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April 2010

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Call Recording Legality, Predictive Dialing, SugarCRM, Online CRM, Paul Greenberg

April 30, 2010

There's been an interesting case in Italy that might give some perspective to the issue of call recording in America.

According to legal resource Lexology, Italy's Minister of Labour recently said that "as long as certain conditions are observed," the recording of phone conversations between call center employees and customers "does not constitute a form of remote monitoring" as prohibited under law.

Confindustria, Italy's main trade association for manufacturing and services companies, wanted to monitor the quality of customer service being provided, and said the monitoring would be "carried out on a sample of calls and under several important privacy protection conditions," Lexology said, such as encrypting the voices of the call centre employees and customers during recording in order to conceal their identities.

Italy's Minister of Labour decided that yes, telephone conversations in the workplace can be recorded, Lexology says, "provided that the privacy of the employees in question is protected."

Gawker Media, WIN 211, Alcatel-Lucent, VoltDelta, 9900 Wireless Network Guardian

April 30, 2010

Gawker Media is a blog-publishing company located in New York City which found it had difficulty analyzing complex and multi-dimensional advertising contracts in aggregate.

Part of the issue was poor visibility into certain types of financial information, leading to inefficient billing processes and reduced spending controls. A lack of consolidated information slowed decision-making processes, making it impossible to produce on-time, accurate reports, company officials say.

The majority of Gawker Media's income is derived from advertising, but until this year the company had fairly limited knowledge about its advertisers.

Kabira Technologies, Taoglas Limited, Customer Self-Service, Panduit Interview, Call Center Balance

April 30, 2010

At the recently-concluded CTIA 2010 show in Las Vegas, TMC's Carl Ford had a chance to talk with Manish Gupta, vice president of marketing from Kabira Technologies.

Noting that "kabira" means "large," Ford invited Gupta to talk about "the large things" the company does.

Kabira has been around for 13 years, Gupta said, and "we only focus on things that require scale," whether that be in financial services or telecommunications.

And when he says large the man means large - "Today we serve over 700 million subscribers around the world," customers of their providers.

NEI Q2 Call, LTE Market Forecast, Call Center Hiring, SugarCRM, CallFire API

April 30, 2010

NEI, a provider of appliances and services for software developers and OEMs, will announce financial results for its fiscal second quarter, the period ended March 31, 2010, on Thursday, April 29, 2010, prior to the market open.

Following the release, Canton, Mass.-based NEI management will conduct a conference call at 10 a.m. ET to discuss the company's operating performance. Company officials say management also anticipates providing the financial outlook for its quarter ending June 30, 2010.

Wireless Networks, Global UC Market, Mobile VoIP Market, Cybercrime, Polycom Soundstation

April 30, 2010

Wireless networks are too congested to handle even simple voice traffic, let alone any fancy applications that require loads of bandwidth, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As a result, companies spending enormous amounts of money on new equipment to update their networks.

And not just in America. In Macau, where mobile is growing furiously, local telecom operator CTM plans to invest in the construction of 4G mobile phone network and home fiber-optic broadband network, according to the Macau Daily Times, your go-to source for all things Macau.

DIDXchange's FonicaPBX, VoIP Billing, Monet Software, Bradon Technologies, IP Phone Traction

April 26, 2010

DIDXchange has announced a new member to its wholesale DID phone number ecosystem, FonicaPBX, according to company officials.

They provide a VIP Video Phone unlimited video calling plan with unlimited nationwide calling, video to video calls, and international rates: "In addition, IP PBX includes voicemail plus, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, area code selection, call hunting, and other SMB-necessary telecommunications features," company officials say.

"Hosted IP vendors like FonicaPBX are jumping to fill the gap for businesses at a crucial time in telecommunications history," said Rob Adler, vice president of Client Strategy at Vantage Communications recently during the International CTIA 2010 conference.

FonicaPBX speaks both Spanish and English, and they have a 24/7 sales and customer service site.

High Tech Investigated, Air Force Cyberwar, Eye-Fi Card, Nintendo Wins, Inbound CNAM

April 26, 2010

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the government is "stepping up its investigation into hiring practices at some of America's biggest companies," such as Google, Intel, IBM and Apple.

