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Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space

Published: 2018-01-19T19:14:48-05:00


Walmart is Not Messing Around as it Ramps Meal Kits

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:14:48 -05002018-01-19T19:14:48-05:00

Amazon and Google are two of the companies that strike fear into the hearts of startups and their investors. You come up with a new idea and hope these guys don’t come into your market and decimate you before you gain traction. These two companies make so much money in their core businesses, they can afford to effectively “dump” their new products on the market and put others out of business. It’s why it’s a touch ironic that the company that was considered the bricks and mortar monopoly crushing small business is the new counterbalance to Amazon and Google. With the acquisition of Jet, Walmart showed how serious they are about the online business. As we’ve had to explain to our well-off friends, Walmart bought Jet because their wives won’t shop at Perhaps though, the image of this major retailer once tied to low-income consumers might be about to change. At least online. You see Walmart has released meal kits, farm crates and specialty boxes and from the looks of it, they are premium products at reasonable prices. Meal kits include Argentinian Empanadas & Sofrito Meal kit dinner for two at $35. There is also a Jerky/Superfoods box for $29.99. Bottom line: Startups will still have it rough because they now have to worry about Walmart, Google and Amazon but as Walmart becomes more digitally savvy, they could exert pressure on the core business of Amazon and Google – forcing them to focus more on business retention than expansion. We’ll see how it plays out but as usual, predicting who will disrupt who is as challenging as ever. Finally, Google and Amazon are huge targets as they have market power commensurate with monopoly players. Walmart may be the savior they need to protect themselves from government lawsuits or breakups. We’ll see how it plays out. Tags: amazon, competition, doj, ftc, google, monopoly, startups, walmart Related tags: amazon google, google amazon, walmart, google, business, amazon Follow me: Facebook Profile Google+ Profile Twitter Profile Related Entries Elizabeth Warren says Apple, Amazon and Google are Acting like Monopolies - Jun 30, 2016 The Worst News Day so far for Google and Apple - Jan 20, 2012 Microsoft Uses Courts and Other Companies to Fight Google - Mar 01, 2010 Why AT&T Should be Encouraged to Purchase Time Warner - Oct 27, 2016 How Google Defends Its Monopoly Against the Trump DoJ - May 19, 2016 How Tech is Disrupting China and India - Jul 14, 2015 Walmart To Go is Webvan 2.0 - Oct 09, 2012 Attention Social, App and Search users, YOU are the Product - May 30, 2012 How Skype and Facebook Work Together - Jul 07, 2011 Microsoft, Google and EU Antitrust - Is Facebook Next? - Apr 01, 2011 TrackBacks | Comments | Tag with | Communications and Technology Blog - Home | Permalink: Walmart is Not Messing Around as it Ramps Meal Kits Copyright Communications and Technology Blog - [...]

New Yeastar UCaaS; Are 8x8 and RingCentral in Trouble?

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:19:29 -05002018-01-19T18:19:29-05:00

Yeastar, a Chinese UC, gateway and phone player just announced its Yeastar Cloud PBX will be unveiled at ITEXPO next month in Florida. “We are excited to be back at ITEXPO East again this year,” said Alan Shen, CEO of Yeastar, “We deem ITEXPO a great platform to launch our brand new offering, Yeastar Cloud PBX, to the world. Having been field-tested in the beta program, this profitable multi-instance hosted business voice solution could be a perfect fit for most of the ITEXPO attendees.” When we learned the news, the first thing that came to mind was a similar competitive situation last decade. Asian players Huawei and ZTE were competing hard against Nortel in the carrier equipment space. Nortel was outcompeted and went bankrupt. The courts sold their enterprise voice business to Avaya who also went bankrupt. Asian cloud vendors aren’t very popular in the U.S. so it isn’t a given that Yeastar will take a great deal of marketshare in North America. But Yeastar is also well-known internationally. They have websites in five languages. Their distribution is greater than a lot of the domestic United States companies they compete with. The only possible response to this new competitive threat will be for existing cloud players to go upmarket and add features and potentially cost. This is how Nortel competed with Asian competitors. It didn’t work too well for them as we know. The UCaaS market is however a different animal because selling to companies takes a lot more resources than selling to carriers because there are so many more customers. The inertia in a company is tough to overcome and switching your UCaaS provider can be painful. New customers however will potentially consider going to an Asian company instead of one from the U.S. It comes down to how commoditized the market is. There is something Yeastar may need to overcome. The name of the service, Yeastar Cloud PBX uses the term PBX which many in the industry have been going away from (at least in the U.S.). It’s surprising to hear it used for a new product, even if it is preceded by “cloud.” Moreover, software is harder for non-U.S. companies to do well. We’ll see how their offering looks. Finally, from a feature perspective they don’t seem to have left much out. Take a look.   Business Features    AutoCLIP  Dial by Name  Blacklist/Whitelist  Do Not Disturb (DND)  Custom Prompt  Emergency Number  DISA  Fax to Email  Distinctive Ringtone  Feature Code  DNIS  Queue  Music on Hold  Ring Group  One Touch Recording  SIP Forking  Paging/Intercom  SLA  PIN List  Speed Dial YMP Features  Time Condition  Alarm Notifications  Video Calls  Branded Company Name and Logo  Voicemail  Create/Delete PBX instance  Voice to email  Dashboard  Web access to voicemail  Multi-level User Access Management  Schedule Backup  Backup and Restore  Upgrade  Event Center Call Features  Image Upgrade  Attended Transfer  Import/Export Extensions  Automated Attendant (IVR)  Multi-language System Prompt  Blind Transfer  Multi-language Web GUI  Call Back  Multi-level User Access  Call Detail Records (CDR)  Phone Provisioning  Call Forwarding  Schedule Backup  Call Monitor  Troubleshooting  Call Parking  User Portal  Call Permission YMP Security  Call Pickup  Blacklist  Call Routing  Fail2ban  Call Transfer  Dynamic Defense  Caller ID  Limited Country Access  Conference  Static Defense So domestic cloud players may be safe for now but whenever new competitors come into a market and [...]

