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Posts from June 2004

Level Three Boo Boo

Self praise, especially when one is the only real player in the field, stinks. Obviously no one at Level3 ever had Sy Roseman, or former Temple University Professor and VP, Jim Shea as mentors on Public Relations. One only touts themselves when its something to shout about.

Come on guys, couldn't you at least let TMC take the credit for putting out the announcement. In my mind Level3 ust watered down the value of the award even more.

Must be the altitude in Broomfield.

Hot Tender Goes To Lucent

A report out of Tel Aviv, Israel has HOT the cable company in Israel announcing today that Lucent has won HOT’s tender for setting up its IP telephony services network. The deal is valued at $100M over 5 years, in Israeli terms is considered a blockbuster mega-deal, according to our source. Insiders say this was a surprise choice because the leader in the competition until very recently was Nortel. A contract is expected to be completed in 2 weeks.

With the deployment, HOT will set up a competing access network to Bezeq, the incumbent PPT.

A Higher Level of Calling

This story is one I can relate too. I remember back in the 1990's when I was flying coast to coast about once every two to three weeks on business that I made extensive use of a special program via GTE Airphone. For a flat $1,000 I could talk all I wanted to in the air. Of course I used a laptop, PDA and Apple Newton at various legs of the flight and would get online dealing with email and reading faxes that were pushed to my email box. And yes, I also talked on the phone. After doing the math, back in the era of .12 cents per minute dialing, it amounted to a break even proposition versus being in my office, and it also meant no more red eyes as clients don't really want you ever to be unavailable, even when you're flying to see them.

If this really is as good as it sounds, sorry I couldn't resist, it could drive usage of in plane Internet.

Do You Wanna Sell VoIP?

Broadvox, which has one of the most robust platforms in VoIP has announced a comprehensive reseller program.

Reseller programs are what built MCI and SPRINT years ago, and are used by the likes of CISCO and many hardware companies as a way to extend their sales force. Broadvox, which is not really a newcomer to the VoIP game, may be one of the companies that actually makes it to the point of being a major part of the VoIP game. They are very active on the net with participation in leading online bulletin boards and seem to have a very well thought out plan.

This is certainly one company to watch, amongst the many cluttering the field behind Vonage and ATT's CallVantage. Disses SIP

Yetserday's little guys, who have become big players don't get no respect. First they are viewed by the big time media as small potatoes. Then they get big and the online world starts to trash talk them.

For the record, before there was SIP there was h.323. It was out there, and it did what it was supposed to do, albeit, not always very well. Along comes SIP from a few whiz kids at Columbia University and voila, after years of hard work companies like Dynamicsoft are on the map. They have customers. They have users. Do they really need this kind of abuse?

Survey Finds VoIP is Intrusive

One person's pervasive is another person's intrusive. So says a survey released today.

In a culture where Gotta have it now over rides all sense of decency, the Pop-tart, Minute Rice, microwave influenced, Fax it, Fed Ex it, oh crap, IM it to me generations all have seen technology become the equalizer for time and distance.

In the old days, I hand delivered press releases because it was faster than the U.S. Mail. I was 14, and my mentor in PR, the late Sy Roseman, would drive, park and I would run in, say hello to security guard who thought I was some kid going to see dad who worked there and then face to face, hand the release to the reporters in Philadelphia who became long term friends and media outlets to me.

Of course we had the fax, but hand delivery was more personal. As time went on faxing took priority, then Business Wire, PR Newswire and others installed terminals inside the newsrooms of media outlets. That became our choice for immediacy. Then along came e-mail, and immediate became e-mmediate. The want it right darn now generation sure had all they needed to never, ever, not get what they wanted now.

Which is why sales professionals always were leary of technology, and why people in executive positions at the record labels all hate digital distribution. It makes them accountable in real time versus when the sale really closes. Thus the crux of all things digital. Balance or results.

If you want balance in the digital age we live in, just turn it off. Let the Voice Mail or email box do the work and forget about it. If you work for someone who requires 24/7 then they better pay you for more than 40 hours and at a enhanced pay grade, but, oh, that's where stock and options came into play.

The key is knowing how to use the technology to reach someone. I deal with clients, media people, friends. I like to be connected. But when I'm just fried, tired or, "want to be alone, darling" I also know how, with whom and where to turn off. If being connected can let me work in Paris or London, enjoy the food, wine and friendships its allows, while still getting the job done, I'm for it. But being able to turn off is a good thing, and one has to remember that the human in us can still do that. You see while tehcnology has gotten both pervasive and intrusive, we can still "just say, NO."

Knight Ridder Syndicates a VoIP Story

Look for a story or two about VoIP in your local paper if it's published by Knight Ridder. More jumping on the bandwagon press, likely driven by Vonage and their new PR team in NYC and the cable industry's sudden romance with bundling phone service in with your cable bill.

Cable providers will likely see the most rapid growth in the near term. Why?

1) They already have happy customers.
2) They have service techs who show up on time (well most of the time)
3) They have proven then can deliver more than TV stations with high speed internet
4) They bill to credit cards and make payment processing easy

Compare that to the local phone company which wants to get into delivering TV to your home.

1) They have customers who are using them because options before now did not exist.
2) The telco service techs are not always on time, may disconnect or use your phone without telling you when working on a neighbors lines.
3) The Baby Bells were brutal and viewed as amateurs when it came to rolling out DSL. Their approach was choke the CLEC's. Do you notice they don't play nice with others.
4) It took years to get the Baby Bells to accept credit cards and some still don't. Even worse those that do, don't take American Express. Let's see. Do I want a customer with debt or one who pays their bills on time.

C&W To Use Resellers 1998/99 Redux

Cable & Wireless is taking a page out of the old book of how to sell into the Enterprise. Resellers, which is the same way Level3 and just about everyone else will do.

But, it's not just about "selling in" as it is really about "selling through." Which means getting someone to sell your product is nice, but enabling them to get the customer to say yes is when it really counts.

The announcements we're seeing, and which I'm reporting on tend to be mostly "selling in" stories that the trade press and even the online type of news outlets cover. These same type of stories are what built up the so called Internet economy.

But what's lacking today in traditional journalism is commentary, opinion and viewpoint, with some exceptions. Why? Because the publishers need the advertising dollar. Many of those reporters have the skill and understanding. They don't get the latitude to be opinionated. So, for "news" look in the regular places. For insight, that you can't afford unless you hire the analysts who are clued in by the companies they cover, look here and here.