Friday, May 30, 2008

Om's Mobilize - Are One Day Events The Way To Go?

I've been meaning to get around to this for a few days now. Last Friday, Om Malik announced Mobilize on his GigaOm portal.

What is this? As outlined in Om's post, Mobilize is a one day conference taking place this August in San Francisco. As you can probably guess from the name, the focus is on mobile broadband and the implications for how the Web and mobile devices can enhance our everyday communications experiences. Hot topic for sure, and I'm sure it will be a great event.

This isn't GigaOm's first conference. They have another one day event coming in June - Structure08 - and you can peruse all the details in the Events section of their portal. It's a very impressive lineup and will make for a very packed day.

I'm not in touch with Om much these days, so I can't really comment on his endeavors into the show business. Sure, it's a logical extension for building out his business and his brand, and he's well positioned to do it. Judging by the topics he's picking and the caliber of speakers lined up, these should be first rate events.

I'd really like to focus more here on the concept of the one-day event. I recently posted about Life After VON, and stated I'll be doing ongoing posts for a bit about what this all means for the nextgen community. Most people have moved on from the VON fallout, and as much as many of us - myself included - would like to see it continue, the odds don't look good.

No doubt, Om's events have been in the works for some time, and it's debatable whether he's trying to fill the void created by VON. There is probably some truth to that, and it's also debatable whether VON's demise is actually creating a void. Communities have a way of self-organizing, and this crowd is tech savvy enough to figure out how to stay together under any conditions.

My question here is about the one day event and if this is the way to go. I've previously pondered about the viability of bigger events these days, especially with a weak economy and sky high fuel prices. These events have very long lead times for planning, are typically more dependent on exhibitor revenues than the gate, and by nature are big, complex and very expensive to run. When things like the economy start to struggle, the risk factor really spikes, and it's often very difficult to adapt to a changing environment.

One day events, by comparison, have much less to worry about. Much less risk - but definitely some - but also less reward. However, small can be beautiful, and these types of events are far more in tune with a rapidly evolving marketplace. There seem to be hot trends popping up every few months, and it's much easier for smaller events to stay ahead of the curve.

These events require much less of a time commitment for everybody - speakers, event planners, attendees, media, etc. - and the cost of attending is not very prohibitive. If the event is a success, it's easy to scale up next time around, especially if you know how to engage and retain your audience. On the other hand, if it's a flop, the losses are more manageable, and there shouldn't be too much loss of face.

Overall, it seems like the right recipe for the times. Of course, GigaOm isn't the only one doing these, and the biggest risk I suppose is the lower cost of entry. There are lots of other one day events, and that just means more shows out there to pick and choose from. It's hard to tell where the VON community will migrate to, and I'm sure a lot of people are trying to get them to their events.

I guess the next few months will tell the story. I'm not sure if the VON "community" is a cohesive bunch with shared values/visions that will migrate en masse to any given event --- or if it's more of a fragmented collective that disperses like a diaspora into new communities.

I'm more in the latter camp, where I think a core group of the voice community will continue going to shows like Voicecon, whereas others will make there way into other camps such as video, social networking, wireless, developers, Web 2.0, etc. I also say this because at its core, VON was about disruption and innovation. This is the real lifeblood for anyone trying to move things forward, and as voice became conquered by IP, these forces moved elsewhere. Some may want to stay true to the VON vision, but others have felt the vision was in other places, and I have no doubt they will find those places - or create them if need be. We saw evidence of that at eComm in March.

In any event, I suspect they will be more likely to support one day events as opposed to the larger, more horizontal shows like NXTcomm, at least in the short term. And who knows, out of the ashes of VON, perhaps we'll see yet another one day event? I'll leave that one for you to think about over the weekend...

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Cisco + Mobility - Get Used It

Here's another post I've been trying to get to this week.

These two words - Cisco and mobility - aren't always closely associated, but I think that's going to change sooner than later.

Last week I had an in-person briefing at Cisco Canada's offices about Motion, their new mobility initiative. It was a pretty informative session, and came in advance of their press release, which ran on Wednesday. As press releases go, it's on the long side, and I just wanted to share some of the key points here.

Cisco has had a major focus on mobility for a while, and Motion seems a pretty good manifestation of what they've done with acquisitions such as Orative and Navini. In true Cisco fashion, Motion focuses on the network and contends that it is the underlying networks and associated intelligence that make mobile applications so powerful for businesses - rather than the devices.

This may not be the message that handset vendors really want to hear, but Cisco is too big to ignore, especially when there's this much critical mass behind what they're doing. So, it's no surprise that their partner ecosystem includes most of the major business handset vendors - Nokia, RIM, Samsung and Palm. They definitely have the smart phone set here, along most of the other Tier 1's you'd expect - IBM, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, etc.

Cisco's view is that mobility poses a lot of problems for enterprises, and Motion seeks to address them. As the sheer number and variety of mobile devices proliferates, it gets much harder for enterprises to manage them. Combine this with the challenge of managing communications and data flows across mobile and fixed networks, and that's where Motion comes into the picture.

Aside from managing the networks and devices, Motion is very much about the applications. By delivering a higher level of centralization and network intelligence, Motion can support today's applications in a mobile environment, especially around collaboration. To do this, they talk about four key capabilities of their MSE - Mobility Services Engine:

Context-aware software. For business environments, their best examples involved sensors and RFID tags for things like monitoring temperature controls or asset tracking. The idea is that this data can be seamslessly transmitted across all types of networks, and the scenarios for mobility are almost limitless.

Intelligent roaming. We all know about the magic of dual mode handsets, but the key here is about maintaining centralized control of your devices, and perhaps more importantly, the data going in and out of them. Aside from delivering a consistent experience acrosss different networks, Motion allows Web-based and network-based applications to function seamlessly. The more we use these devices in roaming situations, the greater the need to support these applications with network intelligence.

Security. They call this Adaptive Wireless IPS, which seems clunky to me. Anyhow, we all know how important security is for enterprise mobility (intrusion detection, hacking, malware, etc.), and what's new here is how their security is centralized to work across all network environments and includes performance monitoring. I'm not steeped enough in security to say much more, but if you are, be my guest.

Secure Client Manager. This is another network-based tool for the provisioning of mobile devices across all types of networks. This is not my space, but I do see how this helps IT better manage broadband connectivity across devices not tethered to their wireline network, especially as the number and variety of mobile devices that need to be supported grows.

All told, from my point of view, Cisco is thinking way beyond voice for mobility. They're addressing some real pain points for companies with an increasingly global focus, an increasingly mobile workforce, and a ubiquitous need for anywhere/anytime broadband that's reliable, easy to use and supports whatever applications end users need to do their work.

