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Posts from April 2012

In France More and More Calls are Going FREE

I've long been a fan of the the FREE offering in France from Illiad, the disruptive telco. They were one of the first to offer blazing fast speeds, unlimited calling and all the TV channels you can watch with the deployment of the Freebox which is connected to DSL or Fiber networks across France.

Recently they began to be the fourth mobile operator, but to carry calls and data, much of the traffic was roaming on the Orange network. Well not anymore, as Free is now using WiFi offload to connect their smartphone toating customers over to any Freebox in France automatically, something pointed out by GigaOm's Kevin Fitchard today.

Now before you get all excited that this could happen here in the USA, don't. For starters the French regulations on tv channels made it possible for Illiad to offer all the same content that was previously either VHF or satellite that hits French soil. The laws also enable fiber and DSL operators to connect to the nationally owned Internet backbone that is strung by Orange's parent, France Telecom, which is why SFR's Wanadoo is the number two player behind Orange for in home broadband. So by taking advantage of the public's assets, Illiad has been able to then apply better technology and pricing to make this all happen.

The WiFi is using technology most likely from FON, as the founders of both companies are friends. FON pioneered the idea of a community network where members can use other member's WiFi as they roam around the world. Along the way FON's idea caught on with other operators allowing customers to log on at other users houses and many public hotspots. But the two big French mobile operators, SFR and Orange, never took the step that Illiad's Free is taking. 

Once again, the upstart moves faster and smarter. Sadly the ability to do this kind of calling has been around for years. Client CounterPath has the BridgetPort Networks patents that enables Virtual Call Continuity, VCC, but the schism in the USA where the cable operators and the mobile operators have, and the internal battles at AT&T over wireless vs. wireline, plus the truely divided Verizon vs. Verizon Wireless have made things like this rather difficult here at home, even though Wi-Fi offloading of calls and data traffic makes total sense.


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Two Must Read Posts From Today

It's great to see those who are really in the know sharing their thoughts. Today, two very insightful posts came up from former clients of mine, David Beckemeyer, co-founder of Earthlink, and Larry Lisser with whom I worked leading up to the exit of Mobivox.

David, in his post about the so called myth of Android dominance, basically called bullsh*t on Google in a no holds barred post, which if you know David, you'll understand. It was succinct, correct, fact filled and not long winded.

Larry, in his sales strategist style, extolled the virtues of Enterprise Connect, the confernce and trade show that while not sexy, sells a lot to the buyers of IT and Telcom services.  Ironically, of the companies mentioned, four are clients including CounterPath, Fonolo, Hookflash and Vidtel.

Give them a read....

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Gartner IT Report Tells IT Managers To Get Their Heads In The Clouds

Consumerization of ITConsumerization of IT (Photo credit: Ross Mayfield)

They BYOD (bring your own device) movement is weakening the IT departments ability to manage and if I go Post Hoc Ergo Proctor Hoc (if this, therefore, thenfore that) consumerization of the enterprise (COtE) would be the death star for IT Managers according to Gartner which makes their money mostly from those managers.

When reading through today's post by GigaOm's Barb Darrow I also had the feeling that the more BYOD and COtE increases the less reliant anyone becomes on Gartner or other large analysts firms, and the more they become dependent on GigaOm and other media outlets as we already hear constantly that company engineering talent love to read TechCrunch and get their news from The Verge and others before they get their insights from analyst firms.

For me this also implies the need for greater hands on evalution of cloud services, more tests, and less reliance on hype and grandiose challenges. Companies still buy from Cisco, IBM, Citrix, Oracle and others who despite "old school" approaches at times, have the financial wherewithal to sell to a Verizon, AT&T or SONY, when the little startup, backed by angels can't do it as easily. That's where partnerships with those larger companies, being part of their eco-system comes into play. Take Dell for example. Their BOOMI platform brings alot of disparate services together, allowing upstarts to become a part of the cloud fabric, yet also enabling larger companies to be interested in those services. Rearden Commerce in travel services is another example of the cloud as the services warehouse and distributor.

Thus Gartner's point about IT getting it's head into the cloud is spot the IT managers have to do it, or their future is dead ended as the end user in companies will simply go to the cloud from their consumer devices, and bypass IT as the costs of IT are assigned back to their group anyway, and the end user is the one who needs the service, not the IT department.

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