Wednesday, October 31, 2007

VON Notes - Day 3

Had a chance to walk the show floor and take in some sessions today. The good news is that all the sessions I saw were very good. Speakers were great and the content was interesting, especially for the Innovator's Track/Unconference. Included in this mix was the Skype mobility session that I moderated this morning. I thought we had a great mix of speakers, and the session was both well attended and highly engaged. Can't ask for more than that.

The only real downside is the anxiety of knowing that I missed many other sessions I wanted to see, and many others I probably would have enjoyed had I dropped by. I'm certainly not the only one with this view, and as we move closer to a 2.0 world, maybe all the sessions will be videotaped, either for live broadcasts, or archived for later viewing. The technology is there, and there's got to be a way to do this that doesn't dilute the value proposition for those who attend in person. As Jeff said in his keynote yesterday, anything is possible, and I'll agree with that.

Last day is tomorrow, but it's a travel day for me. I hope to have a final post about VON then, including a few photos taken from today's sessions, including my Skype mobility panel.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall VON - Highlights

Just a quick post to share a few photos from the show today. It's been very hectic, so time won't allow for much analysis of the event right now. The scale seems a bit smaller than last Fall VON, but it's still a good sized show, and there is no shortage of interesting companies and sessions to see. That's actually a problem - there are too many tracks, and it's impossible to take it all in. For every session I see there are 3 or 4 others I'd also like to see, and it's really too bad I have to miss all of these. Sure, I'll get to see the presentations later, but it's not the same as being there.

That said, Jeff started things off with his keynote today, and not surprisingly the focus was almost totally on video. VoIP may have been mentioned once or twice, but there are bigger stories for Jeff to tell. Today, it's mostly about video, and this morning, it was about social networking and collaboration. Anyone following Jeff's blog would totally understand this, and for everyone else, you got a good sense this morning as to what Jeff is all excited about. We all got a long look at his Facebook profile, which he used to demonstrate the power of social networking.

For Jeff, the big ideas are asynchronous, multimedia communication, and many-to-many communications. He's particularly excited about how Facebook recently opened up their APIs, making it a very attractive developer platform. I certainly agree with all this, and it's not hard to see the appeal it holds for Jeff. On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of living virtually, and it's easy to see how one can live so virtually that it practically becomes real.

That aside, Jeff didn't have much to say on the visionary side of things other than businesses will start using social networking next year, and that monetization will come in time. What form that might take is another question, but that wasn't discussed. That's fine - these things will come, and for now, the main message is that if you're not doing some form of social networking, you're going to miss out on what's driving online communication and community building right now, and if you wait too long, you're going to be out of it.

I've got a few photos from today's sessions to pass along...

Jeff's keynote and the audience this morning...


Chris Fine's Industry Perspective


Thomas Howe kicking off the Unconference


My Unconference session, with Dennis Peng of Ooma, and Thomas. Photo taken with my camera either by Dan York or Alec Saunders. Sorry guys, I can't remember which right now!


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Happy Town

I haven't been in the city of a major sport championship when a team has actually won it since the Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series in 1992-1993. That was really great, but it's tough to beat being in Boston when the Sox swept the Rockies Sunday night. Luckily, I've been here since Saturday for Fall VON, and Jeff Pulver sure had some competition today.

The victory parade was today, and I think pretty much the whole town saw it, except for all of us holed up at VON. The convention center is pretty far from where the parade was, and there was no easy way of getting there to see it. All I could do was take in the street scene up til this morning, well before the parade made its way from Fenway Park to City Hall. The route ran right by where I'm staying, so I got a chance to see the calm before the storm.

So, the best I can do is share some photos from my N95 to capture the mood leading up to the parade last night and early this morning. Happy town, indeed....








Looking towards Fenway Park, maybe a mile away, where the parade starts...


Then, continuing along Boylston Street going towards City Hall...


The venerable Prudential tower, a real icon of the Boston skyline. All Sox fans remember how during the 2004 playoffs, the building had a huge silhouette of "Go Sox" that lit up the side facing Fenway Park.


True fans, getting a front row seat for the parade at 7:30 this morning...


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Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm on Facebook Now!