Gee, I think I've said it all there, although none of this is really new. The main takeaway is that for Cisco, it's all about the network, stupid. We may have our smart phones, but in the enterprise world, they're nothing without an intelligent network. And of course, mobility is just a natural extension of the corporate LAN, which Cisco dominates, so for many enterprises, this is a nice add-on to what they're already familiar with.

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Cisco�s recent Motion vision announcement (and related �phase 0� product announcement of a glorified location-based WiFi controller) raises more questions than it answers.

But the biggest question in my mind is that Motion is an architectural no-man�s land.

See why:

Posted by: Tony Rybczynski, Nortel at June 10, 2008 12:15 PM

Thanks for the comment Tony and the link to your post. Nice comeback and I appreciate your adding to the dialog here. Would be interesting to see if there's any reply from the other side.

Posted by: Jon Arnold at June 10, 2008 11:46 PM

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jajah, My Latest Article, Alec's Squawk Box, Web Talkification

How's that for a title? And now I'm going to skillfully - I hope - tie all these things together.

Jajah is the common element to all the items in the title of this post, and let me explain why. Today Jajah got a lot of attention from Alec Saunders, myself, and by extension our audiences. Here we go...

1. My latest column for Service Provider Views on TMCnet ran today. It focused on - guess who - Jajah. If you've been following my columns there, you'll know why - and you haven't, well, now is as good a time as any to read 'em. Here's the link to the article, which includes an interview with Jajah's CEO, Trevor Healy.

2. Trevor was the subject of today's Squawk Box podcast, hosted as usual by Alec Saunders. It runs about 45 minutes, and covers a lot of ground, but is focused mainly on today's release of some interesting research done by Jajah about what's on the minds of carriers. I touched on this as well in my article, and the research certainly validates a lot of the FUD that's preoccupying carriers these days. You can also read more about the report highlights in this morning's press release, which they were nice enough to cite me in.

3. Yesterday, Alec Saunders had a terrific post built around Jajah as a lead-up to today's podcast. More importantly, though, Alec expanded on Jajah to a broader discussion about the "talkification of the Web". The main idea echos something I've been saying for a while - Web-based voice apps like Skype and GoogleTalk aren't really competitors to telcos. In a simple sense they are, but more importantly, they're making the voice pie bigger.

As Alec illustrates, as the price of voice falls, usage increases, and guess what - some conversations are more valuable than others. Very true. There are calls that have to be carrier-grade, and we're willing to pay for those --- and there are calls where we're happy to trade off a bit of quality for less cost or free.

In short, I'm with Alec - Web-based calling isn't going away any time soon, and neither is the PSTN. This is the new world of Telco 2.0 and carriers cannot turn the clock back. Jajah has read the tea leaves very well, and is in a great position be a telco's best friend - or nightmare.

So, there's good reason why Jajah is getting all this attention now, and hopefully I've tied all the pieces together here. Let me know if I'm missing anything, and while you're at it, please share your thoughts.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Teleforum - Web 2.0 and Impact on SMBs

Colleague Mike Fox is a local tech/software recruiter, and has recently started doing a series of Teleforums to create some thought leadership around his practice. I'm big fan of this type of outreach, and I've blogged about Mike's teleforums before.

I always seem to have a conflict when these come up, but not this time. So, I'm just putting the word out there that his next teleforum is this Friday - the 30th at 1pm EST. The title is self-explanatory -- Web 2.0: Its Implications and Use In Small and Mid-Sized Technology Firms, so if you're interested in Web 2.0 and what it means for SMBs, this should be time well spent.

Mike's guests will include Eli Singer of Segal Communications - the "exclusive Canadian representative" of Facebook. I'm not what that really means, but I hope to find out on the call. His other guest is Cindy Gordon, CEO and Founder of Helix Commerce.

I'll be on the call, and hope you can join us. To find out more or to register - no charge - just check out this link.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Canadian Telecom Market - Busy Time

I've been too tied up to post lately, but wanted to quickly draw your attention to two big stories playing out this week in the Canadian telecom space.

First is the AWS - Advanced Wireless Spectrum - auction that officially got underway today. I haven't had time to track it closely, but if you want to keep score, you can track the results at the Industry Canada website. It's also being widely covered in the business press, and blogging colleague Mark Goldberg is a good place to go for ongoing commentary.

There will be lots of drama around the process, both for those with winning bids as well as those who drop out. Some bidders have been quite secretive, not wanting to tip their hand against the Big Three who dominate the wireless market here - Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus. Once the dust settles there will be all kinds of winners/losers implications, and some stock speculators will no doubt do very well. While it's always good to encourage competition, I've been skeptical that the Canadian market can really support more wireless players long term. Time will tell, but it will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out, and I'll comment again as time permits.

Second is the status of privatizing BCE, our largest telco. This has been an ongoing drama, with the latest wrinkle being quite interesting. There has been a contentious issue with bondholders who feel they will come out on the short end under current market conditions. BCE had a chance to settle with them earlier, but took their chances and passed when it would have cost them very little. Now, the courts have ruled in favor of the bondholders and the cost to settle will be much higher and could kill the deal. I'm not a legal expert, but this is a lower court ruling, and BCE is trying to get it overturned by the Supreme Court in time for the transaction to be consummated. There are no guarantees here, but if BCE does not get their way, the deal is in jeopardy of falling apart.

There are many implications from such a scenario, with the most interesting one being the possibility of Telus stepping in to take over BCE. Telus was in the mix right from the beginning and I posted about this last year. They weren't a suitable candidate then for a number of reasons, but if the current deal fails, they will probably be the only exit available for BCE - but probably at a better price now. Interesting scenario, and one that would definitely shake things up here. With Telus being an offspring of Bell Canada, there are some strong parallels to how SBC acquired AT&T a few years back.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

IP Convergence TV Update - New Article

Just a quick post wearing two hats - Editor of the IP Convergence TV portal, and Captain Canada.

One of the things I most enjoy about my role with the portal is developing a pool of thought leaders who like to write and want to share their views. I'm always on the lookout for people who can provide personal and informed perspectives on converged communications that speak to the needs of service providers.

Over the past few weeks, I've added a number of new contributors to the Guest Opinions feature of the portal, some of whom will be familiar to you - Peter Csathy, Luca Filigheddu, Brough Turner and Ike Elliott. Our latest contribution was posted today, and I'm happy to say it's our first Guest Opinion piece from a Canadian contributor. His name is Brady Gilchrist, and he's based here in my town, Toronto. We've become friendly recently, and he's very forward thinking about digital media.