 Evidently the government's worried that such companies may have agreed not to recruit each others' employees, which the Justice Department sees as a possible violation of antitrust law. It might be "costing skilled computer engineers and other workers opportunities to change jobs for higher pay or better benefits."

Henry Blodget notes that "the government's theory is that the collusion keeps salaries artificially low and that this is as serious a problem as price-fixing," while explaining that "the companies, meanwhile, say they can't very well raid each other's staffs constantly if they ever want to maintain strong business partnerships."

Loquendo, TradeCard and NetSuite, Countrypet Naturals, Office 2010, Google in Italy

April 26, 2010

In the last decade, the speech technology market has evolved radically, owing to mergers and acquisitions that have led to a consolidation of the sector and resulted in just a few dominant players.

Loquendo, created in 2001 from the technological core of Telecom Italia, put out a white paper explaining the basics of speech technology. Here is a basic overview of a few of the major points the paper covers:

Interacting with machines that listen, understand and react to human stimuli has been for many years the holy grail of scientists across disciplines.

VoIP B2B Sales, Collaboration Study, ClueCon Chicago, UC Call Centers, Parlance

April 21, 2010

Interesting recent blog entry posted on www.phone.com, pointing out that since 2006, VoIP service providers have seen a steady increase in customer recognition and have enjoyed tremendous success in B2B sales.

"They have, however, also seen a great deal of startup companies pop up in the wake of their success," as is to be expected. This trend - "at least the growth of the industry and the customer recognition portions," as the blogger notes, is "sure to continue as collaboration with other communication giants leads to mass media attention, mobility capabilities, and the brand names of players in the VoIP industry making their way to large platforms, such as Facebook."

Ah yes.

Twitter Archived, Results Group, UniVoIP Profiled, Infonetics Report, Telepresence Studied

April 21, 2010

Florida-based Results Group, an outsourced contact center services provider in business for over 20 years, operates client dedicated centers in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean with a staff of over 4,000 agents.

But following a rapid growth in business, they expanded their operation by opening 23 new contact centers across North America and Europe. Even for an organization used to large numbers, that was a lot.

So to meet the new demand for client contacts, they needed a scalable call recording and quality monitoring product.

Romanian Phone Scam, Alcatel-Lucent, Spiceworks Survey, IVR Report, SugarCRM

April 21, 2010

A recent Spiceworks survey found that while companies want to upgrade their software and move to the cloud, they also want to "reduce their dependence on hosted services," and are "ignoring devices such as netbooks and Apple's iPad," according to industry observer Nathan Eddy.

So, the majority want to move to the cloud, but reduce their intake of hosted services. Okay... um, that'll work, sure.

Opera on Apple, UC Advances, Cavium Networks, NetNet Group, IPad and Soccer

April 21, 2010

The world unified communications markets are poised for a huge leap forward as "technologies mature and businesses acknowledge the value of integrating disparate communications and collaboration technologies," according to a recent study.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, "World Unified Communications Markets," finds that the installed base of fully-integrated UC users in 2009 was about 2 million, and is likely to reach 50 million by 2015.

As a nascent and largely untested technology, "UC suffered severely from the global recession, which forced businesses to limit investments to those generating immediate ROI," the study found.

Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst, Unified Communications and Collaboration, Melanie Turek, said UC "offers the potential to drive growth in related markets and encourages companies to upgrade their equipment sooner than they might otherwise."

RadiSys Results, Contactual Demo, Tone Software, Epix and Showtime, Connected Development

April 21, 2010

Take that, Showtime.

Movie channel Epix hits the news, signing a carriage agreement with Dish Network that will "give Epix nationwide U.S. distribution for the first time, marking a breakthrough in its efforts to reach more viewers."

According to Business Week, Dish is the second- largest U.S.

STOBA, Xbox 360, Mobile DTV, Infonetics Research, E911

April 12, 2010

A laptop computer battery maker and a couple dozen other battery manufacturers in Taiwan will start developing products using a new safety material intended to keep lithium-ion cells from overheating when damaged.

IDG News Service is reporting that The Industrial Technology Research Institute "has developed the polymer STOBA (self-terminated oligomers with hyper-branched architecture) after a high-profile laptop battery recall in 2006 in which 9.6 million Sony batteries were recalled due to an overheating hazard that had caused some laptops to catch fire."

STOBA keeps damaged batteries from overheating, "thereby avoiding meltdowns or fires," IDG says.