People have been leaning on me to get on Facebook for a while now, and I've finally succcumbed, just before VON.

Well, I'm also doing it now in honor of the founders who have an incredible goldmine, now that Microsoft is investing kind of dollars for a tiny sliver of this thing. It's an amazing example of the power of a good idea and being in the right place at the right time.

So, with 200,000 people jumping on this train every day, I'd better get on before I start to look like more of a Luddite than I already am. If you do the math, that's 2.3 sign-ups EVERY SECOND of every day. That sure is a nice curve to be riding.

These are Skype-like growth metrics, of course, and it will be interesting to see how Facebook's trajectory unfolds, especially now that Skype and MySpace are hooked up, and Microsoft has skin in the game.

I mention Skype for another reason. It's all about ease of use. Took me about 10 minutes to set up a basic Facebook profile last night, and right away I had friends, and a bunch more in my inbox this morning. As I recall, it took my son Max about the same amount of time to set himself up on Skype. To me, more than anything, it's ease of use and simplicity that make these things successful. From there, it's all about who can build an engaged community, and of course, laying the foundation for the advertising that will inevitably monetize this and make billionaires out of the founders.

So far, I just see one glitch in the ease-of-use department, but I know it's there for a reason. Want to find me on Facebook? Go to the site, and try.

What do you get? 144 Jon Arnolds. Yup - I'm certainly not alone. Good luck finding me, especially if you're not yet a member. The site only lets you search through the first 3 pages of "Jon Arnold", and I'm not there. So, I guess resistance is futile - you will be assimilated. If you really want to find me, you've gotta join up. So, join up, and let's be friends. Or, drop me a line and I'll send you an invite!

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Octasic's Vocallo Launch

I don't do a lot of vendor shout-outs, but Octasic is one of many vendors who will be making noise next week at Fall VON.

In support of their Vocallo launch, they engaged me to write a white paper, which has just been published. Vocallo is a big leap forward for DSP solutions, and Octasic feels they have some game-changing advancements here. The market will ultimately decide, but as you'll see in the paper, I think it's pretty compelling too.

So, if you want to get the full story, as well as the white paper, I'll steer you the section on their website dedicated to Vocallo. You can access the white paper there, but you have to register first.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

IP Convergence TV Portal - Launched Today


Just a quick note to say that the press release for IP Convergence TV went out today, and I hope you come by to check it out!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

IP Convergence TV Portal - Launching Tomorrow

IP Convergence TV has its full launch tomorrow - October 25. The soft launch was last month, and based on the feedback, it's been improved on a few fronts.

It's a busy week leading up to Fall VON, but I think IP Convergence TV merits some attention of its own. If you're following IP convergence trends - primarily VoIP, FMC and IPTV - I'm sure you'll find something of interest here.

This is a non-profit initiative, so it's not a pay-for-play portal. The sponsors contribute thoughtful content, and in return, the portal provides a platform to share their views. Lots going on here - video interviews, podcasts, opinion pieces by thought leaders like Thomas Howe, white papers, and articles.

I'm in the middle of all this, serving as the Community Advocate and Portal Editor. So, I'm doing my part here to spread the word, and urge you visit the site and sign up for regular updates.

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Fall VON - Jeff Pulver Interview

Just thought you'd like to have some advance reading about what's on Jeff's mind leading up to VON next week.

Well-known PR firm, Calysto Communications, publishes a regular newsletter - PR Vibes - and the current edition features a Q&A with Jeff Pulver. There's lots going on in the Pulvermedia world, and the news releases have already started today. They're not hard to find, so I'm not going to cite them here. I'd rather draw attention to the interview, which you'll find to be a good warm-up to the conference.

PR Vibes is an email subscription, so you can't access the interview from Calysto's website. However, I have a soft copy, which you can download here.

I promise - this will be my last VON post before the show! But there will be more coming once I'm there...

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

California Fires and the Virtues of IP Communications

Great post today from colleague Andy Abramson, who's living - and working - first hand under the terrifying conditions ravaging a few places in California now, including his base of San Diego.

You can't miss the images on the news, and it's a sober reminder that Mother Nature works with us as well as against us, whether we like it or not. It's her world - we just live in it.