I really like his ideas, and for this article, Brady provides a highly personal take on how he uses all the communications tools that many of us live by these days. His take may be familiar to you and me, but it's an important message for service providers to get, as Brady emphasizes the reality that many end users demand a highly personalized experience, and there is no single, integrated provider that can deliver it. Service providers need to be flexible and agile to stay in the game, and they'll never win business from the likes of Brady if they try to control the experience. Easier said than done, for sure, but we're in a new world now and there's no turning back.

Welcome to the fold, Brady, and we'd love to hear your thoughts on his article.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cisco Networker Solutions Forum Highlights

Today I attended Cisco's Networker Solutions Forum, here in Toronto. The content and the audience was heavily focused on networking and IT, which is not really my thing. However, it's a great opportunity to see what Cisco is focusing on and how well they support the various communities in attendence. There were some 2,000 people there, and for Canada, that's a big community. To me, that alone speaks to the strength of Cisco's presence in Canada. It wasn't as flashy or star-studded as their U.S. events, but still pretty impressive nonetheless.

The day was packed with presentations - mostly technical, so a bit dry for me, but everything I saw was well done. I took in sessions on Unified Communications integration, the Connected Home, virtualization, and SIP trunking. They had a Solutions Showcase with big names like Bell, Allstream, HP and Dimension Data. IBM had a minor presence, and it was a bit surprising to not see Telus there.

They had some exec keynotes from Nitin Kawale, the new President/CEO of Cisco Canada, CTO Jeff Seifert and Allstream's Marketing SVP, Eric Fletcher. Lots of familiar and topical themes - green IT, virtualization, video, collaboration, unified communications and contact centers. No surprises there - just reinforcing the big messages their partners, resellers and integrators need to hear.

Not much else to add, but I'll share a few photos from the day.




Nitin Kawale


Solutions Showcase




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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Service Provider Views - Jajah, Ribbit and Ifbyphone

My latest article for Service Provider Views was published yesterday on TMCnet. The focus this time was on some variations of the platform play as a path that service providers can take in the Web 2.0 world.

In particular, I touch briefly on Ifbyphone, Ribbit and Jajah. They're all different, and illustrate varying degrees of what a platform play might look like. It's early days for all of them, but I think there will be a place in the market for each of these models.

In my view, Jajah represents the most complete solution as platform plays go, and they'll be the sole subject of my next article, including an interview with their CEO, Trevor Healy. As always, your comments on my column are welcome.

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Next Stop - Toronto - Cisco Networkers Solution Forum

Last week - Nortel. This week - Cisco. Next week - Microsoft. Seems like a different vendor event/activity every week lately, but that's a good thing as it keeps me connected to what the majors are doing. I spend a lot of time around Tier 2's and startups, but it's important to stay current with the big players for a balanced perspective.

For a change, this week's travels are local, which is great. I actually have two unrelated Cisco things going on back to back. Tomorrow I'm attending the Networkers Solution Forum out at the Congress Center, and Friday, I'm down at Cisco Canada's offices getting an update on their mobility plans. Should be a good week for catching up on Cisco, and I hope to post some highights tomorrow.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Interview with Ariel Barlaro, TV Telco Latam

I recently conducted a Q&A interview with Ariel Barlaro, the Editor of TV Telco Latam about the state of video and IPTV in Latin America.

If you're interested in how this part of the world is adopting video and IPTV, you'll find this wortwhile. Ariel has just published a study on this market, and can speak with authority, especially about regional trends, which are quite varied.

I conducted this interview wearing my Editor hat for IP Convergence TV, and it was posted there last week. We're just coming out of a long weekend here in Canada, and I wanted to draw attention to the fact that TMCnet was nice enough to publish the interview as a Feature Article on Friday on their Triple Play Channel. So, in case you missed it on IPCTV, you can now find it on TMC's site. That said, I sure hope you come to our portal, as the quality of content is very high and the range of thought leadership is quite diverse.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

The New Nortel - Avatars, Mashups and no PBXs

I was in Ottawa on Wednesday/Thursday, attending Nortel's Futures 2008 media/analyst event. This doesn't happen every day for me, but we were told that our group was the first to see any of this stuff outside of Nortel. So, for a change, I've got a bit of a scoop here. I'm not going to tell you everything we saw, but we received enough guidance from Nortel for me to say that the contents of this post are ok with them.

You may be skeptical to hear about the "New Nortel", but that was definitely the point about us being there. Our job is to get the vision of what's coming and what's possible as Nortel tries to re-cast itself in the post-PBX era. I don't think we ever heard any mention of PBXs or softswitches, although they haven't exactly disappeared.

Not everything we saw was totally new, but there was certainly enough on display to conclude that Nortel still has a lot to offer, and their R&D remains first rate. There is plenty here to write a great case study about how to transform a company from being hardware-based to being software-centric.

With that, I'm going to share some highlights here along with some photos of the day.

- Project Chainsaw demo (w.a) - this was the first demo, and the most impressive. This was Nortel's vision of how really good quality audio can enhance a Web-based experience. They've taken voice as a core concept to improve upon, and did a great job demonstrating how much better 44 Khz stereo voice sounds than 8 Khz mono. No surprise there, but they really brought this to life with two specific applications.

The first was ecommerce, where they showed a virtual shopping experience for Dell computers. Unlike Second Life, where you can do similar things in their world, this scenario was hosted directly on Dell's site, so the customer stays in your domain rather than leaving the Dell site to do this somewhere else. By combining highly interactive avatars with clean graphics and great sound, the experience feels very life-like and very social - which they feel is key for using virtual environments to drive ecommerce. I really liked this, as it solves a real business problem, as opposed to just creating a cool social environment for people to hang out in. To me, this is how you monetize the web.

The second example was collaboration, which is another aspect of Project Chainsaw. At first we thought this was a secret codename, but they're fine with us sharing it with you. The intended message is for the world to see that the new Nortel is still cutting edge, and intends use brute force - of innovation - to sever the past and move into the future. Time will tell, but there's no doubt this will create a lot of noise and buzz once it hits the market.

The Chainsaw demo was actually very good, and a convincing way to convey the power of virtual collaboration environments. It was very much like Second Life, but in this case, just among Nortel employees - real ones. So, we got to interact real time with Nortel avatars whose virtual presence was in front of us, but were physically located somewhere else. It's a bit surreal, and while the avatars are cool, they really serve as virtual placeholders to make the interaction feel social. What makes the experience effective is the spatial audio, which mirrors how real social interactions occur. The volume changes accordingly as the avatars move about, walking up to you, or moving away, including the pitter patter of their feet.