As Enterprise Tech Buying Habits Change, Are You Ready?

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:09:40 -05002018-01-17T17:09:40-05:00

Thomas Saueressig, SAP SE’s 32-year-old chief information officer, looks for commitment when evaluating vendor pitches. Technology firms that get his attention are those “with which I feel confident I can build a long-term strategic partnership,” Mr. Saueressig, one of the corporate world’s youngest CIOs, told CIO Journal's Angus Loten in an email. That kind of brand loyalty is far less important to older IT buyers, according to new research by Spiceworks Inc., a networking platform for IT professionals, which identified key generational differences in how enterprise IT buyers find and engage with technology vendors. At the end of 2016, the number of millennials in the U.S. workforce overtook Generation X workers, by a margin of 58.1 million to 52.9 million, according to Pew Research Center. At the executive level, CIOs make up the youngest group in the C-suite, with an average age of 51, a Korn Ferry study reported last year.  Writes Steve Rosenbush of the Wall Street Journal. Here is the important question worth asking. If there is a sea change coming in the way tech is purchased, is the industry ready?What should tech companies do?First off, they should focus on selling strategically and collaboratively. Rework MSP, channel and internal sales training. Ensure the people who sell solutions are selling via relationships.Selling on price may become a less successful strategy. More importantly, companies may become more loyal to their current vendors meaning market share gains could be very difficult to achieve. Put it this way - if your prospects are more loyal to their current vendors than ever, even when you come out with new innovations and price them lower, you may not get your prospects to switch. They might wait longer than ever for their current vendors to improve.This could make it tougher than ever for startups trying to disrupt markets.If this report is accurate and more research needs to be done to confirm this is the case, it could be the biggest transformation in technology marketing and buying we have every seen. Even bigger than the internet which made price discovery and product acquisition far simpler.Are technology marketers responding to this news at all? It doesn't seem to be the case based on what we know. (Our team will be at IoT Evolution in Orlando next week and next month we'll be at ITEXPO in Fort Lauderdale. We'll be sure to ask the companies if they are even aware of this changing landscape)The best response is for tech companies is to ramp marketing budgets now because if the lifetime value of customers is to increase, competitors will soon alter marketing budgets to take advantage of this change. The last one to increase budgets may also be last to see sales gains in the future. Tags: cloud computing, data center, it, msp, reseller, router, tech, vad, var, wsj Related tags: current vendors, marketing budgets, loyal current, vendors, technology, companies Follow me: Facebook Profile Google+ Profile Twitter Profile Related Entries Nokia, RIM, Skype, Cisco and ITEXPO News August 30, 2010 - Aug 30, 2010 Diverse Broadband Roots Gives Hughes an SD-WAN Edge - Dec 15, 2017 Agent Market Dies, Gets Reborn at ITEXPO - Aug 25, 2010 MSP Expo: The Managed Services Opportunity has Never Been Greater - Oct 16, 2017 AT&T Drives IoT Growth via Channel Partners - Mar 23, 2016 DIDX Reseller Podcast with Xorcom - Jan 28, 2011 Westcon's Security Bet - Sep 19, 2010 Chris Barton of WCS: Telecom Channels Must Evolve - Jun 24, 2009 Nectar Services Provides Hosted Avaya VoIP, SIP Trunking - Apr 18, 2009 on ITEXPO - Sep 11, 2008 TrackBacks | Comments | Tag with | Communications and Technology Blog - Home | Permalink: As Enterprise Tech Buying Habits Change, Are You Ready? Copyright Communications and Technology Blog - Sponsored by Apex Technology Services, a leading IT Services company[...]

Digital Transformation Helps Lockheed Martin go Hypersonic!

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:33:09 -05002018-01-16T19:33:09-05:00

Digital Transformation is becoming the buzzword of the decade and its meaning is rather broad. We like to call it the application of the latest computing technology to improve business processes. More specifically, using cloud, AI, cognitive computing, mobile, IoT, big, data, and other tech like chatbots and APIs. The list of technology is really never-ending, we could have added sharing economy, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, smart buildings, mesh networks, blockchain and so on. Practically speaking, companies need to disrupt themselves or become new disruptors depending on the age of the organization. The best recent example of digital transformation may be Lockheed Martin as they develop a successor to the SR-71 Blackbird. Referring to detailed specifics of company design and manufacturing, Jack O’Banion, a Lockheed vice president, said a “digital transformation” arising from recent computing capabilities and design tools had made hypersonic development possible. Then—assuming O’Banion chose his verb tense purposely—came the surprise. “Without the digital transformation, the aircraft you see there could not have been made,” O’Banion said, standing by an artist’s rendering of the hypersonic aircraft. “In fact, five years ago, it could not have been made.” Hypersonic applies to speeds above Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. The SR-71 cruised at Mach 3.2, more than 2,000 mph. Computer processing power and new tools allow for three-dimensional design of a scramjet engine, O’Banion said at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ annual SciTech Forum near Orlando. (Scramjet refers to engine combustion occurring at supersonic speeds, which adds to the engineering complexity.) Adding a little Hollywood to an engineering presentation, O’Banion likened the digital advances in 3D design to the build process Tony Stark employs in the film “Iron Man.” “We couldn’t have made the engine itself—it would have melted down into slag if we had tried to produce it five years ago,” O’Banion said. “But now we can digitally print that engine with an incredibly sophisticated cooling system integral into the material of the engine itself and have that engine survive for multiple firings for routine operation.” The aircraft is also agile at hypersonic speeds, with reliable engine starts, he said. A half-decade before, he added, developers “could not have even built it even if we conceived of it.” Most corporations aren’t focusing on building engines but they do rely on communications and other technology to build solutions to real-world problems. How to serve customers better, respond to competitive threats and come up with new models rapidly to see what the market is interested in. Digital Transformation analyst and Principal, neXt Curve Akshay Sharma says mobile carriers have a huge role to play in this transformation. He continues, “They have the opportunity to reshape industries, such as the hospitality and retail industries, through 5G networking combined with edge computing as the IoT transformation is permeating through the US economy.” He continues: Times are changing with newer 4.5G/5G technologies, IoT, mobile video, smartphone payments, tablet-based point of sales, cellular powered digital-signage, and wireless broadband connectivity, including newer combo-Tablet-TV Tables, and combo video gaming point of sale devices. Now hotels can have a mobile strategy beyond an app for faster, more convenient check-in where your phone becomes the key to your room as well as payment device for on-premise services ranging from the restaurant to the spa to the retail shops inside. Leveraging mobile device applications, and beacons, concierge personnel can greet customers personally as they arrive with rooms already prepared. Wireless Kiosks and greeters with tablets or[...]