If anybody knows how to live the digital, virtual lifestyle, it's Andy. His post is a timely account of how Andy's company, Communicano, is able to function pretty much business as usual under adverse and trying conditions. These are the kinds of situations where the Internet and wireless broadband really earn their stripes. Andy recounts how these tools allow his team to stay in touch across several geographic locations via the Web. Mind you, not just staying in touch, but working without missing a beat.

All the tools are there - email, collaboration/file sharing, voice and video - and guess what? These apps are not expensive and anyone with broadband can use them. And as Andy notes, they can do it over the Web - without relying on a cell phone. It's a terrific case study for business continuity, and another proof point validating IP communications. And most importantly, a great way to make sure everyone is ok, and share that with the world.

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Fall VON- The Unconference - now for something completely different...

Well, for those of you who recall some of the pushback from the blogosphere around Spring VON earlier this year, the Unconference next week at Fall VON will be a welcome addition. In short, Pulvermedia has been listening to the buzz that the show has lost some edge, at least in the VoIP space, and I think the Unconference is a great step to get back out there, where disruption is the norm.

So, what is the Unconference? Well, you're going to have to check a few links to find out, but if you want your content on the raw and ready side, this is the place to be. The Unconference is part of a broader initiative at Fall VON called VONCamp, which also includes the Innovator's Forum, of which I'll be a part.

Actually, I'll be active throughout the Unconference as well, but being a rather free-form forum, I'm not exactly sure what form that will take. However, if you pop in and out of the tracks, you're bound to find me. In the spirit of Web 2.0, this is an open, self-organizing event, where you're all welcome to have a say. As you can see from the VONCamp home page, anyone can sign on to the wiki and contribute ideas for topics that you'd like to see discussed. Well, what are you waiting for?

Having been away last week, and underwater with project work until now, I'm late to the party as usual. So, to get in the groove, I'm going to steer you to the links you need to see to get the full picture. Start first with colleague Thomas Howe, who is really the point man for the Unconference. Then you need to read Alec Saunders, and then, there's a nice wrap-up post from Jeff Pulver. I really don't have much to add at this point, other than it sure will be interesting.

Well, actually, I do have one more thing to say. A big shout-out to Carl Ford, Mr. Everywhere at Pulvermedia events. Is there a better community developer anywhere? What makes Carl tick? Let me know if you have a clue - coz I don't. Carl has been the driving force behind the Unconference and I know he'll be very happy seeing it come to fruition. Did you know Carl has a blog? By his count, he's up to 7 readers now, but that may include family and friends. So, please, do your part to get him into double digits so he can start selling banner ads! And if you want to connect with him via the broader Pulvermedia Community, you should sign up and see who's there aside from him and me.

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Fall VON - Unified Communications Conference

Finally getting a chance to post today. Got a few shout-outs to do for Fall VON. This one is for the Unified Communications Conference, one of a few conferences-within-a-conference taking place next week at the event.

My colleagues at UC - especially Jim Burton and Blair Pleasant - are media sponsors and more importantly are running most of the tracks. It's great to them getting a showcase like this to devote 2 full days to unified communications, and if this topic is high up on your radar, these sessions will be time well spent.

Lots of familiar names will be speaking, and if I wasn't so involved with the Unconference and Innovator's Track, I'd be spending most of my show time there. I'll certainly do my best to drop in on the sessions, and hope to see you there.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall VON - My Skype Mobility Session

I've got a bunch of posts coming about Pulvermedia's premiere event, Fall VON. It runs next Monday - Thursday in Boston, conveniently scheduled during the World Series, which should make for a very interesting and eventful week.

This post is to tell you about the session I'm moderating at the show on Wednesday at 11:15. The focus is on mobile applications for Skype, which I think is a pretty strong combination. We've got four companies speaking, all of whom have popular applications that will run on Skype - Mobivox, Truphone, iSkoot, and Shape Services. I'm especially happy to see Mobivox participating, as they just raised money, providing further validation for this space.

You can read more about the session as well as the speakers here, and I hope to see you there!