What's really neat is that you can participate from any broadband connection. Of course it looks best on a big screen in the conference room (see my photos below), but you can run this on your PC, and yes, your mobile device. To me, this is the real power of Chainsaw, as you extend the experience much further than a videoconferencing or telepresence session. Why? Simply because it's virtual, and the focus is on the audio not the video. Avatars don't require nearly as much bandwidth than real time video, and the technical challenges around synching up voice and video aren't there.

They really see this as the future of communications and collaboration - so much so that they believe the PBX will disappear altogether once enterprises see the power of this concept. It's definitely Web 2.0 and Voice 2.0 and many other things. To me, it's a bit like how music videos have impacted how we relate to music. Before video, we LISTENED to music - on our stereos, tape recorders, the radio, clubs, etc. With the advent of video, especially on TV, I hate to say it, but nobody listens to music any more - we WATCH it.

Don't get me started on this one - that's the topic of a blog unto itself - but you get the idea. It's the same thing here - Chainsaw is primarily a visual experience, but the real communication is verbal - that's how people are really engaging and getting things done. Like MTV, it's a new kind of experience, but one that I think has a lot of potential. How this impacts their relationship with Microsoft and the whole Unified Communications landscape remains to be seen, but it's always great to see something that's a departure from the conventional approaches to communications.

They also talked about "accidental collaboration", a term which I really love. That was the idea where these environments allow people to be together in the same place and time, where in real life this hardly ever happens. So, you're having a scheduled conversation with one peer, and then you notice that someone else you've been wanting to connect with was is there too. Now you have a chance to actually engage. It may be a virtual environment, but the conversation - using Nortel's voice technologies - is very real.

I'll finish up this disussion with a few references. Colleague David Greenfield is more familiar with these virtual community technologies than me, so I'll steer you to his post about this demo and additional commentary.

Next - if you've followed my blog for a while, you may recall a post from last year about DiamondWare, another company I got a very early sneak peek at before most anyone else. There are many parallels to Chainsaw, and if you're interested in the space - especially for gaming - you'll find my post about them to be of interest. And if you don't believe me, just ask the Nortel team. We talked offline about this, and yes, they're quite familiar with DiamondWare.

Rich Tehrani also noticed the parallels, and added a few things to the mix in his post, as he also had some early exposure to DiamondWare. Ok, let's move on.

- We saw a few demos around Unified Communications and desktop applications, all of which enforce the notion that Nortel is clearly moving away from hardware to software, and is focused on the end user like never before. Highlights included ACE - Agile Communications Environment - and a presence-based mashup they created for a client in 4 weeks that integrates a Nortel plug-in with Yahoo Messenger. We heard a lot of talk around Web-based applications and a movement to create a developer sandbox. Over the course of the day, I have to say much of this was consistent with what I've been seeing from other Tier 1 vendor analyst events. They're all embracing the end user, applications and developers, which is great news for innovation. Of course, there's the possibility they'll all come to market with the same solutions, but no doubt they're monitoring each other closely to ensure this doesn't happen.

- Moving along to yet another locale within the campus, we saw a really engaging healthcare demo. All the big vendors are building vertical market solutions, and Nortel is right there with them. They ran us through a variety of scenarios where people and things can be tracked real time inside a hospital using RFID tags and mobile devices. On a basic level, it's about asset tracking to make sure that patients or hospital beds don't go missing. But it's also about workflow improvement, with the ability to monitor patient needs and ensure they get the right treatment by the right people at the right time. Very neat stuff, and it's hard imagine why any hospital wouldn't want to be working this way today.

- The Telepresence demo was next, and after Project Chainsaw, this was the highlight of the day. I've been a fan of TP since Cisco came to market with such a big splash in 2006. You might want to think they invented TP, but far from it. They've done a lot with it, but there are many other solid offerings, including Nortel's. Whenever you see TP in action, you can't help but be impressed, and this was as good as anything I've seen. Nortel provides all the network services and management for this, but the hardware is Polycom's. I don't have a problem with this - I think it's a great combination, and being standards-based, they're not just locked in with Polycom. Nortel also supports and re-sells Tandberg and Microsoft's Roundtable, so they have many ways to participate in this growing market space.

Telepresence is one of those things you have to experience first hand to appreciate, and I just want to add a few things that really stood out for me.

- Nortel was refreshingly candid about the realities around TP. The demo was led by Hugh McCullen - GM Multimedia Services - and he said that Telepresence is not plug and play. That was really great to hear since it looks so easy when you see it. Of course, Nortel needs to say that since they don't make the hardware, and they need some form of value-add. Fair enough, but Hugh walked us through a long list of what they bring to manage the service and deliver a great QoE - Quality of Experience.

- Their TP sessions can be recorded. Not sure if all the other solutions do today, but they didn't earlier on. By recording the sessions, Hugh talked about how TP helps video become an "information asset". Sounds a bit geeky, but I can see the value of that.

- The TP studio we sat in had a stadium-style layout rather than the conventional boardroom that I've seen elsewhere. It's a bit different experience since you're not sitting as close to the screen, but it's still very effective.

- The tabletops we watched from had pop-up PC screens embedded in the tables. Very neat design. When not in use, the desktop is flat, but when you need the screen to follow a presentation while the speaker is talking, the monitors pop up, like the overhead screens in airplanes. I've got a photo of this down below.

- Nortel's TP comes in two flavors - 2 screens or 4 screens - photos of both are below. This was really neat to see, and with 4 screens, it's even more impressive. Seems simple, but this is another way to differentiate. Cisco is 3 screens, so we'll do you one better with 4. Ok. A bit like Gillette - I think we're up to 5 blades for shaving now. I sure hope TP doesn't get quite this out of hand.

- Finally - the TP room can be used for other things. How simple was that? The Cisco rooms I've seen are dedicated 100% to TP - you can't really use them for anything else. As mentioned, this room was stadium-style, but there was also a functional conference table down at the front.

One more thing. I've mentioned Cisco a few times, and for sake of comparsion, I'll refer you to my post about their demo, including a video clip.

I'm going to stop now. There were other demos too, including their recently launched Unified Communications solution for SMBs, and their 4G WiMax solution. I think you get the idea - lots of things coming down the pipe from Nortel, and I'd say they're in as good a position as any incumbent vendor to make the transition to the 2.0 world. Definitely time well spent, and I feel lucky to be included in this early look at what's coming. Hopefully with this post, you'll be getting the next best thing. I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially if this has changed your perceptions of Nortel.

Nortel campus in Ottawa


Glass cupola - great symmetry. Hard to tell if you're looking up into the spire, or down from the tip of the peak.