Read more here. ...

Here's industry observer Matt Peckham's strategy: "Figure out how to live at or under 32GB with a pair of cheap 16GB memory sticks.

Redbox, Sagemcom, VoIP Termination, ABI Research, iPad

April 12, 2010

Communication isn't just making or receiving phone calls anymore, there's a whole lot more to it than that.

And the way you even make phone calls is changing: VoIP is the new mode of connecting people globally. This is the reason why VoIP termination services, have begun to be more recognized.

With an important new service there are a multitude of VoIP termination providers, offering services like VoIP call service, wholesale carrier services, VoIP reseller programs and business plans.

Wi-Lan Lawsuit, The Conference Group, Intel, Facebook, IPad

April 12, 2010

Recently TMC's Alice Straight had a chance to interview Greg Plum, director of business development for The Conference Group. Among other topics, Plum discussed Conference Group's upcoming showing at InfoComm.

"What will the Conference Group be showcasing at InfoComm 2010?" Straight asked Plum. "This is the Conference Group's first time exhibiting at InfoComm. We are excited to showcase all of our conferencing platforms, including audio, web and video," he answered.

Plum went on to say that all of The Conference Group's (News - Alert) services are available as software as a service offerings, "enabling our clients to access our services with no capital expense and with fast and efficient implementation."

ENUM Registry, Google's Cloud, Exalead, Oracle, Stream Global in Egypt

April 12, 2010

Industry observer Doug Henschen recently sat down for an interview with Kurt DelBene, senior vice president of Microsoft's Office Business Productivity Group, who summed up Google's cloud telephony-based approach to desktop productivity and collaboration as "confusing."

DelBene described Microsoft's strategy to Henschen as "focused and consistent, offering 'full-fidelity viewing' across on-premise, Internet-based and mobile platforms."

As Henschen said, it's natural to hear Microsofties playing up their advantages, like "Office's ubiquity and Redmond's offering of both PC and cloud-based apps," but he was a bit taken aback when DelBene kept insisting on "Microsoft's ability to compete and win in pure cloud deployments as well, with its Online Services and Office Web Applications."

Read more here. ...

IDG News Service reported that French search specialist Exalead thinks it's cracked one of the big challenges of search, making video searchable, and has landed a high-profile customer to prove it: the Web site of France's President.

CFN Services, Citrix Online, Coordinated Systems and Avaya, AvePoint, Langham Logistics

April 12, 2010

Citrix Online has reached Australia, where they have "launched a local version of its Web conferencing service," according to industry observer Beverley Head, who described it as "aimed at individuals and small business owners."

It's offering access to unlimited Web conferences for up to 15 people for $65 a month. Pretty much in the SMB - self-employed sweet spot.

Yes, Citrix web conferencing has been available locally Down Under, Head says, "but only via the U.S.

