Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mobile Unified Communications - Another Variation

My latest UCStrategies contribution is running now on the portal, and the focus is mobile UC.

This all started with a briefing I had recently with an Irish company called Openmind Networks. They have a pretty distinct offering built around messaging, and it got me to thinking this could serve as another flavor of UC. To find out more, please read the article, and if I've done my job, then you'll reach the same conclusion too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Contact Center Analytics - Are We Doing Things Backwards?

My latest column is running now on Exony's website. This is a fairly new venture, and the overall focus is on the conatct center space, especially hosted operations. In this column I begin exploring analytics and whether existing approaches are focusing on the right things. It's running now on their site, and you can read it here, along with my earlier columns.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rogers Launches New SMB WiFi Service

Interesting launch today from Rogers here in Toronto. You don't usually associate wireless business services with cable companies, but Rogers is no ordinary cable company. They've long been one of Canada's major cable operators, but they got in the mobile game very early, and are #1 up here. Cable is a regional business by nature, but wireless gives them a national footprint, and that's where things get interesting for SMBs. The business market has always been the last great frontier for cablecos, and if you can't get in the door with wireline data and voice, wireless is the next best thing. Rogers has always been on the front end of the curve, and today's news is more of the same.

So, the new service is called WiFi Calling for Business. Rogers may be a tech innovator, but they could use a bit more creativity with their branding. Am not a big fan of their TV spots either, but that's another conversation. Anyhow, the name says it all, so I'm pretty much done. Sort of.

You may be wondering why a mobile operator is offering WiFi for their business customers. It's no accident that the incumbent telcos were the very last ones to offer VoIP - why kill the golden goose of legacy telephony? Clearly, market dynamics are changing quickly, and all carriers know that all voice will eventually be some variation of VoIP running over a data network. Rogers is simply being proactive here, and making sure they keep as big a share of wallet as possible with their business customers - most of whom are SMBs.

Basically, the service allows subscribers to keep their mobile calls going when moving out of network coverage by automatically switching over to WiFi. It's a pretty handy service, especially since the UMA software is embedded in the smartphone, and subscribers don't need any downloads or upgrades - they just need to be on the Rogers network. Not only does it keep your calls live when going in and out of places like elevators, office towers and garages, but it lowers your telecom costs by routing LD calls over less expensive WiFi networks.

Of course Rogers wants to maximize wireless revenues and usage potential among subscribers, and this service will definitely help do that. More important in my mind is the bigger overall trend toward mobility, which is where so much of our communications usage is going. Rogers is simply making it easier for SMBs to do that, and for now, they're the only ones in Canada who can offer this service. Just like they had an early monopoly with the iPhone, Rogers is first to market here, and like you, I'll be keen to see what the takeup rate is.

If you want to know more about WiFi Calling for Business, I can show you - and tell you with two links:

- today's press release

- RedBoard Biz - their SMB community blog, featuring a post from Duane MacDonald, and a 3 minute video interview with me, conducted by Miranda MacDonald. I should add that RedBoard, the host of the RedBoard Biz blog was 1 year old the day we did this shoot, so a belated happy birthday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Renewable Energy Report Launched!

Well, this has been a while in the making, but our renewable energy report was launched today. As you may know, I've been working with Zpryme Research in the smart grid space, and under my ICP Strategies moniker, we've co-produced this report. We think it offers a lot for anyone interested in renewable energy, and it's our intention to continue producing these joint reports.

I've been quite busy all day helping the get the word out, and it's taken until now to find time to blog about it. If you haven't seen anything about the report yet, I'll steer you to the press release, and you can take it from there.

Fonolo News

I've been quiet lately - but busy. Busy is good, but sometimes that means no blogging. Gotta make a living, and I'll have updates as things move along.

One item to quickly share - Fonolo had some nice news yesterday with Sirius Canada. Aside from my being an Adviser - gotta be transparent about these things - this is good news on a few fronts.

First, it's a Canadian story, which is always a good thing up here!

Second is the application itself - virtual queuing. It's a strange term, I know, but in contact center circles it's a big deal, and Fonolo has a new twist that makes a lot of sense. I've written about it before, and Fonolo is definitely on the right track for bringing the contact center into the Web world.

Third is more of a sentimental thing. I'm not a fan of satellite radio, but radio is my favorite medium, and I have early roots there. This is another topic, but despite all the head-spinning innovations we have in the communications space, I just think nothing beats radio for immediacy, authenticity and engagement.

Enough talking. If any of this is of interest, then it's time to move on and read the press release.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Backbone Magazine - 10 Years and Counting

From what I can tell, Backbone is Canada'a longest running magazine focused on technology, especially in terms of how we use in everyday life, both at work and home. Last night they hosted a 10th anniversary event here in downtown Toronto, and I was an invited guest. The event had a series of thought provoking presentations around cloud computing from the likes of author Jim Harris, Matt Stein of Primus, and two strong presenters from PWC - both about enterprise trends, as well as how they're deploying cloud-based productivity tools in their own practice.

For any publication to last 10 years these days, they must be doing something right. I'm occasionally cited in their articles, and follow it regularly, so I can tell you they provide a important voice for the Canadian tech landscape. My roots are in trade publishing, and I know how challenging this business is, especially in Canada where our small market makes it tough to achieve economies of scale for printing. So, hats off to Editor Peter Wolchak and his team for keeping print magazines alive, and filling an important need with consistently strong content.

Editor Peter Wolchak

Jim Harris

Matt Stein