Great way to start the day. Mike Z wasn't there - he rarely is - and the Nortel AR team had us camp out there.


Feels a bit like a palace coup. Nortel's Sami Asiri getting our agenda updated using Mike Z's desk. Sure was comfortable there...


Andrew Lippman from MIT's Media Lab, giving us more perspective on what Nortel brings to voice in the 2.0 world, using Mr. Z's whiteboard


A few of our demos took place in the Executive Briefing Center. Even based on Ottawa, this sure looks like an American company, huh? Up here, we would spell that "Centre". That's Andy Lippman with Rich Tehrani.


Project Chainsaw


Unified communications demo


Healthcare vertical demo


Enroute to the telepresence demo - felt like the beginning of Get Smart, going through all the secret doors...


Two screen demo


Pop-up monitor


Four screen demo


WiMax demo


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Posted by jonarnold at May 19, 2008 08:41 AM


Nice posting, captured the event well. It's amazing what a commitment to research can do to move the ball downfield. As a "swing candidate" -- I am both at the Media Lab and a visiting fellow at Nortel, naturally, I am a bit of partisan. But in spite of that bias, I think we are all now poised to think beyond telephones into the richer world of social audio and a realtime web.


Posted by: Andrew Lippman at May 21, 2008 09:16 AM

Friday, May 16, 2008

Life After VON

These are three words I never expected to be stringing together, but for those of us with some VON history, it�s pretty clear now that we need to be thinking this way.

Several bloggers, myself included, have been commenting about the messy scenario that has sadly been unfolding around Pulvermedia over the past few weeks. I say �sadly� from a personal perspective, but also for anyone who has been touched by the VON experience and community over the past few years. It�s safe to say that includes just about everyone in my circle, and probably yours too.

I�m sad because VON was one of the few constants in my calendar that really mattered, and as we�ve all figured out by now, it was as much for the community as it was the vision we were looking to hear. I�m also sad because Jeff gave me a great opportunity to transition into independent consulting in 2005, and participating in the shows was one of the best ways for me to give back.

The �facts� and post mortems have come and gone, and I�m not going to go there. It�s pretty clear that the Pulvermedia folks are either not willing or able to comment, so aside from Carl Ford�s recent short but telling sign-off from last week, we really have little of substance to go on. So I�m not going to speculate on whether the show or the VON brand will survive, and what Jeff will do next. To keep things simple, though, I�ll steer you to Thomas Howe�s post from this week, which elegantly summarizes the sense of loss that I and many other have felt with VON�s demise. Not much for me to add, really, so I�ll leave that sentiment now, and move on.

The analyst in me has to ask �why� and try to understand where we go from here. Why did VON come undone? I don�t have the definitive answer, but it�s certainly a mix of a few things, including internal management, unfortunate timing, impatient investors, lack of internal vision/focus and changing market conditions.

Like many of you, I attend and participate in lots of industry events, and change is a constant. Show business is risky business, and it�s just as easy to make a ton of money as it is to lose a ton of money. Perhaps more importantly, all shows have a life cycle, and unless you stay ahead of the curve, it�s very tough to survive long term. VON had a fantastic 10 year run, and by any standard, they�re in the hall of fame � if there is such a thing for shows.

More importantly, they were there at the beginning for VoIP, and arguably, first mover advantage gave them a seat at the table for shaping the space, virtually ensuring that VON was a must-do event for anyone who was serious about this technology. Disruption and innovation were constants in the VON lexicon, and there was no better place to not only learn about it, but to create it and make it real. To me, that was the magic of VON, especially at a time when VoIP was dangerous, and you couldn�t be middle of the road about it. You either embraced it or feared it.

In the last few years, though, the market has evolved considerably, and VoIP is no longer a four letter word. It�s become so mainstream that the early disruptors and innovators like VocalTec, Net2Phone, Vonage, Primus or Voiceglo are either marginal players or historical footnotes. There�s nothing to fear anymore, and the name of the game is about doing business, not reinventing the world. In this environment, it became increasingly difficult for VON to remain leading or bleeding edge. VoIP had matured and was becoming much like any other communications technology.

Guy Kawasaki talks about jumping curves as a strategy for longevity. You have to recognize when the next innovation curve is coming and be prepared to bet the farm on that shift. Cisco likes to talk about market transitions, and they�ve done a great job catching some of these, such as video conferencing and video, and are reinventing their business around them. It seems to me that VON has not been able to do that. The recent shift to video was the right idea, but it�s a different market than VoIP, and perhaps more importantly, it�s a different community, and it doesn�t look like the VON experience translated that well into that space.

So, there seem to be just two scenarios here. Either you continue to serve a dwindling market with a scaled down event, or you jump the curve and move to the next transition. The former is tough to do, and is a bit like the incumbent telcos trying to squeeze every last dime out of their landline LD customers. Not much innovation or disruption happening there. For the latter, you first have to identify what the next curve is, and then figure out how to reach the community around it. And guess what � if you don�t, someone else will. Law of the jungle, I guess.

This brings me to eComm2008 - Emerging Communications Conference - and a theme I�m going to revisit over the next while. There�s a lot of ground to explore here, and as mentioned in one of my posts about this event, established shows like VON strike me as being a bit like the PSTN. Before going any further, I�m not trying to single out VON here. My thinking applies to any established show, and could be said equally for the likes of IT Expo or NXTcomm. I see a lot of PSTN in these events in that they are relatively large, relatively inflexible and relatively expensive to operate. These shows are difficult to reinvent, although VON has certainly tried with things like the Unconference.

The important thing for me is that these shows really aren�t the locus for disruption and innovation, so jumping to the next curve is going to be tough to do. This begs the question � what is the equivalent of VoIP today? There are lots of things out there to consider � video, social networking, mashups, mobility, Web services, etc. Tons of innovation and disruption happening here, but the community isn�t really going to these established events. So where are they going then? That�s a great question, and anyone attending eComm will tell you a lot of them were there. They�re going to other events too, no doubt, but given how eComm was created from next to nothing, this tells you that there�s still a hunger for this type of community. There are still lots of people out there who see not only evolution happening, but revolution, and they want to be part of it.

In short, the VoIP chapter has largely been written and the smart money has moved on � jumped curves in search of the next wave. I still think there are many of these waves, and have no doubt that events like eComm will thrive as they seek to address them. Why couldn�t VON do that? Well, I go back to my PSTN analogy and say they took things as far as they could, but the market has moved on, and has found other forums and communities for the next curves.

I�ll leave it at that for now, and welcome your comments. Lots more to talk about, and I�ll have another post along these lines soon.