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Sox and Rox on Fox

Gotta like the sound of that, huh? Well, I'm not going to get into a long post-mortem, but so far, so good. I've been calling for this matchup since the postseason got underway, and now we're there. 4 wins away from another championship.

Things didn't look good last week, but I was still certain they could overcome a 3-1 deficit. In my mind, the storyline was clear - Cleveland wins if it's a 5 game series, but not 7. The Sox have too much playoff experience and depth to go down in 7. Their Achilles heel has been sustaining a team effort for more than a few games. It's been true all year, and it happened with Cleveland. Great start, but they ran out of gas after the draining loss in Game 2. Once Cleveland got by Papelbon in Game 2, they had a good chance of hanging on to win that game, and that's exactly what happened.

The Sox tend to get hot top-to-bottom for a few games, and then nada. But they ALWAYS bounce back - that's been their saving grace all year long. Too many good bats in the lineup to stay cold too long.

The Sox bats went cold in Games 3 and 4 - it's just the way this team goes. Pitching wasn't really the problem those games - Cleveland was getting all the bounces and the Sox weren't. We were hitting the ball hard and well, but not in the right places. It's not like Cleveland's pitchers were overpowering the hitters. One or two breaks going Boston's way, and they could have won those games. Especially Game 4 when Cleveland got all their runs in 1 inning. If that ball gets by Wakefield to Pedroia, it's a DP, and inning over. Instead, it glances off Wake's glove, all runners are safe, and next thing you know, they've got 7 runs.

In the end, the Sox bats came around when they had to, and it was a laugher the rest of the way. With Beckett pitching so well in Game 5, you knew then that the momentum had shifted back to us, and this time, to stay. Those breaks started working against Cleveland, and at that point, they never had a chance. All I can say is poor Kenny Lofton. He's come close a few times before, and has tasted a lot of bitter losses. He had clutch hits against both the Yankees and Red Sox, but in the end, he made a couple of bonehead moves that would have been game - and Series - killers had things stayed close going into the final innings - esp Game 7.

Well, here come the Rox, and we'll soon know if the long layoff kills their mojo - and if the Sox can keep it going. Gotta play well first 2 games since we lose Ortiz's bat at Coors Field, and who knows how the cold weather and/or snow will effect guys like Beckett. I've got a feeling he'll be slated to pitch 3 times, and that could be the difference. I know what I'll be doing Wednesday night. And if the Series streches out 6 or 7 games, guess where I'll be? Fall VON - yet again, Jeff's timing is impeccable!

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Skype and MySpace Hookup - Big-Time Community Building

First chance I've had to post about this. Yesterday, Skype announced they were partnering with MySpace, with a Beta version now available.

I'm a long-time Skype user - and fan - but am not yet doing the social networking thing - but soon. So, I can't really comment first hand about MySpace, but clearly, their base of 110 million "active" users is a big pool for Skype to wade into. Perhaps more important is MySpace's 25 million IM users, who should be well-primed to start using Skype for voice and video calling.

It's hard to see how this can't be a good thing for Skype. Financial details have not yet been provided, so I don't know if much cash or stock has traded hands. With Niklas Zennstrom's recent resignation, and Meg Whitman's more recent acknowledgement that eBay overpaid for Skype - with a large subsequent writedown on their investment - this move comes at a good time.

Going back to their early days, Skype talked about building communities and directory services as part of the growth plan. Even though they continue to add features, this really hasn't happened. Since then, others have come along to really define and own the social networking space. Given how quickly this space is moving, and with MySpace being displaced by Facebook as king of the hill, this strikes me as a good move on both sides.

Looking ahead, let's not forget that MySpace is Fox company. With consolidation still being a dominant trend, this partnership could lead to some interesting developments as it unfolds. Could Fox Interactive have further plans to integrate Skype with other media properties? If things go well, would Fox want to take Skype off of eBay's hands? Going a step or two to the right, with all their content, might Fox see this as a stepping stone working more closely with Joost? Just a few thoughts to ponder. But for now, the name of the game is getting MySpace IM users to start making calls with Skype, and I suspect we'll start seeing some strong pickup pretty quickly.