Chelsea Manning: Top U.S. Traitor and Leaker, May Become Senator

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 19:27:46 -05002018-01-13T19:27:46-05:00

History Will Remember the U.S. Government as Going too Easy on Hackers and Leakers Photo courtesy of APThe United States made a nuclear deal with Iran and also paid a ransom to have numerous American hostages/prisoners returned. In exchange, billions of dollars changed hands. In the prior year, the U.S. indicted a number of Iranian hackers for hacking U.S. banks and a dam in the city of Rye in Westchester County, NY. Thankfully nobody was harmed or killed as a result of the dam attack but it was luck that saved them. As we have pointed out, being able to identify foreign hackers is a rarity. Had we gotten them into our prison system, we would have sent an incredibly powerful message to hackers worldwide. We would have saved U.S. citizens and corporations potentially billions of dollars in damages. Instead, we gave billions of dollars to the Iranian government and didn’t get these hackers in return. Even worse, Chelsea Manning who before altering her sex was Bradley Manning leaked confidential military documents responsible for getting U.S. assets and allies killed. Her prison sentence was shortened by decades for no apparent reason. We aren’t sure how this is possible but treason is now a partisan issue. These were some negative comments by high-profile Republicans. We could find no negative comments from high-ranking Democrats: "When I was leading soldiers in Afghanistan, Private Manning was undermining us by leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks," Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement. "I don't understand why the president would feel special compassion for someone who endangered the lives of our troops, diplomats, intelligence officers, and allies. We ought not treat a traitor like a martyr." "This is just outrageous. Chelsea Manning’s treachery put American lives at risk and exposed some of our nation’s most sensitive secrets," said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). "President Obama now leaves in place a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won’t be held accountable for their crimes.” “I’m stunned," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) said. "President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence is a grave mistake that I fear will encourage further acts of espionage and undermine military discipline. It also devalues the courage of real whistle-blowers who have used proper channels to hold our government accountable." Now, Chelsea Manning is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Maryland. A traitor to the country who did untold damage and would have been executed for the same offense decades ago could soon become a powerful part of our government. What signal are we sending to hackers around the world and in the U.S.? A terrible one. We aren’t taking cybersecurity seriously. It’s a travesty. The wars of the future have already begun. It’s a cyberwar and the U.S. is a major target. Our businesses and citizens are on the front lines and fending for themselves. The goal of any government is to protect its citizens and in this capacity – when it comes to cybersecurity, it has let us down. Tags: army, bradley manning, chelsea manning, cybersecurity, government, hack, hacker, senator Related tags: chelsea manning, billions dollars, president obama, negative comments, manning, hackers Follow me: Facebook Profile Google+ Profile Twitter Profile Related Entries Hackers Now Threaten Death to Schools and other Types of Extortion - Oct 24, 2017 Bitly Hack Destroys Trust in the Web - Oct 06, 2017 The Long Tail of Cybersecurity - Aug 09, 2017 Stupid Mistakes Lead to Kelihos Botnet Spam Lord Arrest - Apr 11, 2017 Methbot: These ARE the Russian Cybercriminals We're Looking For - Dec 20, 2016 Ransomware Fog Rolls over SanFran Muni, SFMTA - Nov 28, 2016 Inside Dark Web Live Blog 2016 - May 11, 2016 You need a Flip Phone for Your Data Center - Dec 03, 20[...]

Chess Master Dorsa Derakhshani Left Iranian Oppression for the U.S.

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 17:03:13 -05002017-12-29T17:03:13-05:00

The origins of chess are not 100% known. Historians believe it was invented in India or China but either way, it spread to Persia until the Arabs conquered the country and then spread it around the world.It's exciting to know that one of the best chess players in the world is Iranian-born Dorsa Derakhshani. She recently fled the oppressive middle-east filled with religious tension and the treatment of women as second-class citizens (at best).Photo from Beyond ChessShe recently penned an editorial worth reading. In it she refers to how Iranian federation officials were more concerned about the tightness of her jeans or head-covering than her ability to play chess.They eventually banned her from playing, Her brother was banned as well for playing an Israeli.She concludes that chess is like America at its best. Neither cares how old you are, what you wear, your gender or how much money you have.She is applying for U.S. citizenship because as she says, barring people from playing chess because of their ethnicity, religion or clothing is so wrong. She wants to represent us in the Olympics.In the 1950s, Nadji Tehrani left Iran because he saw no future there. He is my father. About one-million people followed him and the U.S. is a better place as a result. Let's hope Ms. Derakhshani sees her wish come true.Let's hope this brave young woman will become a symbol for ending the universal religious oppression so common in the middle-east. Tags: chess, immigration, iran Related tags: dorsa derakhshani, chess, iranian, derakhshani, playing, because Follow me: Facebook Profile Google+ Profile Twitter Profile Related Entries US Schools Must Improve - Dec 29, 2009 Media and Obama Responsible for HBO Hack? - Nov 19, 2017 Trump, Obama and Other Topics I heard at ITEXPO - Feb 10, 2017 Broadsoft CEO Not Happy with Trump Immigration Policy - Jan 31, 2017 The Utter Hypocrisy of Feigned Russian Hacker Outrage - Dec 19, 2016 President Obama, After $400 Million, Where are Those Criminal Iranian Hackers ? - Aug 05, 2016 China Telecoms and Incoherent US Foreign Policy - Oct 28, 2011 How US Immigration Policies Kill Jobs - Mar 07, 2011 Electronic Warfare is the Future. Are You Ready? - Feb 14, 2011 Google Uses Phone to Reconnect Egypt to Internet - Jan 31, 2011 TrackBacks | Comments | Tag with | Communications and Technology Blog - Home | Permalink: Chess Master Dorsa Derakhshani Left Iranian Oppression for the U.S. Copyright Communications and Technology Blog - Sponsored by Apex Technology Services, a leading IT Services company[...]

