey Forbin of Cincinnati Children's Hospital. ·         Team of the Year - Mindy McDulin Team, Cincinnati Children's Hospital; Honorable Mention - Otter Tail Power Company- Team Name: Damian Reiter. ·         Outsourced Center of the Year - Michelin North America; Honorable Mention - Affiliated Computer Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Family Access Medical Insurance Security Plan. ·         In-house Contact Center of the Year - Michelin North America; Honorable Mention - Otter Tail Power Company.   Kind of makes you wish you got your power from Otter Tail, doesn't it?
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