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Posts from March 31, 2013 - April 6, 2013

Say Goodbye to DSL, Hello to LTE

It's no surprise that DSL installations are on going the way of the dinosaur from the USA's larger telcos as that news is over a year old. But the reason is LTE is cheaper for the operators to install, and there are no wires to maintain. Today's formal launch of HomeFusion by Verizon Wireless, while pricier than the wired DSL lines means higher speeds, data caps and possibly some restrictions on what services you can access.

I say possibly some restrictions because my experiments with Verizon Wireless' LTE modems have yielded mixed results when I use over the top VoIP and Video services, as well as some challenges with IP based conferencing services because of how Verizon passes traffic or doesn't. They seem to double NAT which causes some IP communications providers fits, especially SIP traffic, and my attempts to get answers on this or organize calls between service providers and Verizon's engineering team have yielded no success, all the way up through their very polite Executive Response team.

But the good news is for those who have been speed challenged by wire, the new HomeFusion means higher speeds, higher bills and less time to download. Overall this is a win for those who are not as much in need of an always on, all IP based lifestyle of business.

-- Andy Abramson

The Who-Won't Get Fooled Again--AT&T/Verizon and Vodafone-UPDATED

Verizon: Paying Politicians to Rule the Air (g...Verizon: Paying Politicians to Rule the Air
(g1a2d0047c1) (Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

What started out as an April Fools' Day story in the Financial Time's Alphaville on Monday has jumped to the rest of the media world and impacted the stock markets around the world. And, honestly, I don't know if it's true. UPDATE-LOOKS LIKE I WAS RIGHT. Verizon has said it's not.

The "what" is the reported teaming up of AT&T and Verizon to take over Vodafone, give Verizon 100 percent ownership in Verizon Wireless, and AT&T Vodafone's assets the world over. Truth is stranger than fiction so anything is possible but......

Forget the fact that its an end around the breakup of the Bell System as it's international, not domestic so the ruling doesn't apply, it sure is interesting. But to get a sobriety check I asked ArentFox telecom legal begal Ross Buntrock for his thoughts:

"The rumored Verizon/AT&T/Vodafone transaction promises to do for American wireless competition what Ed Whitacre did for landline competition in the late 1990’s and 2000’s:  completely eliminate any hope or possibility of it.  And as the FCC has noted in prior reports, the wireless industry in the US is not robustly competitive today."

While always on the mark, Aswath Rao had this to say to me on Twitter:

"The hint lies in the confluence of three claimed "facts": AT&T and VZ have each < $5B cash on hand, & the acq price is $245B"

Do you think all the media jumping on the story have been fooled?

-- Andy Abramson


Oracle In Telco-Look At FreeSwitch

With the purchase of Tekelec and Acme Packet one has to be wondering if market leading Broadsoft is next on Oracle's buying spree. While it's a possibility, I think the game plan is more of a surround strategy, than buy the company that would immediately grant SAP a licence to start working with every other telco and switch manufacturer on the planet. Basically, Broadsoft has so many customers that would feel Oracle's moves are too competitive in the long run they would begin to look at options. Oracle isn't buying up pieces to not make more money. What Mark Hurd is doing though is taking the parts that HP would have had if they continued on the path of being big in telecom and establishing the foundation to sell more appliances that are tied to the Oracle cloud.

Instead I would start to look heavily at the open source offering from Freeswitch the same way that Oracle now looks at Java. As an eco-system enabler. If Oracle gets behind Freeswitch then Broadsoft has to really start to start to look at other M&A options. Freeswitch according to many devs and CTO's I speak with is far more flexible and provides options that avoid the walled garden, royalty laden approach of Broadsoft. 

-- Andy Abramson 

WhatsApp @ Skype -Changes That's What

A good friend in the telecom world, Kerry Ritz, who is the ex head of Vonage UK and before that was with 3 in London tipped me off to a move at Microsoft-Skype that is sure to cause raise some eyebrows over at WhatsApp in Mountain View and with their VCs I bet. If I was WhatsApp I would become even more agressive and start to look for more carrier and operator deals before Skyprosoft gets serious with their operator partners whom they are already deeply courting on all levels to sell services and solution. (By the way, if you're not using WhatsApp and you text across borders or send photos your missing out. I couldn't travel and stay in touch without it and iMessage as easily as I do.I just wish Whatsapp worked on tablets and had multi-device sync like iMessage.)