IVR in the Age of Siri and Alexa; Evolve or Die

Mon, 25 Dec 2017 22:20:32 -05002017-12-25T22:20:32-05:00

We'd like to apologize in advance for the dramatic headline of this post, especially the evolve or die part but there is a communications transformation taking place in companies around the globe and unless you're paying attention, you're likely to fall behind.A huge shift is taking place - starting with our homes. No doubt, your residence has noticed the shift. Consider, out of the nine top-selling products in the Electronics category on Amazon, six of them or 2/3 are Alexa-enabled!The way our customers want to interact with technology has changed dramatically. Yet, IVR systems were initially deployed not for the customer but for the bottom line. We increased throughput and productivity of our contact centers and customer service departments but we didn't care too much about the customers.But thanks to Apple, Amazon and Google, our customers are actually opting to speak with computers to get the information they need. We've gone from a world where we once hated to interact with a "machine" to spending money to buy machines so we can speak to them!Yet, our contact centers for the most-part have not adapted. We haven't taken advantage of this brave new world where consumers are eager to communicate with our technology.To help your company maximize the opportunity we'd like to present: Voice User Interface Design Training: The Changing Telephone Channel Optimizing IVR & Speech in the Age of Smartphones and Alexa A collaboration between our ITEXPO, Enterprise Integration Group and GM Voices. Get Answers to the Following Questions (and more) IVR Self-Service: Is it going away? If not, what can we do to make it better? Natural Language: Why is improving first call resolution one of the key benefits? Voice Biometrics: Who is using it where, and why? Visual IVR and Omni-Channel customer service: Are they gimmicks or useful tools? How will customers contact you using Chat, Siri, Alexa and other Intelligent Assistants? And much more! This is an ideal seminar for call center managers, VPs of marketing and CMOs... Anyone involved in ensuring smooth customer communications.We hope to see you Febuary 13-15th, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. You can register now. Tags: acd, alexa, amazon, apple, call center, contact center, expo, gm voices, itexpo, ivr, seminar, siri, workshop Related tags: contact centers, customer service, customer, customers, alexa, service Follow me: Facebook Profile Google+ Profile Twitter Profile Related Entries ITEXPO Wrap up from Voice of Asterisk - Feb 15, 2011 ITEXPO Launches Startup Camp - Investors Take Note - Dec 21, 2009 Stay Ahead of The Ensuing Telecom Transformation - Nov 14, 2009 Dialogic/NMS Acquisition Discussion and Analysis - Sep 12, 2008 60 Crucial IP Communications Interviews - Sep 05, 2008 Interactive Intelligence on Contact Center Growth and More - Aug 10, 2008 PerformanceEdge - Sep 10, 2007 Nice Systems - Sep 07, 2007 IVR Technologies - Aug 11, 2007 ERICA Wants to be Your Contact Center Agent, All of Them - Jan 12, 2017 TrackBacks | Comments | Tag with | Communications and Technology Blog - Home | Permalink: IVR in the Age of Siri and Alexa; Evolve or Die Copyright Communications and Technology Blog - Sponsored by Apex Technology Services, a leading IT Services company[...]

The Enterprise will Embrace SD-WAN in 2018

Mon, 25 Dec 2017 18:38:41 -05002017-12-25T18:38:41-05:00

SD-WAN is rapidly becoming a cornerstone next-gen IT service embraced by companies of all sizes. Some of the benefits of software-defined wide area networks are cloud security, easier hybrid cloud deployment and applications performance management. What many companies will tell you off-the-record is they also see SD-WAN as an opportunity to reduce their dependence on legacy networking vendors – although even the traditional networking companies have made strategic acquisitions in the space. Perhaps the biggest reason companies need SD-WAN today is their dependence on cloud instead of their corporate data centers means they need to rethink how they deploy and optimize their wide area networks. In other words, if corporate CRM systems now use the cloud instead of a local server, how can organizations ensure sufficient performance levels on the screens of their customer-facing associates? Ditto for UCaaS, hosted contact center and other applications which need appropriate response times. Some of the other benefits of SD-WAN according to Futurium (PDF) include: COTS or commercial off the shelf-based hardware supporting their networking initiatives. This reduces cost dramatically and can be potentially less complex to operate. Certainly, replacing failed equipment becomes a lot easier in this scenario as spare computers are typically more common than spare switches. Cloud VPNs can be deployed easily and providers can bolt on additional services like increased encryption levels and intrusion detection or IDS. WAN Optimization is sort of a given – as a side benefit, the enterprise can enjoy lower costs thanks to less reliance on MPLS. Application Performance Enhancement in other words, SD-WAN allows networks to take advantage of ADC-type performance levels or better without the need for the proprietary box. Broadband Link Balancing allows a company to take advantage of the best broadband service depending on the application. As a side benefit, it also allows connectivity in the case of a failure of one of the providers. For increased redundancy, LTE can be added to the mix as a third choice if only two wired providers are available. Network as a Service allows a corporation to purchase their network the way they purchase other services such as voice or CRM. In our interview with Paul Anderson a few months back, we detailed how Array Networks allows MSPs to take on the legacy router vendors using such a model. IDC says improved network automation and self-provisioning are important factors in enterprise SD-WAN adoption. SD-WAN Resource summarizes the benefits as follows: Improved Transport Options Better Security Intelligent Pathway Control Automatic Provisioning Some of the SD-WAN companies to consider in 2018 are as follows: 1) TPx Communications  offers a use-case driven SD-WAN powered product.  Vice-President, Managed IT Services Group, Jared Martin told us the following: ITx for WAN brings scalable, tested, and supportable features to market vs. supporting any and every feature offered by the OEM. We’re definitely focused on quality and reliability.   TPx operates and maintains its own network to deliver the completed service and only leverages the SD-WAN vendor’s technology to enable the service.  TPx is constantly taking feedback from customers and partners and refining our offer based on that feedback.  We introduced a new 4G LTE primary access in Q3 2017 that broke the traditional barriers for broadband access – really making it available most locations across the country with no need to wait for fiber buildouts! 2) Airespring’s Danial Lonstein, the COO tells us the following about his company: As a nationwide network operator and aggregator, AireSpring is uniquely suited to address this customer pain point. Most multi-location enterprises are normally[...]