Oh, if you're still with me here, and want to learn more about how Skype and MySpace will actually work together, the ever-present Skype Journal is a good place to start.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

BroadSoft Connections 2007 - Podcast w/Scott Wharton

Day 2 of the Connections event was as good as Day 1, but I don't really have much to add in terms of impressions or conclusions. Just more of the same. The event has been really well run, and the caliber of speakers and content has been great. Seems like a good sense of balance and community among service providers and vendors, and BroadSoft looks to be doing things right, and giving back in nice way by putting on such a good event.

I did a podcast with Scott Wharton, BroadSoft's VP of Marketing, and his comments amplify a lot of what I've been saying here, as well as exploring more about the theme of this year's event - Scaling Up.

You can download the file here. It's about 6 minutes long.

You can also download it from my website and listen from there. Comments are welcome!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

BroadSoft Connections 2007 - More Highlights

Have a chance now to post some photos from Day 1, courtesy of my Nokia N95. When the lighting conditions are good - the photos are very sharp, and you really get the benefit of the 5.0 megpixel lens. The N93 had something like 3.0 MP, but could never get quite this level of quality under ideal conditions. How's that for a nice Nokia plug?


Mike Tessler's keynote

Scott Wharton setting the stage for the conference


Guy Kawasaki - key takeaway - "don't let the bozos grind you down!". If that needs explaining, drop me a line.....


Panel sessions throughout the day. They were all well done, and what I really liked was the mix of customers speaking. Really speaks well to the breadth of coverage BroadSoft has in the market today.


The Biltmore. This place is Art Deco heaven. I had no idea it had so much history, and for architecture fans like me, the photo opps are endless. Am just sharing a few here.

On the topic of The Biltmore, I've got to say that I don't think the inspiration of this place has rubbed off enough on the event itself. I didn't catch all of Mike Tessler's opening comments yesterday, but from what I did see, there was no reference made to the setting of the event.

I don't know who's doing all the messaging and writing for this event, but I think there was a missed opportunity here. Lots of strong themes to draw on. Could have talked about the "jewel in the desert", much like BroadSoft is trying to lead the industry forward. Or, like Art Deco, we're in a golden age right now of innovation that's finding expression in society at large. A real sense of what's possible when man starts to master the machinery/technology around him. Maybe I'm thinking about this too much, but if you host your event in such a fabulous place, why not take full advantage of it?

Interestingly, on the topic of living well, last night's dinner event was held at the Wrigley Mansion, which is Phoenix's version of San Simeon. Just an incredible 1920's home - a villa, really - built at the top of a hill overlooking the city. Wow - what a view - even though there wasn't much to see at night.

Anyhow, the theme last night was very much the Roaring Twenties, and it was pretty hard not to have a good time. That said, as we all know, the 1920's did not end well - unless you were a Yankees fan - so I couldn't help but see some shades of the dot-com era here - which obviously, nobody wants to repeat. Great party guys, and let's just say hopefully I'm not reading too much into this.

I'll stop talking now - enjoy the photos. Lots more of these, but this will have to do for now.





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Monday, October 15, 2007

BroadSoft Connections 2007 - Day 1

I just realized I haven't posted in a week - that's a long time for me. Time really flies when you're busy fulfilling projects, and now getting into mode for the BroadSoft Connections event.

Connections started this morning, with a very upbeat welcome from CEO Mike Tessler. I'd put BroadSoft at the top of my list for IPOs in waiting, and if you were looking for signs that they're ready, this is the place to be.

Following Mike, Guy Kawasaki gave one of his patented presentations, this one, focusing on the "Art of Evangelizing". Some of his content is familiar, but some was new, and I thought he did a great job tailoring his key messages to the audience. Based on the Q&A session, it was clear to me that he had led several people there to second guess themselves and realize that these ideas can really apply to their businesses. In that regard, I think BroadSoft's money was well spent on getting him to speak.

Overall, the scope of the event is quite large, and the setting is fantastic. The Biltmore is an amazing facility - you'd never think something like this could exist in the desert, but Frank Lloyd Wright had a real affinity for this place, and this is one of his landmark pieces. I'm saying all this because the theme of this year's Connections is about scaling up - taking the business to a higher level and bringing IP to a larger audience.

