Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Skype Connect - Making Strides for the Business Market

It's been a very busy couple of days in the world of Web-based communications. Between the news about Skype Connect and Google Voice, you'd think the world has moved away from landlines, especially in the home. Yesterday, I wrote about Google Voice on my Service Provider Views column, and that has all kinds of implications for both landline carriers as well as any form of Web-based VoIP offering.

Yesterday also saw a lot of activity around Skype Connect, which I think really moves them up the value chain in their quest to penetrate the business market. These developments are each of note in their own right, but it's interesting to see them coming at the same time. Google and Skype compete in some areas, but each also has its own distinct footprints elsewhere. In my latest Focus.com Brief, I explore Skype's news a bit further. There's certainly more to discuss, but this will have to do for now. You can read it here, and I welcome your comments to keep the dialog going.

Google Voice - the Race to Zero Continues

Last week's news about Google Voice adds another chapter to the demise of voice as a revenue generator for carriers. The value of voice will always be high, but as the cost of delivering it over IP continues to fall, so do the prices. Google understands this as well as anyone, and this is yet another example of their ability to disrupt markets that are not in their native makeup.

I've added my thoughts in the latest Service Provider Views column on TMCnet, and it's running on their site now.

This must be a hot topic, as I've received an unusually high number of tweets and re-tweets on Twitter, and I haven't even run this post yet. The Web sure works in strange ways, but I certainly appreciate the attention and all the good words.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Demystifying Unified Communications - Focus Webinar - Register Now

From time to time I get invited to participate in various industry webinars, and the latest one is a half day event on UC with Focus.com. They call these Interactive Summits, and I'll be kicking this one off with a keynote presentation on the UC landscape. Following that will be a series of more specific presentations on varous aspects of UC, and all segments include an interactive component for live Q&A. The other presentations will be given by other colleagues from UCStrategies, so this will be a great showcase for the UCS view of UC, and I'm glad to be a part of that.

A half day is lot of time to devote to a virtual event, but it's free, so you have nothing to lose, even if you dip in and out of the presentations. The webinar runs Thursday, September 16, starting at 11am EST. I'm just doing my part here to get the word out, and you can get more details about the content and how to register here. Hope you can join us!

Monday, August 23, 2010

eZuce - New Name, New Hosted UC Solution for Enterprise

The marketer in me is always drawn companies with interesting names. There's more going on, though, with eZuce, and they think they have a better way for enterprises to go with hosted UC. They sure bring a strong pedigree, and we'll have to see how well the market takes to it.

Following a briefing with them, I've put my thoughts together for my monthly contribution to the UCStrategies portal. It just went live this morning, and you can read it here.

Focus Brief - More Thoughts on ShoreTel

Blogging has been streaky for me lately. Was in the U.S. on project work the past few days, so am just catching up here on some things.

My latest Brief on Focus.com provided some additional thoughts on ShoreTel. I posted about them here during their analyst/partner event a couple of weeks ago, but wanted to add a bit more wearing my Focus.com hat. The Brief is running on their site, and you can read it here. As always, comments are welcome.

Skype's IPO News - What Should Service Providers Do?

That's the title of my latest Service Provider Views column on TMCnet, and it's running now. Skype sure has had an interesting ride coming in and out of eBay, and now this news signals to the world that they're ready for prime time. There's a great growth story here for sure, but for a company with practically no marketing costs, it seems strange that they're not very profitable.

Of course, that can change quickly, even with a modest bump in any of their financial metrics. With such a huge user base, a few upticks in ARPU or conversion rates from free to paid will translate into healthy revenues and even healthier earnings.

Like Facebook, Skype's ultimate value is tied to monetizing their massive communities. This is the new-school build-it-and-they-will-come model, and if they can succeed financially, traditional service providers will have a lot to think about. I'm not alone in wondering if Skype's IPO is too early, or if the $100 million raise will be enough, but this sure sends a message to the telco market that Skype believes they are ready to compete with anybody.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New White Paper - M5 Networks and Hosted VoIP for Enterprises

Another White Paper I recently completed was just announced - this time from M5 Networks. Regular readers here will know that I've followed M5 for a long time, and recently attended their 10th anniversary bash in NYC.

They've been doing hosted VoIP pretty much from the beginning, and have matured to the point where the time - and their offerings - are now right for enterprises. I explored this further in the White Paper, which focuses on why enterprises should consider the benefits of hosted services. This may not be the right choice for all enterprises, but I did enough research to know that services like M5 make a lot of sense for the right situations.

M5 has just posted availability of the paper to their website, and you can download a copy by following the link and filling out the basic registration form. I think there's a great market opportunity here, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

VoIP Security - Hot Topic - New White Paper

Finally digging out enough to get back to blogging. Lots to catch up on, and I'll start here. I recently completed a White Paper on VoIP security for a startup venture, InCharge Systems. It's a very interesting company, and they've taken a long, hard look at the range of issues around VoIP and SIP-based telephony - security, identity, authentication, toll fraud, etc.

We all know about the potential for these to become big problems, and it's a bit like the BP Gulf oil mess. If it's out of sight, it's out of mind - but when the system fails, the problem is huge and quickly spins out of control with no easy fix. InCharge Systems may be early to market with their solution, but having done the research, I can tell you it's on people's minds.

The White Paper was announced last week, and I'm doing my part here to be sure you know about it. You can access the paper from their website after filling out a short registration form, and I'm sure they'd love to hear from you. I'd also be happy to answer questions on a limited basis, so feel free to reach out.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Time Flies/Whassup?

It's been one of those weeks - summer doldrums, but also quite busy - too busy to blog. Don't know what it is, but ever since this Twitter thing started to take hold, blogging has dropped a step down in the pecking order. Twitter is great for getting the word out, but there's no content there - just headlines. That's why the blog is so important - this is where the content lives, and I basically just use Twitter to steer people to my posts or other items of interest.

I really don't have any news today, but we are going on a short family vacation, so there won't be any blogging the next few days for sure. Figured I'd better post something today just so you know I'm still here.

In short, here's what on my plate....

- just finishing up two white papers, both of which should be publicly available in the next week or so

- am about to start a new white paper for a company all of you know about, and that should be out there the next month or so

- am about to start co-publishing my insights/analysis/research with an analyst network most of you are familiar with - stay tuned

- I'm continuing to contribute to Focus.com, and am enjoying my role as an Adviser. I'll be featured on a couple of their upcoming virtual events, and you can read my latest Brief here.

- Am also still doing my bi-monthly Service Provider Views column on TMCnet, and a monthly contribution to the UCStrategies portal, so I'm not hard to find out there.

- on the smart grid front, our summit program is just about done - this really is a strong event, and the marketing/PR efforts are ramping up nicely now. If you haven't checked in on us lately, have a look. The Early Bird discount just expired, but there's lots of time still to make plans.

- our smart grid portal continues to zoom along. The content is as strong as ever, and we just passed the 2 million mark for monthly page views. Check it out - better yet, subscribe - it's free.