For Most, The Web is Alive and Well

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 16:12:28 -05002017-12-22T16:12:28-05:00

Go to any of the app stores and look around at the top app categories and you'll notice that many are entertainment, productivity or messaging/communications related. Lately, AR apps have become popular as well but this could be temporary. We say this because eventually, many apps will have AR built-in.Is there a theme to most of the top apps? Yes. Applications you would or could use quite often.What is worth noting is business apps - or those which replicate functions of a search engine such as hotel booking aren't generally at the top.Why? Well, how often do you really need Expedia? Are most people on a plane every week? No. So why do you need an app that you might use a few times a year?Some years back we at TMC launched an event focused on HTML5, the technology which allowed developers to build cross-platform apps called DevCon5. The idea behind the event was, not all sites needed custom apps. It had great momentum until Mark Zuckerburg made a public comment about how HTML5 sucked.And he was right. For Facebook, it sucked. Why? Because native can generally do more than web-based apps. And people were spending hours a day in Facebook. For this and other apps used for so much time, a web substitute isn't as good.But we were right with our vision for the event. We don't run it anymore but we understood that eventually the web would win. We were right. At least for a lot of solutions.As evidence, we present the fact that Delta is retiring its iPad app. We admit, this isn't really evidence but one imagines the airline has analytics that shows 99% of people don't travel enough to download and use an app on their iPad to interact with their airline.Granted, the iPhone Delta app is still alive and well and works on the iPad but at least this shows us that appmania craze is at least slowing, if not stopping.Speaking of Delta, the company really was ahead of its time. It developed an innovative augmented reality feature in 2013 - allowing passengers to see through a glass bottom on their flight on the iPad app. We never tried this feature because we thought it might scare us to death - perhaps this too is why the app was discontinued. Users were developing heart conditions or at a minimum, using their airsick bags more often. Many predicted the web was dead and then that it wasn't. But in reality, tech hangs on longer than we think and often evolves to meet the challenge of newer and more exciting disruptive technologies. Today's web development environments with responsive designs can be quite amazing and most people may not even be able to tell the difference between web and native apps. This is certainly the case for us when we use one of the two YouTube apps on our iPhone X. We can't really tell the difference. Part of this of course has to do with tremendous broadband and processor speed increases.Although we weren't planning on writing a New Year's prediction piece at this time, we will go out on a comfortable limb and state in 2018, we'll see more ink devoted to how the web is evolving and that dedicated apps just aren't all that important. Tags: ar, augmented reality, css, developer, facebook, html5, mark zuckerburg, web, wired Related tags: often, people, really, least, delta, right Follow me: Facebook Profile Google+ Profile Twitter Profile Related Entries The Splinternet Grows. HTML5 to Slow it Down - Sep 07, 2010 HTML5 Week in Review - Jun 16, 2011 RockMelt Ties Social Networking to Browsing - Nov 07, 2010 The Genius VR Marketing App from KLM - Oct 06, 2017 HTML5 Continues to Be Big Tech News - May 22, 2012 Latest Trends in Speech Technology, CRM, IVR, Collaboration and Cloud Computing - Aug 14, 2011 Adobe HTML5 Tool, Edge: What You Need to Know - Aug 08, 2011 Facebook's Zuckerberg, Closed App Stores and HTML5 - May 27, 2011 How YouTube Takes Consumer Time f[...]

Windstream's Unique SD-WAN Position

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 19:04:55 -05002017-12-18T19:04:55-05:00

As the SD-WAN market continues to thrive and resellers and MSPs look to add these solutions to their arsenal, an important question to ask is what is happening to what we might call legacy solutions potentially displaced by software-defined wide area network solutions? We are of course referring to MPLS.Should companies consider this newer, software-based solution or stick with the tried-and-true? Windstream, the multibillion-dollar provider of voice and data solutions has become an important provider of SD-WAN solutions with thousands of endpoints in the field. As a result, we wanted to learn more on this and related topics – we wondered how their SD-WAN solutions are progressing. We reached out to Mike Frane, VP Product Management as he heads up the company’s SD-WAN strategy. Since joining the organization in 2008, he’s overseen the launch and lifecycle of products including LTE wireless, Ethernet and MPLS IPsec access elements, Secure WiFi & Analytics, Application Performance Optimization, IPsec VPN and Unified Communications services and led the company’s Portal and Hybrid Networking strategy. Obviously, he is the right person to be interviewing and without further ado, here is that interview: When and how did you get into the SD-WAN market? Windstream recognized that traditional MPLS networks were not meeting the changing needs of large distributed enterprises – the need for more cost-effective bandwidth to support the proliferation of cloud-based apps and to deliver the performance and resiliency of those apps. Windstream began identifying potential SD-WAN technology partners in late 2015, and completed the evaluation process in early 2016, and launched its SD-WAN service in Q3 2016 with VeloCloud as our underlying technology platform. Windstream’s SD-WAN solution uses our proprietary Cloud Core Network Architecture with Cloud Core Nodes strategically deployed throughout the US, which include SD-WAN Gateways, diverse and redundant and diverse low latency connectivity to leading cloud platforms/applications, MPLS interconnections, Cloud Security services, IP transit and direct access to additional Windstream provided cloud services. This brings cloud and hosted applications closer to end users for superior performance and optimizes access to additional Windstream cloud services including: UCaaS, Security Services, Cloud Connect, Internet and MPLS. Windstream was among the first MSPs to offer SD-WAN and now has deployed SD-WAN to hundreds of customers at thousands of locations.   Tell us more about your particular offerings in this space. Windstream SD-WAN is a true over the top solution that supports existing MPLS and Internet connectivity regardless of access type (T1, Ethernet, Broadband, Cellular, etc.) and requires no rip and replace – it can be deployed right over the existing network connectivity. Windstream offers two managed SD-WAN options. Both options include a dedicated Project implementation expert to ensure a seamless deployment. The premier offer is the Windstream SD-WAN Concierge™ service with an assigned Technical Service Manager who provides expert and proactive guidance. For those customers who want more of a guided DIY approach, Windstream offers an Advanced service as well. Both offers provide a customizable industry-leading Management tool that provides complete visibility and allows the customer unparalleled control in a co-managed environment. The Windstream management tool provides the customer with a level of personalization that is unique to our solution and gives the customer deep insights into their operations. Windstream offers the most robust broadband access portfolio of any MSP including Cable and LEC broadband, cellular broadband, Ethernet over copper, fixed wireless Ethernet as well as [...]