I'm doing a few different things here, including a couple of podcasts with BroadSoft executives. I sat down this afternoon with Scott Wharton, and we had a good chat about the event and where BroadSoft is focusing for growth.

Time's up - have to move on now. When time allows, I'll post the podcast as well as some photos, both of the event and wearing my tourist hat around the property.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Nervous Prediction - Sox and Rox - Sox in 6

So far, things are unfolding to plan. 3 neat and tidy sweeps in Round 1, and after last night, I can see the Yankees/Indians series going 5. But to me, that one's a total toss-up now. Indians made it look too easy in the first 2 games, and let's face it, they got some timely divine intervention in the 8th with the swarm of gnats that totally threw off Joba's game. Under normal conditions, he doesn't throw wild pitches like that, and I think Hafner was out, anyway (I think it was Hafner).

Anyhow, Cleveland got the breaks, and the Yankees were pushed back to the wall - which is when they play their best. Just wait --- A-Rod will bring his A-Game tonight, and if their bats keep booming, there will be a serious momentum swing, and Game 5 could be a formality. After all, NY did go 6-0 against the Tribe during the regular season.

In my last Red Sox post, I had conceded we were better off getting the wild card and letting Anaheim do the dirty work to take out the Yanks. Well, I'm glad I was wrong, as the Sox made it look easy - the Halos just don't have the bats, and like most teams, don't have a strong bridge to their closer, K-Rod. That's why I wanted to see the Yankees gone because they're the only team that comes close to the Red Sox to having a strong bridge. I think Joba is terrific, and the back end of their bullpen is every bit as good as the Red Sox.

At this point, I'd like to think the Sox would prefer to play Cleveland, but they really are strong, and with Clemens done, the Yankees rotation is vulnerable. I do like the Tribe, and my heart tugged when Damon hit that clutch 3 run homer yesterday to totally turn things around - shades of his clutch hitting in 2004. And again, when Trot Nixon made that fatal error on Cano's single that ended up clearing the bases and putting the game out of reach. Ugh. Two Sox mainstays doing Cleveland in when they had NY on the ropes early.

Regardless, I think the Red Sox can beat either team - so long as they play the way they are playing now. They have a habit of playing very well then playing very flat, and with almost a week layover, who know which team will show up Friday? In a way, we'd like to see the NY/Cleveland series go 5 and hope they tire each other out, right?

Presuming the Sox do their thing, it's not the Yankees I'm most worried about, and it's not the Indians either. Nope, it's the Rox. I've seen the Rockies as a dark horse ever since the Sox played them back in June, and when they opened the Phillies series by striking out the side, I could see they have the hot hand right now. Especially following their great winning run to make the playoffs and beat San Diego in that tie-breaker game. Pretty impressive.

While 3 games isn't much to go on, they definitely got the better of the Red Sox at Fenway in June. The Sox struggled to beat them 2-1 in the opener, and Wakefield pitched great. But they tore down Schilling in the second game, 12-2, and then handed Beckett his first loss of the season in the finale, 7-1. No big breakout innings, either - they just kept hitting and scoring runs, and Sox hitters just couldn't get a handle on Colorado's pitchers, none of whom are All Star material. And of course, they didn't have a DH, so on paper, we should have taken at least 2 out of 3.

I don't think the Rockies can outlast the Sox in a 7 game series, especially with us having home field/DH advantage. But I don't see a 4 game sweep either - like we did against what seemed to be a far superior Cardinals team in 2004. Who knows? All I can say is watch the Rox - they're better than you think, and the Sox will have their hands full, presuming both teams get that far. I think they will, and I'm saying now, Sox in 6.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Dialogic Acquires Cantata

I got a press release this morning announcing that Dialogic has acquired EAS Group, which in turn owns Cantata. That was news to me, and I haven't seen any commentary out there about this yet. Either people are busy with other things, or it's a non-event. Not sure.

Anyhow, you can read the release for yourself on Dialogic's website, or if you go to Cantata's site, there's a message directing you over to Dialogic's site, or a click-through to the same press release that's running on Dialogic's site. So, I guess it's official.