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Posted by jonarnold at May 16, 2008 09:23 AM


In order to stimulate interest and thereby survive, scheduled events have to remain on 'the edge', pushing new ideas and concepts.

Sadly the commercialization of VON changed the focus away from the 'edgy' technologies to focus on those with the money to pay for floor space and airtime. This done, even the most skilled community builders like Jeff Pulver and Carl Ford could not maintain momentum.

VON has played a major part in my life - I met virtually all of my current circle of closest and most valued colleagues and associates at VON; concepts, plans and relationships born there have grown into real potentially world changing organizations.

So, what does the future hold? Well, the commercial entity that administered VON may have self-destructed, but the hard core of the community still lives on and is still out there, communicating and doing business. Events such as eComm, Cluecon, Astricon and others yet to be concieved will continue to act as rallying points for this community. Also, Jeff Pulver is still Jeff Pulver; one of his offspring may have demised, but the energy and capabilities of the source remain undiminished. I have faith that he will be back with something new and exciting that is not VON, but which will end up playing an essential role in getting like-minded peple together to build and maintain the community.

RIP VON - killed by people whose aim was to make money, not build community.

I look forward with great anticipation to the next phase in the continued evolution of stuff on 'the edge' and the community of people who innovate and challenge established concepts.

Posted by: James Body at May 17, 2008 02:19 AM

Hi Jon,

I have read all ur blogs since months, great work but little bit too long for us who are working in this branch. Fast and precious, it is great if they are reduced to 1/2 or 2/3.

The contents are super!

Posted by: Lebing at May 18, 2008 08:32 AM

I think the words "remain leading or bleeding edge" sums up your comments nicely. That, coupled with the fact that organizing a successful tradeshow year-in and year-out is a 24-month endeavor if you want to stay on top of industry changes, makes for a challenging undertaking. NXTcomm08 (and 09) is trying to all of the above.

Posted by: Neil Gaffney at May 19, 2008 03:26 PM

Does this mean there is no FallVON in Boston this year (2008)?

Posted by: Neil at May 26, 2008 10:52 PM

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Podcast on IP Telephony with Carl Weinschenk

Colleague Carl Weinschenk launched his portal, IT-Finance Connection about a month ago, and it's a great resource for anyone wanting to better understand the dynamics between the CIO/CTO and CFO/COO worlds.

Increasingly, they need to work together, and Carl has picked an important area to focus on here. Carl is basically the Publisher, and in addition to his blog posts and podcasts, there's a newsletter you can sign up for. Better yet, if you're an advertiser wanting to address this space, I'm sure Carl would love to hear from you!

Earlier this week, I was Carl's first podcast guest, and we talked about issues around how IT departments need to position VoIP and IP telephony to their finance people. My key message was that these technologies need to viewed beyond just saving money on phone calls, and that the ROI model is different from the capital intensive PBX model they've been using for so long. And of course there are the productivity benefits that begin with VoIP as a building block. Finally, on a practical level, IT needs to explain that if it's done right, VoIP should be pretty seamless to adopt, and end user behaviors won't need to change for their everyday communications.

The podcast was posted last night, and I hope you give it a listen. Carl conducts a nice interview, and I love the intro music. If you like what you hear, please leave a comment on the portal - I know Carl will appreciate it.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Next Stop - Ottawa

I recently had a stretch of 4 events in 3 weeks, which is a lot for me, so it's been great to be around for a bit. This week, though, I have a short trip to Ottawa where I'm attending an event by Nortel for the analyst/blogger community. I'll be flying to Ottawa tomorrow and will be there all day Thursday.

Am looking forward to catching up with Nortel and to see how they're positioning themselves in a world where incumbent vendors are struggling to find terra firma - if that's even possible any more.

Should be quite interesting, as we'll be seeing presentations and demos about what what they're up to with virtual reality conferencing, mashups, Unified Communications, social media and vertical market applications. These things are quickly becoming table stakes for all major vendors, and I'll share my thoughts once I'm there and get the ok from Nortel as to what we can discuss publicly.

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Posted by jonarnold at May 13, 2008 09:07 AM


Does anyone have experience of mobile broadband coverage in Cornwall? I travel down their regularly and am thinking about signing up with a mobile broadband provider but have heard coverage can be poor in some rural areas. I�ve been looking at various different mobile broadband providers here: and am leaning towards Vodafone.

Any advice would be great. I don�t want to sign up and find I�m paying for a product that doesn�t work!

Posted by: Caroline at May 14, 2008 07:27 AM

Monday, May 12, 2008

Skype-O Killer... que'st que c'est...

I can't seem to face up to the facts,

I'm tense and nervous and I can't relax...

Recognize the lyrics? Of course you do. But if you don't, it's from Psycho Killer, an early tune from one of my fave bands, the Talking Heads.

Like the title of my post? Clever, huh? Starts making even more sense when you start with the lyrics (did you pick up that other subtle Heads innuendo?). Those first two lines say it all for me when it comes to this Skype-killer storyline that started early last week with Om Malik's post.

Big telcos are a bit on edge these days, to say the least, and even though they still have the subscribers, their hold on reality is becoming increasingly tenuous. Fa fa fa fa fa, fa fa fa fahh...

I generally stay away from these big news items as I'm usually way too slow off the mark to comment on a timely enough basis. This time around was no exception, and there sure has been a lot of posting about it over the week. Some of it has been on the positive side, such as Erik Lagerway or Gary Kim, and some of it has dismissed what the telcos are thinking as ridiculous, as with Rich Tehrani.

A review of these posts tells the story, but here's the basic idea. Big telcos like AT&T, British Telecom and Deutsche Telecom are supposedly working together to come up with a common platform of their own to support wireless VoIP. It's a dream for the peering community, because they need the volumes of the incumbents make their exchange platforms economically viable.

Anyhow, this story is more about the intended losers than the winners. The real target is Skype, and if there's any substance to this grand plan, it's pretty strong validation that Skype still matters and is seen as a real threat to the incumbents. They may see Skype as siphoning profitable minutes of their networks, but I see it more about making the pie bigger for everyone. Long term, we all know that voice is going to zero, and the name of the game is connectivity and applications.

Whether this consortium comes together or not, the story raises an underlying issue about the dual-edged nature of Skype. Its early runaway success was about ease of use, which was due in large part to Skype's secret sauce, so to speak. Their technology was - and is - proprietary, making it difficult to copy, but likewise for integrating with other solutions.

Skype has managed to sustain its incredible growth with a proprietary solution while most of the telecom world has moved to adopt SIP, a standards-based protocol that allows for seamless interoperability. As SIP increasingly becomes the de facto protocol for VoIP, once big telcos cross that line and agree to peer their traffic, they will potentially have an answer for Skype.