Ritz tipped me of about Ran Mokady, a veteran mobile exec who is credited by many as being the father of the mobile browser. Think of Mokady as the Marc Andressen of mobile. In March Mokady was made Senior Director of Program Management, Messaging and Async at Skype. Now at first blush the title has to be considered a mouthful, but given Ran's background, time served inside and around Microsoft, his work with Apple and vision, plus the ownership by Skype of GroupMe (a company that took part in one of Larry Lisser's Startup Camps at ITExpo a few years back) WhatsApp has to be looking over their shoulders.

Let's think about market rationale and opportunity. Skype is globally used and has massive penetration and market share with app usage on mobile devices climbing. Currently Skype's SMS is one way and basically useless compared to WhatsApp. On the otherhand iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) have enourmous user bases which like Skype are OTT (over the top) service. In a note to me Kerry pointed out the Lync installed user base, which I feel becomes Skype accessible very soon. Add in the demise of Microsoft Messenger and one has to know that like everything Microsoft does, they tossed a pebble in one direction while preparing to roll a big boulder down the hill.

Take all the pieces-Skype, Lync and GroupMe, put together a service focused approach, store it in the cloud, and you have one more take money away from the carrier service. Also, with Microsoft adding federation to Lync and Skype (think what Xconnect has done with cable operators voice and video traffic) with messaging it totally goes after the markets held by not only the mobile operators, but also brings in an alternative to things like Twitter and email itself.  Gone are the 160/140 character limits because the messaging is inside Skype. Want to go from chat to call to video to screen share...those are why the ASYNC in the title is the key....

-- Andy Abramson 

Why Google Loves WebRTC

Todd Carothers' well penned post about WebRTC is totally in line with my thinking about the new technology. Lot's of money will be made, a bunch of startups will enter the space, many will die off, some will be successful, some will be acquired and of course, there will be Google, this decade's Yahoo or AOL-where new ideas come forth, some get acquired and others die. But for Google WebRTC is a big market opportunity, something that Todd points out when he wrote, and I quote:

"Meets Google’s modus operandi to implement technologies that better help it understand it’s users to sell advertising."

By this I mean the holy bucket of money that's sitting on the sidelines, not yet even coming into YouTube's coffers. I'm talking "commercials." Worldwide television commerical ad spend dominates and Google isn't even in the running today at getting much of the spend. But, as WebRTC technology improves now delivery of content, content that is dropped into a call, or around a conference call flourishes. Google's already figured out how to target ads, so as Sending Party Pays becomes the pay model for delivery of rich and massively sized data over other parties networks, users of Google's WebRTC technology (i.e. inside the Chrome browser, on Android devices and Chromebooks) all get served up television like commercials. 

This takes Google smack into the middle of your viewing experience. And, delivers it for free to you. Your devices become like televisions. Remember when houses had more televisions than people? Well if you apply the same approach to laptops, smartphones and tablets, plus monitors and all, with WebRTC totally web browser centric Google can give away Chromebook and Chromepads all day long and recoup their money with targeted delivery of commercials.

It's the era of the all knowing about you, and your calling habits, your friends and relationships, plus your calendar and social patterns are what Google is collecting. Add in the delivery of commercials you want to watch and that can impact your lives, and Google wins.


Cisco Copies, They Don't Innovate, They Just Sell

Image representing Cisco as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Over a year ago at IT Expo in Miami Panasonic debuted an Android based deskphone that combined the best of both worlds. Rock solid audio and video technology and access to the Android Play store library of apps. But, when better and more exciting options like the Mocet Communicator are out there, why take a step back, when you can take two steps forward.

Even before that I saw a prototype, and then a production model of the CloudTC Glass, a very well designed Android based deskphone, so needless to say, when Cisco rolled out their DX650 I was not jumping or shouting about it. 

You see, companies like Cisco no longer have to innovate in order to bring income to the balance sheet. They just have to copy. Cisco can do this because the one thing that Cisco has that CloudTC doesn't have is the massive sales force and customers to get the product into the channel. So while CloudTC has secured solid distribution with VoIPSupply and others to reach the small business market, it's the direct sales clout of Cisco, or their channel partners who put the devices on the desks of the enterprise.

The Cloud TC is over $500.00 and you can't take it with you. While I'm not sure what the Cisco phone sells for, I'd still opt for a Mocet Communicator and an iPad. For $229.00 the Mocet + the iPad is a better solution because after one leaves the office, the iPad goes with you. I'm anxiously awaiting an iPad Mini version of the Mocet, or one that works with the Nexus 7. Then you have the right idea. If Cisco was smart, they'd pick off Mocet, put the team in place to be their hardware innovation team, and have something that really would be game changing. Our tests with the Mocet Communicator have been nothing but pleasurable.