Skype at 80

August 10, 2009 7:13 AM

I have used VoIP at work for over a decade, but I only recently downloaded Skype on my personal netbook.

The first call I received was from my 80-year old uncle in southern France. I knew he was on Skype because he had called his 94 year old sister in Canada on something she called 'Sky' though she had received the call on her land-line phone. He told me he didn't have ADSL but rather piggybacked on a friend's WiFi connection.

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Smart Phones Are More Secure... But

August 7, 2009 8:00 AM

I heard on BBC's Digital Planet podcast, that, in 2008, there were 1 million malware incidents, but only 6 on cell smart phones! Unfortunately, the podcast is no longer available and the source wasn't cited.

This was given as an example of how secure smart phones have become.

At the same time, last week, Apple fixed a well-publicized security flaw in their iphone.

What's happening?

Well, the two most common smart phone architectures (Symbian and Blackberry) use a centralized architecture, which is easier to secure. Importantly, telephony is isolated from the data side.

The world is moving towards peer networking and VoIP, so security (I suspect) is not a permanent attribute of smart phones (unfortunately).

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Twitter for Objects

August 4, 2009 1:53 PM

But you thought it was only for people.

Well now you can use Twitter to track activity at the Tower Bridge in London.

Tower Bridge.jpg

For example, you could get a message such as
"I am opening for the MV Dixie Queen, which is passing downstream."

How about a Twitter message when your garage door is opened?

Seems like a Twitter world of endless possibilities.

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Alligator cloud.jpg

Cloud computing has been around for years, originally as timesharing..

But the difference this time is the wide-open Internet and the dominance of Windows-based computing.

Concerns range from protecting data privacy to inter-company collaboration.

Most of all, don't assume quick fixes or simple prescriptions.

What years of experience has taught us is that the answer will lie in a myriad of security products and capabilities.

Don't get bitten!

RFID Passports Insecurity

July 29, 2009 8:39 AM

Quite a scary story on how easy it is to snoop in on new Passports with RFID chips.

One should ask what were governments thinking in exposing their citizenry to identity theft in this fashion?

But the cat is out the door as Passport have a 5 or 10 year life and I can't imagine a recall once a more secure solution is developed.

Anyone with such a Passport, or driver's license or whatever, should consider a shielding envelope, as came with my US-Canada Nexus card.

An annual event on Gartner's calendar is the publication of their top ten technologies.

They say: "Companies should look at these 10 opportunities and evaluate where these technologies can add value to their business services and solutions, as well as develop a process for detecting and evaluating the business value of new technologies as they enter the market."

But this year's list, for some reason, omits mobility technologies and specifically Fixed Mobile Convergence.

Fixed Mobile Convergence brings together the enterprise wired and WiFi environments with public cell networks. FMC allows enterprises to get more out of their growing mobility investments and more control over their mobility environments from cost, security and functionality perspectives, in the broader context of unified communications (UC).

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Proposing that Avaya's Aura could act as a SIP consolidator if Avaya and Nortel come together may only make sense for some larger multi-site enterprises with lots of caveats.

Sure SIP would allow simple interop, but it would introduce a third user experience (e.g. how to forward a call or set up a conference call).

Remember SIP is more like SNMP than like WiFi. It's very open ended and allows for all sorts of implementation specific details, and it generally doesn't define the user experience.

While SIP will play a role, Aura is not the savior to compete against Cisco. Product rationalization is going to be hard.

O yes, and the world has moved well beyond VoIP to UC.

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The Good and Bad of Avaya-Nortel

July 21, 2009 1:32 PM

Here's my view on the proposed sale of Nortel Enterprise to Avaya.

It's good for Avaya-Nortel's VoIP market position globally.
It's good for Avaya-Nortel's Contact Center market position with two leading portfolios and opportunities for cross opportunities.
It's good for Avaya-Nortel's application and service business, which has been a strong emphasis of both entities.
It's good for Avaya-Nortel's UC position, if they can rationalize their positioning with MSFT and IBM.

