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Posts from January 2017

Polycom Still In the Hardware World

Having been in the collaboration game since the days of SightSpeed, the original laptop video conferencing service that was acquired by Logitech, it's really funny to see how what's old is new again. That's why even with new ownership, Polycom continues have its head in the hardware world while the rest of the industry is clearly in the cloud.

Today, NoJitter ran a typical vendor supportive piece, with coverage on Polycom, surrounding their newer meeting room experience.

Meeting rooms are nice, but the market is going more in the direction of "huddle rooms." Those are smaller two to three person sized conference facilities that are used by team members who are all in one place. Given how much work at home is occurring and working from remote locations like WeWork and Regus office centers, the real market is where Zoom, GoToMeeting, and WebEx.

They are are all in the cloud, or virtualized, and are offering services that don't need anything more than a smartphone, tablet or laptop to have parties connect from anywhere. No need for a dedicated room. Besides, with AppleTV, Google Home (aka Chromecast) the market for room size video can be accomplished with monitors and far more economically priced PTZ (pan tilt zoom) cameras or using the camera already embedded in the smart device or laptop.

 


The Comunicano for Tuesday January 31 2017

 

 
 
JANUARY 31 - ISSUE #12
Andy Abramson
Money is the top theme today and not only from VC types of stories. The impact of ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft is impacting the taxi medallion lenders...Crowdfunding for startup companies under the Jobs Act is beginning to show cracks and issues…WeWork may see money from the new Softbank Fund
In other news…Australia thinks it can benefit by the USA’s Immigration Gate. Who needs wires? Telstra is going rolling out 1 Gig 4G/LTE mobile speeds service in major cities in Oz. In the Amazon Watch, Amazon has a lot happening with Alexa. Want to know? Just ask her. WalMart changes plans because of Amazon. Dropbox decides to chase Google and Microsoft with Paper. Fee, Fi Phone, Fun…There’s more coming with Google Voice, Those stories and more in today’s Comunicano.

Money Watch
Taxi Medallion Prices Are Plummeting, Endangering Loans
Doubts Arise as Investors Flock to Crowdfunded Start-Ups
SoftBank Mulls Investment of Over $1 Billion in WeWork
Global Watch
Donald Trump's folly is a once-in-a-century opportunity for Australia
Telstra launches 1Gbps 4G mobile network across cities
Amazon Watch
Amazon Alexa gets new tricks for Groundhog Day
Starbucks Debuts Voice Ordering
’24: Legacy’: Echo Alexa Alarm Promoted on Amazon Homepage
Wal-Mart scraps Amazon Prime rival in favor of new free shipping offer
DropBox Watch
Dropbox finally brings its Google Docs competitor out of beta
Inside Dropbox’s Identity Overhaul
Odds & Ends
Project Fi integration might be coming to Voice, Google is ‘working on a solution’
Three UK ditches InTouch app, launches embedded Wi-Fi calling
Belkin's itty-bitty WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug has big plans for the smart home
The Top 3 Technologies Revolutionizing E-Commerce

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The Comunicano for Friday January 27 2017

 

 
 
JANUARY 27 - ISSUE #10
Andy Abramson
It’s only been a few months since cableco Charter gobbled up Time Warner Cable, but now it looks the buyer may become the bought which becomes a big win for Charter’s largest shareholder, Liberty Media and John Malone. That’s because Verizon is reportedly in talks to buy Charter, largely as a defensive move against both Comcast. That’s because Comcast is rolling out wireless phone service and also due to AT&T trying to buy up Time Warner for all their entertainment properties. 

In other news we have good news for rural New York State when it comes to broadband; why video streaming is so easy;  a Facebook/MailChimp ad match up; a look at a lot of e-commerce tools; how to increase sales; plus those hotel thermostats and you, along with a short item on Starbucks and its customers.

Those stories are all in today’s Comunicano.

