Security is Critical.... Ooops!

November 27, 2008 4:57 PM

According to data recovery firm Kroll Ontrack, human error is the number one cause of data loss.

Some of the most memorable mishaps:
1. A customer "washed away" her data after putting her USB memory stick through a washing machine cycle.
2. A scientist was fed up with his hard drive squeaking, so he drilled a hole through the casing and poured in oil. The hard drive was completely destroyed, (but he did stop the squeaking).
3. A photographer noticed that ants were living inside his external hard drive, so he sprayed it with insect repellent. The ants died, along with his data.

It's not just about technology;)

R&D Transformation On Track At Nortel

November 24, 2008 12:43 PM

You might have seen John Roese's blog, in which he, as Nortel CTO, talked to the transformation of R&D in Nortel.

Most visibly, the R&D program has shifted to what we call "20-60-20"- 20% is late-lifecycle spend, 60% is focused on growth and mature product activity, and a full 20% is directed to emerging and new technologies and markets, such as those in application software. An excellent example of the latter is the Nortel Agile Communication Environment, communications integration software.

Some are asking, whether this transformation is still on track given that John is leaving Nortel at the end of the year and given the state of the world economy.

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The moderator/consultant of a recent user/vendor roundtable I attended, asked an interesting question: "What would vendors like customers do to differently?"

On thinking about it, I think that what we want to see less feature-driven RFPs, because
1) Feature lists reflect what can be done rather than what the enterprise needs or is using.
2) Feature lists tend to be backward rather than forward looking, and get in the way of identifying new ways of achieving the same or better results.
Feature lists dictate one particular how, rather than the why or the what.

So what we want to see is more business-driven requirement documents, which
1) Identify the business, application and user needs- the why
2) Identify IT operational and technological/architectural needs - the how
3) Identify the most important business results- the what.

Thanks for asking.

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Last week, I attended a user/vendor roundtable (literally, around a boardroom table in a law office) organized by a well respected Canadian consultant. There were some dozen customers, Nortel and Microsoft, and Cisco and Avaya. It was intended to provide insights and practical advice to the attendees.

In general, I think the format was very conducive to a good and generally friendly exchange of information over a 2 hour period.

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Verizon is basing its managed Telepresence service on a partnership with Nortel. The service provides "complete setup and management of telepresence conferences, including pre-connected and configured video circuits, and the ability for users to make conference reservations online."

Makes sense to me. The service will leverage Nortel's extensive global infrastructure of Multimedia Network Operations Centers.

My guess is that Cisco didn't make the short list, because their solution is a closed system locking the customer and the service provider into Cisco, from cradle to grave.

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The Most Hyperconnected Sport

November 13, 2008 1:56 PM

Previously, I asked the question "In which sport, is human endurance pushed to the limit (athletes have died), and does Internet Hyperconnectivity trump TV?"

Thirty solo racers (including 2 women) left Sunday in an around the world race (the Vendee Globe) in their 20m/60 foot 'formula 1' racing yachts. A good portion of the 27Km trek will be in the southern ocean culminating in rounding Cape Horn, sometimes reaching speeds of as high as 40 knots (roughly 80 kph or 50 mph!). They aren't allowed to touch land, or get any assistance.

Vendee Globe.jpg

Four years ago, the #2 boat came just 5 hours past the leader, while the #3 bought limped in a day later having lost its keel.

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This was effectively the headline that greeted me in the local paper.

The sun rose this morning and the sky hasn't fallen.

So time to ponder yesterday's announcements.

Much of the press focused on the $3.4B loss announced.

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Hyperconnectivity Quiz

November 7, 2008 9:13 AM

In which sport, is human endurance pushed to the limit (athletes have died), and does Internet Hyperconnectivity trump TV?

Someday, your neighborhood politician will walk up to, and even though you've never met, will greet you by name. Someday, politicians running for office and heading into debates, may be tested for this 'banned substance'.

Researchers at the University of Washington and Sandia National Laboratories have developed the latest in heads-up displays, combining a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights! So far only tested on rabbits, but future versions may have integrated 2-way wireless, and solar cells for power.

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If you are an American, your challenge is separating facts from rhetoric. Hard as this may seem, please make your choice and vote. If you are not an American, you will be watching with great interest on the sidelines.