I'm not saying that's going to happen any time soon, and if you side with Rich's post, you'll be of this mind. Still, even just recognizing this potential should be a wakeup call for the telcos to see that with SIP, they have incredible opportunities to do things that Skype can't do. Don't get me wrong - I'm a big Skype fan, and I'm not trying to create a recipe for their demise - far from it.

Instead, I'm trying to tie two ideas together that I think add something to this storyline. Most of the blog and media coverage about the "Skype killer" has been focused on the big guys ganging up on the newcomer and settling things once and for all. I get that - we all do, for better or for worse.

That's where the Psycho Killer idea kicked in for me. This ganging-up tactic strikes me as being very defensive and destructive - it's what you do when you're tense and nervous and can't relax, right?

To me, facing up to the facts should be more about building on your strengths rather than exploiting the weaknesses of your competitors. In other words, don't worry about trying to squash Skype. Their revenues in the big scheme of things are insignificant, and they really don't own the customer the way telcos do. It's a bit like all the effort some telcos are putting into their efforts to take down Vonage - it's negative energy that won't make you any friends down the line.

Wouldn't it be better to not worry about Skype, and just focus on building on the inherent advantages of what you have today, such as SIP? Skype doesn't have this, and if you can turn it to your advantage, it doesn't matter what Skype does.

Why am I saying all this? Well, because I want to steer you to a nice article written for me by the CEO of SightSpeed for the IP Convergence TV portal, which I'm the Editor of. CEO Peter Csathy prepared a thought leadership piece for our portal about the virtues of SIP and interoperability for applications such as video.

Following an email exchange with Peter the other day, we both realized that since this article was just published about 2 weeks ago, it was very timely for this Skype item. To me, it really embodies what I'm getting at here as a perfect example of how service providers can embrace SIP-based applications to add value for subscribers - regardless of what Skype is doing.

While it's true that Skype can easily match most of what any individual telco can bring to market, what they can't do is federate their offerings with other operators. That's the next big step for carriers to take, and potentially, it could be a Skype-killer. I don't really want to go there, but I will say, they can't even consider taking a step like that without first having a common basis for providing services - and that's what protocols like SIP are all about. In that regard, Peter's article is a tangible example of how carriers should be thinking. They have the solution within their grasp - and they don't have to take Skype out of the picture along the way.

On the other hand, I agree with Ken Camp's view that big telcos have not been very good innovators since the rise of the Internet, so if left to their own devices, it's going to take a huge leap of will and vision to go down the road Peter is advocating. On the other hand, the competitive environment is far more challenging now and the pace of change is simply too fast for telcos to try and catch up on their own and try to out-innovate new players like Skype. SIP is here now, and it seems to me that the sooner the telcos start using these tools to their advantage, the better.

So, thanks for connecting the dots, Peter, and I hope all of you out there give his article a read. And remember where you saw it - exclusively at IP Convergence TV - and we've got lots more thought leadership like this, so come back and spend some time there if this is your cup of tea.

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Posted by jonarnold at May 12, 2008 08:52 AM


To repeat from a Skype Journal post I just completed prior to seeing this (and updated upon seeing this):

Sorry, Jon. ... As for SIP as the common denominator for the telcos to make a play, just keep in mind that Skype is one of the world's largest users of SIP -- for its SkypeIn and SkypeOut services. They understand the technology, the protocol and where it can play a role; they can turn up the "volume" when it's appropriate in a "real time conversation" market context. Just because the technology and protocols are there does not a business make. (Skype's GM for Audio and Video was involved in the early evolution of SIP during five years spent at Microsoft. He recalls what the dream was and what today's reality is for SIP.)

Posted by: Jim Courtney at May 14, 2008 10:01 AM

Thursday, May 8, 2008

VoIP Now - Am On Their "Top 100" Telecom Blogs

I'm having a good week. Yesterday, VoIP Now posted its list of Top 100 Telecom Industry Blogs.

Not sure why this list is coming out at this particular time, but it's always a good time be included in these things. Am happy to say that my blog made the list, and is in the group of 24 blogs categorized under VoIP. The blogs are listed alphabetically, so there's no rank-ordering here. They've wisely stayed away from that, so I guess they like us all, which is fine by me.

The top 100 blogs are spread out over 7 categories, of which VoIP is the largest. There are a few anomalies to the list and the groupings, which I've shared with VoIP Now, but I'll just leave it to you to make your own assessment. On the whole, the list includes just about everyone I can think of, but I have passed along a few who are conspicuous by their absence. By all means, have a look, and feel free to do the same.

If you follow my blog, you'll know that I also got a #1 rating the other day from, so I'm on a bit of a roll right now. No industry list is perfect, but it's great to get some recognition from more than one place. Good things often come in threes, so maybe there's another list coming around the bend...

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Posted by jonarnold at May 8, 2008 08:57 AM


Holy Moley!!!

Fantastic news!!



Posted by: jules at May 8, 2008 01:39 PM

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 Rates My Blog #1 for Telecoms

I was contacted the other day by, saying that they've been following my blog, and it looks like they like it. So, I've got two pieces of good news to share on that front...

1. Blogs are rated out of 10, and mine rated 8.3. This puts it in the "Great" tier, which is the third highest tier, behind "Excellent" and "Superb".

Only the top, top blogs get the Superb rating, which is a perfect 10.0. How hard is that to get? Well, they've tracked and rated 17,149 blogs under the "Technology" banner, and only 2 rated Superb. One is TechCrunch, which should be pretty familiar to readers of this blog, and the other is WiredScience (from Wired magazine), which is a bit off-center from my day-to-day coverage. Following "Superb", anything between 9.0 and 9.9 is "Excellent", and "Great" covers blogs with a rating between 8.0 and 8.9.

2. My blog is rated #1 among all the Telecom blogs they're tracking. Telecom is a tiny subset of all the Technology blogs, and only includes 84 blogs. While there are roughly 550 "Technology" blogs with ratings higher than my 8.3 rating (hey, I'll take that among 17,000+ total blogs!!!), there aren't any rated higher among Telecom blogs - I'll definitely take that.

There are a few familiar blogs in this category for what it's worth, including VoIP News, Jajah's blog, Brough Turner and IP Business Magazine. These are all pretty good blogs, so I consider myself to be in good company, and it's great to get such a positive rating among this crowd.

