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Posts from January 15, 2012 - January 21, 2012

CounterPath, Vidtel Marry Up for Portable Video Conferencing

Image representing CounterPath Corporation as ...Image via CrunchBase

Yesterday eWeek broke the news about CounterPath and Vidtel announcing interoperability between Bria softphones, including the recently released iPhone client, and Vidtel's MeetMe service.  Jim Courtney, who authors VoiceOnTheWeb.biz has been testing Bria and Vidtel for a few weeks chimed in as did the folks over at OnSip.com. In each case effusive with praise came to mind. Like Jim I've been using the combination as far back as the beta builds of Bria for iPhone with Video started to circulate having similar high-quality experiences as both Jim and the OnSip folks saw.

What excites me though is the forthcoming Bria on iPad and Android tablets, both of which are in development now. At Showstoppers last week, CounterPath showed the iPad beta off, along with the iPhone client, demonstrating that software on an iPad for video conferencing makes the Apple tablet a far better investment than say a Cisco E20 or the Polycom desk phones with video capabilities for those who want greater flexibility in where they connect from.

In my view, we're only scratching the surface of where this all will go. With CounterPath's massive distribution relationships with Broadsoft, Genband, MetaSwitch and hundreds of telecom operators, service providers and an already deep installed user base inside the Enterprise, the ability to see others just got a lot easier, so the opportunity for Vidtel to broaden their reach was their win here. The win for CounterPath is they now can point customers and carriers to a Video as a Service platform that's priced affordably, and which is standards based, the same point that the OnSip folks have been making for years. 

While Skype and GoogleTalk are both interoperable with Vidtel, most enterprise size businesses don't really "endorse" Skype or GoogleTalk or even the very simple to use Hangouts. With Vidtel's MeetMe and the suite of CounterPath Bria clients, there's now an enterprise ready, carrier grade and often approved softclient that can connect to a multi-standards based video conferencing bridging service so anyone can see and be seen. Add in the cost efficiences of both offerings, and all of a sudden the IT buyer has the budget for iPads or Android tablets and alot more software vs. those desk phones or room based video systems. 

This is also an example of why some conferences matter. It was last year at eComm in San Francisco that I was able to arrange for CounterPath's SVP Todd Carothers and Vidtel's founder Scott Wharton to sit down and talk about what was an obvious fit for both companies, especially surrounding Vidtel's "any to any "MeetMe conferencing platform that connects just about any video client or endpoint hard or soft. 

In the words of The A Team's fearless leader, Hannibal T. Smith, "you gotta love, when a plan comes together."

(For transparency sake, both Vidtel and CounterPath are clients of my agency, and I sit on advisory boards for both companies)

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The First Ever Review of the Comunicano Wine Company 2009 Double "AA" Cuvee

I now know how famed Parisian, well actually worldwide, chef Guy Savoy felt when he earned his first every three stars and broke down and cried. I felt the same way this morning after former client and friend Ray Haddow of Nokia forwarded me a link to the first ever review of the 2009 Comunicano Wine Company "Double AA" Cuvee, a wine that was first poured at the 2010 IT Expo in Los Angeles, back in 2010 just after it was bottled. Boy has this wine grown up, and it keeps growing.

To my dear friends I wrote a short note which I feel compelled to share here as so many of you have seen, heard or participated (some would say put up with) my wine exploits for so many years.

Last week at CES at the party which Jeff Belk and I now annually host I brought along two bottles of the Double "AA" Cuvee, a wine that I worked along side my very good friend of 20 years Doug Margerum back in the late summer of 2010 at his small but very efficient winery in Santa Ynez. It may be the one place in the world where I can go, and not easily be reached as the cell coverage is non-existant and the WiFi comes from the Curtis Winery down the hill.  

Never in my wildest dreams was I ever expecting the wine to be reviewed by a wine blogger so while I remain always pleasantly surprised at comments from my friends like you who have tasted the wine as far back as when it was first released to today, I did not expect  the comments from New Orleans based food/wine/travel and tech blogger Shannon Lane to be so emotionally flattering. To say I'm blushing like a bottle of Doug's or my friend Sylvain Fadat's Rose would be an understatement.  Since September the accolades have been rolling in about the Double AA Cuvee, and even my wine menu line up for the International Grenache Day dinner from global organizer Nicole Rolet, when the Double "AA" Cuvee was deemed to be one of the best, and best in its flight overall besting another Margerum collaboration by a nose at our 28 bottle, all Grenache wine dinner at Pamplemousse Grille with red, rose, grey and whites.

Then in October, long time wine trade sales director for the Languedoc Roussillion tasting room at the AOC's Mas De Soporta, Bernard Bardou organized a tasting of French Syrahs, all served blind and the Double "AA" Cuvee come out on top. But this review, and knowing what it was poured alongside in Las Vegas, and who made those wines, including some of my true longtime winemaker friends, on top of how a very dear friend selected this same wine at a dinner with two winemaker friends as her favorite recently while up in Santa Barbara, all are bringing the kind of feeling a musician, novelist, filmmaker or athlete gets when they first see their name in lights or in print. It does feel great and as another dear friend who loves wine as much as I do, Ray McKewon, once proclaimed, reading this, I have to echo that statement, "life if good."

But I don't come from the world of "your only as good as your last........"  It wasn't that way in my years in hockey. Nor in my agency. You see, I come from the world as your only as good as your next, not your last, so this spring I'll head up to Santa Barbara and work with Doug to make another wine, and maybe a second with pal David Corey. It will be a fun event, and one that friends may even enjoy being a part of. 

So, as one of my dear friends who have played a part in my wine world in various ways for so many years, especially winemaker and friend Sylvain Fadat who has taught me so much about wine, please savor the moment with me, as I present the first real review of something I'm really very proud of....The 2009 Comunicano Wine Company "Double AA Cuvee."

Thanks Shannon, for making my week start off the right way!

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