Verizon Watch
Speculation builds on a Verizon-Charter tie-up, no offer made
Verizon Wireless and AT&T see value perception decrease
Rural Broadband to Keep Growing (in NY)
New York to keep $170M to expand broadband access
Video Streaming Watch
5 Ways to Use Live-Streaming to Amplify Offline Events
Oscars 2017: Where to Stream the Nominated Movies
Marketing Watch
Facebook Ad Campaigns for MailChimp
Gorgias - E-commerce Stack. Top 100 e-commerce apps.
How Tech Companies Double Annual Sales with Three Words
Odds & Ends
It’s Not You: Hotel Thermostats Really Are Rigged
Starbucks: Crowded stores turned off customers

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The Comunicano for Wednesday January 25 2017

 
 
JANUARY 25 - ISSUE #8
Andy Abramson
Good morning. Today we have insight on what’s going on in the news world surrounding fake news and the rise of the citizen journalist as well as how the media is under attack. That’s just for starters. 

Down Under in the land of Oz, they’re finally getting in flight Wi-Fi. Well on one plane for now. News from Cisco about the new Spark Board, an acquisition, possible mergers, and some fund raising of note in Money Time, news from Google around I/O, some Apple Watching,  ways to be better Socially online in Socially Speaking, plus a few Odds & Ends surrounding SMS, the FCC and how Verizon is feeling the heat from other carriers. All those stories and more, in today’s Comunicano.

Facebook Live Is the Right Wing’s New Fox News
The Rise Of Fake News Amidst The Fall Of News Media
Wi-Fi Watch
For my friends in Australia, all I can say, is, you’re gonna love it. This is the same in-flight Wi-Fi service, or better, than what we have on Jet Blue and some Virgin America and United flights in the USA. 
Qantas introduces free inflight Wi-Fi to their Boeing 737
SparkWatch
Cisco entered the digital whiteboard space with a new Spark Board. ZD Net has some details and I’ve added my 2 cents to the story on VoIPWatch.
Cisco rolls out Spark Board, all-in-one cloud-connected digital whiteboard
Cisco's Sparkboard For Collaboration Here and There
Money Time
Cisco didn’t stop yesterday with their Spark Board news. They went out and bought a company that was about to IPO…… Pal Jamie Siminoff’s company Ring raised $108 million more for their crime preventing doorbell….HPE snapped up another IT company and AirBnB may be buying Tilt to have a payment platform of their own.
Cisco snaps up AppDynamics for $3.7B right before its IPO
Connected doorbell startup Ring raises $109 million from DFJ, Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm, others
Report: Airbnb in talks to buy payment app Tilt
HPE to Acquire Cloud Cruiser to Bolster Consumption-Based IT for Customers
Google Watch
Google I/O 2017 will be held at Shoreline Amphitheatre May 17-19
Your home just got smarter with new Google Assistant partners
Why Google Killed 1.7 Billion Ads Last Year (And Kicked 200 Publishers Off Its Network)
Apple Watching
Apple's iOS 10.3 beta hits with cricket scores, 'Find My AirPods'
Apple is trying to limit how often your iPhone apps can bug you to give them a rating
Socially Speaking
8 Lesser Discussed Social Media Changes – What to Pay Attention to in 2017
Instagram's Live Stories: Available Globally
Odds & Ends
SMS is making everything old new again
Comcast, AT&T, and ISP lobbyists are excited about Trump’s FCC chair
Verizon rivals put squeeze on No. 1 carrier's growth

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Cisco's Sparkboard For Collaboration Here and There

Cisco's Spark Team has been hard at work redefining their idea of collaboration. While first thought to be a Slack wannabe, Spark is far more than simply a messaging platform. Today's news around the SparkBoard bears that out.

So what is SparkBoard? Think of it as the virtual whiteboard you always wanted. It’s a wireless presentation screen, a digital whiteboard, and an audio and video conferencing system all in one. The Cisco Spark Board helps teams collaborate in physical meeting rooms, but also securely connects to virtual meeting spaces to facilitate continuous workflow before, during, and after everyone has left the physical conference room. The Cisco Spark Board draws its power from the Cisco Spark service, which combines meeting, messaging, calling, and new white boarding capabilities on any Cisco Spark app-enabled device.

What's this mean? With SparkBoard you can present to a group of people who are connected to your whiteboard session, but who don't have to be in the same room. What's more, with the mobile app, people on the go can be part of the session, both observing and participating. 

