Monday, January 31, 2011

Five Best Practices for Hosted Services - M5 Shows the Way

My latest Focus Brief is running now on Last week, I attended M5's launch event around their Geckotech acquisition from last November. A number of things struck me there as best practices that help explain why M5 has been successful with hosted VoIP for SMBs. This business is harder to do than it looks, and my Brief shares some thoughts on what it takes for success. Comments are welcome!

Next Stop - Miami and the Smart Grid Summit

For a Northerner, it's pretty hard to beat Miami in February, and that's where I'll be the rest of this week. Seems like yesterday when we had our last Smart Grid Summit in Los Angeles. This time around, it's a much shorter time between events, and we have another strong program in place.

I've done enough talking about it on the Smart Grid Portal, so that's where you need to go to get the latest on the summit, which runs this Wednesday and Thursday.

The summit will keep me pretty busy, and aside from stealing some time to walk through the ITExpo show floor, you won't likely see me around that show, or any other of the sub-events running under TMC's big tent.

For now, there's just one exception I can tell you about, and that's on Tuesday night. Interactive Intelligence is hosting a special ITExpo event on cloud communications, and I'm one of the panelists. Should be fun, and I'm looking forward to wearing my telecom hat for a topic I really enjoy following.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

UCStrategies Views on Social Media in the Enterprise

Things are quite skewed for me with the Smart Grid Summit a week away, plus a few new projects to pay the bills. Blogging and tweeting is sporadic at best, but am doing what I can.

Last week's UCStrategies podcast was on a topic we're all trying to figure out - managing social media in the workplace. We had lots of perspectives on this one, and you're free to join in. You can listen to the podcast here, as well as read the transcript, and share your own comments on the posting.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tru - Making Mobility More Affordable

My latest Brief is running now on It's based on Truphone - a company I've followed for some time, and a briefing I had with them last week about how/why they recently re-branded themselves as Tru.

From the beginning, they've been disrupting the status quo in mobility, and under the Tru moniker, they're taking this to a new level. I welcome you to read this Brief to get my thoughts on why they're doing this and what Tru brings to make life easier for SMBs and international travelers.

Alteva's Video Auto Attendant - Feature or Application?

Been back in writing mode, and my January contribution to the UCStrategies portal is running now. The focus is on last week's announcement by Alteva about a new feature - video auto attendant. I've always liked their thinking about hosted services, and for companies that embrace video, there's a good opportunity here to add value. Not everyone uses video yet, but for those who do, the potential should be easy to recognize. This isn't really a big breakthrough, but Alteva has the right idea by bringing water to the horse. Sometimes you just have to show/tell people about an idea, and let them connect the dots.

You can read my thoughts about this here, but aside from that, I wonder - is video auto attendant a feature or an application? To me, a feature is fairly static, and first mover advantage lasts until competitors catch on and start doing the same. Features are great, but can be hard to monetize long term or sustain true competitive advantage. An application can add more value if its integrated with other systems or processes, and is more dynamic in the sense that it's constantly evolving.

I may be splitting hairs here, but I think applications make for a better business model. I'd say video auto attendant is a feature right now for Alteva, and if it doesn't evolve, it probably won't take them very far. However, as my article discusses, I think there are lots of innovation possibilities here, and this could be a great opportunity for Aleva to create some differentiation for themselves. We'll see!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SMB Communications Trends for 2011 - Webinar with Panasonic

I'm doing another webinar next week. This time it's with Panasonic, and I'll be presenting on five communications trends that will impact SMBs in 2011. Just finishing that up today, and we'll be doing the webinar next week - Wednesday, January 19 at 1pm EST.

You read more about the webinar and how to register here. Hope you can join us!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Smart Grid Summit Updates - Taking My Talents to South Beach

I had some fun with this writeup for our portal, but the main idea is to update you on the Smart Grid Summit. Miami is only a few weeks out, and with winter weather ramping up today, yeah, I'm looking forward to being there! You can read the latest program update here, with more coming next week.

Smart Grid Product of the Year Awards

Our Smart Grid Summit program is coming together nicely now, and the event is just a few short weeks away. I just wanted to note that our second POTY Awards program has just launched. If you're a smart grid innovator and want a shot at industry recognition, you can read more about the program here, along with how to submit an application. Good luck!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy 2011 - Back to Work

Welcome to 2011, and I hope your year is off to a great start!

I know I'm not the only one who dialed things down over the holiday, and it's been over two weeks since my last blog post. Been doing a lot of thinking over the break and will be narrowing my focus in 2011. I'll update you as things unfold, but for now I just wanted to recap my writings/musings/2011 outlook during the past while that haven't been cited here in my posts. In case you didn't see these, here they are...

- Focus Brief: 2011 – Two Key Telecom Trends for SMBs

- Focus Brief: Virtual Queuing – the End of Music on Hold?

- UCStrategies podcast: UCStrategies Experts Make UC Predictions for 2011

- Service Provider Views column: My Cisco Collaboration Summit Takeaways - Five Business Opportunities for Service Providers

Now you're up to date. Back to work...