But in IT, there are no sidelines and there are hard facts!

Who offers 7x better resilience?

Who offers 20x better performance?

Who offers up to 50% lower TCO?

Who offers 40% lower energy consumption?

Who is tightly integrated with Microsoft's OCS? Or with IBM's Websphere or Sametime?

Who offers multi-vendor communications integration software and services?

In IT, you have a choice.


Hotel of the Future- Your Way

October 30, 2008 8:51 AM

What struck me most about the series of announcements (spanning Vancouver and Vegas to Dubai) on recent Nortel wins in the hospitality industry is how hotels are aligning their technology investments with their visions for enhanced guest experience.

For example, the Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver wants to provide easy access to personalized services - from messaging and mobility to room service and reservations - without allowing technology to intrude. For example, hotel management explicitly did not want to use color touch-screen phones, as these are viewed to impose on the peaceful, laid-back, 'no-tech' atmosphere of guest rooms.

The Palazzo Las Vegas recognizes that going green is as much about cost and technology as it is about meeting social expectations of their guests.

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Nortel ACE's Avaya SIP App Server

October 28, 2008 6:49 AM

Avaya made some noise at its recent analyst conference about its SIP App Server, an enterprise retrofit of its Ubiquity offer for carriers.

Should you be interested?

Not if you are interested in....
• Products today (Avaya is talking about 2009)
• Multi-vendor environments (Avaya is paying lip service to multi-vendor, but there's no reference to anything but Avaya)
• Integration with your SOA environment (nothing here for you since this was designed for carriers)
• Development toolkits ("will eventually open it up to ISVs and customers")

In contrast, the Nortel Agile Communication Environment (ACE) is ....
• A shipping product with announced customers like HSBC
• Multi-vendor out-of-the-box and interworking with Nortel Communications Servers, Microsoft OCS, IBM Sametime, Cisco CUCM and Tandberg video (interoperability with Avaya infrastructure is coming out soon)
• Integrated with Websphere Application Server and with Microsoft environments
• A foundation for pre-packaged applications (such as hot-desking), customized communications-enabled applications and a toolkit for enterprise, SIs and ISV application developers.

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Shell: Cash on the OCS Telephony Barrel

October 24, 2008 7:48 AM

At his VoiceCon keynote in Amsterdam earlier in the month (Amsterdam), Royal Dutch Shell's Group IT Architect Johan Krebbers positioned UC (built on OCS) as a key element of Shell's global collaboration strategy (80% of teams in Shell are global!), tightly linked with their information sharing strategy and built around a single user experience.

He also stated that OCS was Shell's voice platform of the future, stressing that even today, the OCS feature set is adequate for many employees, many of whom are mobile and comfortable with soft phones.

Traditional PBX vendors should be worried by Microsoft's entry in the PBX market.

But Nortel is not among these.

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Hyperconnectivity A Sport?

October 22, 2008 4:02 PM

The first "speedcabling" competition took place earlier this year in Los Angeles. This new geek game is based on unravelling the rat's nest of wires found beneath most computer desks, as people connect an assortment of storage, scanner, printer, camera etc etc to their PCs.


But this may be a short-lived "sport" as wireless USB, complemented by WiFi and to a lesser extent Bluetooth, emerge as solutions to everyone's below-the-desk Hyperconnectivity challenges.

Briefly Wireless USB (technically USB3.0) is a hub and spoke technology, creating a cluster of up to 127 devices. To achieve up to 480Mbps (equivalent to USB 2.0) at distances up to 3 meters, WUSB uses low power ultra-wideband (UWB) transmission over an extremely wide spectrum (technically from 3.1 to 10.5 GHz), and will coexist peacefully with other wireless technologies such as WiFi and Bluetooth.

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DynaTAC then.... iPhone Now

October 20, 2008 10:27 AM

The first U.S. commercial cell call was placed 25 years ago to the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell in Germany - using Motorola's DynaTAC 8000X portable cellular phone. It weighed in at 28 ounces, and had 60 minute battery life on a 10 hour charge.

"DynaTAC" sounds more like a coffee drop than the start of a mass market technology revolution!

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