VoIPSwitch's Call Shop, NextGen Labs, ComputerTel, InContact, SMB VoIP

April 8, 2010

NextGen Innovation Labs, a spinoff of United Commtel, has announced Mobi-Xperience QoS, described by company officials as a suite to "give mobile operators as well as handset and network equipment OEMs insights into the customer experience." The product, company officials say, "addresses one of mobile operators'  top priorities: ensuring the user experience across voice, data and media-rich services to attract and retain consumer and enterprise customers." The suite focuses on four primary areas of customer experience information: consumer-centric network optimization to address network capacity, reliability and coverage; radio network benchmarking for service quality assurance; consumer surveying and analytics for real-time quality of service data and customer care to offer problem resolution for premium-billing customers. Read more here. ... ComputerTel, providers of IP call recording and quality monitoring software, have announced a partnership with mobile call recording specialists Obsidian Wireless. This new partnership is intended to create an integrated "in box" mobile voice recording product, ComputerTel officials say: "Unlike other call recording products, ComputerTel's call recording system shares a core hardware platform with Obsidian's technology, which means that the Obsidian Mobile Interface Gateway simply plugs straight into the ComputerTel server, without the need for a separate interface." Chief Operating Officer of Obsidian Wireless, Dave Brown, said the companies' two technologies are compatible and "form an integrated, combined product. But ComputerTel are not only a technology partner for us, they will also be acting as sales partner, to take Mobile Compliance Suite into new and existing client opportunities within their specialist fields." Read more here. ... David Facer, senior product manager at inContact, a cloud-based vendor of contact center products, has offered a few tips for avoiding some of the most common problems, screwups and snafus associated with implementing IVR. He's all for IVR: "Not only can you improve the quality of your customer interactions but also lower overhead by reducing the number of calls received by your agents as well as reducing agent burnout that often occurs when handling menial calls." Create an IVR road map that prioritizes your targets, he advises: "typically whatever is causing your contact center the most pain, or the simplest project that will produce results -- and proceed one step at a time." Read more here. ... If you're a small business, odds are good that you want to be able to communicate and collaborate efficiently, and would like to find less expensive but more reliable ways of doing so. And for businesses with multiple office locations and consumer bases spanning the globe, well, it just gets more intense - as steady access to tools and reliable communications mediums is pretty much an essential element for survival. In both cases, companies would do well to look into VoIP. Read more here. ... The CallShop module offered by VoipSwitch is a server side callshop listener integrated in the VoipSwitch main application that uses a Web flash interface, and displays call status in real-time. According to company officials, it's intended for callshops or, "facilities where a customer can step in and make international phone calls." In addition, company officials noted that the phones are usually installed in cabins, or booths and after making a call or many calls, the customer comes to the cash desk where receives a bill for made connections. With their offering, VoipSwitch officials say, regular phones are replaced by VoIP clients "which can be, for example, multiple lines FXS gateways, SIP/h323 IP phones - adapters - or even softphones installed on personal computers, such as in Internet cafes." Read more here.

Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T and SMBs, FoIP, FCC and Testing, High-Leverage Network

April 8, 2010

We all know about the rise of smartphones. But SMBs are increasingly relying on wireless technology, and major carriers are taking notice. AT&T recently conducted a study, which revealed small businesses are, in fact, "increasingly dependent on wireless technology." The study's authors found that wireless technologies are "increasingly being seen as crucial for the survival of today's growing businesses." Nearly two-thirds of businesses -- 65 percent -- said it would be "a major challenge" to survive, if they could survive at all, without wireless technology. Study officials concluded that there's a "rapid increase" in the perceived importance of wireless technology, since in a similar AT&T study from 2007, only 42 percent of businesses said it would be difficult to survive without it. Read more here. ... Testing wireless networks is expected to become more important under the FCC's recently announced National Broadband Plan, which is expected to boost national access speeds to 100 Mbps, and release 500 MHz of additional spectrum for wireless broadband. As you might expect, of course, mobile VoIP providers, carriers and mobile device makers are grinning and drywashing their hands in anticipation. Also keeping an eye on proceedings are those who oversee wireless networks testing. Major carriers are taking testing much more seriously. Verizon Wireless has employed real-life test men and women to test the company's network, and over the past ten years has "more than tripled" the size of that fleet, company officials said, currently fielding over 100 test vehicles. Read more here. ... Fax - due in part to fax server and FoIP-based technologies - is certainly not dead, as some have wrongly said. It continues to be an important and cost-effective means for business-to-business and business-to-customer communications. In fact, more than 90 percent of U.S.

iPad, iPad Battery, IGN Entertainment, EndStream Communications, Hall Automotive

April 8, 2010

No we don't have an iPad, they don't hit New Zealand for a few weeks yet. But some of you do. And those of us whose iron-clad policy is to never buy any first-generation Apple anything would like to thank all you bleeding-edge first adopters, without whom the wonderfully bug-free Apple products we buy wouldn't be possible. Ben Patterson is just such a guy, willing to deal with first-generation Apple technology so we don't have to. His report from the front lines? It's fast.

FAA and IBM, Voxeo's Prophecy, iPad for Business, SaaS vs. Hosted Call Centers, Bank of the West