This also means the idea of remote collaboration really is coming true. I don't know how many times I've watched a presentation, and wanted to write on the screen my thoughts as the presenter is making a point. Or, highlight something on screen for others to pick up on, that the presenter may not be going deeply enough into. With the Spark Plus app features, the app becomes a remote extension to the presentation, letting the viewer become the participant.

Looking at what the Spark team has done, shows that Cisco is integrating their hardware and software teams together. Think WebEx and Tandberg meets Tropos and a few other acquisitions that they have made the last few years.  

How successful will this be? Pricing is key to the success of any service so hopefully Cisco employs a razor blade strategy, giving away the screens, and selling the service so adoption moves quickly.  


The Comunicano for Tuesday January 25th 2016

 
 
JANUARY 24 - ISSUE #7
Andy Abramson
Happy Tuesday. Waking up to the news that one of the tech media’s best has left the building. Quentin Hardy, a fixture on the media scene in Silicon Valley, most recently with the New York Times, is joining Google Cloud.

This move continues the trend of media folks going corporate side.  In other news we have stories worth reading about Amazon, Google, Formula 1, Verizon, IBM, SNAP and AT&T. Those stories are all in today’s Comunicano.

A Big Change in the Tech Media
New York Times editor Quentin Hardy is heading to Google
Augmented and Intelligent
How Alexa Fits Into Amazon’s Prime Directive
From Jingles to Pop Hits, A.I. Is Music to Some Ears
GoogleWatch
Google Voice gets a new look for its first major update in years - The Verge
All Chromebooks debuting in 2017 and beyond will run Android apps | Ars Technica
The Axe Is Falling
Ecclestone driven out as Liberty Media completes Formula 1 acquisition
Verizon Lays Off Go90 Employees, Tasks Vessel Team With App Rebuild
IBM Touts Trump-Pleasing Hiring Plans While Firing Thousands - Bloomberg
Odds & Ends
How a concerned mother's lawsuit helped get Snapchat to crack down on media companies
AT&T International Pass Limits Phone Costs Abroad to $10/Day

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Sprint Buys Into Tidal-Music to Drive Brand

Sprint is taking a 1/3rd equity interest in Jay-Z's Tidal music service. With AT&T buying Direct TV, and Verizon stepping up to buy Yahoo (maybe), the face of the three telecom giants is quickly shifting from delivering voice and text into being the pipe that roars with content. All this is coming as 5G is around the corner and the battle for who has what on which service begins to rage on.

This move is designed in my mind to further push Sprint into the urban, Asian and Latin markets in the USA, especially with pre-paid, while Verizon goes for the corporate customer, AT&T aims to be all things to all people, while T-Mobile focuses on the consumer. The investment also comes at a time when services like Pandora and Spotify as well as Apple's iTunes all need to get an edge over one another. With Tidal, Sprint is staking its claim to secure some exclusive content that will only be available to its customers, or what's more likely, will be available first to their customers. 

Expect to see more of these types of investments and alignments as Comcast and Charter also start to toss their cash and stock war chests into the fray.


More Patents for 8x8

8x8 is a patent powerhouse when it comes to VoIP. Over the years I've been covering VoIP 8x8 has consistently filed for, and been awarded patent after patent at all layers of the VoIP stack. Today, the company announced that they have been awarded three more in the never ending battle to protect the turf they have established.

  • United States Patent number 9,473,452 titled, “NAT Traversal in VoIP Communication System,” was awarded on October 18, 2016.
  • United States Patent number 9,479,648 titled, “Intelligent Media Relay Selection,” was awarded on October 25, 2016. It is a continuation of U.S. patent number 9,148,519 awarded to the company on January 2, 2013.
  • United States Patent number 9,531,879 titled, “Networked Contact Center User Interface Approach,” was awarded on December 27, 2016 and is a continuation of patent number 8,972,885 awarded on August 29, 2008.

In their announcement they describe what each patent does and why it has value to them.  The first two address call control, or how calls are routed. Clearly, this is all about making sure that traffic is handled efficiently, and with the least amount of delays.

