T-Mobile Has Your Digits

T-Mobile has started to roll out a new beta program called Digits. In many ways it's a next generation FindMe, Follow Me type service that goes somewhat farther than GoogleVoice. 

While I've yet to try it, what seems the most appealing to me is the ability for a call to be placed or received on an iPad or Android tablet as it looks like what T-Mobile is doing is some marrying up of IMS and VoLTE to make that happen. 

I've pinged T-Mobile's PR team to try to get more clarity, and once I've enrolled in the beta I'll provide more insight. For now, the Verge has most of the facts. The most glaring is how T-Mobile wants you to disable iMessage. 

Cord Cutters, Never Corders. Now Meet The Dish Dumpers

The market for OTT (over the top) mobile cable and broadband to the home is growing. It is becoming the mode to watch content by the younger, hipper millennials who still consume linear television, but are also rapidly moving to the SVOD (subscription video on demand) approach being offered by Apple, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix to name a few. But the cable industry isn't the only market being hit by all this. There's another market that is likely also being impacted.

That market is the satellite TV market.  All one has to think about is why AT&T is moving so fast to deliver television over their mobile broadband network post Direct TV acquisition to realize they see the migration coming from the group I've named "dish dumpers." 

This means the satellite operators, like Dish and DirectTV as well, will need to think about how they use their satellite spectrum in more creative ways, including digital delivery to more than just the stationary dish. This also means as more millennials "dump the dish" and consume their content over LTE-A networks or via the cable or fiber provided Internet service, that the impact on the top and bottom lines of the satellite providers everywhere will change, and likely not for the better.

Engadget on Bots and Credit Card Theft is PR Problem For Visa

Having been part of the PR and reportorial world world since before I could drive, I know both sides of the table and am very disappointed at what the world of both PR and Journalism have become. PR people complain reporters don't talk to them. Journalist say they get too many requests. Thus stories don't get told right, and issues, when they arise, tend to fester.

Much of this is caused by the growing "ostrich approach" in Public Relations these days. For those of you who don't know what the ostrich approach is, it means burying your head in the sand, and hoping the problem goes away. This is usually done by simply ignoring the issue, or in the case of corporate PR types, simply ignoring the question. I've seen this behavior rollout over time with AT&T, Verizon, TimeWarner Cable, and now even UBER. It starts where companies eliminate the phone numbers from their website, asking reporters to email in questions. This is largely done to prevent consumers from calling them for help because Customer Service hasn't. The next rung is a voicemail box, but sadly, few calls ever get returned.

Now you can add to the list, Visa which really has an answer to the problem Engadget calls out yesterday in a post penned by Jon Fingas.  Fingas to his credit says Visa should deploy fraud prevention like MasterCard. But in reality Visa already has better technology from Finsphere, which uses a mobile phone's location to determine the legitimacy of a transaction.

For Visa this is a two strike issue. First, they already have the technology to combat the fraud but it's not being sold through to the banks, but they also have the news angle to propel the use of the advanced technology. Unfortunately, by not commenting on the story, they missed the sales opportunity to help the sales team get some air cover and turn a negative into an opportunity. 

Good PR people know how to turn a tough question into those opportunities to propel the growth of a product, service or company. Unfortunately, too much effort is placed on spin doctoring, playing defense or simply being too busy in meetings to deal with the media in a timely manner.  This happens when the PR folks are not in sync with the product and sales teams. Too often their agendas are set quarterly and annually. They have their news to put out, but stop working on last year's news too soon. This ends up harming the company's investment in new products that have very long sales cycles.

To cure this, corporations need to go back to the old school model of having PR types "own" the news around a product, not leave it solely in the hands of the CMO and their organization, which looks solely at lead generation stats vs. addressing real world problems and solving them, which are best told as stories, not as SEO work around keywords and Ad Words.

Rogers One Number Goes To Zero In January

Longtime communications watcher Jim Courtney has been a user of Rogers One Number since it started. But Rogers has decided to dump it, turning it off come January, 2017. The service, which rolled out in 2012 is an example of how fast new technology is being replaced. OneNumber's demise is clearly linked to mobile devices taking over the majority of calls and now with the arrival of Wi-Fi calling, there was a dramatically reduced need for the service. 

OneNumber, which uses technology from Counterpath and Ericsson, pretty much brought Skype like calling to Rogers mobile users who were able to make and receive calls on their computers. It's big value was when Rogers customers roamed, as they could jump on Wi-Fi with their laptops and be making and receiving calls for free.


Talk Or Not-The UC vs. Messaging War Wages On

Long time Unified Communications watcher Dave Michels authored a presentation at the UC Summit 2016 on the entitled "Did You Get The Message?" He cites the rise of Slack (slide 13), which in many ways is Unified Communications 2.0 vs. the more traditional version. On slide 14 he compares UC 1.0 and what I am calling 2.0.

The difference in my opinion is older work teams still work in the traditional office environment and have both UC 1.0 as their primary modes of communications. That means, a PBX, desk phones, find me follow me that rings their mobile phone, video conferencing and video calling, plus internal texting. Some companies have added on Slack or Hipchat, but largely to communicate with the nerds and geeks in IT, product development and other "engineering" or "support" functions.

The companies that never had a PBX, grew up on mobile devices, had their teams texting, using Skype as a way to stay in touch, largely matured in a text, share files, and then huddle room mentality. And, if you look at the high growth tech companies most of them arrived without thinking about a UC based, PBX centric approach. That is what led to the rise of Slack, Hipchat and others, and which has spawned the new services Dave highlights in his blog post of November 23rd.

To me, the decision to go 1.0, 2.0 or take a hybrid approach in how teams communicate has more to do with how much time people need to actually talk. I would say that with Ottspot, Yodel, Zoom, GoToMeeting, UberConference, Appear.In, that voice and video are actually there in Slack, and with the ability to use RSS, Zapier integrations and more, that Slack is actually today far more unified than the newly minted "Work_____" services coming from Microsoft, Broadsoft and Mitel at this time.

Perhaps that will change and UC will then hit 3.0, but for now, enterprise scale communications is clearly divided by those that talk a lot, and those that don't.