Diverse Broadband Roots Gives Hughes an SD-WAN Edge

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 14:34:22 -05002017-12-15T14:34:22-05:00

One of the most demanding communications environments is satellite where bandwidth can be extremely limited yet real-time communications is a necessity as soldiers need to communicate with others - potentially thousands of miles from the battlefield. Over the years, VoIP satellite technology has evolved allowing multiple conversations to be compressed together to minimize bandwidth use. Today, satellite bandwidth may seem abundant but during the numerous wars in the middle-east in the past few decades, satellite vendors really had to push the edge of the envelope to allow effective communications to take place. Hughes Network Systems is the group within satellite company Hughes that provides business services and its evolved to become a diverse broadband provider over the years - from roots which include providing military solutions. What is most interesting about the company is its work with numerous underlying broadband carriers - giving it a great deal of experience in the spirit of SD-WAN, before the term even existed.We thought we would provide a unique perspective on SD-WAN if we reached out to Bill Rumancik, Senior Marketing Director with Enterprise Solutions at Hughes Network Systems and asked him about the state of the SD-WAN market and where his company fits in the market.Here is our interview: When and how did you get into the SD-WAN market? Hughes launched its latest HughesON Managed SD-WAN solution in January 2017. The enabling SD-WAN technology, however, had been in development and production trials for a number of months leading up to the launch. Hughes has been a leading provider of enterprise managed network solutions for almost 40 years.  Our solutions incorporate a full range of enterprise services, including transport, security, digital signage, Wi-Fi, and performance optimization.  In 2014 Hughes introduced our WAN optimization suite, ActiveTechnologies, to provide enterprise-class network performance with QoS (Quality-of-Service), Compression, and Application Classification in an ever-changing broadband environment.  The ActiveTechnologies traffic optimization foundation was enhanced with our multi-transport technology called ActivePath, which collectively form the core underlying technology for Hughes Managed SD-WAN. Tell us more about your particular offerings in this space. Hughes’ heritage (40+ years) is in hardware and software development and system integration that started with building satellite networks.  We are unique amongst major managed service providers (MSP) in that we provide a combination of strong technology and engineering capabilities coupled with service delivery.  The HughesON Managed SD-WAN solution leverages our engineering heritage to deliver an industry leading distributed SD-WAN solution specifically designed for highly distributed organizations. Our ActiveTechnologies suite is comprised of four key features: ActiveQoS, ActiveClassifier, ActiveCompression, and ActivePath.   ActiveQoS dynamically characterizes broadband connections (capacity, latency, packet loss, etc.) to effectively apply QoS to critical retail applications such as VoIP and POS transactions. ActiveCompression utilizes a powerful two-stage adaptive algorithm to provide the best data reduction possible across the WAN and provide additional capacity for branch applications.   ActiveClassifier automatically identifies and prioritizes individual application flows based on their traffic behavior and domain name.  This allows critical and real-time apps, such as VoIP and POS to be prioritized over bulk or batch workloads, such as email attachments or software downloads without requiring application specific configurations.   ActivePath enables an always-on secur[...]

Is it Too Late to Get Into the Smart Home Market?

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 10:52:35 -05002017-12-15T10:52:35-05:00

