Thursday, December 16, 2010

Virtual Queuing - Adding Value to Contact Centers

I meant to post this earlier today. My latest Focus Brief is about virtual queuing, a concept that's gaining credence in the contact center community. There are some Canadian angles to the story, and maybe that's what got me going on this topic!

How about you go read it for yourself on and let me know!

Acme Packet - Analyst Day Takeaways on UCStrategies

Regular readers will know that I attended Acme Packet's first-ever analyst day last week at their new Boston-area HQ. Whether you were new to Acme or a long-time follower like myself, they did a great job covering all the bases and explaining why SBCs matter, and of course why they're so well positioned.

No argument there, and I shared some of my thoughts about this in my current contribution to the UCStrategies portal. Titled "Acme Packet's Analyst Day - Clarifying the SBC Opportunity and the Death of Telecom", it's posted there now, and you can read it here. Hope you like it, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Podcast with Rad - 2001 Outlook - Security - Watch Out!

I do occasional podcasts with Peter Radizeski about what we're seeing in telecom, especially following industry events we attend. Yesterday we chatted about what we expect to see in 2011, and across the many themes we touched on - the cloud, mobility, social media, contact centers - security kept popping up. It's all interesting stuff, but that seems to be the watchword for 2011.

Also, since I was at Acme Packet's analyst day last week, I shared my thoughts about them at the top of the call. This actually turned out to be a nice segue to security, since this often comes up in discussions around session border controllers.

Enough said - here's the link if you'd like to give the podcast a listen, and if you want to add your own thoughts, just drop me a line.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Acme Packet Visit - From Bedford to Boston

Had a pretty full day yesterday here in Boston. I'm here mainly for Acme Packet's first analyst day, which also serves as a nice welcome event for their new HQ in Bedford, MA. I've been on a good run lately attending vendor events, and while most of these companies are doing very well, it's hard to argue that nobody is hotter than Acme right now.

As many of you may know, I've followed Acme from the beginning, so it's a familiar story for me, but much less so for others, including several of the analysts in attendance with me. In my mind, it's all good, and in short, it's Acme's time. Going forward, it will be hard not to come across them, especially when talking about how service providers are going to scale up their networks for IP.

I'm not going to give you chapter and verse here, but Acme is a good story and if session border controllers aren't in your lexicon yet, then you're missing out on an important piece of the IP landscape.

You'll be seeing more of this logo as SBCs become better understood.

Don't let the simple sign fool you. SBCs are complex, and you don't get far around here if you're not an engineer.

Steve Collins and his opening preso

Andy Ory - just talking and engaging us about the big picture challenges that all service providers face. He's got great vision, and I could listen to - and talk with - him all day. With this kind of leadership, it's not hard to see why Acme is so successful.

Seamus Hourihan - deeper dive on what's new

From Bedford to Boston. Lucky me, I got to go the Celtics game last night. I've never been to the "new Gahden", and it was better than expected. Had a great time, the seats were primo, and until you see NBA players up this close, it's hard to understand just how big these guys are compared to everyone else - esp little people like me! :-) I'm a pretty good jump shooter, but that won't take me very far with this crowd.

KG doing his pre-game ritual

Hey look, a Canadian flag - cool! Hey look, championship banners - even cooler!! The mantra around is "it's all about 18". I'm pretty confident they have the right mix this year win #18, unless they get derailed by injuries like the Red Sox did last year.

Shaq at the line - always an adventure...

ADTRAN Connect 2010 - UCStrategies Podcast Recap

Wearing my UCStrategies hat, our podcast this week was a recap of last week's ADTRAN 2010 Connect event. Some of us were repeat vistors from last year's event, and others were visiting ADTRAN for the first time. The end result was the same for everyone - we all came away with a strong impression of the company, along with some ideas about how they build on this to improve mind-share beyond their core customer base.

I've long felt that ADTRAN is a great story flying below many people's radar, and if you want to know why, check out our podcast. You can pick it up from the UCStrategies portal here, as well as read the transcript if that's easier.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Next Stop - Boston and Acme Packet

One more trip left for the year! It's a short one, but it should be good. Acme Packet is welcoming analysts to their new global HQ in Bedford, just outside of Boston.

If you follow my work, you'll know that I've been close to Acme and the whole session border controller space since the beginning. Sure wish I was an investor! I can't think of a better performing stock in our space this year, and the investor community is finally getting it with SBCs.

Since going public a little over 4 years ago, the stock trended down from around $17 to just under $4, then worked back up to the $10 range by January of this year. Since then, though, it's been on an incredible run, trading now around $54, and it's been up $10 just the last week alone. Phew! Something tells me they'll be taking good care of us this week. :-)

ADTRAN Connect Highlights - Day 2 Photos

Promised I'd post more photos, so here they are. Technically, the first few are from the first day - an evening tour offsite. Anyhow, never a dull moment, and as you'll see, we did a lot more than just sit through presentations.

Wednesday night was a tour and presentation from the Hudson Alpha Institute. This was all new to me - and probably all of us - but very impressive. Tons of leading edge biotech research happening here (funded in part by ADTRAN), and it's another example of how diverse the Huntsville economy is. Boy, did we learn a lot about genome research - very fascinating, with huge implications for IT. Their needs for computer power, bandwidth and storage are massive - way, way, way beyond what our kids are clamoring for to watch YouTube videos. :-)

These vertical beams really caught my eye. Very cool - and as we learned, they come from Alabama woodlands.

Very colorful lab coats!

Day 2 - Networking Management session

My favorite part of the event - the plant tour. While not as extensive as last year's, it was great, including some new things.

I understand how nobody wants to see data centers overheat, but is this really how they do it? :-)

Ahh - the fun stuff. This is the testing lab where they put products through extreme conditions to see how well they hold up. Here's a cold box where you can see how a cup of water behaves at 40 below (F or C - it's the same either way). Can you imagine the fun they must have on late shift during a long weekend? I'll bet they watch Mythbusters for inspiration!

Friday, December 3, 2010

ADTRAN Connect 2010 - Day 1 Photos

Had a great time at ADTRAN's press/analyst event in Huntsville. Between having very sporadic broadband (why does this happen so often at telecom events?) and getting in very late last night, there hasn't been much time to blog. I only have time right now to post some photos from Day 1 - Day 2 will follow, as will some narrative.

Gary Bolton - opening presentation

Gary leading the executive leadership panel with CEO/Chairman Tom Stanton and the GMs of each division - Jay Wilson for Carrier Networks, and Rick Schansman for Enterprise Networks

Darrell Brown - future of broadband presentation

Joy Eldred from Frontier Communications - great review of how they've grown with ADTRAN, after absorbing a lot of Verizon subscribers

Kevin Morgan leading the broadband stimulus panel - very interesting topic!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WikiLeaks and Stuxnet - Smart Grid Wakeup Call

I don't often blog about the writing I do for our Smart Grid portal, but with all the buzz and sobering implications around Stuxnet and WikiLeaks, I thought my blog readers would find this of interest. In case you haven't seen this on the portal, here's the link. This topic can take many side routes, and I just might take one of those in another posting. Until then, I hope you enjoy this, and would welcome your comments!