April 8, 2010

The Federal Aviation Administration has begun a research and development pilot aimed at helping the agency detect and react to hackers before they have a chance to attack FAA systems, IBM and the FAA announced Tuesday. The pilot makes use of recently released IBM software called InfoSphere Streams, which was developed in conjunction with the Department of Defense and can perform realtime analytics on heavy throughput data streams of up to millions of events or messages per second. FAA security analysts are swamped on a daily basis with a massive volume of security information coming from the FAA's firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and wireless detection systems as well as data feeds from other agencies and commercial security services such as Verisign's iDefense. Read more here. ... Voxeo's Prophecy, described by company officials as a standards-based platform for speech, IVR, and SIP VoIP applications, is a telephony application platform software offering "enterprise-class features with retail like simplicity." Also, since its an openly available, single download product with no configuration required - just one download includes speech recognition, speech synthesis, and the company's designer visual development tool. The product includes functionality needed to create and deploy IVR or VoIP applications, including full VoiceXML and CCXML browsers with high-quality speech recognition and synthesis engines, a built-in SIP soft-phone, and support for hundreds of SIP providers and devices. Read more here. ... Since its formation in California in 1874, Bank of the West has - in what is undoubtedly one of the truer sentences written - "seen its business undergo many dramatic changes." Initially, the bank was formed to support farmers in Northern California and today is the third largest commercial bank headquartered in the West. The bank has grown aggressively through 15 acquisitions in a two-decade period, bank officials say, noting that it now has $55.6 billion in assets, more than 700 branch banking locations and commercial offices, and nearly 10,000 employees. But the bank had issues with standardizing its business processes. Especially given its numerous acquisitions, "consistency throughout the footprint is the key to improving operations, enhancing customer service, creating greater operating efficiency, and increasing sales," they believe. Read more here. ... A recent white paper from Contactual looks at call centers and "examines the differences between on-premises call centers and hosted alternatives." Tipping its hand a bit, the paper's introduction says it "looks at the reasons why on-premises call centers are becoming obsolete." Noting that enterprises have traditionally invested millions of dollars into building and maintaining best-in class call centers, the paper says "for decades, this strategy made sense." However, "in today's environment of rapid technological change and economic volatility, an on-premises call center is no longer an asset; in most cases, it is a clear disadvantage." Highlighting three of the major problems with on-premises call centers, the paper notes that, for one, it requires significant capital expenditure. "Purchasing the hardware and software required to set up a new call center runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars," it finds, adding that given the tremendous complexity and cost, the technology often becomes outdated soon after it is up and running. Read more here. ... Of course the question on everyone's mind is, "Can I convince my wife that I need an iPad because it'll take the place of my laptop?" Tony Bradley, author of Unified Connections for Dummies, doesn't have that problem, as a tech writer he can justify getting an endless stream of cool tech toys as "work," much the same way a sportswriter can watch a baseball game while over at the in-laws' and call it "work." Still, Bradley set out to find the answer - is the iPad your all-in-one biz tool? Read more here.

Asahi Kasei, Alcatel-Lucent, Skype for IPhone, Avtech, Network Operators

April 8, 2010

The good news in the VoIP software world: Skype for the iPhone has been updated. The bad news: Still no 3G calling. According to GadgetVenue, the latest version of Skype for the iPhone has been released- "the new version is numbered 1.3.1 and does not add 3G calling to the VoIP software." Industry observer Roland Hutchinson even goes so far as to report that Skype doesn't have any announcement for when it might add 3G, as promised. We're a bit confused here. We remember, as GadgetVenue says, that Skype said it would open up for 3G calling back in February, so we just naturally assumed that this 1.3.1 update would be where that happened. Read more here. ... A recent white paper from Alcatel-Lucent titled "The Enterprise Network Partner - Management & Transformation," notes that enterprises are increasingly outsourcing voice and data network management and transformation to equipment vendors, systems integrators, and managed service providers. This is good: "A knowledgeable global communications solution provider can offer the managed services needed to efficiently and cost effectively administer the enterprise network from end to end." Yet if you want to transform a data network to accelerate traffic to centralized data centers, or a legacy voice network into a converged and unified communications network, you need "new technologies, tight integration, solid security, and far more efficient use of internal and external transport networks," the white paper says. Read more here. ... If you're a network operators or service network service, we don't need to tell you that to stay competitive, you need to offer more than a wide range of activities. If you're like most providers you're always looking for new ways to generate additional revenue without adding corresponding costs that erode margins. Today, those challenges have intensified as a result of a rapid rise in consumer demand for broadband, according to a recent white paper from Alcatel-Lucent titled "Teleconomics: Doing More with Less: The Key to Sustainable Business Models for Telecommunications." The paper finds that consumers' endless hunger for multimedia services has consumers, enterprises and governments' consumption of video and multimedia content booming.
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