So, what does this mean? Lots of ways to look at this. First, it's great to be recognized at all, and second, it's also great to get a solid rating amidst so many good blogs and bloggers. If you're curious, I urge you to scan through the top blogs, whether the Telecom blogs, or the massive list of over 17,000 Technology blogs. The list of Tech blogs is as interesting for who is there and who is not. I had a quick scan of the blogs with ratings of 8.3 or higher, and aside from TechCrunch, I really only found 3 that I follow regularly - Jeff Pulver (9.2), Ken Camp (8.7) and Tom Keating (8.3). Interesting, huh???

How do they rate these blogs? Well, I can only go by what the website says - the ratings are done by sector-specific editors, and they base these on four criteria: "frequency of updates, relevance of content, site design, and writing style". As you can see from the site, all readers are welcome to rate these blogs, but I'm not sure how much impact these ratings have on the editors.

You can also suggest other blogs for evaluation, which is great since I suspect they're missing quite a few very good blogs that we all follow regularly. I haven't explored the Tech blogs rated below mine, so there could well be many familiar blogs there, so I urge you to look for yours if you're wondering. Are there better telecom blogs out there than mine? Absolutely. is a work in progress, so by all means suggest other blogs you'd like to see them rate.

For someone like me, is a good story. As you may know, my blog is 100% content-driven - there are no banners, ads, sponsors or Google links. As such, my traffic is minuscule compared to most - if not all - the bloggers I follow, and I suspect my blog is invisible to a big swath of the market. I'll never generate the kind of traffic that most bloggers have, and I concede that my following will be small, but hopefully loyal.

Furthermore, I'm a writer at heart, and take a lot of care in what I say and how I say it. I'm at ease saying that most bloggers are not great writers, and their notoriety comes from other competencies. So, I like what I see with, as their criteria is based more on what the blogger is creating rather than how many people link to them, or how well their blog is search-optimized.

So, who is Well, I've been asking the same question myself. Their site launched in February, so it's pretty new, and you can read a brief review about them here from Webware's Rafe Needleman.

For those of you into social media, what makes different from things like Technorati is that it's based on expert evaluation of the content itself as opposed to key words or tags embedded in the content. It's a bit like Digg in that it makes use of crowdsourcing - a big buzzword in social media - which draws on input from readers to gauge the importance and relevance of a blog within its peer group. So, it's very Web 2.0 by nature, building on sharing and mass collaboration, but with a judicious mix of editorial objectivity (or so we'd like to think)and collective input from readers and other bloggers.

I really can't say how much stock you should put in these ratings, but seems like a pretty good barometer to me. Sure, they're new, and their universe of blogs will continue to expand, and whether you agree or disagree, you have plenty of opportunity to speak your mind and recommend other blogs for them to evaluate.

And if nothing else, I love their website because it's a great collection of blogs, and I'll use this as a regular resource now when I need to drill down for granular industry research.

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Posted by jonarnold at May 6, 2008 08:50 AM


Congratulations Jon!

What a great news story! (Plus, thanks for all the new telecom content I've got to pour through!)

Posted by: jules at May 7, 2008 07:41 AM

Interesting that put me under Gadgets and not Telecom. Gadgets has a heck of a lot more blogs & competition, i.e. Engadget, Gizmodo, etc. So I'll take my 8.3 against that category any day! :)

Posted by: Tom Keating at May 7, 2008 05:25 PM

Monday, May 5, 2008

Is VON GON? - Reprise - Sure Looks That Way...

Microsoft and Yahoo may be the big headline story today, but down here closer to Earth, I'm thinking more about the latest updates on VON. In late March, I had a post about this titled Is VON GON?, and was one of several people commenting on the unhappy events that seemed to be unfolding then.

I'm not nearly as involved with Pulvermedia as I used to be, and fellow blogger Andy Abramson is much closer to their world these days. Andy's post yesterday about VON is the most conclusive I've seen to date, and just wanted to share it with you this morning.

His citation of Carl Ford's most recent blog post on Friday afternoon seems to say it all, and if that's not a sign-off, I don't know what is.

Ugh. What else to say? It sure looks done now, as Andy's post concludes. I sure feel for Jeff, Carl, Scott, Jason and all the Pulvermedia people I've worked with since 2001. Doesn't look good at all - I guess it's not 100% certain, but it's gotta be pretty close.

Not much else to say or add to Andy's post at this point, but I can only hope for the best. I certainly agree with Andy's comment that so much of the VON brand is in the people, and Jeff's public voice - his blog - is almost totally focused on video and social media now. Of course, Jeff is not really in a position to share his thoughts and vision with us now, and for that reason, all I can really do is share what's happening today. It's way too early to say what the future might hold for all those concerned, so beyond Carl's post and Andy's comments, I'll leave it to you to decide, and will revisit this when there's something tangible and new to talk about.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

eComm Presentations

For those of you who couldn't/didn't attend eComm2008 this March - and that's probably most of you - I just wanted to say that the content is slowly making its way to the eComm website.

The quantity of presentations was overwhelming, and the quality was excellent, and despite seeing almost everything, it's impossible to really digest the whole ball o' wax. Lee was forward-thinking enough to video tape the presentations, and he's even gone to the trouble of getting some of these transcribed. Wow - that's impressive! He's not doing this to get rich, folks - it's there for anyone to access, no charge. I've been talking with Lee about this, and he genuinely feels the communications sector is undergoing an historic transformation, and he simply wants to chronicle the proceedings.

So, to see what's there, go to the eComm Blog, where he's got a few of the presentations - video and text - up now. More will be coming in time, so come back soon if you haven't found what you're looking for.

Lee - friendly suggestion - put a Tip Jar on your site! This stuff is great, and I'd like to think at least a few people would like to send something good your way for all this hard work!

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tech Target - Ask the Expert on UC

New things come my way all the time, and one of the most recent has
been with Tech Target. They run a group of IT and communications portals catering to a variety of topics, and for each one they have all sorts of resources, such as white papers, newsletters, webinars, etc. It's actually not that different from the portal I recently launched with my partner Marc Robins, IP Communications Insights.

Anyhow, Tech Target has invited me to be part of their roster and contribute on a few fronts. We're starting out with me handling various Ask the Expert inquiries, and the first batch have been under the umbrella of Unified Communications. They don't exactly fit there, but that's where these questions have been slotted, and my responses have just been published.

I've contributed answers to questions on four topics - benefits
of VoIP for travelers
, why VoIP is ready for mainstream use, issues
faced by VoIP vendors selling to enterprises
, and the difference between VoIP and IP telephony.

To review the responses, you have to register, but it just takes a minute and it's free. Would love to hear your comments if you have a chance to give these a read. I'm looking forward to doing more of these, and in due time, am pretty sure you'll see me doing other things with Tech Target.

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