Nest is doing a number on HVAC companies the way the iPod and iPhone did to music players and phones. Yet, as we have detailed before, as gorgeous as Nest thermostats can be, they can also be problematic, if your wiring isn't compatible.We detailed recently how we had to run a C-wire to one of our thermostats to prevent it from turning on the air conditioning when heat was needed. We still have another thermostat which probably needs a C-wire as well or some software modifications to prevent the same problems. More to come on the matter next spring.Nest, for its flaws has the first-mover advantage. Unless it goes the way of Uber and has a string of harassment issues and other dubious behavior, it will be very difficult to catch them. This of course is even before they had the power of the search monopoly, Google behind them.Is there room for a new entrant we wondered? Honeywell has done a good job being Honeywell. They make solid products which aren't always slick but which work with your home, smart or not. Enter Bosch, with their sharp-looking BCC100 thermostat.This is the product the company didn't want to make. It is the wrong price-point. It is not revolutionary. It does not scream premium.Bosch kitchen appliances have always been impressive. Their dishwashers brought super-quiet cleaning to eating areas around the globe. Their quality was top-rate and their designs, gorgeous.The BCC100 however is gorgeous in our view but so is Nest. There is little room for differentiation. The unit also needs a C-wire to function correctly - so no improvement there.The good news is, it does differentiate by controlling humidifiers and dehumidifiers.But it doesn't have a motion sensor, doesn't support geofencing and doesn't connect to a smart-hub or smart-home system.In short, it is a niche product with limited appeal at a price point which tarnishes the brand.It's everything Bosch doesn't want to be but apparently based on making products which are profitable, they had to do to make it worth making.Here is the question we began this post with. Is there any room at all left in the market for a new-entrant in the smart home? Have Ring and Nest sewn it up? We will see how the war for smart speakers shapes up between Apple, Google and Amazon. But for the rest of the market, we wonder, is the BCC100 an outlier or does it show the long term trend of bringing new IoT devices into the world of the smart-home.Read a solid review on this new Bosch device from Jason D'Aprile.When you come to the Enterprise IoT Event, IoT Evolution Jan 22-25, 2018, you'll see IBM, Ingenu, Cradlepoint, TellientARM, McAfee & other major companies. There will be a special focus on Smart Cities, Security, IIoT and case studies. Tags: bosch, google, honeywell, iot, m2m, nest, smarthome Related tags: price point, smart, doesn, bosch, gorgeous, market Follow me: Facebook Profile Google+ Profile Twitter Profile Related Entries Why Professionals Say to Avoid Nest - Nov 22, 2017 Fog Computing is Booming and it Changes Everything in IoT - Nov 16, 2017 IoT Connectivity Standards? Still a Confusing Mess. - Oct 21, 2017 Thanks to Actility, Comcast may Build Largest U.S. LoRa Network - Oct 14, 2017 Pod Group USA: It's a Great Time to be an IoT MVNO - Oct 10, 2017 Semtech Looks to Rule IoT with LoRa LP-WAN Solutions - Oct 09, 2017 BSNL and Aeris Accelerate IoT Adoption in India - Oct 03, 2017 Comtech Boosts Location and Analytics in IoT - Oct 02, 2017 AT&T Connected Health Foundry Celebrates Success - Sep 23, 2017 Here are the Two Wearable Tech Killer Apps - Sep 20, 2017 TrackBacks | Comments | Tag with | Communications and Technology Blog - Home | Permalink: Is it Too Late [...]

20 Years Later, Dialpad Disrupts Communications Again

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 12:33:02 -05002017-12-08T12:33:02-05:00

History was made this week As Dialpad launched a free version of their UCaaS platform for up to five users. This amounts to a savings of over one-thousand-dollars. Craig Walker the Founder and CEO of the company launched the original Dialpad just under 20 years ago, an innovative service allowing anyone to call a US number for free over the internet via their web portal. Craig has been a visionary in the space for the decades we have known him. He sold the original Dialpad to Yahoo! to become Yahoo! Voice. He then launched another VoIP company called Grand Central Communications which was later sold to Google to become Google Voice. I had a chance to meet with Craig in New York – coincidentally in Grand Central Station about his company’s latest product launch. Dialpad Free is a way for small businesses to try before they buy and grow into the service. Unlike consumer offerings, this service has full feature-list including IVR, transfer, recording, unlimited voicemail, unlimited inbound, unlimited auto attendant and 100 minutes of outbound. It will first be rolled out to G Suite users then Office 365 and finally others. Here is a complete feature list: ● One free local phone number per company ● Up to five users per company ● Employees can be reached by extension, Operator, or Dial by Name directory ● 1 room line ● 100 Outbound minutes per month ● Unlimited inbound minutes per month ● Unlimited Dialpad-to-Dialpad messaging/calling ● 100 SMS messages ● Free UberConference account ● Integrations included: LinkedIn, G Suite ● Call recording ● Free number porting ● Single Sign On via OAuth 2.0 for G Suite ● Call usage analytics ● FAQ/Help Center support I asked Craig, what are some of the reasons a customer might choose to upgrade to a pay plan. He explained, if a company has more than five people on a team or they need after-hours routing or specific department groups, voicemail transcription or integration with Salesforce. Craig pretty much helped created the VoIP market which we now call UC or UCaaS. He has once again helped disrupt the communications space. We can expect a great deal more innovation from Craig and the team based on a confidential product roadmap we discussed.This is pretty exciting because a small business can feel comfortable trying a phone service that doesn't cost them anything now and will be able to support their needs as they grow. Craig is a dynamic speaker. Hear him live at a keynote session at the communications transformation event: ITEXPO, Feb 13-16, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.Other keynoting companies are Juniper, IBM, Mitel and Atlassian. Tags: cpaas, craig walker, dialpad, email, g suite, gmail, google, ip communications, marketplace, suite marketplace, uc, ucaas, voip Related tags: unlimited inbound, original dialpad, grand central, craig, dialpad, company Follow me: Facebook Profile Google+ Profile Twitter Profile Related Entries Dialpad Debuts New Gmail Add-on in G Suite Marketplace - Oct 24, 2017 Dialpad is Reborn from - Mar 07, 2016 Nosh from Google a P2P Foursquare Meets Zagats - Jul 19, 2011 AT&T Webinar Focuses on Hosted Market - May 20, 2008 Aculab Impresses with Cloud and Applianx AP Gateway - Sep 30, 2017 Uber Picks Dialpad to Fuel its Growth - Jun 14, 2016 Did Social Just Make UC Irrelevant? - Jul 08, 2011 How Skype and Facebook Work Together - Jul 07, 2011 gHome Improves Google Voice - Jan 18, 2011 Google Gmail VoIP, Cloud Computing and Other News August, 25 2010 - Aug 25, 2010 TrackBacks | Comments | Tag with | Communications and Technology Blog - Home | Permalink: 20 Years Later, Dialpad Disrupts Communications Again Co[...]