The patent related to network address translator (NAT) traversal in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication system (#9,473,452) covers an innovation that enables a call control server to use an algorithm to select from proxy servers to route a VoIP session between endpoint devices.

The second patent (#9,479,648) provides a system for a call control agent to intelligently select the appropriate media relay servers that are located at geographically disparate locations relative to each other and then route and maintain the VoIP call through the media relay server

The third is all about the interface and the experience. The key here though is how 8x8 is signaling a bigger effort in the call center space by smartening up the interface that support people see, but dumbing down how to get that done.

The technology in U.S. patent #9,531,879 details how communications systems involving networked contact center interfaces present data in a selectable, user-friendly format.


The Comunicano for Thursday January 19 2017

 

 
 
JANUARY 19 - ISSUE #4
Andy Abramson
Good morning from wet Los Angeles. We’ve had a good dousing of rain in the area, which in some cases is good, as we need the water. On the other hand, wet weather and Southern California are never really friends.
Today we have news ranging from a look back at the Obama Tech Surge; how governments use app stores as the front line of censorship; a story I’m quoted in on what makes for a great extended stay hotel; and why threaded messages are going to be the new normal. 
Those stories, an infographic on visual communications and more, all in today’s Comunicano.

The Final Days of Obama’s Tech Surge
Clearing Out the App Stores: Government Censorship Made Easier - The New York Times
Ellen Chang of THESTREET.com reached out to me a few weeks ago to get insight on my experiences with extended stay type hotels, and to learn what makes for a great long term stay in a hotel. 
My comments fill the column, as it seems I gave great quote!!
5 Hotels for Business Travelers on Extended Trips
Slack is moving in a direction to help people make even more sense out of their messaging platform, but it wasn’t without its challenges. Over a year in the making, the next two stories give you a clear picture of just what was involved.
Slack adds threaded messages to take the clutter out of public channels - The Verge
The Unexpected Design Challenge Behind Slack's New Threaded Conversations
LinkedIn goes from being loved and needed, to being hated for their poor interface. It seems they’re listening and making great strides.
LinkedIn Desktop Redesign Puts Conversations and Content at the Center
3 Ways to Maximize Your Content Reach on LinkedIn
Delivering information the right way is crucial in all modes of communications. Our next three stories provide different ideas on how to best deliver the word.
The Consumers Have Spoken: How Brands Can Survive Crises
The Insider's Guide to Data, Personalization and Automation
Visual Communication: The Next Step in Marketing [Infographic]
Amazon, Apple and Oracle are in the news. Amazon and Apple over books and anti-trust in Europe, while Oracle buys up an API company.
EU antitrust regulators welcome Amazon, Apple audiobook deal
Oracle to buy API development firm Apiary

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The Comunicano for Wednesday January 18 2017

 

 
 
JANUARY 18 - ISSUE #3
Andy Abramson
It’s Humpday. So let’s help you get over it.

Google is really working to be a major player in mobile phone service. The signs are all there. First cheaper phones. And more viral marketing of Fi. 

Qualcomm is in trouble. Again. FaceBook and France are Friends. Amazon patents the hiway. Evernote updates their app. Marriott takes you to their movies while Seinfeld marries up with Netflix.

Google's low-cost Android One program may expand to the U.S.
Google Extends Project Fi's $20 Referral Program
Want to put your startup in France? Two initiatives that go hand in hand may just make that possible, faster.
Facebook Is Launching Its First Official Startup Incubator
New 4-year French Tech Visa will fast-track foreign start-up talent
Qualcomm can’t get out of battling regulators somewhere. This time it’s in the USA.
FTC Charges Qualcomm With Monopolizing Key Semiconductor Device Used in Cell Phones | Federal Trade Commission
Qualcomm Responds to Complaint from U.S. Federal Trade Commission | Qualcomm
Other news of note!
Amazon patented a highway network that controls self-driving cars and trucks
New Evernote 8.0 is Organization Made Simple from the Evernote Blog
Marriott Takes You To The Movies, While Jerry Makes A Deal with Netflix
Marriott's New Two Bellmen Film Is Targeted Squarely at Asian Consumers
With Jerry Seinfeld, Netflix Might Beat HBO In the War for Stand-Up

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