To be fair, I haven't followed Cantata as closely as I used to, but it's no secret they've had difficulty making their mashup of VoIP infrastructure companies work. Cantata is made up of three Massachusetts-based vendors - SnowShore, Excel Switching and Brooktrout. They've all had up and down rides, and at this point, it's clear that a better plan is needed. Consolidation has been a major trend this year in IP, and Dialogic's move is another step in that direction.

I can't really add much else right and will have to look into this a bit further. At first look, there are some parallels to what Radisys did by acquiring Convedia last year. Media servers are a common aspect to both moves, and this is an important nextgen building block, not just for everyday VoIP, but IMS as well.

Clearly Dialogic thinks there's a fit here, and maybe they're trying to become a consolidator now. That said, no financial details of the deal were provided, and it's not explained how Dialogic is funding the deal. The fact that not much is being said about this raises some questions, so it's hard to draw firm conclusions right now.

Of course, if you didn't know, Dialogic is based in Montreal, so it's worth noting that a Canadian company has come into the milieu and acquired an American company. Hate to say it, but it's probably a good time to be doing this given that the Canadian dollar is trading above the greenback. So, for a change, the economics are attractive for Canadian companies to do this.

Actually, with the US dollar being weak relative to other currencies, I wouldn't be surprised to see vendors from other parts of the world follow Dialogic to take advantage of their stronger currency. Time will tell. Meanwhile, it's Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, so I'm sure the Dialogic execs will be enjoying their turkey. Gobble gobble.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thomas Howe Company/Sylantro Announce Mashup Winners

As readers of my blog would know, The Thomas Howe Company is doing really great things in the mashup space, and are starting to make a name for themselves.

One of the ways they've done this is with Sylantro, where they jointly held a mashup competition at Sylantro's Global Summit customer event this week. I think it's a great idea, and Thomas has posted the results of the competition today to his company blog.

As the post explains, the overall winner was Infosys Technologies, and their "CallPal" mashup integrates personal calendaring/contact information with Sylantro's Synapps platform. Sounds like this was a great forum to demo all kinds of neat mashups, and you can get a better sense of that from Thomas's post.

While I've got you, I'd also like to draw attention to THC's new blog page, which recently replaced Thomas Howe's personal blog. So, if you're following this, make sure to update your links. I should also note that the THC blog has a very fun and engaging look and feel. They're using the European red telephone booth image as their icon, and every time you visit the home page, there's a rotation of really cool landscape images, with that phone booth icon dropped in. It's a fun way of saying that no matter where you are in the world, you can always be in touch, and if you want to talk about mashups, THC will be there for you.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Next Stop - BroadSoft Connections

It's in-between time for me in terms of the two major IP communications shows I usually attend this time of the year - TMC's ITExpo and Pulvermedia's Fall VON. I've got plenty of client work keeping me busy and I'm not trying to travel too much.

For now, I've got one travel event of note lined up during this time period, and it's a good time for me to put it on the blog. About 10 days from now, I'll be attending the BroadSoft Connections 2007 event in Phoenix. I've been once before, and they really do a great job. Am looking forward to catching up with their team and getting a close look at their roadmap.

BroadSoft is one of those companies that has stuck to their plan, and it's working quite well for them. If I had to pick an IPO-in-waiting in our space for 2008, they'd have to be at the top of the list, so this should be an especially good time to go.

I love going to industry events, but I enjoy attending vendor events almost as much. I've been lucky to get invites to several of these, for both Tier 1s and Tier 2s, and I always come away feeling the time was well spent. I'm sure Connections will be no different, and what's not to like about Phoenix? Hey, they may even still be playing baseball then.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

AT&T Global Services - Canadian Expansion

This afternoon I attended an Analyst and Media Roundtable with execs from AT&T Global Services. They are launching some new services for the Canadian large enterprise market this week, and I'll have another post about that in a day or so.

Today's session provided a pretty good overview of the scope of what AT&T Global Services has to offer, and when you're talking about providing global services to global companies, you come away with a greater appreciation of what goes into building and running a giant network like theirs.

I was especially impressed by the range of services they have around security and how complex this area is, particularly in terms of Web-based threats. Until today, I had no idea that there are cyber hackers out there who literally extort ransom money from large companies in exchange for not unleashing a destructive virus, worm, etc. to crash their network.