MegaPath Leverages Years of Experience to Lead in SD-WAN

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 19:01:55 -05002017-12-05T19:01:55-05:00

MegaPath is in a unique position in the SD-WAN space as they were on the leading edge of the MPLS curve and SD-WAN in many cases is becoming a competing or even next-generation technology. In 2012, the company even hosted an MPLS University which we attended at ITEXPO in Florida. Dan Foster is the COO of the company and we decided to get his take on the market. Here is our interview: When and how did you get into the SD-WAN market?  MegaPath launched its first SD-WAN solution, SD-WAN Pro, in early 2016. SD-WAN Pro capabilities include centralized network management and monitoring, QoS-based priority routing, session-level application performance monitoring and standard network security protocols including IPsec VPN, load balancing and failover (both wired and wireless).  A year later, we expanded our portfolio with the introduction of SD-WAN Enterprise, adding capabilities such as bi-directional priority routing, real-time application failover, packet-level application performance monitoring, true bandwidth aggregation, complete network performance visibility, and additional Advanced Security capabilities. Tell us more about your particular offerings in this space. MegaPath offers several key advantages compared to other SD-WAN providers: Best-of-breed, multi-vendor approach to SD-WAN and Security, giving businesses the flexibility to build a solution that’s the right fit for their business needs, size and budget. Fully-managed service that includes full-solution design engineering, dedicated project management, and white-glove support 100% U.S.-based expert technical support, available 24/7/365 100% Uptime SLA with SD-WAN Enterprise package, guaranteeing substantial service credits equal to $1,000 or 50% of monthly recurring charges, whichever is greater. (See Free Proactive Circuit monitoring for all circuits, including 3rd-party circuits (non-MegaPath provided) MegaPath’s expertise combined with its broad portfolio gives real value to partners that desire a broad range of high-value services from a single nationwide provide What is driving enterprise interest in SD-WAN? Today’s businesses simply can’t afford downtime. With the increasing reliance on the cloud, the cost of downtime has grown exponentially, and the need for always-on, reliable WAN connectivity has become a business imperative. MegaPath’s SD-WAN solutions address the increasing bandwidth demands of our customers and empower businesses of all sizes to realize the full potential of the cloud.  What is the biggest pain your solutions take away for customers? Downtime.  Downtime is the Achilles to any business no matter the vertical.  Today, if you don’t have reliable, always-on access to the Internet, your business will suffer or even die.  Simply put, SD-WAN eliminates downtime without breaking the bank or over-tasking resources, making zero-downtime accessible to businesses of all sizes. What is your target audience? Mid-sized enterprises looking to migrate from MPLS to a fully-managed SD-WAN solution are our sweet spot, although we also offer a solution for SMBs that are seeking a low-cost entry point to the popular networking technology. How do you go to market? Direct? MSPs? Carriers? Etc. We go to market through direct and indirect channels. We have inside sales teams focused on solutions for the SMB and the Enterprise, and an active network of channel partners comprised of master agencies, alliance and referral partners. What synergistic technologies and markets are aided by SD-WAN? Hosted Voice, UCaaS, Managed IT and Managed Security services What regions of the world will be most disrupted b[...]

TELoIP Brings SD-WAN to Companies of All Sizes

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 21:06:22 -05002017-11-30T21:06:22-05:00

The market predictions for SD-WAN growth show a hockey-stick. What is most interesting about this growth is it’s literally across the spectrum from the SMB or small business all the way up to the enterprise. It’s unusual for a technology to be applicable to all segments of the market at once. To learn more, we decided to seek out and interview Kevin Suitor the CMO of TELoIP as his company serves brings quality SD-WAN solutions to companies of all sizes. When and how did you get into the SD-WAN market? TELoIP was an early mover in software-defined networks, and we’ve been providing innovative SDN/SD-WAN solutions for business since 2002.  Our initial focus was on delivering the promise of the internet for business and we earned 21 patents to-date focused upon increasing the speed, reliability and performance for voice, video and data services over broadband.  Beginning around 2010, many of our multi-site customers ran managed VPN solutions using our solutions delivering a software-defined performance boost as a cost-effective MPLS replacement, by today’s standards these were early SD-WAN deployments.  Further TELoIP innovation led to the official launch of VINO SD-WAN product line in March of 2016. VINO SD-WAN combined our patented last-mile broadband optimization solution (VINO SD-Internet) and orchestration portal (VINO Portal) with a multi-tenant control plane that provides secure end-to-end multi-point encryption scalable to over 10,000 end-points. Tell us more about your particular offerings in this space. TELoIP offer software-defined solutions as a Virtual Intelligent Network Overlay (VINO™).  VINO solutions are sold as a per site licenses which are based on the throughput capacity for the customer location on a 1, 2, or 3 year basis.  Each site license is a Network-as-a-Service solution including the premises appliance, the SD-WAN overlay license, North America wide WAN connectivity, centralized orchestration, management and provisioning through the VINO Portal, plus professional design services, certified installation and ongoing 24/7/365 support. VINO is available in two offerings, VINO SD-Internet and VINO SD-WAN.  VINO SD-Internet provides broadband optimization for voice, video, data and public cloud applications for customers who require faster speeds, better performance and seamless fast-failover to prevent downtime.  VINO SD-WAN combines all the last-mile optimization advantages of VINO SD-Internet, plus a fully managed and encrypted end-to-end SD-WAN transport between remote business sites and a public/private multi-cloud environment.  VINO SD-WAN also offers optional add-on VINO RAS licenses to securely connect remote and mobile workers or IoT devices into the encrypted SD-WAN cloud overlay network. What is driving enterprise interest in SD-WAN? For almost 20 years, enterprises have relied on a hardware-centric approach to networking with sites and data centers being interconnected by MPLS.  Today, several interconnected external forces that are collectively driving the legacy WAN to the breaking point; cloud computing, bandwidth demand, security and IoT.  As applications move to the cloud they require more bandwidth.  The insatiable demand for bandwidth cannot be sustained by MPLS, which is driving enterprises to low-cost broadband.  Broadband WAN leads to increased security risks which drives enterprises toward the centralized orchestration and encryption of SD-WAN.  While IoT is driving a similar cycle that also involves cloud computing, bandwidth and security with the added element of billions of devices. If we take an internal vie[...]