It's bad for R&D and support effectiveness since there's a lot of product overlap (five call servers just from Nortel).
It's bad for Nortel's Data business unless Silverlake (private equity owner of Avaya) brings together their Cabletron assets with Nortel's to bring back Bay Networks (or something along those lines).
It's bad for creditors- a lowly US$475m is pttance for a business that generated $2.5B in sales a short time ago.
O yes, and it's bad for Cisco.

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Twitter Radio

July 20, 2009 7:18 AM

We think of social networking and we think of Facebook, Wikis and the like.

But should Twitter be on this list.

I think not as it has seen little uptake as an interactive medium..

What Twitter has evolved into is a powerful new broadcast medium, whether used to track Hollywood celebrity reactions to Michael Jackson's death or what's really happening in Iran.

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Contrary to naysayers, the Nortel-Microsoft strategic alliance under ICA is alive and well.

This week's announcement, not only included two new customers (Movares and SQLSoft+), but also described five new offers.

#1- SIP Contact Center 7.0 + Microsoft Office Communications Server: This is a very significant development in the CC application space.
#2- Web Services: This is really part of Nortel's Communications Integration play, which includes ACE.
#3 and #4- Enterprise Lighthouse and Enterprise Mini Lighthouse: professional service offers for customers interested in deploying OCS Voice and Conferencing and Microsoft Exchange Voicemail.
#5- UC Conferencing: This is an enhancement to Nortel's current solution to work with OCS R2.

But the big news is that the Nortel-Microsoft relationship has gone from just being about integration (only the last of the five areas is a pure integartion play) and has really started to focus on the transformational software opportunities of UC.

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Global Mobile App Platforms

July 15, 2009 7:33 AM

Dave Barnes, the CIO of UPS, made the Top 50 CIO list.

There's a lesson to be learnt from UPS's Delivery Information Acquisition Device.

You know the one-- every UPS delivery person has one.

The latest version of this device was the first in the industry to use personal area (Bluetooth), local area (WiFi) and wide area (GPRS or CDMA) wireless connectivity options; and to introduce GPS to the handheld computer market.

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I recently highlighted Coke's new Freestyle dispenser.

Bob Evans made some great observations: "Coke's new ultrahigh-tech Freestyle dispensers are also new-product labs, customer-experience workshops, wireless repositories, data warehouse gateways, merchandising machines, inventory managers, and, perhaps above all else, truly transformative devices that shift more and more choice, options, and freedom from the seller to the buyer."

He also highlights the fact that Freestyle is the result of the first-ever deep collaboratiuon between Coke's research arm and its IT organization.

There are lots of IT lessons to be learnt here, not the least of which is thta IT needs to understand the business.

TiVo'ing Conference Calls

July 10, 2009 6:30 AM

An IDC study sponsored by Nortel found that 16 percent of the global information work force is already hyperconnected, and that another 36 percent are poised to join them soon.

One interesting result is that more than 1 in 3 business users would like to be able to "TiVo" their conference calls.

TiVo, if you are not familiar with it, is a subscription service, that can bring you all your favorite TV shows, ready to watch whenever you want and wherever you are. It's a Digital Video Recorder, effectively a disk-based VCR, which can connect to the Internet, to deliver movies to your PC, laptop or Netbook and video, music, photos, and more--right to your TV.

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Kim Tae Keuk, the CIO of LG Electronics gets it.

"A lot of CEOs want their CIO to be a business partner, not just a master technician. One way to do that is to become true experts at the company's business processes and then help innovate those processes"

To me, the business value of Unified Communications comes when UC is integrated into business processes leveraging vendor-agnostic integration software such as Nortel's ACE. It's all about accelerating these business processes by reducing human latency.

Kim is right when he says that CIO can mean Chief Innovation Officer... and software-centric UC can be a key enabler.

John McHugh, who runs Nortel's Enterprise Data business apparently wants to bring back Bay Networks, not just as a brand, but as a stand-alone business (stand-alone, as opposed to one part of an larger VoIP, UC or Application business).

He claims that his business is a corporate "afterthought", and has been obscured by Nortel's push into UC, though Nortel has done some creative marketing with respect to energy efficiencies of both its Data and UC portfolios.

The ultimate criteria will be decided by whether splitting Nortel Enterprise in two will bring in more money or not.

This will depend in turn on the value that any prospective buyer puts on Nortel Data business.

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