Pretty interesting stuff, and in the noisy world of open source, Web 2.0 and SaaS, it's easy to forget that the job of running large scale networks is much harder than it looks, and AT&T isn't the world's largest networking company for nothing.

AT&T management team - Jay Plummer, Andrea Messineo, Steven Taylor, Stan Quintana


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Skype Shakeup - Quick Reprise

When I picked up on Andy Abramson's post about Niklas Zennstrom's resignation from Skype yesterday morning, I couldn't find anything else posted out there in the blogosphere or mainstream press.

Of course, as the day went on, that changed big time, and the story got the full attention it deserved from many sources. If you're just jumping into this story, Skype Journal is as good a place as any to start, especially Jim Courtney's insightful running commentary yesterday and today.

I often speak with Business Week about stories like this, but was not reachable when the call came, so I was out of luck. However, I did speak later with Olga Kharif, who wrote a separate post about our chat on the Business Week Tech Beat page, and just thought I'd add that to mix.

There's been lots of talk that an IPO is the magic bullet for Skype, and I think there's a lot of merit to that. Or how about going to Yahoo, fresh off some interesting acquisitions in Zimbra and BlueLithium?

I still like my longshot idea the best - Apple. Just over two years ago, I posted that Apple would be a great fit for Skype - I'd call it Skapple, and together, they could have the ultimate mobile device --- the Skypod. That may not come to pass, but I'll tell you what --- the Google phone - which was cited in that 2005 blog post is just around the corner now, and it sure bears a lot of similarity.

While we're on the topic of heavily troubled VoIP plays, I was interviewed the other day by IT Business Edge about Vonage. Can anybody make a buck in this business?

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Niklas Zennstrom Steps Down From Skype

Got a very full plate today, but just had to share this news item. Andy Abramson has a post this morning about a major management shakeup at Skype. Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom has stepped down as CEO, and Skype's President, Henry Gomez is returning to eBay full time.

I'll have to revisit this later today, but for now, Andy's comments provide valuable perspective on what's going on. This is definitely big news for anyone who has been following Skype, and may indicate some major changes coming from eBay.

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Ottawa Venture and Tech Summit - Highlights

Last week I attended the Ottawa Venture and Tech Summit, and moderated a very lively session on video convergence. Got back Thursday night, and over the weekend I had a chance to upload some photos for this post.

Overall, I really enjoyed the summit, and from what I could tell, I was the only industry analyst there. This often happens for me as I get to participate in events that don't normally invite analysts, but sometimes I'm there by virtue of my quasi-media/press status because I blog. Whatever works.

I've noted before that Toronto is a pretty lonely place for me as there really isn't that much here in the way of VoIP-related vendors. We've got lots of great IP-based companies here, especially in the wireless space, but not so much for things I cover day to day. Lots of interesting companies elsewhere, though - especially Kitchener/Waterloo, Montreal and of course, Ottawa. So, it was really great to go to Ottawa and see some of these companies in person.

Telecom/tech was well represented at this summit, but there were many companies there from other sectors. After all, the audience was VCs, and they were there to hear funding pitches from Ottawa's most promising startups.

Companies of note for me were:

- Protecode (intellectual property protection for digital content developers)
- VoIPshield (security)
- Kleer (wireless audio semiconductors)- they also won best-in-show
- MYDYO (advanced search)- no URL available I'm afraid

All told, I thought the event was really well run, so that's a big hat tip to OCRI, and it was a great time of year to drive up to Ottawa. So long as they don't hold this in the dead of winter, I'm happy to go back any time.

I'll leave you with some photo highlights, courtesy of my Nokia N95.....


Opening reception - good networking and food, and the band was quite good too...


Paul Kedrosky's "Right From the Start" session...


Two companies doing their 5 minute pitch during the cocktail reception VentureDemo - tough gig....



Protecode CEO Mahshad Koogholi doing his pitch during one of the more structured sessions. This is one to watch.


View from my room - very tranquil, very Canadian, very Quebec, eh....


Fabulous blown glass lighting installation at the Lac Leamy Hilton. Not quite the Bellagio lobby, but pretty darned nice....


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